Halo Ch. 06byMygypsy©
Janey woke to the soft chatter of Nicky beside her; she frowned and turned her head towards him before opening her eyes.
Nicky was happily resting against Ren as he lay in bed with them talking to his favourite toy Teddy.
Janey felt heat rise in her face as Ren glanced at her with a smile as if he had felt her eyes on him.
"Look Nicky, Mummy has woken up. Nicky has been in bed with us for nearly an hour and a half," Ren told her with a smile.
Nicky looked at Janey and gave her one of his brilliant smiles.
"He'll be wet through and hungry. It's a wonder he's not screaming the house down," Janey mumbled with a frown as she looked away from Ren.
"Brad already changed him and 'Tanaya gave him a bowl of fruit and a cup of milk before he came in here to us," Ren said gently.
"Mummummum, Daddaddaddad!" Nicky chatted to her happily.
"Hey there Bubbubbub," Janey said softly as she avoided looking at Ren.
"Why don't we go visit your Dad and let Mummy get up, hey Nicky?" Ren asked softly as he realised there was something troubling Janey.
Janey made no comment and closed her eyes as Ren slipped from the bed.
"No need for that, I got clothes on," Ren said feeling uneasy.
Janey made a noncommittal sound in her throat and opened her eyes to look at her son.
"I'll see you in the kitchen shortly," Ren said softly with a sinking feeling as he lifted Nicky into his arms.
Janey closed her eyes as Ren left the room then opened them with a start when her engagement ring wasn't on her finger to twist in her anxiety. She looked towards the nightstand and took a deep breath as she saw it there.
Janey grimaced at the tenderness between her thighs as she sat up and swung her legs off the edge of the bed; she was surprised to find she wore the t-shirt once again and stiffened as she remembered waking slightly as Ren had slipped it over her head and eased her arms into the sleeves.
Refusing to think about what had occurred the previous night Janey got up and quickly got dressed before heading to the toilet. She carried her engagement ring in her hand unable to bring herself to put it on.
She took her time drawing the simple task out as long as she could before reluctantly heading towards the kitchen.
Brad was standing beside 'Tanaya at the sink while he held Nicky who was chattering to him happily. Janey glanced around uneasily and saw Ren at the fridge getting out a bottle of juice and she looked away hurriedly when he glanced her way.
'Tanaya took in the scene with a quick glance as she turned around. The way Ren was looking at Janey and the clear mark on her neck attested to their shared passion the night before.
"I need milk. You guys go get some would you? And take Nicky for the walk, he'd like that." 'Tanaya ordered firmly.
"But there's milk..." Brad started to protest.
"It's off, go get me more." 'Tanaya said softly but firmly with a frown at Brad.
Realising that 'Tanaya was intent on them leaving Brad gave a slight nod and glanced at Ren.
"Looks like we're on shop duty," Brad remarked and led the way from the kitchen.
Ren hesitated a moment as he looked at Janey where she stood with her back turned towards him slightly and her head bowed; he gave a sigh of frustration then followed Brad.
'Tanaya was silent as she put two pieces of bread into the toaster before pouring a glass of juice and putting it on the table. When the toast popped up she buttered it, placed it on a plate and put it on the table beside the juice.
"Here, sit down and eat this. And for goodness sake stop beating yourself up over what happened last night," 'Tanaya told Janey gently.
Janey glanced at her startled then looked at the toast and juice. "Thanks."
'Tanaya watched as Janey sat down and picked up a piece of toast and nibbled at it half-heartedly. She noticed that Janey held her engagement ring in one hand and was turning it in her fingers restlessly.
"I know I am probably the last person you want to talk to or listen to but I really think you need some advice," 'Tanaya said after several minutes while Janey sat there fiddling with the ring.
"What? You going to have a go at me about sleeping with Ren?" Janey demanded aggressively.
'Tanaya was silent for a few moments; she could see that Janey was already telling herself off about her actions.
"No, I was actually going to tell you not to focus on the fact that you're involved with two men but look at each one individually and work out what it is they give you or what you draw from your relationship with them. Think about them as separate individuals, their morals and personalities. Then work out what you want," 'Tanaya said evenly.
Janey glanced at her startled. She had not expected anything so sensible from 'Tanaya especially since she had disliked and distrusted 'Tanaya all along.
"Ren said you gave Nicky breakfast," Janey said softly.
"He was hungry," 'Tanaya said gently as she recognised Janey's abrupt change of tone.
