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When it All Changed
Melinda looked around the crowded meeting room full of mothers and sons eating breakfast together, and for the fifth time that morning wondered if this was a good idea.
The trip itself was smooth, all things considered. They only had to fly to Miami, and the last leg of the trip turned out to be a small charter jet which was only going to the island. Marcus hadn’t spoken very much to her, but he had appeared to be more at ease than usual. Melinda felt happy about that, at least. Her son deserved a vacation, maybe even more than her.
Then they’d actually arrived this morning. That was when the oddity started. For one thing, the grounds of the Resort were a bit strange. Melinda had to admit that she loved the variety of tropical plants and trees, and the way that they were planted in neat rows seemed to relax her. But they were landscaped to create many artificial hills and valleys, with accompanying turns and switchbacks in the road. By the time they took the final turn, she had no idea of the direction or distance to the small airport where they had landed. The last hill concealed the Resort until the bus turned the corner and suddenly revealed it. She heard Marcus gasp at the effect, but she frowned at the lack of any sign or gate.
The main building was big, at least ten stories, and sprawling. It was beautiful and modern, all bright white and curving arches, no straight lines, no hard edges. The windows were all well tinted, and each room seemed to have a spacious balcony. As Melinda stepped off of the bus, she glimpsed the ocean and the beach and then saw how the resort grounds followed the water, with tennis courts, restaurants, and what looked like small alcoves with benches, hammocks, and even beds in them.
Melinda was eager to drop off the bags in their room and explore the Resort, but the event had a special opening breakfast, so instead, she followed the directions she was given. Marcus carried their bags without being asked, and she smiled appreciatively at him. She could have handled her own baggage, but there was something very kind and mature about the way he had stepped in without being asked.
That was when she noticed the first concerning thing. As soon as she stepped into the vast, open lobby, Melinda felt dizzy, just for a moment. Marcus had handed his bags over to a concierge who would take them to their room. Her son had approached her quickly, noticing her distress, but she shook it off, smiling and telling him that she felt much better now.
They had waited in line then, making small talk. Melinda was so nervous that she couldn’t keep herself from shifting from foot to foot. She put on a good show of confidence for Marcus, of course, but she was still concerned about him. He had his hands crossed over his chest, giving off the body language of someone who would rather be anywhere but where he was.
Melinda followed her son’s gaze to the enormous television that was cleverly hung above the check-in desk. It appeared to float there, the wires and mounts hidden in the bright sunlight. The glowing, high-definition rectangle was advertising and displaying events and eating establishments at the Resort, but it wasn’t remaining on one thing for long enough for her to read the text. As soon as she got halfway through one, it flipped to another, and another. She found herself waiting for the various scenes to rotate back just so she could finish reading the banal flavor text and get some closure. Then she saw it and gasped.
For a moment, just a split second really, something terrible had been on the screen. Something that had never happened. Something that could never be allowed to happen. It couldn’t have been there. Even with the kinds of effects they had now, they would have had to have modeled her body perfectly. They would have had to know what her nude form looked like, how her body’s weight moved and shifted. How it would look if she were riding a much younger man. She couldn’t see his body very well, but he was thrusting up to meet her hips rolling and shifting. In the scene, Melinda had been saying something. It had been muted, but she knew that if there would have been sound, that she would have heard herself crying her son’s name.
Melinda closed her eyes, fighting the panic building in her chest. No. Not now. This couldn’t come out now. This trip was supposed to rebuild her relationship with her son, not destroy it. With the practice of those used to denial, she repressed the forbidden desires into the dim recesses of her mind and shut the door on them firmly.
Melinda opened her eyes again. The television showed bland beach scenes now, and couples, holding hands. That was it. No sex. Nothing taboo. She looked over at Marcus. He looked flushed, to be sure, but if he had seen the same thing that she had, then there was no indication of it from his posture.
God, Melinda thought, what was wrong with her? She felt the familiar pulse of arousal and felt disgusted with herself. Then she took a deep breath and thought about gaziantep escort bayan ilanları other things. About the food they would eat, about the walks they would have, and about the way they would reconnect over long, pleasant conversations. By the time the line started shuffling into the hall where they were to have breakfast, she had put it the strange vision from her mind. Mostly.
