The weekend hadn't gone at all as planned or hoped, but it hadn't been bad. He'd spent pretty much all of his time with Melissa. He'd learned from her that her mom hadn't gone out on Friday night at all and that she hadn't thrown the roses or anything he'd given her away. He wasn't sure if the two were connected, but he took heart in the fact she hadn't thrown the stuff away. He'd admitted to giving it to her when Melissa asked and described the necklace's charm to her.
He'd liked the way the charm had turned out. The jeweler had tried to talk him into a charm of the silhouette of a girl's head, but John hadn't wanted that. Melissa wasn't a baby so he hadn't thought that was appropriate. He'd tried to talk John into engraving her name on it instead of her date of birth, but John hadn't wanted that either. What he'd ended up with had been exactly what he'd wanted.
He'd gotten Melissa some chocolates, too, as well as a simple gold ankle bracelet. He liked ankle bracelets for some reason. She'd put it on that evening in his hotel room and to this point had been wearing it ever since.
He hadn't seen Claire again, but he planned on changing that today after his appointment.
His appointment was the part of this trip he'd dreaded most. He'd made the appointment last week, under Claude's name because there was no way John Bender was getting an appointment at the Standish Law Firm.
He hated that he felt the need to wear a suit for the appointment, but here he was doing just that. It was a nice suit, too. Melissa had been impressed when he wore it to dinner on Friday night. He'd shaved and everything, too. He drummed his fingertips on his knee as he waited for the receptionist to call him back. Claude had helped him research who to say referred him to Claire's dad since he likely didn't take people in off the street. John wasn't savvy enough to use the Internet for that sort of thing. So, he knew he wasn't going to get pawned off to a lesser partner or something.
He stood when Claude's name was called and followed the woman back to a meeting room. He was alone, of course. It was absolutely crazy that he was paying to have this meeting, but he hadn't known how else to go about doing it.
He drummed his fingers along the table, shifting a little in his chair. There were all sorts of books in the room. He imagined this room was used as some sort of library when it wasn't used for meetings.
The first thing John noticed when he came into the room was that he'd aged. John had, too, of course, but it was more noticeable on him. Or at least John thought it was. He closed the door and turned to face him. John realized he didn't recognize him. Why would he? He'd only seen John once before almost nineteen years ago.
He opened his mouth and John stood, cutting him off.
"I'm not Claude Jennings and I'm not here because I need legal counsel, so you can save your speech. You'll get paid for your time and everything."
"If you're not Claude Jennings…"
"I'm John Bender."
He was surprised. He couldn't hide it. Did he have any idea what John had amounted to? Maybe not. He doubted either of her parents followed the type of music they played.
"I came here simply as a courtesy. You don't need to say anything at all really. I have some things to say to you, though. I've been seeing Melissa. She found me this past summer and I have no intention of pushing her away. I also plan on actively and rigorously pursuing your daughter. There's nothing you can say or do to stop me. You can't threaten me with rape charges today, which, by the way, I know now wouldn't have stood in court. I didn't know that at the time and couldn't afford to find that out, but you knew that. I can afford it now, and I can afford a lawyer equal to your caliber if not better."
Her dad opened his mouth and John cut him off.
"I have no plans on telling Melissa anything you said to me that day. I think Claire has an idea what you said, but if she were to ask me I'd be honest with her. I have nothing to hide, but I'm not out to make your granddaughter dislike you as I do either. I don't plan on failing in my pursuit of Claire. They spent a week with me over New Year's and if I have anything to say about it that will be the first of many."
"And you think I'm just going to sit by while you…"
"No, I'm sure you'll talk to Claire and voice your displeasure at her choice in escorts or whatever you call people she dates. She's an adult with life experiences under her belt this time as am I so you have nothing to really say about it. I love her. I loved her then, but you knew that, too. That scared you I imagine, and that's why you came up with the rape charges. It worked, too. Scared the shit out of me and made me think for a hell of a long time that she'd told you that's what happened. I realized eventually, though, she wouldn't have done that."
