When is Personal Responsibility Relevent to the Law?
Jun 10, 2021
When is personal responsibility relevant to the law? I’m not a member of the legal community. I’m just a citizen, trying to live my life the best way I can. I’ve been thinking about jury duty a lot lately. Probably because I am scheduled to serve next week after postponing twice due to my job. My experiences with Jury duty have been both good and bad. Like anything we do out of obligation and civic responsibility, jury duty and our feelings about it are most often based on timing. I have been called when it was a good time to take off work and a bad time to take off. For the most part, I enjoy the experience and am happy to serve.
The cases I have helped to decide are varied. The first was a drunk driving case. The details are pretty much classic. The suspect was in a car accident, thankfully not involving anyone else. His actions were examined on the night in question and he was ultimately found guilty of driving while intoxicated or impaired. Both the judge and the prosecuting attorned spoke a lot about the meaning of impaired. The final instructions given by the judge prior to the start of deliberating was about the law which states that if a person’s blood alcohol level is found to be above the legal limit, the person is considered to be impaired. This was the question most of the jurors found to be difficult to decide. Was the individual driving while impaired? It was already established that the individual was driving. It was proven that the individuals blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
As we sat in the jury room discussing the case, most of my fellow jurors were undecided on that one issue. I sat among them wondering why the subject was unclear to them. I was not extremely outgoing in those days and preferred to stay to myself and not speak unless spoken to. I was considered shy. However, this was one time when I had to speak up. I got the attention of the other jurors and explained that they were clearly missing the point the judge and the prosecuting attorney were so careful to stress during both the trial and the juror instruction. They had even posted the clause in the law that applied to the impairment issue. “If a person’s blood alcohol level is found to be above the legal limit, the person is considered to be impaired.” Easy enough. The subject’s blood alcohol level was proven to be above the legal limit therefore, he was driving while impaired.
When I brought this to the attention of the other jurors, they all immediately agreed that yes, he was impaired based on the law. We did not need to know to what extent of impairment he was subject to. He was clearly impaired under the law. The deliberation was done. We contacted the bailiff to let him know we had reached a verdict and were quickly ushered back into the courtroom where the outcome was read. Trial done. Over.
My second case was much more confusing. The accused was a member of a Vietnamese gang in the Orange County, California area. The gang had illegally entered a home looking for drugs and cash and had detained members of a household until they found what they were looking for. The gang members had already been convicted of breaking and entering, and robbery. The question we needed to decide during this trial was “Did this gang member sexually assault the woman that they had detained during the robbery.” This was a difficult case for all of us. We had to hear all of the details and decide if what was done to this woman was sexual assault. The ultimate decision was no, it was not. She was detained and intimated but there was no sexual assault. At the end of the trial, after the verdict had been read, the defense attorney addressed we, the jury on behalf of the defendant. His message to us was one of sincere gratitude. He had plead guilty to breaking and entering but not the sexual assault. He was thankful to us for not sending him to jail and through the rest of his life with a sexual assault conviction on his record and as a registered sex offender. He was thankful that we saw it from his perspective and was resigned to serving his sentence on the other charges.
In my third example of my experience with jury duty, I did not actually serve on the jury. In fact, the judge dismissed me because he was not happy with my answers. In this case, we were in the jury selection phase being questioned by the judge and the attorneys. The charge was assault. It was serious in that the defendant had allegedly beaten the victim with a baseball bat seriously injuring him. The problem I had with the case, and the true subject of this article, was a question of personal responsibility. As the judge had explained, the victim was the antagonist in the scenario. He, a gang member, met other gang members in a park and actually started the altercation. Ultimately, in the version of the story that I heard as a prospective juror, the defendant picked up a baseball bat as a weapon of defense and ended up beating the antagonist causing extensive head injuries and disabling him.
The defendant was being charged with assault and attempted murder. My take on the case is that the victim was the person who was responsible for starting the fight. Wasn’t it his fault that he had been beaten and severely injured? Does he not have culpability in this particular situation? I posed this question to the judge who stated that it doesn’t matter. Under the law, we were to decide if the defendant is guilty of the charges. Personal responsibility has no bearing on the issue. Only the law needs to be considered. In this case, under those circumstances, I could not be an impartial juror. The injured gang member started the fight; therefore, he was responsible for his own injuries, not the man who ultimately inflicted them. As individuals, we have to be accountable to our own actions. To absolve him of any wrongdoing simply because the outcome was that he was injured is ludicrous.
