***Chapter Nine***
Word Count: 7,001

November 1994


It was Claire's mother, though he supposed it could've been her sister-in-law.

"Hi, is Claire home?"

'Sure. May I tell her who is calling?'

"It's John, Ma'am," he said.

'Oh, hello, John. How are you?'

"I'm fine, Mrs. Standish. How are you?"

'Oh, it was kind of a hard day for all of us, but I think especially on the kids,' she said. 'Bill and Justin most, I think, it was their first holiday without their dad. Scott Junior and Maddie are used to not seeing their grandpa on some holidays.'

He thought as much, which was why he was calling. He'd thought about calling earlier, but didn't want to intrude on what was probably a very personal, painful, and private day for all of them this year.

"I imagine it was."

'Did you have a good day?'

"It was fine. I was just here working on my house."

'You didn't have a meal?'

"No, Ma'am," he said.

'Well, I'll have to talk to Claire about that. There's always room at our table for one more on Thanksgiving.'

"I appreciate that, but she didn't know what I was doing either."

'Well, she should have asked. It's the polite thing to do.'

"She probably assumed I had plans."

'Oh,' she said. 'Well, let me go and get her for you. I didn't mean to monopolize your time. She had just gone upstairs to put Justin to bed, though.'

"It's all right. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving," he said before she set the phone down.

He'd thought of that the couple of times they'd talked over the past few weeks. They hadn't talked frequently or for very long when they did talk, but they'd both picked up the phone a couple of times to say hello. He hadn't mentioned yet he and Amanda weren't together anymore. In part because he hadn't been entirely sure they weren't together anymore. It was such a stupid thing to argue over. He wasn't sure if after a few days or something she'd realize that, too.

He knew, too, if she'd found out that he was going to be alone for Thanksgiving that she'd invite him over. She wouldn't have taken no for an answer either. Ordinarily, he wouldn't have minded such an invitation, but he thought it would be intruding this year in light of what she and her family had gone through the past few months. So, he'd kept his mouth shut.

He learned Monday through someone he ran across with some frequency at work that Amanda was seeing someone. Well, he'd mentioned seeing Amanda at a restaurant with someone who wasn't John over the weekend. So, John presumed that they were finished.

He still wasn't completely sure how he felt about that. A little relieved and a little not. He supposed that was normal. They hadn't dated real long to where he thought he was in love with her or anything, but she hadn't really done anything wrong. Claire had been right to a point. Physical attraction was great, but there had to be more than that and they just didn't have it. Whatever it was. John still wasn't sure such a thing existed.

After Claire's comment at dinner last month he started watching the friends he did go out for beers with a little more closely. He was not going to be that guy, the guy who enabled someone to treat his wife or girlfriend shittily. Turned out he wasn't being that guy at least that he knew of. People who were going to cheat and did it with any frequency probably knew how to be discrete or they'd have gotten caught long ago and not be married anymore. There was a friend of a friend who John thought was a little shifty, but John couldn't control what everyone did.

Most of his friends seemed to think if Amanda couldn't accept him for who he was he was better off without her. He obviously had his reasons for not talking to or seeing his parents for years. If she couldn't respect or understand that, he didn't need her.

One of his friends, Paul, however was in the minority. He suggested that groveling should be involved to get her to come back. He'd also asked John if he was that stuck on not talking to his parents anymore.

Yeah, that wasn't happening. Ever. No woman was worth that amount of crap.

John didn't grovel either.

Well, he supposed he would if he thought she was worth groveling over. Clearly he didn't because begging or pleading his case hadn't entered his mind since the last time they'd talked.

Overall, though, he thought he was probably better off. He could just imagine what Paul would say if he knew John was making this phone call tonight. He'd accuse John of being more than just a little nuts. A widow with two kids and a third one on the way over Amanda who was gorgeous and had no ties or baggage to anything. Except they didn't do anything really either. They had dinner out, ate at his place or her place with frequency. As far as doing stuff, though, they didn't go out to movies in the middle of the week or anything. So, what point was there in dating someone without baggage when they still didn't do anything?

