Lois turns around to see Jesse staring at her, a surprised look on his face.

"Oh, hey Jesse. How's it going'?" She asks, trying to disguise the surge she felt at seeing him. She was in town visiting family and dropped by the recruiting office to bring the guys some baked goodies before they all went on Christmas vacation. Most of them have kids and she knew they would appreciate the thought.

When she first came to the Navy recruiting office, her official recruiter had been a man named Eric. He was the one who first questioned her, explained certain things to her, answered her questions, and took her to MEPS the first time. He was a good guy and she liked him a lot. He had a daughter a few years younger than Lois and she could tell by the way he always talked about her what a proud papa he was.

However, Eric had recently been promoted to Chief Petty Officer and with that came new responsibilities. Having been given the title of Recruiter of the Year, he had a full load of recruits on his hands. Too many. He ended up having to disperse about half of them between the other four recruiters he worked with.

As it so happened, Lois got transferred to the one guy that she hoped she wouldn't be transferred to; Jesse. The only man in the whole office that she found herself distractingly attracted to.

Before Jesse had become her recruiter, he'd been the one to take her to and from MEPS the second time around. It was a long trip, both ways, so they'd had a lot of alone time in the car. When she'd first saw him, she thought he was a cutie. After that first car ride together, all those hours of conversation, she realized that there was a lot more to Jesse than met the eye and it wasn't long before her head was spinning with the attraction she felt for him, both physically and emotionally.

By the next time she had to go to and from MEPS with him, her feelings had only snowballed. She prayed that he couldn't see right through her. She'd never been good at hiding what she was thinking so she took extra precaution with Jesse. Avoiding eye contact, avoiding certain subjects in conversation, and at all costs, avoiding any physical contact. The one time his hand and brushed against the length of her arm when they were in the car, her stomach began doing flips inside of her. She'd jumped and moved away from his touch, causing him to look surprised and mumble an awkward apology.

Jesse had been careful not to touch her again after that. He hadn't meant to in the first place but when his hand had come in contact with her soft skin, he hadn't been in a huge rush to move it away again. He'd let it graze farther along her arm, as if it were a thoughtless accident, pretending to be unaware as he continued to reach behind her seat for his cover. When she jerked away, he felt embarrassed and tried to disguise it by pretending nothing had happened.

He'd gotten closer to this eighteen year old beauty than he ever intended. What had started with small talk quickly turned into a friendship that had surprised both of them. Talking to Lois was easy and comfortable. She always listened and never seemed to miss a thing. She would stay quiet when he wanted her too, and always seemed to understand what he was saying. She didn't only comprehend it, she really got it. Like she knew what he was trying to say before he even got it out.

She would ask him questions, letting him know that she was listening and actually interested in what he was saying. But she didn't only ask surface questions, questions that anyone would ask. She asked the kind of questions that got to the heart of the matter. There were times when she would listen quietly until he was finished talking, consider it in silence for a moment, and then BAM, her genius would come out in something as short as one or two sentences.

She took his breath away on a regular basis. He often found it hard to believe that she was ten years younger than him. She was just as mature, if not more so, than he himself was at twenty-eight years old. Her intelligence and perceptive skills surpassed most women he knew at his age. Even his wife.

Ex-wife, he corrected himself mentally. He had married Angel three and a half years ago. Stupid mistake, he chided himself. He had loved her so much and she'd mortified him. He still couldn't believe what a fool he had been for that woman.

Now, here in front of him stood the only person he had confided in about Angel. Back when he was still hopeful of their getting back together. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He hadn't intended on talking to Lois about his marriage. In fact, after he first met her, she was the last person in the world he would have expected to talk to about his wife. What man wants to talk about that with a young, beautiful girl like Lois? Most men wouldn't touch that subject with a ten foot pole.

But damn, she was just so easy to talk to. It was like they were always on the same page. And she hadn't ever tried to flirt with him or seduce him like other girls had, even before she knew he was married. She was so respectful and classy. A rare trait in women in general, let alone teenagers.

