tagRomanceWorth Waiting For

Worth Waiting For

bytotallyatease©

Author's Note: A little story I wrote for Christmas last year, there isn't really any sex in this story, so I was doubtful about posting on this site. Well, here it is, I do hope that you enjoy it and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Chapter One

"Hi honey!" Claire grinned at her little sister.

"Hello Claire, you're in a good mood?" Melanie gave her sister a strained little smile.

Claire frowned as she opened the door wider to let Mel in.

"It's nearly Christmas, and everything is on schedule for a change. But what's up with you?"

"Oh I don't know, just feeling a bit fed up I guess." Mel shrugged and gave a grumpy little sigh.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Claire was all quiet sympathy and Mel felt guilty for spoiling her sister's good mood.

She forced herself to smile. "It's nothing, honest, probably just that time of the month."

Claire hesitated uncertainly. "Well if you're sure?"

Mel put on her bossy tone as she ushered her sister to the stairs. "I'm fine, but you're going to be late if you don't hustle."

Her sister glanced at her watch and her blue eyes widened in horror. "Heavens is that the time." She exclaimed as she ran up the stairs.

Mel wandered into the living room her own blue eyes softening as she watched the little boy sitting on the floor playing with some toy cars.

She loved babysitting her little nephew; he was such an adorable cheeky little boy, who was quite ready to love everyone he met.

"Aunty Mel!" he cried out as he spotted her, he threw his toy truck to the floor and toddled over to her, his arms outstretched reaching for her.

She bent to scoop him up into her arms, both of them laughing with delight as they hugged each other.

She spun him around to stop suddenly as she spotted the stranger sitting on the sofa.

"Hello there." He grinned at her, his voice deep and husky and so very amused.

"Oh! Hello," she stammered blushing in confusion.

"Uncle Jed!" little Mark called out, chuckling merrily as Mel held him close to her.

Uncle Jed -- Mel remembered vaguely was her brother in law's younger brother. He'd been living in America for the past five years that Claire and Jonathon had been married.

"So you must be Claire's little sister, Melanie." His dark eyes glinted with something which brought the colour rushing back to her cheeks.

She nodded a little defensively. "Although not so little anymore." She sniffed.

"Not at all," he agreed. "You're all grown up now."

"Have we met before then?" She was surprised and confused and he laughed.

"You were twelve," he told her. "And sick with measles. It was brother Jon and me who delivered some medicine for you, and I came up to check on you, while Jon and Claire made a pot of tea and fell in love."

That was ten years ago! Had Claire and Jon known each other that long? She remembered being ill, she remembered it well; it had been such a very bad dose with all sorts of complications. She was pretty sure though that even as ill as she was -- she would have remembered a visit from this handsome devil!

He watched the play of emotions flickering across her face and grinned knowingly. "I too was very different then!" he told her.

"Oh?" she arched her brows questioningly.

"Yes, I was shorter and weedy and riddled with teenage acne." He laughed ruefully at his own description.

Never! She wanted to cry out in disbelief, never was he short and weedy and there was absolutely no way a single blemish would ever dare to mar that gorgeous face.

He laughed at her blatant disbelief as he stood and walked over to her. "I'm sure that my mother could produce a photo or two should it be required," he murmured huskily into her ear.

Mel felt the shudder run down her spine and down through to the tips of her toes as she felt his warm breath on her neck. He took little Mark from her just as Claire walked back in hooking in earrings as she entered.

"Ah I see you two have met." She exclaimed in delight.

"It was hard not to sis." Mel said dryly. "You're living room isn't that big."

Jed laughed bringing the colour to Mel's cheeks as she responded helplessly to his blatant sex appeal.

"Right then," Claire said briskly as she grabbed her coat and bag. "We're off now," she leaned over to take Mark and kiss his little cheek and then handed him to Mel. "Thanks again for babysitting tonight Mel." She smiled gratefully at her.

"No worries, I wasn't doing anything special." She grinned back. Besides I got to meet Mr. Devilishly handsome over there and that probably has made my year. She thought silently as the other two walked to the front door.

"Oh!" Claire turned back, "and don't worry about getting home tonight, Jed says he'll walk you since he's going that way any way.

