Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Of course, and lots of it! I wouldn't recommend reading this one at work, guys. That being so: there will be "gasp" a bit of hetero in here. Sorry guys, just needed for the storyline.

Warning: I do not give permission for anyone to re-post this story anywhere with any changes, such as: change in title, character names, storyline, etc. I will seek legal action.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com .


First Time


Kim Pritekel


Part 3

Present Day:

The silence stretched on as Randi finished cleaning up the kitchen and Shannon sat at the kitchen table, pretending to read the daily newspaper. Randi glanced over her shoulder at him as she wiped down the counters. She was irritated, as she wished he would just come out with it.

“What's on your mind?” she asked at length, the sweetness in her voice belying her true emotions, as per usual.

“Why do you think there's something on my mind?” Shannon asked, not bothering to look up from his paper.

“Well, perhaps because you've been sitting there stewing since I told you, nearly an hour ago,” Randi said, slapping the wet dish towel on the sink edge to dry. She leaned back against the counter, arms crossed over her chest.

Shannon slammed the paper down onto the table and turned to face his wife. “Are you seriously considering letting our son be a common laborer?” he bellowed.

Randi knew she had to keep her temper in check, as Shannon had already lost his. She took a deep breath in order to keep her voice controlled. “I'm not considering it Shannon . I've consented for him to do this.”

“So, you don't mind then that our son will be some cheap laborer for the rest of his life, rather than going out and getting himself established in some sort of respectable job, then?”

“Blake's chance at getting a ‘respectable job',” Randi bit back, using her fingers for quotes, “ended the day you decided it wasn't important to push him in school. He's opted to get his GED, but until then, Blake may as well put on his McDonald's uniform now and join the ranks.”

“There's plenty he could do other than working for some woman who wants to renovate her goddamn house, Randi!” Shannon exclaimed, shoving up from his chair and taking a step towards Randi. “This was one of the more stupid things you've done!”

Randi immediately felt herself shrink in front of Shannon , his words penetrating her subconscious and kicking into her well-conditioned state as Mrs. Shannon Lehey. Her head fell and she nodded, shoulders slumped. “Alright, Shannon ,” she said softly. “I'll call Canton tomorrow and let her know.”

“Good. Maybe someday when you grow a fucking brain our son will follow suit.” Shannon slammed out of the room, leaving a shaken Randi behind.

Randi felt the tears come, and though she tried to hold them back, she knew she couldn't so let them quietly fall. Her streak of strength and independence was over, the old Randi back in place, as it should be, no doubt.

The next afternoon, Randi sat at a table in the coffee shop nervously waiting. Her hands were wrapped around a mug of steaming coffee. Her leg jiggled, a way for her body to try and exorcise the nervous energy within. She'd arrived early, and each time the bells above the door jingled, her heart leapt in her chest, but each time was a false alarm. That is, until about three seconds ago when Canton stepped through the door, blue eyes scanning the patrons until she spotted Randi tucked into the corner.

With a smile and wave, Canton made her way through the maze of patrons and tables, reaching Randi's table and pulling a chair out for herself to sit. She'd been shocked to get the call from Randi earlier that morning, but had readily agreed to meet, even though her heart was about to pound out of her chest.

“Good morning,” Canton said, getting herself settled.

“Good morning. Care for some coffee or anything?” Randi asked, indicating her own mug.

Randi smiled, taking a sip. “When I was pregnant with Blake I absolutely craved the smell. After he was born, I started and haven't stopped.”

“I hear crazy cravings can happen. I'll be right back.” Canton stood. “Would you like a refill?”

“Please.” Randi handed Canton her mug then sat and waited patiently for Canton to return, her palms beginning to sweat.

“Here ya go,” Canton said, sliding Randi's mug in front of her and sitting with her own. They quietly readied their respective mugs then settled in. Canton sat back in her chair and met Randi's gaze. “So, what's up? You said you wanted to discuss Blake.”

