Queen of Heaven Ch. 08

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Note: This story takes place over several chapters. Some are faster to the action than others. If speed is your thing, this story isn’t really for you. Otherwise, enjoy.


Monday morning was, predictably interesting back at the office. I mean, sure there was the whole “Gosh, Mondays,” but also, of course, Joann had just visited my house for the first time.

Having the boss over is usually stressful. You want to make a good impression. I’m not sure my mother and girlfriend leading the charge into a skinny dipping party was the impression I wanted to make. Sure, Joann joined it remarkably easily. And sure, she seemed to have a fine old time. That said, I didn’t know what the following week would bring. Would she be cool with everything? Would she have questions? Would she ignore it all? Would she find reasons to not renew my contract or usher me off the project? Would it become watercooler gossip? I really had no idea.

Michelle was quick to assure me in lots of colorful ways that Joann was really not shockable. She told very interesting stories of campus streaking, of making out in semi-public spaces, and of being… adventurous… in the bedroom. She didn’t get into a lot of detail on that front, but it was clear that a group of folks swimming in the altogether was not really outside her experience. That my mom was involved might have raised an eyebrow, but not objections per se. In a certain light, it actually made it more acceptable. Nothing wrong with family nudists. Absolutely nothing sexual about that.

Well, in most cases.

“Gil, glad you could join us,” I heard from around a cubicle wall. Joann stepped out into my view with a stern expression that telegraphed displeasure. I quickly glanced at my phone. Quarter til. I was early. What the hell?

“Uh, good morning Joann. I, uh, was there a meeting?”

“Was there a meeting? Well, that’s a helluva thing. I mean, seriously Gil. If you can’t manage your calendar, then perhaps we should re-think this whole arrangement. I mean, maybe you should look to other contracts for future career moves.”

“I. Uh. I, mean. I thought today was-“

“The day I gave you a lot of extra shit because I knew you were worried?” Joann arched an eyebrow questioningly, then broke into a full-throated cackle. I blushed, and was simultaneously relieved, pissed, and amused.

“Joann, were I an older man, I’m fairly certain you’d be accompanying me to the hospital right now. As it is, I may need to change wardrobe.”

“Oh, Gil. I DO like you. But you should know that Michelle dared me. That woman is evil. Delightfully evil, but evil. She said you were concerned for some reason that I might have an accurate impression of your home life. Weird, huh?”

“Yeah, a big mystery. But, I will seriously have a stern talk with Michelle when I see her tonight.”

“Tonight, too. You guys might as well be living together, you know.”

“I do. And I hope. But until then we’re paying all the rent people can pay while deciding if she’s going to dump me or I’m going to kill her for putting you up to that.”

“Oh, don’t give her too much credit. She suggested it. But, she knew that I’d do it with gusto. We’re probably bad for each other. Whereas the two of you seem to make each other better. Michelle and I used to make each other … louder and more likely to be arrested. That’s not always good.”

“But fun.”

“Definitely fun,” she agreed.

“And so now I’m going to my desk to work diligently and without attached scandal or shock.”

“Wise move, bud. Remember we’ve got a 10AM with AR.”

“Got it. Later, bosslady.”

I found my desk and my bearings before texting Michelle, “Soooo much trouble. There will be reckoning.”

She sent back immediately, “Promises, promises. XO.”

What have I gotten myself into?

At the end of the day, Joann stuck her head around my cubicle wall. “After that thing with Schmidt, I need a drink. You?”

“Or two.”


“Sure, it’s near my gym. It’ll be like working out.”

“See you in a bit,” she said dragging along a trail of bags. What was it with that woman and extra work-luggage?

I shut my laptop and packed the folders that I would need to read tonight. There was plenty of relaxation in my life, but some nights I did have to spend a little extra time prepping after hours. Normally I’d do it at my desk to save the cross-contamination hassle, but when the boss wants to have a drink with you, you agree. Also, I like Jo and would rather not sit at my desk until 8 if I could instead hang out with a fun person.

I opened up the group text I was on with Michelle and Mom to say, “Leaving work. Stopping for a drink with Joann at O’Malley’s.”

Michelle responded, “I’m jealous and hurt. Give her a smooch for me.”

Anna replied, “Of course you are Mikey. At the gym. C U Later.”

I gathered my things together and headed to the bar.

When I walked in, Joann waved me over to her table. She’d bought a round of drinks apparently.

“You’re a Smithwick’s guy, right?” she asked pendik escort a little late if I hadn’t been.

“Yeah, actually. Very observant,” I said while pulling up a chair and taking a welcome swallow.

