We're Just Friends: Short Story Prequel to Pam of Babylon #8 (2 page)

BOOK: We're Just Friends: Short Story Prequel to Pam of Babylon #8
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“Is that right?” she asked, smiling seductively. “Why’s that?” Jason stammered a bit, and giving up, laughed and shrugged his shoulders.

“No particular reason. It’s just nice.” He offered his arm and Sandra looked down at it then up into his eyes.

“You’re asking for trouble, you realize that,” she said, ignoring his arm.

“I’m not asking for anything,” Jason said, frowning, obviously having conflicting thoughts about taking this beautiful young woman to lunch. Hadn’t she flirted with him unmercifully at Pam’s that weekend? Maybe he misread her intentions.

“Let me ask you, does Pam know we’re together?” His discomfort was palpable, but before he opened his mouth, Sandra knew he was going to lie.

“Of course. She doesn’t yet, but she will,” Jason said. “She trusts me completely.”

“You lead me to believe something different in your letter.”

“That was an isolated incident,” he answered.

“So, are you saying that if called her this afternoon to tell her I had lunch with you she’d be good with it?”

“I might have to lead her up to it, but I think in the long run, she’d think it was great.”

Sandra laughed out loud, a healthy guffaw- slap her knee kind of laugh. “Well if you say so, but I think there’s a little too much chemistry between us. Pam felt it the last weekend we were together, and that’s why I got the bum’s rush when it was time to leave.” Sandra knew what she was talking about; Pam hadn’t called her or returned her calls. It was a sure sign of impending disaster; they’d done it before, allowing weeks, even months between phone calls, and then when they finally got together again, apologies and self-incriminations abounded.

Jason was struck dumb; having someone of Sandra’s youth and vitality proposition him was as foreign as anything he could think of. He was well into lunch before he calmed down again enough to talk. By the time lunch was over, they relaxed, teasing each other, flirting unabashedly, Pam long forgotten.

 

Email messages.

Saturday August 29
th,
6 am

Babylon

Dear Sandra,

Thank you so much for having lunch with me yesterday. I enjoyed every second of it. Our conversation keeps filtering through my head. I couldn’t sleep last night. The first reason due to what you said about Pam and me.

“Sometimes, a woman is just too set in her ways to let a man into her life,” you said. There’s an element of truth to it. She definitely likes things her way. I understand it. I have my house in Philadelphia that I’m loath to give up. It has memories of my wife and family. I tie my boat up at the dock. There’s room for my children and their partners whenever they want to visit.

Pam has that great house on the water with all her attachments to it and a regimented life. I’m honored she would even consider spending her time with me.

The second thing that kept me up, and this will just not go away, is what you said about
our
relationship. There is definitely a spark between us. I felt it go off the first time we met. You’re about my son’s age and I have the same, protective feeling about you I have for my own children.

Wow, that office of yours is really something. The offices of Lang, Smith and Romney are very impressive. So the
Smith
in the title was Pam’s husband? I knew there had to be money because of her house. She’s so unpretentious for her humble beginnings in Brooklyn and then to live the way she lives now.

So, you were employed by Jack Smith. How exactly does it work; do you send her money? I’m just curious. Are you part owner? I suppose since I’m marrying her I could ask Pam but there is obvious discomfort when I bring up finances. She suggested a prenuptial agreement, but says it’s for my benefit…. “You will want your children’s inheritance to stay in their names.” I think she might be afraid that if I were to die first, my kids would go after
her
money.

Last night we did more planning for Jeff and Ted’s wedding. They’re going to invite you, by the way.

Boy, that mother-in-law of hers is a piece of work. I can feel her negative vibes when she’s not even in the room. I wonder how Pam can stand her living in the same house.

This morning, I’m going over there for an early breakfast, and then we’re going to an antique flea market up in White Plains. I’m addicted to Tiffany glass and want to find the remote piece where the seller doesn’t realize the value of what they have. Even damaged Tiffany is okay.