Randi nodded, sipping from her mug. She glanced at Canton then quickly looked away, though she wanted nothing more than to be able to just stare and take in the familiar features – now grown older – and radiant beauty. Canton looked so much the same, just more mature and even more beautiful, if that were possible. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the wolf-like intensity that she once possessed in her eyes. Now, though the color was still stunning, the life behind them seemed to have faded.

Clearing her throat and thoughts, Randi again meets Canton 's gaze. “My husband isn't so keen on the idea of his son becoming a manual laborer.”

Canton raised a brow as she sipped from her cup. “And what about your son, Randi?”

Randi looked away, feeling ashamed at her own weakness. “Personally I think it would be good for Blake. He seems to be a very lost soul and this might help him get some things straight in his life.”

“Did you tell Shannon that? Explain it to him?”

Randi sighed, pushing her mug aside. “He doesn't … work that way,” she hedged.

Canton studied her for a moment. Though Randi refused to meet her gaze, Canton had seen enough to understand. Immediately anger surged to the surface, but she knew she had to be careful how she handled this. “How old is Blake?”

“He'll be eighteen in a couple months.”

“There you go.” Canton sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “He's almost an adult and can make his own decisions, Randi. Why don't you leave it up to him to talk to his dad?”

Randi studied Canton for a moment, a slow smile forming across her lips. “That's a great idea, thank you.” She wasn't at all confident that it would work, but she'd speak with Blake later. “So, what are your plans for the Gulch Ranch, then?”

“Well, after Grandpa died, I came back to settle the estate and got the property listed on Re-Max for rent, then returned home to New York .”

“So,” Randi said, her hands again cupping her mug, though more for something for her hands to do rather than because she wanted to take a drink. “You stayed on in New York , then?”

Canton could feel a heavy pall of tension beginning to form and regretted it immediately, as she knew her decisions were the cause. “Yes,” she said softly. She wanted to say more, to explain but something in her gut told her this wasn't the time. She just hoped she'd have the opportunity someday.

“That's wonderful, Canton ,” Randi said, a forced smile pulling her lips tight. She brought her mug up to take a sip. “What do you do there?”

“I have a medical practice in Manhattan .”

Randi was stunned. “What happened to engineering?”

Canton shrugged, fingering the handle on her mug nervously. “Things change I guess.”

“I suppose they do.” The tension was getting heavier and all Randi wanted to do was run. She needed calm and peace, the weight of stress almost unbearable for her now. “Well,” she said, scooting back from the table. “I'll talk to Blake and have him contact you either way, so you'll know if he can work for you or not in plenty of time.”

“Wonderful. I hope he can, he seems like a nice kid,” Canton said, also getting to her feet.

Randi smiled. “He has his moments, but I guess you'll be able to see that if he's your employee. Who knows: maybe you can get him to shape up.”

“I'll give it my best.” They faced each other for a moment of uncertainty. Canton could tell Randi wanted nothing more than to bolt from the room, but stopped her first with a hand to her arm. When she had the beautiful green gaze, she smiled. “It really is good to see you again, Randi. No matter how all this turns out…”

Randi felt her heart skip, but expertly concealed that fact behind a polite smile. “I agree. It's good to see you, too and to know that you're successful.”

Canton watched her walk away, and feared walk out of her life. Again. “Shit,” she muttered, running a hand through her hair. She was awash with the guilt from nearly twenty years ago all over again, and wondered if it would ever truly go away.




“You know I saw you in the supply room at Papa Q's, don't you?” Randi asked, she and Canton laying naked on her bed after a marathon love making session, as her parents were out of town for the weekend. Randi lay on her side, one of her thighs tossed over one of Canton's.

Canton looked up at Randi from she lay on her back. “What was I doing?” she asked, trailing random patterns all along Randi's back with her fingertips.

“You were having sex with some girl using a – let's see, what did they call it? – strap-on?”

“Why, little miss innocence, I didn't know you knew words like that,” Canton gushed with feigned shock.