Before he knew what happened, he was confiding in her. He told her about Angel leaving, heading down south to stay with her parents because she needed "a break". He told her about how he was blaming himself and his Navy career for her leaving. He told her about how they were starting to work it out over the phone. He told her that he'd be taking his Christmas leave a little early to go down and get his wife so he could bring her back home.

And now he was standing in front of her surprised expression and knew why she was confused to see him. She'd thought he'd be southbound by now, on the brink of seeing Angel for the first time in months. Instead, he was in the office, just hoping for some sort of distraction from the reality that his marriage was now over.

"Um, hey," he stammers, recovering his senses. "What are you doing here, Lois?"

She looks up at him and raises her eyebrows as if to say 'I could ask you the same question'. Instead she just clears her throat and holds up a platter stocked with all kinds of homemade sweets. "I thought these hard working men might like some treats to take home to the families. I was making a bunch for my family so I whipped up a couple extra batches. Would you like some?" Her eyebrows rise again, daring him to turn her down.

Despite himself, Jesse feels a smile tug at the corners of his lips. "I'd love some," he says. "Set aside one of each for me." And with that, he turns and walks into the staff room to make some coffee. He hears muffled voices in the main office as he sets up the pot, and then the men begin roaring with laughter.

That's Lois, he thinks. Always making people laugh.

Lois came prepared with enough Ziploc bags to send each man home with an adequate supply of holiday treats. She divides it all up according to how big each man's family is and hands them out as they all clean up and leave the office, anxious for their two week break.

Eric is the last one out the door. He smiles and gives Lois a quick hug as he takes his go-bag. "Thank you," he says with a wink, "that was very sweet of you, Lois."

"Hey, I was happy to do it," she replies as she shoots a wink back at him. She hopes his daughter will enjoy the sweets.

Eric directs a glance towards the staff room door. "Hey, make sure he doesn't stay too late, will ya?" he whispers. "He's got a lot going on and I don't want him to bury himself in work as an escape." And with that, he walks out the door, happy to be homeward-bound.

Lois stands there, silently pondering what Eric said. She knew something was obviously wrong. Jesse is here, instead of going to get his wife. His demeanor is glum and he is obviously distracted. And Eric is clearly in the loop, or else he wouldn't be worried about the guy. Something has definitely happened between Jesse and Angel. Something bad.

As she considers how to approach the subject, Jesse walks out with two steaming cups of hot coffee. Usually, the two of them would just jet over to the nearest Starbucks to get the good stuff but it's late and not really worth the trip.

"I needed a reboot and I thought you might like to join me," he smiles as he hands her a cup.

"Thank you," she grins. She takes a sip, sighs, then takes another. "Mmm," she hums, "perfect."

Jesse chuckles and takes a seat at his desk. Lois takes the seat opposite him and slides the plate of remaining treats towards him. He looks at them for a moment, debating, before taking up a white fudge square and popping it in his mouth.

"Damn," he mumbles through his chewing, "that's good."

Lois laughs and shrugs her shoulders a little. "Thank you," she says, brushing off the compliment gracefully. Yet another thing Jesse admires about her.

They sit for a while, eating fudge, drinking coffee, and teasing each other to laughter. After about half an hour, Jesse is feeling more like himself again and Lois finally decides to address the elephant in the room.

She sits up in her chair and leans her elbows on his desk, looking him straight in the face. Jesse sees her eyes soften and he knows what's coming.

"So, you gonna tell me what's going on?" she asks quietly, never breaking eye contact.

If it were anyone else asking that question, Jesse would have run for the hills. Dodging personal questions was an art he'd mastered a long time ago. But sitting there, looking into that sweet face, he doesn't want to do that. He couldn't even if he tried.

Man she's good, he thinks. He looks at Lois for a long moment before finally sighing and turning away. Head bowed, he takes a breath and opens his mouth.

"She's been seeing someone else," he says quietly. "An old high school boyfriend. I guess he contacted her on Facebook a few months before she left. According to her best friend, Cindy, that's why she left. He still lives in her hometown. That's why she went back there."

Lois is dead silent. Jesse can't even hear her breathing. He wants to look up, to see how she responds but he can't bring himself to face her just yet. Once again, she's the only person he'd confided in. All he'd told Eric was that he and Angel had already signed papers and his status in the Navy database needed to be changed from "Married" to "Single".