'Hi,' she said, picking up the phone.


'I'm sorry it took so long.'

"It's okay, your mom told me you were putting Justin to bed."

'Yes, long day. Kind of a tough one.'

"I can imagine."

'He just doesn't understand yet why his dad's not here. You know?'

"No, I don't know, but I can imagine. And I'm very sorry that Justin or any of you are going through it. How are you doing?"

'I'm okay.'

"Claire," he said.

'Oh, I won't lie and say I didn't cry more than once today, but I'm okay.'


'Mom says you didn't do anything today.'


'Why not?'

"Nothing to do."

'Oh,' she said, sounding legitimately confused. 'You know you could've come here. Mom always cooks too much food.'

"I know. I appreciate the thought, really. Your family deserved today amongst yourselves."

'Oh, I don't know, maybe it wouldn't have been better to have someone around who wasn't sad.'

"What about Joan?"

'Oh God, don't even get me started. She's all in a huff because Scott wants to have both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner here with Mom.'

"Understandable I'd say given your dad just died."

'She doesn't see it that way. Their arrangement is switching. Mom gets Thanksgiving this year so Mom only gets dessert later in the night Christmas. Next year, Mom would get dessert on Thanksgiving and the meal on Christmas.'

"Shit. Is she just heartless or is she really that stupid?"

'I don't know. I told you, it's all about her family.'

"I'm sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else."

'They'll figure it out. Maybe they'll come over here for Christmas Eve and we'll do our big meal then instead. Santa can come regardless of when we eat.'

"That could work," John said. As if he knew anything about holidays and meals. Or Santa.

'So, you didn't have dinner with Amanda today?'


'Is everything all right?'

He sighed softly. She hadn't really asked about Amanda before tonight. Well, she'd asked if Amanda knew he went over to her house on Halloween and other, more general things. It was the first time she'd asked if things were okay, though. Understandably, he supposed, since today was a holiday and you were supposed to be with your loved ones on holidays.

"We broke up a while ago."

'Oh. You didn't say anything.'

"Well, you didn't ask, and I didn't want you to think…"

'It was my fault?'

"Something like that. It was my parents."


"She wanted to meet my parents. Well, she wanted me to meet her parents and I made the mistake of saying that my parents would have a heart attack if they met her. I think in general they'd have a heart attack knowing I'm alive and well, not just surviving but actually doing well for myself. She, I guess, presumed they were dead or living in Antarctica or something until then."

'And she broke up with you over that?'

"Oh, you know, just one more thing in a line of things that were adding up. For both of us. I will never have contact with them again. I'd rather die than ask one of them for a kidney, you know? She doesn't understand that."

'Most wouldn't.'

"You do."

'That's because you told me.'

"Yeah, well, it's been ten years I don't really feel like airing dirty laundry now, you know? They're out of the picture. Not everyone has a good family. She seemed to think it was disrespectful or something."

'Hmm,' she said.

"So, it is what it is."

'When did this happen?'

"Last month some time. I don't know. A month ago?"

'So, Halloween?'

"Yes," he said.

'I see. I'm sorry. You obviously liked her.'

"I'm not really sure I did. I mean, I wanted to and knew I should, but I'm just not sure I liked her or the fact that someone who looked like she did was into me. I mean, I have a good job and everything, but chicks like her don't flock to me. Then I don't usually put myself out there to types like her either."

'You put yourself out there to me once upon a time. And you're not a bad guy, John.'

"I appreciate you saying so, but she was still a little more high maintenance than I think I knew what to do with on an everyday basis. You," he chuckled. "It's probably a good thing you didn't want to date me because I wouldn't have had a fucking clue what to do with you."

'I wasn't that bad.'

"No, you weren't, it's just you were everything I wasn't, sweetheart. It was a bit frightening. I wasn't scared of her or anything. I just never fully invested myself in giving her everything I could. And that's probably why I'm sitting here on Thanksgiving alone and she's probably having dinner with her parents' and her new guy as we speak."

'I understand. I'm still sorry. Breakups are never easy.'

