tagRomanceRunner Girl Ch. 10

Runner Girl Ch. 10


Amy sat on the floor between John's knees watching TV as he played with her hair. "I can't believe you have to work on Thanksgiving," she said.

"I don't have to, sweetheart, I want to. It's business as usual in the UK, and I get out of visiting my family."

"I thought you said you love your sisters." Amy turned and met his eyes. "Don't you want to see them?"

John laughed, "Of course I do, just not on holidays. They've all moved to different cities and if I visit one, the other two get their feelings hurt. It's easier if they just come see me, which they all love to do anyway. They love to come to the city and let their brother spoil them."

"You do enjoy spoiling women," Amy turned back around and luxuriated in feeling his hands running through her hair. "And you're really good at it."

"I love spoiling you. You make it really easy. Like right now, you think you are being spoiled, but I'm in heaven playing with your hair. Plus, you are the only woman I've known who prefers oral sex over jewelry."

Amy giggled and said, "That's your fault for being so good at it," she wrapped her arm around his shin and rested her head on his knee. "Want to know what I'm doing for the holiday?"

"Hanging out with Tracy and William?"

"Oh, you already knew?"

"Yes, William mentioned that you're going to feed the homeless at Tracy's grandmother's church. Have you met her yet?"

"I have. Beverly is amazing, isn't she?"

"I'm seriously in love with her. I've tried to convince her to give the cougar life a try," John teased, which earned him a swat from Amy. "Before I met you, of course. Hey, what about you? Isn't your family pining to see you?"

"They are, but I'm going home for Christmas," Amy turned and looked at him again, obviously wanting to say something. "Do you want to go with me?" the words poured out in a rush.

"Yes, I'd love to," John answered without hesitation.

"Really?" Relief washed over her. "You mean you don't have to see your parents at Christmas?"

John laughed. "Want to know what I give my parents every year for Christmas? A cruise. That's what they want. I went to my sister Bethany's house last year, and Rachel and Tori both got jealous. If I go to North Carolina, they can all just get mad at you. This will be great. Besides, I get to wake up with you on Christmas morning."

Amy turned and smiled, "Oh wow, my mom is going to be thrilled."

"And your dad?"

"Um, yeah, well... he'll warm up to you quickly. Just lay some of that Heywood charm on him. But not too much of it." She crawled up onto his lap. "Do you realize you've just made me extremely happy? I was nervous about asking you."


"I don't know... It seems like a big step, meeting the family, going all the way to North Carolina. But I would miss you like crazy if I couldn't see you for a whole week. Heck, I'm going to miss you when you go to England for a few days."

"Why don't you come with me?"

"What? You mean it? Oh no, I can't do that! I have to teach on Wednesday, plus Beverly is counting on me, and..."

"Okay, I'll go to North Carolina for Christmas, but we're going to ring in the New Year in London."

"Oh my gosh!" Amy beamed. "You are so..." she stammered uncharacteristically, "So..."

"Wonderful?" John teased.

Amy nodded, then answered seriously, "You make me so happy."

John pulled her in close, inhaled the scent of her hair, and whispered, "It's the best feeling ever, to make you smile like that."

"Maybe I should spoil you, and sit on your face?" she suggested boldly.

"Do it." John grinned, and leaned back on the couch. "That would make me ecstatic."

* * * * *

Amy scooped mashed potatoes onto plate after plate after plate, the steady stream of variegated faces contrasting with the identical mounds of steamy spuds. "You're welcome. You're welcome. You're welcome," she chanted, punctuating with the occasional "God bless you too" and "Happy Thanksgiving!"

The busy work and social interaction came as a welcome diversion, but still her mind kept looping back to a negative groove. She had heard a woman's voice in the background when John called. Of course it must have been a colleague, nothing to worry about. But the way the woman yelled and laughed in the background -- the way she kept calling him "John-John" -- that didn't seem professional at all.

"You're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome. Thank you, God bless you too. Happy Thanksgiving."

