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*** 1. The Favor ***
“Mom, can you do me a huuuuuge favor?” Jensen asked in his usual, not-so-subtle begging voice.
There was a pause on the other end of the line, then a drawn-out sigh. “What is it, hun?” his mother asked.
“My car broke down and there’s this thing I need to attend tonight. I need you to give me a lift.”
“Yes, for college,” he said hastily, hoping she wouldn’t utilize her extrasensory mom-skills just that one time.
“An important… thing?”
“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.”
“And you don’t have any friends that can drive?”
“I already asked everyone I know.”
“And how far away is it?”
“About thirty miles. North.”
There was another pause at the other end of the line and Jensen knew that his mother was thinking. His dorm room was half an hour’s drive away from home, plus another thirty miles in the opposite direction, plus the drive back. It wasn’t just the time that was a factor. Kathy would be doing the mental arithmetic of how much gas it would take to drive that far and whether or not it was more expensive than a taxi.
Another sigh as his mother came to the same conclusion he had. It was still cheaper than a taxi fare by a long shot. Ever since Robert skipped town, times had been tough in the financial department. Especially with tuition on top of everything else.
“And it is important, right?” Kathy asked.
“Yes, it’s very important for me.”
“Okay, I’ll do it. When is it?”
“In an hour.”
“Cutting it close.”
“It’s okay. I’ll be there. Love you.”
“I’ll love you, too, Mom.”
The line barely clicked dead before Jensen already pressed the button to call his friend Adam. It rang three times.
“I’m gonna be there after all,” Jensen whooped into the phone.
“Ohhhh shit, hell yeah. You got your car fixed?”
“No, I, uh… found someone on my floor,” he lied.
“Sweet. Can’t wait, wouldn’t have been the same without you, man.”
“Hah, as if I’m gonna miss out on something epic like that.”
“Shit’s gonna be kinky as bananas.”
*** 2. Drop Off ***
Mother and son sat in the rust-speckled Toyota, cruising at sixty-miles-an-hour northbound. They were alike in many ways. Both had the same shade of chestnut brown hair, though his was short and wavy while hers went down to her shoulders and was straight. They had the same eyebrows and the same ears. The biggest thing that set them apart was that he had inherited his father’s blue eyes and hers were brown.
Yet no one who saw the two of them together ever thought that he was her son. For one thing, he was almost a foot taller. He had broad shoulders and an athletic frame, while she was curvy. The same square jaw that made him look handsome and masculine made her look formidable. Even though he was only nineteen, people always assumed he was in his late twenties. Too old for her to be his mother, which was an annoying compliment.
Kathy pushed on the pedal, hoping the octogenarian in the SUV ahead of them would finally get the hint and pull out of the left lane. She was moments away from flashing her high beams.
“We have plenty of time,” Jensen said.
“Do we?” Kathy snapped at him but regretted it instantly. “Sorry.”
She had been in a weird mood all day, way before her son’s call had turned her day on its head. She had woken up to a drunk voicemail from Robert that was meant for someone named “Bambi.” In it, he raucously detailed exactly what he wanted to do her twenty-five-year-old body.
It wasn’t the first time that had happened and it likely wouldn’t be the last. The memory still left a sour taste in her mouth. She had spent the next five hours at the gym. Two hours of yoga, an hour of relaxation in the sauna, and two hours of boxing lessons with Andre.
She’d gladly have spent all day trying to work out her frustration but after her heart was pumping with Andre’s firm hands on her longing body, she had to restrain herself from making a public scene in the gym’s shower room.
As soon as she got home, she started a workout session of a different sort. A battery powered one. Ten minutes into that, the phone rang.
Kathy slammed her palm on the steering wheel. *BEEEEEEP*
“Jesus, Mom. What’s the matter? I’ve never seen you drive like this.”
“Sorry,” Kathy muttered, feeling ashamed.
It wasn’t like she could tell him the truth: that she was just one poorly paved road away from reaching an orgasm. A cobblestone road would have been a guaranteed car crash. No, her son was blissfully unaware of his mother’s perverted brain, solely focused on his important studies.
Whatever they were going to, Jensen had gone all out in preparation. His shirt was clean, his hair had been recently cut, and the tiny nick on his cheek was still visible. The emerald green sweatshirt he wore was the best one he owned, which she knew because she had bought it for him to wear on graduation day. Even his pants were real pants and not jeans escort bostancı for once. They even looked like they had been ironed.
