Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Silly goose. Of course!

WARNING: I do NOT give my permission for this story to be re-posted anywhere with change in character names, storyline or title. Parasite writers beware.

Note: This story may contain some violence, but nothing graphic.

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

Hope you like it Wendy!


Force Of Nature


Kim Pritekel


Part 3

Kyle looked around as she was led through the house, noting Rory's toys that were neatly stacked in a toy bin in the living room. The house was clean and neat with subtle clues that a child lived there, including the Thanksgiving decoration Rory had made during his half-day Kindergarten class .

They moved through the first floor and towards the stairs. She felt the tightness of nerves in her stomach as they ascended, her palms beginning to sweat even as they held onto her sketchpad and packet of pencils and charcoal.

"I hope this is okay," Jamie said, leading Kyle into her bedroom where a fire had already been lit in the fireplace. "It's the warmest room in the house with a fire lit."

"Yeah, it's fine," Kyle smiled, walking and looking around. She walked over to the window and glanced out over at her own darkened window. "So, this is what it looks like from this side."

Jamie chuckled nervously. "Yep." She stood in the center of the room, hands tucked into the back pockets of her jeans. "Um, how do we start?"

"You asked to see some of my work, so," Kyle raised the sketchpad in emphasis then walked over to a small desk that was tucked into the corner of the room. "If you'd like, I can show you some."

"Yeah." Truly curious, Jamie joined Kyle at the desk and flipped through the thick pages of the art paper, astonished and impressed by what she saw. "You are a really good artist," she complimented. She saw page after page of flowers, various types of cars and motorcycles, a few beautiful faces mixed in. "Wow," she whispered, looking down at the beautiful face of a woman who looked to be no older than twenty or so. Her large, clear eyes conveyed so much: innocence, sadness and sorrow. "Who's this?"

Kyle looked at the drawing, a slight feeling of panic seizing her. The woman was named Ashley, and had been a close friend of Kyle's during her time at DWCF. Kyle had never told Jamie of her stay at the state's hotel, and wasn't sure if it was wise to do so. "Just a friend of mine," she said, feeling guilty. Though it wasn't entirely a lie, it wasn't entirely the truth, either. "Her name is Ashley."

"Very pretty."

"Yes. Sweet girl."

Jamie closed the cover of the sketchpad and handed it to Kyle. "What do you want me to do?" she asked softly, her palms beginning to sweat as she wiped them on the thighs of her jeans.

Kyle looked around the room, trying to get a good fix on what would work the best. Her eye was drawn to the fireplace, knowing Jamie would look amazing against its light. "Come here," she said, taking Jamie's hand and leading her the short distance, gently tugging until Jamie sat on the rug in front of it. She looked Jamie over, eyeing what she was wearing to decide what she wanted her to do, and what she saw in her mind's eye. Jamie wore a pair of button fly jeans and a button up blouse. Kyle had to admit: she'd never seen anyone fill out a pair of button fly jeans like Jamie did.

Jamie watched Kyle's eyes, reading her expression. "What do you need me to do?" she asked, her voice a bit shaky.

"First of all, I need you to trust me," Kyle said softly.

Jamie let out a long breath then nodded. "I trust you."

"Okay. Good." She gave her the most encouraging smile she could, her gaze focused on Jamie's face. "My god," she whispered, bringing up a hand and gently pushing a few strands of dark hair away from Jamie's face. "Do you have the slightest clue just how amazingly beautiful you are, Jamie?"

Jamie laughed nervously, shaking her head. "No, but I suppose I'm glad you think so."

"I do."

Kyle brought her hands up, using gentle touches as she turned Jamie's face this way and that, studying the way the light hit the bone structure of her face, as well as the way the light reflected in her eyes.

"What do you like to draw most?" Jamie asked, mostly to help ease her nerves than because she wanted to know.

"Beautiful things," Kyle said absently, running her fingertips down along Jamie's strong jaw. "I'm not trying to molest your face," she grinned, "I'm the kind of artist whose fingers are very much attached to my eyes, so as I get a good tactile perception of my subject, I get an even better visual one."

"No problem," Jamie whispered, her heart pounding painfully hard. Kyle's touches were so soft they were almost like caresses, each one shooting sensation throughout Jamie's body.

Kyle could touch Jamie forever: her skin was soft and smooth, her facial features stunning in their complex combination of femininity and strength.

