1: Educating Kaylee Ch. 06bySpartan22©
IX -- Twas the Night Before Christmas
"Oh, thank you Lord," Kaylee whispered quietly as she spotted Luke walking along the street far off in the distance. She wasn't sure how long she had been driving around the back roads in a desperate attempt to find Luke, but it felt like hours.
Kaylee pulled her Beamer up alongside Luke, making sure she was slow and careful as if she was afraid he'd be spooked by a loud noise and take off in a dead run. Lowering the passenger window, she waited for him to turn his head and acknowledge the presence of her vehicle. It was obvious she was in his peripheral vision, but he didn't turn around.
He didn't respond, but the dark red tint to his face told her Luke could hear him.
"Luke, will you please stop and get in so we can talk?"
Without acknowledging Kaylee or even turning his head, Luke said, "I don't want to talk."
With a dramatic sigh, Kaylee sped up and pulled the car over. She quickly stepped out and ran over to Luke, standing in his path. He stopped and crossed his arms, his eyes downcast, refusing to look at her.
"What do you want, Kaylee?"
She tried to look into his eyes, even bending down a little, but he refused to make eye contact.
As gently as she could, Kaylee reached out and lightly placed two fingers on his chin, lifting it slowly until she could see his beautiful eyes.
Luke made a feeble attempt to resist her, his eyes darting around trying to look anywhere except the endless depths of her own, but before he knew what had happened he was locked into those deep baby blues.
Kaylee breathed a tiny sigh of relief the moment his eyes fixated on hers. She knew she had him trapped, almost as if she had the power to hypnotize.
A shiver ran down her spine as she tried to decipher what his eyes were telling her. They reflected confusion. Anger and hurt, but combined with passion and desire.
There was something there that she had never seen before in her life. It was hard to explain what it was, but it had something to do with the way his eyes glimmered when they stared back into hers. His hurt made her want to cry, but his passion held her captive.
Maybe she was wrong. Maybe he had trapped her.
The moisture in his eyes made them sparkle all the more. She knew. Somehow, she just knew.
Before, she had only suspected, but it was suddenly all so clear now. This was who she wanted, and she didn't want to wait.
Luke sniffed, "You... you didn't tru..."
Kaylee quickly interrupted Luke, simultaneously taking his hand in hers while her other hand drifted upwards and softly touched his stomach, "Trust you, I know. I didn't trust you. I wanted to, and I should have. I won't ever make that mistake again."
Kaylee took one long look at Luke, wondering how she could have hurt such a wonderful, beautiful person. Leaning in, Kaylee slid both hands behind his head, kissing him on the lips.
Luke almost stumbled backwards, and might have if Kaylee wasn't holding on to him. He was completely caught off guard.
It was more than just a peck. With her eyes closed, her lips remained on his, her mouth slightly open. Kaylee gave him one long slow kiss, and then another one, and then one final breathless one.
"How could you think I used you, Luke," she asked him softly, lowering her arms down to his hands again. She was pretty sure she heard him moan.
"I mean," she hesitated, "I'm sorry. Maybe I did at first, but you should have known I didn't after... after I made an ass of myself. I thought you knew; I thought you could tell..."
Luke tried to speak -- the look of regret on his face made Kaylee think he was trying to apologize -- but he was also confused and couldn't seem to find the right words to say. She knew that over the years, she had stricken more boys deaf, dumb, and stupid than she could count, which never failed to make her deviously giggle. But Luke was officially beyond being puzzled and speechless; there was something more going on.
This time, it wasn't like enthralling those other boys with her dazzling beauty. With Luke, it was so much more meaningful and special. Kaylee didn't giggle; his bewilderment was so adorable and delightful that she instead smiled from ear to ear, savoring the amazing moment.
She kissed him again and said, "It's ok, Luke. You don't need to say a single word. I accept your apology. Please accept mine, for everything I've done. For not trusting you like I should have."
Luke placed one hand on the side of her hip and the other along the side of her head. Out of instinct, he gently tilted her head and kissed her back. His technique wasn't exactly normal, at least in the way that other guys had kissed her before, but somehow she found it irresistible. As for the actual kiss... well, she thought her knees were going to buckle.
Where did he learn to kiss like that, she thought to herself. Sure, it was the kiss of a rookie, and it was awkward at best. Yet there was something behind it that he did that she just couldn't explain; it was pure magic.