Ten painfully speed-limited minutes later, Kathy pulled into the parking lot of a red brick colonial building. Peabody Hall, according to the sign. It certainly looked like it belonged to a place of learning, though it couldn’t have been part of the campus all the way out there.
“Are you finally going to tell me what this is all about?”
“It’s just a lecture,” Jensen said absentmindedly, his focus already shifting to the group of guys huddling around a car. One of the men was Adam.
“A lecture about what?”
“Nothing,” he said evasively.
“A lecture on nothing? That sounds interesting. Must be highly philosophical. It’s been a while since my college days, maybe I’ll sit in.”
“No!” Jensen snapped, panic in his eyes.
Kathy laughed and it took a few seconds for Jensen to register she had been joking. Still, he didn’t seem quite convinced.
“It’s not that I don’t love you but you’re my mom and I’m an adult. If anybody finds out that my mom dropped me off, it’s gonna make me look–“
“It’s okay. If you tell me how long it’s going to take, I can wait for you.”
“Nah, that’s not necessary,” Jensen said and opened the door. “Really, you don’t have to. I’ll get a ride back with Adam, it’s no problem. Thank you so much for everything, Mom.”
“No hug goodbye?” she teased him.
Jensen rolled his eyes and slammed the door shut. Kathy waited long enough to watch her son receive half a dozen claps on his back from his friends before putting the car in reverse.
On her way out, she passed a glass-covered poster next to the steps that led up to the entrance of Peabody Hall. It read:
Tonight Only at 6:00 PM. A special lecture from famous sex therapist Dr. Inge Sorensen. Adults Only.
That was not what she had expected, Kathy conceded. Her son was going to listen to a lecture from a sex therapist? She snorted. It was no wonder he had been so evasive. As far as she was aware, he didn’t have a girlfriend and on top of that, he attended it with a bunch of his friends. That could only mean it was some weird porn thing.
Of course, she was a little miffed. He had demanded her taxi services for something that was most likely not college related at all. Then again, she remembered what she had been like when she was his age. Compared to her, he was a saint, and if he wanted to hide that he was seeing a lecture from a sex therapist with a doctor degree, that was the least of her worries. Although…
Halfway back to the on-ramp, Kathy pulled into a Burger Feast parking lot and turned the car around. If the circumstances had been different, she would have just kept on driving back home and never given it a second thought but she just couldn’t let her curiosity rest.
What kind of a lecture was considered “adult only”? Peabody Hall looked legitimate enough so it probably wasn’t anything sexually explicit like she imagined. But then again, high schoolers had sex ed and, of course, the internet. They certainly could talk about that kind of stuff in front of high schoolers. And Jensen was in college.
Five minutes to six, Kathy re-entered the parking lot of Peabody Hall. Other than the cars, it was empty. Jensen and his friends were presumably already inside. The lights in the building were on despite the sun still being up. She sat in the car for another two minutes, contemplating whether or not she was seriously thinking about gatecrashing her son’s lecture.
All the while, she fidgeted around in her seat, trying to ignore the uncomfortable presence between her legs. She double-checked her appearance in the rear-view mirror. She hadn’t put on a lot of makeup and just wore skinny jeans with a loose blouse, certainly not nearly as polished as her son had been, so it was likely that she wouldn’t even make it through the front door. Deep down, she knew that she was being irrational and stupid.
But it was the words “adult only” that drew her like a moth drawn to a flame.
*** 3. Dr. Sorensen ***
The wide double door opened a sliver and Kathy poked her head into the grand entrance hall. Tall white columns and a shiny marble floor. Mostly empty and her son nowhere in sight. That was good. Tall staff members in dark suits with grim attitudes were less good. She slipped inside and beelined for the open set of doors that had a red carpet laid out in front of it and a metal signpost next to it, reading “Dr. Sorensen,” and another sign next to it, “Absolutely no photography, violators will be prosecuted” along with a crossed out camera.
She just caught the tail end of people heading inside and sighed a breath of relief as nobody seemed to stop her from entering. She had half expected someone to point at her and cry out “there’s an impostor, she’s way too old!” but as it turned out, the two men in front of her were in their thirties.