They left her holding the baby (literally) with a soppy dreamy look on her face.

Ooooh she sighed softly a moonlit walk home with the dishy Jed to look forward to - her life was really starting to pick up at last!

She held little Mark tight against her and danced around the room causing him to laugh and chortle in delight.

***

It was late when Claire came back with Jed and Jon - who they had met at the dance since he'd been working late.

Her sister and her husband waved them off. "Thanks again Mel!" Claire called softly.

Mel turned back to grin at her sister and then they were walking, the two of them.

Mel suddenly felt shy and awkward and so waited for Jed to make the polite conversation. He seemed to be content with the silence and she shivered unhappily next to him.

"You're cold?" he frowned down at her in concern.

"It's a cold evening." She told him tartly.

He put his arm around her and pulled her against him as they walked. "Better?" he asked softly.

Heaven! She gave a blissful little sigh but answered calmly enough. "Yes thanks"

"Good."

So she walked along the dark road with the sexiest man she had ever met wrapped around her and she wished that she lived miles away. Unfortunately ten minutes later they were stood outside her gate.

"This is me." She said regretfully.

"Yes I remember it well." He murmured thoughtfully at he looked up at the cold empty house.

"Yes, well, thank you for walking me home, I really appreciate it." She wasn't quite sure what to do next so she stuck her hand out for him to shake.

He took her hand and held on to it as he drew her closer to him. He smiled down into her startled face and then lowered his head to capture her lips with his.

Mel was a shy girl, awkward with the opposite sex and at the ripe old age of twenty two she had been kissed all of twice.

Tonight she learnt that those tepid little meetings of mouths were not kisses.

As Jed's warm mouth moved against hers, their breath mingling, and their tongues just touching. Mel felt her knees buckle and Jed caught her and held her tight against him.

His breath was coming a little faster and he laughed shortly. "You're more than welcome Melanie Shore," he whispered huskily. "I've been waiting ten years to do that."

**

Chapter two

He saw the colour flood her cheeks and her confusion. She looked up at him with those enormous blue eyes in that tiny face of hers.

He could see her breath streaming out in the cold night air and her brow furrowed slightly. The increased breathing told him that he had disturbed her with his kiss and that was all he needed to know for now.

He'd never forgotten her, that first meeting when she had been so ill but so brave. She had almost hit him when he had walked unannounced into her bedroom. Even in her fevered state; her sense of self preservation was to attack first, and demand answers later.

He'd gone away soon after to stay with an uncle and aunt, and then later they had taken him with them to America; and Mel had become an elusive phantom who haunted his dreams. A distant figure and memory he couldn't quite pinpoint.

When she'd walked into that room tonight, her face alight with affection for little Mark, he'd felt like he'd been hit by a truck.

Instantly, he'd known that she was the one he'd been waiting for, all these years. He'd gone through his life determined not to get involved. Oh there had been women, women who he'd been happy to take into his bed, but it had never gone any further than that, until tonight when Melanie had walked into his life and stolen his heart.

"Jed?" Her soft hesitant voice sent ripples down his spine.

What could he say to her? To tell her how he felt so soon after their meeting would probably terrify her.

He gave her a crooked little grin and stepped back.

"You should get inside." He advised her in an impersonal tone. "It's getting cold out here and you wouldn't want to catch a chill just before Christmas."

She hugged her arms around herself in a forlorn little gesture that wrung at his heart.

"Goodnight Jed." She whispered as she turned and fled down her garden path.

Jed waited while she fumbled for a moment, searching for her keys. She unlocked her front door, and with one last glance back at him she was inside, and out of sight to him.

Jed gave a regretful little sigh and then with a resigned shrug of his shoulders, and a mischievous little grin, he turned to walk down the darkened road. His mind was already plotting and planning out his campaign to win Mel's affections.

**

It was just over a week until Christmas; and the Shore household became open house to friends and family, as everyone seemed bent on popping in to drop off or collect cards and gifts. Plans were being made for festive dinners, and parties and it seemed like there was something happening every night. It would have and should have been fun, but all of those well meaning people would look at Mel with sympathy and say things like:

"Cousin Bob is single again maybe you'll catch his eye this year Mel." Or

"Never mind being on your own again this year Mel there'll be so many other single people there that you won't be noticed." Or worse still.

