"Everything all right, John?" John Pruitt asked him.
"Fine. Why?" he asked.
"You're not your usual self."
"Compared to what?"
"Well, you're not the chattiest person I've ever met, but you'll have coffee with Dawson and me in the morning and talk about the Bulls or the Blackhawks game like we do."
"Everything all right with your little girl?"
"All right," Pruitt said. "Time for me to get on the road anyway. Dawson's hoping I'll get him some business tonight."
"He's planning on being here late?"
"Yeah, I think so. You know him, he has nothing else to do."
John grunted at that. Dawson had mysteriously been not around two weekends ago. He'd left the garage early, letting Pruitt and John lock up. He never did that. Pruitt had no idea where Dawson was off to and he hadn't offered the information. Nothing about what he'd done or where he'd gone for the night.
Or the weekend.
Somewhere in the back of John's mind was that he'd gone to visit Claire. He had no information to base that on, but fuck if it wasn't something Dawson would do. Because John couldn't. Well, he could, but just what he wanted to do, go visit her with Holly along with him.
He didn't think Dawson would do that. He did know that Dawson liked her more than a little. That day she'd come here to pick up her purse proved to John that Dawson wasn't just fucking with Claire to get a rise out of John. He was at the least genuinely attracted to her. John could understand that.
He just didn't think Claire would really want to see him again with Holly along the entire time. So, he settled for the occasional phone call. They never talked long. In fact, he wasn't altogether sure she enjoyed talking to him that much. He thought she did, but she was busy doing things.
"You staying late tonight, John?" Dawson asked from his office.
"I can," John offered. He didn't mind the extra hours at all. It wasn't as if he had anything to go home for. His friend Jeremy had asked him to do something, but John wasn't going to turn down extra money if it was offered to him.
"Sure," John said, pulling out his wallet.
"Nah, I got it. I have to eat anyway, getting a large versus a medium isn't that big of a price difference. I wasn't sure I was going to stay tonight or not so didn't bring anything extra with me for dinner."
"All right," John said, getting back to work. They were closed as far as people bringing their cars in, but there was someone who couldn't pick up their car until after six o'clock Dawson was staying open for. John had to admit, his boss wasn't so bad most of the time. Of course, since he was waiting for the customer to pick up her vehicle Dawson was taking the opportunity to get more work done.
"Can I, uh, ask you something?" John asked in the small room that was essentially John's lunch room since no one else ever used it. There were lockers and stuff in there, but all were empty except for the one John used. John hadn't figured out why Dawson didn't hire more people. He was a good mechanic and as far as John could tell basically a fair one. He'd get tons more business if he had the staff to support it.
"Sure, shoot," Dawson said, setting a six pack of beer on the table next to the pizza box. John had no idea who delivered the pizza or how Dawson convinced them to pick up a six pack on the way, but he took one of the cans and popped it open.
"Have you talked to Claire lately?"
"Lately?" Dawson shrugged, regarding John as he opened a can, too. "I'd love to fuck with you and say yes, but no I haven't in a couple of weeks I guess."
"But since she went back to school?"
"Uh, yeah, a few times. She didn't tell you that?"
"No, she doesn't say much when we talk."
"I see," Dawson said.
"So, what does it mean when a woman doesn't call you back? I mean I know what it means when a guy doesn't call a woman back."
Dawson laughed and John shook his head.
"Forget I asked, all right."
"No, John, you asked. I don't know what to tell you. You haven't talked to her since she left for school?"
"Well, I've talked to her, but only because I've called her."
"You've called her?"
"Yes. She hasn't called me."
"She hasn't called me either."
"You've called her?"
"Yes," he said. "I told her I wasn't going to just go away."
"Thanks," John said.
"Hey, I don't have a kid or anything else. Someone your age that may be a lot to digest. Until I know for sure she has her mind set on you, or anyone else for that matter, I'm not going to let her completely forget about me."
"What did you even talk about?"
Dawson shrugged. "Nothing. She told me about her classes. I told her about work."
"You haven't, like, gone to see her?"
"No," Dawson said.
"Would you actually do that?"