"You don't know her as well as you think you do."
"You're right, I don't. I knew her then, though, better than you did, and I plan on knowing her better than anyone ever will. I'm going to go now. The address I gave your secretary is legitimate, you can bill me for your time. Let me be clear, though, if I hear that you're trying to ruin my reputation. If I find out that you leak who Melissa is before she's ready for that information to be out. If I find out that you've done anything to stand in the way of my getting to know her I will come after you. You clearly don't know what I've done with my life. Have your secretary do some research and you'll find that I could successfully do that without losing any sleep or the roof over my head."
He walked to the door then.
"Excuse me," he said, opening the door and leaving. He had no doubt it'd been a while since anyone walked out on him.
John got back to his rental and only then did he exhale deeply in relief of getting through that. He'd thought over what he'd say, how he'd say it, what he'd do. He hadn't been at all sure what would come out of his mouth today, seeing him for the first time in so long.
He drove to her house then. He didn't stop on the street or hesitate in any way before pulling onto her driveway and getting out. He rang her bell, fiddling a little with one of the buttons at the front of his coat.
"Hi," he said when she opened the door. She was clearly surprised to see him. Did she think he'd gone back to Florida already? He'd told Melissa he was leaving tomorrow, but maybe she hadn't relayed that information to her mom.
"Hi," she said.
"Can I come in?" he asked.
She sighed softly, but stepped aside.
"Thanks," he said.
"Can I take your coat?"
"Uh, sure," he said, surprised a little by the offer. "Thanks." He shed the coat and handed it to her.
"Melissa said she had a nice time with you over the weekend."
"I hope so. I mean, I'm glad."
"She liked it."
"You met Trish and Stacey she said."
"I did. They were here when I was in November."
"I know, I remember. You didn't meet them, though."
"No. One of them knows who I am she just hasn't placed it yet."
"I'm sure," she said.
"Hey, Scotty," he said to Claire's dog about the same time she said "Scott, no."
"It's all right," John said with a frown.
"But you're wearing a suit."
"Yeah?" he asked. He patted his leg so Scotty knew it was okay to come to him. He scratched his ears.
"You're going to get dog hair…"
"So? It's dog hair. That's what a lint brush is for."
"Stu just didn't…"
"Ah. Well, it's fine. Really." He stooped a bit and pet Scotty for a bit, regarding Claire after she'd hung his coat up.
"So," he said, standing. "I had an appointment with your father today."
"What?" She looked panic stricken.
"You heard me."
"I needed to say some things."
"What could you possibly have to say to him, John?"
"That I've been spending time with Melissa. And that I plan on pursuing you."
"You told my father that?"
"I did," he said.
He shrugged. "It's the truth. I didn't want him not knowing hanging over my head. I don't know when anyone's going to find out who Melissa is. If she comes to any shows or anything. Sooner or later people are going to ask. I'm not going to lie."
"I figured him knowing now I've met her will prevent him from having a heart attack when it's reported on the news I have a daughter."
"Oh," she said.
"Because you do realize when they find out it will be that type of story."
"I do," she said.
"I'd really love to be able to do this with you."
"I don't expect an answer out of you today or anything, but I wanted you to know what I'd done. I don't know if he'll tell you or not, but I didn't want you to be surprised."
He closed the distance between them. She hadn't stepped away from her coat closet yet.
"Melissa said you didn't throw the roses away," he whispered, sliding a hand to her cheek.
"No," she said.
"Why not?" he asked.
"They were beautiful."
"They had to be perfect. I made sure of it." And had he ever. Claude told him Saturday during a conversation they'd had in the morning how much a dozen roses usually goes for. John overpaid, but he'd made sure they used the best of the best for her dozen. There were times dropping his name benefitted him. That was one of those times.
