The mid-summer heatwave enveloped the city for seven days straight. It drove everyone a little crazy. Evening brought some relief, but even as night fell the heat lingered, hours past sunset. With heat so constant and so intense, everything loosened up: clothes, morals, and passions that otherwise would have stayed buried deep.

Maddy Ryerson had long since tired of the heat. It wore her down, a little more each day. She poured herself a glass of chilled white wine and walked with it to the living room. It was 10 p.m. in the Ryerson house, and the family’s favorite T.V. show was about to begin.

Her husband, Carl, already lay comfortably grooved into his favorite chair, not far from the large-screen television. He had taken his seat to watch T.V. two hours earlier, and he hadn’t moved the whole time except to grab beers from the kitchen. He was nursing his fifth can. His day at work had been long and stressful, and the beers had done a lot to dull the edges off his frayed temper.

Maddy saw her 19-year-old son, Kyle, sit on the love seat to the left of and behind Carl’s chair. Kyle, a sophomore in college, lived away from his parents during the school year, but he had chosen to stay in in his old room for the summer, and he worked long hours for a local construction firm. Kyle kicked his shoes off and put his feet up on the low table in front of the love seat.

Maddy noticed how much the living room had cooled. Carl had set the thermostat to a low temperature, and the air conditioner was blasting cold air into the house, giving everyone welcome relief from the summer heat. Earlier in the day, mindful of the scorching day-time temperature, Maddy had put on a light, cotton, sleeveless sundress with buttons down the front. Now, at 10 p.m., it was cooler, even a little chilly, and goosebumps popped up on Maddy’s exposed legs and arms.

As she swung around the love seat to sit down, Maddy noticed both Kyle and Carl in her line of sight. Kyle looked a lot like his dad, with short, blond hair and a well-defined, strong-featured face. He was taller than his father, though, and while his father had gone soft in middle-age, Kyle kept his body fit and free of fat through steady exercise and the daily rigors of his job.

Maddy’s brow furrowed at the sight of her husband’s figure. She wished he took better care of himself. Maddy, unlike Carl, took excellent care of herself. Although she was nearing 40, Maddy

retained the fresh-scrubbed, girl-next-door looks of her youth. The short dress, snug and hitting mid-thigh, did little to conceal Maddy’s voluptuous curves. Long, light-brown hair cascaded over her bare neck and shoulders.

She looked critically with pale blue eyes at the placement of her son’s feet.

“Kyle, take your feet off the table,” she said.

Kyle removed his feet from the table with the slowness and reluctance of a teen.

“Sorry, mom,” he said.

Maddy was about to sit down at the other end of the love seat when Carl spoke.

“Hey, Maddy,” Carl said, his voice slurring just a trace from the beer, “You might not want to sit there. I spilled a beer on that end of the love seat. I tried to clean it up with a wet towel but it’s all wet on that end.”

“Oh!” said Maddy. She leaned over and sniffed the seat cushion. It didn’t smell like beer, so Carl must have succeeded at wiping it up. But Carl was right; it was very wet. She thought about turning the seat cushion over but thought it better to leave it up to dry.

Maddy took pride in taking care of things. She liked things to be just so. It wasn’t easy to keep things that way with a job of her own to manage and a husband who grew lazier, it seemed, with every day. Thank goodness that her son Kyle, though like a teen boy in many of his habits, often volunteered to help with chores around the house.

“Here, mom,” Kyle said, patting his hand on the love seat on his left side. “There’s some room here. I’ll move over so you can sit next to me.” Kyle pressed his legs as far as he could against the right side of the little sofa.

Maddy squeezed next to Kyle on his half of the love seat. She put a pillow on the other cushion to keep her dress from contacting the wet part of the little sofa. Kyle wore shorts, and when Maddy sat down the warmth of his leg surprised her. So did its hardness; his thigh muscle pressed against her like steel.

Kyle felt surprise and pleasure at the cool, soft skin of his mom’s leg against his own.

The T.V. show, called “Angel City Detective,” began. It had premiered on a cable channel a year ago and had become their favorite. The series was about an attractive, young, female detective fighting crime in the dark underbelly of modern-day Los Angeles. Her name was Angel, and the irony of her name was that despite her by-the-book police methods, along with her innocent looks and understated beauty, she had a dark, wild, sexual side that she struggled to keep secret from her work colleagues. Its deft combination of sex, violence, and smart writing — not to mention, the sex appeal of the actress that played Angel — had made it a big hit. The Ryersons sat down to watch it every week.