"So, you said beautiful things," Jamie said, talking to get her mind off Kyle's touch. "Are women included in that? I was actually surprised there weren't more women in your book."

Kyle grinned, watching as her fingers traced along Jamie's throat, brushing the collar of Jamie's blouse aside. "Women are probably my most favorite thing to draw. I think women are the most incredible things on the planet."

"Really?" Jamie sucked in her gasp as the top button of her blouse was undone. She asked me to trust her, so I have to trust her.

"Yes. They're all – well, most as I have seen some scary women out there – well taken care of and beautiful. Women intrigue me with their strength and intelligence. They baffle me with their emotions and absolutely reel me in with their feminine beauty." Kyle undid another button, her heart pounding as quickly as Jamie's was. She could literally see the brunette's pulse racing in her throat.

"What's your favorite part of a woman?" Jamie asked, her voice becoming almost breathless now. "And, I don't mean… you know."

"What's my favorite non-sexual part?" Kyle asked, amused, her fingers still working on the buttons, Jamie's shirt more than halfway unbuttoned now. She did her level best to remain professional as the soft, creamy flesh was revealed, and not dive in and feast.


Kyle gently peeled back the halves of Jamie's blouse, revealing a black satin bra, which Kyle suspected was the same as the one she'd seen a peek of weeks before. She eyed Jamie with an artist's eye, pushing the shirt off her shoulders, but not taking the shirt completely off. She wanted something that was sexy but not overtly sexual.

"There," she said, as if to herself. She took one final look. "Cross your arms in front of you," she instructed. Jamie did as asked. "Oh, that absolutely lovely." She gave Jamie a smile then answered her question, using her fingers to help. "I love this." She glazed her fingertips over the soft skin of Jamie's shoulders: down then up. She ran them up towards where Jamie's neck and shoulders met, gently dipping them into the dip of her throat. "To me, a woman's shoulders and upper chest is the most beautiful, sexy thing on the planet. Even more than naked breasts." She ran her fingers along the defined collarbones. "Though I must say, cleavage gives the shoulder a run for their money," she finished with a wink, making Jamie smile.

"Why does all this do it for you so much?" Jamie asked, indicating the area where Kyle's fingers still roamed, her touch almost worshipful.

"I don't know, to be honest. I guess it's just so very feminine. Men are big and hard and hairy. Woman," Kyle let out a sigh of complete love and admiration. "They're so different. Woman are so strong yet so delicate about it." She met Jamie's eyes with mischief in her own. "I could touch a woman all night and never get tired."

Jamie blushed, looking away. "Well, I'm glad you approve." Truth was, her heart had nearly stopped when Kyle began to touch her. She felt emotion overcoming her and to her absolute shame, a tear slipped from her right eye, followed swiftly by a tear from the left.

"Hey," Kyle said, dropping her hands. "Oh god Jamie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry." She felt like the biggest dog, essentially molesting Jamie right there in front of the fireplace. "I'm such an asshole," she admonished herself, moving to push to her feet. Jamie's hand snapped out, holding her where she sat.

"No," Jamie whispered, feeling like an idiot as she wiped at her tears, only for two more to fall. "God, I feel like such a dork," she laughed through her tears.

"You shouldn't. It's my fault, Jamie. I'm sor-"

"Don't you dare apologize, Kyle," Jamie demanded, her voice stronger than it had been all night. "I'm crying because I haven't felt beautiful in a very long time. Hell, I think I'd forgotten what it felt like to be wanted." She turned away, not even sure if that's what Kyle felt, but it felt good to say and it felt good to think that. She didn't want Kyle to burst her bubble with the truth if it differed.

Kyle reached up and gently swiped at Jamie's tears. "I can't believe you don't know how amazingly stunning you are, Jamie." She gripped Jamie's chin in two fingers and gently turned her face until she was looking at Kyle. "You take my breath away every time I look at you." Kyle couldn't believe she was putting herself on the line like that, but felt in her heart that Jamie needed to hear the truth.

Jamie took Kyle in a tight hug, deeply touched by the genuine affection she saw in her eyes. "Thank you," she whispered into the hug.

Kyle held her, understanding that something was happening between them: a truce of sorts, which was nice. "And," she said, wanting to lighten the situation a bit, "you are wanted."

Jamie laughed, playfully pushing Kyle away. "You're incorrigible."

Kyle nodded with a big grin. Yep, pretty much."