The meeting hall at the Resort was large and clean. The breakfast of pineapple and omelets that they’d just been served had been delicious, even if she couldn’t place all of the ingredients. All of the other mothers and sons had been friendly and open. She felt a little out of it as well. Had she been a more worldly woman with a different upbringing, she would have recognized that she felt vaguely high. Even so, she still worried.
Melinda knew that she worried too much, but she couldn’t help it. She worried about her marriage. She worried about who her husband was sleeping with instead of her (she knew that he was fucking his manager and probably the girl who’d once been their babysitter, but there were many others). She worried about what their marriage was doing to their children, Jessica and Marcus. Right then, she mostly worried that forcing Marcus to come with her had been a bad idea.
At the moment, her eldest was talking with the woman next to him in an animated fashion. Her name was Angela, and she was obviously flirting a bit with him. It…it was disgusting, to be honest. She was at least in her mid-forties, and Marcus was 18! Granted, she was beautiful, with blonde hair, naturally tanned skin, and a svelte body that Melinda wished she had…but still, it felt very wrong to her.
The odd thing was that Angela’s own son, William, also seemed to be getting along with Marcus, and maybe even encouraging the flirtation! It was bizarre, and she didn’t like it at all. What was worse was that she knew, deep down, that she wasn’t actually angry at Angela over the age difference. Angela could be single, and Marcus was, after all, an adult now. It was jealousy.
Melinda had once been close with both of her children. Jessica still shared with her and enjoyed their time together, but Marcus had drawn away in high school. That was normal, but what Melinda found alarming was her son’s near-complete refusal to so much as say more than two words to her. She knew that she’d made serious mistakes as a mother, but she was terrified that once he left for college that he wouldn’t even bother coming home. Jessica had privately expressed the same worries as well, so Melinda knew that whatever was going on wasn’t just in her head.
Angela, after lightly touching Marcus’ arm, suddenly noticed Melinda’s cold gaze. To Melinda’s surprise, Angela withdrew her hand immediately.
“I’m sorry, um, Melinda, is it? I know you’re his mother. I just get accustomed to the way William and I get on and…I forget that not everyone has the same arrangements. I apologize.”
Melinda was confused but gratified. Angela had acknowledged that she’d been wrong and she’d done it in front of Marcus, who looked equally confused. Well, Melinda thought, her son was at that age where he was likely to be utterly oblivious to when a woman is coming on to him. And he was shy, too. Suddenly, Melinda felt bad for him. Was she preventing her son from maybe enjoying himself a little on vacation? She might not approve of it, but she didn’t want to ruin her son’s first romantic experiences either. Maybe it was better that he was going away to college soon after all. Suddenly Melinda became aware that the three others that shared the table with her: Marcus, Angela, and William, were all waiting for her response.
“Oh, um,” Melinda said with a genuine, if a little awkward, smile, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. I just came here to get closer to Marcus, and I guess I’m feeling a little possessive and protective.”
Marcus looked at his mother then, his facial expression completely unreadable, his dark, soulful eyes perhaps too wide. Melinda worried that she was screwing this up also, like every part of her life.
“Oh honey,” Angela said, “I completely understand. Last year I was exactly the same way. It seemed like every other woman was out to get her claws into my sweet, sensitive boy, and I couldn’t stand it. Whatever else you get out of this experience, I promise that you and Marcus will be much closer when you leave the Resort.”
Angela and William shared a small smile then. William was a little older than Marcus, tanned like his mother, well-built, maybe twenty, and he carried himself with more confidence. While Melinda admitted that he was an attractive enough young man, she really wasn’t interested in him. What she wanted was Marcus to gain a little of that same self-esteem, to no longer be trapped in his own shell. And to maybe open up and spend time with her again.
Melinda’s morose train of thought was interrupted by the click of speakers in the hall coming on. A woman in her fifties was walking onto the stage. Unlike everyone else, she was dressed escort bayan gaziantep ilanları formally. She must be the person running the event, Melinda thought. That meant that the presentation and the event itself was going to start soon. Melinda’s worries suddenly evaporated upon seeing the obviously professional woman taking charge and giving techs and assistants their last-minute instructions. Surely nothing strange would happen with someone like that in charge.
