Spirits in the Material World, Part 6 by storyteller0112

All persons are over the age of 18, and all characters and locations are totally fictional.

Thank you to all who read these, and especially to those who provide feedback via comments.

I just can't seem to let this go. Too much for these characters to do.

========

Sunday:

Alan's alarm clock radio flipped from 5:59 to 6:00 am, and the song emanating pre-dated the occupants of his bed. The Monkees' happy voices intoned the virtues of being a 'Daydream Believer', and smiles erupted from both Rose and Alan.

"Yes, sweets, this does seem like a daydream, and I so want to believe it," Rose admitted.

They were cuddled in each other's arms, covered up, and just loving this little slice of life together.

"As do I, Rose. As do I. Let's go forth and make this daydream a reality, shall we? Join me for a shower?"

"Oooh, Alan, sometimes you have the very best ideas."

Rose and Alan emerged from his bed, both naked as skin on skin seemed to have become their new standard. They held hands as they marched across his bedroom to the ensuite and proceeded to shampoo and lather each other most thoroughly. No sex happened, but there was a lot of teasing and touching as they delighted in each other.

"Alan, do you have a hair dryer?" Rose inquired.

"Sure. I don't use it, actually it hasn't been used since Laura, but it's there under the sink." Alan was a little surprised that he could mention his late wife's name so casually, but maybe that was a good thing, as long as he did not dwell on it.

"Would you please go make us some coffee, Alan?" Rose batted her eyes at him while trying to pull off the puppy expression. "I need some creamer in it, though."

"I'll head down right now, Rose." And Alan slipped on a t-shirt and shorts before heading to the kitchen.

He checked the creamer bottle's contents, estimating there was enough left for two mugs. He started the full pot of coffee brewing and got out two mugs and poured one of the mugs ΒΌ full of creamer. He wasn't sure how this was going to work, with the three Lawson ladies each wanting cream in her coffee. Maybe he could get Maggie or Julie to opt for some hot chocolate or juice instead. Before the brewing cycle had completed, Alan had poured the two mugs full of coffee and set the pot back to catch the rest of the brew, and Alan headed back to his room.

= = =

Something was tickling David's nose. He rubbed at it, and it seemed to move away, but then it tickled him again. Waking up, he realized it was Maggie's hair tickling his nose. Like her sister, she was 'octopused' onto David's 'starfish', but she was on his right side. Her head lay on his right shoulder, her right leg wrapped around his right leg. Aside from the itching of his nose, David was as close to heaven as he could imagine.

He bent his head down and kissed her forehead, and he got a pleased, "Hmmm" from her. She tipped her head back and found his lips with hers. Kissing for a second and morning breath be damned, her tongue tickled his lips and he welcomed her into his mouth. With her waking up more, it became a ferocious battle back and forth as to whose tongue would win. Gracefully, he allowed Maggie the honors of that victory, and he gently pressed her away so he could roll and get to his knees so he could head to the bathroom.

Flushing and brushing completed, David headed back to his room and his girlfriend. He loved the sound of that word in his mind: girlfriend. It was going to be a difficult next three weeks at school before he could see her again, so he tried to store up all the pleasant memories to tide him over. He stood just inside his doorway dressed only in his silk boxers, looking at Maggie. Sensing his return, she craned her neck to look at him, and a wonderfully satisfied smile crossed her face.

"I need to go do that, too," she commented, and she struggled out of the sleeping bag and stood. Her nightie had gotten a little skewed, and a naked breast peeked out, which she rectified before walking past David. As she passed him, the back of her left hand dragged across the front of his boxers, and she liked what she had caused, if only by accident.

Looking at his clock, it was 7:15, so there was a lot of time before they had to get ready for worship. So, he headed to the kitchen, scenting that coffee has already been brewed. Being the nice and kind guy he was, he prepared two mugs of coffee, one of which used up the last of the creamer. He would be sorry for whoever didn't get creamer, but his priority was his girlfriend.

By the time he had returned to his room, Maggie had addressed her hygiene needs. She made him set both mugs of coffee on his desk before wrapping him in her arms and greeting him with gratitude and warm kisses.