“Yeah, I didn't until I asked.”

Canton smirked. “Okay, so what of it? Me and that girl, I mean.”

“Well,” Randi hedged, suddenly feeling shy. “How does that work? Why would someone want you to use one of those things? I mean, if she wanted that then why didn't she just get some guy to screw her?”

“Ah, my young child.” Randi cried out in surprise as suddenly she found herself on her back, Canton lying between her legs.

“What are you doing?” Randi giggled, slapping Canton's naked butt with her palm.

“I'm going to demonstrate the proper usage and technique of the strap-on dildo.” Canton raised herself up on her hands and looked down at Randi's grinning face. “Listen and learn. See, the purpose – especially in this position,” she said, slowly grinding her sex into Randi's, making the blonde gasp, “is to make things a little more intimate and close. See, this way I can kiss you at the same time.”

Randi accepted the deep, passionate kiss she received, her hands gliding up Canton's back and tangling in her hair. Though she knew they were playing, her body was responding to the closeness and intimate touch.

“Here's how it would work,” Canton said, her voice and tone like that of a teacher, which made Randi giggle more. “I'd reach down like so,” Canton reached down between their bodies, grabbing hold of her invisible phallus, making sure the backs of her knuckles grazed across Randi's hardening clit, which made Randi moan. “Oops,” she joked with a shit-eating grin, which earned her a playful growl from Randi. “Cock in hand, I'd guide it until I could slide that puppy in,” Canton pushed her hips into Randi, almost able to imagine just exactly how that would feel. Obviously she wasn't alone, as Randi's eyes became hooded and her breathing changed.

“But, what does it do for you?” Randi asked, her voice somewhat breathy as she opened her legs wider, her hands running down to cup Canton's behind, pulling their bodies closer together with a soft moan.

“Well,” Canton said, her own voice shaky as her body responded fully to Randi's. “The other end of the dildo presses against my clit,” she explained, grinding their clits together, “like that,” her last word was lost into a breathy moan.

“I see,” Randi whimpered, urging her hips up to meet Canton's with more pressure.

“Then I can kiss you like this,” Canton gave Randi's lips a teasing lick, “as I begin to move.” She moved her hips slowly, pressing deep into Randi with each move.

“Oh, Canton,” Randi moaned, pulling the brunette down for a deep kiss, their hips moving together, the bed softly creaking with every gentle thrust.

“You like that?” Canton asked, raising herself to her hands and looking down into Randi's flushed face. “Feels good, doesn't it?”

“Amazing,” Randi gasped, her world narrowing down to that one pleasure point on her body as Canton's own body massaged it.

“It's even better with the strap-on,” Canton murmured into Randi's neck as she kissed and licked, heightening Randi's experience. It wasn't long before the pleasure built and the need for release took over. Canton used her powerful body to thrust against Randi, both panting and whimpering and then crying out as climax hit first Randi and then Canton.

They clung to each other, both trying to get themselves under control. Randi felt emotion swell in her chest and she barely held back the need to tell Canton that she loved her. Hell, she didn't even know the meaning of those words, let alone what to do with them. Instead, she held her tongue and held Canton even closer.

“So, that's how it's done,” Canton muttered from where her face was buried in Randi's neck, making Randi laugh and hug her closer.



Present Day:

Canton lay in her bed, one hand tucked behind her head the other resting on her stomach. It was warm in the house, as she hadn't had time to fix the A/C yet, but she barely noticed, so far back in the past was she. She thought of the woman she'd sat across from at the coffee shop three days before and compared her with the girl she'd loved so long ago. Randi at thirty-six had blonde hair and green eyes, but that's about where the likeness ended.

The woman Canton had now seen twice was tired and sad. There was no life in her eyes, no adventure in her imagination. It seemed Randi had rolled over and died at some point, and now the shell that was her lived for Shannon and Blake, doing their bidding and nothing for herself. There was no there there, and it broke Canton's heart.

