Getting Gooey [an Everything I Left Behind future take]© by Christina Emery
Obviously, my old age is making me senile. Because a sane man would not be on this plane right now. A sane man would have told his wife the truth about this trip to New York City. Then again, a sane man would have married a sane woman. And the woman by my side is anything but sane.
We’re flying into enemy territory, in the middle of October—right at the height of the post-season—and my pretty girl is visually taunting everybody else on our plane. The dark gray officially-licensed Red Sox boots were a must. As were the red baseball leggings she’s got on. The baseball tee she made that declares a number of reasons why Yankees fans suck? Probably not necessary. The hat with the little cartoon dude pissing on the Yankees logo? Only got on the plane because our pilot is a Sox fan. I could deal with all of that—including the woman’s verbal taunting of those who dare to say something—but the oversized foam fucking finger she snuck into her carry-on luggage and is currently pumping into the air, despite the flight attendant’s requests, is just too much. We haven’t even landed yet and I’m already cursing myself for thinking this was a good idea.
“Tell me again where we’re sitting,” Colleen says. She shoves the foam finger into my face and grins. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she’s been drinking.
“I forget,” I say and take a deep breath. It’s a lie. I’d never forget seats like this, but this cutesy routine she’s got going on stopped being cute a few days ago. I’m trying to keep my mood up. I’m in a cranky fucking mood and no matter how hard I try to get my spirits up, I can’t.
“Please, pretty boy.” Colleen whines in my ear and slaps me on the chest with that damn foam finger of hers. Her voice lowers as she says, “It really turns me on.”
I place a hand over my face and groan. For the first time in at least three years, we’re going to be without our kids. And hey, our kids are my fucking life, but they’re like professional little cockblockers. Especially the baby. I can’t remember the last time we bumped uglies without having to make it quick and keeping it quiet.
“Club section, field level,” I say, speaking low and meeting her eyes. I’ve known this crazy woman my entire life and no matter how many times I stare into her green eyes, I still have to catch my breath. Thirty-plus years of being in love with this woman and a solid eight of being lucky enough to be her husband, and somehow, I fall more in love with her every day. Even today, when she’s at her most annoying.
“Field level. Go on.” She sucks in a deep breath and holds it while she waits.
“Third row, right behind the dugout,” I say. Leaning in, I place a kiss on her cheek, then her jaw, and a probably indecent one on her neck. Her head falls back and she bites at her lower lip.
“Three. Rows. Behind. The. Visitors. Dugout,” she says. “This is like the perfect storm. If it weren’t for the wild card, this wouldn’t even be freaking happen. Do you even know how rare it is for the Sox to go against the Yankees in the post season?”
I want her closer to me. If it were possible, I’d say my girl loves our Red Sox more than I do.
“Yes, baby,” I say and stare at her kissable fucking lips. “Remember last week when Jarrod recounted the history of the wild card to us?”
She smirks and says, “Who do you think read him the book on it?”
Three years is a long time to go without having alone time with my wife. Snaking a hand behind her neck, I pull her back to me and kiss her hard. Her mouth opens on a gasp and she invites me in.
We stay like that, making out like a couple of horny teens, until the wheels of the plane hit the runway. The plane thumps against the asphalt, jostling us around. I pull my tongue back just in time to avoid Colleen’s teeth from clamping down and cutting the damn thing off. It’d be worth it though.
It’s our second day in the city, and once again, my girl’s dressed in Red Sox gear. As though we didn’t get enough hate from Yankees fans yesterday, which isn’t altogether surprising considering this series decides who goes to the World Series.
“I still can’t believe this is happening,” Colleen says as we walk through Little Italy hand in hand. She’s got a relaxed smile on her face and for the first time in months, she’s relaxed. She’s given up her peace and quiet to stay home with our kids—all four of them—so quiet time is rare, which is why I’m feeling so guilty for what I’m about to do.
“You never want to leave Boston, let alone Southie. What made you want to come to New York?”
“I didn’t want to come to New York,” I say, answering carefully so I don’t have to lie. “But I knew you would.”
We walk up to a narrow shop that almost looks abandoned. The shop has a basic metal-framed glass door and window. The other side of the glass is covered in what appears to be brown crate paper, obscuring the inside from the street.
“Why’d we stop?” Her brows knit together and she purses her lips. If I didn’t have it on good authority that this place is one of the best in the city, I’d never bring my wife by here. Knowing her luck, she’d come out with some kind of rash or something. There’s not even a street number, let alone a shop name. Literally nothing about this place is inviting. Until you walk in.
