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This is the second part of The Trojan Lasagna, picking up at the point where the original left off. It involves older women and a younger man. I suggest you read the first part to get an understanding of the characters.
Fun fact 1: As of this writing, French President Emmanuel Macron is married to Brigitte Macron, who happens to be 24 years older — and a former high school teacher of his. They met when he was 15 and she was 39.
Fun fact 2: English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver in Age of Ultron) is 24 years younger than his wife Samantha, and they have two children. They met when he was 18 and she was 42.
Thanks as always to RiverMaya for being my Muse and the writing angel on my shoulder. Thanks also to AzureAsh for being my ‘editor with a thousand eyes’, and to MBR (Mystery Beta Reader) for his oversight and input. As I continually revise right up to publication, any errors are mine.
Full disclosure for all you drag racing historians: Yes, the US 30 Drag Strip closed in 1984; for the purposes of this story I’m invoking poetic license to keep it open two years later.
All sex between 18+ people.
So baby, don’t you worry about growin’ older
Those young girls ain’t got nothin’ on you
‘Cause it takes some livin’, to get good at givin’
And givin’ love is just where you could teach them a thing or two
– Ronnie McDowell
Fairburn, Indiana — July, 1986
Heading down the road to Terry’s apartment, I tuned in WLS on my car radio to hear an oldie playing from REO Speedwagon, Find My Fortune:
“A restless nature fed my crazy dreams, so I packed my bags in a big limousine
Laughed at the people who were laughin’ at me, laughed and said I’m gonna be what I be
And I’m gone, gone away to find my fortune…”
This was exactly what I was doing. I’d saved up my money and made my college plans. I was on my way.
When Terry heard I’d had a falling out with our parents, being the cool brother that he was, he invited me to stay with him in his one-bedroom apartment and sleep on his foldaway couch. He told me I could stay until I went away to college, or until things cooled off at home, whichever came first.
Since living at home would mean not only would I have to live under my parent’s roof, but also that I’d be seeing Rosalie and her husband coming and going, so no way did I want to stay home. Watching the woman I’d loved so much and the kids who adored me, but banned from being with them was like a knife in the heart. Packing up as much of my stuff as I could under my Dad’s disapproving glare, I loaded up the Galaxie’s massive trunk and moved to Terry’s to start my new life.
While walking away from both Rosalie and my parents had crushed me, the phone number Donna had written on the back of my hand gave me hope. The following Saturday night found me picking her up at her place to take her to a local favorite, The Roundup Steakhouse. Her house was beautiful, a two-story colonial style with big pillars in the front and a circular driveway that curled around a decorative fountain.
I rang the doorbell, and the door opened almost instantly, like she’d been waiting just on the other side. She looked very youthful, dressed in jeans, sneakers, a plain blue blouse and a jean jacket. After giving me a light hello kiss, she said, “Let’s take your car.”
I was shocked that a fancy West-sider like her would want to get in my old beater. I asked her, “Are you sure? My Ford is a hunk of junk compared to your Mercedes.”
As I held the passenger door open for her, she patted my arm. “It may not be as fancy, but it’s got a front bench seat, so I can slide over next to you.” Well, now. It had taken me preparing several meals and reading The Tawny Scrawny Lion a bunch of times to the kids to reach the point where Rosalie began to warm up to me. That was definitely not the case with Donna. She’d made it clear that I wouldn’t need Trojan lasagna to breach the walls of her heart – the gates were wide open! After having my soul crushed by Rosalie’s rejection, to say my spirits were lifted was putting it mildly.
After getting in the car, as I buckled up, she slid onto the center of the bench seat and buckled up next to me. As I shifted the transmission to ‘D’, my arm snaked around the seatback and onto her shoulders, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The warmth of her body pressed against mine, combined with the faint scent of her perfume, almost put me in a trance.
I asked Donna to turn on the radio and when she did, Bananarama’s Venus poured out of the car stereo speakers:
“The goddess on the mountain top was casino siteleri burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love, and Venus was her name”
I quickly glanced at the goddess in the seat next to me, and lo and behold she was looking back! I felt her unbutton the top button of the chambray shirt I was wearing as I reverted my eyes forward, making sure the car stayed to the right of the double white line. As Donna ran her finger along my collarbone she whispered, “I hope I’m not distracting you.”
