NOTES AND DISCLAIMERS: Characters, etc property of Warner Brothers, Hypnotic, and Wonderland Sound and Vision. Title from Split Enz's I Got You. Thanks to Younger for the beta. For stubbleglitter.


YOU'RE A PAGEANT

1985. Sandy won't date women who remind him of his mother, but he's really bad at it. He ends up with girls like Jana, a beautiful Jamaican waitress who spent her mornings reading to the blind and her evenings telling him to stop and think about those fucks at the INS. Before Jana, he dated Genevieve, a gorgeous Vietnamese girl who alternated her time between studying for the bar and working on international adoption issues "which is something, god, Sandy, it's just criminal, the lies and the cruelty." At least they didn't physically resemble his mother, that should count for something.

He left home when he was 16 and worked his ass off in college to graduate early and now he's in law school and he's going to work his ass off again to get that done so he can start working. He's never had time to go home, because why go back?

Why go back, he thinks and hears himself muttering it. He just wants to go to class. There's a mass of people, shouting and waving signs on the corner. He says, "What's this?"

The blonde standing next to him says, "I think they don't like Reagan very much." She smiles at him.

Southern California, he thinks. He spent a long time getting rid of his accent, listening to other people talk at school and he can spot California from a mile away now. Even tell the difference between the bay brats and the LA kids. He says, "Reagan?"

She crosses her arms and glances at him. "The President, yes." A clutch of people near them start chanting "Fuck Reagan," and move into the crowd. "Apparently, they really don't like him."

Sandy nods. Southern California girl is very pretty. And blonde. He says, "What do you think of Reagan?"

She pauses. "I don't like him. How about you?"

"I hate him. I hate everything he stands for, every law he's ever signed. He's awful." Sandy scans the crowd. "But right now, I just want to get to class. And maybe have some chips."

"Not much chance of that," she says. "So you go here?"

"Law school," he says, and he still likes the way those words taste. "You?"

"Undergrad. Senior." She turns and smiles at him again. She's great. He knows this for certain.

They sleep together on their first date. If you can call it a date when Kirsten says, "Want to see the mail truck I'm living in?" and Sandy says, "Love to." She used to have an apartment, she explains, but there was this fire her roommate started accidentally and the mail truck is temporary, really. He offers her the use of the shower at his crummy apartment and she says, "I love showers," like he'd offered her water in the desert. She's great in bed, he's pretty sure she's smarter than him, and she's beautiful. She's amazing. He thinks about thanking all the protestors, but it would take too much time.

By the end of the week, the mail truck's been stolen from the street outside Sandy's apartment and she's moved in. She can't cook and she leaves scratches on the dishes when she washes them. She studies too much and smokes pot like she's in the Grateful Dead. She actually likes the Grateful Dead, which is the first thing about Kirsten that Sandy doesn't like.

She's getting her degree in art history; she wants to open a gallery. She thinks his plan to be a public defender is wonderful. They argue and make up in ten-minute bursts. They never really talk about before things so all he knows is that she has a sister who's young, an ex-boyfriend that she dated forever who Sandy hates on principle, and she always rolls her eyes when she mentions her father. She's definitely smarter than Sandy, confirmed and absolutely true.

So maybe she is just like his mother, but his mother would hate her immediately, so Sandy doesn't worry about it anymore. He's not dating ever again, he decides, so all of that is unimportant. He has his girl.


1986. Kirsten would have been six weeks pregnant walking down the aisle if they'd gotten married on schedule. Instead she's eleven weeks pregnant, but still not showing. Because her damn father rescheduled and rescheduled and it took Sandy another week to convince her Caleb wasn't coming. "It's the rains," she says. Sandy nods and rolls his eyes.

His mother comes to town, though she insists it's not a wedding. "The shiksa wouldn't bother to pretend to convert? In front of a judge you do this?"

"Mom, she's right over there. Please don't talk about Kirsten that way." The fiftieth time she's said that. Sandy isn't interested this time or ever.