"Like you've had any. You married your first boyfriend."

'You're right, but I have friends who've gone through it. So what did you do today then?'

"Oh, just some things around the house."

'Yeah? Did you finish the last of the floors yet?'

"Yes, in fact I did. Every inch of every floor in this house has now been refurbished and is in mint condition as of about ninety minutes ago."

'So, you can go barefoot now?'

"I could," he said with a chuckle.

Not that the floors were that bad, but a couple of them had had carpet on top of the hardwood so the floors were in pretty pitiful condition when he took the carpet up.

'Well, good, I know that's a load off your mind.'

"It is. I've had nothing but time since she and I stopped dating so I've gotten a lot done more quickly than I had the four months previous to now."

'I'm not sure I should say that's good or not.'

He chuckled. "It is what it is."

'I really wish you'd told me. I could have brought you a plate of food or something at least.'

"It's all right, Claire, really. I've gone this long without turkey on Thanksgiving. It's no big deal to those of us who've never done the holiday thing before."


"No. Who would I have to celebrate Thanksgiving with?"


"Oh, I've been invited, but I've always given an excuse. Holidays are for family."

'John, if they hadn't wanted you there they wouldn't have asked you.'

"Yeah, well, still. So, anyway, I was thinking. What are you doing tomorrow or Saturday night?"


"Do you think your mom will babysit?"


"So suspicious, sweetheart. What's up with that?"

'No, I'm sorry. What's up?'

"Well, I just thought maybe you could maybe use some non-Mommy time after today. You know? I was thinking of dinner somewhere, but if you'd rather eat here we could do that, too."

'You just want to show off your new floors.'

"My old-new floors, you mean?"

She laughed then. 'Yes. That. I don't know, though.'

"Why not?"

'I'm just not sure…'

"If I hadn't told you Amanda and I broke up would you have said yes?"

'I'm not sure, probably.'

"I don't think anyone would blame you or think we're doing anything wrong. You haven't gone out without your kids since you've been here, have you?"


"Well, then, it's not like you're hitting your mom up for babysitting every waking moment. I mean, if you want to bring them, well, that'd be fine but I have absolutely nothing to entertain them with."

'I know.'

"Well, it's up to you. I'm not asking you out on a date or anything. I just thought you could maybe use a break after an emotional day, that's all."

'It does sound appealing,' she said. 'One second. Let me ask Mom before she goes to bed. She was trying to be brave and strong, but I know she cried a few times, too.'

"I'm sure she did, I'm glad you're there for her and I'm sure she is, too. Take your time."

She set the phone down and he had to wonder what her family did on days like Thanksgiving. Her sister-in-law sounded kind of crazy, but what he knew about families and merging two families was nothing. So, it wasn't his place to judge he supposed. It still seemed kind of nuts not to understand her husband would want to see his mom on the first few holidays after his dad died.

'Mom said it's fine. Either night. What did you say to her anyway?'

"What do you mean?"

'She likes you.'

"I didn't say anything! Maybe I'm just a likeable fellow."


"Which night works best?"

'Either. I'm off until Monday.'

"Well, do you have a preference? The whole weekend is going to be crazy with people shopping, but I could cook something here and then we could go out somewhere later."

'Still have that bar with a live band in mind?'

"I'm sure there's something like that around if that interests you."

'It wouldn't be so bad.'

"I'm going to get you past ten o'clock if I'm paying a cover charge to get into a bar, right?"

She laughed. 'I'll do my best.'

"Okay. Well, it's up to you."

'Let's do tomorrow night.'

"Okay. Whenever you want to get here is fine. A phone call when you're leaving might be nice so I can stop what I'm doing and shower."

'What are you going to be working on tomorrow?'

"Stripping wallpaper."

'Hmm,' she said.


'I don't know, it might be kind of entertaining to watch you do that.'

His eyes flew open at that. It was the most flirtatious thing she'd said to him since… Well, since high school. Kissing him in August didn't count. That wasn't flirtation, it was need. He knew the difference.


'Yeah, you know, you probably look nice doing that.'

"You think so?"

