Lying Young (part one)

Info Smokey125
17 Jul. '17
Lying Young (part one)

Originally published April and May 2017 as Smokey Saga #74

*****

Greetings and thanks once more for dropping by, dear friends! Here then’s another dramedy that’s a little light on the sex, but heavy on the heart. I wrote an early version of it in 2008, changing a few things and improving it for the present. Yet another lengthy piece here, but this one will be split into two parts to give you a little intermission. Each half has its own hearty, delicious sex scene. Hope you enjoy it. It’s very recent as of this intro, though it’s set in 2012. It was April’s story this year when it found its first home, though I barely got the first part up by April 30th. The second part came a day later. Feedback’s welcome, as always. Happy reading, Readers!

P.S. I was debating choosing “Fetish & Kink” as the third category for this, but decided against it. As much as I’d like to have three different categories to classify this under, I just don’t feel there’s a suitable enough third one.

*****

Trousers Ablaze (Here’s The Dori, A Lovely Young Lady)

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 4:28 p.m.

“Miss?…You can go on back. End of the hall and to the right.”

Dori Nan Young tossed down the magazine she’d been leafing through and headed to see the psychiatrist. She poked her head in.

“’Lo?”

Dr. Deborah Morelli glanced to see her, then to her clipboard. She laid it down, stood and offered her hand.

“Hi there. Dr. Deborah Morelli. Pleasure to meet you, Miss…Sutherton?”

Dori came in. She was a very young flax blonde, in a multicolored dress patterned with newspaper articles and travel decals, and flats to somehow match. She seemed just a little anxious to be here. Instead of shaking the doctor’s hand, she low-fived it.

“Hi, Debbie. Marla Sutherton. But my friends call me Nelly Nowadays.”

Dr. Morelli nodded, arching her eyebrows.

“Uh, yes. Well, a pleasure to meet you, Miss Sutherton.”

“Oh, please—Marla,” Dori requested.

“Marla. Of course. And likewise, in my office, if you will, I’d like you to please call me Dr. Morelli.” She showed Dori to the couch.

“Sure thing, Dr. Debbie.” Dori sat.

Resuming her seat as well, the doctor picked the clipboard back up and readied her pen.

“Now, Miss Suth—oh, excuse me; Marla. What’ve you come to see me about today?”

Dori took a breath.

“Oh…well, it’s a long story, doc. Y’see, after the rollercoaster derailed…”

Dr. Morelli’s mouth dropped open. “Oh my goodness!”

“…I was never really the same,” Dori went on, as Deborah started writing. “My Mom died about three months back, and it just kinda set me off, y’know? After a while, I just didn’t feel like myself. I lost interest in things I used to like. Nothing was really that fun anymore. Some days it just…didn’t pay to get outta bed.”

The doctor nodded empathetically, finished her current note and looked up.

“I see, I see, yes. Well, Miss S—Marla, from what you’re describing so far, you’re exhibiting symptoms of classic depression. Tell me, exactly how long ago did your rollercoaster incident occur?”

Dori’s response was perfectly succinct, matter-of-fact and to the point.

“I never had a rollercoaster incident.”

Deborah’s arched brows furrowed in confusion.

“But, you just said someth—”

Dori stepped back in. “I never said that to you. You said that to me.”

Dr. Morelli was now lost. Fortunately, Dori spoke up again.

“I’m sorry. You know what, I should be straight with you. Even though I’m gay. To be completely honest, I’m a compulsive liar.”

The doctor nodded in revelation. She made a note of it as well.

“A-ha,” said Dr. Morelli. “And, is anything you just said true?”

Dori paused a beat.

“No.”

“I see,” Deborah nodded, adding two more words to her notes. “‘Compulsive…liar.’

“So, I would make the presumption that your mother’s not really dead either then?”

“It depends what you mean by ‘dead.’”

The doctor raised one curious eyebrow.

“All right, she’s not. I just wanted to prove that I can tell the truth if I really want to. Most times I just don’t.”

Deborah gave her an additional nod. “How interesting. So just how often do you voluntarily choose to lie, Marla?”

“What do you mean?” asked Dori, feigning indignance. “I’ve never told a lie in my life.”

A brief spell of silence followed. Dr. Morelli began to reply, but Dori hopped back in again. Her facial expression returned to normal.

“Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I’ll take the lie. I have a photographic memory, so I can remember everything. So the only way someone can catch me’s if they know the real story. The most effective lies are ones that aren’t tied to any definition. You can’t get too specific. If you do, you risk getting caught.”

The doctor thoughtfully looked back up at Dori’s innocent face.

“Fascinating. Marla, what do your parents say about this? How do they feel?”

Dori tossed her a look.

“I told you before, my parents are dead.”

“No, no no,” Deborah contradicted, pointing her pen. “You said that your mother was dead, and then you retracted it.”

“Of course I did!” Dori immediately agreed. “My parents dead, what a terrible thing to say! Don’t even think that, I’m terrified of death! It’s my worst fear! This was actually their idea, me coming here. For some reason, they think, like because I’m a liar, I have some kinda problem. It’s mostly made things rough between me and my Mom. Not that they were ever…eh. I’m sorry. I have some…mother issues.”

Aha, thought Dr. Morelli. The therapist’s mother lode. Literally.

“Okay. Well, then, Marla, th—”

Dori interrupted her. “Oh, my name’s not really Marla. It’s Rose. Rose Ryerson.”

Deborah blinked a couple of times, scratching out some more from what she’d written down.

“Um…okay, Rose…”

“Actually, that’s not true either,” Dori amended. “My name’s not Rose, it’s Dori. Really, I swear on that one. Dori, D-O-R-I. That’s the truth. Or may God strike me dead.”

Dr. Morelli took another few seconds to scratch the second false name as well. Her penstrokes became a bit deliberate and aggressive. “Very well…” She then proceeded to write over again, slowly and distinctly.

“…Dori…Sutherton.”

Actua—”

Deborah put down the pen. “Okay, Miss? Whatever your real name might be, it’s all right. I’m not here to make you self-conscious or uncomfortable. If you don’t wanna say it here in session, that’s fine; you can let me get it from your insurance form instead.”

“Oh, no, no, that’s okay.” Dori took her purse and dug in. She produced and handed over her license. “It’s Dori Young. See?”

Dr. Morelli seemed reluctant at first, but accepted the license for a once-over. She waited a sec, then discreetly held it up to the light.

“Is this fake, Dori?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Satisfied, Deborah returned the license to her and picked up her pen. “Dori…Young.”