"If she asked me to? Sure I would. If she doesn't ask me to, no. I may be a dick but I'm not an asshole."
"The difference being just calling the girl I like versus going to see her?"
"Pretty much. And you never told me until now you liked her."
"I needed to say it for you to know?"
"No, but I wasn't sure you were willing to admit it to yourself. If you weren't, why shouldn't I?"
"I don't want to. I saw her in October, picking out a pumpkin with Holly and figured I'd never see her again. And then she shows up here."
"Have you called her old man yet?"
"That's real nice what she did for you. I know her dad's name. He has an excellent reputation and he's not cheap either."
"I know," John said. "He's pawning the paperwork off on someone in his firm who does family law, but he said he'll go to any court appearances with me. He seemed to think it should be done pretty soon here."
"Again, very nice of her."
"Yeah, well, I thought so, too. I don't understand it."
"Maybe she doesn't want to compete with a kid."
"Then why do anything with me? She knew I had Holly in October and that I wanted to try to get custody of her at least one day."
"Maybe she didn't think it would be a problem at first. Maybe she's just busy. Maybe she doesn't know your schedule so doesn't call. Maybe she doesn't call guys, believe it or not there are still women out there like that."
"Maybe. I have an answering machine, it's not like I wouldn't call her back if she left a message."
"You asked me a question, so I'm going to ask you some questions. Unless you don't really want advice. Were you just wondering if I'd gone to see her?"
"A little," he said. "You disappeared a couple Fridays ago."
"Believe it or not, I do things once in a while. My sister was in town. I picked her up from the airport for my mom. She doesn't like driving at night."
"I didn't know you had a sister."
"I have a niece and nephew, too."
"Huh," he said. That put a whole different slant on Dawson. John had never really seen him as a person before. He was his boss and he was a hell of a mechanic, but he'd just never seen him as anything else but those things.
"So, she spent the night?"
"Uh," he said, mulling over the potential for it backfiring if he answered the question. If he told Claire that he'd told her she could get pissed at him for that. Then it was a little different her not calling him with and without sex involved. "Yes," he said finally.
"Debating on answering that?"
"Pretty much. I swear to God you tell her I'm talking about her or something I'm going to quit."
"It'd be a solid plan, a bit devious, but I don't want to get her by resorting to deviousness and passing on gossip. I don't get the impression you have a lot of friends to talk to or you'd be talking to one of them not me about this."
"Not really, and the few I have know her so I can't really talk about her to them. She has a … reputation."
"Right. I can see that about her, especially given who her dad is. So, was it good?"
"Fuck, man, I'm not telling a guy who's interested in her the answer to that question."
"Well, maybe she's not calling you because it wasn't?"
John had wondered about that. His experience before Betty wasn't vast and two years of nothing left him wondering if maybe she hadn't been impressed. Having orgasms didn't necessarily mean she liked it. He liked to think he knew what he was doing, but what he knew at fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen may not have been applicable to being eighteen and an eighteen year old woman.
"I really don't think that's the case."
"What was your deal anyway?"
"My deal with what?"
"The two of you. I mean, anyone who has eyes can see you guys are attracted to each other."
"She's an attractive woman. What's not to like?"
"Yeah, but the feeling's mutual."
"We went to school together."
"That can't be all. You don't end up having sex with someone randomly. I mean, I would end up having sex with someone randomly. You, however, kind of have your plate full, and I don't hear you talking about picking girls up over the weekend."
"Because I have my daughter every weekend."
"Thank you for making my point for me."
John summarized the day of detention as best as he could, which seemed to fill in a lot of blanks for his boss.
"Maybe she was just curious about you?"
"So the steps leading up to that were just a ploy? She finds out where I work, just on your last name by the way that I didn't even realize I'd mentioned, comes here to give me her dad's information. For what? To lead up to sex with me and never calls me again?"
"Guys always get a bad rep as far as that loving and leaving thing goes, but women do it, too."
"She thought I wanted her to leave afterward."
"What? Do you think I'm a fucking moron? Would you want her to leave?"
"So you hung out? She spent the night and then she left the next morning?"
"Yeah. She ate pancakes with us, which Holly probably wouldn't complain about her being there because she got pancakes two mornings in a row. We went out the Thursday before she left and I haven't seen her since."