Behind the crate paper façade is a swath of purples, ranging from lavender pillows on the white leather seats to varying shades in the tiles on the floor. Soft instrumental music plays overhead and there are vases full of fresh flowers at every desk thing. I’m secure enough in my manhood to admit my jealousy over the fact that I can’t stay with my girl.
“A spa day?” Colleen asks. Her green eyes sparkle under the lights of the chandelier hanging from the ceiling. “You’re going to a spa?”
I roll my shoulders and think about how badly I could use a massage. I don’t have time for that though. My phone buzzes from my pocket, reminding me that my team is waiting. I silence it before my girl starts to worry that we’re getting a call about the kids. Our youngest, Mary, is barely two and Colleen’s never been away from her overnight before.
“No, baby,” I say with a sad smile. “I only booked the day for you. Figured you could use it. Since this trip is for my birthday, I’m going to have a beer with the guys while you get all gussied up.”
She lets out a heavy sigh and narrows her eyes. “I knew it.”
“You’re working!” She accuses in a half yell. I don’t like to lie to my wife, but today, I’ll make an exception.
“You’re paranoid,” I say and kiss her cheek. “I booked you for the whole nine. It’s already been paid for. We’re just going to shoot the shit and have a few beers, I promise.”
“You’re lying to me, I can feel it,” she says. “I’ve asked you to go away with me how many times over the years? And how many times did you say that you’d rather stay home?”
I bite back what I really want to say, knowing that it won’t end well if I mouth off. Especially because she’s right.
“Just take this time to enjoy yourself, will ya?”
“Fine,” she says. I hate that word. It never means fine. It usually means that she’s going to shove my nuts in a meat grinder later. I ignore it, kiss her on the head, and wait until the lady behind the counter is ready for her. My pretty girl gets rid of the scowl on her face and disappears into the back of the shop. My Colleen is sassy and spirited, even at our age. She talks without thinking and she’s ridiculously crazy. She’s soft with our kids in ways I never expected, but doesn’t bat an eye when she has to lay down the law. I tell her she breaks my balls all the time, but the truth is that it’s my heart she breaks. Every single time she walks away and I can’t go with her, it kills me.
“Sir, would you like a massage?” A perky blonde painting another lady’s nails smiles at me from her table.
“No,” I say, kicking at the floor with a whine that’s reminiscent of my seven-year-old boy. “I have to go to work.”
By the time I make it to the FBI’s office in Lower Manhattan, I barely have my head in the game. The half mile walk wasn’t long enough for me to sort out all the sick shit in my head. For the third time in the last couple of years, I’m consulting on a case that’s haunted me since Colleen and I were first married.
Timmy Miggs was a fucked-up kid with a long track record before he even hit puberty that grew up to be an even more fucked up adult that gets off on abducting and raping women before he sets them on fire. Miggs made the mistake of hurting the first woman in my fucking city, just blocks from where my wife sleeps. My first consult with the FBI came a few years ago when they teamed me up with a cop from New Orleans, Chase Guilliot, and a firefighter, Jack Hayes, from right here in Little Italy. They’d both seen Miggs’s work hit close to home and we put him away.
Or so we thought.
Because a perp with the same M.O. just hit Jack’s family and for the first time in two years, I’m afraid that we got the wrong guy.
“Boston sucks!” A deep voice echoes around the cold, marble lobby of the federal building, jerking me from my thoughts. When I look up, I have to work to hide my shock. I was under the impression that it’d just be me and Jack with the feds today, but that’s not what I’m looking at.
“Lieutenant Hayes,” I say, focusing on the man in the middle of a crowd the size of my entire extended family. “How nice to see you again. Especially when my Sox are about to screw up your chances for another ring.”
“You need a reminder of how many trophies the Yankees have, or can you not count that high?”
I throw my head back and laugh before giving the stubborn fuck a quick hug. We saw some shit on the two tours we did, hunting Miggs. Those kinds of situations bond people for life.
“Didn’t know you were bringing an army with you.”
Jack smirks and gives the man next to him a nod. Unlike Jack and the rest of his group, the man at his side is in a suit and tie. He sticks his hand out and gives mine a firm shake.