A volunteer came to relieve Amy, and she left the never-ending procession of hungry, homeless people to see if she could help in the kitchen. A young and attractive Hispanic volunteer greeted her with a flash of recognition, saying, "You must be Amy, John's girlfriend, right?"

"Yes," she answered in surprise and wiped her hand on the apron she was wearing before offering it to him. "How'd you know?"

"I'm Ray Kelly, a friend of John's. We're involved in a project together."

"Really? And he told you I'd be here?"

"Yeah, he said, 'Keep an eye on my girl, Ray. She'll be the pretty redhead hanging out with William and Tracy.'" He laughed warmly. "Hey, speaking of pretty," he turned his attention to a blonde woman carrying a large empty pan, "Hey, babe, come meet John's girlfriend."

The woman smiled and gestured toward the pan she carried. "Just a sec." Amy watched as the pretty blonde put the tray down on a table and came hustling back, "Hi!" she greeted, "I'm Alicia! Nice to meet you."

"Amy," she replied, shaking Alicia's outstretched hand. "Nice to meet you too."

"Oh, you're not from here either?" Alicia acknowledged and they both laughed.

"Is it that obvious? I've tried to assimilate."

"Oh, don't try too hard. We're like exotic flowers and some people appreciate that," she smiled at Ray. "So where're you from?"

"North Carolina. You?"


"Ah, amazing mountains! I'd love to visit the Sierras."

"Wow, that's so cool! You're the first person who didn't comment on the beaches or surfing or Hollywood!"

"Oh yeah, well, there's that too," Amy laughed. "But I'm more of a mountain girl."

Someone caught Alicia's eye and she said, "Oh, Amy, I'm so glad to meet you. I'd love to talk more, but..." she nodded her chin towards a man carrying more empty trays than he could manage and both Alicia and Ray scurried off to help.

Amy found Tracy and William side by side at an industrial sink, washing dishes. "Is this where the cool people hang out?" Amy teased.

Tracy wore a sad face and William explained, "The homeless children..."

Amy nodded and felt a twinge of guilt that she hadn't even given much thought to the plight of the individuals whose plates she scooped food onto. She had been too caught up in her own concerns. Chastened and subdued, she joined her friends, plunging her hands into the warm water, while William scooted over to grab a dishtowel. "At least we're doing something to help," he said.

"Yes, but it's only one day," Amy pointed out, feeling the sting of her own selfishness.

"Of course today is a special day, but I think the project we are starting will have a real impact," William said.


"John didn't tell you?"

Amy shook her head.

"Hmmm. I wonder if he meant to keep it a secret. Well, maybe you'd better ask John about it."

"Is this the same project Ray is involved with?"

"Oh, you met Ray?"

"Yes, and Alicia too."

"William introduced them to John," Tracy spoke up for the first time. "And my Nana. She's in on it too."

"Everyone's in on it but me?" Amy asked, only half teasing.

"We better let John tell her," William said to Tracy. "I'm pretty impressed that he hasn't, so we'd better respect that."

"No worries. I have an inkling, but I'll ask John." Amy said. She had a good feeling that this special project involved helping the homeless on a more consistent and sustainable basis. She didn't feel concern over this mystery whatsoever. However, the background voice she heard on the phone continued to gnaw at her.


It was evening. Amy rolled over in John's bed, and felt the length of his body, in its entirety, against her skin. She wanted to ask him something, but feared the answer.

"What is it, sweetheart?" John asked, noticing the look on her face.

"Are we exclusive?" she blurted out. It wasn't how she meant to put it.

John laughed and Amy smiled, hoping the question truly was ridiculous.

"You know I love you, don't you?" he asked, as he brushed her hair away from her forehead.

His question hung in the air. Amy gulped. Then she nodded yes and said, "I love you too."

"Well, that's all I need to know," he murmured as he kissed her pouty lips. Amy returned the kiss, and relishing the hands roaming along her backside, she responded by pressing herself into him. "That's all I need to know," he repeated, kissing her with open mouth, wandering hands, and an erection poking into her abdomen. Amy felt both aroused and confused. He hadn't really answered, but instead professed his love and now his actions declared his lust. She intentionally shut off the cerebral and plunged into the physical expression of love, by taking his cock firmly in her hand, and then lowering her body to take him into her mouth.