He lowered his head a bit. "Nothing but perfection would be good enough for you," he whispered, slanting his mouth over hers. She grabbed onto his forearms, clutching him.
"I think a part of me died inside that I couldn't do that on Friday," he whispered, drawing away.
"Shut up," she said softly.
"No lie. I'd thought about little else but that on the flight here."
"Really," he murmured, kissing her again.
"I'm not going away," he murmured, kissing her lower lip when they both had to take a breath.
"John," she murmured.
"I'm not, Claire. I know I have shit loads to make up for and I know the distance sucks."
"That's not the only…"
"You can watch any websites you want you won't see me doing anything wrong."
She whimpered softly.
"Besides, Claude tells me cybersex is pretty fun," he whispered, kissing her lower lip again.
"Uh huh," he whispered. "Want to find out with me?" he asked, finding her mouth with his once more.
She slid her arms around his neck and he sighed in relief into the kiss.
"Did you really tell my dad that you were going to pursue me?"
"I did," he said, finding her neck.
"I'm still not sure…"
"Take all the time you need to figure it out. I'm not asking for a commitment beyond you'd be willing to try."
"And do what?"
"What do you mean?"
"When you're gone?"
"See one another when we can. Email and talk when we can. My place in New York sold."
"It is, but that also frees up some money every month. I told Claude there was nothing saying I couldn't have a second place in this area. However, that's not going to happen immediately and for the money a decent place would cost me I could just spend the money on airfare and come here."
"You'd do that?"
"If you'd have me, yes. It would also free up money for airfare for you two to come down to see me once in a while. Like Spring Break."
She whimpered softly and he chuckled softly as he found her jaw, kissing her there.
"My bed misses you," he whispered.
"A week wasn't nearly enough it thought."
She snorted softly at that.
"I can imagine."
"Yeah. I have this amazingly sexy and beautiful woman in my grasp. It thinks I'm a dumb fuck for letting you leave at all."
"It does, huh?"
"It does. I tend to agree with it. I should have spoken up, I guess, about what I feel."
"Maybe," she whispered.
"I'm not good at that. I've never had a reason to before."
"I know," she whispered.
"I'm speaking up now. I've never been unfaithful. This day and age you almost have to be," he shrugged. "I always was, though when I had to be."
She slid her arms out from around his neck.
"What did I say wrong?" he murmured. Why the fuck would she stop touching him now?
She slid her hands to his chest, though, working his suit coat off. He groaned in surprise, moving his arms away from her so he could shed the jacket.
"Thank you," she whispered against his mouth as she started working the buttons on his shirt.
His hands moved to her top, working the buttons on it. She got a head start, but he got done unbuttoning her top first sliding it out of the waist of her skirt before he slid a hand to her breast.
"Fuck," he whispered.
"My thoughts exactly," she said as she worked the fastening on his trousers and slid her hand inside.
"I guess so," he said with a soft chuckle. "I, unfortunately, don't have anything…"
"You don't need it," she whispered.
"I'm on birth control."
"No, since before I got married."
"Oh," he said. Why'd he need condoms then in January? He wasn't going to ask that now, though, as he used his hands to slide her skirt up higher to her waist. He dropped them to her hips, helping her onto him before pressing her against the door.
"This," he whispered as he moved inside of her.
"This is what I want. You needing me as badly as I need you."
He chuckled softly, pushing her blouse out of the way a bit so he could kiss and suck on the skin above her breast.
"Every day," he whispered.
She gave the most arousing groan and he wasn't sure if it was his words or a particular spot he'd thrust against at that moment. Whatever the cause, she clenched around him so tightly that he finished. He knew he'd finish sooner than he'd like without the barrier the condom offered. Hopefully she understood that, too.
"Why'd you let me without one today?" he asked after a few minutes. He hadn't let her go yet, but knew he'd have to soon.
"You went to talk to my father," she whispered, kissing his jaw and then his mouth.
