Young Again Ch. 04byKarennaC©
The next day, when Brenda was released from the hospital, Jerome brought her to his house. "Everything I own is still in my apartment," she protested when they got out of his car in his driveway.
"Not everything," Jerome replied. "I took your keys with me and got Emery to help me move a few things. You're not getting out of it, Brenna. I want you with me so I can take care of you."
"I'm not sure I like the idea of you going through my things without telling me," Brenna said.
"I know, and I wouldn't have done it under normal circumstances. But you were in the hospital, you were sleeping, and I wanted to get things ready for you to come to my place. I took the day off from work to try to make everything good for you."
"You took time off? Jerome, you didn't have to do that."
"I know, but it was worth it." He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. "I love you, and I want you to be comfortable here. I know you weren't planning to stay here quite yet, but it's time. I can't let anything happen to you or our baby."
"I know. That's what I love about you. I know you'll take care of me."
Jerome escorted Brenna into the house and settled her onto the couch. "Do you want anything to eat or drink?" he asked.
"I'd love some apple juice if you have any."
"I don't, but I can make a run to the store. Tell you what." He got a pencil and pad of paper from his desk. "Make a list of anything you want, and I'll go pick it up. And no fair holding back on listing things because you think they might cost too much or anything like that. You write down anything you want."
"Are you sure?"
"This is your home now, Brenna. You should have what you want here."
She smiled. "All right."
Within a few minutes, she'd covered one side of the paper with items she wanted. "I don't expect you to get everything," she said. "It's more of a wish list. I put stars by the things I really need."
"Your wish is my command, and your wish list shall be fulfilled."
Brenna laughed, a sound that warmed Jerome's heart. After the fear the day before that she might have lost their baby, he needed to hear her laughter. Thank goodness the baby was all right, but the pregnancy, only several weeks along, was already developing complications. "All right, but don't spend all your money on me," Brenna said. "Remember, we need to save for the baby."
"That little one is going to be spoiled rotten," Jerome said. "I'm fifty years old. That's old enough to be a grandfather, but I'm thrilled to be a father again, and I'm going to give our son everything he could ever think of."
"Son or daughter," Brenna corrected. She reached out her hand, and Jerome took it. "I couldn't believe how beautiful the baby's heartbeat looked on the ultrasound yesterday," Brenna said. "It makes it seem real. There's a real, living little being inside me, and in a few more months, he or she will be with us."
"It's like a miracle," Jerome agreed. "Just like you."
"I'm not a miracle, Jerome."
"To me, you are. After Lena left me, I was the walking dead. You gave me my life back. You gave me someone to love."
"You did the same for me." Brenna squeezed his hand. "I don't know how I was so lucky to find you, Jerome, but I'm glad I did. And I still can't believe we're getting married."
"I would marry you even if you weren't having my baby. I love you."
"I love you too."
Jerome kissed her on the forehead and stood. "I'm going to the store now. I'll be back soon. Make yourself at home, but don't be on your feet too much."
"I'll be fine."
The store was crowded with end-of-the-workday shoppers, but Jerome had shopped there for over two decades and was able to navigate easily through the other shoppers. That was, until he heard a voice say, "Jerome?"
It was the last voice he'd expected to hear. As far as he'd known, Lena had moved to another town to be with her lover, the man she'd been seeing for six months before she finally told Jerome about it. So what was she doing at this neighborhood grocery store? Jerome took a deep breath and turned to face her. "Hello, Lena."
"I thought that was you." As though she wouldn't recognize the man she'd been with for thirty years. She scanned Jerome's cart. "Interesting assortment of things there."
"Some are for me, and some are for my fiancée." Jerome heard the pride in his voice on the last word.
"Ah, yes. Gillian called and told me about the young woman you're marrying. She's quite a bit younger than you, isn't she?"
"She's thirty-five." It didn't surprise Jerome much that his oldest child had gone running to her mother about his engagement. Gillian had ranted at him about Brenna, and when she'd invited Jerome and Brenna to dinner to supposedly mend fences, she'd insulted Brenna so badly that Brenna had refused to stay. "That's fifteen years younger, so I suppose you could say quite a bit. But we get along well, and that's all that matters."
"Gillian also tells me the woman's expecting."
"Yes. She's a couple months along."
