Lady in Red Ch. 19byHarddaysknight©
Gwen's parents had never mentioned anything about Jordan Quick, or anyone else, staying with them. If Clyde's assertion was correct, it must have been a very recent decision. They hardly had time to reach home after visiting the promotion at Macy's earlier in the day. Gwen knew that if her parents had agreed to Jordan staying with them, that she had better be as hospitable as possible.
"I see that wasn't exactly the news you were looking for," smirked Jordan. "I'm supposed to be in a 'stable environment' for six months according to the courts, but Clyde was only able to get your folks to commit to a couple weeks. If my behavior is acceptable, they may allow me to stay longer. The little fact that I've had some hit songs and Clyde has me penciled in for a TV gig with you and lover boy probably influenced your folks' decision."
"My parents make the decisions in our house. I'll do my best to make your stay as comfortable as possible, but it will not include sleeping with my boyfriend, just so we're clear on that."
"That's a deal breaker, is it?" laughed Jordan. "It's not a problem for me, but your boy scout may have trouble keeping his hands off me. I have a strong allure for males, and he looks to be all male. I can get laid anytime I want, but with a prim and proper uptight girlfriend like you, he's probably lucky to even get a hand job."
"Girls, you can discuss your sex lives all you want over the next two weeks," interrupted Clyde. "Right now all I want is for Gwen and Steve to tell me that you'll do your best to help keep this wayward child out of trouble while she's with you. If she screws up again, she'll be looking at some serious jail time and a criminal record. Will you two do your best for Jordan? She's not really bad. She lacks guidance and discipline."
"Sir, I don't know how I can keep her out of trouble if she's determined to jump off the wagon. She pretty well indicated that she holds me in contempt for the way I live, and how I view things. I'm hoping to go to Annapolis next fall and I sure don't need any marks on my record. I'll do my best, within reason, but if she keeps up her attitude toward Gwen and me, I doubt she'll even last the two weeks," stated Steve firmly.
"I don't blame you," responded Clyde honestly. "I'm just hoping that living with people with some routine, self-discipline, and consideration will help her see that not everyone is like her family. All I ask is that you be patient and help her as much as you can without endangering your career. I'd really like to get her back on top, but without the attitude. You can see how talented she is."
"I'm not an idiot child that can be talked about like this!" snapped Jordan. "I can take care of myself. All these two have to do is leave me alone and I'll do fine. I know how important this chance is for me."
Lisa watched the little drama with minimal interest. She had gone over the contract from the modeling agency with her parents and Amber's lawyer earlier in the day and she could think about little else. She would fly to Chicago next weekend with Paula and do some interviews and some photo shoots. If the agency decided that they liked what they saw, they'd pick up her contract and she's be a professional model!
She couldn't wait to call Jason and tell him about her possible new career. Perhaps she'd be traveling to New York and get to visit him at West Point! Then she thought about leaving Steve. The thought of being so far from him bothered her more than she cared to admit, even to herself. He was Gwen's man. But Lisa knew that he would always be the first man she actually loved. She just hoped he wouldn't be the only one. Jason was working hard to join that exclusive club. Lisa decided she had better tell Steve goodbye that day since she may be too busy to see him again for a long time.
When things settled down with Jordan, Lisa drew Steve aside during a break in their promotional duties. "Steve, I'm going to try this modeling thing. I don't know if it'll work out, but if it does, I may not see very much of you anymore, at least for a while. Promise me that you'll think about me and call and email me as much as you can. Promise to take care of Stephanie, Kate, Mom and Gwen. Especially promise me that you'll always love me."
"I can promise that easily enough, Lisa. I'm excited for you. You're a beautiful woman. You have an amazing figure and a wonderful personality. You'll be famous and I'll be standing in line for your autograph some day. I'll always love you. I promise."
Gwen was engaged in conversation with Kate and Stephanie when Jordan tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to Lisa and Steve. "It looks like your sister and your boyfriend are in love. You haven't been paying enough attention and your own sister has stolen your boyfriend away! And everyone thinks my family is screwed up!"
"Actually, Lisa and Steve do love each other, Jordan. While we're discussing it, Steve seems to be extremely fond of Kate and Stephanie as well. Tell the truth, Kate and Stephanie. Do you love Steve?" asked Gwen.