Dori searched for another document. Not to be sassy but merely helpful, she asked, “Want my birth certificate?”

“That’s quite all right, Dori. There’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about using a false name. I’m not accusing you of feeling that way, just saying. Fact is, some prefer a nom de plume in therapy,” she told her, waving the pen. “They feel less than comfy opening up to someone all at once, so they take some sanctuary in anonymity.”

Dori nodded. “Okay.”

“Please stop me if I’m putting words in your mouth,” the doc added.

“No, not at all.”

“I am putting words in your mouth?”

“No, no, really, that’s true.”

“Good enough for now,” Deborah assessed. “So now, Mar—Dori…the next thing I’d like to ask you is if you can pinpoint the time in your life when your discovered your desire, need or compulsion to lie.”

Dori pursed her lips and darted her eyes about. Dr. Morelli gave her an additional little tip.

“Please keep in mind you reserve the right to plead the fifth.”

Dori waited another second and answered.

“I wanna plead the fifth.”

Deborah nodded. “That’s perfectly all ri—”

“I guess it all started when I was a kid, y’know?” Dori sighed. “I mean, it…it just seemed like I always got in trouble for telling the truth. Like, no one could handle it if it was bad. Even if it was an accident. ‘Yeah, Mom, I broke that dish, sorry.’ Boom: straight to my room. ‘Whoops, forgot my homework, Miss Larkin.’ Boom: dunce hat on my head. ‘Missed the deadline, boss.’ Boom: walking papers.”

“Deadline?”

“Yeah, for my column. I’m a journalist.”

“I see. Forgive me for saying so, but you seem a bit young to be a professional journalist.”

“Oh, I’m not a journalist. I’m a baker. I work at the Goodies Bakery on 33rd and Rochester.”

Dr. Morelli shot Dori a quick look.

“That’s true. Honest.”

“Hm,” said Deborah, placing the pen to her lips. “Y’know, Dori, I think I’m picking up a bit of a pattern here. It seems you’re perfectly capable of telling the truth, but, you kind of ‘have’ to tell a lie first. As if you want or need the security of nobody really knowing the real deal. Perhaps to sort of cushion whatever discomfort may be attached to the truth?”

Once more, Dori’s gut reaction was prompt and blunt.

“Oh, that’s just silly.”

“Well, it was only a theory, of course.”

“No, no, wait a minute, I think you’re onto something there,” said Dori, turning interested. “Keep going.”

“Oh…oh, right!” Dr. Morelli remembered. “Well, Dori, it’s evident to me you’re completely in control of what you say to other people. You said yourself you simply choose to be dishonest, is that right?”

Dori waited just a beat to answer. She then inscrutably rejoined—

“Absolutely not.”

Deborah Morelli raised her face and eyebrows, as if to prod her. Dori smiled a bit sheepishly, as if caught in the lie.

“Yes.”

The good doctor had an idea. “Y’know what, Dori, I’d like to try a little experiment with you. I wanna ask you a question, and I’d like you—if you can—to skip the lie and go straight to the truth. Would you like to try that, and just…you know, see what happens?”

“Oh, I…no, I-I don’t really think so,” Dori shook her head.

“Oh, well, all right, maybe we could try it another time.”

“No, no, I just said I’d like to try it!” said Dori. “Sure, go ahead. Fire away.”

Dr. Morelli’s eyes lit up as she once more recalled the pattern.

“Right! Of course. Okay, well, then, Dori, here’s my question.

“What happens, inside, when you tell a lie? Tell me your innermost feelings. Don’t be afraid to dig deep; there’s no need to hold back. You’re in a safe space. I’m not here to judge, just to get to know you, and get you to reach out to me. How does lying feel?

Dori reflexively began, as her mind wanted, to go to the lie. Complete with her artificially normal face and tone of voice.

“Oh, it’s just horrib—”

She stopped herself, shutting her mouth, and taking a deep breath through the nose.

“It feels awf—”

She halted again, this time muffling herself with one hand. The doctor gazed at her. Dori thought she heard her quietly, inquisitively say her name. She took one more deep, difficult breath.

“It’s…wonderful.”

Her voice quivered just a smidgen.

“Everything. Just…I-I love knowing how the truth doesn’t belong to anyone but me. That it’s…it’s private, and just mine. I…”

She breathed uneasily a bit more. “I love the high that comes when you pull it off. With no effort at all. You pause just long enough—not too short, not too long—and you say it in exactly the same normal voice. And…and the other person just believes you! Like there was nothing to it. Like it was just…the truth!”

She took time out for another anxious breath. “It makes me feel so…so powerful, I can’t even tell you. And most of all, it relaxes me. Really, I don’t even know why, but…nothing calms me down like a big ol’ fat lie.”

Dr. Morelli alternated between focusing on her and writing. Finally, she nodded.

“Thank you, Dori.”

She noticed Dori begin breathing yet heavier and less easy.

“Oh! You can go back to the lie now.”

Dori seized the relief, as her mind was granted it. “Oh, thank God. I hate lying! It sucks! It’s horrible! I wish I never had to lie again for the rest of my life!” She promptly started breathing easy again. “Whew. Thanks, Dr. Debbie.”

“Just for my own information, Dori, may I ask your age?”

“Yeah, of course. I’ll be 44 in February.”

“Okay, Dori, without even knowing you’re a compulsive liar, I can tell that’s false. You hardly look a day older than my teenage nephew.”

“Close enough; I’ll be 21 in July.”

“Now that’s more like it. I’ve gotta say, Dori, I find it remarkable how eloquent and articulate you are for a 20-year-old.”

“I dunno what that means.”

“Well, it means being able to find and arrange just the most effective words to communicate your feelings and explain things.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Well, I’ve gotta be,” the 20-year-old in question elaborated. “I have to be confident and convincing, so people believe me. Of course, I always tell the truth after that. But it’s those few seconds in between—that’s the real high for me. It’s like my own personal drug. That’s why I don’t do real drugs; I don’t need them.”

Dr. Debbie gave a hint of a smile.

“Well, I’m glad to hear that, as I’m sure are your friends and those close to you. You know something, Dori…

“I do believe we’ve progressed nicely so far.”

“Really?”

“Really. I dare say that we have just established your phobia and anxiety of airtight honesty. And furthermore, we’re one step closer to our ultimate goal together—should you decide to continue your journey with me. Do you know what that goal is?”

Dori thought for just a second. “Yes!”

“You do?”

“…No. Sorry. No clue.”