“It’s nice to finally meet you Sergeant Detective, Patrick. I’m Detective Capriotti. I was the lead detective on the Hayes case,” the man says before introducing me to the rest of the brood. In addition to Jack and Detective Capriotti, Jack’s brought along his younger siblings, Jameson, Hennessey, and Royal who all work at the same firehouse and were targeted by the perp.
“We ready to get this over with?” I ask the group as we head for the elevator bank.
“Eh,” Jack says with a shrug. This is personal for him in ways that make my skin crawl, so I don’t blame him for being so reserved about the whole thing. “How’s your birthday going?”
“It’s not until tomorrow,” I say and step into the open elevator, hoping to high heaven that I’m back in plenty of time to pick Colleen up without her finding out about this.
“Happy birthday, pretty boy.” Colleen places a kiss on my hip and crawls up my naked body, not so discreetly rubbing her bare tits against me. I literally just came in that hot, sweet mouth of hers. It was heaven. We left Boston two days ago, and between our sightseeing and my sneaking off to get some work in, we’ve spent our time away totally fucking nude. We haven’t had this much sex since before the twins were born. Every time we’re alone, my pretty girl is pawing at me like a wild animal. If I wasn’t so afraid that she’d break me, I could enjoy this more. I can’t keep up with her. I’m not ashamed to admit that with every passing year, it takes me a little longer to recover from getting off. Not that my nympho wife gives a shit.
From under her lashes, she looks up at me with lust-filled eyes. One hand cups my tender ball sack while she kisses around the base of my cock. I’d let God shave a few days off my life right now if I could fuck without a break, but I’ve offered that deal a few times and so far, He ain’t listening. So instead of torturing myself, I pull her up my chest and kiss her deeply before tossing her on the bed beside me and kissing my way down to the apex of her thighs.
Later that night, we’re on a high as we leave Yankee Stadium. Of the thousands of people who showed up for today’s game, most of them leave with a mix of frustration and defeat on their faces.
“That’s right, we’re going back to Boston!” Colleen’s shouting down the subway at a crowd of people in Red Sox gear. The teens and folks our age in the group cheer her on, but it’s the little old lady in the light-up red and blue hat that screams back, “One more game and we’re going to the series, baby!”
Colleen heads straight for the lady and makes fast friends with her. That’s how it is with Sox fans, especially here in New York, I’ve noticed. Red Sox fans outside of Boston are never strangers from one another. We have a few more stops before we get to our hotel, so I don’t worry about pulling the wife away from her new friend right now. Despite the real reason we came to New York, this has been the best birthday ever. Watching my team win game five in the enemy’s own home was amazing. My heart is full knowing that all we need is one more win to kill the Yankee’s chances at another title was incredible. Our seats were perfect and we got on the kiss came a few times. Most likely because we’ve got on matching shirts, telling the world that we named our twins after one former and one current team member. Even the thousands of people booing us on the kiss cam didn’t stop me from sticking me tongue down my girl’s throat and copping a feel of her boobs. I’ll never tell her, but just having her alone, the way we used to be before we had kids, is the best present I could ever get.
Not that I don’t miss them, because I do. Half the game, I was on my phone with Dusty, our seven-year-old daughter who I named after our number fifteen infielder, giving her a play by play. Didn’t matter that she was watching it at home with her grandparents. She said she wanted to know what it was like in person. Her twin, Jarrod, listened in to the call, only speaking up to throw out some obscure baseball history when it was relevant. Only thing that could have made the day better would have been to have those two at the park with us.
“Hey Detective,” Colleen yells from down the car. She’s pointing at the open doors and hooking her thumb. “We gotta go.”
I shake my head in confusion because this isn’t our stop, but when she hops off the train, I follow anyway. The last thing I’m about to do is lose my wife in a New York City subway. Especially not when she’s wearing an ugly ass sweater with a boatload of fake jewels on it. It was my favorite throwback Sox hoodie before she “blinged it up”. The only good thing about the way that stupid thing reflects the light is that it makes her hard to lose in a crowd.
Colleen moves quickly through the subway, giving me hand signals and shouting directions I can’t really hear, as she races up a flight up a flight of steps ahead of me. Two blocks later and I’m flat-out fucking annoyed with the way she’s practically running away from me. When she finally stops, her chest is rising and falling rapidly, but she’s grinning like a lunatic and pointing at the sign over her head that says THE BABE on it with half the sign in red and the other half in blue.
“What is this place?”