"You certainly haven't wasted any time moving on, have you?"
Jerome couldn't hold back his anger. "That's quite a comment coming from the woman who shattered her marriage vows for six months by screwing around. You don't have any right to judge me or Brenna."
"I'm not judging you."
"Well, it sounds it to me. I wish I could say it was nice seeing you, Lena, but it wasn't. Good luck with your life and your lover."
"I'm not with him anymore. It didn't last."
Jerome felt a savage rush of satisfaction at that news. It served Lena right; she never should have cheated on him in the first place, let alone left him for the other man. She'd gotten what she deserved. But he managed an almost-gracious, "Sorry to hear that. Good luck with whatever your plans are, then." He pushed his cart past her and didn't look back.
Despite that, Jerome was shaken by the encounter. He'd planned on never seeing Lena again, and even though he was angry, he felt some compassion for her. She'd been convinced when she left that she was going on to something better, and apparently that hadn't been the case. She might have done it to herself, but Jerome was sorry for her.
When he got home, his son Emery's car was parked outside. Jerome went in and found Emery in the kitchen, cooking eggs. "Thought I'd stop by and see how things were going," Emery said. "And Brenna said she was hungry."
"I went to the store to get her some things to eat." Jerome hefted the grocery bags onto the counter. "Thanks for taking over."
"No problem. I'm glad she's doing better and that the baby's all right."
"Not as glad as we are, I guarantee."
Jerome started putting away the groceries while Emery continued to cook. "The store must have been crowded," Emery said.
"Yeah. There was at least one too many people."
"What do you mean?"
"I ran into your mother."
Emery turned to look at him. "That must have been awkward."
"To say the least, especially since your sister evidently got hold of her."
"Leave it to Gillian," Emery muttered. "I have no idea what her problem is. She's upset about you and Brenna, but she's going too far. It isn't any of Mom's business, that's for sure."
"I agree, but apparently Gillian had her own opinion on the subject."
"Mom didn't give you a hard time, did she?"
"Just asked some questions about Brenna and told me that she and her new man split up."
"Yeah, that happened a couple months ago, I think." Emery removed the pan from the stovetop and dumped the eggs onto a plate. "I didn't think it would last, after the way she left you, but it could have been possible, I guess."
"I guess." Jerome poured some apple juice into a glass. "I'll put the rest of that stuff away later. Brenna asked for this."
"You can take the eggs to her, too." Emery handed him the plate. "Now that you're back, I'll take care of the groceries and then head home."
"There's no need for you to leave."
"I have stuff to do at home. I just came by to check on things, like I said. I'll stop by over the weekend and spend more time."
"All right. Thank you."
Jerome went into the living room. Brenna was sitting up on the couch, an afghan covering her from the waist down. Jerome recognized it; Lena had made it a few years earlier. He set down the plate and handed the glass to Brenna. "Your apple juice, my lady."
Brenna smiled. "Thank you. Is Emery still here?"
"He's in the kitchen, but he said he's leaving in a minute. Do you want to see him before he goes?"
"I just wanted to thank him for the eggs."
"Dad already did," Emery called. "And I do have to go. See you both later." After a few seconds, Jerome heard the back door open and shut.
Jerome sat at the end of the couch by Brenna's feet. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
"I'm fine." Brenna sipped the apple juice. "This tastes wonderful. I didn't realize I was so thirsty."
"Well, I'm sorry I was gone so long. There were a lot of people in the store."
"I figured there would be." She stroked his hand with a finger. "What's wrong, Jerome?"
"What makes you think anything's wrong?"
"You just seem sad."
Jerome hesitated. He wanted to talk to Brenna; he knew he could talk to her about anything. But with the stress she was under, she didn't need to hear about Lena. "I just ran into someone at the store that I'd rather not have seen," he said.
Jerome stared at her. "How'd you know?"
"Because I couldn't think of anyone else who would make you feel the way it looks like you feel. How is she?"
There was a faint trace of jealousy in Brenna's voice, along with something that, if he hadn't known better, Jerome would have said was fear. "She is how she is, I guess," he replied. "We didn't talk long. She'd heard about you from Gillian, and asked a few questions. Then I got tired of the conversation and walked away."
"Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have her back?"
