Katie sighed. A week. A whole fucking week of Chance and Chase. On the one hand, it had been wonderful having four extra hands to manage everything. They were especially good at ‘policing the perimeter’ as they called setting boundaries for her mother’s clients. If her mother was not doing well, they had no problem merely saying, “Another time, dude.”
Even when Joy did feel up to visitors, the two hulking brutes always stood just outside the doorway with massive arms crossed over those spectacular chests. One look would send even the most devoted groupie scurrying like a cockroach when the lights came on. They were also surprisingly well house trained. They cooked, cleaned, and generally looked after the two women.
The one thing that she refused to allow them to do was to take over the primary care for her mother. Katie had become increasingly territorial about maintaining her vigil at the woman’s bedside as she felt what precious time she had with her mother slipping away. Even when her nurse Melody came, she usually remained by her mother’s side.
But that was alright. What else did she have to do? The school was out for the summer anyway. Sleep? Was highly overrated. Especially as every time she closed her eyes, it was futile, naughty fantasies of them. So, other than a brief shower break each morning after coffee, Katie stayed glued to her mother’s side.
“Katy-did, how about we go for a walk after dinner?” Chance asked from the doorway.
How could the man, men, both of them, looking so fucking hot in nothing more than jeans and black t-shirts. It seemed to be all they ever wore. But it perfectly accentuated the almost shoulder-length hair that curled about their chiseled faces and the deep blue of those eyes.
Damn it; she might need an extra shower today. Either a cold one or a bit longer to…take care of business as her sexually enlightened mother had always called it. The sexual frustration of just being around these two was enough to drive any woman to a Hitachi.
She smiled and shook her head as she whispered, “Maybe another time. Thanks.”
“Go, dear, I promise I won’t die while you are gone,” her mother laughed weakly.
Katie frowned at Joy’s attempt at macabre humor, “That was not funny, Mom.”
Her mother shook her head that still had more blond hair than grey. How could this be happening? Her mother was only fifty-three. She should have had another twenty years with her, at least. Weddings and grandchildren, Christmases and anniversaries, too many milestones that she would miss. She fought back the tears once more. How would she survive without her?
She could see that her mother tapped into her waning energy reserves to lift her hand and brush away her tears. “I taught you better than that, Kaitlin. When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade, lemon meringue pie, and tarts. We are the only ones that determine our Fates. And yours has always been to be a light in this dark world. So, no more hiding under bushels, beautiful.”
Her mother’s lips were turning whiter with each word. She knew the pain that each breath took now that the cancer had reached her mother’s lungs. Ironic that she, who had never smoked, never polluted her body with such things would die of lung cancer. Although the tumor growing larger by the day in her head might beat it to the final knock-out punch.
“Chance, put my daughter to bed. She is so tired that she has lost not only all perspective but her sense of humor as well,” her mother tried her best to smile, but her light was dwindling too fast.
Katie swallowed the lump in her throat as she shook her head, “No, Mom, I’m fine. I get enough sleep here next to you.”
Joy chuckled, “Did you hear me say anything about sleep? I told him to put you to bed. The damned things have more than one purpose, you know.”
“Mother,” she scolded with a blush. Then again, what else did she expect from the woman upon whom a writer friend had modeled the outrageous sex-therapist, yoga diva mother-in-law for one of Hollywood’s most popular comedy movies?
Katie had even gotten to meet the famous singer and actress cast for the role. The woman was a method actor and spent hours sipping herb tea and laughing in this very house. The place held so many memories, she thought.
As if her mother had read her earlier thoughts, “Don’t mother me. When was the last time you took care of business, young lady?”
Katie blushed so deeply that she feared she might burst into flames, especially since she knew damned good and well that Chance knew precisely what her mother was talking about.
This woman had taken it upon herself to fill in all the gaps that busy or uptight parents and public school health classes missed with her daughter’s friends. It did not help though that she could hear the low and partially stifled laughter behind her.
“Have you forgotten how, sweetie? Or why? You know how important it is to keep the sacral chakra open. Without your second chakra, your life force and energy cannot flow upwards. You become blocked, your whole life constipated, dear. You know that is not the legacy I want for you.”