She sniffs. She's mercifully quiet during the ceremony, at least. Or maybe Sandy doesn't even notice because Kirsten is beautiful and she loves him and they're married and he got the most amazing woman in the world. He thinks he says all that when he's kissing her in front of the judge and their thirty guests, but it doesn't matter. Kirsten knows. She says something similar, he thinks, or it's all in her eyes. He knows, too.

At the reception, Kirsten's brat sister sneaks three glasses of champagne. Kirsten's dorky ex-boyfriend is there, saying he's sorry his fiancée couldn't come, but she's really looking forward to meeting them both. Sandy has no idea why that would be, or when that would happen because he has plans to keep as far away from Jimmy Cooper as possible. Jimmy's a complete dork and Sandy has no idea what Kirsten ever saw him. Kirsten's mother sighs a lot and tells Sandy that Jimmy is going to run his own business, he's got a brilliant business mind. Then she drags Hailey away from the bar.

Sandy's mother finds him over by the buffet table. "You're serving shrimp?"

"Yes, Mother, we are. I like shrimp."

"Of course you do." She snorts.

Hailey wanders by and says, "Is there something wrong with the shrimp?"

"Not for you, dear, now run along." Sandy debates whether to ask his mother to be a little nicer to his new sister-in-law but then she leans over and hisses at him, "Don't you let Kirsten have any of the shrimp. I don't want my grandson having any, ever."

"Mom --" No one knows Kirsten's pregnant. But somehow, of course, his mother has figured it out.

"If it's a boy you should name it for your great-grandfather."

"I'm not naming my son Chaim. Chaim Cohen, Mom, that's a horrible name."

She shrugs and glares at him. All she does is glare at him. He misses Caleb suddenly and wishes that nice Jimmy Cooper would come over. She says, "Your grandfather? How about that?"

Sandy thinks, and says, "Seth. I'll consider Seth. But that's something Kirsten and I will be deciding. Not you." Sandy grabs one of the shrimp, his fingers sliding over the buttery shell and he eats the top while she narrows her eyes.

Kirsten dances until the very end, most of the time with Sandy. For their honeymoon, they go to Santa Cruz and walk on the boardwalk.


1987. Sandy almost walks out when he opens the door and hears Caleb's jaunty, "Sandy." Not jaunty, sardonic. A sneer. Sandy sighs and walks all the way in the house. He goes straight to Kirsten and lifts up a squirming, gurgling Seth.

He says, "Now here's someone I want to see." He kisses Seth's cheek and leans down to kiss Kirsten.

She glares at him. "Sandy, be nice." She lets him kiss her cheek, though.

"Still working to keep the guilty out of jail, Sandy?" Oh, right, Sandy thinks, Caleb didn't disappear.

Sandy jiggles Seth and says, "He needs to be changed, don't you think?"

Kirsten says, "I just did," sounding exasperated.

"Can't be too careful!" Sandy carries Seth back to the bedroom and lays him down on the bed. Seth blinks and for one moment, he looks just like Kirsten somehow. Being a father has made Sandy hate his dad more every day. He looks at Seth and he can't understand how someone could walk away from that, from such a precious person like Seth. Then he thinks Seth could grow up to be just like his grandfather and he frowns. He still wouldn't leave.

Naturally, Caleb comes into the room. "Hiding out," he says.

"I was hoping." Sandy tapes up the diaper and lifts Seth up. He minds Caleb a little less when he has physical proof that Caleb can't possibly be Satan. Satan's daughter wouldn't be Kirsten. Though maybe Kirsten's mother had an affair. He smiles.

"It's weak to hide behind your baby." Caleb has that twisted smile on his face, like he doesn't hate Sandy's guts. Like his first words to Sandy weren't "Who are you and what are you doing with my daughter?" And then a half hour later, there was "You're Jewish, too?" and "I know you're just after her money." Sandy didn't even know Kirsten had money then. He definitely would have made her pay more in rent in that case.

"Oh, come on, Caleb, there's so many other ways you think I'm weak, do we need to put Seth in the middle?"

There's more of that until Kirsten comes in and says, "Both of you stop it. Let's decide about dinner."

"We get dinner?" Sandy grins.

"Dad thought he'd take us out to dinner." Kirsten glares at Sandy over her father's shoulder.

