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The Neallys Ch. 04: Suzanne Cont’d

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Author’s Note: This work, my first, would not be possible without the assistance and comments of Carey Thomas, the author of a wonderful set of lesbian romances with characters who interweave among her stories. Her work is published at She reviewed drafts of certain parts of this book, and I have included, with her permission and changed names, a number of her characters. The references here are to “A Ghost of a Chance” and “Could You be Mine.” Insofar as my work deserves credit, it is thanks to her encouragement to take up writing myself.

This is the fourth part of a multi-part story. The first five parts are the initial book. I am adding parts as things develop with these characters. This part begins the day on which part 3 ends.

Catching Up

I was midway through a report on Brexit when Kerry called. But first a bit of an explanation. I haven’t written since I became engaged to Kerry back in early November.

I never went back to law school. I was happy as a vice president at Trallis Corp. After first year, I started as a paralegal at Sullivan & Wilson. I was there for over nine months when on a Tuesday afternoon in early March, Carol Wright, a partner, asked me to come to her office. The firm, of course, knew my law-school situation, but I had arranged a loan package and was set to enroll when the Fall term began.

When I got to her office, she and Tom Sullivan told me that a major client, Trallis, for which I had done work on a major litigation in which it was a defendant, “wants to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“Trallis,” Carol said, “isn’t sure what exactly it wants you for but Bob Elroy said Trallis definitely wants you.”

Tom continued: “Suzanne. Bob would like you to go over there this Friday—we’re happy to have you take the day off—and meet with him and a few other folks and especially Marc Diamond, the CEO, to see if they can come up with something that’ll make you and them happy. He said he doesn’t want to pressure you but that Trallis wants the chance to make its pitch.”

And on Friday Trallis made its pitch and after talking about with Mary and Betty and especially Kerry, I took a job there. My title is vice president of development. It amounts to people coming to me from all divisions of the Company to run things past me. It is almost crazy that I get paid for doing it, and the pay is good and my stock options are accumulating.

All of which explains why I never went back to school and why I was in my Trallis office when Kerry called.

The Beginning of the Beginning: Thursday, 2 p.m.

After my usual, “Hey, babe,” she dropped the bomb that she was sitting with my mother at the house. Before I could react, she said that she just found out, that Mom—Kerry and I both called her Mom “Mom”—did something to bring this about, that she would explain it all later, and that while whatever happened next was entirely up to me, she and Mom thought it a good idea for me to meet her.

“If that’s what you think I should—”

“Suze, yeah, we both think that but whatever you do is okay by us. We just think you should, not that you have to. I met with her. I sat with her. I yelled at her. I thanked her for driving you out of California into my arms.”

“You didn’t.”

“No, I did not put it like that. Then I told her if she wanted to see you again, and I hope you are okay with me acting like a gatekeeper on this, that if she wanted to see you, she had to tell me why.

“She hugged me for like five minutes. She was crying and then said Mom forced her to look into herself and decide whether her faith was such as to make her sacrifice her daughter, like Abraham…Yes, Old Testament stuff. She sat in a church near NYU for like an hour and just thought. I don’t think it’s a put-up job.”

I knew I had to do it. I grabbed the report I was reading and shoved it into my backpack and went into Marc Diamond’s office and said I needed to leave for a family emergency. He waved me away with “Go.” I grabbed a cab for Grand Central and when I got to my train I texted Kerry with my arrival time, I’d be in the last car.

As the train emerged from the tunnel I looked out the window. Kerry did not say how my mother came to be at the house. I am sure she was as discombobulated as I was. Kerry was not as generous as my Aunt Mary was about forgiveness. She would forgive me anything, and had forgiven my stubbornness, but I did not know if she could ever forgive someone who hurt me. My mother hurt me.

She hurt me because of what she, and my father, did to my Aunt Mary and if that were not bad enough, her treatment of my Aunt Mary meant she would treat me in the same way if she knew I too was a lesbian.

What could Mom have said to draw my mother here two days before Mary’s wedding? And what about Mary? Was she involved? Had she spoken to my mother? What was Mary’s take? And most important, had my mother changed? What made her so horrible to Aunt Mary and thus to me was a part of who she was. kaynarca escort In some perverse way, it was not fair to criticize her because her beliefs were embedded in her very soul. In her view, literally in her soul.