The judge, as expected, excused me from the case. He was not happy with me, probably because my comments about personal responsible probably affected the views of the other prospective jurors. I’m not saying that the law is incorrect or that my actions/comments in this case were right. I’m simply asking, where is the line between being personally responsible for our own actions and being a victim in the final outcome of those initial actions? Shouldn’t this man have been helped to recover and then incarcerated for starting the fight in the first place? And, if he had died, shouldn’t his death have been considered the consequence of his own actions, rather than the fault of the person who beat him? Everything we do has an outcome. Every action we take has some kind of affect on our lives and our situations. As adults, we have all of the control over ourselves and the obligation to follow the rules and to be respectful of others. If we cannot do that, we will have to deal with the consequences of our own actions rather than to blame them on someone else. We all have brains and free will.
In my seasonal position, I am a leader of people. I know that I am ultimately responsible for every outcome in my office. I don’t necessarily have to act to be responsible, however, my position makes it so. However, when there is a bad outcome to a situation, it is also my job as a leader to counsel the person who is directly responsible and create a learning experience from the situation. When I cause a negative outcome, I will always take responsibility for my actions and accept the fault. I have used the phrase “it’s all on me” many times when speaking with an unhappy client. If I were to blame the service break on someone else or some other situation, I would not be taking personal responsibility and would not be setting a good example for my subordinates or my peers. It’s all on me as it should be.
I welcome your feedback and an honest discussion on the subject. Do you agree with my assessment of the situation in my third jury duty experience? Should the victim have been the guilty party rather than the defendant? Regardless of the law, is it not clear that personal responsibility should play a role in any charges that are filed in cases like these. How do we remain accountable, even when we are negatively affected by our own actions?
Understanding your delivery service tax return
Jul 18, 2020
Simple Tax Advice, Volume 2
I’m a tax professional working for a large multinational tax service. Every day I work with clients that have decided to supplement their income by being a delivery driver for one of the exceedingly popular food delivery services. I’m talking about Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber and Lyft for example. There are others but these are the ones I see the most. With the Covid 19 pandemic, many more consumers are using these services and opportunities for delivery drivers are numerous.
What my clients don’t understand is this; Working with one of these businesses makes them self-employed. A self-employed person must file a Schedule C and a Schedule SE when they file their income taxes. The cost of the tax return with a Schedule C with my employer is increased by at least $150.00. In addition, if you only list the amount of money the service reports you earned, you will pay SE tax (about 15%) on the total. Many of my clients come to me unprepared. They bring the statement issued by the service and nothing else.
The SE tax (Self-Employment) is the equivalent of the amount you and your employer combined would pay for your Medicare and Social Security Tax if you were an employee. The IRS gives you a deduction for 1/2 of the SE tax if you are self-employed but that only reduces your total taxable income, not your tax. In effect, you are paying SE tax plus income tax on your earnings. If you are in the lowest tax bracket of 10%, you are paying about 25% of your earnings. The positive aspect of this is your Social Security and Medicare accounts are still being funded even though you are not receiving a paycheck from an employer. To make sure you are calculating the correct amount of tax on your earnings, you need to limit the amount you are reporting as profit, thereby limiting the amount of SE tax you are paying as well as income tax.
We calculate the profit by reporting all the expenses of the self-employment activity. The service usually reports to you the number of miles you drove for them and the required fees. However, there are a lot more expenses involved in performing this business. I tell my clients to close their eyes and think about what expenses they must pay only because they are doing this job. Most people, at a minimum, will list their cell phones, auto expense, gas, tolls, maintenance, snacks, and drinks if they are a transportation service, and additional mileage that is not reported by the company. The IRS gives you the option of reporting all the auto expenses including depreciation on the automobile or just the mileage at the current mileage rate which is 57.5 cents per mile for 2020. We typically do the math both ways and use the best option for the return.
If you are working as a driver for one of these delivery or transportation companies, I always advise you to use a mileage tracker. There are quite a few out there that work with your cell phone. Also, use a separate cell phone for your business or take the time to analyze at least a few bills to determine how much of the usage is business and how much is personal. Set up a separate bank account for the business. You can put all income into that account and pay all expenses from it. This will help you to capture All of your expenses and, as your tax preparer, I can calculate your correct profit and legally limit your tax liability.
