Halo Ch. 02byMygypsy©
Janey sat on the lounge watching Brad on the lounge room floor playing with building blocks with Nicky. Brad would build a tower of blocks and then Nicky would take great pleasure in knocking them over.
It was mid afternoon and Nicky was showing signs of being tired. He usually had a nap about this time and Janey was just waiting for him to stop playing and crawl onto her lap so he could go to sleep.
She was very aware of the fact that Ren was sitting on the other end of the lounge and there was not much room in between them but so far he had been the perfect gentleman. She was acutely aware of him and her body was responding to his occasional glance but he had not said anything or touched her in any way sexual.
Janey watched as Nicky rubbed his eyes tiredly and looked around; she smiled fondly at him and he moved to his hands and knees. She watched in stunned disbelief as he crawled to 'Tanaya who was sitting in the recliner chair and pulled himself up to his feet using her legs and the chair.
"Up, up," Nicky demanded clearly as he reached plump arms up towards 'Tanaya.
'Tanaya hesitated and glanced swiftly towards Janey.
"Go on, he's tired and is nearly ready to go to sleep." Janey said tightly.
As 'Tanaya picked Nicky up and settled him against her shoulder Janey felt a hand settle over hers and she glanced down to see that Ren had placed his hand over hers silently offering her comfort and moral support; she turned her hand over and laced her fingers through his, accepting his comfort and support.
"How about we go for a drive down town? I want to get a couple of things," Ren said quietly.
"But..." Janey protested softly but Ren used his free hand to place his fingers against her lips and still any protests.
"Brad will be here. You trust him don't you?" Ren asked quietly.
"Yes but..." Janey tried to protest once again but Ren merely smiled and leant close to silence her with a light kiss.
His lips were soft and warm as they brushed her mouth lightly and she sighed faintly as she closed her eyes. He kept the kiss light as he brushed his lips back and forth without deepening the kiss.
When Ren broke off the kiss Janey opened her eyes reluctantly, realised what had happened and pulled away from him with a jerk as she got to her feet.
Ren got to his feet and placed one hand in the small of Janey's back to guide her towards the hallway.
"I need to grab my wallet and keys," Ren said softly.
"We can take my car," Janey said without looking his way.
Ren knew that it was probably the need to have some form of escape at the ready that motivated her suggestion but made no objection. He was well aware of the need to build trust between them as well as taking the time for Janey to become accustomed to what was for her a new basis of their friendship.
Ren made no objection when Janey climbed behind the wheel and sat in the driver's seat. In fact he smiled not at all worried to have someone else drive.
"Where to?" Janey asked once she had the vehicle started.
"The local supermarket thanks," Ren said.
Janey was silent as she concentrated on driving to the supermarket. She didn't want to make any type of mistake with her driving in front of Ren.
"If you park near the side street I can run in and grab what I want," Ren said.
"Any reason I can't come in as well?" Janey asked as she glanced his way.
"It's fine by me," Ren said with a smile.
Janey glanced away and reminded herself she would have to be careful and keep her wits about her especially when he smiled - he was too darned handsome for her own good.
"How long have you had your license?" Ren asked as she parked the car easily.
"My 'P' plates? Since a month after Nicky was born," Janey said with a touch of defiance.
Ren laughed softly. He knew she was thinking about when she took his panel van and drove it to get away. So she was worried that he was upset over that?
"It was only a vehicle, it could be replaced. Unlike the driver." Ren said.
Janey gave a startled gasp and darted a worried look his way.
'How had he known what I was thinking?' She wondered.
"Well let's go inside," Ren said as he got out of the car and shut the door.
Janey was slower getting out of the vehicle and darted a nervous look his way as she made her way to the front of the vehicle. She felt more secure as she felt his hand settle in the small of her back as they headed inside the supermarket. She felt her shoulder brush against him but remained close as he grabbed a trolley and headed down the first aisle of the supermarket.
"Will you be bringing Nicky over tomorrow?" Ren asked with a glance.
"If Brad wants to see him." Janey said softly.
"Brad thinks the world of that boy," Ren said as he took a loaf of bread from a shelf and put it in the trolley.
Janey walked beside Ren as he gathered what he wanted from the shelves. He was talking about non-important things as they walked from aisle to aisle, and she found herself enjoying the outing instead of finding it the nerve-racking experience it usually was when she went out in public.
