Tight Spot

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Chapter 4: Final Steps

I woke with a gentle breeze touching my hair. I didn’t want to be awake yet. I pushed my face into the warm hard pillow. The lulling drum beat increased in tempo and my blankets tightened their hold on me. My bed smelt so good.

What? That didn’t make sense. I pushed my hands against the hard mattress and with some reluctance the blankets released me. My eyes cracked open and blinked against the glow of the morning sun. I looked in to Tank’s eyes.

I jumped backwards and he reached out to grasp me. The carriage swayed and creaked as I wobbled near the edge. Tank’s hands were quick and sure as he pulled me back. I glanced downwards as I remembered where I was. It was a long way down.

As soon as I was on the seat and calm he unwound his fingers and with very slow deliberate movements he removed his hands from me. Then he sat with his shoulders slumped forward looking at the floor.

“I wish I could take everything back Miss Kate. I wish I wasn’t who I am. But I can’t.” He shuffled his feet, “We should be at the farm by midday. Then I won’t bother you anymore.”

My chest tightened as I watched him deflate. I didn’t know what to say.

He didn’t look at me he just swung himself from the Ferris wheel carriage using his upper body strength to lower himself down to the pod beneath us. I watched him balance precariously as he climbed downwards. He landed on solid ground with a thud and glanced up to me. His face was creased with a deep pain and he turned away and went to start the generator.

While he was gone I took out the book and without any enthusiasm I opened it to the fourth page, 'Step 4 - Find other survivors, make a fort and defend it.' I wiped the tears before they hit the paper. Stupid book. I jabbed it back into my bag and vowed not to bother reading step 5.

We left the amusement park without any more words passing between us. He was silent. He was broody and sullen but he didn’t say a word. His whole body seemed to have shrunk. I stayed on my side of the car. My insides were churning. I still hurt but now I felt confused. My lungs were tight with this cocktail of emotions and I didn’t know how to fix everything. I didn’t know if I wanted to fix anything.

I watched the countryside slide past my window. It was beautiful here. The rolling hills were grass and small stands of trees. Fences still cut through the landscape and I saw the occasional group of sheep and cattle. It was unchanged. It showed no evidence of the mad world I knew.

We were heading towards a range of high mountains. They had no snow on them but were clearly wooded and made a stunning backdrop to the farms on the foothills. For some reason even the air seemed clearer out here. I breathed deeply and felt a layer of pain peel from me.

The Truck rumbled as Tank turned off the asphalt onto a dirt road. The sound of the gravel under the tyres as we bounced around on the rutted road, made me smile. It felt good and wholesome. I wanted to run in the grassed paddocks and swing from the trees and believe that the world was all good.

I looked towards the large farmhouse approaching and smiled. There was something right about this place. It felt like a home.

The truck slowed to a stop outside the house.

Tank turned it off but didn’t move. His eyes were down cast and his body slumped.

“If you need anything Miss Kate, just ask. I will do anything for you.”

His hand turned the door handle. Without thinking about it I reached for him. My hand touched his arm and he stilled turning his face to mine. I have never seen a man in so much pain before. Tank’s eyes were brimming with raw pain.

“Thank you Tank,” I whispered. “If you want to go back for Jay I’ll help.”

“Jay?” a tear slid down his face, “Ohh hell Miss Kate, I didn’t feel anything for her. It’s always been you. Just you.”

Before I could answer him my door was wrenched open and I turned to look up into a smiling face.

“Well what do we have here Tank?” the man looked remarkably like Tank, “Pa sent you to get a book and you came back with a babe, only you could get the two mixed up!”

I glanced back to Tank but he was already getting out of the vehicle.

“Miss Kate this is my brother Jed,” he mumbled as he looked over to his brother. “Jed, Miss Kate is a lady, you treat her nice.”

“Tank, you telling me what to do?”

“No Jed, of course not Jed.”

“Tank, honey?” A middle aged woman came out the door wiping her hands on a tea towel, “You brought a guest home honey?”

“Yes Mama,” Tank’s voice was quiet.

I turned and standing off to the front of the truck were two other guys. They were all shirtless and had obviously come from working in the barn.

“Well let’s get you inside young lady, I am sure you have had a long journey and you are going to want to freshen up. Jed go tell your Pa that Tank’s home.”