"I really don't know what to tell you. If it was me, I'd drive there and see her, but I don't have a daughter. What are you thinking of doing?"
"I don't know! I don't know what it means."
"Maybe she doesn't want you to think it means anything."
"Women are so fucking mental when it comes to this shit."
"Women are? You're the one sitting here talking to me."
"If I'm mental it's her fault! Who the fuck does that shit?"
"Maybe she has her reasons. I don't know. Do you know what dorm she lives in?"
"Yes," John said. She had given him that information.
"So you could potentially find her if you needed to. Say you got a day or two off work."
"You're going to give me time off from work to drive to Iowa?"
"Are you going to tell her how you actually feel about her?"
"I don't know how I feel about her. We've only had one real date."
"You know you like her. I'd say if you're having sex with her that's a pretty definite feeling."
"Well, it's about two hundred miles from here to there."
"You've routed it?"
"Man, you really have no moral compass, do you?"
"Not really. Yet, if you wanted to drive that two hundred miles and come back Wednesday in time to have your daughter I think I'd be all right with that."
"Maybe I'm just a true romantic at heart."
"Or maybe it's just fucking obvious that you two like each other. I don't know what her deal is. She hasn't mentioned you the few times we've talked at all. So, I don't know."
"And you'd give me two days off? Holly had an ear infection and you told me if it happened again I'd need a doctor's note."
"That's not what I said. I said if you called in the day before or after a holiday again to give yourself a longer weekend I would. And, well, I don't know what else to tell you. You could write her a letter, but that wouldn't really solve anything. You can't go see her on the weekend. Well, you could, but I'm sure your daughter's mom would freak out if you didn't take her for a weekend."
"Yes, she would."
"So that leaves the week. You're just lucky to have a flexible boss."
"Is that what you are?"
"I am. However, I make no assurances that this isn't a one-time offer. You don't take me up on it and she calls me next week wanting me to come visit her I'm not sure I'd say no or tell you about that."
"Why do you like her anyway? I mean, you don't even know her."
"She's attractive. Obviously, that's what caught my eye to begin with. Women like her don't walk through the doors of this garage often. I never figured I'd see her again after the first time she came here looking for you. She came back. You weren't here. I'm single. Why not?"
John sighed. He'd like to say he didn't understand, but he had to admit he might have been inclined to do the same thing if he was in Dawson's shoes.
"I guess I'd better not finish this then if I'm driving two hundred miles tonight."
Dawson chuckled. "See you Thursday then. I'm not sure if I should wish you good luck or not."
John wasn't one hundred percent certain he was actually going to do it until he was at a gas station filling up his gas tank and buying himself a Coke and some chips to munch on for the road. He added a candy bar to his purchases for the sugar rush in case he really started getting sleepy. He had been up since six o'clock in the morning not having planned on making this drive. He'd have to have somewhere in mind to stay for the night because he wasn't sure what her reaction would be to him showing up at her dorm room close to midnight.
The drive was boring as fuck but uneventful. He was lucky it was a decent night weather-wise or it could have been a miserable drive. As it was before eleven when he got into town he made his way to the campus. It wasn't difficult to find. Finding a parking space near the dorms was the biggest challenge.
What the fuck was he even doing here?
He kind of had to know what was going on, though. If she was reacting to something she thought he was expecting or wanting or what. If it was just that she didn't think she should call him, fine. At least he'd know. She was going to Mexico next week for spring break so it wasn't as if he'd be able to talk to her the next time she was home. She wouldn't be home again until May. If she slammed the door in his face, well at least he'd know. And he supposed he'd laugh at himself for driving his ass all the way here for that. It'd probably serve him right for not being able to put into words what he wanted or even felt for her before she'd come back here.
He was surprised there were as many people walking around at this time of night, but then he supposed that's what people who went to college did. Stay up and out late. He stopped someone to find out which way her dorm was. They didn't question why a random person was asking where a dorm was so he supposed he didn't appear suspicious.