"Show us the high life? What we can't have since Kirsten won't buckle under to your demands and move back to Newport?" Sandy likes that Kirsten's cut off from her father's money. He likes their rickety house he pays for, he likes Berkeley and the street vendors and riding the bus. It feels like home except it's even better because he has his wife and son with him to see all of it.

Kirsten rolls her eyes so hard it must be painful. She says, "Pick a damn restaurant, Sandy."

Caleb picks the restaurant. It's Chinese, with snooty waiters checking on Caleb every other minute. It's amazing food. Sandy is trying to get every last ginger-y peanut in his Kung Pao chicken and savor each one individually when Kirsten says, "So I went over to the little museum, you know the one, Sandy, and talked to the volunteer coordinator. She said it would be wonderful to have me." She glances at Caleb as she says it, Kirsten still waiting for her father to be proud of her.

Sandy nods. "That's great, Kirsten. They'll be lucky to have you."

Caleb harrumphs. "They will be. But you're volunteering? Why not get a job? Or stay home with my grandson." He waves at Seth who is being remarkably quiet. Sandy wishes this were the night Seth couldn't stop crying. Seth is a colicy baby.

"I don't want to stay home, Dad. I want to do something and volunteering at the museum is just the right amount of time to work and be with Seth now."

"Plus, it's great experience for when you have your own gallery," Sandy says, smiling and poking at that last peanut. It'd be cheating to just reach for it with his fingers.

"Why waste your time on a gallery, Kiki? You could work for the Newport Group. You could come home." Caleb starts to really get into it but then he stops and looks at Seth. "Will you look at that? He's smiling at me."

"It's gas," Sandy says. He glares at Seth.

Caleb laughs and reaches over, pulling Seth out of his high chair and holding him close. Sandy wishes fervently that Seth would throw up right then. Seth, clearly at least one fourth Satan or ignorant of Caleb's true nature, just keeps smiling at his grandfather. Kirsten beams and Sandy watches the last peanut fall off his chopsticks onto the floor.

1988. Sandy knows his Saturday's been shot to shit when the doorbell rings. He just knows. He picks up Seth because he can't leave his two year old alone in the backyard. He opens the door as he realizes Seth forgot his stuffed animal and he's batting at Sandy with his dirty hands. Sandy sighs. His day is completely shot to shit.

"Hi, Mom."

She barrels past him and takes Seth from his arms. "What are you doing here? You said you were thinking about visiting." He thinks he's whining. She brings that out in him.

His mother says, "I stopped thinking and did. It's been two years, I wanted to see my grandson." She smiles at Seth, who's still batting his hands and nearly crying. "Is he saying hussy? That's very advanced language for a little boy."

"He's saying horsey, he wants Mr. Ed." Sandy closes the door and gets the stuffed animal from the backyard.

When he gets back in, his mother is sitting on the ground by her suitcase with Seth saying, "Nana. I'm your Nana, Seth."

Seth nods and repeats, "Nana." Then when he sees Mr. Ed he grabs the stuffed animal from Sandy's hands and shouts "Ho'sey!" He runs into the backyard and Sandy turns so he can see Seth through the open door. Seth is jumping up and down with the stuffed horse.

She says, "Where's the shiksa? Didn't want to break a nail in her backyard?"

Sandy says, "Don't call her that, Mom. She's having lunch with some friends from school and I am spending a beautiful Saturday with my son. Why didn't you call? I would have picked you up from the airport."

"I like surprises." She manages to look down at him even though she's nearly a foot shorter than him. He sighs. "Why don't you have a mezuzah? Doesn't Kiii--irsten like them?"

"I haven't found the right one," he says, watching Seth trip and then get back up. Seth's the greatest.

After an hour of his mother and Seth, Sandy's exhausted. His mother waves her hand and says, "Go take a nap, I'm here. I love spending time with my grandson."

Sandy walks into the bedroom and says, "That's why you haven't visited since Seth's bris." He stretches out on the bed and closes his eyes.

He wakes up to Kirsten hissing at him, "How could you not tell me she's visiting?"

"I didn't know," he mutters and sits up. He takes her face in his hands and says, "I love you, Kirsten."