The morning sun woke Amy and she was surprised to see John staring at her with a serious expression.

"What's going on?" She sat up and rubbed her eyes.

"We need to talk," John answered. "I couldn't sleep. There are a few things on my mind and I need to talk them out with you."

Amy tried to stall: "Coffee first?"

"No, no, this is important. It won't take long. I just... I'm hesitant to talk to you about this, Amy, but it's been gnawing at my conscience."

Amy sat up straighter in the bed. She braced herself physically and mentally and emotionally.

"And the truth is," he went on, "I don't want you to think I'm a creep, but I also don't want to stop."

"What is it, John?" she asked. This sounded worse, a lot worse, than she'd thought. "Just get it over with, tell me and let me decide for myself."

John exhaled and looked up at the ceiling. "I've been taking photos of you while you sleep."

"You what?"

"Photos. You. Sleeping." John looked away.

"God, I thought you were going to say you were sleeping around, and then when you said creepy... well, I didn't know what to think but you had me worried." The words rushed out. Amy paused, heaved a sigh of relief, and put a hand on her chest. "Okay, let me see them. I'm probably going to make you delete them, you know."

"Please be open-minded, Amy. I mean, I know it wasn't... well... These are some of the best photos I've ever taken and..."

"Just let me see them."

John stood up to get his iPad and started typing in passwords and swiping icons. "Here," he handed her the iPad and scooted next to her on the bed. "I started with this one, the first night you stayed here."

"It's just my feet!" Amy laughed.

"Oh, there will be more, don't worry."

"This is actually a really cool photo, John. See that thing I'm doing with my toes? I must've been sore. That's something I do when my foot aches." The black and white photo showed her first and second toe straddling the Achilles tendon of the other foot. "You can keep this one, weirdo." She teased, but she was smiling.

"Whoa, is that me?" Amy laughed at the next picture, another black and white that was taken from the level of the bed, at her feet, looking all the way up to her butt before becoming blurry. "Gosh, my legs look a mile long, and... well, you can't even tell it's me, but it is very..."


"Yes, I was thinking erotic. Damn, my legs look long from that angle. It's a really sexy photo. Is that weird that I'm getting kind of turned on by my own butt?"

"It's a very inspiring butt. I love that photo."

"God, the lighting is amazing."

"Wait a minute," Amy said, peering at the next one, which showed her sleeping with her hair splayed out all over the pillow. "Not so sure about this one. You can see my face! But I'm covered up, so I guess that's okay."

"I fucking love that photo. Look at how your top lip curls up a little, and your hair looks extra bright next to the white pillow case, almost like flames."

Amy blushed. "John, I have a confession too."

John waited for her to speak.

"My hair isn't that red. I put a rinse on it so I won't look so boring."

"That's it! It's over, Amy, you deceptive little harlot. God only knows what other sick secrets you are harboring from me." John laughed and Amy nudged him. "Actually, that explains the lack of freckles."

"You would have figured it out anyway when you meet my family." Amy went back to the photos. "Wow, John. I'm really impressed by these photos. I mean, if I didn't know this was me, I'd say this woman is beautiful." They both admired a photo that showed her on her stomach, her pale back lit up, sun streaming through the window and her hair hiding her face.

"You are beautiful," John said, looking at her instead of the photo. "I can't make that up. You just lounge around looking like yourself and it makes me want to take pictures."

"Why didn't you just ask? I would have let you if I knew they'd be like this."

"I should have asked and I'm sorry. The first one was spontaneous and I meant to tell you, but I didn't and then... I don't know. I also like looking at you all relaxed and sleeping in my bed and..." John suddenly looked self-conscious.

"This one is in my bed," Amy referred to the current photo of her on her side.

"Yes, I had to use my phone for that shot, but look at your hip in that one. I love it when you're on your side, you look so curvy, so feminine, so soft."

Amy looked back at John and kissed him gently on the lips.

