***Part Four***
Word Count: 6,579

(Author's Note: Before anyone reads this part and claims that what I have happening here would be hard-pressed to really occur, I went to a Bulls game and ran into not one but three people I knew at different times during the same game. So, is it a stretch? Sure, but it's not implausible. If it happened to me at a huge place like the United Center, surely it could happen to Chris at a smaller venue like Wrigley Field.)

"What happened?" she asked when she spotted him at the train station. She left her mom's car at the train station in Oak Park and came to the city this way. He'd asked her to a Cubs game today and they decided it wasn't worth both of them parking their car. They'd done it this way when he'd taken her to a Bulls game last month.

Things had quickly gotten more serious than she thought they would. She assumed after the movie that would be that. He was a city guy who had been around the block more than once. She was a suburban girl who had barely been around the block at all.

Instead, he'd called the next day as he said he would. He'd driven out to see her that Monday after school and again later in the week. That became the norm for them with her occasionally taking the train into the city to see him on the weekend so they could do something downtown. They talked every night on the phone, always late after her parents were in bed. He never minded how late she called.

She'd been to his house a couple of times. It was an older row house. She was surprised to find out he owned it with an apartment in the basement that he could rent if needed. They never stayed there long; it was always a quick stop in between a trip to a museum and grabbing dinner or something. He never pressed her about picking her up or finding out where she lived beyond the name of her suburb.

"Nothing," he said with a shrug, but she didn't believe him.

"Joe," she said, reaching to touch his eye. He winced, as she expected he might. His eye wasn't just swollen with various shades of black, blue, purple and yellow as a result. He had a nasty gash just above his eyebrow that looked like it should have gotten stitches.

"It happens," he said, dismissing it.

Judging by the tones of color the bruising was at; she guessed it had happened a few days ago. They'd talked in that time and he hadn't said anything.

"Why didn't you say something?"

"What's to say? It is what it is. You know? Nothing you could have done about it." He smiled then and she noticed he had a smaller cut with bruising by his lip. The eye's damage was more prevalent, so she guessed that was why she noticed it first. "You going to offer to come take care of me?"

"Did you need someone to take care of you? It looks like you should have gone to a hospital."

"It stopped bleeding eventually."

"Yeah, but it's going to scar."

"Won't be my first."

"If you say so."

"Listen, Chris, it is what it is. I pissed off some people, you know. Payback is a bitch sometimes."

"This is because of me?"

"I didn't say that."

"Who else did you piss off enough to beat you up?"

"You'd be surprised."

"Why didn't you say something?"

"Nothing to say."

"Why do you still want to see me?"

"Like I'd let them stop me. It's really not about you. I betrayed them, you know. I know things, lots of things that could get people in a lot of trouble. They just want to make sure I won't talk."

"You're sure that's all it is?"

"Positive. I don't think they're worried about you. They can move their operation. There are warehouses all over Chicago that would suit their needs. I have names, though, details. I mean, sure I imagine if they ran across you they might take the opportunity to ensure you couldn't talk, but I really don't believe they're going to seek you out."

"I hadn't even thought that they might," she admitted, wondering how na´ve she was not to have.

"Well, that's good, I don't want you scared. They're bad people, but they still have a business to run. Once they realize I'm not talking and you or the kids haven't talked, they'll move onto harassing someone else."

"You sure that's all it is? They're not trying to get information about me?"

"Positive," he said, touching her face and brushing some hair away from her face.

"All right."

"Ready to see the Cubs play?"

"Yeah," she said. "I told my mom I'd probably be out late."


"Well, I wasn't sure what time the game would get over and what you'd want to do after."

"That's fine. I'm not of the mind to get rid of you any sooner than I have to."


"Not at all."

"Well, good," she said.

"Ever been here?" he asked once they'd entered Wrigley Field. He bought a game program and got them each something to drink. They were fairly early, so she used the bathroom before worrying about finding their seats and dealing with a crowd of people later.

"Sure. We come a few times a year."


"Yeah, you know, we're a North Side family."

Unfortunately, the Cubs lost to the Expos. At least it was closer than the day before when the Expos beat the Cubs 7-0.