Deborah glanced back at the clock to see the digits change.

“Oh, Dori, I’m sorry. As much as I’d like to go on exploring this with you, this is just an introductory interview, not an official session. And I’m afraid our time’s up for today.”

“…Oh.”

“But please don’t be discouraged. We can meet weekly, or bi-weekly, if you prefer. Eh…” She stopped to consider.

Should I ask how often you’d like to meet?”

“…Yeah. Six days a week, morning and afternoon?” she proposed.

Dr. Morelli’s eyes jumped open. “Um, Dori, are you, eh…i-is that…”

“I think once a week’s fine.”

Deborah gave a cordial laugh. “Oh! Okay, good, so we’ll stick with Thursdays at 4:30 then?”

“Sure.”

“Terrific.” She retrieved a business card, marked it accordingly, and passed it to Dori. “And there’re my work and cell numbers, in case I’m not in the office. If there’s anything you need to talk about, don’t hesitate to call day or night.”

Dori took the card. “Day or night?”

“Well…yes, but if you call me at 3:00 in the morning, I can’t promise I’ll be in the cheeriest mood.”

Dori giggled. “Okay, thanks.”

Dr. Deborah Morelli went to shake her hand, but then remembered. “Oh, right.”

She held it up for a high-five. Dori slapped her the requested digits and started out.

“See you tomorrow, doc.”

Deborah gave her an amused sigh. “Dori?”

“See you next Thursday, doc.”

Left alone in her office, Dr. Morelli sat again. She reviewed what she’d written with Dori, thinking back on their unusual preliminary session. And how all her scratching had almost made holes through the paper. Finally, she let the clipboard drop on the desk.

“Ah…last one.”

She waited a few beats, letting a pensive look cross her face. She picked up the clipboard and studied the notes one more time.

*****

Educated Guest

Saturday, March 24th, 2012, 10:13 a.m.

The Goodies Bakery opened at 10:00 on Saturdays, but lucky Dori had today off. She resided on her own in a comfy Statler County apartment. She did okay at the bakery salary-wise. But she came into a surplus of funds when a somewhat distant relative left her his estate. Dori didn’t know the relative very well, or why she’d been the one to inherit his assets. But from what her parents told her, the man was an elderly uncle a few generations removed. He’d few loved ones to put in his will, and Dori was youngest by far. It really was just that simple. And while Dori’d rather have the uncle than the estate, the choice wasn’t hers to make. So she deposited the money, placed his investments in capable hands, moved into her unit, and otherwise did as she’d been doing. She couldn’t deny being a trifle spooked over the decession, however. As she’d told Dr. Morelli, facing her own or anyone else’s mortality truly frightened her.

Most innocent days like today, she focused on lighter, more pleasant things. She shuffled into the john in her jammies, relieved herself, then it was to the living room to flip on the TV. The next stop was the kitchen for a bowl of Golden Grahams and a glass of grape juice. She sat in front of the TV with breakfast, pawed at her eyes and tousled her mussed hair. She tuned the TV to the Boomerang network, put one hand to her temple, shook out and knocked back a few Ibuprofen tablets.

Her cell rang. She pushed herself up and sauntered across the room to get it.

“’Lo?…Uhhhhm, I think Dori’s in the kitchen, just a sec.” She covered the mouthpiece, yawned, and spoke again.

“This is Dori…oh, hey…oh, yeah, yeah, of course I remember: Tuesday at 1:00.

“…W—…Wednesday at 2:30?…R-right, right…okay, yes, I’ll be there. See ya then. Buh-bye.”

She hung up, slipped again between her sofa and coffee table, and sat all but completely back down.

A knock came at the door.

“Oh, heck’s sake.” Right back up she got, muting the TV in the process, and took a peep through the appropriately named hole. On the other side stood a chestnut brunette holding something under her arm. Dori opened it.

“Good morning!” the girl waved with a smile, toting a stack of catalogues. “Allow me to please introduce myself. My name’s Lesley Walker. And I’m a proud representative of the recently founded Cliegman Academy. I’m not selling anything; I come spreading word of the mystical and wonderful quest for knowledge. May I ask you, my friend, do you happen to be a college student?”

Dori nodded matter-of-factly. “Five years and counting. I graduated high school at 15.”

A look of utter astonishment hit Lesley’s face.

“My gosh! You’ve gotta be highly advanced. May I inquire as to your fields of study? Or your sought profession?”

“I’m a baker,” Dori told her. “And I’m not in college. I went for a semester or two, but my grades were lousy.”

Lesley’s brows lowered in bewilderment. Dori opened her door a little wider.

“But maybe we could talk some more over a bowl of Golden Grahams?”

Dori didn’t make a habit out of inviting unknown visitors to breakfast. And actually, whether selling something or not, services weren’t supposed to be solicited at this complex. But when the unknown visitor happened to be a lovely brunette with a pretty, bespectacled face and a charming smile, her rules changed a bit. Lesley, on the other hand—and side of the door—was at something of a loss between the two contradicting statements this lady’d just made. But she did seem to be asking her inside. And there was a nice cordial smile on her own kisser. Lesley didn’t usually get this far; most folks just dismissed her. And even if her hostess wasn’t in college herself—if that was in fact what she was saying—she was the right age. And might know others that were interested. She took a first small step.

“Um…well, okay, I suppose a little breakfast couldn’t hurt.”

“Great. C’mon in.”

Before she could even get the door shut, Dori’s phone rang yet again. Dori hopped around Lesley with a quick, “Whoop—’scuse me,” and tippy-toed back to check the display. Lesley watched as her expression lost interest.

Sigh. “Dumb unknown numbers.”

Lesley found a place to rest her catalogues. “Uh, first of all, may I please ask your…”

Dori trotted into the kitchen. The next few seconds were filled by the sounds of drawers and cupboards being opened and smacked shut. Another moment later, Dori returned with a glass, a dish, a bowl and a spoon. She set them down in a meager spot on the table. A little too enthusiastically, Lesley thought, considering their breakability. She finished her question.

“…Name?”

“Oh.” Dori turned back Lesley’s way, took her right paw and pajama-curtsied. “Joslyn Jollygood. Nice to meet’cha.”

She proceeded to start pouring Lesley some cereal and milk. Lesley began to continue, but was drowned out by the sound of Golden Grahams tinkling into the bowl. She paused. She was a bit shy by nature, and didn’t have the most commanding voice to begin with.