"Thanks," Janey said and gave a faint smile.
"So is toast enough or do you want something more filling?" 'Tanaya asked brightly.
"I'm not really hungry," Janey admitted sheepishly.
"How about a cup of coffee," 'Tanaya asked as she poured herself a refill.
Janey glanced at her empty glass of juice surprised to find she had drank it all." That would be good thanks."
'Tanaya poured a second cup of coffee and placed it in front of Janey before sitting down at the table.
"Do you want to talk about what's happening? Or maybe talk about something else to get your mind off it for the moment?" 'Tanaya asked softly.
Janey shook her head and shrugged at the same time. There were tears in her eyes as she glanced at the other woman.
"Do you love either of them?" 'Tanaya asked gently.
"I love Adam, and he's so good to me," Janey said unhappily.
"Is Adam the one who gave you that police file on me?" 'Tanaya asked calmly.
"He knew I felt uneasy about bringing Nicky here and he thought I should know the type of people who would be around him," Janey said softly.
"You do know what he did broke a heap of police and legal rules. Personally I thought he had nothing against me until I told you about Ren's appeal going before the court..." 'Tanaya said letting her sentence trail off.
Janey shook her head in denial but she'd had had the same thoughts herself. 'Tanaya seemed to be the one person here that he had not had voiced doubts about.
"Can I ask how you feel about Ren?" 'Tanaya asked very quietly.
"He scares me, terrifies me. But I feel safe when I'm with him," Janey said unhappy with confusion.
"Yeah, we type of noticed that last night. When you were asleep you nearly mugged him in your sleep, nearly ended up crowding him off the edge of the lounge bed," 'Tanaya said with a grin before asking, "Do you feel safe when you're with Adam?"
"Why wouldn't I? I know he'll protect me and he's a police officer," Janey said dryly.
"Ummm, who rocks your boat? Adam or Ren?" 'Tanaya asked curiously as she lifted her cup of coffee up for a drink.
"Pardon?" Janey asked slightly outraged.
"Don't want to answer personal questions? Brad's pretty good between the sheets isn't he?" 'Tanaya asked with a smile.
Janey looked away embarrassed by 'Tanaya's forthright manner.
"I mean he might be very well hung but he sure knows how to use it and he's gentle with it," 'Tanaya laughed at Janey's embarrassed blush.
"It doesn't bother you that Brad and I have...ummm...well you know?" Janey asked red faced.
"I knew Brad wasn't a virgin right from the start, before I'd even met him. Brad sleeping with you was one thing Hawk was really angry over. That and the fact Ren had interfered between him and you," 'Tanaya said gently worried that mention of Hawk would upset Janey.
"You knew Hawk?" Janey asked startled.
"Yeah, I met him, and he and his boyfriend hung around with the guy I was with for a few weeks." 'Tanaya admitted softly.
"Ah ummm what did you think of him?" Janey asked almost hesitantly.
"He was very handsome and charming but I always had the uneasy feeling that there was something off about him underneath it all. And Rory, my boyfriend at the time warned me never to be alone with Hawk not long after he met him," 'Tanaya said evenly.
Janey nodded jerkily and picked up her coffee with shaking hands. "He had a cruel streak, not just ordinary cruel either," Janey said with a quiver in her voice.
'Tanaya was silent as Janey took several sips of coffee before putting the cup back on the table.
"He was sadistic," Janey whispered with a shudder.
"But that's in the past now," 'Tanaya said brightly.
"Yeah, it is," Janey agreed with a shaky smile.
"I don't know who gets the most excited when they know you and Nicky are coming to visit, Brad, Ren, Matty, Brent, or me." 'Tanaya said with a faint smile.
Janey glanced at her with surprise, "Why would you be excited about a visit? I've been a bit of a bitch up until now," Janey said with a grimace.
"It's not as if I didn't give you cause to be wary of me," 'Tanaya admitted with a shrug.
"Truce?" Janey asked with a smile.
"I'd really like that," 'Tanaya said with a nod, "and maybe we could be friends at some stage."
"I think we are now," Janey said with a soft laugh.
"Okay, so what are we going to do to these guys when they come back? Send them out for some sugar or a loaf of bread?" 'Tanaya asked brightly with a playful gleam in her eye.
Janey laughed and shook her head, "Make them wear frilly aprons to do the dishes," she suggested.
"Those pair are so secure in their masculinity it would take more than that to shake them," 'Tanaya said with a proud grin.
