A New BeginningbyRockywriter2012©
She gave him a quick tour of the house and helped him put his clothes away in the spare bedroom. By the time he was settled in, it was almost noon, and they were both getting hungry. She could hear his stomach rumble, most likely in complaint of the meager hospital food he'd had to eat for the past day.
"Do you want to order Chinese or something? I have the takeout menu for Hunan Palace on the fridge," she told him as they settled in on the couch to watch a marathon of Christmas-themed cheese-fests. The room was decked out in holiday-themed decorations, nearly half of which had been made by Charlotte somehow. Her stocking hung by itself over the fireplace that Leah had turned on when they got in the house earlier, and the light from the fire cast a dull glow on everything else in the room. Despite the nasty weather, it was decidedly warm and cozy inside the house.
"That would be amazing. I love their Chicken Lo Mein."
"A man after my own heart," she giggled, "That's what I always get from there."
He fished for some cash out of his wallet as she called to make the order. If he was going to be living in her house, she'd have to get used to letting him pay for food. It was only fair in his mind that he helped her out somehow, especially given the fact that he represented a much bigger mouth for her to feed. She'd been slow to accept his money, but she eventually relented. The extra cash would help with Charlotte's Christmas gifts, after all.
"So," Jon said later between bites of his eggroll, "You mentioned earlier that Charlotte was at your in-laws' place for the weekend. What about your parents? Do they live around here?"
"No, they actually live in Georgia. I met Paul about eight years ago when he was stationed at Fort Benning. I was still in school at the time when we got married a year later. He got home from his last tour in April of 2007, and we moved here in August to be closer to his family. I was never all that close to mine, anyway, so it was a welcome change for both of us. His parents have been a blessing to me since then. I love them more than my own parents."
"I thought I could hear a little bit of an accent before, but you must have lost most of it since moving here. How do you like Seattle, then? It must be a lot different than the South."
"Oh, it's a lot different, but we love it here. Charlie loves the rain, though I could do without it some of the time. Other than that, it's great. I've never even considered moving back to Georgia, or anywhere else, for that matter. Hell, it's been over a year since we visited, and my parents seemed really put out by me and Charlie the entire time we were there last summer.
"They've been that way for years now. They never much cared for me being with a military man, but to this day, I don't regret my decision to marry Paul one bit. They can kiss my ass, as far as I'm concerned. They're the type of people who think you should marry for status instead of for love. For as long as I can remember, they've slept in separate rooms. It's sad, really. I honestly just feel bad for them at this point."
He listened intently as she spoke, nodding and shaking his head when the time called for it. He felt bad for her growing up around a loveless marriage, and he told her as much.
"My early childhood was far from pretty, but the Fosters saved me from having to grow up in a home or in foster care, ironically. Tommy was my best friend at the time, and my parents were about to be thrown in jail for dealing cocaine. His parents didn't want me to be taken in by any of my deadbeat relatives, and my parents didn't much care who I lived with, so they went along with the adoption. That's the only thing I have to be thankful for as far as those two go."
"That's horrible, but you seem to have turned out just fine. To be honest, I was wary of meeting you after talking to Tommy. I've only ever associated him with Paul's drinking, so I just assumed the worst when he told me you were in an accident. That was unfair of me, and I'm sorry."
He grabbed her hand again, only this time he didn't let go. "That wasn't unfair of you, it was smart. You should always be wary of letting strange men into your home, but I'm happy to have been able to make you feel comfortable around me since we met.
"As for Tommy, he's really cleaned up his act since you've last seen him. He went into rehab, and he's got a decent job now for the first time in his life. It's dangerous work, but according to him, the adrenaline rush he gets from it keeps him from even thinking about drinking anymore. I'm proud of him."
She couldn't help but feel jealous of the man sitting next to her. It was ironic, considering the injury he'd recently suffered, but she couldn't help herself but to wish it was Paul who'd turned himself around instead of Tommy.
Tommy had no family to look after. He had no commitments at the time, either, just an opportunity to straighten himself out when his friend couldn't manage to do the same. It made her sick just thinking about it, and she had to excuse herself from the living room before she completely lost it in front of her guest.
