Summer at the family lake house was drawing to a close. Bags were being packed by the household staff and tossed to dad while my mom and sister covered the furniture with sheets. My older brother was fighting a bundle of fishing rods, and the rods were winning.
Me? I was standing on our pier looking across the lake in hopes of one more glimpse at Ginger, who had stolen my heart that long, hot summer. It was the first of many summer romances for me, and like most young teens, those first romances tend to linger in our minds forever.
I was about to give up when I heard the sound of a screen door clapping against its frame and echoing off the still water. The sound was familiar. I knew someone from Ginger's cabin had come outside. My young heart raced when I saw her running to the waters edge with her arms flailing.
Her faint voice bounced across the lake."Garrett...Garrett!"
I glanced back at my family loading the family station wagon before waving timidly. We usually had the cabin stocked and staffed before we arrived by limo, but that year, mom insisted that we try to blend in and not look so pretentious. Not exactly an easy feat when everyone knew the Carkos empire was worth billions.
But, she insisted and when Delilah Carkos insists, people tend to do as they're told.
"We're doing this Gus, and besides, it will be fun to drive ourselves and the kids will love it."
Dad grunted, "Alright, alright. I suppose we need to buy a proper vehicle."
So as the family loaded up the proper vehicle, Ginger and I said our goodbyes across the lake using sign language. You see, Ginger was deaf. She wasn't born that way, but every year her hearing loss increased until it simply faded away. I guess like turning the volume down on the radio until there were no sounds at all.
But, her handicap didn't stop her. She'd learned to play the piano before her hearing vanished, and could read and write music at an early age. My family sat on the grass at night and heard her playing Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. The music slid across the lake like warm butter on hot bread. Occasionally, she'd play something she'd composed, while mom dabbed at her eyes with my sister Carrie tucked under her arm, dad's eyes glistened in the moonlight, and I laid on my belly in the grass grinning proudly. My brother sat against a tree and whittled on a hickory stick, but I knew the thought of a young deaf girl playing such beautiful piano had gotten to him, too.
Yes, Ginger Madsen was a very special young girl, and I loved her.
As we blew kisses at one another and clutched our chests, neither of us knew that we wouldn't see each other for years. We knew it would be difficult with her living in New York, and me living in Hollywood, but assumed like all young lovers that what we had was so special, the distance didn't matter. We would overcome it.
In fact, to seal the deal, using crayons, we each wrote a little something on the back of her paper placemat while having breakfast that morning at the I-Hop in town. She then tore the placemat in half and kissed my half, leaving the print of her luscious lips across the note.
I know it sounds really sappy, but in our 16 year old minds, we had found our soul-mates.
The drive home was the most painful day of my young life. I sat on the rear seat that faced backwards as tears streamed down my face. I knew if my siblings had seen me, the heckling would have been brutal. Only my mother knew my pain.
Once home, mom took me aside, "It's going to be alright, Garrett. I picked something up for you. Ginger has one, too." Then she handed me a cell phone. I beamed with joy when she said, "Her numbers loaded. Call her as much as you want!"
Okay, so she couldn't hear me, but I could text, and I could hear her, even though her voice was very faint. Most of all, I could hear her play the piano, and in my mind, no one played with more passion than Ginger Madsen.
It eased my suffering, and I thanked mom for the gift and her understanding.
Ginger was first to call, and as expected, she pledged her undying love and devotion. Thankfully, she didn't use text speak; no 'I heart u' crap. She carefully punched each letter with her delicate fingers and that made it even more special.
At first, we messaged one another every hour or so, but real life made it harder and harder to spend time together, and within a few months, we were down to weekly chats, then monthly, and finally, our screens went dark. It was a slow process, much like her hearing loss, but none the less, we both felt our love vanishing before our eyes.
But, I did have those memories of our life at the lake, and the hours with my cell pressed to my ear, even as it heated my flesh. Ginger played something for me almost every night those first few months, and I cherish those tender moments, even today.
After graduating from high school, and anxious to leave Hollywood, I chose the University of Nevada in Las Vegas for my college education. It upset my parents, since I did have a scholarship to UCLA that was less than two miles from our home on Las Palmas Drive. But, it was only forty minutes from home by air, or four hours by car, so home was never out of reach.
My best friend, Buddy Davenport also chose UNLV, and we did our stretch together. Both earning degrees, while banging show girls and cocktail waitresses, two at a time.