The lecture hall, and it was one just like she remembered from college, seated about two-hundred people ümraniye escort but there had to be at least three-hundred people there. She quickly scanned the crowd for her son and spotted his group in the third row on the other side of the room, which was fortunate.
With that priority covered, she drank in the rest of the hall. The aisles were crammed and the walls nearly disappeared behind all the standing men and women. At the front of the hall was a carpeted podium upon which stood a wooden lectern. She sidled up to a group of women that had to be in their early twenties. They all looked her up and down as if they knew she was out of place but they didn’t say anything.
As much as the location reminded her of her own college days, the atmosphere was completely different. For starters, the people seemed to want to be there and the air of excitement was undeniable.
An almost invisible door recessed into the wood paneling on the side of the podium opened and a woman stepped onto the stage. If it was Dr. Sorensen, she was much younger than Kathy had expected.
Hearing the words “doctor” and “sex therapist,” Kathy had pictured a stuffy old woman but the blonde who calmly and confidently approached the lectern couldn’t couldn’t have been much older than thirty. Her hair was tied into a long braid and she wore a white lab coat. She picked up a remote control that had been lying on the lectern and pointed it at the back of the room.
The lights on the ceiling dimmed and automated blinds descended over the windows. Peabody Hall plunged into a dim, almost romantic, atmosphere. Kathy looked around and nobody had laptops or even notebooks out. Everyone’s eyes were glued on the woman.
A spotlight flickered on, highlighting Dr. Sorensen as the most important person in the room.
“Good evening, everyone. I am delighted to see so many faces in my lecture,” she spoke and her voice carried through an invisible speaker system all around the room. Her accent was strange, definitely something Scandinavian, though Kathy couldn’t pinpoint it exactly.
“My name is Dr. Inge Sorensen and I specialize in sex therapy and couples therapy. One of the questions I get asked the most is: How do we spice things up in the bedroom? Tonight, I hope to enlighten your minds on exactly that problem.”
So it was a sex thing, Kathy thought, grinning. Her son was there because he was hoping to pick up a couple of tricks for getting laid more often. Typical.
“Unfortunately,” Dr. Sorensen resumed in clear and precise words, “it is not a question that has an answer. It is not, in fact, a question at all. It is merely a distraction from understanding the true nature of satisfying sex. Within every one of us,” she said and underlined her point by gesturing across the audience, “lies the raw energy that brings us all together. The force that keeps the world turning. It is a force of good. Of happiness and pleasure. I can teach you how to accept that energy.”
It was not what Kathy had been expecting but she had to admit, the woman had a captivating way of speaking.
“The greatest misconception I have encountered during my career is that men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to their needs. That men are animals, willing to copulate with anything that moves.” There were chuckles from the audience. Mostly from the guys. “Why should that be any different for women? Tell me by show of hand, how many of the women in the audience are willing to admit to their sexual urges?”
There were a few women that hesitantly raised their hand, looking left and right to see if anyone was laughing. There was one woman, gorgeous and in her thirties, that raised two hands. Kathy raised neither, despite being reminded of the fire inside of her even at that moment.
“I am disappointed,” Dr. Sorensen said, though she sounded like it was exactly the result she had expected. “I will ask this question again at the end of the lecture and then we shall see whether or not my demonstration has been a success.”
After that, things got less interesting. Dr. Sorensen talked about two of her cases, in both of which the woman had been hesitant in the bedroom. She also briefly brought up nymphomania and how it different from natural urges. It wasn’t anything Kathy hadn’t heard already from talk shows and conversations with her friends. The talk was definitely aimed at a younger crowd, not someone almost in her forties.
Eyeing the exit, Kathy considered if it was possible to sneak out without getting noticed. One of the broad-chest staff members stood in front of the exit like a guard. They definitely weren’t locked in but if she stood up to leave, it could cause a commotion. She sighed.
Then Dr. Sorensen wrapped up her anecdote and the atmosphere in the room changes noticeably. There was chatter from the crowd. Kelly focused her attention back on the young lecturer, who was scanning the crowd with eagle eyes.
“And now I would like to demonstrate these principles. Seeing is better than believing, after all,” Dr. Sorensen announced.
That kartal escort bayan heightened the buzz of the audience even further. The woman beside her started to whisper and giggle. People shifted to the edge of their seats. Those who were standing stood taller.
“I should like a volunteer.”
