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The Shop Keeper’s Perspective
I work alone in my small antique shop. After I park my car, I notice there’s a woman standing outside the front door. The store doesn’t open for another hour so this is unusual. Even at my age, I’m still able to remember my customers. The woman’s name is Leonor and she made a purchase about a month ago.
Leonor is beautifully dressed in a coat with formal office attire underneath. I’m supposed to unpack a shipment that I received last night. Her situation seems urgent and her face seems tense. A rare thing to see from a client. All I do is sell and trade antiques.
“Morning,” I say. “You’re here early.”
“Yes, I apologize for not calling. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come. But as I was driving to work, I felt compelled to speak with you.”
“That’s fine. Let me get the door.”
I unlock the front door and we enter my shop. The morning light is coming through the windows and I tell her to sit anywhere. She removes her coat and sits in a guest seat, in the center of the shop, and I sit across from her. She looks nervous, maybe even a little embarrassed.
Leonor takes a small box from her coat pocket and hands it to me.
“Where did you get this?” she asks.
I take the small box and open it. Inside has a pearl necklace with heart-shaped jewelry in the center. She had inserted a family picture in the heart-shaped jewelry, which is what it’s for. This is the item she purchased from my shop last month.
“A man from England traded it with me,” I say. “Let me see… a few months ago, if I recall. We met online. He’s an antique dealer. If I recall, he got it from India and it’s several hundred years old. Why do you ask?”
“Is it confirmed that it’s from India?”
“Yes, it’s been inspected. I always inspect.”
“What about the age?” she asks. “Is it really that old?”
“Everything I sell goes through some degree of testing. Why do you ask? Why do you seem upset?”
This is my second time meeting Leonor and the difference is stark. Our first meeting was on a weekend, she was upbeat and dazzling. She came here with a friend and they were interested in making purchases. Now it appears as though Leonor has hardly slept. The lines around her eyes are more pronounced.
“I don’t know how to say this.”
“Do you want a refund?” I ask.
“It’s not that. Are you religious? Or do you believe in superstition?”
“Yes, to both points.”
“There’s something I want to tell you. I hope it stays between us, for now. It’s about the necklace and my family. I’m hoping you can help me.”
I nod. “Of course. This sounds urgent.”
“It’s about sex. I know, strange combination, right? Sex and family. But it’s true and happening to us. Are you interested in hearing this?”
The look in her eyes is serious, which piques my interest. But I control myself. I’ve studied various forms of mysticism all my life, it’s one of my great interests. I keep these interests to myself because the subject matter isn’t for everyone.
In all my years of research, I’ve read supposedly true stories of what Leonor is talking about — sex and family. Forces so powerful that they can cause unholy couplings that never should have happened. Are her claims legitimate? That’s the question. I have to tread lightly, let her be in charge, let her reveal her secrets.
I look at the picture in the heart-shaped jewelry dangling on the pearl necklace. It’s a picture of young adults, male and female.
“Your son and daughter?” I ask.
“That’s right, Noah and Emily, my adult children.”
“Tell me everything. Whatever you say, I’ll believe you.”
I put the necklace in the box and place it on the table. Leonor checks her watch, then looks at me with eyes that show determination.
“There’s enough time before work,” she says. “Okay, I’ll start. I came here last month with a friend who loves antiques. We go shopping together all the time, but my taste is modern. I was never interested in antiques. My friend found a few things to purchase, and even though I didn’t want anything, I’m a big supporter of small businesses. So I kept an open mind and looked for something to buy.
She continues, “The pearl necklace caught my eye. The Crown is one of my favorite shows and the necklace reminded me of that. And I loved the written description that it’s centuries old, and from India, where I once traveled. I saw that the tiny jewelry at the center could store a picture inside. It seemed perfect.”
“Did you have your kids in mind?” I ask.
“They were the only people I thought of.”
“Why? Obviously it’s your family, but I’d like to hear your reasoning, in detail if that’s okay.”
Leonor checks her watch, then nods.
“Because I’ve always wanted them to be closer,” she says.
“They don’t get along?”
