Rocky Mountain High


*Note to readers: The inspiration for this story is two-fold. A colleague at work didn’t know I was listening when he was ‘rocking out’ to a John Denver song (there’s a real oxymoron) my dad used to love called Rocky Mountain High. That, coupled with a movie my girlfriend, Kay, told me about some time ago called Laurel Canyon, gave me the perfect setting for a love story with some interesting twists and turns. I put the two of them together and this is the result.


“Oh…wow! I think I might actually like living at your mom’s,” she said as she basked in the afterglow. “That was the best sex we’ve had in….” She rolled over and said, “How long has it been?”

“I don’t know. Let’s see. I finished law school two weeks ago, we spent a week packing and driving out here to Colorado so….”

She flopped back down and said playfully, “I was beginning to think I was gonna have to find someone on the side to take care of my needs, you know?”

He rolled over on top of her and said with mock seriousness, “I may be a lawyer-in-name only until I pass the bar, but I would have to gut you like a fish if you fooled around on me.”

Both of them were teasing, but his girlfriend of the last two years, 30-year old Trisha Graham, wasn’t totally kidding. She said she loved him and assured him she really did, but it just never felt the way he thought it should feel. He’d been so caught up in school and studying and he was away so much of the time, he couldn’t know she really had thought about hitting the bars just to get laid more than a few times. Even when he was home, he was studying or sleeping. She couldn’t remember the last time they’d had an honest-to-God date, and even sex had become a rarity.

Elton Carlson was 37 and by far the oldest person in his graduating class from Columbia law school and he’d had to study longer and harder than anyone else just to keep up. He did just that and ended up graduating 15th in his class, no small accomplishment for someone who’d dropped out of college when he was just shy of 21 to sing and play lead guitar in a rock band his mother had long-wanted to produce.

Leigh Carlson was 53 and had been a lover of music and…men (and maybe even women—Elton never knew for sure but had long suspected as much) and drugs…all her adult life. She’d even told her son several times he was a mistake, the result of too many drugs and too much booze after an Elton John concert.

Her parents had named her after the actress, Vivian Leigh, and she in turn, had named her son after her long-time crush—none other than Elton John. That was before she knew he was gay, but it made no difference to her as she’d always been a fan of his music just the same.

Elton was now back home living with his very successful-music-producer mother in her very large home in Longmont, Colorado, in order to keep expenses down as he studied and prepared to take the bar exam so he could practice in his home state. He had a mountain of student debt and neither he nor his girlfriend could even afford their own studio apartment, let alone a single-family home.

He’d had to beg, plead, and cajole Trisha to agree to move in with his mom, but having their own little guest cottage next to the main house had sealed the deal. Trisha’s hesitancy was borne of her boyfriend’s repeated comments about his mother and her rather open, free-wheeling lifestyle so he had no one to blame for it but himself. Then again, his reservations were based on many years of personal experience and he had to admit he was possibly even more worried than Trisha. But money being what it was, it was the only viable game in town.

Leigh spent her days producing music in the studio located in the back of her house and/or getting high. Even though marijuana was now legal in Colorado, its legalization hadn’t impacted her life one bit. She’d been smoking up since high school and had no intention of ever slowing down. The fact that weed was now legal just meant she could get more potent cannabis anytime she wanted without worrying about the occasional bust for possession. In fact, Elton was pretty sure she was not only getting high with her 27-year old male assistant, Weston Emerson, he was reasonably sure she also sleeping with him. Then again, even if she were, Weston would just be the latest in a very long line of very young men who’d caught his mother’s eye and shared her bed over the years.

Trisha wasn’t a lawyer or a medical doctor, but she was on the verge of completing her PhD in biomedical research. All she needed to do was get her dissertation approved then return to Columbia to orally defend it and she would be in high demand at any of the many cancer research centers around the country. For now, she could work from their cottage while Elton was spending his days at the University of Colorado Law School some 20 miles to the southwest where he was taking yet another paid course, this one preparing him for the bar.