Ren took his time selecting the groceries he wanted and when he was finally finished he gently guided Janey towards the checkout.
Janey watched as Ren paid for his purchase and then they headed out to her car; she waited while he put the bags in the back seat and then returned the trolley to the front of the store before she got into the car.
Ren got in the car and glanced across at Janey as she sat motionless for a few moments.
"Is there something wrong?" Ren asked gently.
"I need to say something you might not want to hear. After you kissed me today and what you said just before leaving the christening," Janey said and sent him a nervous glance. "I want you to leave me alone. I'm engaged to Adam and we're getting married sometime in the near future!" Janey said with a rush.
Ren sat motionless for a few seconds as he let what she had said sink in. Finally he gave a slight nod, "I promise not to do anything you don't want."
Janey took a deep breath as she stared out the front windscreen. His reaction to what she had said wasn't what she had expected and somehow she had the idea his reply wasn't what she wanted him to say.
"I mean it, I'm with Adam." Janey said tightly and started the vehicle. She half expected him to react to her statement as she started the car moving but he said nothing.
Ren was silent on the short ride back to the house; what she had said to him came as a total shock but he had meant what he had said, that he wouldn't do anything she didn't want him to do. And frankly he didn't believe she knew exactly what she wanted at the moment.
The house was silent when Ren opened the door and let them in. He paused as he walked down the hallway and glanced at the closed door of bedroom that Brad and 'Tanaya used. He glanced over his shoulder at Janey and saw the tight look on her face.
"How about a cup of coffee?" he asked lightly as he headed for the kitchen.
Janey stopped just inside the kitchen door and watched as he placed his bags of groceries on the table before turning the kettle on to boil.
"Take a seat and make yourself comfortable," Ren said easily.
Janey hesitated a few moments before doing as he had said; she looked around the kitchen trying to avoid watching him as he put the shopping away in a cupboard.
"You still like your coffee white with one sugar?" Ren asked as he put two cups on the bench and reached for the jar of instant coffee.
Janey looked at him startled that he had even known how she liked her coffee.
"White? One sugar?" Ren asked when she failed to answer even when he poured the boiling water into the cups.
"Yes," Janey's answer was so soft he almost missed it except for the fact that he saw her lips move.
"Here you go," Ren said as he placed her coffee in front of her before taking his own cup and sitting on the other side of the table.
"You still live with your parents?" The question surprised Janey and she looked at Ren startled.
"I don't do so well by myself a lot of the time," Janey finally said looking away from his piercing gaze. She felt as if he had been able to see right through her and see what she had been thinking and feeling.
"And it helps to have people you trust close by," Ren said quietly.
Janey nodded without saying a word; she stared down into her coffee cup lost in thought as she wished she was able to cope on her own all the time.
"Want a tim-tam?" Ren asked as he opened a packet of the biscuits and took one out to dunk in his coffee.
"Ewww, gross, no thanks." Janey said with a vigorous shake of her head.
Ren laughed softly and popped the melting biscuit into his mouth and closed his eyes and gave a moan of pure pleasure.
Janey found herself staring at his mouth as he chewed the biscuit; her eyes glued to his lips as his tongue crept out to lick the melted chocolate from his top lip. She found herself licking her own lip as she watched him and when she glanced up pulling her gaze from his lips she found him watching her through eyes dark with desire.
Ren smiled to himself as Janey gave a startled gasp and jerked her gaze away from his. He hadn't been surprised to find her watching him. He had been able to feel the heat of her gaze on his lips while he was eating the biscuit.
"Sure you don't want a biscuit?" Ren asked.
"Quite sure," Janey said mortified to find her voice was husky as she spoke.
"You sure about that? Oh well, all the more for me." Ren said with a smile when she didn't answer.
Janey was glad that Ren didn't seem to notice that the way he had eaten the biscuit had affected her but nearly groaned aloud when the rustling of the packet told her he was reaching for another biscuit. Unable to help herself she turned her head and watched as he dunked the biscuit in his hot coffee then put the melted chocolate biscuit in his mouth; she almost groaned aloud as he sucked the melted chocolate from his fingers seemingly unaware of her watching him.
"Sure you don't want one? They're nearly as good as sex," Ren said with a wicked grin.