Maddy glanced at Carl again, annoyed. She wished he would control his drinking better. Maddy didn’t mind Carl having a couple of drinks to relax when he came home. But lately his routine had involved more than a couple of drinks, and by the time he turned the T.V. off he often was drunk. Maddy’s love life suffered as a result of Carl’s drinking habit. Lately, it seemed like he loved his six-pack more than his wife. Carl’s inattentiveness had left her feeling perpetually frustrated and horny.

The relentless heat of the last seven days had just made it worse.

While Maddy was annoyed at Carl, Kyle was thinking about how his mom’s leg felt pressed against him. It felt surprisingly good, which was kind of weird, Kyle thought, because it was just his mom. Kyle, too, was agitated and antsy. He hadn’t had sex once since coming back home from college for the summer. His summer job kept him working long hours and left him tired at the end of the day, and he hadn’t had time to date. So far, the only sexual relief he’d gotten all summer had been through jerking off. And he’d been too tired even to do that for the last five days. Sitting on the sofa, he was hot and agitated, and he thought his balls were going to burst.

As the opening credits for the show rolled, Maddy realized suddenly that the blast of air conditioning left her uncomfortably cold.

“Carl,” she said. “It’s getting a little chilly. Do you think you could turn off the air conditioner?”

“Gee, baby,” said Carl. “The temperature feels fine to me. I think it’s because you’re dressed so skimpy. Here.”

Carl grabbed a colorful, crocheted throw blanket hanging over the back of his chair, and, hardly looking up from the T.V. screen, he tossed it to Maddy and Kyle. Maddy scooped it up and spread it over her bare legs and brought it up to her chest.

Kyle shook his head at his dad’s rudeness.

“I’ll do it, mom,” he said as he got up to turn off the air conditioner.

She left a space for him and half a minute later he was back in the same spot on the love seat.

“Would you like the blanket, too?” she asked.

Kyle wasn’t really cold, but the room was cool and the idea of sharing the blanket with mom sounded cozy.

“Sure,” he said.

All three of them sat, watching the show.

The lead character, Angel, arrived at her apartment after a tough day investigating a murder. She poured herself some bourbon on the rocks.

Something about Angel looked familiar to Kyle.

“You know, mom,” he said. “She kind of looks like you. Don’t you think so, dad?”

Carl grunted, barely registering Kyle’s question through the fog of his growing drunkenness.

“Maybe the way your mom was ten years ago, I guess,” he said. “I don’t know.”

His attention didn’t stray from the T.V. screen. Obviously, he didn’t want to be interrupted.

Kyle leaned over to his mother’s ear.

“I don’t think dad’s paying attention to what he’s saying,” he whispered to her so his dad wouldn’t hear. He gestured to the T.V. screen. “She does kind of look like you. But I think you look better than she does.”

Maddy, who’d scrunched her face into a frown at Carl’s rude remark, perked up and smiled at Kyle’s kind words. She patted him on the thigh with her hand. Again, she was struck by the tensile strength of his leg muscles, and also how much warmer his legs were than hers. Kyle felt a little electric shiver at her touch. Maddy left her hand lightly on Kyle’s leg under the blanket.

No sooner had Maddy touched Kyle’s leg, however, when the character on the T.V. screen, Angel, quickly pulled all her clothes off and walked with her drink, naked, to the balcony of her high-rise apartment. She stood at the railing with the twinkling lights of the city spread out beyond her.

Then the doorbell rang in the T.V. show. Angel went to answer it, still naked, and after opening the door she pulled a man, obviously younger than she was, through the door and into her arms. They fell to the floor and she pulled his clothes off and they writhed on the floor, naked, together.

One of the things Kyle — and the rest of America — liked about the show was that the lead character, Angel, looked so wholesome and straight-laced, but had such a dirty and kinky side. She took her clothes off in almost every episode. It gave Kyle something to look forward to ever week.

But he felt odd having just compared the woman who was naked on the floor to his mom. Mom also looked wholesome and innocent. She had a proper way of doing things. He couldn’t imagine her having a sexually wild side to her. But he wondered whether mom ever got wild, before he banished the thought and told himself he shouldn’t be thinking things like that.