“Oh, Randi,” she whispered into the darkness of her bedroom. “I let you down so bad. I'm so sorry.” She couldn't stop the tears from coming.




Canton sat behind the wheel of her old Plymouth, tapping the steering wheel with her fingers as she waited. She didn't have to wait long. Randi walked out the front door of the school surrounded by her large group of friends, though Anne was really the only person she was talking to. Canton watched her, her gaze trailing over Randi's incredible body and beautiful face. Today she was wearing a skirt and stylish tank top, all of which made Canton's mouth water.

Randi broke away from her friends and headed off down the road that would lead her home, the subtle sway of her hips nearly made Canton moan as she watched. No one in the school knew that Randi and Canton spoke let alone fucked on nearly a daily basis, so Canton waited until Randi had turned the corner then got the car moving.

She pulled up alongside the blonde, reaching over to roll down the window on the passenger side, which was next to Randi. “Little girl! Wanna ride with a stranger?” she called out.

Randi stopped, an instant smile coming to her face as she walked over to the car and rested her forearms along the open window. “Hey, you! Where were you today?”

“I was around. Get in: I've got a surprise for you.”

Randi quickly got in, after a look around first. Once in, she leaned over and gave Canton a breath-stealing kiss. “I missed you.”

“Mmm, I missed you, too.”

“What's my surprise?” Randi asked, her fingernail trailing up and down Canton's denim-clad thigh.

“You'll see.” Canton grinned over at Randi, reaching down and grabbing her hand, entwining their fingers as she rested their hands on the very thigh Randi had just been toying with.

“I got my acceptance letter today,” Randi said, nearly bouncing in her seat with excitement.

“You got in?” Canton asked, just as excited.


“Woohoo!” Canton nearly ran them off the road as she leaned over to give Randi a quick kiss of congratulations.

“Canton!” Randi cried out, her heart pounding even as she laughed. “You're crazy!”

“And that's what you love about me, baby,” Canton grinned.

Randi blushed and looked away from a moment before her attention returned to Canton when her hand was squeezed.

“You could come visit me at Brown,” Canton said softly. “Your school won't be that far away.”

“I totally could!” Randi exclaimed, beyond excited by the prospect.

Canton drove them through winding roads and wooded landscape until finally she pulled into a densely wooded area, the sun barely shining in through the canopy of trees. Randi looked around, confused.

“What are we doing here?”

Canton grinned, reaching over and grabbing Randi by the back of the head and drawing her in for a kiss, which immediately deepened into the passion that had electrified their bond since day one.

“Let's go in the backseat and make out like a couple'a teenagers,” Canton said against Randi's mouth.

Randi chuckled. “We are a couple'a teenagers.”

“See? All the more reason.”

Giggling like school girls, they climbed into the spacious backseat of the old car, Canton pulling Randi onto her lap, facing her. Hands on Randi's ass, Canton pulled her in close, Randi gasping when she felt something pushing against her between Canton's legs.

“What the hell?” she asked, scooting back to see what the deal was.

“Surprise,” Canton whispered, taking one of Randi's hands and placing it on her bulging crotch. “This is for you, baby.”

Randi's excitement was a bit tinged by her nerves. She stared down at it, then unbuttoned and unzipped Canton's pants: she wanted to see it.

Canton watched as slightly shaking hands tugged her pants open and the realistic dildo was revealed, held in Randi's hand. Her gaze trailed up to Randi's face, curious to see what was going through her head.

“Is it going to hurt?” Randi asked, meeting Canton's gaze.

Canton smiled and shook her head, brushing some hair back from Randi's face. “Just like when my fingers are inside you, baby. Just a little bit bigger.”

Randi concentrated on the feel of the latex appendage, glancing at Canton with a devilish gaze as she began to stroke it, wondering if it would affect the brunette at all. From the scorching look she got, she figured it did. They shared a kiss that was equally scorching, especially as Canton brought her fingers between Randi's spread thighs, running her fingertips over Randi's sex, so hot it nearly burned her fingers.

