Lady in Red Ch. 09byHarddaysknight©
"Gwen, your sister has some valid points," stated Ted as Lisa fled the room. "This family has been so affected by Steve that I doubt we can have an objective opinion on him, but you've been talking about this Fallen guy nonstop. You deserve praise and accolades for your actions of the past few days and weeks. However, that doesn't mean that you can lord it over your family and friends.
"Maybe you're bored with Steve, or you've outgrown him. That happens in relationships. When it does, you have to be mature enough to see it and to give the other party the courtesy and respect they deserve. Discuss it like an adult and let them know how you feel."
Gwen was shocked that her father would side with Lisa in this discussion. She never said she was bored with Steve or wanted to move on. Lisa was the one saying that Gwen would drive Steve away. That wasn't what Gwen wanted.
"Dad! I never said I was bored with Steve, or that I wanted to break up with him. He might be pouting a little, but he knows how I feel. He should be able to understand that it isn't every day that I get to meet a famous movie star."
"That just may be the single most important point of this discussion," replied Gwen's father. "This Fallen guy is going to come for a short time, and then leave. You won't see him for very long. Steve will still be here after Fallen moves on to his next movie. It seems to me that you're spurning Steve for a very temporary adventure."
"Why does everyone keep saying that I'm breaking up with Steve?" challenged Gwen. "We went out just last night and had a good time. He missed one meal and that's probably because he's busy."
"Have you ever watched Steve dig into your mother's cooking? He wouldn't miss one of her meals if he could be here," reasoned Ted. "He didn't come to dinner today because he was sending you a message. That's obvious, if not very mature. Men have fragile egos, Gwen. I'll let you in on a little secret to help you understand.
"I'm jealous of Steve, too. He's a lot of things that I'm not. He's much bigger, stronger, better looking, and younger. You and your sisters adore him, and I can't blame you. But it isn't easy for me to see a man waltz into my home and impress my girls more than I've been able to do in twenty years of trying.
"Then there's your mother. You've seen how she treats Steve, especially since he saved her from those thugs. Your mom has the grace to not go into too much detail about what happened that day. She knows how fragile I am, how fragile all men are.
"If she became too graphic about how this muscular young Adonis saved her from villains, scoped her up half naked, pressed her bare breasts against his chest and carried her back to her car, it could cause me serious self esteem issues. Your mom knows that, and I love her for it. I can't stop Steve from being a better man than me in many ways, but at least Paula doesn't keep telling me that he is. She does her best to support my masculine pride."
"Oh! Dad! No one's a better man or father than you are. Steve pretty much told me that! He told me that mom and us girls may seem to run all over you, but if the chips are down, you wouldn't hesitate to straighten us out or protect us any way necessary. He sees your strength and he respects you. He told me that when I stupidly suggested that he was so big and tough he didn't have to worry about what you said. Not everyone can be as tall and strong as Steve, but the real test is caring for and raising your family. That and setting a swollen headed daughter straight when you feel it's necessary."
Paula realized that she should remain quiet and let Ted handle Gwen. He seldom chastised the girls, but when he felt strongly enough about something, he would lay down the law. Ted surprised Paula with his understanding of her attraction and admiration of Steve, and of her efforts to not damage her husband's pride. As she listened to him calmly bring Gwen back from the clouds, her appreciation of her husband's strength became greater.
"That's gratifying to hear. Apparently Steve's had some experience with authority and discipline. It may come from having a father in the service, good examples at home, or a combination of things. Whatever, he's an exceptional young man. That doesn't mean that he's always right, or that you can ignore my rules when you're with him. It does mean that he's earned my respect and as long as he has that, I'll be more understanding and lenient with you. Does that all seem fair? But, if you don't manage to control this new side of you that we've seen the past couple of days, I can ground you. Please, don't make me do that, Gwen. Think about how you've been treating your family and friends. You've always been the steady, dependable, down-to-earth daughter. This giddiness over some actor is not your best moment."
Steve had been sitting around his uncle's apartment stewing about Gwen. He had called Paula earlier to let her know he wouldn't be there for dinner. He had a standing invitation from Paula, and this was the first time he had declined. He knew himself well enough to realize that he would not be able to listen to Gwen rave about Nick Fallen without losing his temper or saying something stupid, or hurtful. He had gone to the gym in hopes of working out enough to curb his restlessness, but it still gripped him.