"Hell, if that's all it took…"
"Shut up," she said with a soft laugh.
"I've never without one with anyone else."
"I believe you."
"Thank you," he whispered. "I wasn't expecting that out of today."
"What were you expecting?"
"I don't know. You to talk to me."
"Sort of," he said. He drew away from her then, both of them groaning softly as he pulled out of her completely. He was very glad she didn't want him to do that anymore than he did.
"We'll figure it out, John. Spring Break sounds great."
"Yeah? Now I have to make sure I'm actually there."
"Well, I'm not joking. I don't know the dates. Whatever the dates, wherever we are, come."
"If we met you somewhere out of town we'd share a room with you."
"That's all right. I don't care. I mean, I care, you know, but not. One condition," he whispered, shaking his head at Scotty who'd made himself at home on John's suit coat.
"You sleep with me instead of Melissa."
"I said sleep. I can behave myself."
"You could have fooled me."
"Very funny. I can't help it that you came onto me, using that incredible mouth on me."
"I'm not very good."
"You are just fine. Trust me."
"You're just saying that so I'll do it again."
"Well, maybe, but you had no objections to me showing you the funner ways of me being on top of you so that would lead me to believe if I wasn't thrilled with what you were doing you'd take some coaching."
She laughed softly. "Maybe," she said.
"You do just fine, honest."
"Okay," she whispered.
"I think Scotty likes my jacket."
"I guess so. I'm sorry. He doesn't shed real badly, but I can pay to have it cleaned."
"Shut up," he said with a shake of his head. "I'm not worried about a cleaning bill. I am worried about what time Melissa's going to be home though and both of us looking very much like we just did that."
"I'm glad I could distract you to the point of forgetting about her."
"I just wasn't paying attention to the time. Your shirt…"
"Yeah. I can go to my hotel and come back for dinner?"
"Or you two could come have dinner with me. I leave tomorrow, but you could swim tonight. She liked the pool."
"She loves the water. Always has."
"That sounds nice."
"Where to tomorrow?"
"Back home to hammer out this album we're supposed to have to our label in a month."
"Oh. Was it not going well?"
"It was going all right until I got an email telling me you went out on a date."
"Why would she tell you that?"
"Don't be mad at her, and don't tell her I told you. I want her to trust me. She was telling me her thoughts, which I won't delve into. Then Sean said something about my wanting him to treat Melissa better than I treated you and I hit him."
"The past week wasn't very productive so we all took a long weekend and went our own way. Sean I think was thinking of coming here until he found out I was and he went home to Texas instead."
"I'm thinking I owe him an apology."
"I just don't like the idea of them…"
"I know, but we can't really stop them even if we wanted to try."
"I know that. Claude made a joke about cybersex and that got me thinking about them…"
"Oh God. They can't?"
"That's what led to me hitting Sean," he said with a shake of his head.
"I see," she said.
"As far as I can tell he hasn't told Melissa I'm the reason behind his face being bruised so maybe he understands he said something maybe he shouldn't have said."
"Yes, but, John."
"I know, beating people up isn't the solution."
"So, any chance you'll send her to your parents' house and stay the night with me tonight?"
"It was worth a shot, but if you both wanted to bring stuff for the morning I wouldn't complain."
"She has to get to school."
"She could drive her car tonight and I could drive you home in the morning after she leaves for school."
"What time is your flight?"
"So you have all day here tomorrow?"
"I'll see what she thinks."
"All right," he said.
He bent over then, tugging on his jacket a bit. Scotty took the hint and moved off of it.
"I really am sorry."
"I have one of those rollers, it may get some of it off."
"Sure," he said. "Bring it with you when you come."
"She's going to wonder why you need it."
"I'm sure you can come up with some reason for Scotty hairs to be on my coat that doesn't involve it being on the floor."
She reached for the closet.
"I'll get my own coat. You don't have to wait on me."
He leaned down, kissing her.
"See you later."
"Was my father mad?"