What are you up to this weekend? I hope you have plans to come to the beach. I keep waiting for you to visit and you never do. You should just come out and ask Pam. I know she’d love to see Brent. It’s not a good idea for me to ask her to invite you.

Anyway, thank you again for having lunch with me. It was like being with a movie star, you turned so many heads!

Jason

 

12 pm

Jason,

Thanks again for lunch. You’re very kind. When I said I felt a spark between us, I was thinking more than a father/daughter relationship, although I’m glad you feel protective of me. However, I can’t say what I feel for you is a daughterly feeling. (Just kidding.)

I think you should ask Pam how I happened to become a partner at Lang, Smith and Romney. Trust me; she’ll have something to say.

Her mother-in-law is really a dear. She stood by me through some of the roughest times of my life. Give her a chance and she’ll be your champion, I promise you.

So, you have a boat on the Delaware River! I’m ready; all you have to do is just say the word and I’ll be in Philadelphia, lickety-split. I haven’t been out of the city all summer and would really enjoy a day on the river. I haven’t been invited to the beach since Pam was uncomfortable with my choice of swimwear the last time we were all together. I don’t know if you noticed the tension between us.

Anyway, when do you want to get together for that boat ride? You know I work all week, but I haven’t taken a vacation yet though so I could arrange to take off.

I’m excited!

Sandra

Xoxox

 

Sunday, August 30
th
, 1 am

Dear Sandra,

Our outing to the White Plains flea market was amazing. It took us almost all day to go through the entire market. We made quite a haul; Pam had to have several things shipped. She might be becoming obsessive about this collecting thing.

I felt guilty leaving Pam’s house instead of spending the night with her, but I couldn’t wait to get back to Jeff’s so I could email you. She didn’t seem to mind, which seems a little odd when I think about it.

By the way, you signing your letter with love and kisses was very exciting to receive.

Here’s how my inquiry into your acquisition of Lang, Smith and Romney went; as we were driving back home from White Plains, I asked her if she’d heard from her husband’s partner.

“Peter?” she answered. “I rarely hear from him. Or do you mean Sandra? In that case, no, not from her since last weekend, which, come to think, is a little odd.

“If there’s anything pressing, needing my signature or approval, the company attorney calls me. Why do you ask?”

I told her I felt disadvantaged because I didn’t know anything about her financial well-being. She accepted the explanation. But since she brought up your name, I’d pursue it further. I asked her about the same thing I had asked you. Did you work up the ladder to a partnership?

There was definitely a change of attitude. “Sandra has her
own
agenda,” she said, with a snicker.

“What do you mean by agenda? Do you feel she had getting control of the company in mind all along?” I asked

“Not at all,” Pam replied. “She was just as shocked as I was. At the time, she was very apologetic about it.” Trying to get information out of her wasn’t easy, so I just let it drop. But I deduced her husband hadn’t told her about your roll in the business. She appeared to be thinking about it though and I soon got an earful. I don’t really want to elaborate in an email. I should tell you face to face, in person. Suffice it to say Pam and her mother-in-law feel you ‘d do anything to be part of the Smith family and that’s why you ultimately got pregnant.

I hope I’m not upsetting you. There’s a lot of water under the bridge in your relationship with Pam. I think it’s amazing she befriended you. Most women would have been out for blood.

Sincerely,

Jason

 

10 am

Jason, thank you for taking my call this morning. Brent woke up and I was giving him his bottle when I checked my email. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I am still shaking, I’m so upset. I had to end our call when Brent’s nanny arrived, but I feel there is still a lot to say to you.

I have never diminished the importance of what I did to Pam by having an affair with Jack. However, it’s so over with. The man is dead. Why is it still an issue with her?

I’m most upset about Pam’s telling you lies about her son. On one hand, Pam is accusing me of getting pregnant on purpose, and on the other, the pregnancy was a product of rape. Which is it? I’d like you to give me the details of what she said. I don’t want Baby Brent to grow up thinking his father was a rapist. My story is that Brent and I were having an affair. My relationship with Tom was over.
He
told Pam Brent raped me.
Tom
said this to try to lessen his own inadequacies. Tom just couldn’t stand that I was attracted to someone else; his ego couldn’t take it.