"That was the last of the creamer in the house, so please treat it with respect," David advised. "There will be more coffee available at church along with donuts and pastries before the worship time; that's usually the breakfast plan for Sundays around here."

When she prompted him, David tried to explain about the whole worship service. The music which many found to be uplifting, the sermon which sometimes seemed a bit too long, and the diversity of the congregation. He would be wearing jeans today with a dress shirt and some loafers which would be a good match for what she brought to wear.

"Would you please wear a tie for me?" Maggie requested.

"Why, pray tell?"

"Because I want good photos of us and of you to show off to some of the snotty people at my school." Then in a sing-song tone she added, "Because I've got a boyfriend in college!" That child-like attitude once again brought a big smile to David's face.

"For you, my sweet Magpie, I will wear a tie to church today."

= = =

It was starfish and octopus time again in Tom's bedroom. He was growing quite accustomed to this phenomenon and liking it as well. He turned his head to the left and gently kissed Julie's lips, waking her slowly and lovingly.

"Mmmm," she murmured, "I like this. It's gonna suck so badly tomorrow morning, though."

"We will just have to tough it out, Jules. That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Besides, I'm now trying to work out contingency plans, like Dad would. How would you like to share an off-campus apartment next fall?"

"That might work, depending."

"Depending? Depending on what?" he asked.

"Depending on where I can get a student teaching position."

"Oh. Yeah. I'd kinda forgotten about that for your plans. Sorry about that. Well, plans on paper cost a whole lot less to change than once you've poured the concrete."

"Where did that come from?" Julie asked.

"One of my Eagle project advisors threw that out once. Related to the concept of measure twice, cut once, because you can only cut wood shorter, not longer."

"Tom, would you please go get me a cup of coffee?" Julie pleaded.

"For you, gladly. We should be getting up and around to go to church anyway." Clad in shorts and a t-shirt, Tom made his way to the kitchen, and saw the creamer bottle in the trash can. "Uh-oh," he thought, and checked the refrigerator. Nope. All gone. Knowing she would not drink it black, he mounted the stairs and tapped on the bathroom door. "Jules, the creamer is all gone. What do you want to do?"

"Aww gon?!" Julie opened the door, toothbrush in her mouth.

"Yeah, I'm afraid the others have beaten you to what was left. There would have been plenty but we had surprise overnight guests."

Julie spit out the toothpaste foam into the sink, puzzling this out. "Do you happen to have any hot cocoa mix left? I can make do with some mocha coffee, just this once. Maybe add a splash or two of milk?"

"Creative solutions to uncommon problems. I like it. I'll be right back."

Tom made a mocha with a little milk as well as his own mug of black coffee, emptying the pot. He then returned to the upstairs where Julie had returned to their bedroom. He handed her the mocha, and she sipped and sighed her approval. She recalled there would be coffee, juice, and donuts available at church.

"Jules, the jeweler I bought your pearls from, Mr. Johnson, goes to our church. Would you please wear them today? I would like for him to seem them on you."

"I had planned to anyway, but thank you for asking, sweetie. But if I have to wear something around my neck for you, you should do the same for me. Wear a tie, please?"

Tom agreed and pulled out a dress shirt and some jeans. But then he saw her elegantly pulling on her stockings and he realized she was wearing the yellow dress again. He wanted to match her, so he put the jeans away and got out some good dress black slacks and chose a black tie as well. Slipping his dress shoes on, he stood and took the pearl necklace from her hands as she was trying to fasten it. He kissed the back of her neck, nuzzling her hair and blowing lightly in her ear and then fastening the necklace.

Julie spun in place and just about threw him to the bed. He had gotten her so fired up so quickly! She settled for a passionate kiss and extracted a promise from him of some tender loving tonight after they got back to school.

= = =

Eventually, everybody assembled in the dining room. Everyone was dressed for church, some in jeans and nice shirts or tops, some in dresses or dress slacks. With six people, they were going to have to take two cars. Alan would ride with Rose, and the others would ride in Julie's car. They left the house a little early so that pictures could be taken. There was a nice, sheltered courtyard at the church which was ideal for photo opportunities. Once they had arrived, the ladies all headed to the restroom together for whatever nefarious purposes women go to the restroom together. The men proceeded into to communal center to fix cups of coffee for their ladies.

