tagRomanceSmall Town Secrets Ch. 06

Small Town Secrets Ch. 06

byTara_Neale©

Abby stared at the dress on the bed. She knew that time was ticking away, grains of sand slipping through the hour glass, but her mind was still trying to process the past few hours. Was this what they meant by cold feet? Some crazy part of her shouted...'Run.' As far and as fast as she could. But she knew she would not. Another part of her demanded that she find another dress. Who did he think he was, controlling her? Right down to which dress she wore?

But those words haunted her brain again. When he said them, the way he said them, did something to her that made her feel alive. Really and truly alive. For the first time. The honest truth was that she had not really lived until she stumbled into him in that dark bar last night.

Her hands caressed the soft cotton material as she smiled. How had he known? Another truth was that this was her favorite dress, the one she would have chosen herself. And that fact did not escape her. He had chosen what she would have. And somehow that made everything seem more right somehow.

She sighed as she looked out the window on a bright, sunshiny Texas spring morning. She could see the fields of blue bonnets that lay like a comforting blanket as far as the eye could see, until it met the lighter blue of the skyline.

She did not know why she dawdled as Nana called it. Yes, she did. She was still afraid. She supposed that she should be. This was to be her wedding day. Her wedding day? To a man that was more legend and fantasy to her than reality. Her logic brain called her a fool, a dreamer, warned her that nothing good could come of such rash and ill conceived plans.

But Abby had spent a lifetime listening to that logical side of herself. Being everyone else's ideal of the good girl. She had been the perfect student. All 'A's' of course. She had gone to the best college and yet again out-performed most of her peers. She had even dated the 'right' man, from the best family. And when Nana needed her, she had given up her job and apartment to come rushing home. She had lived her twenty-six years...all of her life so far...to please others.

Jackson Greywolf was what she wanted. Feeling alive like this, like she never had...that was what she wanted. She picked up the dress and held it against her as she danced over to the old-fashioned dresser. She opened the pink drawers, remembering his comment about wanting to make love to her somewhere besides in this pink palace. She chuckled at the room that had not changed since she was fourteen. She had been back for close to a year now. Why had she not changed anything?

Because she needed to comfort of having everything remain the same. That little girl still hated change. She feared all that it would bring. In complete honesty, that was probably why she had stayed with Stuart for so long. He was familiar and comfortable.

Nothing about Jackson was either of those things. He was as mysterious as the gas clouds of Jupiter. But oddly enough that was comforting. Not comfortable, but comforting. Abby frowned, something deep inside her told her that she could trust Jackson, something she never really had with Stuart. It seemed odd that after such a long time, a third of her life if she lived to be as old as Nana had, she should just throw it all away...stop listening to that logical side and cast caution to wind...like her mother had?

Had all that logic and caution really gotten her anywhere though? She had denied herself everything her heart craved, been what other people wanted/expected her to be, done the right thing...been the 'good girl.' And for it, she ended up right back where she started...alone on the family ranch that was falling apart, without the money to restore it, hell, her job was only temporary substitute teaching even. And her engagement? That was a laugh. No, logic had brought her life to as tragic an end as rebellion had her mother's.

Abby pulled on another pair of stockings and fixed a pale pink garter belt in place. She found a matching pale pink bra and panties set. When she reached for them, his words came back to haunt her and she left the panties at the bottom of that drawer. She dressed quickly and selected a couple of dresses from the closet. The red one as he had commanded, a bright sunny yellow as well.

Then she went digging at the back of her closet. The black plastic garment bag with the store name embossed across it in silver. It had been an impulse purchase in one off her more romantic moods. She had fallen in love with it the moment she laid eyes upon the ivory satin material with its fitted bodice and scooping neckline trimmed in tiny pearls. Its full skirt had flowed about her legs when she tried it on.

She had known that this dress would never do for the monstrously large and ornate church wedding that Stuart's family demanded, but still something inside of her had just known this was the dress for her. She had thought that perhaps she could convince his mother that it would be an acceptable going-away outfit with its matching scalloped half-waist jacket and pill box hat with a veil.

