***Chapter Eight***
Word Count: 4,037

"I've never eaten pizza half-naked before," she said.

"That is exceptionally good to hear," he said with a soft chuckle. Of course he already knew that so her saying so was beyond ridiculous.

"I know you would've preferred me fully naked."

"I would've. Maybe next time."

"When is the next time going to be?"

"I don't know. That's kind of up to you."

"Me? What do you mean?"

"Well, you're going to Mexico next week for Spring Break."


"I can't afford to take more days off from work."

"I know."

"That leaves weekends, but I have Holly. I could bring her here I guess, but even if I got a hotel room that wouldn't give us much privacy."

"I should ask you why you want privacy."

He slid a hand to her leg, pushing her shirt up as he moved up along her thigh. He had no idea why no one on her floor bothered them for the most part, but he wasn't complaining. Especially since he had to leave in like an hour if he wanted to get home and get any sleep tonight.

"You think I'm going to stop wanting to do that now that I have again?"

"You poor thing," she said.

"I know. It's awful."

"Are you sure you're going to be able to go two weeks?"

"No," he said, chuckling softly at her gasp as he slid a finger inside of her.

"That's not the right answer," she said.

"It's not?"

"No, considering we can't!"

"Oh, I'll wait. It'll just be a very long two weeks. You are coming home that next weekend, right?"

"I hadn't planned…"

He slid his mouth to a breast, licking her peak before focusing on a spot just above there.

"You're not playing fair," she said.

"You're not giving the right answer this time."

"I can't go home every weekend."

"I'm not sure I want you to go home any weekend," he whispered, nipping at her skin. He pushed the shirt she put on to eat the pizza over her head and off, tossing it to the floor before he positioned them so she was on top of him.

"John," she whispered. He knew she'd be prone to arguing with him about this, but God did he want to see her on top of him. Even if it was just for a little while. Hell, he'd take a minute just so he could have the visual of her riding him to take home with him.

"Two weeks, Princess, give a guy a break and let me watch you on top of me," he said.

She hadn't gotten brave enough to do this yet. She slid her hand along his length. She loved the feel of him, how hard he felt in her hand. She loved when his eyes fell closed as she circled the tip of him with her thumb. Every time she touched him like this that happened. At first she'd thought it'd just been because he'd gone so long, but his saying her name reassured her a bit. Especially since he never said her name normally.

She leaned down then, sliding her mouth along his chest up to his neck. She nipped at the skin there, sucking a bit as she continued to touch him. He didn't need the help getting any harder. He was already more than ready for her. She was, too, for that matter.

He cried out when she finally took him into her this way. She wasn't slow about it either, taking him into her in one quick push. He evidently like that a lot so she slid off of him completely and did it again.

He slid his hands to her hips, grazing them a bit before reaching around to cup her ass as she sat back a bit so he could watch her. His eyes opened then, evidently he hadn't thought she'd do that because he'd kept them closed until now.

"What are you embarrassed about?" he asked.

"You're staring at me," she said, knowing she was blushing terribly. It actually wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite of bad. She could touch him a lot easier this way and so could he. For a little while at least, she was in control, too. She didn't mind that at all, though she seemed to be about on the same page as he was and just wanting him inside of her. There and there.

"Well, yeah, you look very nice like this."

"Stop," she said.

"I will not besides I'm not the one in control anyway."

"Ha ha. That's not what I meant."

He chuckled softly.

He brought a hand to her breast, cupping it as he leaned up and brought his mouth to the other one. She cried out as he nipped her peak before licking and sucking on it. She slid her arms around his head not wanting him to stop doing that as she felt him move his hips under her a bit quicker than he had been to that point.

"Don't you dare stop," he said. "I'm just helping."

She whimpered softly, but kept riding him.

"That," he whispered. "Keep doing just that." She wasn't exactly sure what she was doing differently at that point than she had been up until then but she did her best to keep doing it. His hand cupping her ass gripped her tighter and his hips stilled for a second or two as he finished. He helped her finish once he had, which was fine with her.

She settled against him and he chuckled softly.

"Why are you laughing at me?"

"Not quite as much fun when you're the one doing all the work is it?"

"I don't know about that."

"Hmm. You liked it?"

"The work?"

"That, too," he said.

"Yes," she said.

"To both?"

"I liked it."

"That is very good to know because seeing you on top of me like this. I think that could help me get through a week or two from seeing you."


He shrugged, sliding a fingertip along her hip and thigh. "I like watching you. I like watching me go in you this way."

"You didn't…"

"Yeah, I know. I'll shoot myself if you call me in a month and tell me you're pregnant, but at least it would've been worth it I guess."

"I wouldn't do that…"

"I know you wouldn't and that's why I didn't."

