Brad & 'Tanaya Ch. 04byMygypsy©
Brad woke slowly, he lifted his head cautiously to look at 'Tanaya who he was spooning. He looked around for his watch and spotted it on the arm of the lounge; he reached for it slowly trying not to wake 'Tanaya. The numbers on the face told him it was nearly time for him to get up and get ready for work.
'Tanaya moved slightly as cool air slipped under the cover and she frowned as she rolled over and reached for him in her sleep.
Gently Brad lifted her arm from across his lower ribs and eased it back under the covers.
"What?" 'Tanaya murmured sleepily as she sat up abruptly.
"It's time for me to get up and get ready for work," Brad said quietly, "why don't you lay back down and have a bit more sleep. You said you've got today off."
'Tanaya looked at him trying to gauge his mood, was he regretting what had occurred between them?
"No, I'll get up and make the coffee that way I can get an early start on the housework I want to do today." 'Tanaya said as she pushed the covers down to her knees.
Brad spared a moment to take a long look at her naked body before turning and heading towards the bathroom. "I'm just having a quick shower, I'll be out in five." He called back over his shoulder.
'Tanaya watched him go before heading to her room to grab her dressing gown and put it on. In the kitchen she filled the percolator and turned it on before stacking the previous nights dirty dishes in the sink.
The coffee was ready and she was sitting down sipping a cup when Brad came into the kitchen.
"Yesterday Hank was saying we'd only be doing about a half days work today to finish off the job. The crew might be stopping by the pub for a few drinks afterwards." Brad said easily.
"Okay," 'Tanaya said with a nod. She wondered if anything would change after the previous night, so far it had been the same as every other morning except for waking up in the same bed.
"How's your shoulders and back?" she asked after several minutes silence.
"Not as bad as I had expected. A bit stiff and tender when I move but other than that not too bad." Brad said as he began making himself lunch for the day.
'Tanaya watched silently as Brad made his lunch then cooked a quick breakfast for himself. She noticed he glanced at her several times but said nothing so she remained silent not sure of what to say or do.
He ate quickly and stopped to look at the dirty dishes in the sink as he went to place his plate on the sink.
"I'll do them today, no drama." 'Tanaya said from where she sat at the table.
Brad turned his head to glance her way and gave a faint nod, "Okay, but I do all the dishes tonight."
"I'll make sure to use every pan I own to cook tea," 'Tanaya attempted to joke but her lips trembled suddenly and she looked away.
Brad watched her for a few seconds awkwardly; he didn't know what to say. Wasn't sure how he wanted things between them. Last night had happened on impulse and this morning in the light of day he wasn't too sure if they could make things work with his relationship with Nicolas and Janey thrown into the mix.
A loud knock on the front door made both of them jump and Brad shrugged knowing it was Brent or Matty signalling they were out the front waiting to be picked up for work.
"I'd better get going," Brad said as he picked up the small cooler bag that contained his lunch. He hesitated a moment then paused to drop a quick kiss on a surprised 'Tanaya.
"I'll talk to you this afternoon," he promised as he headed for the door.
'Tanaya sat at the table stunned, she had thought that Brad had regretted what had occurred between them the previous night but now she wasn't too sure. She got to her feet with a sigh and looked around the kitchen at the cleaning she planned to do, she headed towards her room to get clothes to change into after a shower. No time like the present to get to work on cleaning.
* * * * * Brad sipped the icy cold beer and sighed with satisfaction; it was the hottest part of the afternoon and instead of work Hank and the crew were enjoying a cold beer at one of the local pubs.
Brad was listening to the flow of talk around the group at the table but he wasn't really taking it in. He had been doing a lot of thinking during the day and had realised it would be really hard to make things work between him and 'Tanaya.
They would just have to take it one day at a time and he would have to see if he could mediate a peace between 'Tanaya and Janey.
"Hey Brad! You listening?" Matty asked as he slapped him on the shoulder.
Brad gave a start and looked towards him to see what he wanted.
"We were talking about the blonde that works behind the bar here, I think Brent has a bit of a thing for her. He comes in here at least once a week, but only when she's behind the bar." Gerry, one of the other workers said.
Brad glanced towards the bar where a rather pretty buxom blonde was serving drinks before glancing at Brent to see his expression. He could read no hint of the other man's thoughts on the matter and turned to Gerry with a shrug.