Lastly, if you have questions about what is deductible and what is not, see your tax preparer and ask. Don’t make assumptions and don’t plan to do this first return on your own. Leave this one to the professionals. After you learn the ins and outs of preparing a return (Schedule C) for your business, then you can try doing it yourself.
Filing Status and Standard Deduction
Jul 18, 2020
Simple Tax Advice, Volume 1
This series is not about complex tax issues. It’s about the simple ones that everyone needs to understand. In the simplest terms possible, everyone in the United States, making more than standard deduction for their filing status, who is not totally disabled, needs to file a tax return and pay income tax. With that, if you are unsure whether you are required to file, talk to a tax professional. They can walk you through the criteria and help you to understand what your responsibilities include.
The IRS defines 5 different filing statuses. Everyone fits into one of them, some fit into more than one. However, there are consequences to each of the categories.
All persons unmarried as of the last day of the tax year are considered single. However, If a person is single and has one or more qualifying children, they are better off to file using the Head of Household designation.
- Head of Household
As stated above, a person who has one or more qualifying children and provides over half of the support of the household is considered to be Head of Household.
- Married Filing Joint
Persons who are married as of the last day of the tax year should always use the Married Filing Joint designation. This category gives the taxpayer the most tax advantages, especially when combined with child tax credits, dependent care credits and education credits for qualifying dependents.
- Married Filing Separately
Married persons sometimes choose to file separately and use this designation. This is almost always a mistake. The IRS punishes married taxpayers who do not file jointly by disallowing all of their credits. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, there are no more personal exemptions. Therefore, if a married person has qualifying children, they will get absolutely no benefit from claiming their children.
- Qualified Widow
A qualifying widow is a widowed person in year two or three after they become widowed who has a qualifying dependent. In year one, they use the Married, Filing Joint status. In years two and three, they use the Qualifying Widow category. After year three, they must use head of household as long as they have a qualifying child and single if they do not.
The most significant difference between the filing statuses, other than qualifying for tax credits is the standard deduction. Taxpayers in each category are entitled to a specific deduction to that category. There are adjustments for age and certain disabilities but the basic amount is the same for everyone in the category.
12400 for 2020
- Head of household
18,650 for 2020
- Married filing joint
24,800 for 2020
- Married filing separately
12,400 for 2020(the same as single)
- Qualifying widow
18,650 for 2020 (the same as Head of Household)
Up until 2017, many taxpayers were able to itemize their deductions on a schedule A. I still see a lot of clients who don’t seem to be aware that this is now rare. Prior to 2017 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs act, the standard deductions were half of what they are today. Unless a taxpayer has more than the standard deduction in itemized deductions, it does not benefit them to Itemize. However, I advise my clients to look at these numbers every year. Don’t just assume that you won’t itemize because you didn’t last year. You could have an unusual amount of medical payments, charitable contributions, or increased income, resulting in increased tax payments.
Oh, and lastly, if your situation has changed, don’t do your own return online this time. Have a professional do it this year so you are aware of how your life changes affect your tax return. Once you know what to expect and what the changes actually mean as far as your taxes are concerned, you can do it yourself again next year. You don’t really pay a tax professional to complete a return for you. You pay a tax professional for their knowledge and insight. The training that a tax preparer is required to do on a yearly basis is worth far more than the fees that you are charged to utilize their service.
The Power of Books
Jul 18, 2020
The Power of Books
Travel with me…………….
The earth is an exceptionally large place, but infinitely small when compared to the universe. I have an insatiable need to learn and travel. Thankfully, I find that what I see in the pages of books can fulfill that need. My imagination allows me to not only learn about, but to see what the author is describing. It is much less expensive that actually traveling, but even so, quite satisfying. I love to read and do so whenever I can.
When I was a young girl, I traveled with all the young girls in the books I read. I worked one summer at a resort in the Catskills. I went along with another young girl to help settle a colony in Australia. I lived on a farm and learned to ride and care for horses. I traveled the ancient world with a nomadic group of cavemen. I lived in a harem with 300 other women whose only job was to sit around and wait until one man wants the company of one of them for one night. I was captured and kept in a cage as a prize to the Sheikh of another harem. I did not just read these things in my books. I lived through them in my books and continue to do this today.
