Publish Novellas 17 November 2021
EPISODE 4 – FUTURE
When a sordid past rears its head, partners must determine how to move forward in this revealing conclusion.
⚠️ Reader Discretion: Mature dialogue.
Arlene considers converting her family room into a lactation lounge. This draws concerns from her husband.
Donald sits Arlene down in their home. “You know I love you and have supported your business venture from the beginning. You are slaying every obstacle you encounter while growing Arlonya without neglecting duties as a wife and mother.”
“Thank you, Donald. It makes me happy to hear that from you,” Arlene replies with a kiss.
“Based on your past, I must ask how you feel in a room full of lactating women. Does it stir any awkward feelings? Are you ashamed of anything you’ve done?”
“You ask me that at least once a week. Being faithful to you is top priority. The interaction stirs feelings, but I’m not going to grab a mom in a room full of people.
“Here’s the challenge: The women are not covered up all the time. On periodic breaks from pumping, some nurse their children. A woman exposes them before having her baby latch. Mothers walk around, stretching and massaging their breasts in full view. They assume that since we are all moms, it’s perfectly normal.”
“Do you have an attraction for anyone in particular—perhaps Sonya? Could things get out of control if alone with her?”
Arlene’s eyes widen because she does not want to disclose her earlier incident. “Why would you ask about Sonya? She’s my business partner and best friend. I could give you names but nothing is happening, so it leads to unfounded suspicion!
Donald shares his recommendation. “I don’t feel we should convert part of our home into a lactation lounge. You are obviously troubled by some of the things in the lounge. We shouldn’t jeopardize our family happiness for money.”
“I love you and agree. This decision has been weighing heavily on my mind. I see Sonya working so hard and feel that I should match her. In most households, a wife might harbor concerns over her husband coming home to a room full of topless women. It’s a moot point if you don’t feel I can handle it.”
“I’m not saying you can’t handle it. There are two ways to approach this. Subject yourself to maximum temptation and prove you can resist it—or avoid the inner conflicts altogether. Which path is the course of wisdom?”
“I understand. An alcoholic should not stare at a drink in a bar every day to prove recovery. I don’t claim to be straight, but it has been years since I have acted on my desires. You do a magnificent job of satisfying me. But with what sometimes feels like interrogations, I fear your reaction if I slip up.”
“That’s why we talk about it so frequently. I don’t expect you to be perfect. But if you get to a breaking point, let’s work through it together. If a willing a mom gets flirtatious, let me know.”
“This takes some pressure off of me.”
Arlene invites Sonya to her home the next day for a private conversation while Donald is at work.
Sonya tries to break the ice following their most recent awkward encounter. “After what happened yesterday, I wasn’t sure if you would feel comfortable having me over. That’s for the invitation.”
Arlene endeavors to maintain professional decorum. “Regarding the lactation lounge in your home, you are doing a fantastic job. It is gratifying to watch you scrutinize those breasts to make certain the product is free from contamination.
“With this additional responsibility, you asked whether I might open a lactation lounge here. The lounge was the topic of discussion with Donald last night. Considering my past, he and I agree that me having a group of lactating women here would be problematic.”
“I have tried to respect your privacy in this matter. As a business partner, I can be more supportive if you share more detail. Otherwise any suggestions I offer are random guesses. Can you tell me which triggers concern you?”
“That’s a fair question. The answers will expose my most secret vulnerabilities. I trust you not to abuse this information. I have a long history of organizing unisex activities. Hopefully, there is no need to elaborate on what that means. So a room of women exposing their breasts triggers flashbacks. It is like a recovering alcoholic sitting in a bar.”
“Your unisex activities, as you call them, don’t affect our friendship. I hope someday to have the boldness to disclose my private proclivities. All things considered, you have handled yourself very professionally around our moms. Do you think that our business venture was partially motivated by your past?”
“I can’t deny a tangent correlation. But I would like to think it grew out of a desire to help other lactating mothers.”
“Of course, I agree. Given your vulnerability, have you considered avoiding the lounge altogether?”
With a look of panic, Arlene shouts, “Please don’t ban me! Women sitting around with humming machines that extract milk is not arousing. But helping them remove them and examining their breasts, as you do, is my challenge.”
“We know at any given time, up to half the women have no pumps on. Despite temptation, you want to remain.”
“As long as you don’t make the other mothers feel uncomfortable, I won’t tell anyone. How do you think they might react if you—trying to be delicate with phrasing—indulged yourself?”
“If I were to help myself to someone’s milk, a slap from that mom is justifiable. Our workers witnessing it would likely walk out. The scandal could escalate and jeopardize our business. I could even get sued.”
“For now, tell Donald we agree that having a lactating lounge here is not practical.”
Lactating moms at Sonya’s home work four-hour shifts before a new group of women arrive. Arlonya hires one woman examine each nipple for redness or discharge before and after attaching breast pumps. While herself wearing a pair of pumps, Sonya tastes the product and marks its sweetness level prior to freezing.
By year end, gross profits are $10,000 per month, from which the two partners draw a salary of $2,000 each. This leaves enough to pay taxes and build a company website. The site includes useful lactating tips.
Breastfeeding or Pacifying
It is normal for your baby to take breaks or to pause occasionally at breastfeeding, however the breaks should last for about 5 seconds or less. Once the breaks start to consistently reach 10 seconds or more, baby may be transitioning from an active suck to a passive suck. Typical active nursing time may range from 5 minutes to 25 minutes at each breast. 
After getting the hang of social media, demand for their product triples. Like the normal gestation of an embryo, Arlonya moves into a small office nine months post-inception. Husbands and workers shower the partners with congratulations.
Arlonya sales are a drop in the bucket on the global dairy scale. But the couple manage to turn their abundant resource into a tasty profit within a niche market. Was it worth it?