'I have my suspicions.'

"I'd still have to take a shower. It's pretty dirty work, decades old glue particles and stuff all over the place."

'Yeah, I know. Our house wasn't as old as yours is, but we did a lot of stuff on it.'

"That's right you said that. Now, if you're volunteering to take a shower with me…"

'As appealing as that may sound I'd have to say no.'

"It does sound appealing, though?"

'The logical part of my brain says no.'

"Is there an illogical part?"

She laughed at that. 'The pregnancy hormones in me are screaming at me to say yes.'

"I'm not sure I understand what that means.'

She laughed softly into the phone. 'Never mind. I'll tell you some other time when my brother isn't in the next room.'

"Oh, okay," he said. "Are you saying it, uh, being pregnant makes you horny?"

'God, yes,' she said, her voice so low he barely heard her.

"I see," he said. He had absolutely no idea. "You said he wouldn't when you were pregnant with Bill."

'I said he wouldn't. I mean, he did, he just didn't like to and wouldn't at all once I got further along. I didn't say I didn't want to every waking moment the entire pregnancy.'

"Sweetheart," he said softly. "And with Justin?"

'He was better, but still about the same. So was I. I never understood his reasoning behind it.'

She sounded pretty sad about that. He could imagine if being pregnant put her in the mood and she had no outlet for that mood.

"I'm sorry. And this one? I suppose you've had…" he thought on that. Absolutely no outlet for that mood at all. Her husband had died before she even knew she was pregnant.

'Well, you know, I have a lot on my mind to stop me from thinking about it, but trust me the need is still there.'

Need. Need didn't sound like such a bad thing. He had no business thinking like that either.

"Okay then. We'll ignore the pregnancy hormones for tomorrow. You call me before coming over and I'll be sure I'm fully dressed and presentable when you get here."

'Oh, I think you'd be presentable the other way, too. And you're probably reconsidering having me over now. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything.'

"No, I'm not," he said quickly. "Not at all. I did say it wasn't a date, though."

'You only do that on dates now?'

"Believe me after nine months my hormones are screaming at me the same thing yours are. Anyone else it wouldn't matter, no. You're not just anyone else. I'd only do that on dates with you."

'Oh,' she said softly.

"And I'm pretty sure more than the first date."

'I see.'

Why did she sound disappointed?

"So, you call before you come over."


"You remember the code to get through the gate?"


"You know, Amanda never had it."

'You probably assumed I'd never use it again.'

"Kind of, yeah. I also didn't want her showing up at my house in the middle of the night unannounced."

'Why not?'

"I don't know. It was how I felt. It's my house."

'Nothing wrong with that. Okay, well, I'll call before I leave tomorrow then. Are you sure I can't bring anything?'

"Just yourself. You can leave your wallet at home even."

'I can't, my license is in it.'

"You know what I mean."

'I do. Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow then.'


"You look very nice, honey," her mom said.

"Thanks, Mom."

"I'm glad you're doing something."

"Me, too," she said. "You should, too, you know."

"I was married for a lot longer than you were."

"That doesn't mean you shouldn't go out, too. You could go to a movie with Mrs. Schroeder or Schmidt. I'm sure they'd love it if you asked them."


Claire felt bad for her mom. Claire at least had her job to go to every day. Her mom had nothing except babysitting Justin. She seemed to be coping for the most part, but there were times she came home from her day at work and Justin while fed and everything was still wearing his pajamas. There was nothing wrong with that, but she knew it wasn't because her mom was letting him bum around in his pajamas all day. She just forgot that getting him dressed was a normal part of a child's routine. He could get his own pants on usually, but shirts were a little out of his league yet.

"Mom, Dad wouldn't want you to just sit here."

"Your father would want me to mourn properly."

"Mom, it's the nineteen nineties not the eighteen nineties. Dad would understand."

"It's different for you."

Claire supposed she was right. Claire while raised with all of the rules and etiquette guidelines her mother had been raised to abide by, so many things today just weren't followed as strictly as they were even for her mother's generation. She was just glad her mom didn't walk around the house in black all day long, every day. That would scare the boys. Her, too.