There was no one in the hall when he got to her floor. He debated the wisdom of this, just showing up here. Dawson could've known something and set him up to piss her off. John didn't think so, though. Not really. While he got the impression his boss was genuinely attracted to her he didn't think he was really doing more than fucking with John because he could and seemed to enjoy doing it.
He knocked, only because he wasn't going to chicken out after driving over two hundred miles to get here. He'd been up since six o'clock in the morning and would have been about ready for bed right now if he hadn't come here. In fact, he would have been lying in bed watching some TV before drifting off if he was home right now. So, he better follow through or Dawson would laugh at him. He didn't want to give Dawson anything to laugh about when it came to Claire.
He had to admit, the look on her face when she opened her door and saw him standing there was pretty much worth the drive. To say he'd succeeded at surprising her was a severe understatement.
"John! What are you doing here?"
"Coming to see you."
"Well, obviously. It's eleven o'clock at night. You have to work in the morning."
"I'm off for a couple of days."
"Oh. Is everything okay?"
"Well, that you're missing work."
"I, uh, no, everything's fine. I told Dawson I needed a couple of days. Here I am." He wasn't sure how often she and Dawson actually talked. For that matter, John wasn't honestly sure they talked at all. It could've been Dawson pulling his leg, seeing what he'd do. He just hoped somehow his version of how he got here didn't come up in a conversation between those two and she realized that he'd been talking about her. Somehow he wasn't too sure she'd like that.
"Why didn't you call?"
"Well, I'm not sure I can explain my train of thought exactly."
"Do you want to come in?"
"Is your roommate going to get mad?"
"No. She dropped out last week."
That wasn't the response he was expecting at all. He was going to invite her to come with him, to help him find some place to stay for the next couple of nights. He'd been kind of hoping he could talk her into staying with him, too. He stepped into the room then, glancing around. Sure enough there was absolutely nothing in the room that wasn't blatantly obvious it belonged to Claire. She'd even taken over the second closet John noticed and scoffed a bit at that.
"Yeah. I don't know. I can't say I'm going to miss her or that I'm disappointed. She withdrew from all of her classes and went back home."
"You can do that?"
"Well, you can, but you don't get your money back this late. If you got loans you still have to pay them back."
"Wow. I guess I never realized you could just quit."
"I don't understand it."
"Where was she from?"
"The winter maybe?"
"Maybe. I really don't know. We weren't real friendly."
"You lived together."
"Sure. We were assigned to live with each other. Come on. You know me. Do you really think I'd do well sharing space with someone else?"
"I guess not."
"That's one of the reasons I was never in my room. I always found somewhere else to go. I'd hang out at the library, the union, or other dorm rooms."
"I see," he said.
"Do you want a pop? I have some Coke or Sprite I think."
"I'm okay," he said. He noticed a small refrigerator under a counter. He'd finished the can of Coke he'd bought before leaving town about halfway into the drive so he'd stopped to use the bathroom at a gas station and gotten another can of Coke for the second hundred miles. He had more Coke in the past couple hours than he'd need for a while.
"You must be tired. That drive isn't fun not having worked all day."
"Yeah, it was pretty damned boring. Why'd you choose going to school in the middle of a bunch of corn fields?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. It's a good school. Far enough from home to be gone but close enough that I could go home for a weekend if I had to."
He was quiet as he took in her room a little better. She clearly wasn't in bed as the light at her desk was on and she had a book open. She must have been studying then. Both beds were made up, but it was clear she was using her roommate's bed as more space to put things on like her backpack and stuff.
None of the posters on her wall surprised him. Except one.
"You like Ryne Sandberg?" he asked. That surprised the hell out of him. Not that she knew who he was or anything, but that she had a poster of him on her wall. The rest were actors or musicians. He was the only athlete on her wall.
"Yeah," she said.
"Okay," he said with a shrug.
Now that he was here he had no idea what exactly to say to her. They'd had a nice time when they went out back in January before she came back here. At least he thought they had. They'd gotten dinner and went bowling. He wasn't the world's greatest bowler, but neither was she so they'd had a decent time bowling pretty awful. Bowling had been her idea not his because she said she didn't want to go to a movie. He wasn't sure why, but he'd let her choose what she wanted to do.