I did not even know if she knew that I was gay let alone that I was engaged to a woman. Had I been outed? She was sitting with Kerry, and Kerry made it clear that she controlled access to me, which pleased me. Of course, that Eileen had done something to get this whirlwind started meant that my mother at least knew I was in a close relationship with her daughter. But did she know more than that? If she did, would she sacrifice me on an altar to her God? I mean, in the end, that is what we are talking about here. My grandparents sacrificed their daughter Mary on that altar. My father did the same, after growing into the reality of Aunt Mary’s exile.

Because of what was done to Aunt Mary, they exiled me. It was like some chapter of the Old Testament.

My mother and I were never close. My father worked long hours and spent his downtime out playing golf and zipping around to conferences and seminars. My mother did her charitable work. She grew up in Oakland and had a degree from Berkeley, working at a San Francisco financial firm after graduation. She met my father at a Catholic church function held in a San Francisco parish, and they got close doing projects there.

She quit work shortly after she got pregnant with me, at which point she started volunteering at the parish in Mill Valley. While she did try, her heart, a caring heart, was devoted to the people that she worked to help, and she did good work and performed a lot of good deeds for them. But she and my father were not close to either me or to Eric, who was born six years after me. I think there were several miscarriages in the gap, and they never had another child, but my mother never told me any of this. When I asked, Aunt Mary said she knew nothing about it.

Kind as she was, my mother was also dogmatic. Abortion. Gay rights. My parents were against them. Her views on gays were part of who my mother was, and being gay was part of who I was. When I started law school, I called home each Sunday.

Over time the calls became briefer and briefer. This was on me. I was losing any interest I once had in what my mother was involved with and was getting less comfortable telling her about the mundane events of my days as they centered more and more around Kerry and I felt guilty that by not mentioning Kerry, I was not being honest with my mother. By Christmas my first year, which I shared with Kerry and her Mom, whatever connection I had with my mother was gone.

After wishing she and my father and Eric a Merry Christmas, I did not call again. I was about to enter that horrible stretch of trying to deal with my feelings for Kerry, and going through the motions with my parents was the last thing on my mind. It was unfair, I know, and knew, but it was not something I could then deal with. I ghosted them, ignoring the voicemail messages and the emails and the texts. My only communication with my parents was to tell them that I was not going to be enrolled in the law school for the Fall term and that I would no longer be living in the 87th Street apartment effective September 1.

Indeed, the first I heard from any of them in 2017 was on Thanksgiving when Eric called me out of the blue while I was helping get dinner ready at Kerry’s house.

Now my mother was waiting for me with Kerry at the Tuckahoe Station. I was in the last car and I was two stops away. I still had not formulated what I would say. Whether I would say anything. Whether I would get off the damn train.

I did much the same the prior August. Also in the last car. A Sunday morning, and I was preparing for what I would say to Kerry. Things today were different. I was not sorry, as I had been with Kerry. That my parents were gone to me, yes. But not insofar as I felt any responsibility for that. This was on them and always would be.

I knew I loved Kerry. I was not sure about my mother.

I was neither sorry for what I did nor did I feel love for who she was. As I rode the train, I could think of nothing to say when I got off. It was entirely on her. She had to show me not that she was sorry. She had to show me that she was a different person. Again and again, I came back to doubting whether that was possible or, I had to admit, proper given the importance of faith in her life.

The train rolled to a stop, and I stood at the door, waiting for it to open, taking one last, deep breath.

Another train platform for another life-altering conversation.

Thursday, 3:29 p.m.

I steeled myself as the door opened. I looked to the left and saw her about ten feet away, Kerry to her right, far enough from my mother so that a gap appeared between them.

I did not want to, but I had to. “Why are you here?”

She recoiled at that and to me, having warmed, or perhaps cooled, to the task, küçükyalı escort I wondered why she was surprised. My anger was getting the best of me and I did not want to stop it. I would not cry and I would not blink.

Kerry saw this once, in my apartment over a year before. This time, she would not allow me to shut myself down as I had with her. She moved between my mother and me.