“Okay, well, Miss…Jollygood…Cliegman is an academic institution that proudly boasts th—”

Dori, figuring she could listen to her cartoons and guest at the same time, pressed mute on the remote to bring the sound back. Lesley’s voice was this time dwarfed by its blare. Dori promptly turned it down.

“Sorry, guess I didn’t realize how loud I had that. Please, have a seat. Go ahead, I’m listening.”

She perched herself, gesturing to the other bowl of cereal. A bit bemused and perturbed, Lesley nonetheless did as told.

Where was I…oh, yes. “Right. Well, Cliegman Academy offers a wide collection of advantages, especially to students who’re w—”

The cell rang yet again, cutting Lesley off once more.

“Oh, for crying out loud,” Dori sighed, checking the display. “Yeah, just as I thought. I’m sorry, honey. I’ve been getting all these calls from numbers I don’t even know. It’s so annoying. Y’know what, I’m just gonna put it on silent mode here…there. You were saying?”

Lesley started to stand back up. “I’m sorry, maybe this was a mistake. You’re obviously very busy, and I just dropped in on you…”

“Oh, no, no, please,” Dori insisted. “Look, I…I know how this seems, but it’s…it’s just these dumb calls. I’m not really that busy at all; I’m just taking it easy.” While in semi-truth mode, she extended her paw. “I’m Dori, by the way. Dori Sutherton.”

Very befuddled, and rather at a loss for words, Lesley slowly reached to shake.

“Lesley Walker…”

Dori picked up some documents from the table and sifted rapidly through them.

“Here, I’ll prove it. This just came in the mail yesterday. See? There’s my real name. Or may God strike me dead.”

Lesley took a look. “That says Dori Young.”

“No, it doesn’t.” Dori quickly buried the letter under the other items, placing them on her side of the table.

“Go ahead, go on. What were you saying about, eh…about your college?”

Lesley thought for a moment. Her attempt was unsuccessful.

“…I’m sorry, I seem to’ve lost my train of thought.”

Dori shrugged. “Ah, no big deal; I didn’t have a ticket anyway.”

Her collegiate visitor took a spare catalogue. “Well, y’know what? Perhaps I’ll just give you a catalogue and an application, and, uh…oh, and here’s the number for the registration office. Just in case you’re interested. Or know someone who is.”

Dori arched her eyebrows. “Really?” The corners of her lips curled up just a bit.

“Is there, eh…is there any way I could, maybe…contact you, directly, by chance?”

“Well, I’m on the Student Council, but your best bet’d be to contact the president if you have questions. Would you like his number?”

It would seem Dori’s semi-aggressive flirtation failed to carry the desired effect. She reflexively lied first, as usual.

“Okay. Uh, no, no, no, y’know what, actually, that’s not necessary. I’m sure I could find whatever info I’d want in the catalogue.”

Lesley nodded. “Fair enough. Say, um…oh, shoot. I’m so crummy with names. What was it again…?”

“Oh.” Dori again offered her hand for a curtsy. “Fiona Funderplatz. Junior.”

An amused look crossed Lesley’s face. Somehow, based on their conversation thus far, she was expecting an oddball answer such as this. She cocked her head, suspiciously accepting the pawshake once more.

“…Really?

Dori chuckled. “All right, ya got me. Dori Young.”

Lesley gave an exclamation of enlightenment. “See, I knew that’s what it said on that envelope, I knew it.” She paused a beat.

“Well, then, if that’s your real name, why make up all those weird other ones?”

“Funny you should ask,” said Dori. “Believe it or not, I’m in the Witness Protection Program. And my mother is a pelican.”

The puzzled Lesley smirked, raising one skeptical eyebrow.

“…I, eh…find that quite difficult to believe.”

“As well you should. That wasn’t my best work. If you believe that, I’ve got some farmland in Iowa to sell you.”

“Your ‘best work’? What exactly are you saying?”

This time Dori didn’t answer. She seemed to turn shy and look down at her toes. Lesley gave her a gentle verbal prod.

“…What do you mean? Are you, like, some kinda OCD liar?…Or just a great story-maker-upper?”

Whenever reaching this point with a new individual, Dori found herself faced with a degree of apprehension. She was a sweet girl, and wanted people to like her. But this desire couldn’t surpass her self-coercive dishonesty. And if she wasn’t trying to impress someone, there was little trepidation in confessing the truth. With this Lesley Walker, however, with her silky, baby soft-looking chestnut hair, hazel eyes behind those spectactacles, and…everything else she had going on…Dori really didn’t want to blow it, so to speak. The girl’d already been gracious enough to accept her impromptu breakfast invitation. If Dori were to be honest—quite the concept for her—she was hoping to possibly parlay breakfast into future encounters. On the other hand, she mustn’t misinterpret Lesley’s feelings. Despite her curiosity, she could still be looking simply to interest her in Cliegman Academy. And Dori wasn’t taken with college pursuits. She absolutely loved her job, was happy with her ratio of work to leisure time, and wished to keep it that way. Yet, Lesley’d just asked her a(nother) question. She didn’t know how much time passed before she came up with a response, but finally spat it out.

“…It’s-it’s nothing.”

Lesley gazed at her with a hint of intrigue.

“‘Nothing’?”

Lesley thus far found Dori a fair bit fascinating. And appealing, with her own features Lesley could visually enjoy. She had straight flax blonde hair, a bubbly face, and struck Lesley as an even prettier Chelsea Handler. Though her eyes were a different hue, about halfway between hazel and brown themselves. She saw nothing wrong with Dori’s hands or feet either, which while still in her bunny-printed jammies, were all else Lesley could see. As for her mind, Lesley wanted to know a bit more. She wasn’t wild about falsehoods in general (who would be, after all), but questioned whether Dori had as much control over her lies as did anyone else. She was certain there were ways to get honest answers out of her. But Lesley didn’t want to force them. She wanted to get to know Dori better. She tried to think of something simple to lie about. Something concrete, factual. She pretended to go into her purse and not find something.

“…Oh. Y’know what, Dori? I think I forgot my day planner. What’s today’s date?”

Dori’s response was perfectly succinct, matter-of-fact and to the point.

“It’s July 11th, 1991.”

Lesley pointed a finger at her. “It is not. It’s March 24th, 2012. I’m sorry I lied to you, but I just had to see.”

Dori nodded. “You’re right. July 11th, ’91’s my birthday.”

Lesley giggled in amusement. “Wow, you are a compulsive liar, aren’t you. Gosh, Dori, that’s…you oughta get a job doing the weather.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, silly,” Dori waved a hand. “I already do do the weather.”