She was quiet, probably trying to figure out what he was doing here. He was trying to do the same now that he was actually here and standing in her room.
She was watching him as he looked at everything.
"Not what you pictured?"
He shook his head, closing the space between them. He wasn't exactly sure how she'd react to him kissing her but damn if he was going to wait any longer to find out. He slanted his mouth over hers and she hummed softly as their tongues met. He understood how she felt. He always felt things when they kissed. Kissing her was definitely deserving of humming, or something.
He dropped a hand to her ass, tugging a bit on the shirt she was wearing only to discover she only had panties on underneath. He assumed she was wearing shorts.
"Why are you answering your door half-naked?"
"I assumed it was someone from my floor."
"Hmm," he said, finding her jaw.
"You don't believe me?"
"Oh, I believe you, it just seems strange."
"And you've never answered your door just wearing shorts?"
"Well, put like that…" he said, sliding his hand from her ass to the front of her panties.
"John," she whispered.
"Yeah," he murmured.
"Why are you here?"
"To see you?"
"Yeah, but," she said, stopping when he slid his finger over her nub. He chuckled softly, finding her neck and kissing her there. She moved her hands to his hair, sliding her fingers through it. He groaned softly against her neck as she pressed against his hand, sliding it a bit lower so he could enter her with a finger.
"Maybe I just missed doing that," he whispered against the spot on her neck he'd been kissing after she'd finished.
"It's not like you did it a ton."
"I think you underestimate how well I liked doing it and wanted to again."
"And, okay, maybe I was thinking about you, wondering what you were doing out here in the land of corn."
"It's not that bad."
"Maybe not. You could prove it to me tomorrow by showing me around."
"Sure," she said.
"Well, I'd sort of planned on getting a room somewhere…"
"You can stay here."
"You won't get in trouble?"
She shrugged. "Not really. It's just tonight and tomorrow night, right?"
"Yeah. I'll go back Wednesday."
"Then you can stay here."
"You're not going to make me sleep in the roommate's bed, are you?"
She laughed softly, reaching up to kiss him.
"I think I can do better than that."
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Yes, but first you have to take your coat off. You didn't even do that," she said, working the zipper on his coat.
"Hey, I took my gloves off at least."
"I guess that's something."
"I think so."
"Are you going to tell me why you're really here?"
"I have no real reason beyond I wanted to see you. Really. And weekends are impossible."
"I know," she said.
"So, I was talking to Dawson and he suggested I come see you. So, here I am."
"He suggested that?"
"He did," he said.
"Huh," she said.
"That surprises you?"
"A little. Kind of. Not really."
"He likes you."
"You've said that before."
"You don't like him, though?"
"He's nice," she said, sliding his coat off.
"Am I nice?"
"Yes, like when you just did what you did. That was very nice."
"Yes," she said, kissing his neck.
"Enough I can again?"
"You can, but first I think I should return the favor," she said, sliding her hand lower to the front of his jeans.
"I think I like that thought," he whispered.
"Good," she said.
He watched as she worked the zipper on his jeans, unbuttoning the button, too. She reached for him and he gave a low moan in response. She hadn't done this their one night together. She hadn't seemed to really want to and he hadn't wanted to force the issue. Being inside of her was more than good enough if she wasn't ready to engage in some foreplay while disappointed he couldn't fault her for it.
"Am I doing…"
"Is he getting hard?"
"Then you're doing just fine," he said with a soft laugh at the ridiculousness of the question.
"You're fine. Trust me." It'd been so long since someone had done anything to him that it felt fucking amazing, but he wasn't going to say that. She'd think it was just because it'd been years not that it was her doing it. He was pretty sure it wouldn't have been this exciting if it was just anyone touching his dick right now.
He reached into his back pocket, grabbing his wallet. He slid the rubber packet out of it, very grateful he'd put one in there before he'd left. He wasn't going to since he hadn't been sure he'd even see her tonight never mind alone. He had more in his bag, but he was very glad he had this one on him right this second.
"You want to help put it on?" he asked as he tossed the wallet behind her on the counter she was leaning against.