Randi broke the kiss and moaned, her head falling back as Canton teased her clit through the quickly-saturated satin of her panties. In that moment, Canton took the opportunity to attack Randi's neck, laying a trail of fiery kisses and licks all along the smooth skin. Randi's hips began to move as her excitement grew.

Canton knew it was time and Randi was ready for her. She used one hand to grip the dildo and the other to push Randi's panties aside. She took Randi in a passionate kiss to take away the fear of what was about to happen. It worked beautifully as Randi's body relaxed, Canton easily sliding in, though she took it slow.

“Oh, Canton,” Randi breathed, eyes closing as she adjusted to the feel of Canton being so deep within her. She rested her hands on broad shoulders as she concentrated on what she was feeling. The penetration stung a bit, the dildo much thicker than two of Canton's fingers. After a moment, however, her body was ready.

Canton took hold of Randi's hips as they began to move, pleasure shooting through her as Randi's pushing down on the dildo put pressure on Canton's clit. Her eyes closed, head falling back against the seat, her own hips moving as she thrust up into Randi, increasing the depth and making Randi whimper.

Randi rested her hands on Canton's shoulders, her nails digging into the flesh as her climax began low in her belly, her hips moving at a frantic pace, the car rocking in time. Her body exploded, pleasure ripping through her as she yelled out, the cry loud in the close confines of the car. Canton followed soon after, both girls transported to another world as they clung to each other, Canton's head cradled against Randi's breasts.

An hour later, Canton held Randi in the backseat, the two sharing occasional kisses and caresses. “I love holding you,” she murmured, running her fingers up and down Randi's naked back, their clothing removed long ago.

“I love being held by you,” Randi whispered, cuddling in closer. “I feel so safe in your arms, Canton. It's like I can forget about all my worries when I'm in your arms.”

Canton sighed in contentment, bringing Randi's face up to hers for a long, loving kiss. There was no passion behind it, just promise and meaning. “It's never been like this for me before,” she whispered against Randi's lips.

Randi studied her eyes for a long moment. “Really? But you've been with so many girls.”

“Not since I met you.” Another kiss. “You're the only one.”

Randi pushed herself up so she could cup Canton's face in both hands, so much going through her head and heart. She didn't fully have the words for what she felt, but knew she could express it in her kiss.



Present Day:

Canton brought her hands up, wiping at her eyes. “What happened, Randi?” she whispered, tears still flowing. “What happened?”




Randi ran her fingers through Canton's hair as they kissed, slow and sensuous. Finally she broke the kiss, pressing her forehead against Canton's. “God, I love kissing you,” she whispered. “And I loved my surprise today.” One more kiss then she pulled away totally, gathering her backpack and the light jacket she'd worn to school, as it had been cooler that morning but had warmed up in the mid-May afternoon.

“I'm so glad.” Canton brushed a few strands of blonde hair away from Randi's face. “We'll bring my little friend into play again soon.”

Randi grinned then climbed out of the car, her sex a bit sore from her extracurricular activities of late, and headed into her house. What she hadn't noticed was the pair of eyes that watched from the front window.

Canton watched until Randi was in, loving the way her ass moved in the short skirt, then put the car in gear and pulled away from the curb, a very contented smile on her face.

Randi allowed her backpack to slide off her shoulder and down her arm so her hand could grab the straps. As she was about to mount the stairs that would take her to her bedroom, She was grabbed by the hand and whirled around. The slap came so suddenly that it knocked her against the wall. She looked up to see the furious eyes of her father standing over her.

“Is that where you been disappearing to?” he raged, pointing in the general direction of the street out front. “Hanging around with that little white trash dyke?” Another slap. “I will not allow you to embarrass this family like that, Randi!” Slap! “You little slut! You little lesbian slut!”