She earned herself another laugh. Lesley’s merry face and musical chortle charmed her. And Dori loved the way her glasses hugged her cute button nose and her smiling cheekbones. She found herself wanting to make her laugh more and more.

“Why do you do it?” was the next question Lesley asked.

“The weather?”

Another laugh. “No, ya goofy, not the weather; the lying.”

Dori turned a tad leery, now that it came time to be forthcoming. She paused again. Lesley realized this may’ve seemed a little snoopy.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be…well, nosy,” she smirked, tapping her cute nose. “It’s just interesting to me. See, one of my courses this year’s psychology, and it’s got me really fascinated with human behavior. Although it doesn’t take much to get me to study. Since I was a kid, I’ve always just been…” She paused for a breath and a pensive smile. “…Learning everything there was to learn.”

“Ha,” Dori grinned haughtily. “I got nothing but perfect straight A-plusses from kindergarten to college.”

Lesley giggled, giving Dori a single innocent pat on the arm, which did not go unnoticed.

“No, but seriously though.”

It was truth time. Dori took another breath.

“Well, seriously though…have you ever seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction?”

“Ummm…I think, but it was a while ago.”

“Okay, well, in the movie, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s this baker who was in college, right? And she had to participate in these intensive study sessions with her classmates. So to keep people from starving through them, she’d make all kinds of sweets and treats and stuff. And everybody loved them, they helped people do better…all except her. Her grades never improved. So instead of having notebooks full of notes, hers were full of recipes. So she dropped out. Back to her a little later.

“So now, in my case…I really did get As and Bs in first and second grade. But by third…well, it wasn’t like I stopped trying. But I guess I just wasn’t gifted. From third grade on, my grades were just…average, at best. And on top of that, a lot of my classmates made my life a living hell in school. Y’know, kids can be so mean. But so can adults. On top of that, I got the feeling some of my teachers just didn’t like me. Like they’d deliberately confuse me so I’d screw up my assignments and they could flunk me. So, I don’t wanna turn this into a sob story, but after a while I started feeling like, what’s the point? So in high school I was hardly even trying anymore, y’know? I just didn’t care. And I was mad, ’cause it was like I was just going to school to get picked on.

“So long Dori short, some…stuff happened. And let’s not go into details, but by senior year, the school sent some teachers to our house to home-teach me instead. So that’s how I finally got through high school. And my Dad was so excited for me to go to college—he’s my best friend, by the way, my Dad—’cause I was his only kid, and he never had the opportunity. I didn’t wanna break his heart. So I went, for a little while…till I realized it just wasn’t working for me. I mean, people were mature enough now that they weren’t being jerks and harassing me anymore. But I still didn’t get anything out of it.

“And…so, that movie, Stranger Than Fiction, came out when I was in high school. I didn’t see it at first. A friend showed it to me some years later. And I just idolized Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character. She was tough when she had to be, she didn’t take crap, she stuck by her beliefs…but she could also be shy and sweet and cute. And to be honest…I was sweet on her too. Oh my gosh, Lesley, in the bakery scene, with Will Ferrell, where she’s telling him her whole story, at one point she talks about all the treats and desserts she brought to her study sessions. And…just the way she goes through it, her voice is so…hot. It…it just…”

Dori paused to release the shiver that wanted out.

“…It just really turned me on. She inspired me so much, and I loved her bakery. I know it was just a movie set, but it made me wanna work in a real one myself. And that’s one area where, thank God, I am actually gifted. So fast-forward a couple years later…now I am.”

Lesley’s eyebrows rose. She paused before answering, giving her head a little shake.

“…Wow,” she finally assessed. “That’s…quite a story. Well, I’m sorry for your misfortunes, but I’m glad it all worked out. But if that’s the truth…and you’re already in a job you like, that could turn into your future career, you probably don’t need me. And, I’ve just about finished my cereal. Guess this means I should probably be on my way, huh?”

Dori didn’t exactly want that to happen. She was very much enjoying the company, but supposed her guest had to leave at some point. She wanted to say something to try and get her to stay longer, but knew it would turn into a lie.

“Well, I…uh…”

But as it turned out, she didn’t have to say anything else. Lesley came up with an idea.

“Hey, actually, Dori, y’know what? I think someone like you’d make a really neat case study for me, learning psychology now and all. You know, the fine line between the compulsive lie and the…not so compulsive lie?” She opened her purse and rummaged a bit before finding a university card to give her. “How’s that sound?”

Dori accepted the card and studied its info. That was Lesley’s name all right, complete with a phone number and e-mail. She was suddenly very happy she’d asked her in. She gazed back up at Lesley, whose lips were about to cross the threshold of a smile. Now that Lesley knew her deal, Dori answered with one “obligatory” false word, but in the loveliest tone of voice she could manage.

“Totally sounds like the worst thing ever.”

Lesley’s eyes again widened, rightly believing this statement to be just what it was.

“Does…that mean…”

“Yes!” said the excited Dori, now with the lie out of the way. She laid the card down, pushed to her feet and gave Lesley a hug.

Oh. Uh…okay…” Lesley was caught off-guard by the abrupt affection, but supposed out of all the things Dori could have done at that moment, a hug was far from the worst. She politely reciprocated, patting Dori’s back. “Okay. Thanks.”

Dori let her go, picked up her cell phone and unlocked it. “Do you want my number?” she asked.

Lesley gently slipped Dori’s phone from her hand and dialed her own number with it. A moment later, they heard it ring in her purse. “Got it.”

“Cool,” Dori chuckled. “So, eh…next time then?”

Lesley picked up her catalogues and adjourned to the front door. “Next time then.

“Oh, and, um…” she smiled, turning the knob to let herself out. She nodded at Dori’s pajamas.

“Cute bunnies.”

She departed. Dori looked down, reminding herself. She was still wearing this pair of p.j.s she’d bought herself one Easter, almost as a joke. But they were comfy, cozy, and did their job. Half-embarrassed, she blushed red, covered her face and laughed.

*****

The Young And The Breathless

Quick flashback to two days before: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 7:18 p.m.

Dori loved being a Young woman. Moreover, she loved practically all other young women. She’d nothing against mature gals or cougars but didn’t think they’d go for such a naïve virgin waif like her. She’d never had sex with anyone other than herself, and was frankly a little intimidated by her first time. She wanted to date someone, settle in with her and invest some trust before blasting herself out of the virginity pool like a cannonball. Someone pretty, nice, and smart, preferably. Someone…whose initials were L.W., perhaps?