Then his phone rang. He saw Lisa's name and quickly answered. "Steve, how about we practice our dance routine as long as I'm home and you don't seem to have anything to do? I spoke with Aunt Diane and she said it was fine with her. It'll be fun!"
Fifteen minutes later, Steve was standing at Diane's door. "Come in! Lisa said you guys have some time to practice your dance number. Paula's been filling me in on happenings with you and Gwen. It'll work out. She also mentioned how you came through for her big time the other day. She's your best fan now. It's good to know that we can depend on you when stuff hits the fan.
"Stephanie has been beaming this week. She says that you've been talking to her in the halls and being really nice. Her friends are very impressed and she's feeling more confident. She insisted on wearing something low cut today. I wouldn't let her go to the mall or anything wearing the top she has on, but I told her that she could wear it when she's practicing her dance steps with you. That's a huge compliment for you, Steve. I trust you to not hurt her, or take advantage of her youth and infatuation. Please let her know that you notice how nice she looks. She's just starting to show some confidence," added Diane.
Steve entered the small dance studio that Diane had added to the house years earlier. Lisa and Stephanie were going through Diane's selection of music. Lisa was gorgeous as usual, but Stephanie was a total surprise. She appeared to have grown older and added inches to her chest!
"Hey, Lisa! You look great! Is this one of your college friends? She's beautiful!" began Steve as the two girls turned to greet him.
"Steve, you know who I am! Stop teasing me," laughed Stephanie. "I wish I were beautiful like Lisa."
"Steph? I'm sorry I didn't recognize you at first, but I have to admit that I wasn't looking at your face, as a gentleman should. I thought you were another coed. I never realized what a nice figure you have and how long your legs are. You're almost as tall as Lisa. You're not beautiful like Lisa. You're beautiful like Steph, which is pretty darn good!"
Stephanie turned several shades of red as Steve spoke. Initially, she placed a hand over her chest in modesty, and then decided on a different tactic and took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.
"Steve! She's only sixteen and if you say any more, I'll have her go change her clothes," warned Diane with a smile. "I worried about the effect that she'd have on you. Can I trust you to be a gentleman, or should I have Stephanie change into something more modest?"
"Please don't have her change!" replied Steve quickly. "I'll behave, but it won't be easy. I'm really going to enjoy dancing with Steph!"
Diane was coaching Lisa and Steve when Gwen walked into the room. No one realized she was there until she stood next to Steve as he held Lisa in his arms. The couple stopped and remained motionless as Gwen looked them over.
"I see you're not wasting any time. You're in Steve's arms with half your chest exposed and pushing against him. What should I do with a sister like you?"
"Gwen, I'm not trying anything. We're just dancing and..." stumbled Lisa as Gwen broke into a huge smile and pulled Lisa from Steve and hugged her.
"I'm so sorry for everything I said to you, Lisa! You were right. I did have my head up my ass, but you and Dad helped extricate it. I'm so lucky to have a sister who loves me enough to tell me when I'm being an idiot," continued Gwen. "You're the best. Forgive me?"
"Of course!" replied Lisa as she wrapped her arms around Gwen. "That's what sisters do for each other. That and loan out their boyfriends for dances. I'm so glad you're not upset with me anymore. You and Kate mean the world to me."
"Now, would you let me talk to this chunk of testosterone for a minute or two?" requested Gwen. "Then you can go back to teasing him with those big 'girls' of yours."
Gwen led a surprised Steve away from the others and hugged him. "Steve, I behaved badly. I already called Charlotte and apologized to her. She was very gracious in accepting. You heard what I said to Lisa. For some reason, she loves me no matter what.
"I never should've gotten so full of myself over that Nick Fallen. The sad thing is, he kept asking to talk to you, but I didn't want to give up control. We have a listed phone number and you don't, so he called our house. I texted him your number a little while ago and he'll be probably be asking you all sorts of questions before long. I guess I tried to make it more than it was and I'm ashamed of myself for doing it," admitted Gwen.
"But that doesn't let you off the hook! Lisa chewed me out for being such a shallow, star-struck typical teenager. You heard Charlotte tell me off last night. Dad even gave me a talk, and he almost never tries to tell me how to handle relationships in the family. By the way, you were right about him being a good dad and taking care of his family," added Gwen.