Lois can't believe what she just heard. A woman had actually left Jesse, her Jesse, for another man? Why? How could any other man even begin to compare to her Jesse? Impossible.

She looks back at him and sees that his head is still low, his gaze distant. She slowly reaches across the desk and takes one of his hands in hers, hoping he'll be comfortable with the gesture. He doesn't pull away. Instead, he curls his fingers around her hand and gives it a gentle squeeze.

"Jess, I am so sorry," Lois says, truth and compassion ringing in every word. She is sorry; sorry that any woman could be selfish enough to hurt the incredible man sitting across from her.

Jesse finally looks up and smiles at her. It isn't a joyful smile, but it lets her know that he appreciates the sentiment.

"You know what's crazy?" He asks calmly. "I'm not." Lois' eyes question him. "Sorry, I mean. I'm not sorry." He smiles his sad smile again. "Is that horrible?"

She considers what he said for a moment before responding, deciding to be completely truthful in her reply. "No, Jess, it's not horrible. I wasn't sorry for her or for your marriage. I was simply sorry for the pain I assumed it must be causing you. I was sorry that such an undeserving woman could hurt such a truly good man. I was sorry that you would have to go through that, the last man in the world who deserves it, all because she wasn't smart enough to see what she had."

Jesse had never had anyone talk to him that way before. Not only the frankness of it, but the heartfelt compliment that lay in each sentence of her speech. She just told him that he is worth something, that he deserves better. He hasn't been encouraged like that since his mom passed away several years ago. She was the only person who ever believed in him, who'd had full faith in him.

He'd forgotten how it felt to be appreciated, to be valued. And now, here was this sweet, beautiful young woman that already meant a lot to him as a friend, telling him just that and making it clear how much she means it. He can't help feeling his heart swell a bit.

"Lois..." he says. By the way he trails off and looks away from her, Lois is afraid she might have said too much. She feels her cheeks warm a bit as she tries to think of a way to backtrack. Then Jesse looks back to her, holding her gaze for a moment before whispering, "Thank you."

She can see in his eyes how deeply her words touched him and any desire she'd had to take them back is lost. If they helped him in any way, she was glad to have spoken them. Even if the truth of them made her feelings for him burn rampant inside her.

She tries to clear her head and get back on track. She brakes their gaze and clears her throat. "So," she says, trying to sound natural. "How did you find out? You mentioned her friend, Cindy."

Jesse is slightly disappointed that the moment is over but nonetheless, he lets go of her hand and takes a sip of his coffee. Then he puts it down to answer her.

"Cindy and Angel have been best friends since they were five. They're actually more like sisters than anything. Cindy has kind of always been Angel's conscience, you know? Kept her in line.

"But this time, she couldn't control Angel. She didn't know what to do until Angel finally left. She said she thought that meant that it was over with me and her.

"Then Angel told her that we were working things out. When Cindy found out that I was supposed to go get Angel and bring her home, she couldn't let me do it without knowing the truth. She called me and told me everything about this Greg asshole. Excuse my language.

"Anyways, I called Angel and confronted her about it. She flew off the handle. I told her it was over. The next day I was being served with divorce papers. We both signed and the whole divorce process is now in motion."

Lois is still reeling with disbelief. How dumb can one woman be? she wonders.

"Do you think she'll go peacefully?" She asks instead. "Or will she make a big fuss over every detail?"

Jesse shrugs. "I don't know but I don't think she'll want to drag it out. She was pretty embarrassed about being caught. I think her pride will make her cooperate and get this thing over with."

Lois nods as she takes the final sip of her coffee.

"More?" Jesse asks. "I made a full pot."

"Mmm, please."

He takes their cups and walks back towards the staff room. As he walks away, Lois notices yet again how handsome he is. Jess stands at about 5'10" and has a solid, fit body. His hair is dark brown, not cropped but not real long either. His eyes are a creamy hazel and his soft facial features make him look younger than he is.

She watches him until he disappears into the next room and then shakes her head, scolding herself for indulging in checking out her recruiter... again.