She didn’t know if Lesley was a virgin too, but thought that either way, she might just be the one. The person wonderful and nurturing enough to take her under her sexual wing, and guide her through this daunting new realm. It crossed her mind that it might be easier to have a few drinks and loosen herself up first…though booze and Dori were far from friends. Alcohol was a big source of friction between Dori and her mother. The constant lying was Dori’s issue. This was one thing, but the person her Mom Viola turned into under the influence of booze was quite another. Dori didn’t like her mother’s drinking, and her Mom didn’t like Dori’s dishonesty. Sometimes she wondered how her father Simon managed to put up with either of them.

But now wasn’t the time to think about this. Dori shut off the lights as it began to get dark, closed the blinds and removed her clothes. She might not be ready to make love to another person, but couldn’t be much comfier in her own skin with her own naked body. She was halfway there, at least. Furthermore, she was a prolific masturbator. She achieved about eight to ten climaxes per week, some in multiple succession. And she was convinced all the “climaction,” as she called it, contributed in large part to her mostly jolly mood. Speaking of her mood, depending on it, she might use her trusty vibrator, or her own fingers. Other variables in play included the object of her fantasizing, the scenario in her mind, and how focused she was. The really explosive orgasms took toll on her stamina, pussy, voice and lungs, and left her a little tender in the girl-parts. But not too tender for her to keep going. Sometimes she went at herself till she dizzied out and fell sound asleep. More often than that, with a drooly, afterglowy grin on her face.

Not only did Dori feel iotas of affection for almost every girl she met, she fantasized about a lot of them as well. She operated fast in this regard. Two days ago, she’d met Dr. Deborah Morelli for their introductory session, gone home, and jilled into oblivion thinking about her. Even though she hadn’t known her six hours. And even though the good doctor was probably straighter than a road in North Dakota. That didn’t stop Dori. She never felt post-fantasy emotions of turmoil, or unhealthy attachment seeing the person again. These were sex fantasies in her mind, that was all; she never acted on them, but just moved from one to the next. Sometimes she chatted up a cute girl in the mall or the supermarket for a minute, just to cook up a little fantasy later on. They could be younger, a bit older, straight, gay, married, single, it didn’t matter. All Dori did was imagine and masturbate…and no one was any the wiser.

And truly, that was the way she liked it. It was on the same wavelength of her personality as the compulsive lying. Another thing that belonged to her and no one else. Dori could lie to every person she met, but she couldn’t lie to her own mind and libido. She liked what she liked. And she was turned on by what turned her on. And what turned her on most…were long, sensual, sultry liplocks. Soft and tender, but hot and heavy, sizzling kisses of fire, lasting minutes that felt like hours. Rubbing bods and touching special spots was all fine and good, but somehow, without the (face’s) lips involved, the rest of the act didn’t quite make it for Dori.

Going solo, however, the delight of kissing another pair of lips—facial or vaginal—was a bit tough to achieve. Dori was no contortionist, and unfortunately couldn’t reach mouth to pussy. But that was okay; she could lick and suck her fingers, even her vibrator if so desired, and those were more than capable of doing the job. She just rested her head, shut her eyes, puckered up and pretended. If one hand was unoccupied, she made a loose fist, fashioning fake “lips,” and pressing her pinky into service as a tongue. She fantasized herself back in Dr. Morelli’s office, sprawled out naked on the couch, which she imagined her own couch was. She behaved naughty, pleasuring and playing with herself during their session. Then of course, Dr. Debbie had to address it, which was where the real fun came in.

“Um, Dori…” Dori imagined her saying, as her face broke into a big grin. “…I’m afraid this is quite inappropriate.”

One leg over the back of the couch, other foot on the floor, toes digging into the carpet, Dori made an innocent face. Her cunt moistened.

“But why, doc? What am I doing wrong?”

Deborah pointed with her pen. “You’re lying on my couch in your nude flesh.”

Dori giddily giggled, as tingles of pleasure danced over her correctly nude flesh. She parted her labia and rubbed.

“But, doctor,” she barely audibly mouthed. “Whatever could be wrong with that?

Dr. Morelli scooted her chair closer, making her ever more excited.

“You see, Dori,” she explained, pointing to the girl’s pussy with her pen. “You’re naked…and you’re masturbating in my office.”

Dori’s head swooped back. Her smile grew ear to ear, as a wild surge of passion invaded her.

Ooooooh!” she exclaimed. “Say that again and touch me, Doctor Debbie!”

Dr. Morelli shook her head. “This is a professional office, Dori. I cannot permit such behavior inside of it.”

Dori moaned, loudly, earning herself more tingly goodness.

“But I can’t help it, doctor!” she indeed helplessly insisted. “You’re just so sexy, and you turn me on! And that’s the truth! I just can’t control myself around you! You make me so wet, and…and…and wet! I want you to kiss me! PLEASE!!”

“Oh, but now, Dori, you know the rules.”

“I don’t care, Doctor Debbie! I want you, so bad! I can’t even lie about it! My pussy’s on fire! Kiss me!

She heard Deborah let out a sigh sitting over her.

“If you insist, Dori. But I’m going to have to brand you for your infraction.”

Dori amazed herself. She came up with that sentence on the spot, and it drenched her cunt. It made her so hot, she generated a layer of pre-cum. She threw her head back, mashing and crushing the pillow cushioning it. “YES!” she boomed.

Dr. Debbie climbed on the couch between Dori’s legs, leaned over her with her pen, gripped her right breast around the underside and began scrawling letters, first across her heaving tits. When she finished, Dori’s chest and belly read, I AM A DIRTY, BAD GIRL, AND BEING EXPOSED FOR ALL TO SEE. NOW I CANNOT HIDE MY CRIME.

She imagined Deborah finished penning these shaming words on her boobs and tummy, discarded the pen, produced a camera, and took a photo of Dori’s lust-dizzied body to preserve the message. She then too placed the camera…anywhere else, leaned once more over Dori like an ominous sexual presence, and seized her tits.

Dori screamed as the sizzle tore through her. Hot tears materialized in the corners of her eyes. Her skin was ripe, sweaty and reddening. Her nipples stood proudly erect as she pawed into the clit hood with one hand, and furiously fingered inside with the other. Her entire pussy was growing too soaked, blood-gorged and swollen to stand it. She won herself wave after ascending wave of blazing, blinding passion by keeping her mind as focused as possible. Although, just like her nubbing, throbbing clit, it was getting harder and harder.