Most recently, I helped solve murderer in New York, a city I don’t know and have only visited twice in my life, and for less than a day each time. I learned to be a detective by trial and error and putting myself into danger to get the information I was looking for. I lived through an apocalypse and traveled all over the United States with a group of survivors. A sleeping magic was awakened inside of me and I discovered I was a member of a race of people who had special powers. I was called upon to help rule those people and to help save the world. The more I read, the more I become my heroine, the more I learn, not only about our world, but also about possibilities. Since none of the books I read are non-fiction, nothing is real. However, I step into one of these books and my perspective is changed forever. I have new experiences. I grow in ways that I never thought were necessary. I become a new me.
Our children have grown up in a world where electronics are abundant, at home and at school and in the workplace. As children ourselves, we had encyclopedias that were our research go-to. These days, all our research is done online. We don’t have to get out and go to the library to find reference books, Google has it all. Wikipedia has information on everything. Britannica and World Book encyclopedias are both online, and updated constantly. We, as parents and grandparents must encourage our children to read. Print books are quickly becoming dinosaurs and will eventually disappear if we don’t stop it by continuing to embrace them and to buy them. We need to teach our children to love them as we do. We need to teach them to use their own imaginations instead of looking for instant gratification by using electronics when their own brains are clearly the better choice for inspiration.
As humans, we are made to be curious. If we don’t exercise that curiosity and keep looking for more knowledge and stimulation, we will stagnate and become bored with life. We’ll sit in front of the television and watch meaningless sitcoms or play games on our electronic devices and never leave the house because all our stimulation comes from within. It is up to us to make sure that not only do we keep ourselves free from idleness, but also our families. I only hope that as a writer, I can make you, my reader, see what I am seeing, feel what I am feeling and learn what I have learned about traveling the world and the universe through the pages that I write.
Fantasy - A Love Story
Jul 18, 2020
Fantasy…A Love Story
By Theresa Rosenfield
Today is March 1st. The tax office, with eleven workstations, is extremely busy with each Tax Professional seeing one client after another. There is no space on the calendar to accommodate walk-in clients today. Even if I had more people to add to the schedule, I wouldn’t have a workspace for them. When we are this busy, we try to send clients to one of the other two locations that I manage. We need to make sure we serve them, and we don’t lose them because we are so busy. The receptionist comes to my cubicle in the back of the office, clearly, with a question on her mind. She asks if I can take a walk-in client. I’m reluctant but I hate to refuse. I’m busy as the office manager, but every completed return adds to the results of my office and adds to my commission at the end of the season. In addition, I am service minded, service first, not my own convenience.
My name is Rachel. I’m a late fifties woman, smart, imaginative, and creative. I work as a tax preparer and manager for a worldwide tax service. I love my clients and my job, but my clients first. Always. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world, but I clean up well. I have curly brown hair and hazel eyes that sometimes look a little green, sometimes brown. Some call me pretty. Most comment on my personality rather than my looks. I’m empathetic and caring and will give anything to anyone if they truly need it.
The clients name is Jeffrey Branson. He is in his early sixties, not super tall and somewhat handsome with greying light brown hair and sparkling green eyes. He is dressed casually but nicely. He is very fit looking, a bit tanned, and not skinny but what I would call trim. As he walks into my cubicle, he offers his hand to me and smiles. He has a nice, friendly smile and I am immediately comfortable with him. When I take his hand, I feel a strange sensation, almost like a low-level spark of energy. I look into his eyes and know that he felt it too.
Neither of us comment on the energy between us. We sit and begin to review Jeffrey’s information. He has a W-2, from a large investment firm, a 1099R for a distribution from his 401k and information on income and expenses from 8 rental properties. I am one of the few tax preparers in my office that enjoys doing business returns. Although Jeff’s business is all schedule E for the rentals, which feed the 1040, it is still considered a business. Each rental property has its own column on the Schedule E, and all are combined to come up with the total income or loss from the rental activity. The W-2 income is what I would call respectable. The rest is just gravy.
As I prepare the return, Jeff and I chat about ourselves, the economy, and his career as an investment advisor. He tells me he is widower of about a year, and recently retired. His filing status is Married filing jointly because it has not been quite a year since his wife passed and this is the first filing since. His paperwork is organized and straight forward. He has worked with my company for years. This is fortunate because of the rentals. They’re all set up in the software system except for one new property. Other than the new one, I only need to add the income and expenses for the year. The new one needs to be set up as an asset and a new schedule E added so we can put in the income and expenses for the half of the year it was rented after purchase.