As much as she hated to admit it she put effort into what she looked like for the first time since Dan died. Oh, she always looked nice at school and everything, but she spent a little longer on her hair and makeup than she had in what seemed like eons. Never mind the dress wasn't something she'd wear to school to teach in. It was one of a handful of very nice dresses she had. (She was very glad she refrained from donating all of her maternity clothes because despite the fact some of them were perhaps a little outdated they were all still very nice.) Her mom evidently noticed, too.

He'd assured her when she called that it wasn't too early.

"You be good for Grandma and do as she says, including eating all of your dinner and going to bed when she tells you to."

"Yes, Ma'am," Bill and Justin both said.

She gave them both a kiss.

"Why can't we come with you?"

"Because you can't this time, Bill," she said.

"Did Mr. Bender not like us?"

"No, honey, that's not it at all. But sometimes adults just want to do something with adults. That's all. Mommy had a real hard Thanksgiving and I just need some time to be Claire not Mommy. Next time maybe, okay?"


"He had lots of fun coloring with you."

"He stayed in the lines better than I did."

"Well, he's a little older than you are. It's easier for him."

She kissed him a second time. "Be good for Grandma, help her with Justin."

She stood then, kissing her mom on the cheek. "Thanks again, Mom."

"You're welcome. I hope you have a good dinner."

"Me, too. You have his number, right?"


"Okay. I'll be back, probably not too late."

"Be careful," her mom said.

"I will," Claire said, not sure what her mom was telling her to be careful about.

She was going to presume she was talking about driving on a busy weekend and not about anything else because she didn't even want to think about her mom thinking about her having sex.

He'd told her about a slight shortcut when she called to tell him she was on her way. It wasn't going to save her a whole lot of time, but it would be a more direct route to his house than driving through Lake Bluff would be.

She grabbed her purse, a purse that matched the red of her dress almost exactly, once she was in front of his house. Wearing red was difficult for her, so when she'd found this dress while pregnant with Justin she'd snapped it up because it looked absolutely fabulous on her. It was one of the few red things she owned. It also made it very obvious that she was pregnant because it was really form fitting. She, thankfully, still had the figure to pull it off. She was one of the fortunate people who didn't get bloated or anything else. She just looked like she swallowed a big ball. And her breasts got fuller, but they did before, too, so everything she owned accounted for that.

"Wow," he said when he answered the door.

"Thank you," she said.

"No, thank you. I mean, I feel a little weird thinking you look incredibly sexy like that, but you do."

"Why weird?"

"Uh, you're not going to make me say that again, are you? You got kind of mad at me the last time I said it."

"Oh," she said, blushing. "No, I won't make you say it again then. I'll just say thank you and leave it at that."

"Thank you because believe me I really don't want you to leave now. It'd be a shame to let that dress go to waste. Come in," he said, stepping aside so she could do just that. "Your purse even matches."

"Yeah," she said. "I spent more money on both than I should have considering how seldom I've worn the dress and I have nothing to wear with the purse when I'm not pregnant."

"They are worth every penny you spent."


"Uh, yeah, really. Whatever you spent, you got your monies worth."

She stepped out of her shoes, leaving them by the front door. He hadn't asked her to, but she noticed the last time she was here that he'd taken his off once he'd gotten inside.

"So, going out to dinner won out, I guess?"


"You're dressed like that," he said. "Clearly, you want to go out."

"You mentioned a bar later. I don't know. It doesn't matter. I just enjoyed dressing up a little."

"Well, thank you. Let me go put something a little more appropriate on then based on what you're wearing and we can go."

"Okay," she said.

She went to his kitchen, setting her purse on the counter next to the fridge. She breathed deeply and made a decision on a whim. She walked to his bedroom door, settling her hand at the knob for a beat before opening it. She stepped inside, pressing back against the door once she'd closed it again as she took in his room. It wasn't supposed to be a bedroom, but he'd made it into one just fine.

"Holy crap," he said when he came out of his bathroom.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi yourself, sweetheart. What's up?"