“If there’s anything you should know about my kids, it’s that they’re worlds apart. They’ve never been that close, to be honest. If they weren’t siblings, they definitely öğrenci gaziantep escort wouldn’t be friends. Noah is the ‘jock type.’ He played high school football, very into sports. Very masculine. Testosterone charged, you get the idea. He’s currently a firefighter, his second year on the job.
She continues, “My daughter Emily is the opposite. She’s younger by a few years. She’s thin, skinny, very smart, very academic. Wears glasses which Noah used to tease her about when they were young. Emily is one of the most polite women you’ll ever meet. No question. The girl is a charm.
She continues, “Sure they get along, they love each other as siblings do, but they have different hobbies. Different types of friends. Nothing about them is a match. They never have get-togthers where it’s just the two of them.”
“Did you wish they would spend more time together?” I ask. “Perhaps a lunch date? Going out to the movies?”
“That’s every mother’s wish. I’m getting older. I won’t be around forever and I want Noah and Emily to care for each other when I’m gone. That’s why I invite them to my house every Saturday or Sunday for lunch. Most of the time they’re both able to make it. To clarify, Emily lives in a dorm, about an hour’s drive. Noah lives alone in an apartment, about 30 minutes away.
She gives a nervous laugh, shakes her head. “Want to hear the rest?”
The tone of Leonor’s voice is disbelief, as if she can hardly believe what she’s saying. As if I’ll think she’s crazy. The truth is, I’m open to these ideas and I wish they were true.
“You can tell me anything,” I say. “This topic is my realm.”
“Okay, so I planned to keep the pearl necklace in my room as decoration, something to hang on my bedroom wall. About a week after I purchased it, I ordered a tiny photograph of my son and daughter. The picture would be for the necklace. It came in the mail after a few days.
She continues, “It was early morning, the weekend, and I cut the photograph to the right size, then I inserted it in the heart-shaped jewelry, which dangled on the necklace. I was happy with the final product. These days, most pictures are digital. So it was nice having that pearl necklace with a photo of them. It was enchanting. Elegant.
She continues, “My son and daughter were coming over for lunch that day. I thought about showing them the pearl necklace, but it seemed… I don’t know… like an embarrassing mom-thing to do. I’ve always been a sentimental woman, almost to a fault, and sometimes my kids tease me for that. So I figured the necklace would be my personal decoration. Something I’d keep for myself, to look at once in a while.
She continues, “When they came over, things felt different. It’s impossible to explain. Neither of them looked at their phones. They talked way more than usual, they laughed, shared stories. Stood and sat closer than normal. The chemistry between them was palpable. During lunch the energy was lively. It was like they were best friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time.”
“How did that make you feel?” I ask.
“Delighted. It’s every mother’s wish.”
“At that point, did you think the necklace had anything to do with it?”
“Not at all,” she says. “That didn’t cross my mind at that point. Some days are just positive, you know? Positive vibes are real. I thought perhaps my positive mood had rubbed off on them. Or maybe it was a coincidence that all of us were in a good mood. It happens. Life is beautiful.”
“What made you first suspicious of the necklace?”
A nervous smile appears on Leonor’s face. Her cheeks are in the early stages of turning red from blushing. She purses her lips, then gulps.
“I heard them fucking,” she says.
“Exactly what I said. You heard me correctly.”
“How fascinating. Tell me what happened.”
“It was the following weekend,” she says. “The same setup. Family lunch at my place. It was a nice day, so Noah arrived wearing a tshirt and jeans. He’s a fit, muscular young man. A firefighter, as I’ve mentioned. He looked freshly showered, his hair was combed, as if going on a date.
She continues, “Emily arrived later, wearing a thin, knee-length dress. Her hair was tied in a loose ponytail, which I thought was cute. She wore thick-framed glasses that day. It was like lightning struck twice, because Noah and Emily were both drawn to each other again. They talked and laughed in the living room while I was cooking lunch. The tv was on, as usual, a sports game my son was watching. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a beautiful feeling as a mother to hear a house full of love. But it was so unlike them.
She continues, “I was making pan-fried chicken and the kitchen was filled with sizzling noises. I noticed that the living room had gone quiet, except for the tv. It was odd. When the food was ready I needed their help to prepare the dishes. I checked the living room and no one was there.