"So I guess you're not mad at me?"

Amy shook her head slowly. "That made me feel beautiful, to know you are looking at me and want to capture the moment. Really beautiful and loved."

"You are both of those things. Beautiful. And I do love you."

Amy kissed him again, "I love you too."

John returned her kisses, while she lowered herself back down on the bed and he rolled on top of her. "Still want coffee?"

"Yes, but I want you first," she answered, wrapping her legs around him.

"But there's something else we need to talk about."

Amy unhooked her legs and asked, "What else?"

"We are exclusive, now. But I slept with an ex when I was in London."

"What!" Amy pushed him off of her.

"No no no! Not this time. The time before. I just want to make sure you hear it from me. You and I were new, and I wasn't prepared to handle it when she... Anyway, it won't happen again, Amy. You have my word. It's just you and me from now on."

Amy stared at him not knowing what to say. Why was he so calm? Why was she? Shouldn't they be shouting profanities at each other? Then it dawned on her: she wasn't angry. "Okay," she answered. Was she an idiot, being duped? Should she make a scene? The thing was, she believed him. He was looking her in the eye, gave his word, and she chose to believe in him.

"Okay?" He repeated the word, but this time as a question.

"Yes. I trust you. Don't destroy that."

He paused before speaking, still looking into her saucer-sized chocolate eyes, "The same goes for you too, you know. You have the power to crush me. Do you realize that?"

Amy nodded, although she didn't know that. Not until now.

"But there's one more thing," he went on.

"Aaaaaaghhh, enough already!" Amy yelled and covered his face with a pillow. John rolled over until he was on top of her, laughing.

"This is it, Amy, I'll give you all the sex you want after I say one more thing. Actually two."

Amy glared at him as if in mock anger, but she really was bracing herself once again for bad news.

"I think you should tell you parents about what happened to you."

"I'm going to."

"You are?"

"Yes. I'd already made up my mind. I want to tell them in person."

John stared down at her, unsure of what to say. "I told William."

Amy's face registered surprise, then thoughtfulness. "Why? What did he say?"

"He was pissed, really angry, and sad for you."

Amy nodded. "Did he say anything about... Did you tell him it was a date?"

"I think so," John tried to remember the conversation. "Yes, yes, I did say it was date-rape."

Amy nodded again, thoughtfully. "He didn't seem to act any differently towards me. I spent a lot of time around him and Tracy while you were gone and I didn't notice him treating me in any way but normal."

"Why wouldn't he treat you the same?"

"I don't know. I just... I didn't want him to know."

"Well, Amy, I'm sorry. It came up. We were talking about what happened that night with Keith and William wasn't getting it. He knows me really well and my reaction to Keith just didn't add up, until I told him about what happened to you."

"Did he ask about the details? Did you tell him I let the guy in?"

John paused to consider her question. "Amy, don't you understand that you didn't do anything wrong? Hell, I've had women change their mind at the last moment, once after she helped me put a condom on! It's a woman's prerogative; any man knows this. That guy was a rapist and you didn't do anything to bring that on yourself. He did it before you, after you, and if he hadn't been caught he'd still be raping innocent women."

Amy nodded. "I know what you're saying is true, but... I would never get myself in that situation again."

"So that doesn't mean you brought it on."

Amy nodded again and quietly ran her foot up John's leg while he played with her hair. "I wonder if he told Tracy?"

"I doubt it."

"I think I'll tell her." She looked at John to gauge his reaction. "It would be good practice and you're right. I don't have anything to be ashamed of. It's just something that happened to me."

John ran his finger along her jaw. "You've become good friends, you and Tracy."

"We have, especially since you and I started going out. I talk to her almost every day now. I'm going to tell her."

John smiled at her and said, "Okay. I need to tell you one more thing."

Amy's eyes bugged out and she pretended she was going to choke him, "Enough!"

"Stop! I was just going to tell you I love you!"

She giggled as he rolled on top of her again. "I love you too! Can we please stop talking now?"

John didn't speak. Instead he answered with a kiss.

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