"I was thinking last night."


"How stuck in your ways on that date thing between us are you?"

"Claire," he said, sounding sort of cautious. She couldn't blame him exactly.

"I had this image of you…" she sighed softly, eyes falling to his chest. He had a T-shirt on but hadn't put a dress shirt on over it yet so she could see him very clearly. He was big and strong and she could just imagine what his chest and arms would feel like. "Like that in my dreams last night."

"Like this? You dreamt about me?"

"Yes," she said softly.

She stepped away from the door then, walking toward him. He was watching her and he wasn't backing away so she had to think he was okay with her doing this.

"Was it a good dream?"

"It was very good."

"Yeah?" he asked. She reached for him then, taking his hand.

"Yes," she said.

He groaned softly as she settled his hand over one of her breasts. She leaned up a bit to kiss him and he more than met her halfway this time. Her lips parted about the same time his did as their tongues met. He moved his hand, cupping her breast through her dress, and she groaned into the kiss.

"You like that?" he asked.

"You have no idea," she whispered.

"Really? That gets you going?"

She laughed. "You're complaining?"

"What? No. Just surprised is all."

"I told you." She found his ear then, kissing it. "Hormones are terrible."

"Or wonderful I guess, depending on how you look at it."

"Dan hated it."

"Why on earth would he hate it?"

She shrugged, kissing his neck. "I don't know."

She slid her hands under his T-shirt, running her fingertips along his abdomen. He was flat and hard, leaving absolutely no doubt that he worked for a living. She slid her hands up a little further, bringing the shirt up with her as she did. She slid her mouth to his chest then, finding one of his nipples and licking it before sucking it and nipping at the skin around it.

"So, in August, if we hadn't stopped kissing?"

"I cannot say with certainty I would have left here without my clothes having come off first," she said, drawing his shirt the rest of the way off and dropping it at their feet.

"And now?"

"Do I seem like I want them to stay on?"

She continued touching his chest and abdomen. He dropped his hand to her hips then, tugging the skirt of her dress up along her thighs as he kissed her again. He slid the skirt up, over her hips so it was under her belly. His hands stopped there. She was bigger than she'd been with either Justin or Bill at this point in either of their pregnancies. Her doctor had done an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago to be sure she wasn't having twins. Thankfully, she wasn't because she was pretty sure she'd have a breakdown at the idea of two babies. His hands slid along the roundness there and she thought for sure that would be the end of it. She couldn't blame him really, she'd probably pull away from her too if she was him.

He didn't stop, though, sliding his hand lower from her belly between her legs. He groaned softly when he came in contact with her curls, damp now from her arousal. He grazed her nub with his fingertip and she cried out. He didn't stop, stroking her spot there a little harder. Hard enough she felt so good her whole body started shaking before she came.

She wasn't shy about letting him know she was either and judging by his breathing he didn't mind her reaction at all.

She slid her hand lower, to the waistband of the trousers he'd changed into so she could work the fastening there.

She pressed herself into his hand, encouraging him to keep going. He chuckled softly, finding her mouth again and kept going. He brought her over again and again to where she knew normally she'd be ready to pass out, but it'd been so long and her libido was so out of control right now that she just wanted more.

"Fuck, really?" he said when she grabbed his hand stopping him from moving it from between her legs.

"No, don't stop," she murmured.

"I was going to suggest, you know, the bed might be more comfortable."

"Oh," she said. He laughed again.

"Don't worry, I can do that all night."

"Don't make promises you can't keep."

"Oh, I can keep it. You're the one who has to go home."

"I know," she whispered.

She broke the kiss then, dropping her hand from touching him, and he slid his hands to her belly again and the hem of her dress there, sliding it up and off.

"What?" she asked when he sucked in a breath.

"Nothing, you just look very nice like that."

"Like what?"

"Naked in my bedroom, very obviously pregnant."

"You're lying, but thank you."

"I'm not lying. I like it. A lot."

"Oh," she said, unsure he was being sincere or just saying what he thought he should say.