"To tell the truth I hadn't noticed," Brad said.
"What's your ex-missus look like?" Gerry asked with a good-natured grin.
"Pardon?" Brad asked slightly confused.
"Come on, it's all over town. You got your ex-missus visiting you each weekend with your kid. Rumour has it she's not so ex, if you know what I mean." Gerry winked as he finished his statement.
Brad was silent as he stared at Gerry until the other man shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"There's nothing going on between Janey and I other then me getting to see my son," Brad said in a controlled voice.
"You're talking about young Janetta Wilkinson aren't you?" Hank said in the tense silence.
"Yeah," Brad's tone was guarded; he had learnt quickly to watch what he said in this small town.
"My oldest boy went to school with her sister and my second boy was a year behind Janey in school, from what I know of the family she's a nice girl." Hank said levelly.
"She's doing a great job with our son," Brad said with a sober nod.
"Janey is really nice. Rather quiet and shy but really nice." Matty piped up in her defence.
"Obviously not too shy," Gerry said with a smirk. He caught Brad watching him without any expression on his face and felt a chill go down his spine.
"That didn't come out right, I didn't mean no disrespect." Gerry said awkwardly.
Brad gave a brief nod before finishing his beer abruptly, "I think I'll call it quits with just the one beer." He said as he got to his feet.
"See you later," Hank said.
"Later," Brent said.
The others were silent as Brad left the table and headed for the front door of the pub.
Outside the hot air hit Brad in the face with a blast. He squinted as he glanced at the sun over the end of the street and headed in the direction of the house where 'Tanaya lived. It was hard to think of it as his home, even temporarily.
He paused outside the supermarket, thought for a moment then headed inside to get a supply of condoms. He was realistic enough to admit that he and 'Tanaya would probably end up having sex again even though he felt it was smart to end whatever was between them here and now.
Near the checkout Brad found himself picking out a bunch of flowers for 'Tanaya and shook his head with a rueful grin. Flowers and plans to cool the relationship down just didn't go together in his books.
Brad could hear the radio blasting away from the front gate and walked up to the front door with a silly grin on his face. It felt good to be about to walk into a house where his woman was waiting for him.
As he opened the front door he realised it was 'Tanaya's voice singing along with the music and he followed the sound through the house to the kitchen where he found her taking a tray of muffins from the oven.
"I hope they're apple cinnamon," Brad said from the doorway.
"Oh! You gave me a fright!" 'Tanaya exclaimed as she turned around to face him.
"I guess I got these for you," Brad said as he stepped forward and held the flowers out to her.
'Tanaya looked at the flowers with a faint smile, "You guess?"
"Yeah, I just type of picked them up without thinking about it. Then I realised they remind me of you," Brad said awkwardly.
'Tanaya looked at the arrangement of tigerlillies, an array of golden orange and dark brown flowers surrounded by lush dark green leaves. She took them from him and carried them to the sink; the flowers in one hand and the tray of muffins in the other.
"Thank you, they're beautiful." 'Tanaya said placing the muffin tray on a cooling rack and the flowers on the sink draining board.
Brad watched as she put the flowers in a large glass jar and placed them in the middle of the table before glancing at him once again.
"The rest of the guys are down at the pub having a few beers. I had the one beer and decided to come back here." Brad told her.
'Tanaya studied him silently for a few seconds before giving a silent nod; she turned back to the stove and checked a second tray of muffins before speaking.
"So did the flowers come before or after what you got in your hand?" 'Tanaya asked curiously.
Brad looked down at his hands to find that the packet of condoms was clearly visible through the plastic shopping bag. He looked up to find 'Tanaya watching him with what looked like mild interest.
"You probably won't believe me but the flowers have nothing to do with these," Brad said as he lifted the offending bag to waist height, "I got the flowers without really thinking about them. They type of remind me of you." Brad finished awkwardly.
"So the flowers remind you of me? Or do the condoms?" 'Tanaya asked dryly.
"Looks like I really shot myself in my foot doesn't it?" Brad asked sheepishly, he looked down at the floor and then looked up at 'Tanaya once more.
'Tanaya couldn't help but notice the chagrined look on Brad's face, she realised he actually was telling the truth that the flowers had nothing to do with him buying the condoms.