"Actually, I didn't give him the chance to say anything. I said what I went there to say and left. I was kind of afraid if I did more than that I'd get mad or something, you know?"
"Think he's going to be surprised when he finds out what I've done with my life?"
"I think so, yes."
"He still would've wanted to keep me from you back then. I mean, even if he'd known we were going to be as big as we are."
"I agree," she said.
"One of these days…"
"Yes, we'll talk about it. Nothing happened how I envisioned it happening, John."
"I believe you."
He kissed her again after he slid into his coat.
"Tell me when Spring Break is, too."
"Okay," she said, blushing and he chuckled.
They got there before five. Melissa drove she said so John took that to mean he was bringing Claire home tomorrow, which was fine with him. That meant he'd have most of the day tomorrow with her. He'd had a lot of time with Melissa this weekend so he didn't feel bad for thinking that way. Chances were he'd see her before leaving for the airport tomorrow, too.
"You're wearing it," he whispered, noticing the necklace.
"I am. It's the other reason I let you earlier," she whispered.
"You actually had to put some thought into it."
"Yes." He frowned a bit.
"That's a good thing, John," she said. "I assumed it was something you just went and bought."
"Oh, no. I mean, the chain part, sure."
"I know. But you didn't stop at just the chain."
She reached up and kissed him.
"Wow," he said, glancing at Melissa. "You must be serious doing that in front of her."
"Good to know."
"Remind me tomorrow to tell you about the phone call I received after you left."
He scoffed at that. "I can just imagine. I'll remind you. You're here, though, so it must not have been too bad."
"Not too bad. I just felt like I was a toddler again getting scolded for coloring on the walls."
"You colored on the walls?"
"Yes," she said, blushing. "I suppose you didn't?"
"Uh, no," he shook his head.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"That I didn't?"
"No, that you knew you couldn't even that young. I'm sorry."
"It's all right. So, I was looking at our website and it seems like we have some shows around this area coming up. I don't know when spring break is, but a couple of them are on Saturday nights so even if it's not your break you could come."
"That would be very cool. Can we Mom?"
"I'll have to take a look."
"Look away, just let me know so I can be sure to get you guys passes and everything."
"You sure you want to do that?"
"Of course I want to do that."
"Okay," she said.
"My biggest concern was your father finding out in some off the wall fashion. That can't happen anymore so it is what it is. If people want to investigate why you two are coming to my concerts, let them."
"Why can't that happen anymore?" Melissa asked.
"I went to see him today to tell him I'd seen you and your mother."
"Oh," she said. "He's going to be mad at me, isn't he?"
"No, honey, of course not," Claire said, but John thought Melissa was probably at least partially right.
"Whatever his feelings are his problem not yours or your mom's."
"I know," she said.
"All right. Let's go eat. You guys just be sure to tell me which shows you want to come to."
"And if you're not done recording by her spring break?" Claire asked.
"I hope we will be. I'm hoping this weekend was good for all of us, but if not you can still come to the house. It'll be crowded, but that's fine with me." He slid his arms around her. She'd kissed him in front of Melissa so he felt okay doing this. "Let me be clear. There is absolutely no reason I wouldn't want either one of you at my house, at a show, or anything. You want to be there, come. I'd say surprise me, but then you wouldn't get the passes. If that's what you want to do, though. More power to you."
"All right," Claire said.
"I would say if just Melissa's coming to let me know so I can look for her."
"I can't think of any reason she'd go without me."
"I don't know either, but just saying. I'd feel better if I knew to look for her."
"All right. Dinner and then swimming. Sound good?"
"Yes," they both said.
So that's how he got back to Tampa in a much better mood than he'd left. He had dates they were going to fly down for Melissa's spring break. He was going to talk to Claude about just staying here because he knew Claude was planning on contacting Melissa about her song. It wasn't going to be something they'd put on their album or anything, but John knew Claude wanted it to see the light of day. He made sure Melissa knew to bring all of her stuff with her when she came down.