"Cousin Michael's bringing a friend with him - maybe he can fix the two of you up?"

Mel took to hiding whenever she heard the squeak of the garden gate.

"I'm going to start putting the decorations up in the living room mum," she called as she heard that tell tale squeak once more. "I'm going to close the door and don't let anyone come in for bit."

"All right love." Her mum called from the kitchen.

Mel shot into the living room and closed the door too with a satisfying little thud, just as she heard the rap on the back door and cheerful voices.

She couldn't tell who it was, but it didn't really matter, they were all as bad as each other.

Mel spent a blissful hour or so decorating the Christmas tree as she heard people coming and going.

She was just stretching up to put the star on the top when there was the sound of the door opening and closing softly behind her.

"I'm almost done mum," she said through gritted teeth as she stretched just that little bit further, straining to reach the top. "Almost there," she gasped.

Suddenly large warm hands were wrapped around her waist and she was pulled down and against the length of a warm body.

"Oh!" she cried out in surprise as she spun in his arms to look up into Jed's smiling face.

"You almost fell and hurt yourself." He admonished softly, apparently not in any hurry to release her.

She held up the star still in her hand, "I was trying to finish the tree." She explained.

"Do you have any idea how many injuries occur that way each year?" Jed lectured her loftily.

"Oh spare me!" Mel snapped not in the mood for any more patronising today.

Her eyes blazed as her morning of frustrations and humiliations caught up with her.

Jed looked down into her face and grinned wryly at her. "Aside from the absence of spots and runny nose, you look just like the first time I saw you." His grin widened and he laughed. "And you hit me that time."

The colour flooded Mel cheeks as she looked at him in horror and disbelief.

"I did not!" she exclaimed. "I wouldn't, not ever..."

Jed laughed again. "A strange man in your bedroom?" he challenged.

Mel frowned. "I wish I could remember." She muttered to herself feeling frustrated.

"I'll tell you what." Jed said STILL with is arms wrapped around her. "Why don't you grab your coat, and we can go for a walk and I'll tell you all about it."

But that would mean moving, and for some reason Mel was quite happy where she was. She wondered if she could take him with her, but no, she shook her head at the foolishness of her thoughts.

Jed smiled as he watched the play of emotions over her face, she was so easy to read, and it was SO turning him on, her being so close, and brushing up against him like this.

He pushed her gently away, "Go on then back up on the chair and I'll hold on to you while you anchor that thing up there."

Mel hopped back up onto the chair and Jed grabbed her round the waist again. By the time she had put the star in place and he'd helped her back down, both of their breathing was a little uneven and there was a brightness to their eyes that had nothing to do with the seasonal high spirits.

Mel cleared her throat and looked up at Jed again as he stopped her from getting past.

"You need to move if I'm going to get my coat." She told him huskily, her heart was hammering in her chest and she felt the excitement tingling across her skin as she saw the look in his eyes.

"In a minute." He whispered seductively, as his lips found hers again.

Mel was melting, her mouth opened helplessly beneath Jed's and his tongue dipped into her mouth to taste and tease her. He pulled her tight against him and wrapped his arms around her. It was only then that Mel realised the affect she was having on Jed.

She tensed in surprise and pulled away from him her uncertainty and confusion more than evident to him.

"I know, I know." Jed sighed regretfully. "It's too soon and this is not the time or the place for this." He moved away to let her past and pulled a little face. "But you make it so difficult for me when you look at me with those big tragic eyes of yours."

The way she was looking at Jed at that moment had nothing to do with tragic, and he had almost lost it with her.

"Go and get your coat Mel and we'll go and get some fresh air."

As Mel turned and left the room, Jed sat down running his fingers repeatedly through his hair in a desperate attempt at cooling off.

**

Chapter Three

It was cold outside in the weak early afternoon sun; there was a light frost on the ground and covering the surrounding cars.

Mel had wrapped a thick scarf around her neck and pulled on her warm winter coat along with gloves and a hat to finish. She knew she wasn't looking her best as the cold air hit her cheeks and pinkened her nose, but at least she was warm.