My degree was in marketing, Buddy's was in art, and I have to admit, the boy was good. You might have seen his work on the concrete walls off I-5 that serve as noise barriers for the residential area that fronts the freeway. Yeah, laws were for other people, not Buddy.
I interviewed with all the big companies, and like most college grads, found out quickly that no matter how many degrees one had, if you were hired, you'd still be getting coffee for someone.
The last thing I wanted was to work in the family business, but according to my father, he had been 'grooming' me for years to work by his side. That opportunity was never given to my older brother Danny, since he was, and still is the most arrogant, and unconventional human being I have ever known.
So, I accepted a position with Carkos Global, and naturally had a corner office with sweeping views of Manhattan, and the river. A hefty six figure salary, an unlimited expense account, limos to and from work, all the show tickets I wanted, and naturally, the finest pussy available to someone of my stature were just some of the reasons I took the job.
My business card read:
Director of Acquisitions
I later learned there was no acquisition department, making both my college degree, and title just something for show. But, my father was a man that acquired things, and that was where I came in. It didn't matter if it was real estate, manufacturing plants, jewelry, cars, planes, art, or struggling companies. If it had value, Gus Carkos wanted it, and if he wanted it, it was my job to get it for him.
My first acquisition was Belgrade Cement in Peru. They had contracts with the US and supplied concrete for highways. Maria Valenzuela was very helpful in sealing the deal. Naturally, I had to wine, dine and bed her before she signed, but she signed. My father, a man not known for lavishing praise said, "nice" then shoved the papers in his desk. Actually, pretty nonchalant after me spending ten million for a cement plant, but it had value, and my father was pleased.
And so it went just like that, all over the world.
It was the fourth of July and raining in Boston when I saw a poster for the Boston Pops on a bus stand, while having dinner in a little cafe off La Salle Avenue. I used the heel of my hand to wipe the fog from the window by my table and there it was. A special performance by Ginger Madsen, along with her picture. I suddenly couldn't swallow, and I just knew my heart was about to explode.
How many years had it been since we blew those kisses across the lake?
Then the crazy questions. How many women had I slept with wishing it were her? How many men had enjoyed her body the way I'd always wanted ? Was she married? Oh, God forbid.
I shoved away from the table, tossed a twenty to my waitress, a cute little number that I'd already envisioned naked in my bed stuffing my cock in her red mouth. But, she could wait. My only thought at that time was seeing Ginger, and I was bound and determined to not leave Boston without seeing her.
Occasionally, it helped being the son of Gus Carkos, because with his powerful connections, I knew a meeting with Ginger was possible. I called him from the bus stand while reading the poster and explained the situation. My father wasn't the most romantic guy in the world, but surprised me.
"Sure. Give me a few minutes. I'll take care of it."
The next thing I knew, a long black limo pulled to the curb as the power window eased down. The silver haired driver leaned across the seat and shouted through the open window, "You Garrett Carr?"
I grabbed the door handle and slipped in, "Yep, I'm Garrett Carr. Where are you taking me?"
"To the Hatch, Mr. Carr. It's the fourth of July. The pops always performs at the Hatch on the fourth."
The Hatch Shell in Boston is just that. It's a shell shaped theater where the sounds from the orchestra fills the shell then bursts out the front with such power it can be overwhelming. I was there a few years ago, and heard 'Rhapsody in Blue' with tears steaming down my face. It was the most powerful rendition I'd ever heard.
The thought of my sweet Ginger playing such a venue made my heart swell with pride.
"Good. Is it far?" I asked while nervously lighting a cigarette.
"Twenty minutes if I stay off the Esplanade. I'll be dropping you at the side door, sir. Here's your pass. This will get you anywhere."
It's hard to explain what I felt. Excited? Certainly. Then the awful feeling that she wouldn't recognize me. I had grown over a foot, put on some pounds, and wore my hair long. I was no longer that sweet, innocent boy that she knew. I looked at the cigarette between my fingers. Does she smoke? Will she hate me for smoking? The questions just kept coming.
By the time the limo came to a stop by the side door, I was a nervous wreck. But, I was the son of Gus and Delilah Carkos, and as such, I had to put on my game face and represent the family. I took a few crisp hundreds from my wallet and handed them to the driver.
"Wait. I don't care how long, but you must be right here when I come out that fucking door."
"I work for your father. He'd fire me if I accepted gratuities. No, thanks."
"I'll fire you if you don't. So, take the money and turn off the ignition."
He took the cash.
I slid out and brushed my jacket and slacks with my hands, then went to the side door, combing my hair with my fingers.