She kisses him and pulls back. "I don't love your mother, Sandy, I'm sorry."

"No one does. She's horrible. Your dad's worse, though."

"Sandy." She sighs. "When I came in, she had him sitting on the floor, reading with her. She put Mr. Ed on the counter out of his reach. What's wrong with Mr. Ed? He loves Mr. Ed."

"We all love Mr. Ed, honey. You think tomorrow morning we'll wake up with Mr. Ed's head in our bed? Or Seth's? God, you don't think she'd do that, do you?"

She laughs. "Stop making fun. I don't think it's a bad thing that Seth likes his stuffed animal. He's shy. He's shy and he likes his little friend." She shakes her head. "I bought him Mr. Ed."

"Mr. Ed is wonderful, honey, the best stuffed horse any boy could want." Sandy lays back down. "He likes horses. Why does he like horses? I don't think I liked anything when I was two. I liked food and sleep. Seth likes horses."

Kirsten says, "When I was two, I would only wear pink. Drove my mother crazy."

"So he gets it from you." Sandy sits back up. "Come on, let's go out there and save Seth from my mother."

Kirsten doesn't get up. "It's just, I feel so sorry for him."

"So do I. Trust me, Kirsten, I know exactly what my mother is like."

"I mean, it's just horrible when your parents hate your grandparents." She sighs again.

He says, "Well, Caleb hates everyone."

"No, Caleb loves my mom's parents. My mom hates my dad's parents. Hates them. She calls them trailer trash all the time." She sighs again. "It's no fun, Sandy."

"Well, maybe Caleb and I will start getting along." He grins and stands up. "And I'm sure my mother will warm up to you."

She stares at him. "I know you're not stupid." She stands up and brushes off her skirt. "Let's go save our son from your mother."

Sandy lets Kirsten go in first.


1989. Sandy isn't surprised to find his wife and her mother with their feet up on the coffee table but he does wonder where Seth is. Kirsten frowns. "He was upset when we got home. He and Mr. Ed tried to jump from this, um, step or ledge," she waves her hand, "And neither of them did very well when they fell."

"How's Mr. Ed?" Sandy leans his head on Kirsten's shoulder.

"You should buy him a new one in the morning." Kirsten's mother says firmly.

"It can't be fixed?" Sandy says.

"You're going to take a stuffed animal to a tailor?" Kirsten's mother leans over and pats his shoulder. She is the only not-crazy, not-evil grandparent Seth has and Sandy hopes Seth treasures her. Except now he probably associates her with the death of Mr. Ed.

Sandy asks about dinner and Kirsten's mother says, "Why don't we get something delivered, and the three of us will play gin rummy all night and I'll win and gloat?"

Sandy says, "That's a plan. I'll be right back." He goes upstairs to see Seth. He's asleep, curled in a ball on his bed, Mr. Ed close to his chest. Seth has a few new bruises and a scratch on his arm, Mr. Ed looks much worse. It takes Sandy a minute or two to get Mr. Ed out of Seth's grip and then Seth stirs a little. He mutters something and Sandy leans down and rubs his back. "It'll be okay, son," he says.

Mr. Ed is breaking apart at the neck and two of the legs. Otherwise, the stuffed animal is in pretty good shape for Seth dragging it everywhere for a year and a half now. Sandy takes it downstairs and finds his sewing kit in the bathroom by the kitchen. He sits down in the living room while Kirsten and her mother clear the coffee table for their game and the food.

Kirsten's mother says, "Are you going to sew up that thing?" She smiles.

Sandy says, "With my mother, you don't think I learned to sew?"

"Do you mean your mother was the type who thought boys and girls should know how to sew or that she was never around and you had to figure it out?" Kirsten smiles, the same smile as her mother.

"You know, both are true." Sandy threads the needle and starts to work.

They deal him out of the first few hands and while they play, Kirsten's mother talks about Newport. There's a new plastic surgeon everyone's going to, Dr. Roberts, Jimmy Cooper's white trash wife bought the most outrageous things, this one is getting divorced, this one should be getting divorced, that one drinks. Kirsten laughs at her cards and her mother's stories. Sandy is thankful to be in Berkeley.