"I wish you could come to Mexico with us."

"I'm not sure that'd be a good idea."

"Why not?" she asked.

"Because I'm not sure I'd let you out of our bed so it'd be an incredible waste of both our money."

"Hmm," she said.

"Do you have to tell your parents you come home that weekend?"

"No," she said.

"So, you want to come stay with me?"

"I could."

"How much trouble would you be in if they found out? Or saw you?"

"I don't know. What could they do? Ground me?"

"See, I told you being naughty can feel pretty good, Princess. You're getting the hang of things."

"I only want to feel good with you."

"And again, exceptionally good to know."

"What are you going to tell Erik tomorrow?"

"I'm not going to tell him anything. I mean, other than to find someone else's girlfriend to call."

"You're so mean."

"I am not! He knew I was into you and still called you."

"Did you tell him that?"

"Well, no!"

"You didn't tell me either."

"I'm not so good with the words, you know. I thought it was fairly obvious."

"Well, you have this reputation…"

"Yeah, well, I still think it was obvious."

"You could bring Holly here some weekend if you wanted."

"We'll work on that. I just," he shrugged. "Maybe I could swing it to have her all week and Betty can have her for the weekend."

"John, don't change your schedule because of me."

"Well, it'd be nice to see you."

"You'd still see me. She's a part of you. I get that. If you're going to be getting custody of her that's going to be pretty much every day. I get that."

"I know, I just, you're going to be home for the summer and the time we get alone is going to be pretty limited."

"I know," she whispered. "I'm not working so it's not like I can't go to your apartment when you come home and stuff."

"Right," he said.

"Have you talked to my dad lately?"

"Uh, last week. I'm supposed to call him this week, but I think I may wait until Monday."


"I don't know. Dads and their little girls. I don't have eighteen years' worth of experience, but I think I'd know if I was talking to a guy who just had sex with my daughter."

"You would not! Not over the phone."

"I'm pretty sure I would."

"Don't wait on my account, John."

"I'm not. I swear. I've already talked to Dawson about my schedule needing to change. I think he knew that was going to happen anyway. I'll lose out on some overtime, but maybe I can make it up by working Saturdays and having Betty take her for the day. How do you know Mrs. Kuzinski anyway?"

"What do you mean?"

"I guess what I mean to ask is how on earth do you know someone who does daycare out of their home in Shermer that doesn't know me?"

"Worried you were going to be the focus of someone's gossip?"

"Yes! I almost didn't call for that reason, but the price you quoted me…"

"I'm glad you called. Her daughter was closer to Christopher's age, but I was friends with her growing up, too. She went to St. James and Sacred Heart, though."

"Really?" he asked.

He shifted them so he was next to her on the bed. It was early for her to go to bed and he knew that. She'd walk with him to his car and come back up here to study for a while before going to bed.

"Yes. I promise they're not religious fanatics or anything, that's just where they wanted to send their kids to school."

"Oh, as long as they're not force feeding it to Holly I really don't care what they do with their time."

"Do you take her to church?"

"Uh no," he said. "I suppose that's something I should look at, but I haven't been as long as I can remember."

"Huh," she said.

"You go?"

"I haven't gone since being here. I mean on campus. I go at home, yes."

"Why didn't you go to St. James and Sacred Heart?"

"Mom and Dad didn't see the need to send me."

"I guess they were right about you."

"God, I'm going to miss you," she said.

"Aww, Princess, that'd be flattering if I didn't know it's just my dick you'll miss."

"Shut up."

"I'm going to miss you, too. You better behave yourself down in Mexico."

"I will."

"Send me a postcard?"

"I can, sure," she said.

"Preferably one with a picture of you in a bikini on the front."

"Uh no," she said.

"Hmm, do you have a bikini?"

"Yes," she said.

"Will I get to see you in it this summer?"



"That depends on how good you are."

"Do you need me to show you again how good I am, Princess?"

"You have to leave soon!"

"Not that soon."

"John," she said, but he knew as well as she did that she wasn't truly complaining. "You have to drive back home tonight and wake up real early in the morning."

"Two weeks, Princess."

"Oh all right," she said.

He chuckled. "That's what I like to hear. Enthusiasm."

"Give me something to be enthusiastic about."

"That I can do," he quipped before shifting them again so he was on top of her.


John was a little surprised his locker wasn't cleared out of his stuff when he got to work Thursday morning. He was sure to get there early. His stuff was still there, though, just as he'd left it Monday night.

John Pruitt was in Dawson's office with him, the two of them drinking coffee as they did most mornings before John headed out in the wrecker to drum up work for them.

"Everything all right, John?" Pruitt asked.

"Uh, yeah."