I swallowed hard and answered, “Let’s just say I’m glad this isn’t my driver’s test. If you were a Bureau of Motor Vehicles examiner, I’d never pass.”
She took her hand away from my chest and laid her head on my shoulder, “You have a wonderful knack for compliments, you know that?”
My brain was so overloaded, it was all I could do to concentrate on keeping 3500 pounds of Detroit metal on the road. I managed to squeak out, “Glad to hear it!”
Once we got inside the steakhouse, we ordered and then had an actual conversation.
Donna kicked things off. “So, seriously Josh, you’ve had a tough couple of weeks. How are you feeling?”
I shrugged. “Still kind of down, but better.” Then I put my hand on hers, and told her, “Actually, being here with you makes me feel a whole lot better.”
Hearing that, she smiled and asked, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“Because you’ve always treated me with respect, like a real man and not a high-school kid. I mean, we’ve always had a positive relationship, and I really enjoy being with you.” Then, remembering more, I chuckled, “Oh, and I’ll be honest, your attention gave me quite a confidence boost that time you accidentally grabbed my butt putting money in my back pocket. Of course, when you snuck a kiss from me on prom night, that was an even nicer surprise.”
She reached up and ran her finger down my jaw line. “I have a confession. I hope I don’t offend you, but the time I grabbed your butt was no accident. I didn’t mean to objectify you, but I’ve always found you to be a delicious bit of man candy. If that wasn’t enough, I watched you cook for Rosalie and read stories to my grandchildren. Not a lot of men would do that. Let me tell you, Josh Lujack, you are one hot number.”
I felt my face flush. “Thanks, Donna. Honestly, I feel the same about you. You’re gorgeous and confident, and any sane man would want you as arm candy.” I didn’t add, ‘me included’ because I didn’t want to seem too forward, but it was the truth.
She patted my cheek, but with affection, not condescension. “You’re a sweetheart for saying so, but I’m afraid you’re wrong. Men my age might initially find me amusing, but they’re usually set in their ways, and decide I’m too independent and adventuresome for their tastes. Plus, my husband Nick’s passing left me independently wealthy. They don’t like that. They prefer women who need their money and will tolerate their patriarchal bullshit to get it. Once they realize I won’t put up with being bossed around, they lose interest and go for young sugar babies who’ll cater to their oversized egos.”
Having said that, she took both of my hands in hers and asked, “So, do you want to talk about Rosalie?”
The rational side of my mind didn’t want to hear anything, but the emotional side sure did, and I blurted out, “How could she take that asshole back after he cheated on her!”
“Only Rosalie can answer that,” she answered grimly. “Since Shithead is the father of her children, I expect that has a lot to do with it. He’s managed to convince her that he’s sincere. To earn back her trust, she’s given Shithead boundaries about where he can go and who he can be with, as well as making him agree to couples therapy twice a week. He’s agreed to everything, and done it practically begging on his knees.”
Experiencing a moment of self-pity, I asked, “So what about me? Am I nothing to her now?”
Donna gave me a straightforward-but-stinging answer: “You and Rosalie have some nice memories, I’m sure, but you have to accept she’s moved on with her life. Shithead may have cheated on her, but now that she’s decided to give him another chance, she’ll never cheat on him. If you’re thinking about getting her back, give it up because you honestly don’t have a prayer. You’re history to her Josh, a museum piece in her mind.”
I took a sip of water to help me swallow the big lump of pride that seemed to be stuck in my throat. Damn it, I thought I’d convinced myself I was done hurting about being dumped. Turns out I was full of shit.
It was only when Donna took my chin in her hand to get my attention that I realized I’d zoned out. “You in there, Josh?”
I shook my head to clear it. “I’m sorry, Donna, for a second there I was…”
“Yes, I know where you ‘was’,” she said softly. “I’m sorry if I was too blunt and hurt your feelings.”
I shook my head, “No, I’m fine, I needed a dose of reality, thanks. güvenilir casino Hanging on to memories of her doesn’t do me any good. It’s over and done, and I need to keep moving forward.”
“Now you’re sounding like a motivational speaker. Are you going to start charging me a hundred bucks to hear you speak?” I looked at her, and she was smirking. Despite myself, I started to laugh as well. She’d gotten me good, punching a hole in my maudlin mood by making fun of me.