Meanwhile, Maddy watched the sex unfolding on the T.V. screen with a twinge of envy. Carl and I used to do things like that, she thought to herself. But it had been so long. Carl didn’t seem to be interested in sex much, lately, and on the few occasions when he did show interest the drinking impaired his ability to keep it up, or even to get hard in the first place.

In the show, Angel had surrendered to her lover’s strong, muscled arms. Maddy shivered a bit at the fantasy of being held and taken like that. The man with Angel was young and blond, and he had lean but pronounced muscles, like her son Kyle, she thought.

The room warmed quickly with the air conditioning off. The blanket probably was no longer necessary, but Maddy felt snug and comfy lying under it with Kyle, so she kept it on.

Suddenly, on the show, a gunshot sounded offscreen. Maddy jumped, startled. She pulled her hand off Kyle’s thigh and grabbed his hand. They interlocked their fingers and without thinking about what she was doing she pulled his hand back to her until it rested on her thigh.

Kyle was surprised to feel the soft, cool skin of mom’s thigh under his fingers, because his hand was high on her leg. The sundress must have risen a lot up her thighs. He couldn’t complain, though; if mom didn’t mind it, he didn’t either.

Maddy felt it too, and she felt how heavy Kyle’s hand was on her thigh. She felt the impression it made. She felt, too, how her entire right leg was pressed against his left, and the toes on her right foot touched his calf lightly. She thought for a second that perhaps there was too much contact between them, but to do something about it would call attention to the fact, and she decided it was better just to let things lie.

Carl stood up and scratched his belly.

“I’m going to get another beer,” he mumbled. “Anybody want anything?”

Maddy and Kyle both said no.

Maddy peered at her husband, again, with disapproval. Laziness and beer had taken a toll on his once-muscular physique. She was struck by the contrast between her husband and her son.

Kyle, for his part, was annoyed at his dad, who seemed totally unappreciative of mom. Kyle knew that, many years before, they’d been high school sweethearts, and dad had been a star on the football team, but that had been a long time ago. Looking at his mom and dad now, they looked like a mismatch. Dad was getting plump and jowly, while his mom still looked fresh and fit and pretty.

She was better looking than any of his friends’ moms, no question about it.

After his dad left to get a beer from the kitchen, Kyle looked through the side of his eye at mom under the blanket. He hadn’t noticed before how much her breasts mounded under the striped crochet blanket. It rose and fell fetchingly over her breasts with her breathing.

His hand still was clasping his mom’s, and it lay on her thigh. He squeezed her hand in an affectionate gesture and tapped her thigh with his hand. The result was to bring his hand further up her thigh and to push her thin dress farther up her legs as well.

“Your dad’s not behaving very well, Kyle,” Maddy said.

“I know, mom,” he said. “He should be nicer to you.”

Maddy struggled with a vague sense that Kyle’s hand was higher on her thigh than it should be, but his hand wasn’t doing anything wrong and there wasn’t anything sexual about it, so she supposed it was O.K. It felt good. She was amazed at how much warmer Kyle’s body was than hers; he was like a furnace. She was warmer under the blanket than she had been, but she still liked the warmth of his body, and she didn’t want his hand to move.

Carl returned to the living room, with not just one beer but two — one to drink right away and one to be held in reserve if needed.

Maddy hoped he wouldn’t need another one. He already had drunk too much.

Carl settled into his chair with a heavy sigh. He popped the tab on the beer can and soon was lost in his program.

Maddy suddenly felt moisture on the underside of her left thigh. There wasn’t enough room on the right side love seat cushion for two people, so her bottom and leg kept sliding onto the other cushion, which still was wet.

“Ugh,” she said.

“What’s wrong, mom?” Kyle asked.

“I can’t keep myself on this side of the sofa because this cushion is too small. My leg keeps pushing up against the wet part on the other cushion,” she said.

Kyle thought about getting up and offering his spot to his mom. That would be the chivalrous thing to do, he thought. But then he had another idea. He wasn’t sure about it, but there didn’t seem to be any harm in suggesting it.

“How about if you get on my lap?” he asked his mom. He said it as normally as he could. But inside, against a little voice that cautioned him against putting his mom’s cute bottom on his lap, he tingled at the idea of his mom’s body on him.

“Are you sure?” mom asked. “Don’t you think that will be uncomfortable?”