“Come,” she says and reaches for my hand. My frustration melts away the moment I slide my hand around her softer, smaller one. “Have I told you that I kind of like lately?”
I shake my head and smile as she pulls me in for a quick kiss before opening the door and shoving me inside.
I’m tripping over my own feet as I stumble into the place. In the center of the room is a jam-packed bar with a rowdy crowd. We’re not likely to get a spot to stand, much less sit. The Babe is lined, wall to freaking wall with people dressed in both Red Sox and Yankees gear. Over the crowd, I eye the place, which is quite literally split down the middle in allegiance to both teams. It’s not until I spot the mural on the very back wall that it clicks—Babe Ruth. He started his career with the Sox before being bought up by the Yankees. I stop to admire the quirky little sports bar, but my girl doesn’t let me. With a hard tug of my hand, she’s got me moving again, barely making it through the thrush of people. A few guys who’re drunk as hell try to talk to my girl, even going so far as calling her a MILF, but she lets her middle finger do the talking as we ascend a flight of stairs, leaving the noise behind. At the top of the stairs, she pauses for a moment and turns to face me.
“Thank you,” she says quietly. With my hands on her hips, I hold her close to me and place a kiss on her cheek. My heart fills at the contact. The romance is different between us now.
“What’re you thanking me for?”
After four kids and eight years together, we’re not staring deeply into each other’s eyes, excitedly wondering what comes next. Now we know what comes next and I like it that way. I like our routine and our house that’s so full it’s bursting at the seams. We’ve added on a bit to the house I owned when we got married, but with six people, two dogs, three cats, and an iguana, you can’t fart in the place without everybody knowing about it.
“For never giving up on me. For loving me even when I was at my worst and I kept running the other direction. For everything you do to let me stay at home with the kids and donate my legal skills to charity work instead of earning a paycheck even though it’d make our lives easier. I just wanted to take a moment, before everything gets crazy, to thank you for never failing to be the husband and father that we need you to be.”
“Oh, pretty girl.” Her speech hits me right in the gut and makes my eyes sting. I’m not a crier, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this woman brings out a soft spot I didn’t know I had before she agreed to be mine. She may have thought we were just playing around at that chapel in Vegas, but I was never anything but absolutely serious about her. My life was good before I conned her into hitching her wagon to mine, but I had no idea how fucking incredible it could get.
“Do I got you all gooey?” she asks with raised eyebrows and unshed tears in her eyes. All I can do is give her a quick nod as she dries her eyes. That’s what our son calls having feelings—getting gooey.
“Hot and gooey.” I waggle my brows and think about all the things I’m going to do to her when I get her back to the hotel.
“Good,” she says, darting out of my grasp and up the stairs. “Remember that when the Visa bill comes in for this little trip.”
Did she really just get me gooey before telling me she maxed out the credit card?
“Seriously? We just got that card paid off!” I’m rushing up the stairs after her, about to lay into her spending habits when I reach the top step and am surrounded by total darkness.
In a flash, the room is bathed in bright lights and people are shouting, “Surprise!”
The room is small but filled with people. The Hayes family stands to my left, near the closed doors that look like they lead to the rest of the restaurant. Over their heads is a large birthday banner and the ceiling is dotted with red, gray, and blue balloons. To my right are my parents and in-laws with along with my sisters. Everybody’s here, even our friends from back home, Lindsey and Adam. I place my hand over my mouth when I see Adam holding Jarrod’s hand. My boy grins at me and races forward, shouting, “Happy birthday, Daddy!”
Before the kid can get to me, his sisters, Dusty, Becca, and Mary come pushing their ways through the crowd and rushing toward me as well. In a moment, I drop to the floor and brace for impact. The four of them find a way to climb on me, each excitedly chatting away about nothing and everything at the same time. Becca gets frustrated with her older siblings talking over her and pushes her way into my lap while Mary is babbling in some language that one day will eventually recognize English. The kid’s good with shorter sentences, but starts talking Martian when she’s excited. My heart is so full that I think it might burst.
“You knew,” I say with narrowed eyes up at my wife.
Smirking, she taps at her temple, and says, “Of course I knew, but I let you buy me off anyway.”
“I was wrong,” I say over the kids, meeting Colleen’s eyes. She blinks in confusion at my odd response. “I was just thinking I had the perfect birthday, but I was wrong. Now it’s perfect.”
My pretty girl sits down beside me on the floor and pulls Mary into her lap.
“Happy birthday, baby.”