During the interview, he reaches out periodically and touches my hand or my arm, even my cheek. The first time it makes me a bit nervous but I realize that he is just curious about the current that flows through us both with each small touch. The last time, he lets his hand rest on mine for about 10 seconds. As we both feel the tingling sensation produced by the charge, neither of us speaks.
The outcome of the return is a small refund, which seems to make Jeffrey extremely happy. He mentions that he hates to let the government hang on to his money for too long. As an investment advisor, he has much better uses for it. He makes estimated quarterly payments to cover the income from some of the older rentals so he will not have to pay. We add the estimated payment vouchers to the return, complete the forms, make up his packet with his documents and copies of the returns, and he is done.
As we stand to prepare to leave, he reaches for my hand again and looks thoughtful as we both feel that spark. He pauses and whispers, “just a minute”. He hands me a business card and says “I see the ring on your hand, but I also know that you too are feeling the electricity between us. I’m giving you this card so that you can think about it and call me if you want to explore the possibilities of getting to know me. No pressure. Just think about it and call me if you decide it’s a good idea”.
He walks up to the reception desk, pays his bill, and leaves as I just stand there, somewhat in shock, and watch him go. As the door closes, I feel a wave of anxiety, as if his leaving is wrong. I shake it off, telling myself it’s my imagination and get back to work with schedules, reports, and planning for my team.
The next day, as I continue with my management tasks and see a few clients, I have this nagging feeling there is something else I should be doing. I’m sitting at my desk, working on approving the weekly payroll for my team when I find Jeffrey’s card in the drawer. I run it through my fingers, thinking, maybe I should just throw it away. I’m not looking for any new ‘friendships’ right now. Life has been calm and stable for a while. I love my home, my job, my grandchildren, and my husband.
So, why do I list my husband last? What is going on in my head? I don’t really want to change my life, do I? I did that once over 25 years ago. I was young and immature then. I thought I could have anything I wanted just by the taking. I was wrong. My selfishness didn’t make my life better, it only hurt others including my only child, my son. There was that nagging feeling again. It’s like I am forgetting there is something I need to do. It’s late in the afternoon. I clean up my desk and head home for the evening. It’s a bit early for me to be leaving, but I am too uncomfortable to stay and afraid I am going to do something stupid.
I spend a quiet night at home with the dogs, Allie and Elby, and with Daniel. We have what he wants for dinner, we are watching what he wants on television, and we go to bed when he wants. I think about this life I have, frequently. I rarely do anything for just me anymore. My husband has a strong personality and likes to get his way. I don’t like confrontation and I really do love him, so I usually let him have what he wants and just push my needs aside. It is easier than complaining or being unhappy. Besides, did I mention that he takes really good care of me? Yes, I think I did.
That thought leads me back to Jeff. I wonder what it would be like to spend an evening at home with him. Would he cook for me, or would I prepare our meal? Either way would be acceptable to me as I enjoy cooking. I just hate the cleaning up part. Maybe I should go ahead and explore the possibilities. I am so busy at work with April coming faster than we think, it shouldn’t be too hard to get away to meet him and see what happens from there. Do I really think it will be just spending an evening together having dinner and watching TV? No, not really.
When Jeff and I had touched, we both felt the spark of electricity. I’ve heard that humans are loaded with electrical charges. I’ve just never had an experience where I felt something like that when I touched another person. I know that touch is important in a relationship. Maybe, even though I hadn’t noticed it before, it’s always there when two people meet. Now, I’m curious. Will it continue to happen? Will it fade away over time?
Wow, it almost feels like I have decided to make that call. Dan and I get ready for bed. It is one of those nights where we both just want to get to sleep. I am quite distracted anyway, so it is probably for the best. I’ll sleep on it and make the decision in the morning. Even if I do decide I want to reach out to Jeff, I really can’t be sure I’ll have the courage to follow through. If I were still in my twenties or thirties, I would never do it. I was too shy then. These days, I’m much more outgoing and willing to make a move in a relationship. With that said, it is likely that I will.
I dose off while trying to form a picture of Jeff in my mind. I see him in a business suit, meeting with clients or on the phone with a Wall Street broker, making money for others. The office is quite upscale with dark cherry wood furniture and leased potted plants placed strategically near the floor to ceiling windows. Jeff himself is looking a bit intense with his hair messy and a stern look on his face as he negotiates with the person on the other end of the line. As I drop off to sleep, he looks up toward me, cuts short his conversation as he comes to meet me at the door.