"You want a shirt or something?" he asked as they made their way through the crowd to their exit. She was holding onto his arm, watching the people. Most seemed in a huge rush to get out. She didn't really care how long it took them to get out.

"No, the program is fine."

"You sure?" He stopped then and faced her. He took one of her hands, his other one reaching for her face. "Come on. We've never been here for a game before. I'm offering, you're not asking."

"Joe, really. The tickets were expensive enough."

"It's just money."

"Says the man who no longer has a job."

"I'm working on changing that."


"Yeah," he said with a shrug. "Come on," he said, keeping her hand as he led her toward one of the stands. Most were closing up since the game was over, but a few were staying open, obviously to appeal to people like Joe who were willing to spend money after the game was over.

"What would you like? Sandberg? Jody Davis?"

"How about one without a name," she said, pointing at one of the shirts that just had the Cubs logo with no number or anything.

"You sure?"


"All right," he said, paying for it when she told her size.

"Thank you. It's too much really."

"Nah. I like the idea of you wearing something I bought," he said, leaning in to give her a kiss. She kissed him back mindful of his lip, though.

"Doesn't that hurt," she said, using a fingertip to touch his lip.

"I didn't even notice."

She laughed. "How could you not?"

"You're a nice distraction."

"Well, thanks, but I don't want to hurt you."

"It's not a bad kind of pain. It's been a couple of days, so I'm used to it."

"Kissed a lot of girls in the last few days?"

"Only the one standing here."


"Yes, really. Like you I'm not a cheater, and would have been upfront with you if there was anyone else in the picture."

She felt an arm grab a hold of the sleeve of her coat. At first she thought it was an accident, someone who'd had a bit too much to drink walking too close to her. Except the grip didn't let up. She turned, more than surprised to see her father standing there.


"Chris? What are you doing here?"

"Obviously, the same thing you are," she said, glancing behind him to see her dad's friends who he was here with from the looks of things.

"Does your mother know?"

"Yes, I told her."

"I don't like the idea of you driving down here."

"I didn't. I took the train down and Joe picked me up from there."

"Joe," he said, regarding Joe for the first time, though she was sure her father knew she was with him. It was pretty obvious. "We haven't met."

"Uh no," Joe said, extending his hand to her father. "Joe Gipp."

"And you know my daughter how?" Chris didn't miss the fact her father didn't take Joe's hand.

"We met through some friends," he answered smoothly.

"You're older than she is."

"Yeah," he said simply. "It's just a baseball game, Mr. Parker. I'll be dropping her at the train station in a little while."

"And you're okay with her taking the train home by herself at night?"

"Dad," she said. "It was my idea. I wasn't going to make Joe go out of his way."

"I can drive you home," he offered.

"That's crazy. Dad."

"Excuse us a minute," her dad said. Chris followed him. She didn't have much choice. He was her father.

"Who is that man?"

"A friend."

"He looked like more than a friend a minute ago."

He'd seen them kissing? Oh God, how embarrassing. Not because of who Joe was or anything, but just the fact her dad saw her kissing someone was very weird.

"He's not like us, Chris."

"No. You know, I dated a guy like us, Dad, and he had sex with Sesame Plexor and who knows who else while seeing me. Maybe I want someone not like us."

"That's enough."

"I'm not doing anything wrong. It's not as if I'm rushing off to marry him. It's a date, Dad. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do at this age?"

"You're supposed to be thinking about college and your future not wasting your time on some thug."

"He's not a thug."

If only she could tell him how she'd really met Joe. He'd freak out, but realize that Joe wasn't at all like what he seemed.

"Could have fooled me."

"Dad, please don't make a scene."

"I won't because I'm taking you to the train station myself right now and I'll talk to your mother about this tomorrow."

"Dad. Come on."

"Don't come on me, young lady. I will not have my daughter embarrassing me."

"Embarrassing you? I'm at a baseball game. Just what can I do here that's so embarrassing?"

"Your choice in companions is answer enough. You're obviously not mature enough to make good decisions."

"Dad. It's not what you think."

"I know exactly what it is, and you're leaving with me right now. I'm going to put you on the first train home."

"Joe can get me to the train station just fine."

"No. You're not spending another minute with him."

"Yes, I am."