Jesse pours them two more steaming cups of coffee as he tries to wrap his head around what's happening inside of him. He'd known from the beginning that Lois is very attractive. When she'd first walked into that office in her black dress, brown nylons, and cowgirl boots, he'd almost choked. Her dark brown hair was in a mess of curls that were obviously natural and very sexy.

She was in town for a concert he'd learned as he eavesdropped on Eric's conversation with her. He'd even acted like he knew who Josh Turner was, just so he could butt in for a minute. He didn't even listen to country music. He just wanted to talk to her.

Jesse had watched as Lois took her boots off to have her height measured. She ended up standing at 5'4", half a foot shorter than himself.

While she talked and laughed with Eric, Jesse caught himself watching as her eyes would light up with amusement, or seeing the way her eye lashes brushed her cheeks whenever she looked down. His personal favorite thing to witness was when those perfect little dimples would appear every time she laughed.

And she laughs a lot. She's always ready to see the humor in things. He loves that. It makes so many situations much easier.

Then, when Eric had to divide up his recruits among the guys, Jesse's eyes bulged a little when he was handed Lois' folder. He was a mixture of excitement and panic. He'd already taken her to and from MEPS once and everything went smoothly but he didn't know how he would be able to handle being the one to do it every time. It scared him that he would be going to her house a couple times a month, training her, couching her. He didn't know if he could do it. He got so distracted so easily around her.

But in no time at all he was feeling comfortable with her. Although he still felt that attraction, the friendship that had started on that first road trip together continued to grow and eventually made him relax around her. Now he could completely be himself with no worries other than having to hide his admiration.

The difference now is that he doesn't have his relationship with Angel to use as a shield anymore. He can no longer hide behind a married status. It's time to face his true feelings.

He's nuts about this girl. Not only is he hopelessly attracted to her physically, but her heart and her mind keep him enthralled. She's exactly what every sensible man dreams of. Beautiful, intelligent, funny, compassionate.

Sure she has her downfalls too. She can be stubborn, willful and honest to a fault. But even her flaws have a certain charm about them. She doesn't care what people think of her and THAT was no fault in Jesse's eyes.

He takes the coffees back into the office and sets them on his desk. Lois had gotten up to look out the front door and check on the weather. As she stands there craning her neck, Jesse can't help but admire her body.

She's wearing her boots again, which accent the shape of her legs nicely. They were somewhat on the thicker side but they were firm and fit. Her Wrangler jeans showed off the shape of her round butt nicely. Everywhere he goes with Lois, guys are practically drooling over her ass. She never seems to notice but he could hardly blame them. In fact, looking at it now, he feels like he might drool over it too.

She's wearing a red, white, and black plaid shirt over a black spaghetti-strap tank. She always has to wear tank tops under her button ups because she can never button them up all the way. Chancing a guess, Jesse would say Lois wore at least a D-cup but more likely a DD. Bottom line is, she has nice, round, large breasts. Another thing that makes men's mouths water everywhere she goes.

She never wears very revealing or provocative clothing but she doesn't have to. Her body is easy to admire, even covered up. In fact, Jesse's so busy admiring her, he doesn't realize that she's watching him.

Lois can hardly believe it when she looks towards Jesse to see his eyes roaming her body, an appreciative look on his face. She can tell he likes what he sees and the thought gives her butterflies. Of course she's been checked out before. Almost everywhere she goes she can feel men's eyes on her. It's been that way ever since she was thirteen years old.

But never in those years of warding men off did she feel a sensation like the one she felt with Jesse's eyes sizing her up. The man that she hadn't been able to stop thinking about for the last two months was bathing her body with his eyes and the knowledge makes her tremble.

Suddenly they made eye contact. Every defense in her brain tells her to look away, to say goodbye and walk out. But she can't. Nor does she have the will too.

And Jesse, aware that he risks his job by going where his heart and body want to go, has no intention of breaking the stare. Instead, he simply smiles. Not the same friendly smile he's given her dozens of times but a faint smile that's full of understanding and implications. He knows what she's thinking and he's sure she knows what's going through his mind. But instead of shrinking from it like he's done before, he embraces the possibility.

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byLoisL© 4 comments/ 12547 views/ 11 favorites

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