"I sure do!" readily admitted Kate while Stephanie blushed and nodded her head.
"Kate and Lisa are my sisters. Stephanie's my cousin, but more like a sister. They love the guy and he loves them. Lisa has it bad for Steve and he loves her a lot, too. But at the end of the day, he loves me as his girlfriend and he's not going to hurt me, Lisa, Kate, or Stephanie by doing anything foolish. Neither will my sisters or Stephanie. We're family and Steve is my boyfriend. I'm glad they all love him and that he loves them. It validates my feelings for him."
"Lisa is gorgeous and she loves your boyfriend and you don't worry about it? That's hard to believe. You should be scratching her eyes out for the way she's sexing him up right in front of everyone," insisted Jordan.
"I don't think you understand what I'm trying to tell you. I trust Lisa and Steve. I love them both as much as a person can love anyone. They love me as much. They may love each other, but they aren't 'in love', not the way Steve and I are. Neither of them would do anything behind my back. They aren't made that way. Lisa is probably saying her goodbyes to him right now. She'll miss him a lot, but it's a fantastic opportunity for her. She'll do fine."
Jordan just shook her head in disbelief as Lisa kissed Steve quite passionately. "I thought like that a few years ago. Then I caught by boyfriend in bed with my mother. That's when I realized that you can't trust anyone with anything you cherish. They'll take it away, and break your heart if you let them."
"I'm sorry that happened to you, Jordan. I can see why that might color your opinion of people, but Lisa and Steve mean the world to me. I'm not worried about them. Kate, on the other hand..."
"Sis! You know I wouldn't do anything with Steve that I shouldn't. The darn guy won't touch me until I'm eighteen, so he's safe for a couple years," laughed Kate.
"Well, I'm a month older than you, so I'll take off with Steve before you stop being jail bait!" promised Stephanie as all the girls, including Jordan, laughed at her joke.
By the time the promotion was over, the girls had been in hundreds of photos and posed with boys, and some girls, of all ages. Steve was in constant demand by women from ten to over ninety. He posed, smiled, joked, and charmed every woman he met, with the exception of Jordan Quick. Her attitude irked Steve more than a little.
"That was a huge success!" gushed Amber O'Leary as the group gathered after changing into street clothes. I'm confident that Macy's will want you to travel to the major markets to appear at their bigger outlets. This thing is really taking off.
"Miss Quick, I understand that you'll be living with Gwen for an undetermined period of time. You're also scheduled to do a video and a recording with Steve for your comeback. That will be done in Los Angeles the same time these kids are taping a few TV shows. You're scheduled to appear in at least one of those. My question to you is this. Do you want to appear in these promotions for our line? The sales profits go to the hospital fund in Sparta, but your travel expenses will be paid and Macy's would pay you the same fee the other kids will be getting.
"Let me also state that my reputation is tied with this venture. My father is governor. These kids are heroes, loved and respected all over the country. We've worked hard to nurture this image. You'll be terminated with extreme haste if you get into any sort of trouble with drugs, alcohol, or men. I'll take a chance on you if you'll promise me that you'll do your very best to reform. This promotion deal would help your visibility and promote your career. What do you say?"
"That wasn't the most flattering business proposal I've ever had, but I admit that I need to work on my image. Clyde warned me that I'd be back in the big house if I fu ... excuse me! If I screwed up again. I'd like to take you up on that offer."
"Then we'll have to go back to the dressing room and get your measurements. It's obvious that you'll look great in anything. You have a wonderful figure. We'll only be a few minutes, guys. Jordan will be ready to leave with you as soon as we're finished."
Steve and Gwen exchanged looks as Amber presented her proposal to Jordan. It seemed like they were going to be babysitting a spoiled, addicted, but talented diva. Half an hour later, the five of them were loaded in Gwen's car and headed home.
"Just a minute, Gwen. Pull back off the road," insisted Steve as Gwen came to a stop. Steve climbed out of the SUV and opened the back door. He plucked the cigarette from Jordan's mouth and tossed it down and then ground it with his heel. Then he reached into her pocketbook, yanked a pack of cigarettes out and crushed them in his hand before walking to a nearby trash can and tossing the pack into it. Then he climbed pack into the front passenger seat and nodded for Gwen to drive.