It was obvious he wanted to say something, but he stumbled on his own words. The look of adoration on his face spoke volumes. She wondered if he could read her face the same way she read his. He might have been known for socially awkward moments and didn't know what to say, but between his passionate kiss and the desire in his eyes, he didn't need to say a word.
Kaylee giggled nervously, looking towards the ground. "Do you really think I'm a radiant angel?"
It was impossible for Luke's face to get any redder as she brought forth his own words captured on video. She wasn't sure if he could physically speak or not, but at least she did catch the slightest of nods.
"Um, so," she said, putting her hands together, twisting her body at the hips, "Are you going to ask me out, or are you just going to stand there?"
It took a few moments, but Luke chuckled, breaking the silence. "Uh, yeah, I uh... wait," Luke said, seemingly concerned. "What about..."
Placing her hands on her hips defiantly, Kaylee looked at him through narrow eyes as if he should have known better. She said, "Let me make it clear, cowboy. Bradley is history. He might not know that yet because he's an ass, a prick, and yeah -- an oxygen thief. But you..., you should have known just how far out of my life he is, now and forever." Only the playful gleam in her eyes let him know he was off the hook for his impetuous comment.
He hesitated, trying to read her eyes and body language. It was as if he needed additional verification, unable to take in everything that was transpiring before him. He was so far outside of his comfort zone that he wasn't quite sure what to say or do.
Luke took a deep breath and swallowed while she patiently waited.
"I.... know this great Mongolian place, if you're interested..."
She laughed nervously at the formalities they both seemed to be stumbling through. "I'd love to! I'll pick you up tomorrow, 7:30?"
"Uh, 7:30 works," he said as a childish grin surfaced. "Wait, tomorrow night is Christmas Eve. Are you sure? I mean, you don't have family plans?"
"Of course I'm sure," she smiled. "I'll cancel any other plans I have. See you tomorrow, 7:30."
Kaylee bounded back to her car, opened the door and slid inside, unable to take her eyes off of Luke the entire time until she drove away.
Watching her disappear in the distance, Luke remained frozen in position, wondering what had just happened.
The first thing Kaylee noticed when Faith answered the door was the joyful yet overconfident look on her face. "Hey Kaylee! Happy Christmas Eve," she greeted her enthusiastically. "We weren't expecting you," Faith facetiously said, unable to stifle her giggle.
Kaylee rolled her eyes, but returned Faith's smile, "Sure, I bet you weren't. Let me guess, Luke wasn't expecting me either?"
Faith laughed, "Oh, he definitely was. Luke would never stand you up, not in a million years. By the way, you look absolutely gorgeous. Luke is going to die!"
Kaylee smiled, looking down at the designer dress she finally settled on. If only Faith knew it was the eighth outfit she had put on today. Her dark purple dress with matching heels, not too outrageously far above the knees, exposed enough bare back to get Luke's attention but not so much that she'd feel too guilty if she ran into his parents. Mrs. Patton in particular. Still, as an added bonus, the dress tightly hugged every curve of her body, really giving her no choice but to wear a thong underneath. She nervously rolled her eyes and quietly sighed to herself, realizing Luke probably wouldn't notice anyway.
Maybe it was a little overkill for Mongolian, but so what. This winter season in Northern California had already broken numerous temperature highs, so her legs and back weren't likely to freeze anyway.
"Come on in and have a seat, Kaylee. I'll tell Luke you're here."
"Thank you, Faith," she said, walking into the front room and carefully sitting on the couch, her knees together and legs tucked back.
Luke walked into the room with one of his hands behind his back.
Kaylee couldn't read the look on his face. She suspected he was nervous, but with Luke, she never could quite tell. Still, he looked simply amazing.
"You look... nice, Kaylee," Luke said. His eyes bounced back and forth between Kaylee and Faith. Faith had been standing just behind Kaylee and out of her view. Apparently he took a cueing from Faith; he quickly said, "Beautiful. I meant you look beautiful, Kaylee."
Kaylee smiled, even though she was a little puzzled at this side of Luke; the same person that poured out poetry, baring his heart and soul on video, could barely compliment her without assistance from his sister. Still, it was cute that he was trying so hard. Maybe she had misread him. Maybe his apparent nonchalance was really more of a masked nervousness.
"And you look handsome, Luke," she said, standing up off the couch.