If this dress would never do for such a high society event, it would be perfect for this one. She smiled as she hugged the garment bag close to her body and found the tiny suitcase to pack the rest of her things. She threw them all quickly into the case and zipped it. She remembered his words...waiting on the front porch in half an hour. She wanted to start this new life, this adventure, off on the right foot.

***

Jackson Greywolf shook his head as he tried to step inside the cluttered confines of the old trailer that sat behind the casino. Hoarder! His mind revolted at the fact that the same man who kept the casino, his office and its books immaculately had chosen to live among a collection of old newspapers, junk and goodness only knew what else. It was another of the things about his grandfather that never made any sense.

But coming to terms with his Grandfather's faults was not what he was here to do this morning. No, he had avoided this place, sleeping on the couch in the office or a spare room at the casino when one was available for long enough. This place held something he wanted. Something that seemed right somehow.

He just hoped that it was still where the Old Man had always kept it. It had been years since he had last seen it. The image flashed through his mind like it was just yesterday. His grandfather raging like a prize bull, throwing the thin door of the trailer back. Jack had thought it might actually come off its hinges. Then the man had stormed into the tiny kitchen and living area that had doubled as Jack's own bedroom. The place had not been as cluttered then, though it had never been what most people would consider clean. But it had been serviceable.

The old cabinets had squeaked loudly as his grandfather had thrown them violently open too. He had reached for a dusty old canning jar at the back of the cabinet. It was the old fashioned kind with the metal fixture across the top that held a glass plug securely in place until released. The Old Man had cursed 'that stubborn, heartless woman' as he released the latch and removed the glass lid. He had taken the little black velvet box from his shirt pocket.

Jack had heard the audible snap as the lid of the box gave way. But he had not expected what lay inside. A silver, turquoise and diamond ring. Its simple beauty had taken the boy's breath away. But more so the dawning knowledge of what had happened in that house as he swung the little girl in the tree. The pain that he saw in his Grandfather's eyes that day would stay with him for a lifetime. He would swear that tears actually glistened in their depths.

Then he cursed 'that woman' once more, before snapping that box closed with a finality that broke something inside of Jack. His Grandfather had stuffed the box into the wide-mouth Mason Jar then replaced the glass lid and the wire latch that seemed to announce the finality of it all. He had shoved it to the back of the cupboard, but when he pulled his hand out of the cupboard it was wrapped around the neck of a bottle of 'fire water.'

That alone had said more than Jack needed to know about the tragedy that must have transpired in that old house. His Grandfather had never been a drinking man. How many times had he preached the ills of the 'white man's fire water' to Jack? How many warnings had the young man been forced to endure? Although the fate of his own mother should have been warning enough. Pregnant unwed teen mother who slunk home to daddy when her drinking and a crying baby became more than she could handle.

Jack picked his way carefully through the tiny pathway between the doorway and the kitchen. He faced the fact that he really did need to do something about this place. And while he had always thought to simply hire someone to haul the whole damned trailer to a junk yard somewhere, let it become someone else's problem, something told him that he owed the Old Man and himself more than that. Something told him that this place held the key to understanding his Grandfather...and perhaps himself.

But that would have to wait for another day, because he came here with a specific purpose in mind. He stood before the old stained wooden cabinet that held so many memories. He hesitated. What if his Grandfather had gotten rid of it? What then?

Jack supposed he could pick one up once they got to Vegas. Next to the casinos, the wedding chapels and businesses that catered to them where the second largest source of revenue in the desert town...well legal one anyway. There would be hundreds of jewelers more than happy to help him part with a large chuck of his savings.

Not that that was why he was looking first of this ring. Money was just money, he had always known that. And as a simple man with simple needs, he had acquired more of it than he needed in this life. No, this was about redemption, about closing circles of life, about closure itself. He had learned that his Grandfather had made that ring himself as a young man, one not much older than Jack had been that summer. A young man in love with a girl that he could never have. A man that loved that same woman throughout a lifetime. Through marriages and children and grandchildren. A man that fucking followed 'that woman' as he called her that day into the next life.