"You're coming with me. I'm not telling you again, Christine Marie."

"No, Dad, I'm not," she said, hoping he couldn't see how nervous she was just then. She'd never argued with her dad like this before. Sure, they'd gotten into heated discussions about college and what she wanted to do with her life, but this was something entirely different. He was trying to tell her what to do, who she could and couldn't be friends with. She'd never done anything to warrant that kind of control by her father. She obeyed her curfew. She didn't drive drunk or smoke. She wasn't having sex in the back of her mom's station wagon. She was, overall, good, and she wasn't going to let her father treat her as though she'd made a million bad decisions in her life to this point. She hadn't.

She stepped away from him then, taking advantage of his shock at her rebelling against him to get away from the grasp he still had on her arm.

"If you leave with him, you will not be allowed back in the house."

"Fine," she said.

"Christine Parker. I am serious."

"I know you are, but unfortunately you're seriously wrong and I'm not going to let you bully me into choosing my friends according to your skewed vision of who is acceptable for me."

"I mean it," he said to her back.

"Let's go," she said to Joe.

"Uh. You sure?"

"Yes," she said.

"Chris, I don't want to come between you and your parents."

"Maybe I want to come between me and my parents. Can we please just go and talk about this in your car?"

"All right," he said.

She noticed he glanced back to where Chris' dad had been standing. She assumed he still was, waiting for her to cave in and change her mind. She wasn't going to. Not on this. Joe was a good person, it didn't matter that he wasn't white or like the guys she went to school with.

She was quietly assessing her options on the way to his car. He seemed to understand that she didn't want to talk just yet and remained silent until he started his car.

"So. Train station?"

"No," she said. "Not yet. I'll call Brenda from your house and see if I can spend the night there or something."

"Why?" he asked with a frown.

"He told me not to come home if I left with you."

"Oh," he said, hands gripping the steering wheel a little tighter at that. "So, there was more to my not picking you up at your house than how we met."

She laughed with a shake of her head. "Yeah."

"I didn't know. You never said it was a problem."

"It's not. For me. I'm not my father. He has this vision for my life. You know. University of Illinois or Purdue. Maybe Northwestern. Get a degree in Elementary Education. Find a husband, preferably one with a six digit income. Teach for a few years until I have kids of my own."

"And you don't want all that?"

"No! I just want to be happy. To be my own person. To live life. I'll get to college eventually; I'm just not sure I want to go right after high school. I'd like to get a job, maybe travel a little, and see things outside of Chicago."

"Sounds legitimate."

"I think so. He doesn't."

"I can just bring you home. I'm sure he'd be okay if he saw you came home right away."

"No. He doesn't get to dictate who my friends are."

"I hope I'm more than a friend by now."

"You are," she said, leaning in to kiss him. "God. I never thought I'd be sitting with you like this after that night. I assumed after that first date you'd go home and never want to see me again."

"You've said that before and I'll say it again. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were someone I wanted to get to know."

"Yeah, me and my stupidity not even knowing you were stealing the car we'd gotten in to."

"Not stupid. Just someone who hadn't seen things I had. That's all. And that's not bad, Chris."

"Thank you."

They got back to his place and he parked on the street in front of his house instead of his garage off the alley behind his house. So that meant he wasn't planning to stay in for the rest of the night. Odd that she knew that sort of thing about him, but she knew he only parked on the street if he was going out again.

She got the answering machine at Brenda's house. She left a rather vague message, knowing her step-mom would freak out if Chris said anything about being in the city or what was going on beyond saying she'd run into her dad at the Cubs game. Assuming Brenda heard the message, she'd know that wasn't good.

"I'll have to try calling her later."

"It's fine," Joe said. "We can hang here if you want. She has my number, right?"

"I gave it to her once, but I'm not sure she kept it."

"Well, if she calls your house she might assume you're here and if she has the number she'll call."

"I hope so."

"I can run to the store and get us a movie and a pizza or something. I wasn't expecting you to be here tonight so I don't have anything, but at least that way we can do something while we wait for her to call."

"Sure," she said.

He took her into his arms; she settled her head against his chest. She loved when he did this. Hugged her. She felt so safe with him when she knew she probably should feel just the opposite. She couldn't help what she felt, though.