"This is ridiculous," she told herself while she looked in the mirror fifteen minutes later. A few splashes of water on her cheeks had helped to calm her quite a bit, and the redness in her eyes had mostly gone away by then. She hoped the evidence of her breakdown were gone, even though she knew he could hear her crying.
When she returned to the couch, she noticed their food had already been put away by Jon. She hadn't been expecting that, not because she thought he was lazy but because of the extra effort it required of him. Yet, there he was sitting in the same spot on the oversized brown leather couch.
"You're going to have to learn to not be surprised by the things I do for you, Leah. I'm unpredictable."
"I'm sorry, I just... Thank you. I appreciate it."
He patted the spot on the couch next to him and opened his arms to her. "C'mere, I think I can help," he said, "I give killer backrubs, and it looks like you could seriously use one right about now."
Sunday afternoon came around quickly, and it was time to pick Charlotte up from Ellen and Daniel's house. She insisted upon driving alone, but she quickly found that Jon was more persistent than she was. He'd told her he'd get lonely being in the house all alone with Louie, since the dog still didn't quite grasp the idea of fetch. He misinterpreted Jon's tossing of the tennis ball as an invitation to play a round of "Bark at the toy and go back to sleep." He was quite good at that game after years of practice.
They pulled into the Vaughns' driveway at about two o'clock, and Charlotte was predictably herding her chickens away from their coop. She didn't quite understand what herding meant yet, but she did enjoy watching the chickens run frantically around their pen. She also enjoyed the opportunity to stomp in the mud in her rain boots. The girl had a hard time keeping her clothes clean, as was typical for most children her age.
"Mommy!" she gleefully yelled from the pen, "The chickens can play today!"
"I see that, sweetie. Are you having fun?"
Charlotte's unbridled happiness was soon replaced with unmistakable curiosity as she watched her mother help Jon out of the car. She'd never seen her mom interact so intimately with another man in her life before, though she didn't know well enough to question the intentions of either adult. She was more curious about the thing on his leg.
"Mommy, what is that?" she asked, pointing at Jon's injured leg.
"It's a cast. My friend, Jon, hurt his leg, and the cast is going to fix it for him."
Jon successfully maneuvered himself into the wheelchair with a loud thud and shut the car door for Leah before turning his attention to the questioning stare of the little girl standing next to him.
"I'm Jon," he said. "You must be Charlotte."
She grinned at him broadly and shook his offered hand with vigor. She loved meeting new people, especially grown-ups. She'd always been so fascinated by them, even before she could talk.
"That's me! Did you get an owwie on your leg, Jon?"
He nodded. "I got a big owwie on my leg."
"Your past is huge! I could probably draw, like, a whole lot of stuff on there."
"I dunno. My mom says I'm really good at drawing birds, so prolly a lot of those. I can also draw my name for you. Or your name, so nobody tries to steal your past."
Jon chuckled at her suggestion and agreed quickly, "We definitely don't want that to happen, now do we?"
"She can be pretty talkative. I forgot to mention that in the car," Leah said apologetically before waving at Ellen and Daniel, who were once again watching from their porch. Leah had been uncomfortable with the idea of bringing another man to their house, but she figured they would be understanding of the situation she had been thrust into by Tommy.
"Nothing new. I've been known to jabber when I meet new people myself."
"We should probably head towards the house. Ellen made lunch for us, and she's an excellent cook. There's a ramp on the other side of the porch, if you want to go ahead and use that. I'll walk you over there."
"Thanks," he said, tugging his coat closer to his body. "It's starting to get pretty cold out here."
Once they were all inside the house, Daniel moved some stuff around so that Jon could sit at the table with them and eat. His torso was turned away from everyone else, but he made a point to keep his head turned toward everyone else so as not to seem rude. He was also feeling talkative that day, eager to chat with the people Leah had spoken so fondly of just the day before. He figured they were good judges of character, so he wanted to make a good first impression on them.
In his mind, this was not going to be the last time he interacted with the older couple; they were basically Leah's surrogate parents, and despite the fact that they were her in-laws, he knew getting on their good side would go a long way for him in the future. He already knew after just one day that being around Leah for a week wasn't going to be enough, and he was determined to find out if she felt the same way sooner or later.