Present Day:

Randi cried out as she popped up in a sweat as she sat in bed. Her chest was heaving with remembered fear and devastation. She brought a hand to her chest as she took several deep breaths, trying to calm down. She hadn't had that nightmare memory in many, many years. Undoubtedly seeing Canton again brought it all back to bear.

She glanced over at Shannon, relieved to see he was still asleep, and her strong waking reaction hadn't woken him. Trying to decide what she wanted to do, Randi decided it would be best for to get up and leave Shannon be, as she feared if she tried to go back to sleep, she'd only toss and turn, and maybe revisit her childhood home, a place she didn't want to go.

Staying as quiet as she could, Randi padded her way downstairs to the kitchen, unsure what she wanted to do once she was there. She supposed she could start cleaning the oven, a chore she'd been putting off all week. A glance at the stove clock told her it was nearly five in the morning. At this rate, she'd likely just stay up and start her day early.

She decided to make a full-on breakfast for the men in her life, knowing that Shannon would be up for work in less than two hours, followed by Blake – if he got up on time – for his new job at Canton's place, an hour after that. She searched through the cabinets and fridge to see what she had. She pulled a pound of bacon out of the freezer to beginning thawing while she decided what else she could make. Both men had hearty appetites, so she decided to make eggs and bacon, country potatoes and homemade waffles, served with homemade jelly, as no one in the Lehey house use syrup on anything.

Randi tried to clear her mind as she removed the ingredients she'd need, setting them all out on the cooking island Shannon had installed for her on their eleventh wedding anniversary, a flat-top stove added last Christmas. She gathered the dishes and bowls she'd need, along with spices. As she began to crack eggs into a glass bowl, Randi's mind went back to her nightmare, unable to get the fury that was her father's face that evening out of her mind's eye. She'd never fully forgiven him for how he'd acted that day, but there was nothing to be done.

Even so, Randi's mind traveled past that day and onto the following day at school.




Randi hadn't seen nor spoken to Canton in three days, and it had been the longest three days of her life. She'd managed to avoid her at school and walked home a different way or begged for rides from her friends. She just couldn't face her and didn't know how to handle it. But, as she sat on the floor in front of her locker, organizing her backpack for the weekend homework, she felt a presence behind her and knew who it was.

“Where you been?” Canton whispered in her ear, squatting next to her.

Randi didn't look at her, instead continued with her task, though her movements had gotten a bit more aggressive than need be. “I've been busy, Canton,” she said, not an ounce of expression in her voice. “You know, we do graduate in a few weeks, and all.”

Canton was taken aback by Randi's coldness, and thought for a moment that maybe it was just because she'd approached her in a school hallway, a proven no-no. “Yeah, and did you happen to hear who happened to be this year's Valedictorian?” she asked, a cocky grin on her face, which went unseen as Randi refused to look at her. “Hey, what's going on?” Randi still wouldn't look at her. “Hey.” Canton placed two fingers under Randi's chin and forced her to face her. She gasped when she saw the bruise under Randi's left eye, a sick feeling clenching her stomach. “What happened?” she whispered.

Randi pulled away, shoving the last of her books into her bag then slamming her locker shut. She got to her feet, followed by a concerned Canton. “Leave me alone!” she yelled, green eyes filled with fire. “Haven't you caused me enough trouble?!” With that, she spun on her heel and stormed down the hall, quickly disappearing in the throng of fellow students and faculty.



Present Day:

Randi rested her hands against the counter and leaned on them, her head falling as her eyes closed. She took a deep breath, trying to keep her emotions under control, even though it was a losing battle. She felt the sting of tears behind her eyes and squeezed them shut, trying to keep them in: no good. A sob escaped Randi's throat as the emotions and memories came rushing back, including the memory that Canton hadn't even shown up for graduation, the first time in the school's history with no speech from the coveted Valedictorian.

Randi quickly tried to wipe her tears as she heard water running upstairs, someone had flushed a toilet. Likely it was just Shannon or Blake waking up to pee before returning to bed, but she didn't want to take the chance of being caught, lost in a past that no longer mattered. She'd made her choices and now had to live with them.