"Okay, let's do this." Jamie wiped at her face, her tears drying. She looked down at herself than at Kyle. "How do you want me?" Kyle raised an eyebrow. "God, you're terrible!" Jamie laughed, understanding that Kyle was playing with her now.

"Alright, all seriousness now." Kyle scooted back away from her to get a better view. "Turn your face more towards the fire and your body towards me," she advised, cocking her head this way and that. "Cross your arms over your stomach: they're basically what's holding your shirt on, as the shirt is about to slide down your arms – yes! Perfect." She reached up and grabbed her sketchpad and packet of pencils and charcoal, deciding on pencil for the first drawing. "Now, don't move. I'll try and be as fast as I can, but…."

"Whatever you need," Jamie said, holding the position she'd been put in.

"You know, you really should have been a model instead of a nurse," Kyle said absently, beginning her first lines.

Jamie grinned. "Guess tonight I am."

"This is true."

Given full access to gawk at Jamie's perfection as much as she wanted to, she had to fight herself from doing just that and actually get down to business. Her hand worked furiously over the page, smudging for shadow along the way. Even with a naked and horny Nicole lying on the bed a few feet away from her, she hadn't felt so on fire to draw someone. Something about Jamie – from their very first meeting – had done that to her. Jamie possessed a beauty that few – if any – had, and an aloof manner that made her untouchable and utterly desirable.

"This is coming out amazing," she exclaimed, her gaze once again reaching out to Jamie. She watched the wonderful rise and fall of the fullness of Jamie's cleavage as she breathed, focusing on that detail. She loving created each curve, each shadow and each sensuous line.

"What do you do with your drawings?" Jamie asked, trying to remain as still as possible. "I'm not going to show up on the internet somewhere, am I?"

Kyle chuckled. "No, you will not end up on the internet. In fact, if you like this, I'll frame it and give it to you."


"Sure. I'll just have to do more than one so I'll have one in my own arsenal, too," Kyle smirked, working on the tiny detail of Jamie's amazing profile. "Okay, I'm working on your face so no more talking."

Jamie tried to keep her face as still as possible, even as she had the realization that Kyle was essentially staring at her. It was both comforting and disconcerting at the same time to have such attention on her. She wondered what Kyle was thinking: did she like what she saw? Were there any problems in it? Was she happy with what Jamie was doing?

As though hearing her worries, Kyle said, "You're doing awesome, Jamie. I've almost got the preliminary details, so you'll be able to relax here in a few minutes." Kyle's head was a blur as she was so inspired by Jamie. She could feel the creative energy flowing through her, so powerful and energizing. "This is awesome!" she exclaimed, sketching the final details. "Done!"

"Already?" Jamie asked, stunned that Kyle could work so quickly. "Can I see?"

"Of course." Kyle crawled over to her, proudly showing Jamie the gorgeous woman she'd captured. She looked at Jamie's face expectantly. "What do you think?"

Jamie looked at the page, breathless by what she saw. "My god, Kyle," she breathed. She looked into the intense green eyes then back to the page before her. "This is unbelievable."

"Do you like it?" Kyle asked, her stomach knotted up in nerves. It was rare that she showed her work to anyone.

"I don't know what to say," Jamie whispered, unable to take her eyes off it. "This is so beautiful."

Kyle's grin was ear to ear. "Thanks."


Eva stood from the couch where she'd been sitting, rubbing Rory's back and running her fingers through his hair. He'd been dozing off and on, his mom next door with Kyle, working on some sort of art project. A look at the clock told her it was nearly eight-thirty at night, long past the boy's bedtime. Eva made herself not be angry, as she was thrilled that Kyle and Jamie were trying to become friends through art.

With a final look at her favorite five-year old – a blanket spread over him – Eva leaned down, placing a kiss to his forehead. Bleary eyes looked up at her.

"She'll be here soon," Eva whispered, hoping what she was saying was true.



The black Dodge Ram pulled slowly up to the curb, headlights long-ago turned off. The man behind the wheel was lit an eerie green from the bank of lights and gauges on his dashboard. The cherry on his cigarette glowed to life as he took a drag, the smoke wafting out through the partially opened window. His gaze went from the house to the motorcycle parked in the driveway, then back to the house next door.

Cigarette finished, he tossed the butt outside where it fizzled on the snow-covered street, then rolled his window back into place. He was glad he'd brought a new pack of smokes with him as he intended to stay for awhile.