"Your little girl's okay?"

"Yeah, she's fine." He'd even called to talk to her yesterday since he wasn't picking her up for a change. Her grandma seemed okay with that, especially since John said he'd pick her up tonight on his way home. He'd have to drop her off again in the morning, but he knew Betty's parents still enjoyed their nights to themselves.

John regarded Dawson who hadn't said anything yet. He hadn't more than glanced at John in fact. He was rethinking his locker being cleared out. Maybe Dawson was going to make him do it himself.

"I was just wondering what you need me to start working on."

"Take your pick," Dawson said.

"All right."

"Everything all right?" he asked.

"Yeah," John said.

Pruitt was eyeing them both with interest. So Dawson hadn't told his friend why John had been off the last two days. That was interesting because John sort of got the impression those two talked all of the time. About everything. John certainly knew more about Pruitt and his wife than he ever wanted to know about anyone's marriage (including his own parents') by listening to the two of them.

"And, thanks," he said as an afterthought.

"Not a problem," Dawson said. "As long as you're not running off to Mexico next week anyway."

"Uh, no. I couldn't do that anyway."

Pruitt laughed at that. "Why would he run off to Mexico?"

"Evidently he wouldn't," Dawson said. "Then we're good."

"Right, thanks. I'll get to work then," he said.

"Did I miss something?" Pruitt asked as John left the office.

"Not really," Dawson said.

"All right. I suppose I should get to work, too."

"That would be a good idea, yeah."

"So everything worked out," Dawson asked a while after Pruitt left.

"Yes," John said. "You didn't really think I'd go to Mexico, did you?"

"Not really. If she'd asked you?"

"If she'd asked and I didn't have a job or Holly sure I'd go."

"You figured out how you're going to work the kid and her?"

"Nope," he said. He had no idea how he was going to work that. It was great in theory to think she'd come here on weekends, but he knew even for someone like her who didn't have money issues it would get expensive. Not to mention she'd have things to do at school on weekends like study for tests. And parties. And whatever else she did there.

"You're going to?"

"I'm going to try."

"I figured I'll start getting you out of here by five every night starting today."


"If you can stay later that's fine, but you need to get into the habit, too."

"I don't know how soon it'll be."

"With her dad helping you? I don't think it'll take too long."

"I hope not."

"When did you start working here anyway?"

"Uh," John said. "Ten months ago or so?" He couldn't remember exactly. "Why?"

"I'm feeling generous. I'm not going to dock you for missing Tuesday and Wednesday."

"Uh, thanks," John said more than a little surprised.

"Call it an early vacation."

"Sure," John said.

"Don't go quitting on me and make me regret being nice."

"Not quitting," John said.

Dawson chuckled a bit at that. "So, you're convinced I haven't been sneaking off to see her then?"

"Yes," John said. He couldn't deny it still bugged the crap out of him his boss had been calling her the past few months.

"Her mom going to freak out?"

"If she finds out she's seeing me? I'd say so, yeah."

"Not her mom," he said with a chuckle. John was glad he found the idea of Claire's mom finding out about him being her boyfriend humorous. John sure didn't. If there was anyone who … scared him for lack of a better word about this situation it was Mrs. Standish. "I meant your daughter's mom."

"Oh," John said. "I don't know. I don't know why she would."

"Not dating you and finding out someone else is spending quality time with her daughter may not be the same thing."

"Well, she should've thought about that before having sex with someone she wasn't involved with." Never mind he was sixteen he wouldn't be involved with her today more than likely anyway. "I never made any promises to her and she's a pretty shitty mother anyway. Her mom does most of the work."

"Oh, I know. I see how it is. I'm just wondering if you've thought on that."

John shrugged. He hadn't, not really. What could Betty do? Especially if he had custody of Holly and a lawyer on file like Claire's dad? She wasn't going to be able to get a better lawyer. Her parents weren't well off in the least. He didn't see her parents trying to get Holly back anyway. They loved her and everything, but he knew they were as tired of Betty as he was. He wasn't sure what would happen to her. He supposed he should care, but he couldn't find it in him to do that. He wasn't going to count on Claire's dad to do anything for him once the custody shit was done, but he'd still be the lawyer on record. He knew that much.

Betty's mom was surprised John was there so early to pick Holly up for the night.

"I have everything all ready for the weekend for you, John," she said.

"Thanks again, Mrs. Cummings. I'll have her here around seven tomorrow morning."

"We'll see you then."

"Sure. Is Betty home?"

"No," her mom said and judging by the sigh she wasn't at Jewel working.

"All right, well, I'll leave money with you tomorrow when I pick her up then." Lord knew Betty wouldn't be home on a Friday night.

"I'll give it to her," she said.