“I try to keep up. And, yeah, I’m observant,” Joann took a drink and added, “speaking of which…”


“Well, I wanted to say that I appreciate that you are cool with my past with your girlfriend. It could easily be awkward between us all. I’d still want you two to be happy, but I could definitely see leaving me out of social things. Not everyone would be as easy going about the whole situation. You have been gracious and understanding.”

“Joann, you’ll find that I’m pretty laid back about a lot of things. I guess it comes from years with Anna’s attitude.”

“Your mom?” she asked.

“Yeah, right, you met her. So, you know that she’s clearly pretty laid back about a few things, right.”

“Certainly about wardrobe restrictions.”

“At least. But, even when I was younger, one of the things that she was serious about was the fundamental truth that we are all better when we embrace love over jealousy and hate. There’s just no margin in getting bent out of shape about who likes whom. Or whatever the right formulation of that is.”

“Smart lady. I probably could have used her advice a little earlier in my life.”

“I don’t always hew to it, but it is pretty good knowledge to have.”

“Yeah, if I’d been a little more understanding then Michelle and I would have ended differently.”


“Yeah, I mean, of course, we would have ended. That was going to happen and I’m glad that the two of you are together. We get to be drinking buddies, co-workers, and compatriots in the ‘Michelle does this wacky thing that makes me crazy’ wars.”

“Now that you point it out, what’s with the pillow thing?” I asked.

“I. Don’t. Know. But, man, it is annoying isn’t it?”

“Mostly it’s confusing. I get wanting the cool side of the pillow. That makes sense. But wanting the cool side of MY pillow. That speaks weird volumes, don’t you think.”

“Cheers, my friend. Cheers.”

“All of which is to stay, there is no quirk that would make me want to stay away. I’m pretty smitten,” I confided.

“No joke, Captain Obvious. No joke,” Joann chuckled. “But seriously, it’s all really lovely. And I appreciate you leaving room for all of us to be friends. That means something to me.”

“Well, you’re always welcome to swim naked with my girlfriend at my house, bosslady. I’m just generous like that.” I tried to stay straight faced. But I admit that I might have cracked a smile.

“Perv! My kind of co-worker,” Joann chuckled.

“I knew you liked me for a reason.”

“And obviously it wasn’t for your naked bits. Didn’t see those until I’d already set you up with my ex.” She clapped me on the shoulder and took a swig of her beer.

“Which is probably the first time that phrase has been uttered,” I said.

“But not the last, I’m sure. Besides, I wasn’t ogling you or anything. I seem to recall I was already starkers by the time you got into the pool. So, if anyone is going to be worried about propriety it should be me, right?”

“Well, it wasn’t your mother that stripped off first,” I countered.

“Yeah, good old Kate might do it, but probably not three minutes after meeting my boss. Then again, she was pretty wild in her day.”

“Her day? She can’t be that old.”

“Nah, I just like to give her a hard time. She’s pretty cool actually. Reminds me a little of Anna. I mean, not as out there, but also not too uptight. You’d think she was a nice middle-aged mom, or I guess granny by now, but truth is that she’s always had open views about things. Hell, she was on a committee with the local PFLAG before I could get out of the closet. I swear, by the time I said ‘Mom, I’m-‘ and she was organizing a bake sale and handing out literature.”

“Well, you did jumpstart her awareness that you might not be completely straight,” I pointed out.

“True,” she nodded. “It was going to be a challenge to explain the naked girl all up in my hoo-ha without the sentence, ‘Mom, I’m gay.’ I really know how to bury the lede.”


“That said, I didn’t give her all the details on who I was fucking. I mean, boundaries. Still, she was cool about the gay thing. She was even good about the ‘sometimes not gay’ thing. And then the sexuality-is-fluid thing. There were a lot of things. And she was there for me for all of them.”

“So far.”

“True. So far. Who knows? Maybe I could freak her out at some point, but it seems unlikely. How ’bout you? Anna seems pretty chill, but maybe you’re secretly freaking her out all the time.”

“Er. Nah. I’m pretty sure if anyone freaks anyone out, it goes the other direction. But, I love her so we make accommodations.”

“That’s the way to be.” Joann took the last pull off her beer and asked, “Another round?”

“Sure. Just one though. And on me.”

“Of course. I know better than to buy drinks that could be free.”

I bussed the table and maltepe escort went to the bar. John was working tonight and he raised two fingers as a question. I nodded.

Setting the glasses on the bar he said, “You don’t have to bring the empties to me, you know.”

“Seems the decent thing. Besides, you serve Anna and Michelle in here. I have to make your life easier if possible.”

“Sure thing. Is this a new member of your circle of estrogen?”