At once, Peabody Hall exploded as all the guys sprang into motion. They jumped up and down, waving their arms, and shouted loudly. It was pure pandemonium. Even the staff member at the door was rocking on his feet as if he had a mind to join in. On the other side of the hall, Kathy saw her son’s emerald green forearms go up in the air higher than anyone else’s.
Dr. Sorensen coolly contemplated the scene for a few moments, before raising her arm and pointing at someone. “You there, in the green sweatshirt.”
A loud groan erupted simultaneously from hundreds of guys. The chaotic energy dispersed, settling into a general depression. Men slouched against the wall and sank back into their seats. Everyone except for Jensen, who stood there with a wide grin on his face.
The butterflies in Kathy’s stomach felt like a bad omen. What was the coincidence that out of all those people, her son was the one that got picked on the same day that she had decided to sneak in? As Jensen made his way to the front of the room, one thing was clear. If she tried to leave now, he would surely spot her. She cursed herself and her curiosity.
For better or worse, she was stuck watching whatever was about to happen.
*** 4. The Volunteer ***
“What is your name, young man?” Dr. Sorensen inquired, handing a microphone to Jensen.
“Jensen,” he replied. If he was at all nervous, he didn’t show. Kathy was proud of the way he carried himself on stage.
“How old are you?”
“And you are single?”
That was an oddly personal question, Kathy mused.
“And do you prefer men or women?” Dr. Sorensen continued her unconventional line of questioning.
“Women, for sure,” Jensen replied, grinning.
“A perfect candidate! Tell me, Jensen, are you willing to try something new today?”
“Wonderful. Then I will place this blindfold around your head,” she said, walked to the lectern, and picked up a black piece of cloth. She returned to Jensen and proceeded to tie the six-inch wide band over his face. It reached from the tip of his nose to the middle of his forehead. “Can you see anything? Look up at the spotlight.”
Jensen turned his head. “I can see where the light is through the holes.”
“That is a two-thousand watt spotlight. If that is all you can determine, it is more than sufficient.”
“I guess so.”
“From now on, you will do exactly as I ask. If you are uncomfortable with any direction, please speak up. Do you understand, Jensen?”
“Yes,” he replied, nodding eagerly.
“Wonderful!” Dr. Sorensen exclaimed and retrieved the microphone from his hands. She stuffed it in her coat pocket and turned back to face the crowd. “Now we will need a second volunteer. A woman, as this young man indicated.”
The reaction was similar to the one before but in the opposite direction. Frightened faces sought comfort. The air went still. The entire group of women flanking Kathy took a collective step backward in apprehension. It was a fake apprehension, the one that women all around the world carefully practiced lest they have their honor called into question.
Unfortunately, Kathy didn’t react in time and just at that moment, Dr. Sorensen saw her standing there, a full foot in front of the crowd — as if she had stepped forward. Their eyes locked and the butterflies in Kathy’s stomach turned into big, angry dragons.
“You,” Dr. Sorensen said, pointing right at her.
Kathy tried to take a step backward but a host of encouraging hands on her back pushed her back forward. “You got this!” and “You can do this!” came in supportive whispers.
Was it too late to just make a break for it? Kathy mulled the idea over while three hundred pairs of eyes were intensely scrutinizing her. Under that amount of pressure, her brain didn’t seem to work right. Dr. Sorensen beckoned her closer.
Kath got angry at herself. She was a grown-ass woman and she couldn’t ever remember a time in her life when she had been so afraid of a crowd. She prided herself on being a good public speaker. Why should this be any different? It wasn’t like Jensen could see her.
She stomped toward the dais, drowning out her anxiety with stubbornness.
“Thank your volunteering,” Dr. Sorensen said, handing her the microphone. “What is your name?”
Kathy clutched the metal rod like it was a lifesaver. The woman hadn’t been lying about the intensity of the spotlight. It was shining right at her, glaring like the sun. By comparison, the rest of Peabody Hall was so dark that it was practically invisible.
“Yvonne,” Kathy replied after a moment, masquerading her voice in a lower pitch.
The name was the name of the protagonist in the book she was reading. The speakers carried her voice through Peabody Hall, echoing off the walls. There was no reaction from Jensen. She contemplated just how many years she could shave off her own and get away with it. Nobody would believe her if she said twenties but perhaps early thirties could work.
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