The smile faded from Janey's face as she caught sight of her ring where it sat on the table, she reached out slowly and picked it up. She turned it over and over in her fingers for several moments before giving a deep sigh and enclosing it in one hand.
"It's going to take some time and thought isn't it," 'Tanaya said gently.
"Yeah," Janey said and glanced across at her. Surprisingly the chat with 'Tanaya had helped her work out what she would do about her situation.
'Tanaya began gathering used cups and plates and got to her feet to take them to the sink.
Janey finished her cup of coffee then carried her cup, plate and glass to the sink before pausing for a moment.
"I'll just go put this in my purse. I think that's the best place for it," Janey said rolling her engagement ring between her fingers.
"Okay," 'Tanaya said without comment.
Janey headed for the bedroom where she had slept. She found her purse with the bag she had packed for Nicky and placed the ring in her wallet. She heard Brad and Ren return and hesitated a moment before heading back to the kitchen.
"Nicky needed a Freddo frog," Brad said as he turned to face her.
Nicky was held snugly in his arms, his face a gooey mess of smeared chocolate. He held the remains of a chocolate in one messy fist that he was suckling and chewing on with delight.
"So I see," Janey said with a wry smile. "You get to clean him up."
"You still like Mars bars don't you?" Ren asked with a charming smile.
"Yeah I do," Janey said guardedly.
"I got several in case you'd like one as well," Ren said motioning to several different chocolate bars sitting on the table. He remembered Janey had a sweet tooth when it came to chocolate bars and after the way she had all but recoiled from him that morning he was ready to try anything to try to repair the mistake he had made by going to bed with her.
Janey glanced at the chocolate bars and her mouth watered when she saw the Mars bar. She darted a quick glance at Ren then reached for the chocolate. She hesitated a moment and darted a quick glance at Brad and 'Tanaya before pulling her hand back away from the chocolate.
"Would you two be okay with Nicky if Ren and I sat out on the back veranda for a while?" Janey asked softly.
"Yeah sure," 'Tanaya said. " Just take your time okay."
Janey gave a slight nod understanding what 'Tanaya meant before she turned and headed for the back veranda. She heard Ren start to follow her after a moment and tried to think of what she would say to him.
Ren closed the back door behind him then turned to face Janey. She was standing by the veranda railing watching him uneasily.
"I'm sorry about what happened last night. After promising not to do anything I should have walked away," Ren said before Janey could start to say anything.
"I ...ummm ... things have changed. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't willing last night. What happened changed a lot of things," Janey said nervously.
Ren gave a nod and sat down on one of the benches on the veranda. He remained silent as he watched Janey.
"I ... I'm not sure ... ummm ... what'll happen, where things'll go from here," Janey stammered nervously.
Ren gave another nod and remained silent as he waited for her to continue with what she had to say. He watched as she looked down at her hands where she was twisting them nervously in front of her.
"I'm not breaking up with Adam but I won't be wearing the engagement ring anymore. And ... ummm ... I ...ahhh ... want to keep seeing you," Janey finished her sentence with a rush and looked at him nervously.
Ren looked at her with surprise, he had been expecting her to tell him she wanted nothing to do with him, but he certainly hadn't expected this.
"I don't share my women with other guys," Ren said trying to keep the anger out of his voice.
"I don't know what this is between us. I'm honest enough to admit it will probably happen again. I love Adam but ... this ... this thing ... I don't think either of us can ... control it," Janey said uneasily as she saw the anger in his face.
"You claim to love your cop boyfriend and yet you want to keep seeing me even though you know we'll end up in bed together?" Ren asked tightly.
"I...I ..." Janey stammered and took a step backwards.
"What? Doesn't he satisfy you in bed?" Ren bit out angrily. He turned around and stormed back into the house leaving Janey staring after him worriedly.
Janey watched the screen door bounce back from the doorframe and hit the wall; she flinched then took a deep breath as she tried to calm the nerves fluttering in her stomach.
* * * * *
Ren stood by his bike as he looked out across the valley view from the highway rest area. It was well past lunchtime and he was just stopping to eat the sandwiches he had bought along with him.
His feelings still smarted from the blow Janey dealt him the previous day. He had left as soon as he'd seen his parole officer for the week and headed for the open road to do some serious riding and hopefully blow his troubles away.
The thought of Janey returning to Adam after what they shared made his blood boil and he tossed his uneaten sandwich in the bin, his appetite destroyed.