Katie had never fully embraced her mother’s New Age philosophies, especially when it came to this one. “Can we please talk about this another time, Mom? I am sure that Chance does not want a full rundown on my masturbatory history.”
“I don’t know. Sounds like an interesting enough topic for dinner conversation to me. What do you think, little bro?”
She turned to stare at them both now as she saw Chase bringing in a tray heavily laden with delicious smelling bowls. She stood up and rushed towards him, “Here, let me,” she offered as she reached out to take it.
He pinned her with a dark scowl, “I don’t need your help, princess. I can more than manage a few bowls, and if you must know it is not bad therapy, works on my balance.”
Her mother shook her head and chuckled, “And when was the last time that you opened your second chakra, Chase?”
Katie’s eyes widened as she turned to chastise her mother’s boldness once more. Until she heard the deep rumble of laughter and saw the genuine mirth in Chase’s eyes, something that had been distinctly missing these past few days.
“Probably way too long, Joy. You have any prescriptions for that?” He sat the tray down next to the bed and took a seat next to her mother.
“Well, actually, I do. But you two have to help me get my uptight progeny out of the way so we can talk about the deeper meaning of life,” she smiled as she took a small swallow of the soup that the man spooned into her mouth.
“I can take a hint, Mom. You want to talk to them alone. You should have just said so. No need to discuss such intimacies with everyone,” she pouted as she took the bowl of soup and fresh bread that Chance held out for her.
“We aren’t ‘everyone,’ Katy-did,” he smiled a bit too broadly.
“I give up on all of you,” she said with a shrug. “I’ll take my dinner to the porch to eat in peace.”
“Your room for dinner, then a long bath and massage would be better, dear,” her mother suggested.
“What, Mother, did you call one of your tantric or Reiki friends to heal me?” As much as she loved her mother, it had never been comfortable discussing such usually private things so openly, but that was this woman’s life’s work. Her only child was no exception. Especially her child.
“No, Katie, you know that tantra is best practiced within the confines of a loving and committed relationship. Our sexual energy especially is a precious commodity, not to be abused or wasted.”
Katie had always considered it ironic that her hippie mother’s philosophies on sexual promiscuity were so closely matched to those of the Christian far-right. For very different reasons, of course.
Joy Danvers was always an odd mixture of sexual liberation with her message, ‘Nothing done in love can ever be a sin.’ But that was the key…done in love. Though her definition of love was far broader, encompassing all different lifestyles.
She smiled, then again, her mother had never fit anyone’s comfortable mold. She had never been the type to follow the rules. Hell, her mother had been born to break them. A hippie psychic, personal trainer, life coach, and a dozen other things, who had taught her beloved only child to question everything and everyone. Herself first and foremost. A thoughtful life, her mother called it.
“Yes, Mom, I know that – which is why I am afraid I shall have to pass on the massage. Will it make you happy if I promise to meditate a bit after you go to sleep?”
“As backed up as your energies are, my dear? Katie, you are a classic case study in an underactive second chakra. You fear pleasure and deny yourself the things that can make you feel good. You’ll make up any excuse not to have something you really want. Your creativity is blocked; you always feel sluggish and have a weak sex drive.”
“And let’s don’t even talk about your need to ‘fit in.’ I always taught you to be your true and authentic self. You can’t manifest any of what you desire because your thoughts and emotions tend to lean towards negativity, dear,” her mother shook her head against her pillow.
Katie fought back the tears. Her mother’s words were as strong a rebuke as the woman had ever given her. “And all of that would just magically change if what, Mother? If I got laid? Right now, sex is just about the last thing from my mind, Mom.” Well, most of the time, she amended in her mind, surrounded as she was with testosterone.
“You know that is not what I am saying either, so don’t give me that, young lady. But tonight, you are following my orders, for once,” her mother’s smile softened her words as she turned to Chance, who still leaned near the doorway.
“Be a dear, and run my stubborn daughter a warm bath. Burn the rose candles and look in the cupboards for the jasmine and ylang-ylang oils. Add a few drops of each to the water. And if she won’t be a good girl, I trust you know how to strip a woman and make her do what you want?”