And some warped, sick, nostalgic part of Jack thought that perhaps, just perhaps, if that ring could close the circle of destiny between Greywolf men and the Monroe women that stole their hearts, then maybe, just maybe the Old Man and 'that woman' might find something happier in the next life. "When did you become such a sentimental old sap, Jack?"

He could almost hear the deep gruff laughter of the Old Man as the image of dainty hands curled beneath rosy cheeks of a sleeping angel sprang to his mind. "Gees, thanks for the reminder, Old Man. So dare I ask? Is the thing still here?"

Jackson was not even aware that he was holding his breath until the metal spring latch gave way and the glass lid slid from place to reveal a black velvet box that he had not seen in twenty years. He shook his head, whether at his new found sentimentality or his Grandfather's, he was not certain. Either way he pulled the box from its resting place, wondering if in all those years the Old Man had ever taken it out of this jar. Even just to look at it?

The sound of the lid on that box was so rusty that he doubted it. But his breath still caught at the sheer beauty of the intricate craftsmanship that he could see in this ring. He imagined his Grandfather as a young man, younger than Abby even. The love and hours of pains-taking details that he had put into the tiny silver symbol remained unchanged by time.

But hopefully the destinies of the Greywolf men would be as he thought about slipping the thing on Abby's finger in a few hours. "A sign would be a good thing, Old Man. I could sure use one. Of all the fucking women in this world, why her? Why 'that woman's' granddaughter? Fate sure is a bitch sometimes, ain't she?"

Jack sighed as he looked around the place that his Grandfather called home long after he could have afforded so much better. The casino manager had found him right over there. In his favorite chair with the television still blaring. He had gone to check on him when he missed a staff meeting. The corner said it was a heart attack, but Jack knew the truth...a broken heart was more accurate.

"We need our head's fucking examined, Old Man," he chuckled self-deprecatingly. He slipped the tiny box into his shirt pocket and promised himself that he really would do 'something' about this place soon. It took him only a couple of minutes to run into the casino and speak with the manager. After months of running itself, Jack was confident that his unexpected trip would have no ill effects on this place, his legacy...and his child's.

Which brought him right back to where it all began...with her...with Abby Jean. Damn, he racked his brain trying to remember her last name. He knew he must have heard it at some point. But for the life of him, he could only think of Monroe. He supposed it was on the bank paperwork somewhere but he did not want to waste time on something that did not matter a hill of beans anyway. The important thing was what her name would be in a few hours. Greywolf, he thought as he stuffed a few items of clothes in an old bag.

He supposed he ought to think about what he would wear to his wedding. But that did not matter either. He frowned, but what she wore did. This whole wedding thing was suddenly looking way more complicated than he had thought at first. Damn, "I could sure use that sign, Old Man," he cursed as he stood in the parking lot considering his truck or Miss Myrtle's old Chevy. Sebida gossip mill be damned, he was making the only logical choice and going with his truck.

***

Abby was beginning to wonder if Jackson Greywolf had not simply headed for the hills while the getting was good as Nana would have said. Although she had no accurate recollection of what time he had left, she knew that she had wasted at least ten or fifteen minutes just sitting on her bed pondering the imponderables. Add another good fifteen to twenty minutes to dress and pack and there went the half hour he promised. And she knew for a fact that she had been sitting here for another twenty...correction twenty-five minutes. So how long did a girl sit swinging and waiting for a groom that might never show up? Five more minutes. That was it.

Then she was packing in this whole crazy show and going to try her best to just forget that last night ever happened. Even before she finished the thought her hand slid to protectively cup her lower abdomen and muscles that had never been used before screamed in denial. "Who are you kidding? If you could never completely forget Jackson Greywolf when he was just a fantasy, how the hell you think you can after..." Abby's gloved hand left her lap and brushed lightly at her eyes. Damned bright mid-day sun.