Looking into my hard eyes: “Suzanne, I know it’s hard. Your mother can just walk across to the other platform and take the next train back to the city and out of your life forever. For-e-ver. I told you that this is for you and only you to decide. From what I’ve heard that’s exactly what I’d hope you tell her to do were this twenty-four hours ago.

“But my Mom thought that enough has changed for me to speak to her, and I think that enough has changed that she is entitled to have you at least hear what she has to say. We all know this is not some Hallmark Kumbaya moment. Let’s walk up to the house. I know all that’s gone on and I think both of you deserve to talk. She’ll leave if you tell her to.”

I nodded, and we climbed the stairs from the platform and headed up the hill to the house.

As we walked, and I don’t know when or how, I found my mother gripping my hand and I did not pull away. She’d never touched me like that. Ever. Kerry was behind us and other than a description she gave of where we were and where we are going to fill the air, the three of us were silent.

We sat in the living room, and I asked Kerry to stay, not ready for a one-on-one yet. My mother sat in the middle of the sofa and Kerry and I sat across from her, not quite close enough to touch yet close enough to feel one another.

For the next half-hour, I opened up as I had never opened up to her before. About Aunt Mary and that I knew I was a lesbian before I met Aunt Mary. How hurt I was when I heard her and my father speak so horribly of my Aunt and how I met with and regularly communicated with her and how she tried desperately for me not to hate my parents for what had happened to her. That she was happy since she came to New York those years ago. And on and on through the development of my relationship with and love for Kerry and the horrible seven months when because of my stubbornness I kept her away.

I revealed, in sum, who I was. I could see she had no idea who I was. We were both exhausted. After she said “I am so sorry. I was so wrong.” I stopped her.

“Mother, we can’t resolve this now. I do not want you to go home yet. That may happen. Right now, though, I really would like you to stay. I need to think about a lot of things and to sleep on it. Can we meet tomorrow?” We agreed that we could and that we would. Then we drove her to the station in the Camry.

When we got back, we reported to Mary and Mom.

Eased Tension: Thursday, 10:00 p.m.

After dinner, Kerry gave me space to digest what was happening. Everything was in a whirl and when we got into bed, I was restless. Without a word and knowing that she was still awake, I took off my T-shirt, and she rolled onto her back. I straddled her head and I lowered myself to her mouth. With my left hand holding the headboard and my right lifting her head slightly, I let her, perhaps “made her” is more accurate, lick my folds. I was not horny when this started so I was not wet.

We are pretty much 80-10-10 when it comes to sex. Usually, it is making love and we savor every moment. The rest of the time it is one or the other of us, in about equal shares, who initiate pure, lustful sex. Now it was my turn. She slowly licked me, and I was soon drenched, very damp within minutes.

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Kerry is much quieter and less vocal in bed, more of a moaner/grunter. But I was being very vocal as she picked up the pace, now concentrating on my emerged clit, now penetrating my opening, a hand wrapped around each of my thighs, securing her as I increased my rocking, both hands now gripping the headboard, until I came. It was intense, a release of some of the tension that built up over the last hours. I stepped over her and gave her a peck on the forehead and with a “thank you” went to pee.

On my return, I went to her side of the bed so that I could spoon her with us both on our left sides, leaving my T-shirt wherever it had been thrown. After shared “I love you”s, I put my right arm around her, she still in her T-shirt, and I ran my fingers under the shirt and to her.

“You don’t need to do that.”

“I know that,” I told her, “I want to do it,” and I rubbed up and down slowly and easily, slipping one and then two fingers inside of her as her breathing shallowed as I kissed her glorious, so-long-admired neck until she shook. After a breath and a contented sigh, she got up to pee and now she threw off her T-shirt as she got back into the bed on her side, and we fell asleep, both naked, within moments of one another.

The Sheep Meadow: Friday, 11:30 am

Thanks to my ability to compartmentalize, sancaktepe escort I focused on my work when I reached the office on Friday. As usual now that Kerry and I both came into Grand Central, I kissed her in the Terminal’s Concourse and then walked the mile or to my office. I had plans to have lunch with my mother.