"You asshole!" screamed Jordan. "Who the fuck do you think you are? You can't take away my smokes. I'm over eighteen and can smoke if I want!"
"You shouldn't have tried lighting up in someone else's car. That tells me that you have no regard for those around you. The rest of us don't want to smell like smoke, nor breathe it in. Since you lack the basic understanding of treating others with respect, you're not going to be smoking at all. We already know you have an addictive personality, so let's stop the tobacco addiction along with the drugs.
"As far as your language is concerned, I'll start washing your mouth out with soap if you persist in swearing in front of ladies. Gwen, Kate, and Stephanie don't need to listen to your childish outbursts. If we're going to be responsible for you, expect me to be all over you when you try to pull any crap."
"I'll have you arrested for assault if you so much as touch me!" threatened Jordan. "You're not my father, and certainly not my husband. You've got no right to force me to do anything just because you're bigger and stronger than I am."
"You're confused. I won't do it because I can. I'll do it because you need it. You've been allowed to run amok for too long already. Look where it's gotten you. You're a step away from serious jail time. You're addicted to drugs, tobacco, and probably alcohol. You're promiscuous to the point of being a slut. Were you checked for diseases while you were in rehab?"
"As a matter of fact, I was, and I'm already cured, thank you!" sneered Jordan. "If you're thinking of tapping some of my pussy, forget it! I may be a slut, but you're one asshole that'll never have the pleasure of fucking me!"
"That suits me just fine, but you'd better start thinking of more polite ways to state your position or I'll be washing your mouth out. If you keep acting like a child, I'll treat you like one!"
Jordan made no reply as she glared at Steve. Kate and Stephanie were shocked at Jordan's outburst, as well as Steve's threats to her. They sat quietly, looking at each other, and then at the scenery. Gwen was marveling at the abrupt change in Steve's normal, quiet, easy going manner. She's never heard him talk like that to anyone. But then she'd never run into anyone like Jordan before. Why did her parents ever agree to take her in? The last thing Gwen needed was a slut living with her. Instinctively, she knew that Jordan's actions would cause her parents to rethink Gwen's sexual freedom with Steve.
The rest of the trip was mostly quiet. Jordan sulked, and the girls were worried about engaging her in conversation and causing another battle of wills between her and Steve. When they reached the Anderson's, Paula and Ted came out to greet everyone.
"Mom, Dad, this is Jordan Quick. Jordan, my parents, Paula and Ted Anderson," introduced Gwen quickly. "It seems that she'll be staying with us for awhile."
"Hello, Jordan! I love your songs. You have a wonderful voice and we're so glad to have you stay with us!" welcomed Paula. "Girls, show Jordan to Lisa's room. She'll be staying there. Steve, do you want to come in for awhile."
"Thanks, Paula, but I need to be getting home. I told Uncle Joe that I'd be home before it got too late. You have company, so I'll just say goodbye to the girls and head home."
"Good idea. Go the fuck home, asshole," snarled Jordan just as Steve turned toward his car just as Diane pulled in to pick up Stephanie.
Paula couldn't believe what she witnessed next. Jordan's crude outburst came as a shock, but Steve's reaction was a total stunner. He turned around and grabbed Jordan around the waist and easily picked her up and headed for the house. He carried her over his hip like she was an infant, and she kicked and thrashed like a temperamental child. He entered the house and went straight to the bathroom.
He placed Jordan in a supine position and gently sat on her chest, pinning her arms to her sides as he looked around the sink. Finding no bar soap, Steve picked up a soap dispenser. Jordan was cursing a blue streak and flailing her feet around in her anger. Steve watched her for a few seconds and then squeezed the soap dispenser. His timing was perfect as a stream of hand soap shot directly into Jordan's open mouth.
Her cursing stopped immediately and she began coughing and spitting. Her face turned red. She was obviously livid as she glared as Steve.
"I'm not letting you up until you apologize to the Andersons for your inappropriate language! I'll sit on you all night if I have to."
"I can't breathe!" gasped Jordan. "Let me up or I'll call the cops!"
"Then start calling. Wait, your hands aren't free, are they? The only ones that can hear you are the Andersons, so you'd better start apologizing."