Relaxing a bit, Melinda spoke more with Angela, exchanging jokes and little details of their lives. She found the other woman to be charming and friendly, not at all the bad influence she had at first imagined. Although she still seemed to be looking rather intensely at Marcus.
Doubting her decision yet again, Melinda considered the chain of events that had ended here, thousands of miles from home, in a resort on a Caribbean island-nation that she’d never even heard of before making the reservations.
It all went back to that conversation with Natalie.
* * *
It was all Natalie’s fault, really. That wasn’t fair, of course. Natalie was Melinda’s best friend. She was a bit of a fierce woman at times, but she was also the kindest of people. They were not much alike in temperament or appearance, but they still got along.
Melinda was curvy and a bit plump with an hourglass figure, black hair, and ivory skin while Natalie was slender and petite, with the terra cotta skin of her Vietnamese ancestry.
Natalie and Melinda had been at lunch. They both had families and couldn’t talk as much as they would like, so they made it a policy to try and eat together at least once a week. Melinda had been venting, complaining really, about the state of her relationship with her son.
“I hate it, Natalie. I know that I’ve lost Jack already. But Marcus? He’s always been good to Jessica and me, and now he barely even spends any time with us. I can’t stand the idea that I’m failing my family this badly.”
“Oh no,” Natalie was, if nothing, a supportive and attentive listener, “this isn’t your fault. Jack’s a dog, and I guess that he always has been. You couldn’t have done anything to change him, but Marcus loves you, I know he does. He’s just a young man I guess, getting used to having freedom.”
“He used to share his thoughts and feelings with me and be so protective of Jessica. Jack and he used to spend time together as well, but they don’t anymore, so he’s completely isolated from all of us. I’m so…”
Melinda had to stop then, feeling herself close to tears. She didn’t know how, but she was sure that somehow, all of this was her fault. If she had been a better wife, then Jack would have been faithful. If she had been a better mother, then Marcus would want to spend time with her.
“Stop,” Natalie said, suddenly, “I can see you beating yourself up. I won’t allow it.”
Melinda laughed ruefully.
“Am I that obvious?”
“To me, you are. We’ve been best friends since the sixth grade. We know each other. And sometimes I know what’s best for you even if you don’t…I wonder…”
Natalie had a faraway expression as if considering revealing something. Melinda was intrigued. They rarely held things back from one another, and Natalie was infamously bad at keeping secrets in any case.
“What is it, Natalie? I’m honestly desperate here. I don’t know what to do.”
Natalie smiled broadly.
“All right then. Do you remember that trip I took last year? The vacation with Tommy?”
Tommy was Natalie’s son. A good young man and one of Marcus’ friends. Melinda nodded.
“Well,” Natalie went on, “I didn’t tell you at first, mostly because I didn’t want to embarrass him, but it was an invite-only event. I was worried that I was losing touch with him, especially after he got arrested for being drunk. I was so afraid that he was going to end up like his father. I miss him so much, and I see so many good parts of his father in Tommy, but I couldn’t stand the idea of him having to deal with alcoholism. It was probably overblown fear, but then a woman I work with told me about this unique Resort in the Caribbean. “
Natalie’s husband had died in a particularly awful accident, almost undoubtedly drunk at the wheel. He had been a good man otherwise, laid back, loving, not a mean bone in his body. Tommy shared all of those good points, and Melinda could understand Natalie’s worry.
“A special event? At a resort?”
Natalie laughed at her friend’s typical skepticism.
“I know how weird it sounds. They only allow mothers and sons, and it’s expressly for them to reconnect. I only went once, but I know Tommy wants to go again. We can’t this year, but I’m thinking about next. But, see, that’s my point! We were both unsure, and Tommy didn’t even want to go. I felt stupid and naive for thinking something like that could work, but I justified it by saying that at worst, Tommy and I would have some well-earned vacation time. It worked, though! You know we’ve been closer than ever. I saw that I was too much of gaziantep bayan escort ilanları a tiger mom for him to really trust and relate too. Tommy doesn’t drink at all now, for his own health, and I didn’t even ask him to stop. He calls me all the time from college just to tell me what’s going on in his life! And he comes home pretty frequently too. I can get you and Marcus an invite if you want. No problem.”