The guard glanced at my pass and opened the door, where I was greeted by another guard, who pointed down the passage way that led to the stadium. I stepped on my cigarette, and popped a mint in my mouth and took off for my date with destiny.
A red jacketed usher showed me the available seats. I chose an aisle seat in the third row, not wanting to be impaired visually or crushed trying to get out once the performance was over.
I took off my top coat and handed it to the usher, then took my place among Boston's elite that could afford such luxury. The sounds of the orchestra tuning and warming up spilled into the warm night air, and thankfully, the rain had stopped. The crowd went silent the same time as the musicians.
Then from stage left, a small woman appeared wearing a gold sequined gown slit up one side. Her red hair was up and diamond earrings dangled next to her soft face. She paused, then smiled and walked with great purpose to the gleaming Grand piano. Once there, she panned the audience, bowed graciously, then in a moment I have never forgotten, winked, and signed, 'for my love' while staring in my watery eyes.
She sat down on the white bench and began.
The song she had chosen to play on this, of all nights, 'I will love you for a thousand years' had everyone weeping after a few bars, including me. You'll understand why later. I was numb, and barely able to focus, but I lifted my chin and smiled. I thought it couldn't get any better, but it did.
After playing a medley of her hits, she took her bow, and walked off the stage and hurried to me with outstretched arms. We grabbed each other's hands and just stood for a moment. Our glassy eyes locked. Memories of another time filled us with such emotion, we could barely contain ourselves. She batted her eyes and her chin quivered. I was choking up big time.
The crowd hushed. We knew all eyes were upon us, so we kissed each other's cheek; our hands still locked tight, not wanting to take from this special moment by doing something stupid, which I was inclined to do. The heavy kissing and groping would have to wait.
I offered her the seat next to mine and she took it graciously. We sat there, side by side, like we had done at that I-Hop a lifetime ago. Our fingers made love, the empty spaces between our fingers fit perfectly together. Our thumbs rubbed in each other's palm.
As the clock in the tower chimed eleven times, the fireworks burst over the top of the Hatch Shell, lighting the night sky. The booms and pops, the oohs and ahhs, the smell of suphur, and the reflections in Ginger's eyes had taken me back to that long, hot summer, when our parents set off fireworks at the edge of the lake.
Who knew at that time just how significant those moments were? When you're young, everything is about the present. Now, that we're older, we know that those memories make nights like this night possible.
I wrapped my arm over her narrow shoulders and squeezed her. She laid her head on my arm and squeezed my hand. I felt no ring.
At the end of the concert, Ginger trotted on stage to take her bow with the musicians and conductor, then returned to me.
Her faint voice was now gone, but I could read her lips as she signed.
'Darling, let me gather my things. Come with me'.
She led me backstage, never dropping my hand. We elbowed our way through the stage hands and musicians until we reached a door marked, 'Miss Madsen'.
Once inside, she locked the door, turned to me, then leaned against the door and signed.
'Are you married?'
I shook my head and replied, "No. You?"
She reached for the pin that held her hair and pulled it slowly, never taking her eyes from mine. Then shook her head and mouthed, 'No' as her long, red hair cascaded over her shoulders.
I thought her once scrawny little body had developed nicely. She was a small woman, with a coke bottle shape, and blessed with the face of an angel. An oval face, delicate nose, perfect eyebrows, natural long lashes, almond shaped green eyes, and pouty lips coated in red lip gloss that matched her hair made her simply stunning.
I lifted her chin with my fingers and rubbed my thumb over her red lips.
"You're beautiful. More beautiful than I remember."
Then we kissed. It wasn't an awkward teen kiss this time. The kiss was full, rich, and warm. I felt her fingers on the nape of my neck, her other hand inside my suit coat, rubbing the small of my back. I grew hard quickly and pressed myself to her. Our lips parted and our tongues slipped inside each others mouth and rolled gently. Soft moans escaped our lips.
When the kiss broke free, Ginger smiled and signed, ' You've been practicing '.
The limo was right there when we stepped from the side door. I held the door for her and she slid across the rich leather still clutching my hand. I followed her inside and bundled her in my arms. We kissed a few times, but mostly we talked.
We talked about our past, our present and what the future might hold for us. She then told me we should wait to have sex, which I admit was a disappointment to me, but I nodded, even though I didn't understand. There was something about the way she looked when she said this was such a wonderful night, then thanked me for looking her up.
I told her it was fate that I was in Boston and fate that made me stop in the little cafe.