"Oh," he said, partly walking, partly running with an uncoordinated movement towards the table. Carefully he grabbed a bouquet of red roses. "These are for you," he murmured, handing them to Kaylee. His eyes stole a quick look at Faith, as if looking for confirmation of his actions.
"Thank you, sweetie," she said, taking the flowers and kissing his cheek. His face turned bright red and a bashful smile instantly surfaced on his face. Kaylee took in their sweet fragrance. "They smell wonderful."
From behind his back Luke presented a box with a red and green plaid pattern, adorned with a bright crimson bow. "And so is this. Merry Christmas," he said reservedly, almost as if he was preparing for eventual disappointment. "You can open it tonight if you like. Or not. I hope you like it. I really wasn't sure what to get you, since you're rich and have pretty much everything."
Faith's eyes opened wide and she whispered a little too loudly, "Luke!"
Processing his own words, Luke crinkled his nose and said, "I'm sorry, that was probably rude of me. I didn't mean it that way..."
Kaylee shook her head laughing, which in turn let him know he was off the hook. She sat back down on the couch. "It's ok, Luke. You didn't have to get me anything," she said, opening the present. He certainly had a way with words -- but he was sincere. She adored that.
Digging down to the box and opening the lid, she saw a small, stuffed, Yorkshire Terrier. It was mostly black with a few patches of brown on the ears, legs, and muzzle. The tag on the little plaid collar around his neck jingled as Kaylee pulled him out of the box. She squealed, "Oh, Luke!"
Luke grimaced again and said, "I know it's not the greatest present..."
Kaylee leaped up and, still holding the yorkie, wrapped Luke up in her arms and kissed his cheek, exclaiming, "How did you know...,"
"That you liked yorkies? You told me, remember? In the library when I first started to tutor you?"
It took her a while to recall the conversation, but she vaguely remembered it. It seemed like such a long time ago when he had casually asked her if she had any pets. She remembered telling him, somewhat disheartened, that she had always wanted a yorkie but her parents wouldn't allow her to have one.
Faith, regrettably interrupting the romantic moment between Kaylee and Luke -- even with her brother's awkwardness -- offered to take the flowers and put them in a vase. "Hey Luke, when you guys come back, Kaylee can take these home with her. I don't mean to interrupt, but Dad's outside working on the car. He said he wants to see you before you go."
Trying to corral her vivaciousness -- a difficult task that went completely against her personality -- Faith calmly said, "I hope you both have a great night!" Kaylee smiled, wondering if Faith was just as excited as she was.
Faith hugged her brother goodbye, whispering in his ear, "Relax, just be yourself. You're doing great." Kaylee heard her words of encouragement. She had to love his sister's enthusiasm and support. Weren't brothers and sisters supposed to fight more? It was times like these where being an only child was difficult for Kaylee; if she would have had a sister, she couldn't think of one better to have than Faith.
"Bye-bye, Kaylee," Faith said, also hugging Kaylee. It caught her off guard, but Kaylee welcomed it.
Luke held the door for her as they went outside to look for his dad. Kaylee, still clinging to her yorkie, told him, "You have the sweetest family, Luke. I'm surprised you and Faith get along so well. Most siblings I know, especially closer in age, fight like cats and dogs."
Luke smiled, "Yea, she's pretty cool. Sometimes I take her for granted and forget that. Don't tell her I said that, though."
She grinned, "It'll be our little secret."
"There you are, buddy," Ryan said, closing the hood to the old black Challenger he had been working on for at least the last several months; maybe longer. Jessica was out in the driveway with her husband, hosing off the back end of the polished vehicle.
Kaylee shook her head; she still couldn't believe how hot Mrs. Patton looked, considering she was in her forties and had popped two kids out of her, especially in that blue bikini top and short daisy-dukes. Her figure looked like a twenty year old girl and all of her curves were in all the right places; it almost wasn't fair. Even with the warmer temperatures, Kaylee thought she had to be cold. The jealous part of her kind of hoped she was. Not freezing, necessarily, but at least uncomfortably cold. Still, only in California during the warm winter season could anyone get away with wearing a bikini top on Christmas Eve.
Well, at least Mrs. Patton couldn't give her grief for the tight purple dress she had on, Kaylee reasoned. Certainly not in that tight little car-washing outfit she was sporting. At least that took some of the pressure off of her.
"Hey, I know you two kids are ready to go out and about, but we just finished getting Charlene ready."