They walked in silence to the end of her road, where Jed hesitated. "Is there anywhere in particular that you would like to walk?"

Mel pointed ahead, "If we walk that way for about fifteen minutes, then we'll come to a nice park, and in the middle is a little coffee shop, that's usually quite quiet at this time of year."

"Excellent!" Jed exclaimed as he took her hand in his, "That sounds like a plan."

They walked briskly which didn't leave much breath for talking so Mel kept her head down and put all her effort into keeping up with Jed.

Jed was nearly a foot taller than her and his long legged stride forced her to do three quick steps at a time, which pretty much amounted to her jogging to keep up.

Jed seemed to be deep in thought as he swept her along and it wasn't until she dug her heels in to pull him back that he looked at her.

"What is it?" he frowned looking down at her flushed slightly damp face, her breath streaming out and her chest heaving.

"Sorry!" she gasped, "just couldn't keep up any more."

It dawned on him then what he'd been doing, and his expression filled with remorse.

"I'm so sorry." He apologised pulling her close.

Mel stood in the circle of his arms her eyes closed as she caught her breath, finally she stepped away regretfully.

"The park's not far now," she told him with a little smile. "Just around the next corner."

They started to walk again, this time at a more leisurely pace. There were so many things that Mel wanted to know about him but she was too shy to ask.

"So are you back in England for good?" she finally plucked up the nerve to ask the one thing she most wanted to know.

Jed gave her a sideways little glance. "I think that I am yes." He told her casually.

"You THINK that you are?"

Jed gave a little sigh. "I've spent the last several years travelling and I've loved every minute of it." He dug his hands into his pockets, his thoughts his own for a moment. "When I first got back the other day it was only intended for a short visit."

"Oh?" She did really well to keep the heartbreak out of her voice.

"Yes, but then dad said that he was thinking about retiring, and Jon can't manage it all on his own, he's working far too hard as it is." Again he paused.

"So you feel that you SHOULD stay rather than want to stay?"

"That was the feeling the other day, yes." He nodded.

"And now?"

He looked at Mel, his eyes deep and questioning. "Now I don't know. I think that I COULD be happy here."

Mel wasn't sure how to respond to that and she looked away in panic. "Ah! Here's the park!" she exclaimed with relief.

Jed realised that he may have said too much, given too much away and now Mel was feeling uncomfortable.

"Come on lets go and find your coffee shop and I'll tell you all about how we first met."

**

"I need you two boys to make a few deliveries for me." Mr. Blake looked across at his two sons, both of them growing by the day now and slowly developing into fine young men. Jonathon the elder of the two was eighteen and almost as tall as himself with his serious attitude and studious nature. Jed -- James Edward named after himself but called Jed to stop the confusion.

Jed still had some growing time, at the ripe old age of sixteen he was the better looking of his sons, and the more adventurous. And if the truth were to be known he was his father's favourite. His eyes and hair dark like his mother's, his nature bright like hers too. Everyone warmed to him.

"This measles outbreak crossed with the flu epidemic is causing chaos with everything, and now three of my delivery men are down and out ill."

His two sons looked at him waiting for instructions, and he smiled for the first time that day.

"You're good boys." He sighed gratefully as he handed over several made up prescriptions.

He handed them a list and a map as well. "I got Sheila to mark out a route for you, so it'll make it quicker and easier. You've both got your bikes?"

Again they both nodded as they quickly studied the map and list so that they had an idea of what was expected of them.

"Thank you lads; I don't know what I would have done without you." Their father told them gratefully.

The two of them left the little chemist and unlocked their bikes Jon put several of the packets into his back pack as Jed did the same with the remainder. They climbed onto their bikes and without another word they were off cycling fast down the road.

An hour later they were on the last of two deliveries.

"It's a girl with measles, and some added problems." Jon said studying the list. "She lives just on the next road, one more after that and we're done," he said with satisfaction.

They peddled down the road and took their bikes around to the side of the house. Then they returned to the front door and knocked.

A few moments later the door was pulled open by a young woman of about sixteen, the same age as Jed. She had blonde hair and soft blue eyes that fastened on Jon who blinked in a kind of recognition.

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