It was real late when he got home so he went up to his room immediately. He took the time to unpack before he got ready for bed. In New York he'd put off unpacking until the next day (sometimes the day or two after that depending on his mood), but if he did that here Dominick would just go through his bags so he learned just to unpack right away and be done with it. He picked up the phone once he'd gotten into bed, sliding his hand under his head when it started ringing on the other end.
'Hello,' she said.
"Hi. It's me."
'Is everything okay?'
"It is. I was just calling to say I made it home all right and that I had a very nice time today."
'Me, too,' she said.
"I'm very glad to hear that."
'I bet you are,' she said with a soft laugh.
"I am because I look forward to spending a day like that again and I want you to as well."
'It won't happen real soon.'
"I'm aware, but when it does happen it will be as enjoyable."
'I hope so.'
"I know so."
'Melissa asked me if we were officially dating.'
"What did you tell her?"
'I told her that we were.'
'She seemed all right. Surprised. A little quiet, but all right.'
'She'll have questions for both of us.'
'So is everyone back tonight then?'
"All the cars were here, so must be. I'm the last one in it seems."
'Oh. So back to it tomorrow?'
"Yup," he said with a soft sigh. "I'll probably find some time in the morning to talk to Sean."
'You know he didn't call Melissa all weekend.'
"Really?" John asked, surprised.
'No. She told me tonight that she hadn't even realized you guys were taking the weekend off.'
"Huh. Well, if he says something about that I'll let you know."
'You don't have to.'
"No, I will. I'm kind of curious about that myself because they'd been talking pretty regularly."
'They had been.'
'What?' she asked.
"You said it won't happen again for a while. She'll go to college."
'Oh. Yes, she will, I suppose you're right.'
"Maybe she'll even come to college down here so you'll have more of an incentive to visit Florida."
'That would be an incentive.'
"Not the only one I hope."
'No. I'll let you know about our plans for your shows once I figure out how that will work.'
"All right. No worries. It's not like you need to make hotel arrangements because you can stay with me. I do know when you two come down here for spring break I'm going to try to talk Claude into being here."
"Yes. He wants to work with Melissa."
'Oh,' she said.
"Anyway. I just wanted you to know I'm all safe and sound."
'I'm glad you called.'
"Me, too. I'm not used to doing that."
She was quiet.
"That's a compliment, Princess."
'I'm just not sure what to say to that.'
"I just never cared enough about anyone else to let them know I made it home."
'But you dated someone for like a year you said.'
"Sure, and the bulk of that time we were touring. I didn't have a computer and I am not known for using my cell phone so she was lucky to get a call from me at all."
"I unpacked my stuff from the weekend so Dominick wouldn't do it for me at like seven in the morning."
She laughed at that.
"You laugh! You think I'm kidding! I swear to God he gets off on doing that sometimes."
'You poor thing.'
"I know, I know. I have nothing to bitch about. Anyway. I unpacked, got ready for bed, and called you."
"My bed could use another person in it."
'Your bed would seem empty with four people in it.'
He chuckled softly at that.
'And no, I don't know want to know if you've had four people in it before.'
He laughed louder at that.
"I do have one question for you," he said, thinking of bedrooms and sleeping arrangements.
'I'm not sure why that made you think of a question, but go ahead.'
"If everyone's still here when you come down that will leave the room you slept in as the only room empty."
"Which would leave Melissa without a bedroom."
'Oh,' she said.
"So, you tell me how you want me to set you two up."
"You don't have to let me know tonight. It may not even be an issue. I hope we get this done and everyone can go on their way before we start touring. We get along better when we haven't seen one another for a while in such close proximity like traveling so extensively means."
'I get that.'
"You two could share that room. That's fine with me, but she's going to figure out that the entire time you were down here our rooms connected."
'She would, wouldn't she?'