The following morning, I go off to work as usual arriving just in time to open the office. It seems quiet, even though most of my Tax Professionals have opening appointments. I get ready for my morning call with the boss and start my day just like any other day. I am distracted and thoughtful. I take Jeff’s card out of my desk and lay it in front of me, staring at it and memorizing the phone number. I am a little surprised when I realize that the card has no company name on it, just Jeff’s name with a title of Financial Consultant. Then I remember, he said he is recently retired. He must be doing consulting work into his retirement. I do remember that he is only 62. Its little early for a full retirement for most people. I wonder if he just needs to keep busy or does he continue to work for the money.
Instead of making up the details of his life, I decide it’s as good a time as any to start getting to know them first-hand. I pick up the phone and dial the number on the card. I am surprised but thankful he picks up on the second ring. Any longer and I might lose my nerve and hang up. He says nothing but, “I knew you would call” and I laugh and reply, “how could I not? I am intrigued!” I ask how he is doing and if he is working or just taking it easy. He says he works a bit each day, plays golf a couple times a week and serves on the boards of three different investment companies, so he stays busy.
I am wondering, by this time, if he really has room in his full life for me. He senses my hesitation and invites me to lunch. He suggests we go someplace close to my work, quiet so we can talk and public, so that I’ll feel comfortable with him while we get to know each other. I suggest the restaurant next door. It is a little close but as busy as we are in the office, it will cut down on the time I am away indulging my curiosity about this man. We agree to meet outside the restaurant at 1:00. We choose the later time knowing there will be fewer patrons and more likely, it will be quiet enough for us to talk.
I walk out of my office at 12:55, not wanting to be late and he’s there already, waiting for me. He takes both my hands in his and kisses me on the cheek. My hands and cheek all feel that electrical tingling sensation that I had experienced before. He thanks me again for agreeing to meet with him. We walk to the entrance of the restaurant. Jeff opens and holds the door for me as we enter. The hostess thanks us for coming in and seats us toward the middle of the room. It’s a good location with no one else around to overhear our conversation. I suddenly wonder if Jeff has already been over here today and asked the hostess for this table.
Lunch with Jeffrey is enlightening. We eat little and talk constantly. The time goes by as if the world stands still around us. He tells me about his long career in investment. He is a fortune builder. He takes other people’s money and makes dynasties from it. I ask him if he ever did that with his own money and his answer surprises me. He says that his money is not for growing but for protecting and for protection. His investments are mostly in real estate because he needs his assets to be safe.
I remember the rentals on the tax return. His income from them is not remarkable. However, if he keeps them long term and sells them someday, they will increase in value and his fortune will be made. He also has one other investment account, his 401k purchased through his employer. We did not talk much about it during the tax prep because, it is tax deferred. The only reason it had come up is that he had taken a distribution during the year with which he bought another rental property.
Jeff’s career started right out of college when he was recruited by Rocky Mountain Wealth Management in Fort Collins, Colorado. He moved quickly upward as his talent for choosing the right investment for the right situation became known in the industry. Often, he was asked why he never invested his own money in securities as he did for his clients. His answer was always the same. He does not work for himself, only for others. This keeps him honest and it keeps him sharp.
As He tells me about his family and the passing of his wife, he touches me gently in different places as if he is studying the electricity that erupts between us. He explains that he has two children, a son, and a daughter, and three grandchildren. His son has a son of his own and his daughter has a boy and a girl. They all live in the same neighborhood, not too close, but not far away either. His wife’s cancer and passing were a surprise to all of them. They feel blessed as a family because she did not suffer. By the time she was diagnosed, she had little time left.
I feel a little uncomfortable while he talks about his wife. I almost feel like I am intruding in something sacred. He says that he has accepted her passing as an integral part of their family’s lives and their story. She will always be within each of them. She will be missed but she will live forever in their hearts and in their memories. She would not approve if they chose to not live their own lives and to deny themselves happiness just because she was taken so young. I ask him if he every felt this shocking sensation with her and he says “no, never”, and seems very thoughtful.
I speak about my own life and my own family, but it all seems dull when compared to his sad story. I tell him about my grandchildren, and the guilt I sometimes feel when the realization that I do not love them equally hits me. The girl is my heart, the boy is my adorable grandson. I love them both, but she will always be special. I talk a little bit about my husband and my life with him. I do not say too much but enough to let Jeff know that I am not unhappy. I am well cared for and have all that I need. I tend to be indulgent with myself and Daniel shares that trait with me in the opposite way. I indulge me, and he indulges me. It all makes me feel super selfish.