"So, Jon, what do you do for a living?" Daniel asked while scooping out mashed potatoes for his granddaughter.
"I teach fourth grade at Hamilton Elementary School and help coach the baseball team over at Grant High. Luckily Winter Break will fall between the time I'm recovering from the accident, so I won't end up having to take as many weeks off from work. I should be able to go back to work when the kids go back in January, since I'll be in crutches by then.
"I haven't even missed a day yet, since the accident happened on my way home on Friday, but I already know I'm going to be very restless during the next two weeks. Figures I'd get hurt the one year my kids seem to actually be paying attention in class."
Leah smiled at him, somehow feeling prideful when listening to him talk so excitedly about his work. It was incredibly sexy to her when guys were good with children, and he worked with them on a daily basis.
Despite her best efforts, she was quickly finding herself becoming very fond of the man sitting across the table from her, and the more she thought about it, the more she doubted her ability to turn him down if he showed signs of returning those feelings.
After lunch, Daniel, Jon, and Charlotte sat in the living room while Ellen and Leah busied themselves with the dishes. Charlotte was already drawing her trademark birds on Jon's cast with a silver marker he'd given to her. He'd showed her how to write the three letters in his name, and she drew a box around them when she was done writing them out.
"Don't want anyone to steal your past," she had reminded him when he asked about the box.
In the kitchen, Ellen and Leah took turns rinsing and drying the dishes, respectively. They spoke in hushed tones about the goings-on in the family, including the fact that Paul's cousin had recently eloped in Las Vegas.
"That Tiffany always was one to make rash decisions," Ellen said with a shake of her head, "but at least Eric does seem to care a great deal about her."
"Yeah. They've been together for, what, a little over a year now? At least they didn't rush into it. And if the pictures they sent are any indication, they definitely seemed to enjoy themselves last weekend."
"Speaking of rushing into things, don't mind my asking, dear, but what exactly is going on between you and Jon?"
"Excuse me?" Leah was caught off guard by the question and loudly choked on the water she'd been sipping.
"Is everything all right in there?!" Daniel hollered from his reclining chair. The sound of Leah's choking had interrupted his reading of the business section of the paper, and he'd folded it in half in order to be able to look into the kitchen.
"Yeah, we're fine in here!" Ellen quickly answered back, leaving Daniel to resume his daily ritual.
"Don't take it the wrong way, Leah, but you two were making eyes at each other during lunch. It was actually quite sweet."
"What, did you think Daniel and I expected you never to move on from Paul? Honey, we love you like the daughter we never had. We only want you and Charlotte to be happy, and if that man in there can make you happy, what have you got to lose?"
They both stepped away from the sink but kept the water running in order to keep anyone in the other room from overhearing the conversation. Leah slumped her head over the kitchen table while her mother-in-law rubbed her back in a rhythmic manner. It was a gesture she couldn't remember her own mother giving to her during the eighteen years she lived in her parents' home, and it only made her feel all the more connected to Ellen. She'd been very lucky to have a woman like her in her life.
"Leah, look at me," Ellen urged her. "Everything is going to be just fine, I promise."
"It's just happening so fast, Ellen. I just met him yesterday, for crying out loud, yet here I am going crazy trying to think of a way to let him know how I feel without sounding like a complete lunatic. It's been years since I've even been on a date that wasn't set up by a coworker. I wouldn't know how to go about doing it.
"Not only that, but he might be living in my house for the next two weeks. I don't want him to think he has to say yes because of that. I also know that if he says no, it'd make things incredibly awkward for us around the house. I don't know what to do."
"You're going to have to trust me when I say he won't turn you down, and when he says yes, it won't be because he needs a place to stay; it'll be because he feels the same way that you do."
"How can you tell?"
"He looks at you the same way my Paul did, Leah. That's how I can tell. He may not be there yet, but someday very soon, that man in there is going to be crazy about you."
"And you're okay with that?"
"Honey, I am more than okay with that."
