Julie was fast asleep when she first heard the moaning. She turned over thinking it must be part of her dream. Then, her hand reached across the rumpled sheets for Luke.
“Honey, are you okay?” She hoped Luke wasn’t writhing in pain beneath the covers. The possibility of another incident brought on by stress hung over the two of them after the last one.
“What time is it?” Luke mumbled. Julie knew he wasn’t the source of the noise.
“About two o’clock.” There were guests in the house. The clatter grew louder.
“Why are you waking me up?”
“Don’t you hear it?” Julie sat up. Groans joined the moans.
“What?” Luke rubbed his eyes.
“The next room.” She motioned with her thumb towards the room Charlie’s friend Bridget had been given.
Charlie and his friends arrived unannounced a little past six on Friday evening.
“What a nice surprise,” Julie said when she answered the knock at the door.
“I forgot my key,” Charlie smiled and gave his mother a peck on the cheek.
“Why didn’t you call?” She asked before noticing he wasn’t alone.
“Spur of the moment.” A young couple was with Charlie. “We’re here for a concert.”
The girl stepped forward and extended her hand. “Hi, my name is Bridget. We all live in the same building at school. And this is Tyler,” she motioned to the shaggy haired young man behind her.
“Nice to meet you,” Julie shook the girl’s hand and then Tyler‘s.
“I hope our staying here won’t be an imposition,” Bridget said.
“Of course not. Come in, come in.” Julie ushered them into the house and encouraged them to make themselves comfortable.
In the kitchen, Julie tried to figure out whether to call for delivery or find something in the freezer. Luke remarked how attractive Bridget was.
“Why didn’t Charlie ever mention her?”
Julie shrugged. “Apparently, she and Tyler are together.”
“I see.” Luke stuck his head in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. The opening afforded him a clear view into the living room. Bridget looked up from the sofa and caught Luke in the act of spying on them.
“Hi,” she smiled.
“Hi,” Luke who was rarely bashful managed, “Can we get you kids anything?”
“We’re fine,” Bridget replied. The boys were mesmerized by something on t.v.
“What are you doing?” Julie had decided on dinner.
“Nothing. Just seeing if anybody needs anything.”
“Well, why don’t you go in there and ask what everyone wants on their pizza. If pizza’s okay.”
Luke eagerly took on the task.
Three hours later after the last bit of pizza was consumed and the last soda was downed, sleeping arrangements were made. Bridget would take the spare bedroom upstairs and Tyler the sofa. Charlie didn’t seem inclined to extend the courtesy of his room to his friend.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right?” Julie asked Tyler, anxious everyone should feel at home.
“It’s fine,” Tyler assured Julie who furnished him with sheets, pillows and a couple blankets.
Bridget bestowed a chaste kiss on Tyler and Charlie and followed Julie upstairs. Julie threw a cautionary look at Luke to not expect the same sort of goodnight from the girl.
Everyone tucked in for the night, Julie settled under the covers with her book. “They seem like a nice couple.”
“Yes, they do.” Luke agreed and promptly fell into a deep slumber, peppered with the occasional snore.
Julie put her book on the nightstand and turned out the light.
Not easy to form an opinion so quickly, but there’d always been an open door policy when it came to Charlie’s friends. The house was so empty since Charlie went away to school and his visits between holidays and vacations were less frequent. Julie enjoyed the different vibe the house had when it was full.
Julie closed her eyes. She only wished they’d had a better choice for Tyler than the sofa. With that thought, she drifted off, confident of a sound sleep. A big breakfast was in order.
Then came the disturbing noises.
“Who do you think it is?” Luke’s tone was hushed, although from the din, it didn’t seem necessary.
“I could creep across the hall and see if Charlie’s in his own bed, but I think he’d have the good sense to use his room.” It would put some distance between the two couples. And, Charlie would try to be a little quieter.
“That’s true.” Their headboard began to bounce against the wall amid cries of “Don’t stop, don’t stop.”
They sat there without saying anything for a few seconds. Difficult to tell who would be more embarrassed should the nocturnal activity in the next room become common knowledge.
“Do you think they think we’re so old we couldn’t hear that much racket?” Julie asked him. Either that or the couple were under the misguided notion Julie and Luke would have no idea what they were doing.
“What do you think we should do?” Luke looked more uncomfortable as the love making accelerated.
“There’s only one thing,” Julie replied. She curled her right hand into a fist and pounded on the wall. The picture over their bed bounced.
The racket stopped. Julie thought she heard the bedroom door open and close. The bathroom door followed along with toilet flushing and giggling.
“I hope they’re not going to start all over in the bathroom,” Julie said.
“Not much room in there,” Luke said and slid back under the covers now the excitement was over.
“And the floor is hard and cold.”
Luke dropped off quickly in the aftermath of the excitement, but Julie stared at the ceiling concerned how to react when they were once again face to face with the guests. She needn’t have worried.
In the morning, Charlie’s friends had disappeared and he didn’t seem surprised.
- Kansas Sunset