In the beginning, we almost didn’t get together because he was so jealous of Jack. I still have the letter he wrote, the Dear Jane letter. He left it on the couch and snuck out of my apartment. Then he blamed Pam and Marie because he was jealous of my relationship with them. Tom was never able to own up to his role in our relationship. It is rather pathetic that he’d put his ego above the well-being of an innocent child. For Pam to repeat the story shocks me. What was she hoping to gain? Telling me she was hoping to reduce the baby’s importance in her life, to disregard him because he was a product of rape is ludicrous. I don’t believe she meant that at all. Pam loves Brent.

Another thing which upset me deeply was what she said about my income from Lang being a gift. I work sixty or more hours a week. She does pay for my house; that’s true. But she insisted on it when Tom and I became Miranda’s guardian. If I had to pay my own housing bills, I’d simply downsize. This house is much too big for two people. But I’m hoping to have a partner to share it with someday. Let’s put aside this awful dialogue. I never want to discuss Jack again. My heart broke when he died, and now my heart is being broken all over again because it’s clear to me Pam is finished with our friendship.

You should come by on your way home tonight. I would like to meet face to face to discuss this further.

Sandra

Text messages.

2 pm

Hi, I’m getting ready to leave Babylon for Philly. Are you sure I should stop by?

2:10 pm

Of course! I’m looking forward to seeing you. You should plan to stay for dinner. We can finish our conversation then.

2:12 pm

Okay, I’m leaving now. See you in an hour or so.

 

Sunday, August 30, 5 pm

Williamsburg

Jason’s found Sandra’s brownstone without difficulty, in spite of it being the first time he had to find an address in Brooklyn. Turning onto her street, he was surprised how lovely it was, row after row of ostentatious homes with wrought iron fencing around front yards, alleyways leading to backyards between most, some with parking spaces in the front. Sandra had opted to keep her yard open for the children, a six by six-foot grassy area with a miniature concrete table and stools, perfect for a tea party. Jason remembered there was only one child now.

Hearing the car, Sandra went to the door to wait for Jason. Although he was handsome, he was her father’s age, her dead father; older than Jack was.
What am I doing?
she asked herself. A self-destructive streak was at play, a quality she was aware she had, but one she’d ignored or denied for a long time. The idea that she could be purposely trying to hurt Pam again entered her mind, but because she wasn’t doing anything wrong yet, it seemed ludicrous to stop. She watched him walk up the stoop, catching his eye. They were comfortable with each other, but she didn’t sense any sexual chemistry when she flirted with him. Either he didn’t have any for her or he was a good actor. And it wounded her pride. Used to men vying for her attention, none of Pam’s dates gave her a second look. It hadn’t occurred to her that they were decent men who had self-control.

Sandra had blamed herself for the flirtation between her and Jason, yet ever since Jeff told him about Sandra and Jack’s affair, Jason had been trying to talk to her.
What did he want? Was he interested or not? Was it a harmless flirtation? Or was he hoping to take advantage of her neediness. And why were they talking to each other when it clearly upset Pam?

“So here you are.” The solid granite walkway was taking all of his attention until he looked up at the original light fixtures on either side of the door.

“Quite a place you have here,” Jason said. “How many square feet is it?” Sandra frowned, not sure of the exact dimensions.

“It’s big, that much I can tell you.”

“Do you rent out the upper floors?”

“No!” she answered, appalled. “Why on earth would I do that?”

He shrugged his shoulders, aware that his fiancée had intended it for a family; not a parent and her infant son. “It’s just so big for two people, that’s all.”

“I admitted it is big for two people,” Sandra said, exasperated. “Is the house something else you and Pam
chatted
about?”

“Yes, actually. Can I come in?” She stepped aside, the desire to seduce him gone. Biting her tongue, she really wanted to yell at him to leave and tell his girlfriend to go to hell.

BOOK: We're Just Friends: Short Story Prequel to Pam of Babylon #8
2.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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