Jordan just stared at Steve. He stoically returned the stare. Paula, Ted, and Diane were beginning to worry that Jordan would swallow the soap and become ill, but were reluctant to interfere with Steve's judgment. Tears formed in Jordan's eyes and still Steve sat impassively on her chest.
"Okay! I'm sorry that I swore, everyone. It's a bad habit I'm trying to break. Now let me up so I can rinse my mouth you big bas ... bully!" sobbed Jordan as she tried to speak without ingesting the soap.
Steve slid off Jordan, then gently picked her up and placed her on her feet. Jordan looked at him for a second then accepted the glass of water Gwen handed her. Everyone left the bathroom as Jordan began rinsing her mouth and spitting into the sink.
"I imagine you had an interesting ride home," observed Paula to Gwen. Kate and Stephanie had to hold their hands over their mouths to keep from giggling out loud.
"I'm seeing a whole new side of Steve," admitted Gwen. "He and Jordan are like oil and water. They just don't seem to mix. In his defense, he warned her that he'd wash her mouth out if she persisted in her swearing. I don't think I'd like being treated like that, but I hope I'd never behave like she did, either."
"Remember when you explained to me that one of my duties as a boyfriend was to let you know when you're behaving poorly? You're a smart, well mannered girl that would never act like Jordan just did, so I'd never try anything like that with you. I'm sure that if I behaved really poorly, you'd point it out to me.
"You heard Clyde tell us what happens if Jordan screws up again. He expects us to keep her on the straight and narrow. I can't make her like me, but I can make her fear me, and listen to me to some extent. I'm not going to allow her to show her contempt for all of us by swearing like that. I'll wash out her mouth every time if that's what it takes to make her behave."
"You have no right to touch me, or treat me like that, you as ... jerk!" stuttered Jordan as she came out of the bathroom. "I could have you arrested!"
"Dear, I know you're upset, but that would probably be a mistake," pointed out Paula. "There's no one here that would ever say anything detrimental about Steve to the police. He's pretty much earned carte blanche with this family, unless it was something much more serious than a little squabble."
"You'd stick up for him after the way he just treated me?" asked a stunned Jordan. "How can you do that?"
"Maybe because he's saved our lives. Because he's brave and gentle and strong and handsome and..."
"She gets the idea, Kate," laughed Paula. "Suffice it to say that Steve is a part of this family, like we hope you'll be in time. I don't know what all led up to this little encounter, but Gwen seems to think that Steve gave you fair warning. And we don't allow that sort of language in our house. I won't insist that you apologize to Steve this time, but don't swear in this house. It's really best if you stop swearing altogether. It's a bad habit for a young lady, especially one that's a role model for teenagers."
Once again, Steve started for his car. Gwen stepped in front of him and hugged him hard and kissed him on the lips. Almost as soon as she released him, Kate wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. Kate pretty much handed Steve off to Stephanie who stepped in close and reached up to kiss his other cheek. Jordan watched it all in silence.
Steve was the first student to enter his homeroom Monday morning. Ms. Walker smiled at him and offered a printout of some sort to him. "The last time I tried to give an accounting of our hospital fund, all hell broke loose. I thought that I'd just pass it out on paper this time. Look at the bottom line, Steve."
"Wow! Can this be right? We've raised over $412,000! That's hard to believe. That's way better than I ever dreamed we'd do."
Steve was going to say more, but Charlotte and Gwen entered the room, and right behind them was Jordan Quick! Gwen smiled and gave Steve a quick hug. Charlotte did the same while Jordan kept a distance away.
"Ms. Walker, this is Jordan Quick. She'll be attending our school. She needs some credits to get her diploma. Her mother sort of dropped the ball when she was touring and she didn't meet the requirements to graduate."
This was a total surprise to Steve. He had been concerned that Jordan would have a negative impact on his quality time with Gwen for the time that she was going to stay at the Anderson home. Now it looked like she was going to be going to school with them!
Steve hardly spoke with Gwen the rest of the day. Jordan was a well known celebrity and the students were eager to see and meet her. Gwen was kept busy introducing Jordan and getting her to her class rooms.
National signing day came later in the week. Jared was well enough to appear at his signing with Penn State. He just grinned at the jokes about dropping the soap in the shower. He was making great progress with his injuries and was expected to recover fully. Billy signed with a Division II school and was quite pleased about it. Tyler committed to play for the same state school that Lisa attended.