He led her to the bed then and slid next to her. She watched, amazed as he slid a fingertip along her belly. The baby was moving a lot these days, right now was no exception. He or she evidently liked when she was turned on because it was the most active he or she had been in hours. He reached behind her, unhooking her bra so he could focus on her breasts for a while. He moved on top of her, well, as on top of her as he could get right now. He seemed to know without her saying so that he had to be careful.

She slid her hands to his head when he took a peak into his mouth. She draped her legs around his calf and arched into him so she could rub herself against his thigh. What he was doing with his mouth felt absolutely too good right now. She cried out as she came again. He gave a surprised groan himself then as she felt relief in her breasts, too.

Oh God, she'd completely forgotten about that part of finishing when her breasts were getting attention, too. Dan learned very quickly while she was pregnant with Bill to stop sucking before she actually came. If he did at all. He stopped after a couple of minutes and she slid out from under him to stand from the bed.

How completely embarrassing!

"Where are you going?"

"I'm so sorry," she said.

"About what?"

"Oh God. This was a really, really bad idea."

"Claire, sweetheart. What are you talking about?"

She grabbed her bra, groaned in frustration when she couldn't work the clasp the first time. He settled his hand against her wrist, stopping her from trying again.

"Okay. If that's all you needed I'm fine with that. I wasn't expecting any of that, so if you need to stop we can. Why are you acting as though you did something wrong?"

"Because you with your mouth. It felt so good and I completely forgot that happens."

"What happens?"

"Oh God, never mind."

"No, I'm not going to never mind. Nothing bad just happened."

"But you…"


She gestured to her breasts.

"Okay. Was it too much? You seemed to like it. Did I hurt you?"

She settled her head in her hands, shaking her head.

"You had to taste…"

"Taste you? Is that what you're upset about? You didn't want me to? I mean, I wasn't expecting it, I had no idea that could happen before a baby was born but I guess it makes sense it would. Your body's got to get ready and stuff, right? I'm not sure what the problem is. It's a part of you. What's the big deal?"

She stared at him then.

"What?" he asked.

"I just, I should've remembered and stopped you before that happened."

"Okay, next time if you're really that worried about it you can."

"It's just Dan…"

"Ah. Well, I'm not him. I mean, it's not something I'm going to rush out and tell anyone I did, but I didn't have a problem with it. I mean, it's not poisonous or anything. Is it?"

She laughed then. "No."

"I guess maybe it could be considered turnabout being fair play for women being expected to swallow or something. I don't know. You're like that all of the time?"

"I don't know when it starts, but yeah. And only when they're sucked on like that when I'm coming."

"Huh," he said. "Well, hey, it's part of life, right? And you clearly like it. I don't think I've ever made a woman come that hard before. And I didn't even do the hard part! All I did was suck on your very nice chest."

"I do. It feels so unbelievably good. I wish I could describe it. It's like I get a release twice. It's just really embarrassing."

"Why? I mean, I assume you fed them that way, right?"

"Yes, I certainly don't get turned on doing that."

"I should hope not. Obviously your body knows the difference between a baby sucking and a man sucking."

"It would seem so."

He ran a fingertip along one of her nipples. She groaned softly as he rolled it between his thumb and finger, squeezing a little so more came out.

"Really? This is what you're worried I'm going to get offended about? I'm not even sure much more than that came out."

He brought the fingertip to his mouth and licked it and she breathed in sharply.

"Hmm, you like that?"

"Yes," she whispered.

"Now if it came in different flavors…"

She snorted softly as he prompted her back onto the bed again.

"If it came in different flavors, babies would never get any."

"I think you're probably right."

He slid between her legs then, drawing her panties down enough so he could use his mouth on her. She came almost as soon as he licked her nub and he chuckled.

"Stop laughing at me."

"I'm actually not laughing at you."

"What then?"

"Man, after being with you a guy could really get a God complex."

"Well, God, you have months to make up for."

"I do, huh?"

"Uh huh."

"I'd better get busy then," he said, doing just that.

Later, after she'd finished more times than she probably had the right to, he stood from the bed and shed his pants. He took a minute to slide her panties the rest of the way down and off.