Jamie and Kyle lay on the floor in front of the fireplace, facing each other on their sides. They both had a mug of coffee before them and were taking a break from their art session. Kyle held her head in her upturned palm, her gaze sweeping down over Jamie, who had yet to rebutton her blouse. The abundant cleavage kept catching her eye.

"So, you were a lifeguard, huh?" she asked, in response to Jamie's explanation of how she and her ex-husband, Joel had met.

"Yeah." Jamie smiled. "Crazy, huh? When I was in high school – and then during college – I worked as a lifeguard at the City Park pool. Kept me fit, had a great tan and the money wasn't horrible."

Kyle chuckled. "I'm trying to imagine you sitting up there on one of those tower thingys lifeguards sit on. Were you dressed in a red bathing suit like some Baywatch girl?"

Jamie rolled her eyes, sipping from her coffee. "Hardly. I've never liked my butt so I always wore shorts over my suit."

Kyle made a show of checking out Jamie's ass through her jeans, moving slightly closer to Jamie as she rested her hand on Jamie's hip before sliding it over the firm cheeks. "Hmm. I don't know; feels pretty good to me."

Jamie laughed, swatting Kyle's hand away, even as a thrill rushed up and down her spine. Even so, Kyle had scooted back slightly and they now faced each other with only a few inches between them. "So, anyway, Joel came in one day to pick up his sister, saw me and we started to talk. The rest is muddled history."

"I see," Kyle said, her gaze moving to Jamie's hand, which now rested against her thigh. "You have beautiful hands," she commented, running her fingertip over the veined surface of the back of Jamie's hand, then down along her fingers. "They're strong hands, very capable."

"It's funny you say that," Jamie said, using that hand to grab hold of Kyle's exploring hand. She brought the hand closer to her face to inspect it. "I think the same of yours. The way you fix things just amazes me." She grinned at Kyle. "I'm lucky if I can fix my son breakfast."

Kyle chuckled, her body pulsing with Jamie's gentle touch. When Jamie let go of her hand, she placed it on her shirt-covered shoulder, watching as her fingers slid down over the rounded edge, then down her arm until finally her fingers fell to Jamie's waist. She looked into Jamie's face, their gaze meeting.

"What's your favorite sexual part on a woman?" Jamie asked, her voice nearly a whisper.

Kyle's eyes fell to Jamie's breasts, which were pushed together in delicious cleavage because of the way Jamie was lying. Kyle brushed aside one side of Jamie's blouse, revealing the bra-clad breasts fully. She said nothing, just looked meaningfully into Jamie's eyes.

"Breast girl, huh?" Jamie asked, her voice somewhat breathy, her heart really beginning to pound.

"Since my days of breast feeding."

Jamie threw her head back and laughed, completely charmed. The laughter quickly died on her lips as Kyle's fingers traced the bottom wired edge of her bra cups. "So, considering your tactile-visual connection, I assume if you draw them…" Jamie's voice trailed off, a dark brow raised.

Kyle met her challenging look, responding with a smirk and a nod. She cupped one of Jamie's breasts in her palm, the satiny material of her bra smooth and warm. She could almost feel more than hear Jamie's gasp, the nipple quickly hardening as she ran her thumb over it.

"Would this have to come off?" Jamie gasped, her eyes at half-mast as sensation singed her from the inside out.

"To draw you? Yes," Kyle whispered, her thumbnail running over the raised nipple, sending more sensations exploding through Jamie's body.

"Do it," Jamie whimpered. "Take it off."

Kyle pushed Jamie to her back, following as she took Jamie's mouth in a deeply passionate kiss, her tongue pushing into Jamie's mouth, Jamie responding, their tongues at war in her mouth.

"Kyle," she moaned, as Kyle broke the kiss, her mouth attacking Jamie's neck.

Jamie's head fell back, allowing Kyle all the access she wanted, even as Kyle's hand fully cupped her breast. Jamie arched her back, pushing her breasts into Kyle, needing to be touched and claimed.

"God, you're beautiful," Kyle whispered, her tongue running down between Jamie's breasts, leaving a fiery trail through her cleavage. "Fuck!"