"Not since I found out why she was leaving me. She cheated on me for six months. I wouldn't want her back after that, no matter how much she begged. And now that I have you, I wouldn't have her back even if she hadn't done that to me." He took her hand. "I want to be with you, Brenna. Not anyone else, ever."
Brenna leaned toward him, and he put his arms around her. Her lips when he kissed them tasted like apple juice. He brushed his tongue against her lips, and Brenna responded by opening her mouth slightly. Their tongues met, and Jerome covered one of her breasts with his hand. Brenna moaned into his mouth and put her hand on his thigh. Then she broke the kiss. "The doctor said no sex," she reminded him. "I can't even have an orgasm until I get the all-clear."
"Sorry." Jerome let go of her. "I did know that. I'm just so glad to have you here, I couldn't resist. I'll control myself."
"I wish you didn't have to." Brenna rubbed his cock through his pants. Already half-hard, it stiffened completely at her touch. "I want to make love to you, Jerome."
"Likewise," Jerome said. "But we want to take care of the little one. As much as I want to feel your body and be inside you, I think we can hold out for a couple weeks till the doctor sees you again."
"Not if you keep talking like that, we can't." She unbuttoned his pants.
"What are you doing?" Jerome asked.
"We can't make love, and you can't touch me below the waist or make me come. But that doesn't mean I can't do anything for you." She touched his bare cock, and it jumped, making her giggle. "I want to make you feel good, Jerome."
"I'd feel guilty. You wouldn't get anything out of it."
"I'd get to make you feel good. I like doing that." She bent and licked the tip of his dick. "Tastes good."
"Glad you like it. Are you sure you want to do this?"
Her mouth engulfed the head of his cock. She sucked lightly at first, just enough to make Jerome moan. "Brenna, that feels wonderful!"
She looked up at him and winked, and slid her mouth further down his shaft. As she sucked and licked, she reached into his boxers and gently handled his balls. Jerome moaned again, wordlessly, and let Brenna's touch bring him closer to orgasm. "Better watch out, or you're going to get a mouthful," he told her.
She let go of him long enough to say, "I want one," then returned her mouth to its work.
After a few more minutes, Jerome felt his balls tighten, felt the tide pushing him over the edge. "Brenna, I'm coming!"
"Mmm hmm," she murmured around his cock.
With that, Jerome erupted into her mouth. She kept sucking, swallowing his cum, until his cock stopped spurting. Then she released him and smiled. "That was good."
"That was excellent." Jerome pulled her against his chest and leaned back. "Now take it easy. You're supposed to be resting."
"I am resting."
"Honey, that wasn't resting!"
"Well, maybe not, but I feel pretty darn rested. And full."
Jerome had to laugh. "All right. And thank you."
"You're welcome. Just realize, I'm going to keep track of every time I make you cum until the doctor's appointment, and when I get the okay, you're going to make me cum once for each time I did it to you."
"Sounds fair to me."
* * *
The next morning, Jerome didn't want to leave for work. What would Brenna do alone all day? She couldn't go out, and unpacking her things was out of the question; that would put too much strain on her, as far as Jerome was concerned. She was supposed to be resting, not unpacking.
"I'll be fine," she assured him when he went into the guest room to say goodbye to her. They'd decided that until she got the all-clear for sex, it would be better for her to have her own room. "I'll watch TV and maybe do some cooking. I like cooking, and I can sit down except when I'm at the stove."
"Just take it easy," Jerome said. "Follow the doctor's instructions."
"I'll be fine," Brenna repeated. She kissed him. "Thank you for being so concerned about me. I'll see you when you get home."
"Call if you need anything," Jerome told her.
When he got to work, he was surrounded by friends of his and Brenna's. "Is she all right?" Brenna's friend Nora asked. Nora was the one who had found Brenna bleeding in the bathroom the day they thought she'd lost the baby.
"She's fine, and the baby's fine," Jerome said. "It's a problem with the placenta, but they think it's going to be all right. Meanwhile, she just has to take it easy."
"Where is she?" Mike, another coworker, asked.
"My place. My son and I moved her in while she was in the hospital, and she's living with me permanently now. As soon as we can, we're going to have the wedding."
"Are we invited?" Nora asked.