Janey met his eyes with a startled look and he gave a wry grin.
"I guess I shouldn't say things like that to you," Ren said sounding not the least bit sorry.
Janey refused to admit to the blush she felt rise in her face as she looked away. Hurriedly she took a mouthful of her coffee only to hastily spit it back into the cup as the hot liquid burnt her mouth.
"Oh sorry, I thought you'd realise it was hot," Ren said.
Janey glanced his way wondering if he had meant there to be innuendo in what he had said. She looked away quickly, not sure what to think. This time she was careful as she took a sip of coffee. Deciding it wiser not to say anything she carefully kept her gaze averted while she drank her coffee.
"So how long have you been engaged?" Ren asked casually.
Janey turned cautious eyes his way but there was nothing in his demeanour to suggest any trick or annoyance.
"Adam asked me to marry him about two weeks before Nicky's Christening," Janey said looking down at her empty cup.
"Want another cup of coffee?" Ren asked quietly.
"I'm right thanks," Janey said as she glanced up with a slight smile. She couldn't explain it but his attention was making her feel like he was interested in making sure she had everything she needed. As if her comfort was his concern.
"Would you like to play cards?" Ren asked.
"I suppose so," Janey said knowing there wasn't much to do at the moment.
Ren got to his feet and retrieved a pack of cards from one of the kitchen drawers; he glanced at Janey with a grin as he started to open the new pack of cards.
"Guaranteed not to be marked so there's no chance of you cheating," he said with a wink as he sat down.
Janey blinked in astonishment then realised with a start he was joking with her.
"How do I know that that deck is not a specially pre-marked deck you bought?" Janey asked with a twinkle in her eye.
Ren gave an exaggerated leer, "Ya don't my dear," he said with a bad impersonation of one of many gangsters off the movies.
Janey giggled un-self-consciously. It had been ages since she could remember enjoying herself this way.
Ren winked at Janey and gave her an exaggerated leer as he shuffled the deck of cards before dealing the cards with flashy movements.
"Did you say you were putting the family farm and the entire horse herd on this next hand?" Ren said in a bad American accent.
"Just the front wheel of your bike," Janey said with a giggle.
"My bike? Not the bike!" Ren pretended to howl in distress.
Janey laughed until tears formed in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks; finally she was able to stop laughing and play the game of cards.
Janey didn't notice when Brad and 'Tanaya came into the kitchen until they both pulled out chairs and sat down at the table.
"How about we make this a four handed game?" Brad asked with a friendly smile.
"You gotta watch her. She'll pull your bike apart and use it as a bet!" Ren said with rounded eyes.
Janey ducked her head and smothered her giggles as she heard the rich laughter of the two men.
"So sounds like we're playing for keeps," Brad said as he reached for the deck of cards.
"Us girls against you men. I reckon we can beat you fair and square." 'Tanaya said with a wide smile.
Janey's smile disappeared instantly and she pressed her lips together tightly to prevent herself denying being on the same team as 'Tanaya.
"Can I ask what you have against 'Tanaya?" Ren asked seriously.
Janey glanced across the table at him and then flicked a quick glance at Brad before looking back at Ren and dropping her gaze to her hands where they sat on the table in front of her.
"How about we play cards before I say something that will get me kicked out of this house again?" Janey asked tightly.
"You should never have been allowed to see that damned file!" Brad snapped angrily and slammed his fist down on the table for emphasis.
Janey gasped and flinched but forced herself to raise her head and look Brad in the eyes. She was visibly trembling but remained in her seat even though Brad was obviously very angry.
"Have you read the file?" Janey demanded tightly.
"I didn't have to read it! 'Tanaya told me exactly what was in it then made me look at it, " Brad said curtly. "Why don't you ask her what happened instead of going on the police file?"
Janey glanced towards 'Tanaya with unconcealed distaste and Brad slammed his fist on the table once more.
"Brad!" Ren snapped as he grabbed his friend's forearm with one hand.
"Stop it Brad!" 'Tanaya pleaded as she got to her feet and moved to stand by his chair. "Janey is just trying to do what she believes is the best and safest thing for your son."
Janey glanced at 'Tanaya angrily, she didn't need her sticking up for her!