When they arrived home a little over two hours later, Charlotte was fast asleep in the backseat. Leah and Jon both looked at her with awed expressions, baffled by just how cute she looked when she drooled.
Leah gently pushed a few strands of hair off her daughter's face. When she opened her eyes, Leah told her in a hushed voice, "Charlie, it's time to wake up. We're home now."
"Is Jon sleeping over tonight?" Charlotte asked, rubbing her eyes.
"Yes, he is. Jon is going to be sleeping over for the rest of the week, if that's okay with you, Charlie."
Charlotte nodded her head furiously, "Yes! I like him. He's nice, and he's silly, and he said he was going to watch The Little Mermaid with me and Louie. That's Louie's favorite movie, you know."
"I do know that. You're right. Speaking of Louie, why don't you go show him the picture you drew for him yesterday. Mommy has to help Jon get out of the car."
After that, Charlotte skipped happily into the house, waving her drawing of Louie's puppies back and forth as she went.
"Your dog has a favorite movie?"
"Charlie thinks he has a crush on Ursula. Don't ask."
"So, are you going to get my wheelchair, or am I going to have to beg you for-"
Leah cut him off by leaning across the console that separated them and pressing their lips together. She did so softly at first, but when she felt him readily accept her kiss, the intensity quickly deepened. She was very unsurprised to find that he was a skilled kisser and found herself greedily accepting his tongue into her mouth when he licked across the crease between her full red lips.
During that time, they both undid their seatbelts, and he pulled her over the console onto his lap. The hardness from her cast shocked her, and she looked at him warily before breaking off the kiss.
"Won't it hurt you if I'm on your lap?"
"I broke my fibula, not my femur. Just try to keep most of your weight on my left leg."
She easily readjusted her position on his lap and went back to kissing him. Their tongues dueled as his hands snaked their way into her blonde hair. Her hands reached under his shirt to feel his hard chest. He suddenly tore his mouth away from hers when she did so and left a trail of kisses from the top of her neck all the way down to the swell of her perfectly-sized 36C breasts.
The faint scent of the perfume she'd put on earlier that remained on her shirt made him wish he could devour her breasts. Although, knew he had to wait until they were out of the car; they weren't teenagers, after all, but he definitely wasn't opposed to holding her delicious set of tits in his eager hands. He gave them a few gentle squeezes, eliciting moans and whimpers from Leah. He could immediately tell it'd been far too long since she'd been given the attention she deserved, and he was bound and determined to set that right if she'd let him.
"These are perfect. I'm going to take good care of them later tonight, Leah, just you watch."
"Are you, now?"
"Mhmm." The rough timbre of his voice vibrated on her chest, causing her skin to break out in goose bumps. It was a feeling that was all at once completely unexpected and highly erotic. She'd never felt anything like it before, and if it was any indication of what they would be doing later on in the night, she was more than ready to let go for him. She was essentially putty in his strong, skillful hands.
She squirmed on his lap and pulled his head away from between her breasts when she could feel his cock growing hard beneath her. She smirked and kissed his earlobe, gently tugging on it with her teeth. "And I'm gonna make him feel really good later tonight."
They were interrupted by a few loud and insistent knocks on the driver's side door. They nearly jumped out of their skin when they heard Charlotte's pounding, and Leah was instantly grateful that her daughter was not yet tall enough to see into the car. She fixed her blouse and shifted back to her side of the car before opening the door as calmly as she possibly could, given the circumstances.
"Yes, sweetie?" She could see that Charlotte looked upset about something, and she prayed it had nothing to do with what had just been going on in the car.
Next to Leah, Jon was doing his best to control his breathing. He tried to think about his grandparents making out and the Texas Rangers -- anything that profoundly disturbed him, really -- in order to get his hard on to go down but to no avail. As long as he was still in the car sitting next to Leah, he was going to have to deal with his arousal. Even so, he did his best to shield it from the prying eyes of the three-year-old standing to his left by holding his hands in his lap.
Charlotte sniffled and raised her right hand that she'd been hiding behind her back up for Leah and Jon to examine its contents. Turned out Louie didn't very much care for finger paint artwork.