This was so different than what she'd felt with Mike. Not that that was saying much she realized. Joe wasn't afraid to bring her home, something Mike had always been hesitant to do. Joe never had a problem leaving her here by herself either while he ran to the store to get a movie, food, or something when they were here for an evening. He'd even brought up her meeting his mom.

Chris was quickly falling in love with the guy she'd met on a fluke one night. A night that nothing good should have come out of.

"You sure you don't want me to take you home," he whispered, grazing the top of her head with a kiss.


"You change your mind, you let me know. I really don't want to be the reason your dad's mad at you."

"You will be whether I go home or not. I'm an adult. He has to figure out he can't dictate my life to me. I mean college I get because he's paying for it. Who I date? No."

"I'm glad because I'm not sure I could give you up."

"No?" she asked, glancing up at him.

"Not unless I knew it was really what you wanted."

"And if I go to college?"

He shrugged. "You'll be home on breaks. Summer. You're talking somewhat local to where I could go see you. Or pay for a train ticket for you to come see me for a weekend."


He kissed her then. It wasn't really an answer, but in a way it was. Her arms went around his neck as she kissed him back. She made a soft sound into the kiss as he slid a hand under her shirt and up to cup a breast. He'd touched her before, but always over her clothes and never here at his house where the temptation of being able to do more was so easy to give into.

He broke the kiss, mouth grazing her jaw before stopping at her neck. She gasped as a fingertip grazed over a hardening peak, arching into his touch as his mouth was busy kissing and sucking on the skin near her throat.

"Joe," she murmured as he moved his mouth a little bit to a different spot on her neck. She slid a leg between his, rubbing against him. His hand pushed her shirt up, exposing her bra. He kissed her there before pulling away.

"Don't go to Brenda's tonight," he said, carefully fixing her shirt. He grazed her neck with a fingertip, smirking a little and she knew there was at least one hickey there. Possibly two. Funny, she always thought they looked sleazy on people, but for the first time she understood the appeal of them in a way. What Joe did felt good.

"She may not even call me back."

"That's what I was thinking," he whispered, sliding his hands low along her back.

"Joe," she said, pushing lightly on his chest. "I don't think I'm ready to have sex."

"Who said anything about sex? Not that I'd object if you were willing, but I know it's too soon for you."

"You could just sleep with me?"

"I will do my best."

"If Brenda calls I have to go to her house."

"I know," he said. "We'll make sure the phone by my bed is on."

"You turn it off?"

"When I'm not expecting you to call, yeah."

"You leave it on for me?"


"Thank you."

"Not sure why you're thanking me, but you're welcome."

"That's so sweet."

He shrugged. "I like talking to you. I especially like talking to you knowing we're both in bed."

He knew she didn't have a phone in her bedroom. The closest they got to both being in bed was her in her pajamas on the couch in the basement, ready for bed and everything. She'd never really cared about not having a phone in her bedroom before now, her own line with plenty of extensions in the house where she could talk privately was fine until recently. She was only going to be home for a few more months, though, so she knew talking her parents into a jack in her room would be out of the question.

"I don't know what my dad's going to do."

"He'll calm down. Your mom will calm him down if he doesn't on his own. It was a shock."

"What are the odds? I didn't even know he was going to a game today."

"As long as you're all right with us together, I'm with you whatever you need."

"I know that."

"So. Movies and pizza?"


"You can come with me, but one of us should be here in case Brenda calls."

"I know. Get whatever."

"It's late anyway, most of the good movies will be gone but I'll get something."


"Be back in a few."

"I'll be here."

"I like the sound of that," he said on his way out the door.

While he was gone she walked to his bedroom. She knew where it was. He'd shown her around her first time here. Weird to think she might be sleeping here tonight. She believed him that he wouldn't pressure her to have sex. He hadn't yet and they'd spent enough time here alone that if that had been his intention he would have tried by now.

She ran a fingertip over the spot on her neck where she suspected the hickey was and smiled a little. If she was able to go home tomorrow her father would probably have a fit about that, too, but she thought it was probably low enough she could hide it if she had to.