"She would. That doesn't mean we have to admit we used it for such purposes."
"Maybe I could finagle two of the girls to bunk up or something. Girls never seem to mind sleeping in the same bed."
'I don't even want to know how you know that.'
"I travel with three of them seven to nine months out of the year."
"And Jazmin isn't exclusive to men."
'You've told me that.'
"So, sometimes there's four."
She laughed softly.
"You're teasing me, aren't you?" he asked.
'I was,' she whispered.
"I liked the teasing you were doing with your mouth earlier today much better."
"Yes," he said. "If I wasn't clear on my enjoyment do it again the next time I see you."
'I'll keep that in mind.'
"I'll let you get to sleep."
'As if I have anything to wake up to.'
"I suppose you don't. You wake up with Melissa, don't you?"
'I do. I still make her a hot breakfast every morning. I almost feel like I have to.'
"Why?" he asked with a frown.
'I have nothing else to do! What kind of a mother would I be if I sent her to school on a bowl of cereal or a Pop Tart?'
"Well," he said.
'I do it because I want to.'
She sighed softly.
'Nothing. I forget sometimes…'
"Don't worry about it."
'You have Dominick, though. I know he'd make you a hot breakfast if you wanted him to.'
"He would. I'd much prefer your hot breakfast."
'I don't think so after tasting his cooking.'
"He is pretty good."
"I think he does some catering stuff when I'm not here."
"Yes. He asked me if I minded and I said no. I don't care what he does as long as my house doesn't fall apart. Now that the place in New York sold and I'll be spending all of my downtime here that may change, but he'll still have hard dates to know when I'll be here and stuff."
"So, how's Scotty?"
'He's good. He says he's sorry about your jacket again.'
John chuckled. "It's okay. What did you do with him when you two came down here?"
'Ally and Andy took him.'
"Oh," he said, nodding. "Will they again?"
"Just wondering. I don't know how that works with dogs his size on a plane, but if you had to bring him with you could."
'No, Ally doesn't mind and if for some reason she and Andy are busy or can't a mom of Melissa's best friend would. She lives out in Barrington, though, so don't like to unless it's an emergency.'
"How do they know one another?" John asked.
'They've been riding together since before they started school.'
"Oh, is she the one that got thrown from her horse last summer?"
'Yes,' Claire said. 'It's strange how they've stayed friends. They compete against each other, and they don't hold back when doing so, but they know the difference.'
'But anyway, yes, Cindy's mom would do it.'
"Okay. Well, just so you know, if you had to. It'd probably freak Dominick out."
'I'm not going to do that!'
"I'd enjoy it!"
'Get your own dog then.'
"No, no. I have no time for that. I mean, I have time when I'm here and Dominick is here, but I'm not going to get a pet that someone else will spend the bulk of their time with."
'How was your flight?'
'I'm sorry it was sort of a wasted trip.'
"It wasn't. It didn't go how I imagined, I'll grant you that. I got to spend some time with Melissa, though, so I can't complain."
'She raved about dinner on Friday night.'
'You were assuming that would be me with you?'
"I was, yes. I did make the reservations for three."
'She mentioned that.'
"Was that wrong? I wouldn't show up and just take you out. I mean, not without her knowing that was going to happen."
'No, you did right.'
'I'm glad you called.'
"Me, too. I'll talk to you soon then in some fashion."
"Sleep well, Princess."
'Funny, when I spend time with you I sleep incredibly well.'
"Do you now?"
"Back at you."
"I agree. That'll happen again real soon."
"Night," he whispered as she did the same before disconnecting.
He hung the phone up on the stand next to his bed, grabbing the remote for his TV. He scrolled through the channels until he found a movie that looked remotely interesting. He was tired, but he wasn't going to fall asleep right away. The sound would help. He set the sleep timer on the TV before setting the remote back down. He wondered if she had a TV in her room. He hadn't been paying attention to that sort of thing today to look for one to notice.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com