Trisha was an introvert just like Elton, if not more so. She was good in bed and samsun escort bold in her research, but otherwise shy in her personal life, content to spend her days in front of a laptop collating data or writing technical papers for her degree. Neither of them partied much and not just because of a lack of time or money. There just wasn’t any appeal for either of them in hanging out in loud bars, getting drunk or high, and ruining an entire evening as well as the next morning. They were both proudly pragmatic and there was nothing pragmatic about getting drunk, high, or even just zoning out watching TV or listening to music.

With the exception of their waning love life, they’d gotten into a very good rhythm and daily routine over the last year of their relationship. Both of them seemed happy with the other, and Elton was even thinking about possibly proposing to her sometime within the next few months or so because Trisha wasn’t just brilliant, she was also downright beautiful. Gorgeous, in fact.

He remembered seeing her in the main library on campus for the first time and couldn’t help but thinking how much she looked like an even prettier version of a young Kate Beckinsale from her long, dark hair to her beautiful body. Elton wasn’t alone in thinking she resembled the ‘vampire warrior’. Once he’d gotten to know her and confessed it to her, Trisha told him she’d heard that so many times she’d stopped counting. As a couple, he’d heard at least three other people mention it and had no doubt there were incidents Trisha didn’t find worth sharing. Regardless, it was true. She really did look like the beautiful actress.

Elton didn’t resemble any particular movie star, but he was a very good-looking guy. He’d had no problem getting laid as often as he’d wanted the nearly two years he spent in college or the four years he’d played lead guitar for the band. Like his mom, he’d gotten high virtually every day and often combined it with vodka or tequila sometime beginning in the early afternoons (or even the late mornings) and lasting until whenever. He never thought twice about partying hardy until the third time he woke up in a jail cell having no idea where he was or how he got there. It was all petty stuff and his mom’s lawyers managed to make sure none of it went on his permanent record.

That final time had had a profound impact on his life. He swore off both of his drugs of choice, got straight, and left the band. His mother was so angry she’d basically disowned him, telling him to start paying rent or get the hell out. He did the latter and after six months of being clean and sober living with a friend, joined the Navy for four years at he tender age of 26 where he served as a legal assistant which is where his interest in and love of the law began.

He left active duty, applied and got accepted to The University of Colorado and after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Political Science with a minor in English, was accepted to Columbia’s prestigious school of law. And now here he was, back living at home with his mother who was still getting stoned—and almost certainly laid—day after day.

Trisha laughed at his threat of gutting her and told him she’d never actually do anything like that while refraining from telling him that even modest, little-old Trisha had a breaking point when it came to sex. “What time is dinner again?” she asked as she got up to take a shower.

Elton laughed and said, “Whenever you make it. My mom doesn’t cook, remember?”

“Great,” Trisha said. “Me, either.”

The two of them winged it after going over to the ‘big house’ and rummaging through the kitchen and the cupboards. “She doesn’t shop either, does she?” Trisha said after finding the kitchen looked like Old Mother Hubbard’s.

She found a couple of packs of Ramen Noodles and handed them to Elton. “I thought we were done with these, but evidently not.” She jammed them into his hands and said, “I found them. You cook ’em.”

As they were slurping their noodles, Leigh walked in smoking one of her ever-present joints and said, “Hey you two!” She looked at them and asked if they’d like to take a toke.

Elton just rolled his eyes and ignored here while Trisha politely told her ‘no thank you.’

“Wow. I knew my son was a buzz kill, but not you, too. Please tell me you have a little fun once in a while, hon,” Leigh said imploringly.

“We have all kinds of fun,” Trisha said defensively.

“Oh, really?” Leigh asked taking a big hit. “Such as?”

Trisha looked at Elton who gave her a ‘don’t you dare’ kind of look which made her burst out laughing.

“Oh. Okay! You guys just did it, didn’t you?” she said perceptively. “Well, at least you fuck. You can’t be all bad.”

She grabbed the last of a bottle of white wine from the fridge and told Trisha, “If you ever decide to get the stick my son seems to have shoved up your ass out….” She smiled and said, “No, I don’t mean the one he just poked you with, dear…let me know. The rest of us know how to urfa escort have a little fun around here.”

“Weston? Weston! We’re totally out of wine. Why the hell didn’t you buy more today?” she hollered out as she left the kitchen.

“I’m so proud,” Elton said without looking up.