She sat on the bed, picking up the phone to dial Brenda's phone number again. Still only the machine, so she hung up without leaving another message. It drove Brenda's step-mom nuts when there were hang-ups on the machine, but Chris wasn't going to leave more than one message.

His room was pretty neat. He had a small walk-in closet with some things on the floor, but other than that there was nothing lying around or anything. She supposed he'd expected to bring Chris back here after the game, but her coming up to his room probably wasn't part of the expectation. So she took that to mean he was a neat person normally. His living room where they spent their time while here usually was lived in, but not messy or anything.

Where her room was so obviously used by a girl his was just the opposite. Not a pink, yellow, or purple to be found. No white furniture either. She wondered what he'd think of her bedroom, not that he'd ever see it. Her dad would freak out knowing she'd been in his bedroom, Joe being in hers was out of the question.

On the mirror above his dresser was the ticket stub from the movie they'd seen on their first date. She smiled at that, because she'd saved her stub, too. Also there was the scrap of paper she'd written her phone number on the night they'd met.

"Find anything?"

"No," she said softly. She'd heard him coming up the stairs so he hadn't surprised her.

"What are you doing in here?"

"Just looking."

"Making sure I don't have any handcuffs on the bedposts or anything?"

"Yeah," she said.

"I have those stashed away for another night."

"You do, huh?"

"Yeah, figured tonight would be too soon for the kinky stuff."

She laughed. "Chaylene would probably go for the kinky stuff."

"Yeah, well, I don't want Chaylene in my bedroom."

"You sure about that?"

"Positive," he said, taking her into his arms. "I told you that night she doesn't even compare to you."

"I wish I could believe you."

"Why don't you?"

She shrugged, resting her head against his chest. "I don't know. Because I'm not real experienced."

"Hey, Baby, when have I ever indicated I had a problem with your experience?"

"Yeah, but downstairs earlier. Other girls you wouldn't have stopped with."

"Maybe. Maybe not. It would depend on the woman. I'm here now with you. If sleeping in here with me will make you feel uncomfortable I can put you up in the other bedroom."

"No, that's not it."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. I kind of look forward to it."

"What's that?"

"Sleeping with you."


"I've thought about it. What you look like after we hang up."

"Any thoughts I should know about?"

"Other than I've wondered what you wear to sleep in."

He chuckled. "I've wondered the same thing so I guess we're even there. Tonight I guess we'll settle for clothes. Both of us."

"Yeah," she said, scrunching her nose a bit.

"I've got a shirt and shorts you can borrow or something. And we'll find something to cover those up with tomorrow," he said, running a fingertip along her neck. "I have a turtleneck you could probably use for that."


"So, pizza and a movie?"

"Yeah, sounds good."

"We could watch up here. The TV isn't as big, I usually just use it to watch games before falling asleep, but it has a VCR."

"Downstairs is probably safer."

"Probably. Do you want to be safe?"

Did she?

"You don't mind eating on your bed?"

"With you?" He chuckled softly. "Not the first thing that comes to mind that I'd like to do with you on my bed, but no not at all. Why would I?"

"Sure then."

"All right," he said. "I'll be right back then. Make yourself comfortable."

She woke up the next morning, forgetting for a minute where she was. The spot next to her on the bed being occupied made her remember pretty quickly. His arm was draped over her abdomen with his body pressed firmly up against her back.

They'd fallen asleep during Saturday Night Live. She vaguely remembered Joe shutting the TV off and an awkward few minutes of them trying to figure out how to sleep with one another. Brenda never called. Whether that meant she got Chris' message but didn't know where to call her Chris didn't know. She'd try again today after church.

They'd woken up a few times during the night and fooled around some. There was definitely something to be said for spending the night with someone.

"There should be laws against looking so good when you wake up," he whispered against her ear.

"What?" she said with a laugh. She looked atrocious. She was certain of it. Her hair had to be sticking out every which way. "You're obviously still asleep."

"Nah, been watching you for the last half hour or so."



"Did I snore?"


"Good to know."

"You want this," he said, holding up the shirt he'd given her to wear to bed last night. It hadn't stayed on long. The hickeys on her neck were now joined by some on her breasts. He had one or two of his own, too. He hadn't pushed to go further, seeming to know that any clothes off was as far as she'd gone to this point.