Eva fixed herself a cup of hot tea, trying to do something to keep her awake. It was nearly nine-thirty now, and she was tired and knew Rory was more than ready to go home and to bed. She was tempted – so very tempted – to storm over to Jamie's house and shake the young mother by the shoulders. Something inside told her not to, as she had a bit of a suspicion of what might be happening: she'd seen the way Kyle looked at the gorgeous young nurse, and Eva suspected Jamie's own feelings – no matter how well she tried to hide them behind glares and expressions of annoyance – felt similarly.

She sighed, stirring in some honey into the steamy mug. "Young love, perhaps," she whispered, blowing at the hot steam before sipping as she walked back into the living room. Her sigh was wistful as she thought of her Grace, her gaze finding Rory, who sat on the couch and didn't look happy.


Jamie watched, mesmerized as Kyle – on her knees between Jamie's spread legs – whipped her shirt over her head, leaving her upper body in only her bra. Jamie's eyes feasted on the picture before her, reaching for Kyle and pulling down on top of her.

Kyle moaned at the feel of their bare bellies pressed together, and so badly wanted to feel Jamie's breasts against her own. "I want you so bad," she whispered against Jamie's mouth, one of her hands reaching behind herself to unsnap her bra clasps, tossing the garment aside.

Jamie could only whimper, gasping as her own bra was pushed up, her breasts nakedly exposed. She thought she'd have an orgasm just from the feeling of Kyle lying back down, their breasts pressed together, flesh against flesh. "Oh god, Kyle," She moaned, her fingernails scrubbing up and down Kyle's naked back.

"I wanna hear you scream my name," Kyle breathed, leaving Jamie's mouth and kissing and licking her way down to Jamie's naked breasts, taking a rigid nipple in her mouth and batting at it with her tongue.

Jamie cried out, her hands burying themselves in thick blonde hair. "Yes," she hissed, her hips pushing up into Kyle's, which were cradled between her spread thighs. "God, yes. It's been so long…."

Kyle's body and mind went on overdrive; she had one goal and that was to give Jamie pleasure and make her cry out into the night. She reached down, cupping Jamie's sex, able to feel the lava-like heat through her jeans. Her mouth watered thinking about how wet Jamie likely was.

Jamie's breathing had become quick panting moans as she thrust her hips up into Kyle's hand as the buttons on her jeans were released one at a time. She froze, however when the phone rang. She craned her neck to look at the cordless that sat on her dresser, as though looking at the phone would tell her who was on the other line.

"Wait, Kyle," she panted, gently pushing the blonde away. "Wait."

Kyle pulled away, sitting back on her knees as Jamie scrambled out from beneath her, nearly falling headfirst into her bed as she struggled to get to shaky legs. She grabbed the phone, a look at the caller I.D. readout rolling her stomach. She took a deep breath, trying to get her breathing under control before bringing the phone to her ear.


Kyle pushed to her feet, her instincts telling her to get dressed. She tugged her shirt back over her head, her gaze locked on Jamie and her phone call, the pained expression on the brunette's face saying so much.

"Hi, baby… don't cry, Rory. Mama's here." Jamie squeezed her eyes shut, squeezing her phone between her ear and her shoulder as she quickly put her bra back in place and buttoned her blouse. "I'm sorry, sweet boy. I'll be there in just a minute, okay?" She smiled, the love only a mother can show, on her face. "I love you too, Rory."

Kyle walked over to Jamie as the brunette hung up the phone. "Is everything okay?"

Jamie couldn't look into Kyle's eyes, knowing what she had to do. "My son misses me. I have to go get him."

Jamie walked over to her bed, grabbing the jacket that she'd tossed there earlier in the day, when she'd returned home from work. Kyle followed her, watching as Jamie slid her arms into the sleeves.

"Is he okay?" she asked, grabbing her own jacket from where it rested near Jamie's.

Jamie was quiet for a long moment as she zipped her jacket. After a long sigh, she turned to face Kyle. "I'm sorry, Kyle. I can't do this."

"Can't do what?" Kyle asked, digging her house keys out of her jacket.

"I can't do this," Jamie exclaimed, indicating her bedroom, fireplace and Kyle. "I've made my choices and now I have to concentrate on my son. I can't believe I was selfish enough to leave him with the babysitter while I…" She couldn't even finish her own statement as she put the fire out then headed towards the door to her bedroom. "What kind of mother am I?"

Kyle followed her, snatching her sketchpad and pencil pack as she went. "You're not just a mother, Jamie," she defended. "You're a woman who has needs and wants, just like the rest of us."