“Oh, come on, babe. She’s your mother, for goodness sake. Lighten up a little. We’re living here rent free, aren’t we?”

“Not really,” he said slurping in a long, stringy noodle. Trisha gave him a quizzical look and he told her, “We’re not giving her any money as compensation so you’re technically correct. But my mother has this uncanny a way of sucking the soul right of people so one way or the other, you’ll pay a price for living here—you just don’t know it yet.”

“Wow. You really are a buzz kill,” she said as she stood up.

“So what time do you go in for your first day of classes tomorrow?” she asked before heading back to the cottage.

“I’ll be leaving around 7:30,” he told her. They only had one car and he knew Trisha didn’t like being without one even though she rarely went anywhere. “Don’t worry. I’ll find someone to carpool with.”

“Definitely. Even if you have to take the car every other day or so, that’s fine. Just don’t leave me stranded here seven days a week—with her.”

Elton ignored her sudden change in outlook regarding his mother. He knew conflict was a part of every relationship yet he often wondered why it had to be so hard. Why was this ‘silent tension’ almost always there? If it wasn’t about sex, it was about something. The car, where they were living, his desire to be a lawyer which meant being away at work a lot once he finally passed the bar and got hired, and so many other things both large and small. There was always something. He chalked it up to human nature but couldn’t help wonder if it really had to be this hard. Living with his adolescent mother wasn’t helping, either. Okay, it was helping financially, but other than that….


After a day of orientation which included filling out a ton of paperwork, getting ID badges and passwords for on-line access, the twenty or so newly-minted lawyers, along with a few on their second, third, or fourth go-’rounds at passing the bar were eager to get to work.

Elton wasn’t nervous, per se, he was just intense by nature. He was goal-oriented and utterly driven. As they sat there waiting to meet the faculty members who’d be teaching them, there was some nervous chatter while others sat silently waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.

“Hey there,” Elton heard as an attractive, young, female lawyer sat beside him. “Looks like a full house.” She’d taken the last seat so her comment seemed accurate.

“Is this your first try?” she asked with a smile.

“It is. How about yourself?”

“Same here. I just graduated from law school last month.”

“Where did you go to school?” he asked her.

She gave him a funny look and said, “Right here. At UC Boulder. Why? Where did you go?”

“Columbia,” he said modestly.

“Wow! Unless you mean the South American country, that’s very impressive. What brings you to Colorado, if you don’t mind me asking?”

He gave her the generic overview of having grown up there and his long and winding road back home then listened to her story.

“That’s a rather unusual path to law school,” she said having learned about his early days, the Navy, and how he ended up at Columbia. “All I’ve ever done is go to school and I’m really looking forward to having an actual paying job.”

Layne Compton was 26 years old and was also living at home with her mother. She didn’t mention her dad and Elton didn’t ask. Unlike Elton’s mother, her mom was well-educated, stable, and owed a small business where she sold fabric and taught quilting classes in Longmont.

Layne was clearly a very intelligent young woman, and other than possibly Trisha, she was also just about the most attractive woman he’d ever seen and it was hard not to stare. He knew it was too easy to pick someone famous to compare a person to, but occasionally it worked because sometimes it was the best and most accurate way to depict how they looked. Trisha was an excellent example with the Kate Beckinsale thing. He tried his best not to stare at Layne as he mentally ticked off famous, beautiful women but came up blank for a while. And then it hit him.

Layne also resembled an actress, but it wasn’t Kate Beckinsale. It was Olivia Wilde when she in her early ’20s. The resemblance may not have been as strong as Trisha’s to Kate’s, but it was unmistakable: the crystal-clear blue eyes, their almond shape, the high cheekbones, the nearly perfect symmetry of her face. She even had a couple of very nice features Ms. Wilde didn’t. Most notably were her ample breasts which were full but not obtrusive. A close second were her lips which were also very full, something the actress also didn’t have. Her shoulder-length hair was a kind of sandy-blonde color or possibly even honey-blonde, sinop escort and it framed her pretty face in a way that accentuated her other features. All in all, Elton found her to be even more appealing than the actress, possibly because she was right there and sitting next to him.