He says, "All this gossip, ladies." He grins as he says it, no sting intended.

"I regard gossip as stories," Kirsten's mother says, "stories about people we've always been telling since time immemorial. That's how it works."

"Even the part where Jimmy Cooper's wife is white trash from Riverside?" Sandy smirks.

"She is trash, you can tell. Like Cal's parents are. Not in the way they were poor." She pauses and looks serious. "Cal's parents are the worst of him, that part that doesn't care about anything but the end, the steps along the way don't matter at all. That's trashy." She looks down at her cards and smiles. "Here's something nice I can say, that little Cooper girl, she's very pretty, like her mother, and very smart, which again, mother's side. See, I have it in me." She laughs at herself.

Sandy used to think you couldn't tell if kids were smart or not. But since he knows Seth is very smart, he's willing to grant that it's apparent even in little kids. Kirsten's mother adds, "Not as smart as Seth." She looks up at the stairs and says, "Seth, sweetie, you're up."

Seth sees Mr. Ed in Sandy's hands and does his stumble run across the living room, landing in Sandy's lap. He says, "Did you fix him, Dad?"

Sandy ties the last knot and tugs a little at the head and legs. They don't give much so he hands the stuffed animal to Seth. "All fixed, Seth."

Seth crushes him in a hug, Mr. Ed pressed between them. "You're great, Daddy, thank you, thank you."

When they start playing cards again, Sandy has Seth in his lap helping him choose what to do and Kirsten's mother takes shameless advantage of the way Seth holds the cards so they can be seen.


1990. Sandy doesn't drive Kirsten to the airport because they're afraid Seth will make a scene. So Seth makes a scene on their front porch, crying and clinging to his mother's leg. A half hour later, Kirsten calls from the airport. She says, "Seth needs a haircut."

"I know. Don't worry, it'll be fine. You go be with your mother and your guys will be fine. While missing you the entire time."

She says, "I know," quietly. One more I love you and she's gone again.

Sandy's two hours late picking up Seth from daycare. He calls twice when he can get away from court, but when he gets to the center, there's an angry lady standing over Seth. She says, "Mr. Cohen, you need to work this out. I know Mrs. Cohen went away to see to her mother, but you have to be here on time." Seth licks his lips and looks at his sneakers. Sandy just nods a lot.

Seth looks miserable in the car so Sandy drives to a shopping center first and says they can look around. "Find something fun." Seth stops in front of an expensive toy store and looks at the window.

"Look, Daddy, it looks like Mr. Ed." The horse model or figurine thing in the window looks absolutely nothing like the TV Mr. Ed or Seth's stuffed animal. Not for the first time, Sandy thinks his son is a little weird. But it's Seth's first smile since Kirsten left, so Sandy leads him inside.

In the morning, Sandy makes oatmeal for both of them. Seth says, "Mommy makes cereal." He blinks at the white bowl and the oatmeal, spotted with balls of brown sugar, steam rising.

Sandy thinks that Kirsten makes cereal because even she can prepare that. He says, "It's cold, isn't it? Let's start the day with something warm in our tummies."

Seth shrugs and starts eating. Sandy reads the paper. When he looks up, he realizes he's going to need to scrub Seth's face before he drops him off. And the horse figurine, too, because Seth is talking to it, asking it if it likes oatmeal and then dipping the horse's mouth into his bowl of oatmeal. Hopefully the thing isn't so cheaply made that the paint comes off when it gets scrubbed clean. Sandy says, "Do you think the horse likes the oatmeal?"

Seth nods. "He really does." Seth dips the model again and takes a spoonful for himself. "He likes oats. Maybe that should be his name."

"Mr. Oats?"

Seth frowns. "He's not a mister, he's a captain!" Sandy blinks and thinks, his weird wonderful son.

He convinces Seth to leave the newly christened Captain Oats at home by calling it a "room toy." Sandy spends the whole morning chuckling at Seth's "not a mister" line and by lunch he breaks down and pulls out his new calling card. Kirsten answers on the first ring and he asks about her mother, 'definitely better,' Caleb, 'Sandy, you really don't care, it's okay,' and then he tells her about Seth and his toy. She laughs and says, "Where does he get this stuff from?" Her laugh makes him miss her more, want her home so badly. He needs his girl. But he just says he loves her and Seth misses her and come home when she's sure her mom's okay.