“Jo? Oh, yeah. I mean, she’s my boss. We work together. Rough meeting, so the after work drink.”

“That’s cool. Thanks for bringing the custom my way.”

“Naturally. I mean, especially since you’re giving away free rounds.”

“Not to you bud. Anna, yes. But Anna is unique.”

“She is at that.”

“And Michelle is pretty charming. Not free beer charming. But charming,” he offered.

“We can disagree on that,” I countered.


John pushed across two beers and said,”Here you go. On the tab?”

“See, you like me more than you’d admit.”

“Not free,” he clarified. “Delayed.”

“Yeah, not that much. I get it.” I gathered up the drinks, as I noticed John pouring a glass of red wine.

“This’ll be here for your second trip,” he said.

“Huh?” I looked over my shoulder. And there was the unmistakable silhouette of Anna leaning over my table kissing Joann on the cheek. “Ah, yeah, I’ll be right back.”

As I made my way to our table I heard, “Yeah, this is the nearest bar to my gym. So, of course, I’m a regular.”

“Mom, good to see you. Working out?” I asked.

“Just finished,” she kissed me on the cheek.

“Well, I’ll be back in a sec,” as I sat down the beers. “John is pouring you a glass. Should I be worried that we have a bartender that knows you well enough to pour a drink before you sit down?”

“I think probably you should be generous with the tips, actually.”

“I guess that’s reasonable. Have a seat. I’ll be back.”

I collected her wine and circled back to the table. “Here you go, you lush you.”

“Salud, son. So, Jo, you’re cracking the whip on this one aren’t you?”

Joann took a sip from her beer and smiled. “Well, Anna I’m getting a good day’s work out of him anyway. And occasionally abusing him, but I mostly blame that on the instigation of our mutual friend.”

“Oh, of course. Mikey can be … spirited,” Anna smiled.

“Are we going to talk about my girlfriend behind her back then?” I asked.

Joann countered, “And probably in front of her face, too. She won’t mind as long as we talk about her. Our Michelle likes to know that we care.”

“Very true,” I answered.

Joann looked to Mom and asked, “So, obviously you’re in great shape. Always been a gym person? I’ve always needed to but never really done it.”

“Oh, thank you sweetie. But, no, the gym is new to me. Really since I divorced Gil’s dad. I had just reached that age where I wanted to seize control of a few things. Live life fully. Get a tattoo. Run around naked. You know, the usual,” she smiled.

“That is not the usual at my house, Anna, but I respect the choices. And good cheese. And, occasionally all day Netflix Bingefests with snacks. But I get the idea of working out. And, I meant to ask you about the tattoo. It was cool.”

“Oh, right, you saw it at the pool. Not many of Gil’s co-workers have seen my bare ass.”

“That we know of,” I interjected.

“It comes of you not having an extensive resume, son. Get on that.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“But yeah. I got it a little while ago. In fact, it’s sort of how I met Mikey,” Anna quipped.

Joann arched an eyebrow, “Okay, I’ll bite. How you met Chelle? Didn’t Gil introduce you?”

“Nope.” She clarified, “Well, yeah.”

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” I said. “Michelle was doing a guest membership at the gym and met Mom there. Didn’t know she was my mother, but did notice the tattoo.”

Joann sat up a little more straight and said, “Okay. But, that tattoo isn’t exactly showing in gym wear is it?”

“Of course not. But in a locker room I am no more shy than I am in a pool, Joann.” Anna grinned and sipped her wine. “So, as you might imagine Michelle saw it when we were chatting after a workout. I saw Michelle more often there, and we became friends. I mean, naked friends, but friends. Eventually she asked me about the tattoo and it turned out that it was one of the things that made her want to talk with me. We’ve been friends since.”

“One of the things,” Joann asked slyly.

“Yeah, she thinks Mom has a great rack too,” I offered. Hell, I needed to shut down part of this conversation before it got into territory I wasn’t comfortable with.

“That sounds like Chelle,” Joann chuckled.

Anna replied, “well, they’re real and they’re-“

“Spectacular,” Joann finished. “I’ve seen a show. I can pop the culture.”

“Indeed,” I laughed. “So, Joann, enough about my mother’s breasts- A phrase most folks don’t need to use- but since we’re probably going to need more after work drinks this week-“

“Fuck kartal escort Schmidt,” she replied.

“Fuck, as you say, Schmidt, but by end of week I’m sure we’re going to want another drink night. Why don’t you come by for dinner on Friday?” I asked.

“Really? Sure. I don’t think I have plans. What can I bring?”