She pursed her lips, trying eagerly to wait. “Kiss me, Debbie…” she begged. “Please…I need…your lips…your tongue…

Deborah Morelli’s invisible fingers smoothed over Dori’s diamond-hard nipples, as Dori cradled her tits with the crooks of her arms. She strained, trying to sustain the fantasy, keep it as “real” as possible, and feel Doctor Debbie’s supple lips brush her own. She didn’t know how much more her overwhelmed pussy could take, or if she could hold it back. She decided she’d better hurry up already. So she held Dr. Deborah Morelli steady in her mind’s eye, brought her down so they were face to face, and finally made it happen.

Deborah’s lips made contact with Dori’s own, sinking into her, melding, pressing, enchanting Dori’s senses to the core, all for one. Dori squealed through her pursed lips, even though she was still alone. Her imagination was just so powerful. It could indeed do a lot of wonderful things, fantasy-jilling not the least. Her upper foot whacked the back of the sofa like Thumper, while her other quintet of piggies burrowed into the carpet fuzz. She felt herself warm up even just some more, as Dr. Deborah’s ghostly body nestled over. It didn’t matter that her good doctor kept her clothing on, or what she did with her hands. So Dori had her palm her cheeks while they kissed, chocolate brown Italian hair wisping her gingerly. Dori put her arms and wrists into turbo mode, giving the last of it all she had. She built and built, built and built, and BUILT

Until the inevitable…she rumbled inside, about to lose it. Her thighs and pussy quaked violently. Her legs shook and trembled. Her upper foot dropped to the cushions. She started seeing stars under her fluttering eyelids. It wouldn’t be long at all now. Dori at last felt her soul careening upwards, straight to the heavens. Her inner explosiveness only multiplied, endless sparks of live sensual electricity crackling over her. She finally reached that point just pre-orgasm where she couldn’t stand it. It was time to finish herself off. So she imagined Doctor Debbie slipping out her tongue and forcing access inside Dori’s mouth.

Their tongues touched. And that did it. All hell ripped loose.

Dori came. Her desperately burning cunt squirted hot sticky cum, caking and pelting her paw. Her eyeballs felt like slot machine reels, moving almost as wildly as in REM sleep. She finally let Dr. Deborah Morelli “vanish” from above her, as her orgasmic shrieks forced her mouth open. Her arms and wrists throbbed, but the ache was intangible in her throes. The cum splatters fizzled out, but the climax kept rocking her world another few moments. As with lots of orgasms, she had trouble determining just when she hit the apex and started back down. But she knew this was going to be a good one. It wasn’t every day she met a charming lady like her therapist-slash-psychiatrist. And when she did meet someone new, they didn’t usually spend so much time together off the bat. And even though they were there to talk about her, not Debbie, Dori could admire her all she liked while confiding.

At whatever point it was that Little Dori signaled to her owner she was done, said owner let everything drop, her breath catch back up, and the afterglow bathe her. Her ear-to-ear grin stayed plastered across her dizzy face. There’d be no prying this smile off her for a while. There’d also of course be no going anywhere until her blood rerouted correctly. But this was perfectly fine. Dori reached down with one arm to pull her lower leg up from the floor, surrendered consciousness, and took a wondrous, tranquil nap.

Little did she know just a short matter of days later, she’d whip up a not entirely different fantasy, involving Miss Lesley Claire Walker.

*****

The Folks Who Came To Dinner

Friday, March 30th, 2012, 5:25 p.m.

Dori had straightened the apartment and prettied herself up, in one of her spiffy bright dresses and a loose necktie. Her parents were coming for supper, as they did from time to time. She’d rather have Lesley over, or the lot of them all together. But her Tuesday had already been made this week, as Lesley had in fact dropped into the Goodies Bakery to see her. She’d looked Dori up, deciding to pay her a visit, and to pick up an assortment of muffins, for her Student Council admins. Dori was so happy to see her, she insisted on taking care of the order herself. She placed thirteen muffins in a bowed gift basket, and presented it to Lesley with a smile so happy, so enthusiastic, so beautiful…Lesley went weak in the knees. “A baker’s dozen,” she’d winked. “Literally.”

They’d only just begun communicating on social media. Their schedules were a little congested and incongruent for any kind of a date just yet. But Dori felt she could wait, that Lesley was well worth it. A girl like her didn’t come along every day. Which was not to say that Dori wasn’t eager. But in the meantime, she had her folks on the way over this chilly evening. It may not have been the most pleasant thing in the world, but it wasn’t the worst either. Even still, she was a little nervous. These get-togethers with her folks remained capricious to this day. She had a family-sized lasagna to pop in the oven, and then of course some of her infamous delectables for appetizers and dessert. They’d indicated to her they’d be over circa 6:00. Dori checked the time.

“5:27.” She shrugged with a nod, heading into the kitchen for some juice. “Got about a half an hour to kill…”

She brought out a glass of Hi-C, swiped the remote off the coffee table and began to sit down.

Three raps came at the door knocker, prompting Dori back up with a grunt.

“Or not,” she amended, wondering why sometimes she bothered to sit down at all. “Who the heck is this now?”

She opened the door. Outside stood Viola and Simon Young. Dori’s eyebrows arched.

“Mom. Dad. You’re…early.”

Her folks waved with smiles. Dori held up a single index finger.

“Just a sec.”

She placed the door shut to the crack, scampered back to the coffee table and grabbed her glass of Hi-C. She guzzled it down, trotted into the kitchen, refilled it, returned it to the coaster, pranced to the door and pulled it back ajar.

“Hey!” She herded them in for a first group hug. “Well, c’mon, c’mon in! You guys wanna sit down?”

Mr. and Mrs. Young each took one end of the couch, and motioned for Dori to sit between them. Dori hesitated. Though she had some trouble pinpointing why, the idea made her a bit more anxious still. She guessed she envisioned her parents sitting together, so she could take one side of both, or just choose another spot for herself. It wasn’t exactly appropriate to assign seats, but these were the ones her folks had chosen. And they were waiting for Dori to join them.

“Oh!” She pretended to smack herself in the brow. “Where’re my manners? Lemme go get you guys something!”

She scooted into the kitchen, from which her parents heard only vague sounds for a moment.

“Oh, uh, Dori?” Simon called.

“Yes?”

“You’ve got that iced tea, right? You know, the sweet kind, like we always used to have when you were little?”

“Now, Dad, you know I haven’t had that stuff in years.”

“Oh, good. Pour me a glass, would you please?”

Dori did so and brought her father his beverage. “Mom?”

“You know my usual; call me that Cab.”