He manages to pick Seth up on time for two straight days.

1991. His mother is folding clothes and Sandy regrets that he ever agreed for her to come out and help. But Kirsten's gone for two weeks and she volunteered. He sighs.

She says, "What's up with the horses? Little girls like horses, and your son. Little Seth. You think he's maybe a faygeleh?"

Sandy rolls his eyes. "No, I don't, Mom. He's five years old, he's not gay."

"What, you're homophobic now? You live in San Francisco and you don't like gays?" She makes a tsking sound. "I raised you better than that."

"Mom." Sandy sits down on the bed. "I like gays fine. Some of my best --"

"Don't say some of your best friends, Sandy."

"He's five, Mom. He just likes horses. It doesn't mean anything." Sandy runs his hands through his hair. "You're not saying this to Seth, are you? Please tell me you're not."

"Of course I'm not. You can't rush those kind of revelations." She pauses. He hears her put the clothes in the drawer. "You don't think Elton John's mother and Liberace's mother had some sort of idea even when their little boys were just five? It shows up. Or Boy George's parents."

"Boy George? Mom, it's the 90s, leave the 80s behind, please? And I don't even know what decade Liberace is from. Seth is five." Sandy looks at the clock and figures out exactly how long until Seth comes home from his playgroup. First day in three weeks he could come home early and Seth's off with his little friends. But he and Kirsten decided that Seth's playgroup wouldn't be interrupted. Seth doesn't make friends easily.

He misses Kirsten even more when his mother's around. Her mother's not getting better and Kirsten needs to be there for her mother and her asshole father. It turns out Caleb does have a heart, after all. Sandy sighs. Kirsten is this close to asking about them moving down there, for her mother.

He could do it, he thinks. He could live in Newport, almost probably. If Seth and Kirsten were there. He can't do many more weeks like this, especially if his mother decides she needs to help. He can do it.

Almost certainly.

When he looks up, his mother has started talking about how they're putting up the mezuzah she brought tonight. When Seth's there, so he can see it and know what it is.


1992. Kirsten takes off her crisp jacket and sits down at the couch. It's a really nice couch. Sandy rubs his eyes and says, "It's okay, Kirsten, we can do this. For a year, let's give it a try."

"Are you sure?" She smiles a little. "My dad's so shattered, he loved Mom so much. He needs me there."

"And you're good at it. You like working there, don't you?"

She exhales and looks up at the ceiling. "I do." She pauses. "But, Sandy, what are you going to do?"

"I made some calls today. Believe it or not, they are actually hiring at the county. Seems like public defenders can be hard to find." Sandy shakes his head and smiles. "Actually, I'll probably end up working with juvenile offenders. Don't quote me on this one, but I think I'm gonna like it."

Kirsten leans over and kisses his cheek. "You're gonna love it."

Sandy says, "So we should think about actually buying this house instead of renting from your dad or however we're doing this. And we need to register Seth for his new school."

Kirsten shifts a little. She says, "I thought, you know, the school I went to, that would be perfect for Seth."

"You mean a private school." Sandy closes his eyes and opens them again. "There's nothing wrong with public school. Especially around here."

"It's a very good school, Sandy. Jimmy sends his little girl there. I think it would be really good for Seth."

"So would any public school around here."

"Smaller class sizes. Focused attention. It would be like his pre-school, Sandy. You know he loved pre-school. He didn't like kindergarten very much."

Sandy bites his tongue because he isn't going to say that Seth didn't like kindergarten because Kirsten was gone for half of it because that wasn't something Kirsten could control. He says, "Private school's expensive."

"Sandy. We don't need to worry about that anymore." She looks down at her feet. Then she looks up and smiles. "It will really annoy your mother."

Sandy sighs. "So, fine. I guess we need to register Seth at your hoity-toity private school. Time for him to hang out with all the trust fund kids like your father's always wanted. One year, right? We're gonna revisit this in a year."