“Your mom, actually. Michelle said she wanted to see her again and if it wouldn’t be a downer I thought it might be nice to get everyone together.”

Anna said, “A dinner party in which you’re the only guy. This could be great for you or really quite terrible, my son.”

“Uh, yeah. I guess there’s that,” I said. “So, I’ll make dinner, but no beating up on the host.”

“Spoilsport. But, yes, Jo come by and bring Kate. I’m dying to meet her,” Anna encouraged.

“Really? Well, sure. The old broad is pretty fun, and she has mentioned wanting to see Chelle again now that we’re all in town together. If you’re sure it’s not an imposition.”

“I’m insisting,” I countered. “It’ll be fun. I’ll cook – something simple so don’t get excited- and we’ll visit. It’s a big place and I’ve been meaning to have you over.”

“This is just an excuse to get me naked again, isn’t it. Tsk tsk, young man. Flattery won’t get you a raise.”

“I’m so transparent, aren’t I? Oh well. I thought I covered my prurient urges by inviting your mother along, Jo. I guess you saw right through that.”

Joann laughed, “Okay, so maybe you aren’t trying to get my kit off. But I find nice guys so unbelievable don’t you, Anna?”

“Oh, definitely. Boys always want to get you naked, Jo. Hell, some girls do too. And some old broads as well,” she said a bit snidely.

“Hmm. I see how you and Chelle get along so well. But, yeah, I’ll stop in and bring the old lady if she’s available. I’ll at least bring wine though. Red or white?”

“Red,” I replied. “It goes great with take-out. Which might be the response to my attempt at cooking.”

“Good planning. Well, I’m off to the Ladies and on my way home. Thanks for meeting me, Gil. And so glad to see you again, Anna.”

Anna stood up and hugged Joann with a smooch on the cheek, “Always nice to see you Jo. Friday night. I’ll even try to not embarrass you in front of your mother.”

“Well, then you’ll be one up on Michelle,” she smiled. “That girl always tries to make me blush in front of Mom. It’ll be nice to have actual mature grown-ups around.”

“Wait,” I asked, “You do know who you’re having dinner with, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, smart ass. See you tomorrow,” she said as she walked to the restroom.

“Later, boss.”

Anna and I took our seats again. She said, “She’s a sweet kid. And I’m being careful, so you can unclench son.”

“Well, not too careful, Mommy Dearest. You were a bit saucy with her,” I pointed out.

“Of course I was. I’m breathing. And she might find it awkward if I was stand-offish. Besides, I’ve said for some time now that I’m living my life. And that life involves nudity, innuendo, and indulgence.”

I clinked my glass against hers and added, “It does indeed.”

“I mean, it’s not like I reached under the table and ran my hand over your cock in the middle of a public place, right?”

Which is, of course, what she had just done. I coughed. I guess that’s a reflex.

“Uh, Anna. I, uh, really enjoy that-“

“Clearly,” she smiled.

“But, uh… wow… that was a nice twist. You can’t even get a good grip.”

“Nuance, subtlety and experience baby boy,” Anna responded. “I’ve got more tricks than you haven’t dreamed of.”

“Wow… er… want to get out of here?” I asked a bit urgently.

“Well, you aren’t going anywhere, son. First of all, if John sees you in that state he’s going to shut down our tab.”

“True, I might need a minute,” I agreed.

“And secondly, Joann is just stepping out of the Ladies. So, you really don’t want to go waving that thing in her face. I think she’d have some questions about what’s going on at our table.”

“She might, at that,” I choked quietly.

“Now, smile baby. Smile and wave,” she said.

“See you tomorrow Joann,” I called out.

“Night guys,” she responded as she headed for the door.

John looked over at our table to see our empty glasses and gestured with two fingers in inquiry. I shook my head ‘No.’ I was not about to stand up just this second. Anna had moved her hand to my knee, and I was taking deep cleansing breaths to bring things under control.

“Straighten up your business there, Gil.”

“Huh?” I muttered.

“Arrange Mr. Johnson so that you can walk. Then meet me in the Ladies Room in one minute.”


“Sixty seconds,” she said standing up. “The Ladies. The Men’s Room in this joint is a pit. And though that’s sometimes fun, I’m not in the mood for that raunchy a moment.”

“But what if there’s someone-“

“Fifty seconds,” she replied walking away.

Fuck. Okay. Control. Shift the business in my trousers around. I can do this. Maybe I’ll even avoid getting arrested.

I stood up and walked towards the restrooms. It was quiet in the bar and really John only had two guys on barstools and a young couple who’d just settled in at a table with their first round. In fact, only one woman in the whole joint other than Anna. I guess that comforted me a little.

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