"But what did you do, Steve? Did you take me aside and tell me what an ass I was? Did you chew me out like Lisa did? No! You got all moody and sent me a silent message with your absence at dinner, and I was so giddy I pretty much missed it. As my boyfriend, I expect you to call me out when I'm being foolish. You can't let me embarrass myself without trying to stop me. It's your duty to set me straight. If I don't listen and we argue, you have to be as hard on me as you deem necessary, but you also have to always be able to forgive me. You know I'll be all over you if you do something stupid, or hurtful. I want you to love me enough to be hard on me at times, like Lisa and Charlotte were. Does that make sense to you?"
"Yes, when you put it that way. I'm new to all of this, and I see that I'm not very good at a lot of it. I was sulking, I guess. You hurt my feelings by going on and on about Nick Fallen, so I decided to hurt yours by not showing up for dinner and not taking you out tonight. I didn't know how to tell you that you were hurting my male ego without sounding like a wimp, so I tried the strong, silent approach. Pretty dumb, wasn't it?" grinned Steve. "I'm sorry about not setting you straight. Next time you misbehave, I'll just take you over my knee and show you the error of your ways, okay?"
"Don't get carried away with it, especially in public. I expect you to treat me with respect, but a little spanking now and then in private may be in order," laughed Gwen as she stepped close to Steve and kissed him.
Lisa, Stephanie, and Diane were smiling when Gwen and Steve walked hand -in-hand back to them. "Stephanie, is that you? Wow! You look great! Be careful with Steve or he'll be holding you tight and looking down at your chest every chance he gets. Can you dance with a guy that behaves like that?"
"I think so, Gwen, as long as you don't mind. Boys never seem to act like I'm worth looking at, so it's okay if Steve peeks a little. Mom said I could wear this when we practiced the dances as long as I didn't try to distract Steve too much. I haven't figured out what she means by 'too much' yet" laughed Stephanie. "If you and Lisa don't make him forget what he's doing, I don't think my outfit will affect him too badly. But it is fun trying, isn't it?"
Steve was wearing a pair of Dockers and a short-sleeved shirt that fit tight enough to display his upper body strength. He took turns with all three girls. He did some lifts with each of them as part of the routines they were doing.
"Gwen is so lucky! Did you see how strong Steve is? He picked me up like I was a feather and then lowered me so slow and easy I couldn't believe it. I had my boobs almost in his face and he winked at me and grinned. Mom didn't see it, thank God! Does he make your nipples hard, too?" asked Stephanie.
"Yes, he does. He oozes a sexy manliness that drives me crazy. Gwen is lucky, and we're lucky that she loves and trusts us enough to share him a little. Never think that you or I can steal him away, however. Guys like Steve value loyalty. If you want to impress Steve, be loyal to your friends and family, especially Gwen. She's got him under her spell, like he has the rest of us. If he sees how much we love her, he'll love us and we'll get to dance with him and hug and kiss him now and then, and that's pretty cool, don't you think?"
"Do you think that we'll ever find a guy like Steve?" asked Stephanie as she watched Steve lift Gwen as they danced.
"Seriously? No, we won't. We'll have to settle for a normal, attractive, successful man that treats us like a princess, but he won't be like Steve. I really don't think there are any more like him. He's one of a kind and he's crazy for Gwen. Don't expect other men to be like him. You can demand they be faithful and strong for you, but they won't measure up to Steve. You'd be foolish to expect them to do so."
"Wow! You really do like him a lot. You're pretty much telling me that he's going to ruin us for other men, even the man we finally marry, aren't you? Gwen is so lucky!"
Steve entered his homeroom Monday morning and sat next to Gwen. "Do you have any extra time after school today? I thought maybe we'd go out to Emerson River and look over the scene of the crime, so to speak."
"I'm working on a paper for history and have a lot of math, so I don't know. How long will it take and why do you suddenly want to go back there?" asked Gwen.
"I told Nick that I'd meet him after school today and show him where the river rescue took place. I thought you might want to tag along," suggested Steve. "He's going to be waiting for me after the last class. He said he's going to have Monique Dorn with him, since she's the one who's going to be saving lives all over the place, at least on film."