"I don't know…"
"I know you don't know how. You can learn," he offered, tearing the packet open. He placed his hands over the hand touching him, showing her how to put it on and leave the bit of space at the tip. He lifted her up then, setting her on the counter.
"Fuck," he muttered as he slid inside of her. He tried to be considerate. It'd been a couple of months and she wasn't used to this, but damn if she didn't feel too incredible for him to think about doing anything but moving in her like he was so obviously supposed to.
He lifted her nightshirt up and off, setting it on the counter beside her so he could touch her. Months he'd itched to touch her again, feel the weight of her breast in his hand, to feel her peak harden as he stroked it, and to hear her groan as he ran his tongue over it right after doing it. She didn't disappoint him tonight, doing just that.
He slid a hand lower, over her taut stomach to her curls and the spot there he wanted to get more than just casually familiar with touching in the right way for her. He was learning, but a couple of times was nowhere close to making him an expert on what made her really get off. And he wanted to make her really get off. He didn't ever want her to think Dawson or anyone else could do it better for her.
"John," she cried out.
"Sorry," he muttered. Evidently that wasn't a good thing to think about right then. He'd gotten a little too enthusiastic with his thrusts. Thinking about her with Dawson did that to him, a face to put with a name of someone who was interested in her. There were others here on campus he was sure. None of whom had kids or responsibilities preventing them from seeing her whenever she wanted them to.
That thought led him to stop focusing the attention of his mouth on her breast and move to her neck. She tilted her head a bit allowing him better access so he had to believe she knew what he was doing and was granting him permission.
She slid her hand inside of his jeans and boxers, cupping his ass to bring herself closer to the edge of the counter and deeper into his thrusts. That was his undoing, hers too shortly after he finished.
"Why don't you ever call me," he murmured against her neck.
"Never once since you've been at school have you called me."
"I don't know," she whispered. "Is that why you're here?"
"Well, yeah. I mean, kind of. I mean I call you. We talk, have decent conversations. Okay, they're not hours long or anything, but I can't afford that. And I'm not a huge conversationalist. I think you know that. We went out a couple of times, didn't we? Okay. Once was with Holly, but it was still out. Right? We had a decent time?"
"I just was taught…"
"That's the only reason?"
"John. I wasn't sure if you'd want me to call you!"
"Because, I don't know. I just wasn't."
"Well, I do. And then Dawson disappeared a couple of weeks ago early."
"He wasn't here!"
"I know that. Now. He told me that. He had to pick his sister up at the airport."
"Oh, that's right."
"God, I hate that you even know he has a sister. I didn't know that until today!"
"He mentioned it!"
"That means you've talked to him."
"He calls. I talk to him. You call. I talk to you."
"I don't like him calling you."
"I know. It's irrational and insane sounding. I still don't like it."
"I can't make him stop."
"I know that, too. I can."
"I want to go out with you."
"No. I mean, I know we did. I want to, you know, go out with you. Come on. I'm not good at this, don't make me spell it out for you."
"Shut up," she said, pushing on his chest.
"You don't go out with people."
"You're right, I don't, doesn't mean I don't want to with you. You think I hauled my ass to Iowa because I like you as a friend?"
"Well, no, but…"
"You're already going out with someone?"
"No! You think I'd have sex with you if I was?"
"Well, I didn't really give you the chance to say no."
"No, but I put my hand on your…"
"Yes, you did and very well, too."
"Yes! You think I had a problem with that?"
"I don't know."
"I liked it a lot."
"I'm sure I don't do it any differently than anyone else."
"Princess. If you had any idea how long it'd been since someone had done that."
"Now I know you're lying."
"I am not."
"What? You think I found out Betty was pregnant and I just kept fooling around with people?"
"You haven't since then?"
"Because it scared the fuck out of me!"
"I don't have an exact date or anything. It took Betty a few weeks to tell me and everything, but it's been over two and a half years at least since Holly will be two next month."
"I didn't know."
"You want to come home for the weekend and have cake with us?"
"I don't have a lot of friends to give her a party with so it'd just be us."
"God yes, Claire. Do I look like I'm being sarcastic?"
"I guess I figured we finally had sex you'd get over whatever interest you had in me."