She gaziantep öğrenci escort continues, “Their shoes were still by the entrance, so the obvious answer was that they went upstairs. So I went upstairs to get them. I assumed they were in one of their old bedrooms for sentimental reasons. When I reached the top of the stairs, I heard something that stopped me cold.
She continues, “Emily has a distinct voice. It’s high pitched, adorable. Her voice is recognizable. Behind a closed door, I heard Emily moaning. Not one or two. Several. In a row. It was non-stop and she tried to keep quiet. But if you know my daughter, you’ll know that she’s very sensitive and can’t hold her emotions in. I pressed my ear to the door. I know what I heard.
She continues, “I remember going back to the kitchen and standing there, dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. I was in a state of disbelief. A few minutes later, I heard the door open, then I called them for lunch. They came down acting like nothing happened, but there were sly smiles on their faces, which they tried to hide.
She continues, “My daughter is immaculate with how she wears clothes. She has an analytical mind. I noticed her dress was slightly off place. Her hair was a bit disheveled. During lunch, her face was glowing, the way an orgasm makes a woman’s face glow. They could hardly look at each other, but they were flirty during conversations. I wanted to scream.”
“How certain are you that the sound was sex?” I ask.
“Put it this way. If they weren’t my kids, I would say 100% certainty. The sound was so distinct. I just couldn’t believe it. How could they? It didn’t make sense.”
“Could they have been working out? Exercise makes people breathe harder. It would also explain the disheveled clothes and hair. It would also explain the glow on Emily’s face because of the endorphins and blood flow.”
“Women are primal creatures,” she says. “I know the difference between post-workout endorphins and sexual euphoria.”
“Did you ever get confirmation about what they were doing? Or does this remain speculative?”
“I’ve always had a close relationship with Emily; we tell each other everything. This may seem strange to you, but Emily used to ask me questions about sex, and sometimes we still have those conversations. Before she lost her virginity on prom night, we had a heart-to-heart discussion. She was nervous about talking to me, but felt that I was the only woman she could confide in. I’ve told her sexual things about me as well. We have that kind of mother/daughter relationship.
She continues, “The following morning, I texted Emily and asked her to come over. She was meeting with friends that morning, so she came to my house late afternoon. I kept thinking how I would even approach a subject like this. But as a mother, I had to. Part of me worried that Noah was abusing her.
She continues, “We sat down in the living room and I served cappuccinos. I decided that the best approach was to be honest, yet cautious. It was a delicate situation, after all. I asked Emily what she had been doing upstairs with her brother. The question shocked Emily, but she didn’t deny it. She never lies to me. She just sat there and there was silence in the room. Emily knew she’d been caught and that she’d done something wrong.
She continues, “I gave her time to answer however she’d like. This was her space. Emily apologized. When I asked if Noah was abusing her, she unequivocally rejected that notion. It was the opposite. Emily told me they were in love.”
“In love?” I ask.
“That’s right. Her tone spoke volumes. It was something beyond a normal love that siblings share. It was the tone of lovers. When I asked her to clarify, she had a difficult time explaining. She couldn’t come up with a straight answer. Keep in mind, this is a girl who writes lengthy research reports for her classes. When I asked how long it had been going on, Emily said it was their first time.”
“That’s when you knew it was the pearl necklace,” I say.
Leonor nods. “It clicked in my mind, that after I put the picture of them inside the heart-shaped jewelry, that’s when the whole thing started.”
“Did it happen since? What was the result?”
“The long answer is that I tried talking sense into Emily, explaining the obvious, that it’s morally repugnant. I avoided being too judgmental, and I avoided using the word ‘incest,’ but I appealed to her feminine nature. I told Emily that there are plenty of guys that are right for her. That she should understand that Noah is the wrong choice.
She continues, “During my redundant monologue, Emily agreed with everything I was saying. She knew it was wrong, that it was incest, that she’d never voluntarily do things with her own brother. Yet I could tell that she had zero intention of stopping. Her commitment to her brother seemed unshakable. The only plausible explanation was that the gaziantep öğrenci escort bayan pearl necklace had something to do with it.