"It's a really good school." She stands up. "And actually, he's already registered."

"You had this whole talk with me and you already did it?" Sandy stands up, too.

She stares him down. "My father did it. He thought he was being nice. For once." She glances out the window. "What is Seth doing?"

They both go outside where Seth is leaning over the edge of the pool, reaching into the water. Kirsten says, "Seth, no swimming unless one of us is here, you know that" while Sandy just lifts Seth right up and sets him standing on the edge.

Seth looks fearful. He says, "Captain Oats, Mom, I wanted to show him the view and the pool because I haven't before and then I thought maybe he'd like to swim but he just, he's at the bottom of the pool, Mommy."

Sandy says, "I got it, Seth, you stay right there." He takes off his shirt as he walks into the pool house. He puts on the trunks he left there yesterday and then dives into the pool. It's embarrassing with Seth and Kirsten watching him, but it takes two tries before he gets the slippery model up from the bottom. He hands it to Seth and then pulls himself out of the pool.

Seth holds Captain Oats close to his chest and says, "Thank you, Daddy. I'm sorry, sorry I was trying to get him. I'm gonna go to my room and get him all dried off." He runs in his stumbling way back to the house and calls out "Sorry," again as he opens the door.

Sandy says, "I can't believe that stupid horse is not completely bare yet."

Kirsten grins and says, "Every six months I paint the whole thing with clear nail polish."

"Clever. You're very clever."

She smirks and takes a step closer. She grabs his butt through the wet suit. "You know what I love about Newport? You spend a lot more time not wearing your shirt."

"Kirsten, Seth's in his room." He wiggles his butt, though.

"We should go check on him." She turns around and heads inside, walking quickly. He follows her just as quickly, pausing only to lock the door to the patio.

When they get to Seth's bedroom, they hear him talking. He says, "Are you feeling better, Captain Oats?" Then, in a squeakier voice, "Yes, Seth, I am. Thank you." Seth's voice next, "Do you want to read a book, Captain Oats?" Squeaky voice says, "Can we read the Waldo book, Seth?" "That's a very good idea, Captain Oats. You're a very smart horse." Kirsten turns to him and smiles wide. She waves her underwear right in front of him. He has no idea when she took those off. Sandy really wants to get out of his swim trunks.

Kirsten peeks her head into Seth's room and says, "You okay, honey?"

Seth says, "I'm fine, Mom. Me and Captain Oats are gonna read this book. He really likes it."

"Okay, honey, we'll be in our room." She pulls him into their bedroom. She pushes him onto the bed and sits down next to him. "We have twenty minutes at least. You know he always reads that book twice."

"Seth's weird, isn't he?" Sandy reaches for Kirsten's shirt and starts pulling it up. "Twenty minutes isn't enough."

She takes her shirt off and then her bra. She winks at him as she straddles him, holding herself over him a little while she slowly peels off his trunks. She wiggles a little, gives him a show before she rubs her hands together and then reaches for him. She leans down and whispers, "I think twenty minutes will be enough."

He completely agrees. But he hates letting her have the last word so he whispers, "It would be even better with more time." She just smirks in response. He touches her between her legs and she's wet and ready. She bites her lip and then moves and then she's on top of him, lowering herself slowly. He thrusts up and she pushes down and he holds her warm strong thighs and they're just moving, right in time, perfect. They're so perfect.

Her hand and his touching her, and she comes first. He comes when she throws her head back and he sees the flush on her neck. She leans over and puts her other hand over his mouth. She whispers, "Quiet." She takes away her hand and kisses him. She stands up carefully and says, "I'm gonna shower first."

When he's showered and dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, he walks out and finds her in Seth's room. She's sitting on the bed with him, reading the book. Captain Oats is resting on Seth's pillow. She looks up at him and smiles, then mouths "He's not weird."

He is, though. But he's smart and sweet and shy and he's Seth. Sandy looks at them for a moment, her head bowed over the book while Seth points at the pictures. One year, he thinks, they can do a year in Newport, easy. He has his boy and he has his girl.

He goes in and sits next to Seth and Kirsten. He really does like this book.

THE END.

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