As he gazed out over the green valley he realised that there was no way he could escape from what Janey said; he could only return and face whatever was to eventuate.
'At least Janey was admitting there is something between us,' Ren thought darkly.
Frustrated with the thoughts that kept whirling round and round in his head Ren put his helmet on and straddled his bike once more. It was time to return to the house where Brad and 'Tanaya lived and start looking for a place of his own in earnest.
* * * * *
It was late Saturday afternoon before Ren arrived back at Brad and 'Tanaya's; he was happy to see Janey's vehicle parked out the front of the house as he turned into the driveway and rode his bike up the side of the house.
As he walked in the back door he could hear 'Tanaya and Janey talking in the kitchen and Brad in the lounge room talking to Nicky.
"Any hot coffee?" Ren asked from the doorway of the kitchen.
"Hello stranger. The kettle's not long been boiled," 'Tanaya said as she looked at him with a grin.
"I'll just put my gear away and come make myself a cup," Ren said before heading for his bedroom.
He noticed there was an overnight bag on the foot of his bed and he knew Janey was probably staying the night. He put his duffel bag by the closet then headed for the kitchen.
The kettle had been turned on and was close to boiling when he walked into the room. He got himself a cup from the cupboard and added coffee granules and sugar before turning to face the two women.
"Hi Blondie. How's it going 'Tanaya?" Ren said quietly.
"Hi Ren," Janey said softly.
Ren couldn't help noticing she was slightly wary of him and he didn't blame her after the way he had left during the week.
"Would you like to call me Gabe or Gabriel? That's my Christian name. I just thought maybe you would like to use one of them but if you want to keep calling me Ren. It's fine by me," Ren said with a smile.
"Brent and Matty got a new flat. Their landlord offered them a flat that came vacant," 'Tanaya informed him.
"That's good, very far away?" Ren asked.
"Just in the next block towards the shopping centre," 'Tanaya replied.
The kettle boiled and Ren turned his attention to making his coffee.
"I'm just going to see Brad and our boy," Ren said before taking his cup of coffee and heading for the lounge room.
In the lounge room Brad was helping Nicky build a tower out of toy blocks when Ren walked in. He looked over his shoulder and smiled when he saw who had entered the room.
"Glad to see you back," Brad said quietly.
"I just needed some time and space to myself," Ren said as he seated himself in the recliner chair.
Nicky looked up from where he was playing with the blocks and gave Ren a wide smile before climbing to his feet and toddling over to him; he climbed up onto Ren's lap and sat there leaning back against Ren's chest for several minutes.
"And I'm happy to see you too Nicky," Ren said fondly as he gave the little boy a cuddle.
"Looks like you've got yourself a friend there," Brad remarked when Nicky continued to sit on Ren's lap and was busily chatting away to him.
"That's good because I'm rather fond of the little guy," Ren said his voice slightly thick.
Brad laughed softly, "Looks like you've fallen for the kid just as hard as you have his mother."
Ren gave a faint smile but didn't reply to Brad's remark.
"I been thinking I should go check up on my restaurants," Ren said as he lifted Nicky from his knee and placed him on the floor.
Nicky walked over to the blocks and sat down with a plonk.
"Do you need to talk to your parole officer about that?" Brad asked.
"I just need to let them know exactly where I would be going and when," Ren replied. He turned his head to look when footsteps sounded but it was just 'Tanaya who came into the room.
"Janey wants to drive back to her parents place and pick up a couple of things she forgot," 'Tanaya said as she looked at Brad and then glanced at Ren.
"Does she want to take Nicky with her?" Brad asked.
"She was hoping to leave him here with you and I was going to go with her," 'Tanaya said quietly.
"You two are really getting on well now aren't you," Brad said with a smile.
"We sure are," 'Tanaya agreed.
Ren looked past 'Tanaya to see Janey standing not far behind her. He smiled at her and watched as she blushed and glanced away.
"Would it be okay if I went with you Janey and let 'Tanaya stay here?" Ren asked evenly.
Janey met Ren's gaze for a moment and then looked at 'Tanaya and Brad who were looking at her waiting for her answer.
"Yeah. If 'Tanaya would rather stay here," Janey agreed.
"I'll be sure of not running into Adam this way," 'Tanaya said sounding slightly relieved.
"Oh no chance of that - he's away for two or three weeks," Janey said evenly with a swift glance at Ren.
Ren didn't comment and Janey looked away silently thankful that he had nothing to say.