"Depends on how we arrange it." Jerome hadn't really thought about how the wedding would go or where it would take place. All he knew was that he wanted to marry Brenna. He'd figured she would take charge of making arrangements, but they hadn't talked about it yet. "We might just go to a justice of the peace, or we might have a small ceremony. Once we get through this scare with the baby, we'll discuss it."
"Let me know if you need any help planning anything," Nora said. "I do wedding planning on the side."
"And my brother manages a rental hall in town," Mike added. "If you wanted a ceremony, I could arrange for it to happen there."
"Thank you." Jerome was touched by his coworkers' support. At least not everyone thought he and Brenna wouldn't work out.
Once he got settled into his daily routine, Jerome went to see his supervisor. "Brenna won't be in," he said.
The supervisor nodded. "I figured after what happened here the other day. How is she?"
"Much better, thanks. They sent her home from the hospital yesterday. She's supposed to be taking it easy, though. But since you'd already told us one of us could no longer work here..."
"In other words, she's resigning?"
"She hasn't officially done anything yet, but she won't be able to work for a couple weeks, and we'd pretty much decided that she would be the one to leave. Do you need a letter or phone call from her?"
"That would be helpful. I know you and she are together, but I can't really take a resignation through a third party. Just have her give me a call when she can."
"You could talk to her right now. She's home; I can call her."
"It's best if she calls me."
Jerome didn't see the difference, but one thing he'd learned in his life was that bureaucracy didn't always make sense. "All right. I'll have her call you, then. Thanks for your time."
"Thank you. And I'm glad you're staying on, Jerome. We can use good workers like you."
During that day, Jerome called Brenna twice to make sure she was following doctor's orders. She was amused the first time, but sounded irritated the second. "Honey, I know you're worried about me, and I appreciate it, but you don't have to check up on me," she said. "I'm doing just fine. I'm watching cooking shows on TV and taking note of recipes I want to make for you when I'm able to be on my feet a little more. Don't worry so much, honey, okay?"
"I'll try. By the way, our wonderful boss wants to hear from you if you've decided to resign."
"I don't have much choice on that one. I can't keep working if I can't even leave the couch for more than a few minutes. I'll call him this afternoon or in the morning."
"Okay. Back to your recipes, then. See you when I get home."
"See you then."
"I love you, Brenna."
"I love you too."
Jerome was tempted later that afternoon to call Brenna again, but he managed to restrain himself. At five o'clock exactly, he was out the door of the office building to head home to her.
He arrived home to find her in tears. "Honey, what's wrong?" he asked, putting his arms around her.
"Your daughter called."
"What?" Damn Gillian! "What did she say to you?"
"If it made you cry, I want to know what it was. What did she say, Brenna?"
"That she hopes I'm happy now that I've trapped you, and that no matter what I do, this house won't ever be mine. She also said that you're only marrying me because I was stupid enough to get knocked up."
Jerome was ready to kill his older daughter. "You know none of that's true," he said, keeping his voice calm so that he wouldn't upset Brenna any more. "I'm marrying you because I love you. We had this conversation already. The baby's a bonus, but not my reason. And this house became yours from the moment you set foot in it. Gillian's a spiteful little brat, and I'll be more than happy to tell her so."
"Jerome, don't," Brenna said. "I don't want to cause any problems between you and her. She's your daughter."
"She's a troublemaker, and she has no right to speak to you that way. Whether or not she ever accepts you as her stepmother, that's what you're going to be, and she will treat you with the appropriate respect or she'll no longer be welcome in my home."
"You can't turn your back on you own child."
"I can if she's going to act this way." Jerome brushed Brenna's hair back from her face. "Honey, Gillian's as stubborn as her old man. It'll take her some time, but she won't be like this forever. I won't cut her out completely, of course, but telling her so might give her a bit of a wake up call. I'm going to phone her now, so if you'd rather not hear it, I'll go into the bedroom."
"I don't like having people fight on my account."
"It isn't on your account. It's on account of her acting like a spoiled child."
Jerome took his cordless phone into his bedroom and shut the door. If Brenna was that upset about the idea, he didn't want her overhearing the earful he was about to give his oldest daughter. Gillian answered the phone on the first ring. "Who the hell do you think you are?" Jerome demanded.
"Hello, Dad, good to hear from you," Gillian responded.