"They're even red."

"I know," she said.

"I should feel incredibly used right now, sweetheart."

"Do you?"

"No," he said. "I think I could do that again for another two hours and be happy."

"But you're not going to?"

"No, I do need your help, though."


"I, um, I'm not sure how to do this without," he said, running a finger along her belly. "Well, without hurting either of you. I mean, you say it's fine and I believe you. Clearly pregnant people have sex, I know this. I am just not versed in how they go about it when the baby is so pronounced."

She felt a little bad that she had done very little to him to this point. She'd touched him some, but while he'd gone down on her she hadn't used her mouth on any part of him that wouldn't be visible at a beach. He was clearly ready for her, though, and wanted to be in her that way. Besides there'd be time for her to do things to him later. Right now, God, she wanted him in her so badly she'd probably beg him if he made her.

She shifted onto her hands and knees then, scooting to the edge of the bed so he was behind her. She loved this position when she was pregnant. He slid his hands along her hips, running his thumbs along her ass cheeks before sliding inside of her. She lowered herself even more on the bed, lifting her backside to him even further and she thought he might have sworn a bit at that.

"Claire," he hissed when she clenched around him.


"I don't want to hurt you."

"You're not!"

"You're sure?"

"Oh, God, John, you're not going to hurt me. I promise. I swear to God I need you so bad right now there's no chance you're going to hurt me."

"You'd tell me?"


He chuckled a little at that, but didn't argue with her or ask her again. He gave her exactly what she wanted and needed. He slid a hand between her legs, fingertips sliding along her nub and lips there as he drove into her. A couple of times he apologized when she cried out at how deep he'd gone, but she pressed against him so he evidently realized it hadn't been too much. That's why she loved this way when she was pregnant. It satisfied exactly what she needed most of the time.

He came hard and fast, buried so deep inside of her that she swore she could actually feel him doing it. She tilted her head, resting her cheek against his bed, humming softly.

"Oh sure, you're the picture of contentment there and I feel like I just ran a marathon."

"I hope this was more fun," she said, lifting her head a little to look at him behind her. He hadn't stepped away from her so he was still inside of her.

"Uh yeah." He slid a hand from between her legs to her belly. "We're okay?"

"We're okay. We're very protected in there."

"Just making sure."

"I wouldn't let you hurt him."

"I believe you, but I'm not sure you were thinking too straight a few minutes ago."

She snorted. "I was thinking very straight."

"Straight for my man parts. I see how it is."

"They're very good man parts."

"I appreciate the compliment, but I'm pretty sure you bring out the best in them because that was pretty fucking incredible."

She groaned with a whimper as he slid out of her.

"Oh God," she said.


"I think I'm going to be a little sore tomorrow."

"Sweetheart," he said, running a hand along her ass. "I'm sorry. I told you to stop me."

"No, in a very nice way."

"Okay," he said. He slid onto the bed then and she shifted so he could lay next to her. "Why's he moving so much? You sure I didn't hurt him?"

"I think he had fun, too."

"That's a really weird thought."

She laughed softly. "Well, when I finish, you know, my body…"

"Oh, I gotcha. He maybe feels it then."

"I would assume."

He left his hand there. She smiled a little as she saw his hand move a couple of times in time with the kicks she was experiencing inside of her.

"I feel so used," he said.

"I know, it's awful, isn't it?"

"It is. I should call the police."

"You should?"

"Yeah, or I could ask you when we can do that again."

"Which would you prefer?"

"I have no desire to have the police come to my house ever."



"Hmm, how fast can you be ready to go again?"

"Faster than you can say John Bender."

"I find that hard to believe."

He slid his hand from her stomach to her hand, clutching it and bringing it between his legs. "Believe it."

"I guess I should."

"I feel I at least should offer you something to eat first."

"It's too late for that."

He chuckled, kissing her shoulder. "Yeah, I feel bad enough about that already."

"You're fine. I'm not that hungry yet anyway."


"A couple more hours of that and I'll be famished, I'm sure."

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