She focused on her task once more, beating the eggs and adding some garlic salt and pepper, as well as some onions and peppers she chopped up, then threw in some sharp cheddar for good measure. Setting the bowl aside, she began to mix the waffles. This she knew; this she understood and had control over. This was her domain, the one place where she felt needed and accepted. Taking care of her boys, the one thing she knew without a doubt she was good at.



Present Day:

Canton sipped her coffee from where she stood on the covered porch of the main house. She watched as a small train of cars and trucks made their dusty way up the drive, only to find random parking spots in front of the house. Doors opened as the young men and women she'd hired piled out, all looking around, hoping to find something to lead them.

“'Mornin',” Canton called out, stepping out of the deep shadows and into the early morning sunlight. “Glad you all could make it.” She eyed everyone before, pleased to see Blake Lehey was one of them. “I've got breakfast cooked up inside so go on in and eat up. We've got a lot of work to do today.” She stayed put, moving out of the way as hungry workers hurried inside. She knew they'd be pleased with the feast she'd prepared for them.

As the day went on, the building supplies arrived, as well as a team of construction workers and site manager and a trailer for planning. By the time the sun was high, the place was mass chaos: heavy machinery was in motion, including a bulldozer that was steadily knocking down the old building that had housed Canton during her high school years. She stood off to the side, watching. So many memories lived within those walls, all gone now. She planned to replace it with a guest cottage.

As she stood and watched, she was surprised to see a shadow walk up next to her own. She glanced over to see Randi watching the destruction, her expression that of a woman deep in thought.

“Gonna miss the old place,” Canton said quietly, getting Randi's attention with that statement.

Randi nodded. “A lot of memories in there.” They shared a look, the only time their shared past had come up. “Why are you knocking it down?”

“The place was in bad shape and just this side of condemned. It hasn't been taken care of and was trashed and pretty much rat-infested.”

“So sad,” Randi said softly. “How's it going? Is Blake being a real pain in the ass?”

“No, he's done great, actually.” Canton pointed towards the area where the frame of a new building was going up. A group of young mean were balanced on one of the support beams hammering, one of them being Blake.

Randi gasped, her hand going to her mouth. “Oh god!”

Canton grinned. “He's fine. They're tied in, so don't worry.” Canton studied the blonde for a moment, noting the way the high afternoon sun shone on her honey-colored hair, which was pulled back into a ponytail. “So what brings you by?”

“Well, I actually brought some lunch.” Randi looked around. “Though I don't think I brought enough.” She chuckled, turning to Canton. “I didn't realize what a big production this would be.” She felt Canton's eyes on her and looked to see the doubtful look on the beautiful face. “Okay yes, I also wanted to be nosey and see what you had my son doing. Fine, you got it out of me.”

Canton smiled, big and bright. “Figured as much, and thank you. You could have just come to spy or could have called. You didn't have to bring food, though I gotta tell ya,” she nodded towards the dozens of workers scattered about the property. “You'll have some happy campers.”

Canton, Randi and a couple of the guys set up a food station in the center of the yard, long tables set up end to end with the food spread out on them. A line had formed before all the food was even unloaded from the back of Randi's 4Runner. Looking at the crew, Randi shook her head.

“We won't have enough. I'm going to call for some large pizzas.”

“No,” Canton said, placing a hand on Randi's hand as the blonde had already pulled out her cell phone. “Let me. You've done enough.” Canton quickly ordered the pizzas then pocketed her phone. “More food's comin', gang!” she called out, grateful grunts her only response.

Randi went into mother hen mode as she made sure everyone had something to eat and drink, loaded plates for seconds and then went around with a large trash bag to gather plates, cups and plasticware. It felt so good to be useful, and the smiles and words of thanks she got made her shine brighter than the sun above.

“They all love you,” Canton chuckled as they cleaned up the tables and any leftover trash, the crew long gone back to work.