Still laughing I told her, “You’re terrible,” then leaned over, pressed my lips to hers and kissed her. It felt good at first, then felt even better when her arm went around my neck, holding me to her as I felt her tongue slide back and forth on my lips. I could feel my passion building, until I heard another woman’s reprimanding voice.
“Excuse me, but if you guys keep doing that, your food will get cold.” We broke our kiss off as a scowling waitress put our plates in front of us. We avoided serious talk the rest of the meal, focusing instead on our steaks — done to perfection, I might add. Once we’d finished our main course, we ordered coffee and shared a slice of cheesecake. After I paid the bill, we were off.
With Donna once again seated next to me and my arm around her, it was a quiet ride on the way home. Both of us seemed to be savoring the moment, but each deep in our own thoughts.
The radio was playing the song from the film Rocky IV, Burning Heart by Survivor:
“In the burning heart, just about to burst, there’s a quest for answers, an unquenchable thirst
In the darkest night, rising like a spire, in the burning heart, the unmistakable fire…”
I was no boxer, but somehow this song about being on a quest for answers really got to me. No longer the lonely high school loser, I was now burning inside, thirsting for things I’d never had before. Maybe Donna – this woman who’d encouraged me, boosted my confidence, even made me laugh at myself — was just what I was looking for.
As we pulled into her driveway, after turning the motor off I turned towards her, and broke the silence. “I’ve really enjoyed this, it’s been a really nice night.”
She smirked. “You actually enjoyed getting scolded and judged by a waitress?”
“Actually, I did. I’ve been good all my damned life, and it’s gotten me exactly nowhere. I liked being the bad boy for once, taking advantage of a defenseless widow. If I could afford it, I’d go out and buy a black leather jacket.”
She teased, “Ooooh, yeah, you’d look good in one. And don’t forget the tattoo on your chest. That’ll complete the look!”
Unbuckling both of our seat belts, and took Donna in my arms. “I meant what I said. I liked being a bad boy, and I like being with you. I’d like to do it again if you’ll let me. Can we go out again soon?”
Instead of answering, she wrapped her arms around me and kissed me passionately. I responded in kind, and before long we’d undone the buttons of each other’s shirts as we continued our impromptu make-out session. My dick was so hard by this point a cat couldn’t scratch it. The pictures in my Dad’s Penthouse magazines couldn’t hold a candle to the woman that was right here in my arms.
But when I reached around to undo her bra, she said, “Josh, please don’t.”
I understood that ‘no’ means ‘no’, so of course I stopped. That didn’t do much to ease the throbbing between my legs, but what can a man do? “Have I done something wrong?”
“Heavens no. You’ve made me feel like a damned schoolgirl, but I don’t feel comfortable with you seeing my body.”
Inwardly, I groaned. I felt like a 1500’s Spanish conquistador discovering El Dorado, only to be denied the chance to touch any of the gold! “But you’re beautiful!”
“Thank you, but I have the body of a middle-aged woman. I go to the gym three times a week, but it only makes me healthy, not younger. Every part of me is soft, wrinkled, or both.”
She took my hands and held them to her lips, kissing them. “Believe me, Josh, it’s not you, you’re as delicious as a fresh-baked pie. There’s nothing I’d like better than to run wild over that slim hard body of yours, but I’m ashamed. I absolutely adore you, but there’s no way you could be turned on by what I have to offer.”
“Isn’t that for me to decide?”
“No, I’m making the decision for you. I have to stop this now, before I make a damned fool of myself any further.” She slid towards the passenger side door, buttoning up her blouse. “I’m sorry, Josh, I really am. I only want what’s best for you.”
Saddened, I drove away with Donna’s words echoing in my ears. “I only want what’s best for you,” she’d said. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. This was bullshit. I wasn’t a kid living at home any more, I was a man, damn it! I was the one who decided what was best for me. Not my parents, not my high school counselor, and not Donna damned Landecker! From now on, the only person who decided canlı casino what was best for Joshua Alexander Lujack was Joshua Alexander Lujack, by god!