Natalie nodded as she ate her salad. Melinda had noticed that she’d been a lot happier since she’d taken that vacation, and if it worked for her…
Melinda decided, impulsively, to do it. Why not? Money wasn’t one of her family’s problems. Jessica might be a bit jealous, but Melinda would make sure that her daughter got a special trip, too. If Marcus ended up being more present with Jessica after the trip, then she’d be happy too.
I mean, it was kind of a silly idea, all things considered, but what could go wrong in a week?
* * *
Not for the first time, Marcus looked at his mother and felt a surge of powerful lust followed by a crushing wave of guilt. It wasn’t his fault, he knew that. He didn’t do anything to create this attraction. But his mother deserved better than a son who wanted to fuck her.
Marcus knew his mother worked hard. He’d seen her clean, cook dinner, and then go straight back to work afterward. He and his sister did everything they could to help her, but they both had homework and lives of their own, and Melinda wouldn’t allow them to do anything to jeopardize that.
It was as if his mother had given up on her own life going well, so she had decided that she would do everything that she could so her children would have what she couldn’t. Melinda tried to keep the truth from her children, but both Marcus and Jessica knew that their father was a serial adulterer. Both of them had caught him in lies, and Jessica had even seen him making out with a much younger woman in a public park.
Marcus had spent hours consoling his sister that night, and it had made him hate his father even more than he already did. Marcus couldn’t stand the thought that the man that his mother had dedicated his life to was so cruel and negligent.
Melinda deserved better than that. She deserved someone that would care for her. That would appreciate the things that she did every day, the intelligent acts of kindness and love that she showed everyone in her inner circle of friends and family.
Marcus also thought that anyone who had his mother in his bed but decided to cheat must be blind as well as heartless. He may have been biased, but to him, Melinda was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen. Every child thinks that their mother is beautiful of course, but then they grow up and things change. For Marcus, things changed when he hit puberty, but not the way that he expected. He started being attracted to girls, yes, and women. His tastes in porn were reasonably vanilla, but he did have his favorites. Over time he realized that the very best ones, the ones he loved, were nearly all of a specific type. More specifically, they looked a lot like his mother.
Melinda was not vain, not really. She used makeup every day, and she dressed professionally, but she didn’t see herself as attractive. Marcus could tell by the way she carried herself and the self-deprecating comments that she made. He did his best to reassure his mother that she looked good, but he couldn’t say or do the things that would genuinely convince her. That was his father’s duty.
Marcus considered all of these things, not for the first time, as he watched his mother begin to open up to Angela. She was in her own way, beautiful. Slender, clearly fit, with dyed blonde hair that went perfectly with her dark olive complexion. For a little bit, Marcus had been sure that Angela was hitting on him, and it looked like her son was encouraging it. The way that his mother had reacted had reinforced this a little bit, but it surely had been a misunderstanding. Otherwise, how would Angela and his mother be chatting already like old friends? William, for his own part, seemed to be quietly enjoying the company. As Marcus watched, the other young man put his hand on his mother’s leg, with a sort of casual possessiveness. Melinda didn’t notice, but Angela did. She put her own hand on her sons, and Marcus was sure that she was about to push it away, but she didn’t. Instead, Angela squeezed her son’s hand and moved it farther up her thigh, closer to the hem of her short skirt. Marcus felt his breath catch as he imagined being able to do that with his own mother.
In Marcus’ view, Angela was attractive, yes, but she didn’t hold a candle to Melinda. Marcus’ mother was of average height, but she had long, straight black hair that she always kept to a glossy shine. Her eyes were a brilliant blue that had a way of making you feel like the only important person in the room when she looked at you, and her delicate features combined with ivory skin and a pouty, full mouth drew plenty of attention from both sexes. She had wide hips that swayed when she walked in high heels and an hourglass that led up to the most amazing breasts that Marcus had ever glimpsed. He’d seen them a few times, always briefly, once by accident as his mother had left the door open when she was in the bath and other times when he’d intentionally spied on her. They were large and all-natural. They sagged a bit, but that just added to the appeal. Marcus could tell, only from looking, that they were firm. Even her belly, slightly soft with a little extra weight, was unimaginably appealing to him.
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