(Note: This latest entry in the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project is another one that I think may eventually turn into a longer story. I figure there's just got to be more that needs to be told... probably without the lengthy title below, however, which I cobbled on as a joke of an afterthought.)

"The General Edge Of Tomorrow's Days Of All My Bold And Beautiful Children's Guiding Life To Live As Another Young And Restless World Turns In Dark Shadows" 

(The saga that asks the musical question: Can a sweet young thing from Saskatchewan find happiness as the bride of a lad with normal parents?)

Episode 32: Patron Saint Of The Desperate

Somewhere in the diary she had kept since she was a teenager, Jillian Drummond had actually made a note of the last time she and her husband James had made love.

It had been on the evening of her thirty-fifth birthday, but it certainly hadn’t been much of a celebration. James had climbed into bed, dutifully (if somewhat mechanically) cleaved unto his wife, then rolled over and went to sleep. All in all, the entire affair lasted about 10 minutes. It had been a little like going back to high school and being with Skip Towne all over again... the main differences being that James was a good deal lighter, and that there was more room in their bed than there had been in Skip’s father's Volkswagen.

And that had been it for just over three years now. Oh, there had been a few tentative attempts since then, but they never seemed to get very far. So to say that Jillian was feeling a little… well, frustrated… would have been something of an understatement.

“James,” she whispered in his ear one night, “do you still love me?”

“Huh?” James wiped his eyes and glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand. What the hell was she doing waking him up at two in the morning? “What did you say?”

“I asked you if you still love me.”

“Heck of a time to be asking that, isn’t it?” he asked in a grumpy tone. “Of course I still love you.” And then he laid his head back down.

But Jillian wasn’t through with him yet. “Show me,” she said. 

James had the distinct impression that she wasn’t going to let him get back to sleep until he gave her what she wanted. So he sat up, kissed her on the tip of her nose, and smiled wearily. “There,” he told her. “I love you. Now can we please go back to sleep?”

Jillian scowled as he settled his head back into the pillow. After a moment’s thought she got up, walked around to stand next to his side of the bed, dropped her nightgown to the floor and looked down at him. “James?”

Her husband groaned. “What is it now?” He opened one eye and saw her standing there naked in the dark: hands on her hips, her breasts practically leaping out at him. She gazed down at him with what she hoped was an appropriately lustful – though expected to be more likely as not simply weary – expression. 

There was a time when the mere thought of enveloping Jillian's body with his own and making love to her would have had James Drummond on his feet and out of his pajamas in a heartbeat. But that was then, and this was now. And now he just lay there with a quizzical expression.

"What’s the problem?” he asked her.

And much to her own disgust, Jillian simply didn’t know how to answer. She just stood there, staring at him, as James grunted something else that was completely unintelligible and just rolled back over. A moment later he was snoring. 


What the hell is wrong with this picture?

In a huff, Jillian stood back up and walked back over to her own side of the room, pausing just long enough to gaze at her nude reflection in the full-length mirror there on the back of the bedroom door. She smiled at the vision she saw gazing back at her. Not bad for a 38-year-old, she thought as she struck up a series of pinup-type poses. Shoot, not bad for a girl half your age, come to think of it.

Which explains why you can’t even get your own husband to give you a tumble anymore, right?


She angrily put her nightgown back on and silently crawled back into the bed. She closed her eyes... and for some reason found herself wondering what Skip Towne was up to these days.

Then she rolled over, buried her face in her pillow and commenced crying herself to sleep. 

Silently, of course, so that she wouldn’t wake James…

(Copyright 2014 by John A. Small)