Jamie stopped short at the front door, Kyle nearly running right into the back of her. "I can't afford to be so reckless, Kyle," she hissed, her anger at herself turning her voice hard.

It took Kyle a minute to shake off her shock, but she shook it off and followed Jamie out into the cold night, wondering where so much of Jamie's anger was coming from. She hurried after her, grabbing one of Jamie's arms, whipping her around to face her as they stood in the joined front yards of Eva and Jamie's house.

Jamie tried to pull her arm away, but before she could, Kyle had taken her mouth in a quick, but deeply passionate kiss, which she couldn't stop herself from responding to for a few moments before she regained her footing in reality and pulled away from Kyle, her chest heaving with her shock and arousal.

"Don't deny yourself, Jamie," Kyle said softly, then calmly walked past the stunned brunette, making her way up the few steps to the porch. After a moment, she heard Jamie following.


He watched the two women, anger building inside his gut. He wanted to jump out of his truck and kill them both, but he held his temper. Now wasn't the time. He did, however want to have a little chat. He removed his keys from the ignition and grabbed his phone before pushing the door open.



"I love you, sweetie," Jamie murmured, placing a kiss on her son's forehead after she tucked him in. He was already out like a light, and Jamie was kicking herself for doing this to him. "Sleep well."

She stood and walked to the doorway of Rory's room, turning to look back at him as she flicked on his Sponge Bob nightlight then flicked off the overhead light. Leaning against the doorframe, she almost felt like she'd burst into tears, so filled with love for her child. With a heavy sigh, she pulled the door almost closed then walked down the hall to her own bedroom.

The air had cooled down significantly since the last time she had been in there, which of course brought to mind images of lying beneath Kyle on the rug in front of the burning fire, a raging inferno blazing inside her. Her eyes slid closed as she felt ghost touches on her breasts and between her thighs.

"Shit," she whimpered, shaking fingers beginning to unbutton her blouse, as she had to do something to put out that raging fire.

Jamie froze when she heard a loud knock on the front door downstairs. Her heart stopped and she listened, able to hear the frantic racing of her blood in her ears. A second knock. She re- buttoned the two buttons she'd gotten undone and hurried downstairs, not wanting Rory to be awakened by the sound. The closer she got to the front door, the harder her heart pounded; she wasn't so sure she could send Kyle away a second time.

Taking a deep breath and steeling her resolve, Jamie unlocked and opened the front door. She nearly fell to her knees in panicked shock when she saw Joel standing on the other side. "What are you doing here?" she breathed, her heart pounding in a whole new way, now.

"I came to see my son," he said, looking down at his ex-wife with contempt and disgust.

"He's in bed, Joel." She took a step back as the big man stepped across the threshold. Jamie hadn't seen him in a long time, but even so, his six foot-four, two hundred and forty pound frame intimidated her just like it did during their stormy relationship. His being in her house took her back to a place she never wanted to go again. "I want you to leave."

Joel crossed muscular arms over his barrel chest. "I have a right to see my son and to make sure he's being raised right."

Jamie lost her fear for a moment as she scoffed. "Raised right? Right to see your son? Joel, you have never bothered to pay a penny to help `raise your son right', nor have you bothered to see him in two years."

"Yeah, well I'm here now."

"Leave. I have custody of Rory and that's not going to change. You have no right to be here and you have no jurisdiction in Rory's life whatsoever." Jamie could feel her anger bubble as the protective mama bear began to emerge.

Joel glared down at her. He knew she was right and decided on another tactic. "Who was that blonde slut with you tonight?"

Jamie felt her stomach drop even as her anger rose. "She's not a slut and it's none of your business."

"It is when you've got our son dumped off with a babysitter so you can fuck your little dyke slut!"

"Lower you voice, Joel!" Jamie hissed. "I don't want Rory woken by you."

"Mama?" Rory said from the top of the stairs, his voice small and scared.

Jamie glared at Joel but then turned to the stairs. "It's okay, sweetie," she called up to him. "Go back to bed."

Joel felt like an ass but wasn't about to let Jamie know. "Nice, " he muttered, looking at Jamie like she meant nothing more to him than a bug. "I hope your little dyke was worth it."

Rory ran down the stairs, needing to protect his mother, even if he was scared. He was caught up in her arms and rested his head against her shoulder even as he studied the big man by the door. He vaguely remembered him, an intense fear attached to the fuzzy memory.