"In a minute," she said.


She smiled at him. "That surprises you?"

He shrugged. "Figured with the sun up and it being Sunday morning and everything, yeah, you'd want to cover up."

"Do you want me to?"

"Cover up?"


"No! You could stay just like this for the rest of the day. Though I guess if we're talking wishes here," he said, sliding a fingertip to the waistband of the shorts he'd lent her. "These'd come off, too."

"And you'd do what then?"

"Touch you. Taste you. Make love to you."

She pressed herself against him, which made him groan. She felt that he was definitely up for the making love to her part. She turned to face him then, reaching for him through the front of his pants. She touched him like that, watching his face as she stroked and squeezed his length just a bit.

She lowered her mouth to his before finding his neck and going further to his chest. She kissed and licked him, giving a gentle bite at his hiss when she slid her hand inside his pants. She had no clue what she was doing, taking her cue from the sounds he made when she touched him this or that way. He seemed to particularly like when her fingernails skimmed along his length.

Lower she went with her mouth, tugging on the waistband of his pants. They weren't really sweats but weren't like the pajamas her dad wore either. She kissed his hip, glancing up at him for a second.

"What?" she asked, wondering what the look on his face was for.

"Remind me to see you first thing in the morning more often."

She ducked her head against his thigh a little, but didn't stop what she was doing. He sprang free of his pants once she got them low enough and she focused her attention on that part of him.

She teased him a little, kissing his thighs before finally taking him into her mouth. He cried out when she circled the tip with her tongue before taking him deeper. She took him a little too deep and had to stop, coughing softly as she took a breath.

He chuckled softly as she kissed his stomach and chest.

"Too much for you?" he asked.

She bit her lower lip before kissing his neck and jaw.

"I guess."

"You were doing fine until that."

"Is there a not fine way?"

"Uh, yeah. Teeth are bad. And well you know while it won't break it should still be treated with some gentleness."

"Hmm," she said, giving a shriek as he wrapped his arms around her and moved them so he was on top of her.

"I knew a guy who ended up breaking up with a girl because he thought she was going to break it off one day."

She laughed. "Really?"

"Well, probably not, but no matter how he tried to prompt her to be less aggressive she was just too rough."

"Did he ever tell her?"

"I doubt it. We were pretty young and he wasn't too worried about finding someone who would do it the way he liked."

"I see. I hope you'll tell me if I do something you don't like."

"Baby, I don't think that will be a problem based on what you were just doing, but I will."

"Okay. Because I've never done anything before."

"Nothing?" he asked as he worked at sliding her shorts off.

"Not until you."

"So you mean nothing nothing."

"Yeah," she said, giving a nervous laugh.

"What's with the laugh?"

"I don't know. I probably seem so na´ve to you."

"Why? Because you haven't had sex in the back of your mom's station wagon before high school graduation?"

"Something like that."

"Nothing wrong with that. Different world than mine, for sure, but I guess there were probably some girls I grew up with who hadn't either."

He skimmed her legs with his hands. They were rough in spots, she noticed. He used his hands for his work. He had a workshop in his garage where he worked on things. So it wasn't just stealing cars that he used his hands for.

"I promise to tell you, though," he said before taking a nipple into his mouth. He apparently wasn't expecting her to reply. For a very long time after that either. She had no idea that fingers could make her body feel so many different things. That there were so many things to do with a mouth. She would have been totally embarrassed finishing as she did except he seemed to like the way she reacted to what he was doing.

Then he was there. On top of her, pressed firmly between her legs. He took her mouth with his as she spread her legs, wrapping her legs around his calves.

"You're sure," he asked as he slid a hand between their bodies.

"Yes," she said. She had no idea why she was sure this morning and hadn't been last night. Probably because he'd had an easy in to push her into doing things last night and he hadn't. He'd woken her up, but he never once went further than earlier in the night. Sleepy as she was, she probably would have let him do a lot more and he had to know that.

He guided his length into her. She forced her eyes open, watching him as he seemed to be doing with her. Probably waiting for her to freak out or to change her mind. She bit his shoulder as he pushed through her barrier and further into her.