Once in the safety of the restroom, Rose laid out her plan and the girls eagerly bought into it. Now, all they had to do was to find some friendly photographers.

With Rose leading the way, the Lawson ladies strode up to the Harrison men amid many looks of surprise from other long-term members of the church. Several of them remembered Julie from the previous Sunday, but Rose and Maggie garnered many stares, some of envy, as they gently embraced their chosen men and retrieved the cups of coffee. Soon, Rose, Julie, and Maggie had been segregated and surrounded by other women of the church and the men all gathered in listening range around Alan, Tom, and David.

"It's so very nice to have you back with us again, dear." "Who are these lovely ladies with you?" "Oh, I just love your pearls, dear." "Are you going to be with us in the coming weeks?" were all representative of the comments and questions asked of the Lawsons.

"It's great to have you boys with us again." "Alan, who are these enchanting women with you?" "It looks like you all have chosen very well." "Are you boys heading back to school soon?" were often asked of the Harrisons.

A gentleman in a nice three-piece suit accompanied by an elegant lady in a forest green dress and wearing a beautiful emerald necklace briefly interrupted the Lawsons' gathering.

"Good morning, and I must say those pearls look just perfect for you," said the man with the lady nodding her head in agreement. "I'm Jack Johnson, and Tom bought those for you from my shop this past week. This is my wife Maeve."

"Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, it is my pleasure to put your names to your faces. I remember meeting you last Sunday," replied Julie. "May I please introduce you to my mother, Rose Lawson, and my sister, Maggie? Yes, Tom definitely surprised me on Thursday with these gifts. I would like to thank you for helping him make such an intelligent decision. He said he could not have done it without your guidance." This brought huge smiles to both Jack and Maeve's faces.

"Ms. Lawson and Ms. Lawson, we are so happy you are here with us today! And Ms. Lawson, we are even happier that you are with us again!" Maeve welcomed them. The gaggle of ladies around Rose, Julie, and Maggie got even more excited with Maeve's welcome. It was evident that Maeve was one of the unofficial women leaders of the church, and many willingly followed her lead. Jack made his way over to Tom.

"Tom. And Alan and David. It is so great to see you all here with us today. I see Julie is radiantly happy with her gifts."

"Yes, Mr. Johnson, and thank you again for all your help in selecting them," Tom replied, with Alan concurring.

Alan asked, "Jack, could you and Maeve help us with a small thing? We would like to take some pictures in the courtyard, and we need some help with getting the group photo taken."

"Certainly, Alan! We would be quite happy to assist. Shall we do this before or after the worship service?"

"I think it would be simpler to do it after the service. Breaking up the ladies right now would not be a simple task." That statement got chuckles, grins, and a lot of agreement from the men standing around.

At last it was time to head to the worship center, and the girls looped their arms in their guys' as they made their way from the fellowship space. Alan tried to guide them off to the right, to the seats he had customarily sat in, but there seemed to be a small conspiracy on the part of many to prevent that. Alan was obliged to get seats in the center section about five rows from the front, decidedly visible to many in the congregation.

The seating arrangement was Alan, Rose, Tom, Julie, Maggie, and David.

With this being the first Sunday in Advent, the music selections were decidedly seasonal, and even Maggie knew most of the traditional hymns. The praise and worship band's song, "Mary, Did You Know?", brought tears to the girls' eyes due to the haunting voice of the lead singer and the expressiveness she put into the music. But it was Rose's strong soprano voice, clear as a bell and twice as bright, that surprised Alan the most. She knew all the traditional hymns being sung and was not ashamed to let her voice ring out. Alan was a decent singer, but Rose was showing some hidden talents that day.

When the acknowledgement of guests and visitors time came around, Alan stood and faced the doors they had entered and declared his great joy in having the Lawson family from Centreville joining his family there that day. He introduced the mother, Rose, and her daughters, Julie and Maggie, as good friends of his family. He also noted that this was Julie's second Sunday with them. And the entire congregation rose to their feet and offered a great round of applause for the Lawson family visiting them.