“No, mom,” Kyle said. “You barely weigh anything.”

“Well,” she said. “You’re sweet. I know that’s not true.”

She paused.

“I guess we can try it. It’s really uncomfortable constantly feeling the wet part of the sofa against me.”

Maddy lifted her bottom and set it on Kyle’s lap, while Kyle took the blanket and lay it over the two of them again. Then he settled his strong hands on his mom’s waist.

“Oh!” Maddy said to herself, as she settled into Kyle’s lap.

Something big and firm nudged against her butt. It was her son’s penis. It wasn’t erect, but it wasn’t completely limp, either. It was . . . somewhere in between. She hadn’t expected to feel it, and she hadn’t expected it to be quite so . . . big.

She wasn’t sure what to do. It seemed wrong to remain sitting on Kyle while feeling him in this way, but it would be embarrassing to call attention to it. Then, too, she had nowhere else to sit. After a moment’s indecision, Maddy decided to remain where she was. She even twisted her pert bottom back and forth to find the right part of Kyle’s lap into which to settle for the rest of the show.

The contact with his mom’s bottom sent a powerful electric jolt straight into Kyle’s cock. Kyle felt his mom twist in his lap. The blanket started to fall so he grabbed it and adjusted it so it would stay over them. He didn’t know what to do with his hands, so he brought them around her and set them on his mom’s bare thighs, just below the hem of her short dress.

Maddy and Kyle tried to concentrate on the T.V. show, but each had a hard time doing it. Kyle’s full attention was focused on his fingertips and the way the cool skin of his mom’s bare thighs felt under them. He wrestled with the feeling. You weren’t supposed to think about your mom that way, he thought. But he couldn’t help it. His mom’s bare exposed shoulder was in front of him, inches away, peeking out from under the blanket. He saw a thin bra strap — pink, he noticed — nudging out the side of the shoulder of her sleeveless top.

A tense action sequence in the T.V. show distracted both of them from the way they were pressed together. Maddy couldn’t stop herself from jumping again during a scary scene. Her hands clasped Kyle’s hard and when they rested again his hands were even higher on her thighs than they had been before.

Maddy wasn’t sure what she was doing. What she did know was that his strong hands felt good on her skin. She hadn’t felt hands like that on her in a long time. His fingers lay right at the hem of her dress, which, she could tell, seemed somehow to be creeping up her thighs.

Kyle didn’t know what to think, either. Seemingly, without him having done anything he could think of to make it happen, his hands lay on his mom’s cool, soft thighs; the hem of her short dress obviously was bunched higher than it had been before, and his hands were right at the edge of it. He tried to control his thoughts — this was his mom, after all — but he couldn’t help but think that his fingertips must have rested no more than a few inches from mom’s panties under the dress.

He wondered if his mom’s panties were pink, like her bra.

Kyle had laid his hands on a girl’s legs before, but it had never felt like this. But this was his mom. His hands would behave. They had to, he thought.

But sometimes hands have purposes of their own.

Kyle spread his fingers out, as though they needed a good stretch after lying still. The effect was to encompass more of each of mom’s thighs with his hands, and to press the hem of her dress up a little farther. Without thinking about what he was doing he gave his mom’s thighs a gentle squeeze with each outstretched hand.

To Maddy it felt better than the best massage, and she instinctively moved her thighs up and against Kyle’s strong fingers. The motion caused his fingers to slip just under her dress. They both sat still like the under the blanket. Maddy felt glad the blanket was covering her, because she wouldn’t want Carl to see where Kyle’s hands were on her. On the other hand, he was probably too drunk to notice.

She didn’t know what to do. She thought she should object, maybe with a whisper, or maybe with her hands pushing Kyle’s hands back. But she wasn’t sure she would be able to. His hands were so big, and so strong, and they lay heavy and implacable against her thighs. And she thought it would be worse to call attention to what was happening. After all, nothing had really happened. Saying something would be awkward.

It was important to Maddy to do the right thing. But she wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was. Plus, there was a little voice inside her, soft and barely audible, but growing in intensity, that said that Kyle’s firm, strong hands on her thighs felt very, very right.

Kyle began to feel hot under the blanket with mom on his lap. Ordinarily, he would throw off the blanket. But with dad a few feet away there was no way he’d be able to hold his hands against mom’s legs like this with the blanket off. It was worth a little heat to keep them where they were.

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