She continues, “The short answer to your question was that it happened again. I trusted Emily to make the right decision with her body, to come to her senses, but I was wrong. We had a family lunch recently. I let the situation play out. It was the same as before. They snuck upstairs while I was cooking. When I finished, I looked for them. I heard the same sounds of Emily moaning from her old bedroom. This time I couldn’t resist and I opened the door. Gently. Quietly. I didn’t want them to hear me. As I opened the door, I saw Emily’s small feet in the air, Noah’s muscular backside on top. I closed the door and left.”
“Have you spoken to your son?” I ask.
“No, I’ve never spoken with Noah about sex, except for early education years ago.”
“Have you considered removing the picture from the jewelry?”
“I was afraid it might have the opposite effect and split their relationship.”
“That’s a smart point,” I say. “How do you currently feel about this situation?”
“Not great. I can hardly sleep. That’s why I’m here today. I was hoping you knew something about the jewelry. And yes, I’m convinced it’s the pearl necklace. I’ve never been superstitious until now. Do you have an idea on how to make this stop?”
I ponder the question. It’s my first time dealing with this circumstance and I’m at a loss for words. Leonor has desperation in her eyes.
“There are a few people I can call,” I say. “There are also emails I can send. I must confess, this is new. However, in the meantime, I think it’s best if you let the situation continue freely.”
“Trust me when I say this; there is nothing to be ashamed about. Emily may be acting under compulsory influences. She did as she was compelled. The same thing with Noah apparently. But allowing this to happen doesn’t mean you accept or condone it. It means there are forces outside of your control. In the meantime — until I find a solution — I recommend that you keep a watchful eye on them. Make sure they’re safe.”
As one would expect, Leonor, the dutiful mother, is taken aback. She wants to give a rebuttal, but decides against it. It takes a while for my suggestion to sink in. When she finally realizes that it’s the best course of action, she nods and accepts it.
The Neighbor’s Perspective
My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I swear the sounds coming from the house next door are lewd and lascivious. I’ve been close friends with Leonor for over a decade. I’ve known her to be an upright and moral person. That’s why it’s surprising to hear such noises during the weekend, when her adult children come to visit.
At first I thought it was a misunderstanding. So I laughed about it. If I’m home during the weekend, I catch up on household chores and leave the window open, but then the same noises would continue each week. I assumed it was a new boyfriend that Leonor hadn’t told me about, but when I see Noah and Emily leaving and they’re talking outside, I never see a boyfriend. Leonor’s house becomes quiet afterward.
My husband thinks I’m being obsessive. Then last weekend, I heard the noises through our window and called my husband to listen. It was the first time he acknowledged that I may be right. Leonor’s bedroom window was open so the sound was clear. Regardless, my husband brushed it off.
Now it seems unmistakable. This time the sounds are coming from Leonor’s living room. I can hear it from my kitchen while my husband is watching football with friends from the office. I figure this is my chance to find out, once and for all.
I serve my husband and his friends a tray of freshly baked pastries, which they devour while watching the football game. I tell my husband that I’m going to bring some pastries to Leonor, that I’ll be back in a few minutes.
My stomach is in knots as I wear my shoes and walk next door, while I can still hear the noise of what’s happening in Leonor’s home. The noise is coming from their open kitchen window and I can smell the scent of beef stew.
The closer I get to their home, the dumber I feel. What on earth am I thinking? What am I doing? I chide myself for imagining such nasty things about a beautiful and wholesome family. Just what do I expect to find? Regardless, I’ve already come this far and I’m happy to share freshly baked pastries with Leonor’s family.
I stop when I approach their front door. I can’t bring myself to knock because I can still hear the sounds. Emily’s voice. She’s screaming. Maybe crying. What on earth is going on? Her voice is squealing and it sounds like she’s in agony. The rhythmic tempo of her screams suggests that the feeling is pleasurable — something that sounds like sex.
Becoming a voyeur, I take a few steps to the side of their patio and look through the window. My jaw drops. My stomach sinks. It’s exactly what I had thought all along. Rough sex is happening in their living room.
Emily is naked on the couch and her feet are pointed in the air. A muscular young man, who is also naked, is thrusting on top of her. It’s mind-boggling to see something like this happen so brazenly in their household. Who the hell is this guy? Emily’s out-of-control new boyfriend? And where exactly is the mother? Leonor should be in a fit of rage.
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