The pastor was once again dressed in jeans and a dress shirt, but his tie was seasonally whimsical, playing a song if you pressed in the right spot. He noted the presence of some in their congregation who would be returning to school, likely that day, referencing both Tom and David, and wished them godspeed, safe travels and a safe return to them in time for Christmas. The pastor managed to keep his message to 15 minutes to the astonishment of many in the congregation, and service let out about 15 minutes earlier than usual.

The pastor made a special effort to speak with Rose, Julie, and Maggie on their way out of the worship space, thanking them sincerely for their presence and sharing his hopes for more time in their company in the future.

Alan had made sure that Jack and Maeve Johnson hung around to help with the desired photography, and soon the eight of them headed for the courtyard. First up were the pictures of the pairs: Julie and Tom, Maggie and David, and Rose and Alan. Then a picture of the four younger members was requested, and finally a picture of all six. This was where Jack and Maeve were needed, and Rose had whispered something to Maeve while Alan was not paying attention. A nice picture of the six was taken, then Rose asked for one more. On the count of 1-2-3, the Lawson vixens each turned and planted a huge kiss on the cheek of their man, kicking up one of their heels. This little ploy devised by Rose came off perfectly! The surprise on the men's faces was priceless and exactly what Rose had hoped for. Rose came over and gave Maeve a big hug of thanks and whispered some more in her ear. That brought a huge smile to Maeve's face and head nods of affirmation. Jack and Maeve then had to leave to go have lunch with their children and grandchildren, and the avalanche of thanks followed them out to their car.

It was too late to 'beat the Baptists' to any of the local restaurants, so they headed to the Harrisons' house and ordered pizzas to be delivered. While waiting for the food, everybody changed into their casual or traveling clothes. David, Tom, and Julie were admonished to be sure everything was packed up for their return to their respective campuses. The pizzas arrived, and the group assembled at the dining table, joined hands, and God's blessing on their food, journeys, and lives was asked.

It was decided that both cars heading to colleges needed to be on the road by 2:00, and everybody pitched in to get the vehicles loaded. Julie and Tom were ready to roll by 1:45, so a brief round of hugs from everyone soon got them on their way with the promise of texting if any issues arose and when they arrived at their destination. Maggie seemed really clingy to David, so he pulled her aside in the living room in front of the picture of Laura and inquired about it.

"I really can't explain it well, David. I'm just anxious about you heading out. Promise me we'll talk or text every night, please? You have come to mean so much to my happiness." She covered his face with kisses and hugged him tightly. "I think I love you, David."

"I think we're still really early in this to seriously use the word 'love', so please forgive me. I care for and about you so much, Magpie. There is nobody else in my life who was not here with us today. So please, do not worry about the possibility of my straying. I'm yours as much as you are mine. My heart is aching at our parting, too." That got a sad, teary smile from Maggie. "I will talk or text you every night; we'll set up a standard time if that would make you happy." More teary nods from her. "I'll let you in on a secret. I'm going to transfer to State; maybe in January, or maybe next fall. But we will be at the same school next fall, I promise. I was already inclined, but your decision to go there has pushed me to make mine. Thank you."

"Oh, Davey! Davey! Be safe, dear one. Our texting/talking starts tonight, right?"

"Absolutely, Magpie." He kissed her tears away and teased her lips with his tongue.

"Is everything set to go, son?" Alan inquired, smiling. He and Rose had backed away to give these two a few minutes of privacy, but David had to get rolling soon to stay on schedule.

"Yes, Dad, all set to go." David stepped to Rose and hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek. Then he whispered to her, "Keep Dad safe, even if it's only on the weekends, please. You are so good for him and just what he needs to move on without forgetting Mom."

He gave Alan a big hug and reiterated his promise to text upon arrival at school and assured him. He then reached out his hand to Maggie, who came into his side under his arm. He looked both parents squarely in the eye and declared, "I hereby state, on my honor as an Eagle Scout, that I am still a virgin and that I had no intercourse with Maggie."

Startled, Maggie stammered, "It... it's true, Mom, Alan. We did not have intercourse, and I am still a virgin. We promised, and we keep our promises."

Surprised and pleased, Rose reached out to both of them, saying, "And we are so happy our trust was not misplaced. Thank you for confirming that." Alan just smiled and nodded his head.

"Well, I have to get rolling. Come give me one last kiss to speed me on my way, Magpie?"

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