All of the way into her. She gasped from the feel of him.

"You okay?" he asked. Obviously, he'd mistaken her gasp for one of pain or discomfort when it was just the opposite.

"Yeah," she said, sounding breathless.

Slowly, she got bolder, hands skimming along his arms, sides and back, moving her body against his thrusts. Using her legs to keep him flush against her. Lower to his hips, her fingertips grazing his ass as he thrust into her.

He was busy kissing and sucking at her shoulder, whispering things into her ear that she knew would probably make her blush later when she thought about them. For now, though, she liked hearing him say them. How good she felt around him was the general idea just then.

He pulled out of her, a whispered "sorry" against her ear as she felt her stomach get wet. It took her a minute to realize that he'd done that so he wouldn't finish in her. She hadn't even thought of that once the entire morning.

She traced nonsensical patterns along his arms and back as he remained on top of her. She relaxed her legs, shifting them a little beneath his weight.

"Remind me to invest in some rubbers later today."

Her hands stilled and she felt her body get warm from a blush.

"Okay," she said.

"I should have had some already I guess, but I didn't want you to think I expected or planned anything by you coming back here."

"It's okay if you did."

"Nah. I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable coming here. I like spending time with you alone, you know and this is the only place we get that."

"I know," she said.

"So, yeah, I'll go buy some later."


He pulled away a little, looking at her. "That doesn't mean we have to use them every time you come here."


"Chris. I mean it. Don't get me wrong. I would never turn you down if you were in the mood, but just because we have today doesn't mean we have to from now on."

"I know that."

"Okay. It kind of happened out of the blue so I would understand if you didn't want to again right away."

"You're so sweet," she said, touching his face with her hand.

"Says the woman whose virginity I just took."

She laughed. "You didn't take anything I didn't want you to have."

"I'm glad of that."

"Thank you."

"You're thanking me? For what?"

"For thinking about not finishing in me."

"Oh that. Yeah. I figured your dad might not warm up to me ever if nine months from yesterday you've got a baby."

"That's the only reason?"

"The biggest one, yeah. I told you, I don't want to be the reason for you having problems with your parents. Dating me is one thing. Having my baby is another."

"Yeah. He probably would disown me for real."

"We'll figure it out."

"You mean that?"

"Sure. I hope he'd at least come around to my making you happy."

"You do."

"Back at you."

She smiled then as he moved beside her on the bed.

"So, the gentleman in me knows I should get up and get a cloth to clean up the mess I made."

"You're not feeling gentlemanly?"

"Well, I was thinking you might want to join me in the shower instead."


He nuzzled her shoulder. "Yes, together. That was the idea."

"Sure," she said.

"I make no promises that I won't make another mess."

"Why's that?"

"It's not every day I get my girlfriend naked in the shower with me so parts of me may enjoy it a little too much."

"That's a chance I'm willing to take."

"Then I'll make you some breakfast and you can try calling your mom. By then, she should be home from church."

"If she went. If she was worried about me she may have stayed home."

"Now you're making me feel bad."

"I'm not trying to, Joe. I was just saying."

"Do you want to try calling her now?"

"No, not yet," she said honestly. "At least not until after the shower."

He got up from the bed and walked through the doorway that led to his bathroom. She heard the water come on and he came back to the bedroom.

"You look gorgeous like that," he said.

"Like what? I'm just laying here."

"You're lying there naked in my bed followed by some good wakeup sex."

"At least you're getting better at leaving these lower than my neck," she said, glancing at the newest hickey on her shoulder.

"Yeah, they take pretty easy on you."

"I wouldn't know."

"Not even a hickey before now?"



She let out a squeal as he picked her up. She wasn't sure what his plan was, but she wrapped her legs around him which brought her up against the fact that he was more than ready again.

"Joe," she whispered as he shifted her enough so he could slide into her.

The water wasn't real hot by the time they made it into the shower but neither seemed to notice. Or maybe it was the fact that the warmth of their bodies made up for any cold they might have felt.

"Definitely going to have to buy out the whole store," he said as they sat in the tub intertwined. He had one of those old antique tubs so there was plenty of room for the both of them. The shower head was off so she should have been cold, but she didn't notice. Or just didn't care.

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