There were only a handful of times that Lucas recalled his mother smoking. From what his much older siblings had told him, she'd been quite the smoker before he was born. He supposed that by the time he'd come in to the world the image of smoking began to dissolve and people realized the harm and ramifications of the toxic sticks. He had never known his mother as a smoker, but he did know her as the type to partake in smoking when something bad happened. The day his father left her, she'd smoked. The day his father had gotten remarried, she'd smoked. One day she'd come home from work and lit up a cigarette and he could only imagine it was because of her superior officer, Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Lucas knew about Chief Johnson through his mother's various tirades about the woman. She'd come home in the evening, pour a glass of wine, and rant to Lucas about "Little-Miss-Southern-Belle-From-Georgia" as his mother liked to call her – not affectionately.
He supposed her talking about Brenda was better than her trying to pry information out of him about his father. Lucas mostly felt bad for her. She was a strong woman - to a point.
He knew his mother better than anyone else, even his siblings. He'd chosen to stay with her through the divorce instead of staying back East with his father. He'd only been twelve at the time of the divorce. Leaving his mother scared him more than anything else so he'd gone with her. Lucas was very shy, reserved, unlike his family. He liked to sit silently and observe the world.
He liked to observe his mother.
And he knew that right now she was unhappy.
She was seated on their front porch, staring idly out at the dark street before her. He watched her bring the cigarette to her lips and inhale, her head dropping back against the lounge chair as she exhaled in to the light night breeze. The smell of smoke filtered through the closed window, beneath their front door.
Lucas was frozen in the blackness of their living room, trying to decide whether to interrupt his mother, or go back to bed.
It was half past midnight. He had school in the morning.
She'd get mad if he was still awake.
A board creaked under his weight and he felt his heart begin to beat faster. He hoped she hadn't heard.
"Lucas?" Her smooth, gentle voice glided through the wall. She'd heard him. Damn her and her uncanny ability to know exactly where he was at all times.
Lucas moved forward, opening the front door to peer out in to the crisp fall evening. He looked over at his mother, noticing that she was still in her black work pants, her blazer hung open and her white button up shirt was half undone. Her feet were bare. She looked disheveled, exhausted, and as he stepped out on to the porch, she wiped at her eyes, as if trying to mask the fact that she had been crying.
She took one last inhale and then butted the cigarette. "Did I wake you?" She asked, unable to meet his eyes so instead she leaned forward and re-buttoned her shirt.
"No," he lied. In truth, he had woken up to the smell of cigarette smoke, which had immediately propelled him downstairs to see if it was his mother smoking. He worried about her. He supposed that as a child he should not worry about his mother, but he did. He'd always been protective of her.
"Well then go back to bed," her voice was even, lifeless. He detected a bit of fear and uncertainty.
"What happened?" He asked, wondering if that Chief Johnson had finally gone and done something to ruin his mother's career.
Instead of responding, his mother placed her head in her hands, rubbing at her forehead.
"Sharon?" He had always called her by her first name. Neither understood it, but both had come to find it normal. It seemed to place them on an even playing field.
"Lucas." She turned to look at him. He wanted to run and give her a hug like he had when he was six and she'd come home crying after a particularly gruesome case she'd worked on. He wanted to, but it would be odd – wouldn't it? – for a sixteen year old boy to run to his mother. "Go to bed," she got up and grabbed an empty wineglass, lighter, and her pack of cigarettes.
She smelled like a mixture of her intoxicating spiced-floral scented perfume and smoke. He didn't like the latter.
She reached out and touched his cheek with her free hand. "Everything's all right."
Everything was not all right. But Sharon did not have the heart to tell her son.
Lucas was a delicate child, so different from her others. He had been attached to her since the day he was born – ten years after his older sister and twelve after his brother. He'd come to her later in life. She hadn't been expecting him at all, but she knew from his inception that he would be special. It had all happened so carelessly.
She'd hardly slept with her ex-husband, Paul, after her older daughter, Katherine, had been born. They figured that two was good enough for them, but with less and less intimacy their relationship dwindled. They'd gone through couples counseling which resulted in the conception of Lucas.
Her little baby boy only ever stopped crying when Sharon tended to him. He slept in their bed; further ruining her diminishing sex life with Paul. Suffice it to say, he'd found sexual stimulation from someone else.
As a baby, Lucas had a hard time being with just his father. She knew it had hurt Lucas' relationship with Paul early on, and Lucas' decision to come live with her instead of her ex had further wedged a block in their relationship. She felt like an only parent most of the time because Paul felt little loyalty to his youngest child.
And her little Lucas was a bit of an entity that she had yet to figure out.
The news she had received that day would devastate him. She would tell him, but not yet. Not right now. Now she had needed to quell her own anxiety with cigarettes and wine.
"But Sharon…" Lucas, her lovely little baby who was still tall and lanky and awkward as a teen, knew she was hiding something. He was a very perceptive boy.
"Lucas, it's going to be all right. I promise you." Sharon looked up in to his green eyes, so very much like her own. When had he grown so much taller than she? She reached up to run her fingers soothingly through his soft sandy brown hair. "Go to bed."
Brenda had been unable to sleep for many days. She was exhausted, and yet she chose to occupy her time with a hefty case load instead of sleep. She'd brought her work home every night that week as if trying to push Fritz away. He knew to stay clear when she had a case, but her excessive overload did seem rather suspect.
She was avoiding him. Avoiding him and his proposal to relocate.
He received an offer to return to DC and head a department of the FBI there. A pay raise, a wonderful opportunity for him. He wanted it. Brenda knew he wanted it.
Instead of supporting him, Brenda poured herself another glass of wine and readjusted her glasses. The words on the file before her looked as if they were reordering themselves. She could hardly make out what they were saying, yet she continued to stare at them.
"Brenda?" Fritz's sleepy voice startled her, caused her to nearly jump off of the couch.
"Jesus, Fritzy," Brenda put a hand over her heart, trying to calm the rapid beating.
"Why are you still awake?" He appeared in the living room doorway. Naked. He was naked. He had an erection.
"Well, uh…" Brenda didn't even know any more. Was she imagining his erection?
"Why don't you come to bed?" He sleepily nodded towards their bedroom.
Brenda smiled, closing the case file. She stood up and walked to her husband, wrapping her arms around his taut chest. He was lean, muscular. And he had an erection.
Their lips melted together. She had no idea why he was letting her in now, especially since she had felt distance from him over the past week. There had been no sex or kisses; he was upset with her for holding off on her decision. But now it seemed like the choice was unimportant.
Brenda pushed off her panties and Fritz easily hoisted her up against the kitchen wall. He pressed deep into her. She was surprised she was awake and aroused enough to let this happen, but it felt nice. It was human contact; it was what had been missing for some time.
When both reached their climax, Fritz leaned forward and started to cry.
Brenda, rather exhausted and confused, ran her fingers soothingly through his hair. "What is it, Fritzy?"
He sighed against her neck.
"You're not going to DC, are you?"