Dori tried not to sigh. “Uh, Mom…”

Viola arched her brows at her. “You do have it, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“Then chop chop!” her mother smiled, clapping her hands. “Mommy’s thirsty! Wants her happy juice!”

“Right, fine, you got it,” Dori lackadaisically agreed, heading back to the kitchen. “Glass or bottle?”

“Silly girl, both.”

Dori dug into her more or less obligatory wine rack and located the Cabernet. The wines were only kept in here for when her Mom visited. Her Mom brought them over sometimes as “gifts,” since Dori couldn’t legally buy. She always asked what her mother would like to drink, because she hoped just once to get an answer that didn’t have alcohol in it. Dori didn’t like wine, a trait she could only have gotten from her Dad. One night when she had trouble sleeping, she poured herself a little—even though she was still only 20—but the smell alone was too much for her. She’d deposited it down the sink instead. She returned to the living room with both, deposited one in each of her Mom’s mitts, and now with more of a reason to sit alone, grabbed some plush in the nearly recliner.

“Thank you, peach,” said Viola, pouring a first full glass. Simon, who neither approved of her excessive consumption, cleared his throat.

“Viola…”

Simon…yes, what? You drive. You are supposed to be the gentleman.”

Dori turned on the TV and started looking for a program. Any program. At all.

“Viola, I won’t be around to drive you forever. And you keep drinking like that, neither will you.”

“Are you coming to a point, Simon?”

“Viola, you know your threshold.”

“Amen.” Viola toasted, clinking Simon’s glass of iced tea. “Cheers, hugsby.”

“I’m not joking, wifey.”

Dori hopped back up from her recliner, clapping her own hands loud enough to shatter crystal.

He-ey!” she announced, trying to defuse the building tension. “Appetizers! Huh? App—I go—they’re right b—…’scuse me!”

She re-hastened into the kitchen. Simon and Viola heard more random noises. They turned back to one another.

“No fighting in front of the daughter.”

“Agreed. She is now out of earshot. Shall we continue?”

Simon sat one leg on top of the other. “I still say we should’ve taken 94. And Dori said we were early. I knew we said 6:00.”

“We said 5:00, Simon. Our daughter’s a liar, and 90’s faster.”

“Yes, faster and dangerous. Might change your tune if you were driving. Oh, but then, I forgot: your ‘happy juice.’”

“Y’know, wine makes you do a little something called ‘loosen up,’ Simon. You oughta try it sometime. It’s nice.”

“No, thank you, Viola. Aside from being your chauffeur, I prefer being allegedly ‘tight’ to ‘loosening up’ my lunch.”

“You’ll notice at least I don’t nag at you while you’re being my ‘chauffeur,’ as a lot of wives would.”

“Perhaps that’s because you’re passed out for ninety percent of the ride.”

Dori slipped the pan of lasagna into the oven and loaded up a nice big plate with some hors d’oeuvres, reapproaching the living room.

“Y’know,” Viola retorted, “Some men like a woman who enjoys her liquor, and who can hold it like a lady. Some gents actually prefer that kind of woman, to an uptight, sober, prissy little—”

“Biscuit?”

They turned. Dori had reappeared, holding a platter of small biscuits with various flavors of filling. Her folks agreed to call a truce for now, and each took one with a napkin. Dori sat the platter between them and resumed her recliner.

“Okay, well, the ’sagna’s gonna be ready in about two weeks, so, mind if I put on some ’toons?”

They didn’t mind, so Dori started channel-flipping.

“So, babe,” her Dad said, placing his biscuit and napkin beside his iced tea. “How’d your appointment go?”

“Oh, yeah,” her Mom chimed in. “That was two appointments this week, right? Bix and the shrink?”

“Well, matter of fact, guys,” Dori told them, “The therapy session kinda sucked.”

“Oh, glad to hear it, honey,” Simon smiled. “That’s wonderful.”

“Yeah, uh…still kinda waiting on the results from the checkup, though.”

“Well, you mean Bix didn’t tell you the results when he finished up?” her mother wished to know.

“Oh, of course he didn’t. Yeah, he did. He just said there were one or two things he was a little concerned with.”

Her Dad furrowed his brows. “What one or two things?”

“…It was kinda bizarre, actually,” said Dori, launching into a whole new lie. “Some clown came in with about seven thousand balloons and a helium tank. So we went outside, and I held them while he blew them up, and they actually started to lift me off the gr—”

Viola began to say something unpleasant, but was overlapped by Simon holding up a hand. “Dori…it’s us. Please, just the truth.”

“Right, right. Well, um…like I told him, my migraines started coming back.”

Simon placed the same hand over his face. “Oh, hell.”

“Simon, you’ve always been too worried about this,” said Viola. “Dori’s seen Bix since she was five, and it never concerned him that much. That’s all they are, just headaches. They come and they go.”

“Uh, yeah, well, about that—” Dori again started to say.

“Viola, she gets them at least three times a week. No one’s headaches are that frequent.”

“Y’know, while we’re on the subject,” said Dori, raising her voice a bit. “Dr. Bixby wanted me to menti—”

“And what about the nausea?” Simon went on. “Things start getting a little serious when your kid’s spewing chunks.”

An awkward silence settled. Dori looked embarrassed. She thought she’d try to lighten the situation with a little humor.

“Well, I’m hungry. How ’bout you guys?”

They all decided to relax and snack on the biscuits while the lasagna cooked. They watched some TV, and around 6:30, Dori got up to check on supper. It was done. She served. They were about midway through when her cell rang.

“’Lo?…Uh-huh?…Oh, hey.”

Her parents gazed in her direction. A beat passed. Dori abruptly glanced back to her parents for just a second, and answered.

“…No, I can talk. Go ahead.”

Viola sipped her wine, her expression not changing much. Simon’s eyes widened a bit. He observed something seemed to be amiss, as Dori appeared to be telling the truth. He then noticed something else. Dori’s tone and face turned worried.

“No…what?”

Simon stood from the couch, strode the few paces over and put a hand on Dori’s shoulder.

“Honey, what? What is it?”

Dori gently waved him off for the moment. Her voice rose in alarm as she spoke into the phone.

“…No, whoa, whoa, wait a minute here. You sai—…y—…well, yeah, I know that, but you sai—…”

She got up, stepping away from Simon, a few feet in the other direction. Her parents could hear nothing on the other end but a faint murmur. But the next thing they knew…

Dori froze.

Her eyes and her voice welled up.

“…What??

To be continued in part two.

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