At about eleven-thirty, I lightly knocked on the doorframe to my boss Marc’s office. Marc had okayed yesterday’s early departure but I hadn’t had the time to explain. I had taken to dropping into his office now and then to talk about things; I think he liked that I saw him in a mentor’s role, and so I wanted to let him know what was going on. After I did, he told me to go see her and take as long a lunch as I wanted. “Look, it’s Friday, throw some work into your bag and take it with you. If you can work on it Sunday”—he knew of the next day’s wedding—”I’ll be happy. Now, get out of here till Monday.”

As I put a few reports into my bag, I dialed my mother.

“Mother, do you have comfortable shoes?” After being assured that she did, I told her, “wear them and something comfortable. We’re going walking. Can you be in the hotel lobby in 15 minutes?” Getting a “yes,” I headed out and gave have-a-good-weekend waves to those I passed as I went.

It took a moment to recognize her when she crossed the lobby but it was my mother, wearing shorts, one of my faded Stanford T-shirts, and running shoes. One of those Aussie broad-brimmed hats, and a pair of sunglasses in her left hand and a smart bag over her right shoulder. “You look like a tourist, mother. All you need is a selfie-stick, a map, and a disoriented look and you’d look straight out of central casting. And I like the shirt.”

I got a smile and a hug.

Off we were to the subway station and riding uptown. We were both quiet, feeling the car vibrate as we headed north and still quiet when we climbed the two flights to Lexington Avenue. Once there, I told her that we were going to the Park. We got a couple of to-go sandwiches and water at a deli and headed west. She and I exchanged small talk as we walked and then as we entered the Park next to the Metropolitan Museum. We briefly sat on a low wall between the Museum and the Park Drive and ate the sandwiches.

There was a particular place I wanted us to go and after we finished eating, we turned south along the path. Strolling next to one another holding hands—somewhere along the way I reached for her left hand—the path opened to the Boat Pond, long an oasis for me, where I sat during long walks I took while in law school. Families were wandering about and children clamoring on the Alice in Wonderland statue to the left as we reached the pond, where model sailboats meandered about. But my special place was the life-sized Hans Christian Andersen sculpture west of the pond.

No one else was there and, without thinking, I asked my mother to stand next to the seated Andersen and I took a photo of her. She came to me a little weepy and reached for my phone, and I handed it to her, and she swiped to see the photo and asked if she could take one of me and I sat next to Hans, and she took my photo. Taking her phone out, she took one for herself. She then looked around at a pair of approaching tourists and quickly turned back to me and asked, “Is it okay?” and when I nodded she stopped the tourists and asked if they could take a photo of the two of us and when one of them said “of course” she came to me where I sat, put her left arm around me, and the photo that I knew would soon be her wallpaper was snapped.

And one of the tourists said, “You look like sisters” as they left, and both my mother and I smiled. That was the easy part. Now we had to talk.

We sat at one of the benches behind the statue, away from the pond, and I turned to look at her.

I told her of the struggles I had with myself and with Kerry. How I treated Kerry horribly because of my doubts and stubbornness. That ultimately I needed Kerry to be in my life, even if only as a best friend and not as a lover. My mother cringed a bit at that last word, which I made sure to use to get her to understand all that Kerry and I are. “And I would have been happy if she was just my best friend and I am so much happier than I could imagine when she and I became lovers.” No cringe now.

“But here’s the thing, mother, I might have been happy if Kerry were not fully committed to me and to who I was. Am. Not fully committed.” I had rehearsed this dozens of times over the last twenty-or-so hours. “I cannot, though, be your daughter unless you are fully committed to me. I’m sorry, I’m sure what Eileen told you of my relationship with her hurt you and I don’t want to replace you but Eileen has filled a huge hole in my life.

“Now it is only you and me. I know it’s hard for you to move on from the beliefs you’ve long held. I did not say to ‘throw them away.’ I can’t ask you to simply discard them.”

Before she could respond and after I said she needed to think about it, I got up and she followed. We wound our way, quietly, toward the Sheep Meadow, the large green field filled with people on blankets and throwing Frisbees, the sheep long gone. We entered through the fence and found an open space and I suggested we just sit on the grass and we did.

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