Caught Together

By: Penny Wylder


I pull the sheet tight across the bed and reach for the crumpled comforter. I really should have come in here earlier. It’s dusty and could use a good scrub down. But Brad will be here any minute and I have to settle for remaking the bed. I sigh. The dust will bother me, but it won’t bother Brad. My son has never been concerned with how clean his room is. All the same, I make a mental note to give this room a good cleaning before he comes home for the summer.

I shake out the blanket harder than I normally would to clear any dust from it, and as it settles, the air sends papers flying off of Brad’s bulletin board. I shake my head. Of course. Finishing the bed, I reorganize the disturbed papers on his desk and reach down behind for the things that fell behind it. I can just feel the edge of a couple of papers, but my arm won’t quite make it far enough. A couple of Brad’s old hockey sticks are in the way, but I think I can reach without knocking the sticks over. I stretch, reach… and the hockey sticks go crashing to the side and I lose my balance and slip down onto the floor. Ow. I’ve got the papers though.

I pull my prizes out from behind the desk and take a look. It’s a newspaper article featuring my son’s high school hockey team. There was an article when the team won the state championships his senior year. The other thing I rescued is a picture, and as I pull it out from behind the article, I immediately feel myself blush. The picture is of Brad and his best friend, Trevor King. Must have been taken some time last year. Brad and Trevor were friends all through high school, and Trevor spent more time here than he did at home. Then senior year, his family moved to a different part of Boston, and I didn’t see him again until he visited Brad for the day last year around this time.

That visit makes my whole body fill with remembered embarrassment, as the way my body reacted when I saw Trevor again was…not appropriate. He had filled out, grown into himself. He was sexy. And eighteen. He and Brad are still best friends, and they play on the hockey team at Boston College together, but I rarely see him.

I stare at the picture. A woman my age probably shouldn’t describe people as hot…but my god Trevor King is hot. I think about all the times he stole into my fantasies, even when I tried to keep him out. But that’s all they were. Fantasies. Harmless fantasies about what he would look like under all his clothes, what he would look like over me, what he would look like—


My body is already warming with just those thoughts, and I can’t. Brad will be here soon and I can’t be hot and bothered by his best friend. It’s wrong on so many levels. I pin the article and the picture back to the bulletin board and pick up the hockey sticks I knocked over. Looking around the room, I see so many things I could do to make it just a little cleaner. I won’t be able to finish any of those things by the time Brad gets here though, so I decide to leave it alone.

I head into my office next door—stepping over the mattresses I’ve set out for my nephews—and check my e-mails. This time of the holidays it’s slow. I have a conference call with a client tomorrow, but nothing else is urgent. But speaking of urgent, I send a text to my sister reminding her to bring butter for tonight’s dinner. I haven’t had a chance to get to the store, and we’re going to need it. My email pings and I see an email from a new client asking when we can schedule a call to talk about their new marketing plan. I’m checking my calendar as I hear a key in the lock downstairs. A smile comes to my face. Brad is finally here.

“Mom?” Brad calls.

“I’m up here,” I call back.

I hear the shuffling of luggage and footsteps on the stairs as I check my calendar, and send a quick email so this isn’t nagging me. I hear Brad get into his room, and as I step into the hallway, I hear him laugh. Then I hear another voice, a distinctly deep and male voice. So my son isn’t here alone. Okay…

Probably just a friend from school for the day. I step into the doorway of Brad’s room and tap my knuckles on the door. “Knock knock,” I say, and I have to keep my jaw from dropping, because I’m now face to face with Trevor King.

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