"I don't know about having shot yourself in the foot but it sure looks like you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar," 'Tanaya said evenly, she didn't intend to let him off scot free.
"Well I might go put these with my stuff," Brad said with a self-conscious shrug.
'Tanaya watched as he headed for the spare room where he kept his belongings, she turned back to the muffins and found it impossible not to smile as her gaze brushed over the flowers on the table.
She was still smiling when Brad returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, she was removing the last of the muffins from the oven and humming along to the music that was coming from the radio.
"They look good enough to eat," Brad remarked smoothly.
'Tanaya turned to face him with a grin as she picked up one of the first batch of muffins and carried it over to him, she held it up to his mouth when he reached for it.
Brad tried to take the muffin from her grasp but she pulled her hand away and shook her head.
"Taste it," 'Tanaya urged.
Brad gave a defeated sigh then took a large bite out of the muffin, he almost groaned with delight as the flavour of apple and aroma of cinnamon burst into his mouth.
"We're going to dance," she told him softly as he took the last piece from her fingers, she slipped her arms up around his shoulders and smiled into his face.
Brad hesitated a moment before resting his hands on her waist, they began moving in a slow dance around the kitchen.
"See, it's not that bad," 'Tanaya whispered as she eased closer.
They swayed to the music. There was nothing overtly gratuitous about their movements or the way they held each other.
'Tanaya's arms rested on his shoulders, her hands behind his neck. His hands stroked her long slender back in slow soothing motions as he held her close.
Her cheek rested against his chest and his against the top of her head.
And yet, the fact that they were dancing so close, drawing strength and pleasure from each other's body without the indulging in sex was more gratifying.
Brad couldn't understand the feeling of completion he got from merely holding her in his arms even when his body was screaming to sink within her depths.
"Is this the feeling ... no!" Brad turned away with a quick jerk that trembled through his body.
"Brad?" 'Tanaya whispered in confusion as she swayed unsteadily on her feet after being deprived of his support.
Brad turned to face her uneasily; he saw the confusion and fear in her eyes. He opened his mouth to speak and realised he didn't have the right words to say.
'Tanaya watched as Brad went to speak and then seemed to think better of it; he turned away without saying a word.
"Brad?" she asked with a sinking feeling.
"Things were just about to get out of hand there, let's just take it one step at a time." Brad said as he took several steps to put some distance between them.
"We were only dancing," 'Tanaya protested.
"I was about ten seconds away from having you either on the table, the counter or against the wall!" Brad snapped suddenly irritated.
"And how would that be so bad?" 'Tanaya demanded.
"We need to take things slowly!" Brad ground out between gritted teeth.
"Okay, so no wild impromptu sex." 'Tanaya said evenly.
Brad eyed 'Tanaya cautiously, was she really going to do things his way or just pretend to play along until she could launch a sneak attack on his defences?
"I got a lot riding on making no mistakes," Brad said sternly.
'Tanaya nodded silently before asking, "Do you think Janey will have a problem with you and me?"
Brad walked over to the muffins and picked one up; took a bite and chewed thoughtfully before finally answering. "Well you have been radiating hostility every time she has visited."
"I can't undo the past but I promise I'll be more friendly towards her from now on." 'Tanaya said softly as she turned away.
Brad frowned a moment but they were going over old ground, things they had already talked about.
"Did you ask Brent and Matty if they wanted to go visit Ren this weekend?" 'Tanaya asked.
"We were pushing to get finished early and it slipped my mind." Brad told her levelly.
"No worries, I'll talk to them later." 'Tanaya said with a shrug as she walked over and helped herself to a warm muffin. "Hmmm... these are good."
"Yeah," Brad agreed and reached for another muffin.
* * * * *
'Tanaya fidgeted in the passenger seat of the vehicle as she watched the scenery go by; she couldn't keep her mind on the trip ahead of her.
"You going to tell me what's eating at you?" Brent asked from where he was driving.
'Tanaya glanced across at him then turned back to the view out the window.
"You been awfully quiet the last two evenings," Matty commented from the backseat, "Is something wrong?"
"No, there's nothing wrong." 'Tanaya said knowing Matty had a tendency to worry about trouble befalling any of his friends.
"Something's going on." Matty muttered in a worried tone.
"Brad just has a serious talk with Janey on the agenda this weekend," 'Tanaya said knowing they would find out sooner or later.