"Are you happy now?" Jamie asked, holding her son tight and glaring at Joel. "You got to see your son, now leave before I call the police."

Joel studied the handsome face of his boy for a long moment then met Jamie's accusing eyes. "This isn't over, Jamie," he said, turning to the door and pulling ti open. One last glance at the two, "Not by a long shot," then he was gone.

Jamie hurried over to the door and locked it. "Bastard," she whispered, hugging Rory to her.

"Was that mean man daddy?" Rory asked as his mother carried him back up the stairs and into her bedroom.

"Wanna sleep with me tonight?" Jamie asked, setting her son down on her bed. She couldn't bear to let him out of her sight after the confrontation with Joel. At his sleepy nod, Jamie got him tucked in. "And yes, Rory, that was your father." She quickly got herself changed into bed clothes and climbed in, cuddling Rory to her. "Do you remember him, sweetie?"

Rory shook his head. "Just that he's mean."

Jamie's heart broke and she wondered – for about the billionth time in ten years – how the hell she'd ever let herself get mixed up with a bastard like Joel Johnson. It was a ghost that would haunt her and Rory forever.

"I'm sorry I messed up, sweetie," she whispered, kissing the top of her son's head. "I won't mess up again." She pushed images of Kyle out of her mind and forced herself to go to sleep.



Kyle sipped her coffee, cheek resting against her fist. As she waited for her brother to finish his phone call, her mind raced back to four nights before when she'd spent the evening with Jamie up in her bedroom. The night had been amazing, it had been beautiful and it had been one of the most frustrating and deeply confusing times of her life.

Since that night, she'd had little to no interaction with Jamie at all, the brunette seeming to purposefully avoid her. Each night Kyle hoped for a chance to even wave hello or goodnight to Jamie, but the brunette's blinds were kept closed around the clock. It didn't happen often, but Kyle had been rejected by a woman before, so why couldn't she just let it go? Right now she had Nicole, who was willing to stop in her tracks and open her legs for Kyle at a moment's notice!

Kyle set her mug down and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand before letting out a frustrated breath. She didn't want some woman to just roll over and cry "fuck me". So then what did she want? And, what did Jamie have to do with that want?

"Penny for your thoughts?" Mason said, tossing his cell phone to the table.

"I don't know, with the shitty economy, it's gonna cost a lot more than a penny," Kyle muttered, trying to be playful, but failing miserably.

Mason chuckled. "Fine: I'll give you a whole five bucks for your thoughts."

Kyle smiled. "What am I gonna do, Mason?" she blew out, burying her face in her hands. "I've had the worst fucking week: from the crap with Jamie and then getting laid off from the garage today." She looked at her brother. "What do I do?"

"That so sucks," he sighed, sitting back in his chair. He grabbed his pack of cigarettes and tugged one out, offering her the pack. "It might help."

Kyle snorted but grabbed one. "I wonder how this will taste."

"Probably like shit, but have one anyway." Mason lit the end of his smoke before offering the flame to Kyle, who leaned in until her cigarette began to burn. "So, what's up with the neighbor lady? I thought you were into Nicole?"

"I am. Sort of," Kyle muttered, taking the first drag from a cigarette that she'd had in years. Immediately her face wrinkled and she began to cough, quickly handing the cigarette over to Mason. "Disgusting!" she coughed, getting up and heading into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. She rinsed her mouth then rejoined him. "Yuck."

Mason chuckled, quickly sucking his smoke down so he could move on to Kyle's and not waste it.

"Nicole," Kyle said, getting back to their conversation. "I like her and she's one of the greatest fucks I've ever had, but," she shrugged, settling back in the kitchen chair. "That's all it is, Mason. A fuck."

Mason studied her for a long moment, thick fingers coming up to stroke his goatee. "Am I getting this right: little sister, you want something more than a tight piece of ass?"

"Frightening, isn't it?"she muttered, unable to meet his amused gaze.

"It happens to the best of us, kiddo. Just don't let yourself get bogged down with worrying about someone like that Jamie chick. It doesn't sound like she has a clue what she wants and that could get you hurt." Mason flicked some ash off the end of his cigarette into the plastic ashtray. "Let her go."

Kyle nodded, knowing full well her brother was right. Even so, something inside her was screaming at her, though she was trying desperately to ignore it. "Yeah," she sighed, grabbing her mug of coffee. "I think so, too."



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