I turned the car around, and drove back to Donna’s place. I was a man on a mission, and I would not be denied. My heart pumping, I rang the doorbell. After 30 seconds there was no answer, so I rang it again and again, and again. Finally, the porch light went on, and the peephole darked for a moment as Donna looked out.
She opened the door, clad now in a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. “Josh! What are you – ” She got no further. I pushed my way in, then pressed her against the wall with my body and I kissed her. When I stopped, as she caught her breath as reached back and I slammed the door shut.
“You may be older, but I’m still a man, Donna,” I growled, “I decide what’s best for me, not you or anyone else. Me. And like it or not, I’ve decided what’s best for me is being with you. I refuse to just walk away.” To reinforce my point, I kissed her again.
“Josh, this isn’t right, I’m too old for you,” she protested, but I noticed her arms were now encircling my neck. Emboldened, I put my hands on her hips, and pulled them into me as we continued kissing. Leaning down, I began kissing her neck.
“That’s not your decision to make, it’s mine,” I murmured, “and my mind’s already made up. The only decision you get to make is, where do we go from here.” My hands slipped down and caressed her ass. “Am I really so awful?”
Up until now, Donna’s voice had always brimmed with confidence; for the first time, I heard hesitancy. “You’re not awful at all, and you know that. Why won’t you accept the fact I’m too old for you?”
The knot on her bathrobe belt had come loose. I gave it one quick tug, and the robe slid open. She didn’t try to fasten it again. Taking that as an invitation, I moved my hands inside it and caressed the soft skin above her hip bones, and she involuntarily shivered. “Don’t talk to me about age,” I told her, “because what I’m feeling now is the body of a real woman, and I like it.”
I gazed down with wonder at the curve of her breasts revealed by her open robe, but now wasn’t the time to touch them. I didn’t just want sex, I wanted her heart, and based on our discussions I knew while getting the former might be easy, getting the latter would not.
I told her, “Donna, my brother got to where he is by pure luck and personal charm. Everything came easy for him. Everything I achieved — great grades, my academic scholarships, hell, even cooking lasagna — I got through hard work and determination. I set my goals, and achieved them. I busted my ass for Rosalie, but I realize now she showed me who she truly was and how little she actually cared. But since I’ve known you, I’ve seen not just your outward beauty, but your kindness and respect for me.”
I stopped talking and kissed my white-haired fox again, because what I was about to say might make it the last time.
“I don’t want to hear any more bullshit about age difference. You’re the one I want to be with, and I’ll bust my ass to make it work. That’s the way I do things. But as you saw, I made a mistake with your daughter; I went all-in with my heart without her being committed, and she ended up crushing me. I refuse to get hurt like that again. Now that you know exactly how I feel about you, it’s your turn to decide how you feel about me.”
Reluctantly, I pulled her bathrobe closed, gently tying the knot to resecure the belt. Kissing her forehead, I whispered, “When you make up your mind, you know where to find me,” then opened the door and walked out of her house, and maybe her life.
As I fired up the Galaxie and backed out of her driveway, WLS was playing Asia’s Heat Of The Moment, and damned if hearing it wasn’t a sucker-punch to my emotions:
“…what were the things you wanted for yourself, teenage ambitions you remember well?
It was the heat of the moment, telling you what your heart meant; the heat of the moment showed in your eyes.”
I realized I’d lied when I told Donna that I refused to get hurt again. If she decided she didn’t want me, it would feel like being dumped all over again.
The next morning found my brother and I sitting at his kitchen table and eating breakfast as he gave me the third degree “So what’s the deal, man? Why are you mad at Mom and Dad? It’s not like they sabotaged your relationship with Rosalie.”
“No, but they were opposed to it from the start. They didn’t think Rosalie and I were right for each other. They accused me of being too serious and acting older than I am. I got the distinct impression they were secretly overjoyed when she dumped me.”
“Come on, man, I don’t think they were actually happy about it. That’s not who they are.”
“Come on yourself, Terry,” I snapped, “you don’t know shit, you weren’t there. I appreciate you taking me in, but let’s not kid ourselves. You’ve always been the golden child and had it easy, and you damned well know it. Whenever you fucked up the car, or your grades sucked, or you got in trouble with the Principal, they’d intervene, and you’d come out smelling like a damned rose. Yours is hardly an unbiased opinion.”
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