A confused Kaylee looked over at Luke for help, trying to decipher who Charlene was and why she might possibly be going with Luke and her... on their date?
Jessica interpreted Kaylee's uncertainty and cleared the air, "Ryan's old Challenger. He decided to name 'her' Charlene." She intentionally over-exaggerated the degrading feminine symbolism Ryan designated for his car, although her glare at Ryan turned into a smile. "I've had to put up with his second-love for nearly two decades."
Ryan smiled, countering, "Well, actually I've had Charlene since before we met, so technically, that would make you my sec..."
Jessica grabbed the soapy sponge from the bucket and threw it at Ryan; he tried to duck, but wasn't quick enough. It nailed him right in the shoulder, spraying water everywhere and leaving a nice wet, soapy patch on his shirt.
The smile on Jessica's face was adorable; Kaylee noticed she had just the slightest hint of shock from the insult, but almost all of her smile reflected enjoyment from her husband's playful banter.
"I'm sorry, Kaylee. He can be such a pig sometimes," Jessica said.
Emotionless, Luke whispered to Kaylee, "See what I have to put up with?"
Kaylee shook her head, smiling from ear to ear.
"So," Ryan continued, "Charlene had to get a new paint job since her pretty pearl blue was fading. Her engine's been overhauled, and I just put the new tires on her. I made a few other minor tweaks, and your mom washed it up. Would you like the honors?" Ryan tossed the keys to Luke, grinning like a Cheshire cat the entire time.
After catching the keys, Luke stood there for a moment with hesitation before finally walking towards the car. Kaylee snorted with amusement; it was obvious what Mr. and Mrs. Patton were doing -- all she had to do was read their faces -- but Luke didn't see it.
While Ryan opened the car door for Luke, his son slid in carefully.
"Go ahead, buddy."
Luke placed the keys in the ignition and started the car. Charlene sprang to life, growling like an animal awakened from a long hibernation.
"Listen to that purr," Ryan whispered to Jessica as she stepped in under his arm, nuzzling her ear through her ringlets. Jessica wrapped her own arms around his waist, one in front and one in back. She leaned up, kissing him on the cheek. "You're a good dad, tiger."
Even Luke was impressed with the steel machine, Kaylee could tell. Which was really saying something, because he wasn't a car kind of guy. Then again, who wasn't a car guy when actually sitting down behind the wheel of a rumbling beast like this?
Ryan firmly told him, "Let's start with eleven. I want her back absolutely no later than that. Not eleven-oh-one, but eleven. Your mom and I trust you Luke, but no driving stupid. Especially with Kaylee in the car; I'm sure the last thing you want to do is get her hurt because you weren't thinking. We understand each other?"
Holding his fingers out, counting one for each holiday, Ryan said, "Oh, and Merry Christmas. Happy eighteenth Birthday. Merry Christmas. Happy nineteenth Birthday. She's all yours. Don't thrash her out or I'll be forced to kick you out of the house."
Ryan, analyzing his own sentence, snickered, "Let me rephrase that. By 'she', I mean Charlene is yours." He bent down and whispered to Luke so Kaylee couldn't hear, nodding his head towards her, "That 'she', you're on your own with, but good luck."
Luke was speechless. With his jaw hanging open, he stammered, "T-thank you, mom and dad."
"My pleasure," Ryan said. "Besides, mom said I get to go shopping for her sister, Charlotte."
"Are you kidding me, Ryan," Jessica said with aversion, "You really named your next car before we've even had a chance to see her in the lot?" She groaned, catching herself, "Thanks, Ryan. Now you have me calling an inanimate object a 'her'."
"Well, we knew what we were going to name Luke before we saw him, didn't we," Ryan rebutted.
Jessica rolled her eyes, ignoring her husband's male-centric logic. She walked around the car to the passenger side and opened the door for Kaylee, telling her, "We wanted to wait for Christmas morning, but somehow we both thought Christmas Eve -- tonight -- might be a better time to give him his present." She smiled at Kaylee, and it was a genuine smile. It was one that seemed to be of acceptance.
Kaylee smiled back, lowering her head slightly as she sat in the passenger seat. As Jessica closed the door for her, she mouthed to Kaylee, "Take care of him."
Still smiling, Kaylee nodded. It looked like the mother bear had finally warmed up to her, at least enough to begin trusting her with her oldest cub. Kaylee couldn't have been happier.