"Thanks," he said. He wished he could just give it to Betty's mom. She was the one who bought most of Holly's stuff anyway. Between John and Mrs. Cummings Holly had pretty nice things. John didn't spoil her by buying her Nikes or anything, but he had to admit when he shopped for her he'd thought more than once that he'd lucked out having a girl versus a boy. There were just a slew of things available for girls over boys.

He was a little readier for her to go to bed after her bath than he usually was. Most nights he had her he let her chill out with him on the couch until she fell asleep or she was so obviously tired he had to put her in his crib or feel awful.

He went to his room himself. He had two phones in his apartment. One was in the kitchen and the other was in his bedroom. He hardly used the damned things, but the one in his bedroom get used far less than the one in the kitchen. Talking to Betty while in bed did not appeal to him in the least.

Talking to Claire while in bed, on the other hand, appealed to him a lot.

'Hello,' she said.

"Hi," he said.

'Hi yourself.'

"At least I don't have to ask if it's you anymore."

'That is definitely one benefit of my having my own room now.'

He chuckled softly. "I'm sure that's the reason she left."

'You're probably right.'

"What are you going to do next year anyway?" he asked.

'I don't know. Get a place off-campus. I just, God, John I know it sounds terrible I'm just not made to share space with so many people.'

He snorted at that. "Princess, if you said anything different I'd think you'd fallen and hit your head."

'I haven't talked to Dad yet. I know he's hoping I'll stay on-campus again, but oh my God, what if I get someone worse next year?'

"Your dad will pay for it?"

'Yes,' she said.

"Don't you have a friend you could request as a roommate or something?"

'I do, but no one I'm sure I want to live with. I mean, we're friends. It's a great way to ruin friendships.'

"I suppose."

'How was your day?'

"Oh you know. The usual. Dawson let me go at five o'clock."

'He did? Why? Was he mad at you?'

"No, surprisingly. He said he's going to get into the habit of doing that."

'Oh,' she said.

"He's also paying me for the two days I was with you."


"Yes. He asked me how long I'd been working there and I said around ten months so he said to call it early vacation pay."

'I think he likes you.'

"Princess," he said cautiously.

She laughed then. 'Not in that way. Though I don't know, the two of you would be kind of pretty.'

"I'm not sure I ever want you to use the word pretty to describe any aspect of me."

'Relax, I'm teasing. I do think he likes you, though. He doesn't hire just anyone.'

"I know," he said, shaking his head a bit at the thought that she knew that, too. He really didn't like being reminded of the fact she and his boss actually, like, talked. About things. "You like knowing that stuff?" he asked.

'What stuff?' she asked, sounding confused.

"You know, about him."

'I'm not sure what you're asking me.'

He sighed. "Do I talk enough for you?"

She laughed softly.

"I'm not sure that was the answer I was going for."

'No, I'm sorry. It's just funny hearing you ask that question.'

"Glad I can be a source of amusement for you."

'What do you want me to say?'

"I don't know. I want you to answer the question."

'You talk enough.'

"So you don't want to know more things?"

'Like what?'

"I don't know! I've never done this before, but you seem to know about my boss and that was just one date. So that makes me wonder."

'You can say whatever you want to me, John.'

He huffed softly. "That's still not an answer."

'I've never done this before either.'

"I suppose there is that," he said.

'Where's Holly?'

"Asleep," he said.

'Oh,' she said.

"Why? Did you want to talk to her instead?"

'Well, if she could talk back to me I would, sure,' she said.

"Instead of me?"

'No, I just meant, you know I would,' she said.

"Ah, okay."

'John. Don't worry about Erik.'

"I'm not worried about him exactly. You seem to know things about him, though."

'I know things about you, too.'

"True," he said.

'You're fine. Talk to me as much or as little as you want. I was surprised you called tonight honestly.'

"You were?"

'Yes. I know you got in later than you planned last night.'

"It was worth it."

'I agree.'

"I'm very glad to hear that. So, you leave Sunday right?"

'Yes,' she said.

"All right. Well, I'll talk to you Saturday then probably."

'I'm glad you called,' she said.


'Yes,' she said.

"I'm glad I did then and I'm glad Holly cooperated and went to bed without a fight."

'Are you going to bed now, too?'

"I've been thinking about it since about seven o'clock, but I knew if I let her fall asleep that early she'd be awake at about four in the morning."

'I'm sorry.'

"More than worth being a little tired today for."

'Have a good day tomorrow.'

"I will," he said.

They hung up then. John didn't even bother getting out of bed to change out of his clothes or anything. He was way more tired than he was going to admit to her. He loved playing with Holly, but after being up until after midnight and driving a couple hundred miles he was ready to just crash and burn.

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