"I won't lie and say I never did drugs. I took some three or four times but they never did much for me. The drugs I had on me when the police stopped me weren't even mine. As for the prostitution charges, yeah I did that but I was a kid and the guy I was with wasn't the best to say the least. That's all in my past, my distant past." 'Tanaya said abruptly before running her hands over Brad's shoulders in an attempt to soothe him.
Janey got to her feet hurriedly; she had to get out of the room. All the anger and turmoil was setting her nerves on edge badly.
"Just because you don't like me don't punish Brad and Nicky!" 'Tanaya said as she went to place a hand on Janey's shoulder.
Janey spun around to face 'Tanaya swiftly. She stumbled several steps sideways as she tried to avoid contact with her.
'Tanaya saw the fear in Janey's eyes and the way she was trembling so much it was shaking her body. 'Tanaya took several steps backwards and watched as Janey turned and fled the room. She heard an angry noise come from Brad who had gotten to his feet and was beside her but she caught his arm when he would have followed Janey from the room.
"She needs a bit of time to herself," 'Tanaya said softly.
"There was no reason for her to be rude to you!" Brad snapped angrily.
"You scared the shit out of her thumping the table like you did," Ren said from where he still sat at the table.
Brad groaned as he realised the truth of what Ren had said and rubbed his face with both hands.
"I'd better go make sure Nicky didn't wake up," Brad said with regret and left the room.
'Tanaya looked at Ren where he sat at the table racking the cards into a pile in front of him.
"Looks like the game of cards is over. It sounded like you two were having a good time earlier," 'Tanaya said apologetically.
"Yeah we were. Oh well. Maybe Blondie will start to come around and not be so unfriendly towards you now," Ren said evenly.
"I'm sorry things got messed up between you two just now." 'Tanaya said faintly.
"I'll survive mate," Ren said as he got to his feet.
Out on the front veranda Janey was pacing back and forth nervously. She had her arms crossed over her chest and was rubbing her upper arms uneasily. When she heard the heavy tread of footsteps approaching the front door from inside she turned to face the doorway uneasily.
Brad walked through the door and glanced both ways before seeing Janey. He didn't miss the way she eyed him scared or the way she glanced towards the steps down to the footpath as if gauging the distance.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you and punched the table," Brad said quietly.
"You scared me!" Janey accused edgily.
"Yeah I realise that now. I never meant to. It's just that I got so mad because you haven't given 'Tanaya a fair chance," Brad said as he turned and leant back against the wall a little way from Janey.
Janey stopped staring at him and resumed moving nervously but she kept well out of his reach.
"I hope when you feel able you'll come back inside and we can have a nice calm chat," Brad said gently feeling remorse for upsetting her.
Both Janey and Brad glanced across the road at the yell and saw Matty and Brent getting out of a taxi; Brad waved back to them knowing they would make their way over to the house after they put their parcels in their flat.
"What's with them two?" Janey asked quietly.
"Do you mean are they like Hawk and Jake? No they're straight - they just share expenses on the small flat since neither of them have girlfriends at the moment," Brad said quietly.
"Hmmm, that's cool," Janey said with a nod.
"Ready to go back inside now?" Brad asked when he noticed Janey had stopped moving restlessly.
"I might stay out here a while longer," Janey said and looked out at the western horizon where clouds hung low in the sky.
"Okay, just come in when you're ready," Brad conceded before heading back inside.
Janey was still outside when Brent and Matty started across the road; deciding to head inside before they reached her and started asking questions, Janey turned and headed back inside.
Brad and Ren were in the lounge room shifting the lounge when Janey walked in. She glanced at them and looked away when they glanced her way.
"Matty and Brent are on their way over," Janey said quietly.
"Well we can put them to work as well," Brad said as he and Ren tipped the lounge over so they could get at the legs beneath it.
Janey watched as the two men put patches on the bottom of the legs that would protect the floor from being scratched before they righted the lounge and put it back in its place.
"Where's Nicky?" Matty asked as he walked into the lounge room with a wide grin.
"Good 'aye Janey," Brent said in greeting.
"Oh yeah, Hi Janey," Matty said and glanced around looking for Nicky.
"Nicky is asleep in on 'Tanaya's bed," Brad said.
Matty gave a sigh of disappointment but didn't go near the bedroom; both 'Tanaya and Brad had made it clear that although he and Brent were welcome anywhere else in the house the bedroom they shared was out of bounds.