Jeff asks me if Dan would indulge me if I wanted to spend more time with him and I laugh. I say “I doubt it, but you’re welcome to ask him if you would like. I am sure he would have an opinion on the matter.” “Don’t tempt me” Jeff replies with a mischievous smile. We both laugh a bit as I wonder if he is serious. Would he really ask Daniel if he can spend more time with his wife? Even if just for the sake of science? I can’t imagine that he would, but Jeff makes it sound like a real possibility.
It is 3:00 and we are still in the restaurant talking. I had left my cell phone on my desk in the office so I wouldn’t be distracted. I’m feeling a little guilty that I’ve been gone so long. Jeff seems to notice the struggle that I’m having with myself and suggests maybe he should let me get back to work. Reluctantly, I agree. As we both stand to get ready to go, he pulls me into his arms and kisses me. First, very gently, and then long and hard as if the first kiss had awoken a hunger in him that must be satisfied. What the contact has definitely awoken is a firework storm of electricity which surges with the prolonged embrace. I’m sure about what he is feeling because I feel it too. He takes my hand as we walk to the door and outside. He pulls me into his arms again but does not kiss me again. He simply whispers in my ear, “I’ll call you”. I watch him walk to his car, a nice respectable Mercedes, and drive away.
My entire body is tingling from his touch and his kiss. I feel the loss as he leaves and hope he doesn’t take too long to call. I enter the door of my office and am inundated with questions from my staff. They are aware that I was at lunch, but they had no idea it was a date. Was it? A date I mean. I guess it was. The last time I had a date with someone who was not my husband, it was with Daniel. That was about 25 years ago. We had ended the evening in his bed. Yes, on our first date. The difference was that we had been talking online and on the phone for about two months before that date. I wonder if it would have led to his bed if we had not been communicating for so long prior to that night.
I spend a couple of hours working on maintaining the electronic return files and making sure there are no missed rejects in the office and then head home. I’m in a thoughtful mood. Dan notices my reticence when I arrive, and I explain it’s been a tough day. I was busy all day and there were a lot of problems I was needed to solve. It seems to satisfy his curiosity. As I drop off to sleep that night, I’m thinking about Jeff and the feel of his touch, on my hand, in his arms and his kiss. I realize, there is no going back now. I cannot change my mind. I must follow through on this. There’s no other way. I’m committed by those sensations and compelled to explore them more.
It’s three days later when Jeff finally calls me. I’m crazy with a combination of anxiety and worry. It’s Friday, not the end of the week for me but one of my busiest workdays. He calls at 11:00 am precisely as if he’d been waiting for just the right time. I’m working on making time-card corrections and approvals in preparation for the weekly payroll. When I answer the phone, he simply says, “I’m sorry”. “For what?”, I ask. “For not calling sooner” he replies. “I spent the last two days arguing with myself that I should not be interfering with your marriage and causing you problems. Then today, I couldn’t stop myself. I need to see you again. Soon”.
We make another lunch date. Today, we’ll meet at the pub across the parking lot. 1:00 seems like a good time again, just after the lunch rush so it won’t be too busy, and we’ll have a bit of privacy. Again, I leave the office at 12:55. It’s so close, but I hate to be late. I find Jeff, already there waiting for me, outside the pub. I’m immediately in his arms and he is devouring my mouth with his and the invisible sparks are flying. He pauses and says, “Maybe lunch is a mistake. Maybe we should just go to my place. It’s only a few blocks away.” “Are you driving?”, I respond. He laughs as he grabs my hand and leads me to the passenger side of his car. He opens the door for me and asks, “are you sure about this?” “I have no choice”, I answer, “I am already lost, committed to being with you”.
He wasn’t kidding when he said his house is just a few blocks away. It is in a well-established neighborhood of somewhat upscale homes just on the other side of the park and senior center. The drive takes about 5 minutes and before I know it, he is opening my door in front of a very-nice, well cared for, ranch style home. As we walk to the door, I am suddenly feeling a bit nervous and shy. As I look at Jeff’s face, I realize he is feeling the same and I relax a bit. Now I am bombarded with yet another set of feelings, anticipation. I push it all back and make myself move forward.