She sighed and was just standing up when the shiny red pick-up truck stopped in front of the house. She frowned for a moment, wondering what more could fate throw at her, when the door opened and the man himself stepped out. Her frowned deepened until her brows knit together as he stopped at the foot of the porch steps and looked at her luggage.

"I thought you said last night that we shouldn't leave Nana's car sitting at the bar?" she cringed at how whiny she sounded.

"That was last night when we did not want this town gossiping and ruining your reputation. We want them talking now, remember?"

She nodded as she stepped forward and bent to pick up her case. His hand stopped her, "I'll get that. But, woman, how many clothes you need? A suitcase, a garment bag and a hat box?"

She blushed and stammered, trying to think of what to say without revealing the whole truth. "It's a new dress. One I have never worn. I just thought, you now, the saying...something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue."

He nodded, "Yeah, I am just realizing how complicated this whole wedding thing can be."

Abby was silent as they walked the fifteen or twenty feet from the front porch to where his truck was parked on the road. She felt that same panic that she had earlier as she squinted into the sun and fought back tears. But she found her voice, "If you've..."

As they came to rest next to the side of his truck, his fingers gripped her chin firmly and forced her eyes to look into his, "Second thoughts, baby girl. Maybe I need to remind you just how special our chemistry is?"

He opened the door to the cab and stowed her stuff behind the seat. She noticed one other battered bag and assumed it was his stuff. When he was finished he turned back towards her and stepped closer, his body towering over her. But rather than feeling insecure, Abby felt...protected?

She did not have time to analyze it when his other hand traced lightly up and down her arm, igniting old flames that had merely been smoldering. "Fuck, who am I kidding? I want to taste you." His growl deepened as his mouth covered hers, then his tongue demanded entrance and she was lost in the feel and as he said taste of this man. For a woman, who had once thought herself frigid, it was a new sensation. And each time seemed more miraculous than the last.

Would she ever get enough of this man? Most people said that fantasy was usually better than reality, but not with Jackson Greywolf. None of her trashy erotica or late night fantasies had matched what happened to her body when he touched her.

The cold metal of the truck barely registered in her addled brain especially with the burning heat of his body pressing into the front of hers. She moaned into the depths of his mouth at the feel of his chest through the soft cotton of his t-shirt. The pounding of his heart beneath her fingers tips was doing funny things to her tummy.

If that was not bad enough, his hand gripped her thigh and brought it up to wrap about his hips and she could feel every hard inch of his cock pressed right where she wanted it. She moaned in frustration at the layers of clothes that kept her from what she wanted most...him buried inside of her once more.

He broke the kiss but made no effort to step back, instead he simply leaned his forehead against hers and smiled. "I think we can both endure a few complications of a wedding...for that," he drawled.

She was about to nod when she saw a car slowing down as it passed. She automatically stiffened a bit when she recognized Sybil May, the owner of Serbia's one beauty shop as they still called it since salons were for city slickers. "Oh my..."her mouth formed a perfect 'O' in shock and dismay.

***

Jack just chuckled, "Damn, I couldn't have planned that better myself if I tried." His smile widened even more, "Seems you have to marry me now, Abby Jean, cause after who just saw that little kiss this whole fucking town is going to be talking before we even hit the county line. So if that bag contains the new, I have the old. By my reckoning that just leaves borrowed and blue."

He drew back reluctantly until he realized that the sooner they got this whole damned thing on the road, the sooner he could once again enjoy the full, ripe pleasures...of his wife's responsive body. That word should have scared a man, who had waited so damned long to take 'the plunge' as it was sometimes called, but it did not...not when it was applied to her.

His hands steadied her as he watched her face. She really was a completely open book, right down to the pouty bereft look on it when he stepped back and ushered into the confines of his truck. He could not resist a brief and almost chaste kiss before closing the door to the cab.

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byTara_Neale© 11 comments/ 8488 views/ 11 favorites

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