A door opened and three older people entered. The group of budding lawyers soon learned that the only woman among the trio was the senior member of the company’s representatives and would be overall responsible for their training.

“First of all, thank you for choosing THEMIS as your company for The Bar Exam Review. There are other companies out there, but we believe ours is the best. Passing the bar is difficult but not impossible. Of those who complete this course, 74% go on to pass the bar on their first attempt. Remember, we can only impart information. It’s up to you to assimilate and apply it.”

She introduced the two male attorneys who explained the schedule as well as the areas they’d be covering. In essence, The Bar Exam Review Course was an intense review of everything they’d learned in three years of law school crammed into eight weeks.

“You have the option of taking the entire course on line or you may attend in residence. Essentially, on-line students can watch all of the lectures given in residence at their own pace. You may of course do both by attending when it’s convenient and studying from home or somewhere else when that works better for you. Does anyone have any questions?”

“Which are you doing?” Layne asked quietly turning to Elton. “I was kind of planning on coming here every day. I tend to do better when I’m in a formal classroom and not distracted.”

“Same here. I don’t think I’d get much work done from home. Between my mom and my girlfriend who’s finishing her PhD, computer time and privacy could be scarce.”

“My mom’s place is on the north end of Longmont if you want to carpool.”

Shocked by her offer Elton said, “That would be fantastic! Trisha worries about not having a car around and now that she’s with my um…unpredictable mother all day, I want her to feel like she can escape whenever she needs to.”

“Perfect! I’m happy to drive all the time since I have to come here every day myself so you could just ride with me if you want.”

“No, I couldn’t do that. I should drive at least half the time,” he told her.

“That’s ridiculous. If she needs the car, then it’s settled. I’ll drive and if you really feel guilty you can chip in for gas, but even that’s not necessary. It’ll just be nice to have some company, you know?”

“Well, okay. I accept. And thank you, Layne. This is…huge. Trisha will be very grateful to know she’ll be able to flee at any time.”

Layne laughed and said, “It can’t be that bad, can it?”

“Oh, you don’t know my mom…and that’s a good thing. Trust me.”

She laughed then told him, “Just let me have your number and address and I’ll be there tomorrow morning, okay?”

That evening, Trisha was thrilled when Elton gave her the good news. “That is such a relief!” she said. “Let this guy know how grateful I am, okay?”

Elton knew he should mention ‘this guy’ was a girl and he should also tell Trisha she was hot. Really hot. But he decided to leave well enough alone for now and enjoy feeling good about finally having done something right since moving her to Longmont. He even enjoyed a very long, very intimate night with her and that was a good thing.

“That’s my ride, babe!” he said the next morning. Trisha had been on her laptop since 6am, shortly after she got up. She did manage to look up and wish him a good first day. Realizing she wasn’t getting up, he went over to her and kissed her goodbye. “You, too. I love you!”

“Yeah, you, too,” she said looking back at her data.

Elton bounded down the stairs toward the driveway and waved when he saw Layne looking at him. “Mornin’!” he said as he got in.

“Good morning to you, too!” she said happily as she backed out.

“Thanks again for driving. Trish was ecstatic.”

“I’m glad,” she replied as she pulled onto the street.

“So what do you want to practice, Elton? What kind of law and where? Here in Longmont?”

He looked over at her with a ‘you’ve-got-to-be-kidding’ kind of look.

“What’s wrong with Longmont?” she said almost defensively.

“Oh, no. It’s not that. It’s just….” He didn’t feel like talking about his crazy mother or the nearly-constant tension with Trisha. Instead he stopped and said, “I’m not a great litigator so I’m leaning toward something like family law or maybe even being a tax attorney.”

Layne smiled and said, “A tax attorney. Hmmm.” She made the snoring sound which made Elton laugh.

“Hey, I’m good with numbers. What can I say?”

“Yeah, but tax law? Zzzzz!”

“Okay, Clarence Darrow. What do you want to do?”

“Ha! I won’t really have much of a choice,” she replied. “The Air Force is paying for all of this so I’m going to owe them five years when I’m done.”

“The Air Force? Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously. I’ve always been drawn to things with a higher purpose so giving back to something I believe in seems like the proverbial win-win. My dad was a Navy pilot before law school so….”