The inside of the house is like the outside. It is somewhat upscale, very neat, and tastefully decorated. It is not overly feminine but not all male either. I remember Jeff saying that his daughter is an interior decorator and I see her hand here. She left in a bit of her mother and made it comfortable for her father. She is brilliant. As we enter, Jeff pulls me back into his arms and kisses me again, this time with more abandon that he had shown before. There is no stopping, no going back, only forward.
He releases me, takes my hand, and leads me to the back of the house and into the master suite. There is a sitting room, a large bathroom with a spa tub and a very-large bedroom dominated by a huge king size bed. It’s to the bed that he leads me as he begins kissing me again. This time, his hands are everywhere as he reveals and explores every part of my skin and body. I am inundated with feelings and shocking sensations and unable to do much other than slide my hands under his shirt and caress his chest and back.
Somehow, I am naked. He pulls me onto the bed, directly on top of the spread, and pauses to remove what is left of his own clothing. He climbs on the bed and positions himself between my legs as he begins kissing me again. I feel him move up partially on his knees and he is suddenly inside me. The electrical charge is spread as deep inside as he is. He does not move other than to continue kissing me. I am totally filled by him and the sensations moving through me seem to have a purpose of their own.
Jeff slowly begins to move inside me. I realize it is a control tactic. First still, then slowly moving to allow the moment to build and intensify. His breathing is even, just a little heavy as he moves partially out and back over and over with a steadily building rhythm. My body reacts to his rhythm by producing tiny orgasms with each movement. They are little explosions, each building, preparing for the next moment, which is intensified by the last, until the full power is concentrated into a mind numbing, lingering orgasm which completely destroys Jeff’s control as his is released on the downside of mine.
My next thought is a strange one. This is the first time since we met that we have gone for more than a few seconds without talking. Yet, I have learned more about this man in those minutes than I did in a few days of conversation. I know now that he is sensitive, considerate, strong, and loving, with a huge sense of self control. He is still inside of me, lying only half on top of me with his lips pressed against my throat as if he needs one more connection to me.
As he shifts his position more to the center of my body, I realize he is either still, or once again hard, and ready for more. It has been a long time since more than once was necessary for me or even wanted by me, but this is new and different. His mouth finds mine once again and he begins to love me anew, with a little more force than the first time. I find the sensations flowing through me are the same but with even more intensity. This time, he seems to be more aware of me. His mouth moves between my lips, my neck, my breasts and back to my lips all while he creates a major storm from the heat inside my body. This time, our orgasms are simultaneous. Timed perfectly and extended.
He mutters one small word as the waves of passion slowly abate. “Wow”. This is where my fantasies usually end. However, this one has a mind of its own and goes on.He does not remain inside me this time. He lies at my back, wrapped around me as if wanting to keep me safe. The room is not cold but not overly warm either, so we are comfortable. We are quiet, not sleeping, just dosing off a bit in contentment for now. I choose not to think about anything or anyone other than Jeff. Whatever comes of this, whatever happens next, this is our time and I must not let the real world interfere.
After a long while, I realize I am totally alert. Jeff, still behind me, is kissing my neck and caressing my breasts, playing with the nipples almost absentmindedly. I cannot wait any longer. I have to say it. “That was absolutely amazing.” “I am, aren’t I he muses”. I start to pull away from him to punch him for that comment, knowing that he is messing with me, but he pulls me back, hard against him and chuckles. “Don’t think I’m done with you yet woman” he says with humor in his voice. “I’m not, and you’re not going anywhere”. At that moment, he pulls me up onto my knees and enters me from behind. I was not prepared for that or the flash of electrical sensation that passes through my core. He begins again like the first time. Staying still for a few moments, and then moving slowly to build toward the final climax. It is once again explosive and simultaneous.
He releases me this time and falls onto his back as if exhausted yet not. “You are so right”, he says. “That was amazing. Each time, even more amazing than the last. You are amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get enough of you”. Those words are every woman’s fantasy. I wonder if Jeff knows that or if he is just speaking the truth. I turn toward him and lie down with my head on his chest. I’m thinking this is more than a pleasurable moment gone right. It’s a life changing moment. We, at some point, maybe not right now, but sometime, will need to be together permanently. The thought scares me but at the same time, I’m resigned. It will happen. I just don’t know the extent of the pain we will need to cause and to experience to get there.
…….more to come……….