"Is her boyfriend making trouble about Brad seeing Nicky?" Brent asked with a frown.
"Not that I know of." 'Tanaya said and took a deep breath, "Brad and I might be getting a relationship going but he doesn't want to do anything to upset Janey or possibly stop her letting him see Nicky." 'Tanaya burst out hurriedly, she knew of no way to break the news to Brent who was an ex-lover.
"I knew that would only be a matter of time, you've had your sights set on him from before all the shit hit the fan." Brent said evenly. The thought of his ex-lover and still close friend getting intimate with one of his best mates didn't worry him; in fact he believed they would be good together.
"Like I didn't imagine that you and Brad would end up having a thing," Matty said from the backseat.
"Brad's going to talk to her this weekend, see if she has any objections to me being around Nicky." 'Tanaya said softly.
"Don't tell me you been sharpening your claws on Janey behind Brad's back," Brent said in a dry tone.
"No I haven't done anything like that ..." 'Tanaya started,
"But you sure haven't been friendly." Brent finished for her.
"Yeah, something like that," 'Tanaya muttered unhappily.
"Why would you go and be bitchy at Janey?" Brent asked levelly.
'Tanaya was silent for several minutes and neither man spoke; finally she admitted to herself that she needed to talk to Brent and Matty about what had happened between Brad and Janey.
"I thought she had tried to cause trouble for Brad, Ren and you guys. But Brad told me a few things the other day that made me realise I was wrong." 'Tanaya said quietly.
Brent cursed softly under his breath as he slowed the vehicle and began looking for a spot he could safely pull over. When he stopped the vehicle he turned in his seat to look at 'Tanaya with a look that said he clearly doubted her sanity.
"You've been a bitch to Janey while you've been trying to get into Brad's pants! You know how much that boy means to him and yet your doing stuff that could cause trouble when you and he get together?" Brent demanded in a hard voice.
"I haven't been a bitch to Janey and I haven't done anything to her! I just maybe let it show I felt she was to blame for the sentences all you guys got." 'Tanaya said evenly. She knew now that she had made a bad error in judgement but she had no intention of making excuses for herself.
"Janey doesn't like it when you go near Nicky. She watches you real close and looks like she's ready to jump up all the time." Matty stated from the back seat.
"Shit Shantanaya! You got her thinking you're going to hurt her kid!" Brent exclaimed in stunned disbelief.
"I'd never hurt Nicky! You know how I feel about children Brent! You know!" 'Tanaya said desperately in a pain filled voice as she wrapped her arms around her ribs. "I'd never hurt a child, no matter what."
"So Brad is telling Janey that you might be around Nicky a lot more and he has to convince her that you'd never hurt the boy. " Brent said slowly.
"Brad's so wrapped up in being a good father but he's putting his relationship with Janey and Nicky before him and I." 'Tanaya said unhappily.
Brent went still as another thought occurred to him, he turned his head cautiously to look at 'Tanaya and asked, "You have told Brad the full story haven't you?"
"I haven't found the right moment to tell him," 'Tanaya said unhappily.
In the back seat Matty looked from Brent to 'Tanaya and back again; there was something going on he had missed he was sure of it.
"Considering everything that's going on you need to sit down and talk to him about things 'Tanay'. Brad needs to know everything," Brent said firmly.
* * * * *
Brad hurried to open the door; he could see the outline of Janey in the frosted glass and was suddenly desperate to see Nicky. He opened the door and grinned when Nicky instantly reached his arms for him.
"Da, da, da, da, da," Nicky chanted as Brad lifted him out of Janey's arms.
"There you go, here's Daddy just like I said." Janey said with a smile.
Brad cuddled his son close and once again was overwhelmed by the rush of love he felt for the child. When he raised his head from where he had been inhaling the sweet scent of the child he suddenly realised there was no one with Janey.
"You're by your self today?" he asked surprised.
"Yeah, James had to work and I really don't want Adam here glowering all day." Janey said matter of factly.
"I'm glad you feel comfortable enough not to need someone with you," Brad said as he led the way into the house.
Janey looked around as she noted how quiet the house was.
" 'Tanaya, Brent and Matty have gone to visit Ren. They will probably stay up there tonight and see him tomorrow as well," Brad told her. He heard the sigh of relief that she tried to keep quiet and looked at her while he was careful not to let anything show on his face.