"That's why you haven't called me? You figured I'd stop calling you eventually?"
"Kind of," she said. "I don't know what you want from me. You act jealous, but you don't get that way."
"Evidently with you, I do. And you can call me. Anytime you want to. You can call me to say good night if that's all the time you have. You can call me to tell me about a test you aced because I know you don't bomb them."
She laughed softly.
"You could call me to tell me you want to do that again."
"You could! I wouldn't complain about that type of phone call before bed."
"All right, maybe not that. But the rest."
"I'll work on it."
"Just the calling part? Or does that go for the going together part, too?"
"I've never had a boyfriend."
"Funny. I've never had a girlfriend."
"One thing, though."
She pointed to her trash can.
"You don't need those."
"I," she shrugged. "I went to Health Services when I came back here in January."
"Yeah, I've been told that before."
"I'm not lying to you! You can watch me take them."
"We had sex one night and you did that? You were thinking I was going to stop calling you eventually, so why would you do that?"
"In case you didn't stop calling me eventually?"
"Not for someone else?"
"I swear to God, if you're into my boss…"
"I'm not! I went out on one date with him! That was it. He calls me. I think he's lonely. I don't know."
"Yeah, well, he can find someone else to talk to."
"You want me to tell him to stop calling me?"
"I want you to make it perfectly clear you have a boyfriend the next time you talk to him."
"Do you trust me that I'm taking it?"
"Yes," he said.
"Because you're not Betty. You don't want a baby before you're twenty, and I really don't think you have it in you to tell me you're taking it and not be."
"Thank you. If you want to see me take it…"
"I want to see you do a lot of things with your mouth, Princess, taking a pill is not foremost on my mind."
"John," she said, blushing.
He chuckled a bit, lowering his mouth to hers.
"I should go get my bag if I can really stay here."
"You'll be here when I get back?"
"You sure you wouldn't prefer a hotel room?"
"Your friends, they're going to know."
"Well, they won't know we're having sex. Besides you gave me a hickey while we were doing that!"
"You let me!"
"I've always wondered what it would feel like during sex."
"Did it feel good?"
"I don't know, yes."
"Hmm. We'll have to see if you think they feel good just by themselves."
"What do you mean?"
"Like just giving you one to give you one, not as a part of sex."
"Oh," she said. "You did already."
"Yes, but you weren't totally aware of what I was doing until afterward."
"Well, it felt good. I mean, both times."
He chuckled. "You do know they don't necessarily mean you're having sex, right?"
"I know that. I'm not a complete idiot."
"I know you're not an idiot. So is that a yes to cake with Holly and me?"
"Is that a yes for going with me? Please give me a better answer than sure."
"As long as it's not a knee jerk reaction to you thinking your boss has been driving here on weekends."
"When you come to town that weekend."
"Don't tell your parents."
"But I… Oh," she said, realization dawning on her.
He grabbed her shirt from the countertop beside her, sliding it over her head. "Don't want you catching cold while I go get my stuff."
"Do you want me to come with you?"
"Do you want to?"
"Sure," she said.
"All right," he said.
He glanced at the little trash can while she got dressed.
"You debating on whether you really believe me?" she asked. She must have seen him looking at the discarded packet and rubber.
"Uh, no, just thinking that I wasted a shit ton of money buying a box of them."
"Well, if it'll make you feel better…"
"I should say yes. I should call myself all kinds of stupid. I swore I would never, ever believe being told that again."
"I know. I can imagine. I mean, I can't, but I can. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to keep using them."
"We'll see," he said.
"Okay. I mean, I would totally understand."
"You wouldn't get mad? Think it means I don't trust you?"
"It might hurt a little, but I'm not the one with a child right now either so you can't let what I'd feel rule you."
"All right. Thanks for getting it."
"You don't have to thank me."
"Let's go get my stuff so we can go to bed."
"You want to go to bed?"
"I want to get in bed. Don't you have class tomorrow?"
"At nine," she said with a shrug. "I can be up for a while longer yet."
"I don't want you failing classes because of me."
"I won't, I promise."
"All right. One of us has to do better than being a mechanic with their life."
"The world needs mechanics, John."
"That it does."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com