Randi grinned at her, wiping down one of the tables before breaking it down. “I can't help it. I can't go anywhere without trying to feed someone.”

Canton laughed. “Is that a ‘mom' pre-requisite?”

“You know, I think it is.”

They stood in silence for a moment, neither sure what to say. Canton tucked her hands into the back pockets of her cargo shorts, glancing over to see Randi was trying to keep herself busy by reorganizing things in the sacks that she'd be taking back to her car: extra plastic cups, paper plates and napkins. Canton's gaze traveled down the graceful slope of Randi's neck, visible with her hair pulled up. The blonde wore a simple cap-sleeved t-shirt, which revealed tanned arms that were lightly muscled. She was still petit with a flat belly and nice legs.

Randi felt eyes on her and turned to Canton in time to see Canton looking away. “Well, listen,” she said, feeling a bit uncomfortable and that she probably should leave. “thanks for letting me bust in on you guys like this today.”

“Busting in? Oh my god: Randi you were a god-send. I was just planning on ordering a bunch of pizzas and call it good. They got homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes and salad. Trust me, you didn't bust in.”

Randi smiled and looked away, her face flushed. “Alright. Just want to make sure that I don't move in on your plans or anything.” She met Canton's kind gaze. “I've been told I can do that sometimes.”

Canton looked into her eyes and saw that same sadness return that she'd seen at the coffee shop. “Well, not here. You're welcome here anytime, and I mean that. Hell, why not come and join the gang?”

“Oh, I don't know,” Randi waved off the thought. “I don't want to intrude, and I have absolutely no construction skills whatsoever. Besides,” she nodded towards where Blake and a couple of the other guys were taking a water break. “I wouldn't want him to think I was spying on him or something.” She winked at Canton, considering their earlier conversation.

Canton nodded with a grin. “Then how about this: I'd really like for you to see what I'm doing here and get your opinion on it.” Canton felt her heart speed up as she realized what she was about to do; she couldn't seem to stop herself. “Why not come over tomorrow night – when my kitchen should be in one piece again – and I'll make dinner. I can show you the plans and colors and all that.”

Randi felt short of breath for a moment, panic beginning to settle in. She took a moment to get herself under control, and before she could think, she nodded. “Yes.”

“Are you sure?” Canton asked, not missing the frightened green eyes.

Randi nodded. “Yes. I'm sure.” But before she could change her mind, she began to gather up the things from the table. “Would you help me carry this stuff to my car?”

Everything loaded into the back of the 4Runner, Randi slammed the hatch shut then turned to Canton. She wasn't sure what came over her, but suddenly she found herself holding Canton in a tight hug, their bodies flush. She closed her eyes, a warm comfort stealing over her.

“I'm proud of you,” she said softly into the hug.

Canton lowered her face into Randi's hair, snagging a quick scent then pulling away. She looked down into Randi's face. “For what?”

“What all that you've accomplished. For staying true to yourself.”

Canton looked into Randi's eyes for a long moment, then smiled, shrugging it off. “Eh, I'm too stubborn to have done anything else. Besides, you've got a great kid over there, Randi,” she said softly, nodding in the general direction of the worksite.

“Thank you. I think you're the first person who's said that since he was in third grade.” They both laughed at that then Randi picked out the key that would start the engine of her SUV, effectively ending their conversation. “I hope the rest of the day goes well. Maybe I'll feed your crew again soon.”

“I certainly won't stop you; your cooking was spectacular.” Canton walked over to the driver's side door with Randi, putting a hand on the side of the black SUV as Randi climbed in.

“Thank you. I love to cook.” She smiled. “Maybe I should come over tomorrow night and cook for you instead.”

Canton chuckled. “No ma'am, I got it covered. I'm not so bad myself, as long as you like lasagna, potato soup and baked chicken.”

“Well, if those are the three things that are on your menu, I'm sure we'll get along just fine.” With a small smile and wave, Randi closed the car door and started the engine, pulling away in a cloud of dust.



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