She was relieved to see that even Chance was a bit embarrassed by her mother’s question as his ears turned a bright shade of pink. “Once or twice, maybe, Ma’am,” he stammered.
Her mother winked at his brother as she sipped a bit more of the soup he offered, “Yes, I imagine you two do not usually find the women all that recalcitrant.”
Chase shook his head and chuckled until Joy speared him with her stare. “Don’t think you get off so easily, young man. Your energies are almost as bad as my daughter’s. You think I cannot see how brown, almost black your aura has become?”
Katie could see the effort it took for her mother to reach up and, with a trembling hand, caress his bearded cheek, “You used to have the brightest silver aura I have ever seen, you remember what that means, Chase?”
He nodded, “I haven’t felt very lucky or gifted in a while, Joy.”
“I know, sweetie, but you are. You just need to reconnect with who you really are. Just like my little girl. So, I have an assignment for you too. I want you to make a special fruit salad for dessert. Katie will show you the recipe.”
“Then take my little girl for a walk on the beach. Feed it to each other…and then yes, see if you can massage at least some of that damned tension from her body, beginning at her lower back. Will you do that for me, sweetie?”
He nodded slowly, “We will do anything we can for both of you. Sometimes I think without the two of you, we would have been lost, you know?”
His deep voice cracked. “Did we ever tell you that Mama moved us down here to get us away from the wrong crowds we had been hanging out with in East LA? We were one step away from being gang members, and she knew that. It would have been too easy for us to continue on that same path here too.”
He stopped and kissed her mother’s hand that was almost emaciated and covered in bruises from the IVs that administered the drugs that were beginning to fail at keeping the pain at bay.
“Except for Katie. The best thing that happened to us, our true luck, was when they assigned her as our ‘buddy’ that first week. The two of you, this place, having somewhere to go after school when Mama was working, you saved us, Joy. And we owe you everything.”
Katie did not even try to hide the huge tears that were cascading down her cheeks as she felt a set of muscular arms wrap about her shoulders. She smiled up into Chance’s face, as best she could anyway as she buried her face in his neck and let them flow.
“I am glad to hear that, my boys, because once you get my beloved daughter settled in that bath, Chance, I would like to talk to you both for a bit. So, you two scoot, I am tired, so tired right now, but I need to do this. I need to, before…”
Katie saw what little color her mother had drained from her face as she pushed the next spoon of soup away. “No more, please. Just let me rest for a couple of minutes while you get her settled in the tub, Chance, and you make that salad, Chase sweetie.”
Her mother looked at her and smiled again, “Do this for me, please, Katie. No arguing this once. Mommy is too tired to appreciate the independent, thoughtful woman she raised. Just be a good girl, please?” she chuckled with a wink as Katie simply nodded.
Joy turned to her ‘boys’ then, spearing each of them with a look, “Then I want to talk to both of you. Together. Wake me up, even if I am sleeping. I mean it.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the men said in unison, and Katie was reminded of those shy teens that she had first brought home after school all those years ago. They seemed as reluctant to face whatever her mother had to say now as they had with her that day.
Knowing her mother, she could not blame them. Even dying, the woman was an idealist, out of touch with reality. Well, this earthly one anyway. Maybe that was it; perhaps her mother had honestly never had been part of this astral plane.
Katie sighed as the weight of it fell on her once more. Joy would not be for much longer. She felt her mother’s death drawing closer by the moment.
Still, her mother was strong to the end, “Now off with you all. Let the old, dying woman have a few moments alone to rest in peace away from your blocked chakras and dark auras.”
They chuckled as all three left the bedroom. There was no question that any of them would obey her mother’s wishes. It was the least they could do.
“Go with Chase into the kitchen and try to eat a bit of your soup, Katy-did. I’ll come for you once your bath is ready,” Chance commanded. She simply nodded, too tired for anything else.
“So, show me this special recipe your Mom wants, princess,” Chase said as he took her hand and led her into the surprisingly large kitchen that was like stepping back into time with its original wooden cabinets and glass features.
How many afternoons had they spent laughing on stools around the island that was the centerpiece of this very functional room? She sighed and nodded before the memories could draw her deeper into that morose black pit.