She smiled and signed, ' Remind me to thank your mom for calling and telling me you were going to be here, and saying if we wanted to use the lake house, she'd arrange it.'
That's when it made sense. Of course, the lake house should be where we make love the first time. Certainly, not in the back of a limo or luxury hotels. Those were fine for one night stands after one too many drinks, but this was different, and the fact that she knew it was different made me feel warm inside.
No, after ten years, it had to be the lake house.
The flight from Boston to San Jose was long, but we used our time wisely. We spent hours signing to one another about the old days at the lake. How I tossed her from our pier to see if she could swim. She started going under and I dove in to save her, only to be met by her laugh and a face full of water as she swam away.
There was no way she'd forget the time I made her an ankle bracelet strung with dog biscuits, either. Every dog around the lake chased her until she made it back to her cabin, slamming that old screen door while I stood out front and laughed.
Yes. Ginger and I had history, and that night we knew we were adding new chapters to our life.
American Airlines flight 1066 touched down at 6:10 am. I rented a car and we drove straight to the lake house. Ginger slept on my shoulder the whole trip.
The lake house was ready. Delilah made sure of that.
I carried my sweet Ginger in and laid her gently on the bed, her red hair fanned across the white pillows. She'd never looked happier or more beautiful.
The sheer curtains fluttered in the soft breeze as I undressed her. She kept her eyes closed, but smiled when she was completely naked. I undressed, and slid next to her on top of the Egyptian sheets. We kissed again and again, until the fire in us demanded more.
It was if we had choreographed each other's moves. I rolled on top of her as she opened her smooth legs. My stiff cock lay on top of her warm pussy. I felt her nipples stiffen against my bare chest, and her legs wrap snugly around my ass. Her delicate fingers dug into the flesh of my shoulders.We kissed slowly at first, my stiff cock throbbing against her soft mound. After a few minutes, my cock dropped right to her wet opening as she raised her hips. The entry was perfect.
Our hips rolled in unison, our kisses deepened. I was deep inside my first love as her pussy clamped tight around my cock. We picked up the pace, our pelvic bones slapped together, and her pussy made squishing sounds with each deep thrust. I felt her spasms, her breathing became ragged, then her legs stiffened, her pussy twitched and she came hard with me. It was the best climax I'd achieved with any woman... ever.
My elbows pushed deep in the mattress as I held her face between my hands. I stayed inside her as we laid together. Our warm mix flushed over us. I brushed her hair behind her ears, and kissed her softly while caressing her face. We stayed connected for a long time, neither of us willing to disconnect. Eventually, my cock softened and she smiled as it slipped from her.
I swung my legs off the bed, grabbed my cigarettes, and lit up. It was my usual routine and since most women in my world smoked, I thought nothing of it. But, then Ginger wasn't most women, and I suddenly feared I had spoiled the moment, maybe even future moments.
Imagine my surprise when she sat next to me and took the cigarette from my lips and dragged on it heavily. She grinned as smoke poured from her red lips and signed, 'I was worried that you didn't smoke. Wait here. I have something I want to show you.'
She grabbed the sheet and wrapped herself then hopped from the bed and hurried to her things. She rifled through them until she found what she was searching for. I watched her wrapped body coming towards me with something in her hand. It looked vaguely familiar.
I scooted over and she sat next to me. Then she unfolded an old piece of paper. It was wrinkled, worn, ragged and about to come apart at the folds. Clearly, it was something she'd carried for years and looked at frequently. It was her half of the placemat from that I-Hop, and the crayon message had all but disappeared. It didn't matter. I knew exactly what it said, after all, I wrote it.
'I will love you for a thousand years'.
I grinned as my eyes welled up, and said, "Hang on. I got something to show you, too."
I leaned over and picked up my slacks, and opened my wallet. Inside was my half of the placemat. It too, was worn and ragged, and about to come apart. I handed it to her and she unfolded it gently. She smiled through her tears as she signed the words she'd written to me so many years ago.
A bell is not a bell until you ring it
A song is not a song until you sing it
Love wasn't put in your heart to stay
Love isn't love until you give it away
Ginger and I stayed together until God called her home. I suppose He needed her more than I did. I know she's right where she belongs. She was an angel, and for a brief moment, she was mine.
I still visit the lake house, and many nights, as I lay on my belly in the grass, I hear piano music echoing across the lake. I figure it's Ginger letting me know she's okay. I always look up, smile and whisper, 'I will love you for a thousand years'.