"So you're just dropping this on me now? I need to get my hair done and change into a dress and put on make-up. I'll have to take off this afternoon and..."
Steve leaned in close to Gwen and whispered, "One more word and I'll take you over my knee right now. Do you want your friends to see that?"
Gwen gave Steve a surprised look and then suddenly broke into a big smile. "That's what I'm talking about! Don't let me go all goofy again. You're going to make a good boyfriend yet! Count me in. I can't wait to meet them. I sure hope that Monique Dorn doesn't make me look like a scrubwoman."
"Do you mean as you stand next to her, or as she portrays you in the movie?" teased Steve.
"I mean that if she's incredibly beautiful, I'm going to wish you let me go home and prepare for this meeting," admitted Gwen. "I've looked her up on the internet and didn't find much about her. She played a kid in a couple movies, but that was six or seven years ago. Who knows what she looks like now?"
Steve and Gwen saw a crowd in the parking lot as they exited the school that afternoon. They looked at each other and headed in that direction. As expected, they found Nick Fallen surrounded by fans as he signed autographs. Next to him was an incredibly beautiful woman. She was fairly tall and dark haired with a noticeably large chest. She was explaining to the crowd of students that she was going to portray Gwen in a Lifetime TV movie.
"Oh, crap!" exclaimed Gwen. "There isn't enough make-up in the world for me to look good next to her! She's gorgeous!"
"She has to be or it won't be realistic," deadpanned Steve. "Remember that she's playing you. The only resemblance I see is her chest. She's almost as big as you."
"Ha ha! Very funny," responded Gwen. "They can't be real. It looks like I'm going to be portrayed as very big breasted. I wonder just how I should feel about that? How will Nick be able to get his arms around her to dance? If she wears a red dress like mine, she'll explode out of it if she isn't careful."
"Don't worry about that. The costume people will use a couple rolls of duct tape if they have to, and it looks like they may have to do exactly that. Your 'girls' will be famous after this movie comes out, especially if they come out during the movie," laughed Steve.
"Steve, this is one of those times when you have to listen to your girlfriend. Be sure to act a little possessive with me. Keep a hand on my back, or on my shoulders. Let that big-boobed girl know that I'm your girlfriend, okay? I thought it was so cool when Nick Fallen was going to be hanging with us, but this girl puts everything in a whole new light. I'm feeling a little insecure here. Don't let her get you to pay more attention to her than you do to me, please?"
"Steve!" called Nick Fallen over the crowd as he summoned Steve and Gwen to join him. "Thanks for coming. You're Gwen! You're even more beautiful in person than in the videos, and you look great in the videos! I want you both to meet Monique Dorn. As you know, she'll be playing the part of Gwen in the film."
Steve extended his hand to Monique, but she stepped inside it and hugged him. "My, you're a big boy, aren't you? I didn't realize how tall you and Gwen are. It's a good thing Nick is a few inches shorter than you, or it wouldn't look right. I can't be a lot shorter than you, at least not in the movie. It's great to meet you both."
Steve watched as Monique hugged Gwen. He watched as two very impressive female anatomies came together. He heard a couple guys behind him groan, and he couldn't blame them.
Steve extended his hand to Nick who grasped it firmly as he shook with Steve. Nick's smile seemed warm and genuine. He was a couple inches shorter than Steve and maybe ten pounds lighter. Off the top of his head, Steve couldn't think of anyone he'd rather have portray him.
Gwen had been released from Monique's embrace in time to see Steve and Nick meet and shake hands. Gwen couldn't help but notice what a good-looking man Nick was. She tried to remain impartial when she turned her attention to Steve, but it was obvious. Steve was even better looking than Nick!
The four young people traveled to Emerson River and talked about the rescue and what was going through the minds of Steve and Gwen that fateful day. Steve was pleasantly surprised at the probing, thoughtful questions both Monique and Nick asked. He felt much more comfortable about them being cast for the movie. As darkness spread over Sparta, the foursome decided to dine at Marsh's Landing, which was the steakhouse owned and operated by the family of Billy Marsh. It served breakfast, lunch, and dinner with steak on the menu for every meal.
When they entered, Billy's father gave them a warm welcome and other diners took the time to look them over. Billy and Charlotte were eating in a booth in the back and Gwen led the others back to them.