“No Ma, get Tank to do it! I got to clean up and Miss Kate will be wanting someone to show her around and get her settled in.”

“It’s all right, I’ll go,” Tank shrugged and turned but before he did he said softly, “Ma give Miss Kate my room, I’ll sleep in the barn.”

Then he was gone. His mother took my arm and led me inside while chatting but I didn’t catch any of the word she spoke. She took me upstairs to a room. It was blue and was dominated by a large book shelf covered in trophies, ribbons and awards. I ran my fingers of the largest of the metal cups.

“Tank’s a natural at sports. But his love was football. He had an offer to go pro before all this happened. The town threw him a party. I ain’t ever seen him so proud. He was devastated when we told him that the Tight plague meant that there was no more football. Football was his life. I have never seen him so sad. That is, not until today.”

I picked up a team photo and smiled at his beaming face.

“Tank’s a good boy Miss Kate. He ain’t smart but he works hard and would never hurt a fly.”

“I know Mrs Armstrong,” I felt the pain in my smile.

“Heck, call me Anne. It’s going to mighty nice to have another woman in this house. All these men drive me insane. I hope you plan on staying.”

I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled at her.

She pointed out where the bathroom was and bought me some of her clothes. I showered in hot water. I probably used the whole water tank. It was pure bliss. I shampooed and conditioned my hair. And for the first time since I left my parents house, I felt clean.

Tank’s mother wore dresses. So I picked one out of the pile that closely resembled the dress Tank had given me. It was too big so I looked in Tank’s wardrobe to see if I could find something to secure it with. His jeans were all in a neat pile and next to them was a pile of white t-shirts.

I absently ran my hand over his clothing. The rail held a number of formal shirts and a dated grey-green suit. I wondered if he wore this to church. I looked around the room and found a picture of him standing in that suit with his hair combed back and next to him stood Jed in a tailored black tux with a beautiful blonde on his arm. It was obviously his prom picture. Tank was grinning broadly at the camera while his brother held the girl tightly.

I pulled out the tie that was draped over the hanger. It was the same tie that he wore with the suit. I smiled as I tied it around my waist.

The living room was buzzing with voices as I edged down the stairs. I was nervous. What if they didn’t like me? I wanted them to like me.

All the faces turned to me as I fidgeted at the bottom of the stairs. Jed didn’t waste time. He strode over to me. The other two guys moved closer too but stood back for Jed. Ann was smiling and she stood next to a weathered man. He looked similar to his boys but his eyes were wise. At the back of the room leaning against the wall was Tank. He glanced up to me but didn’t hold my eyes.

“I don’t think we were properly introduced before,” Jed smiled down on me. His face was similar to Tank’s but the dimples were missing and his eyes didn’t hold the same promise as Tank’s. He was handsome, there was no denying that, but he was lacking something. “I’m Jedidiah, you can call me Jed. You sure are beautiful Kate but I can see I’m going to have to take you into town and get you some clothes. Ma’s dress and Tank’s tie don’t do you justice.”

“Let the girl settle in before you go dolling her up,” Tank’s father’s voice was gravelly. “I’m Drew, Miss Kate. I got to be thanking you Miss. Tank here tells me that you saved his life. I don’t know what I would have done if Tank didn’t make it home. He’s my right hand man.”

“Humph,” Jed sneared softly but turned away and covered it with a slight cough.

“Actually, Mr Armstrong it was Tank...”

“It’s alright Miss Kate, I ain’t proud. You saved me, that’s all there is about it.”

“Only Tank would need a girl to save him from a preacher,” Jed laughed.

“Mr Armstrong was my pa, please call me Drew,” Tank’s father frowned, “Well it seems you two have quite the tale to tell. Lunch is on the table maybe you should tell us as we eat.”

“There ain’t much to tell,” Tank mumbled.

“Tank’s right,” I looked at the plate in front of me and the table laden with food. “We met at the Council offices and he brought me here. Father John was insane so I’m sure Tank would have escaped. I just helped a little.”

“Tank couldn’t escape a wet paper bag Kate. Hey Matt, do you remember that time he got stuck in the toilet when we were playing that home game against the Rams? Matt here had to climb the wall so that he could do the latch. T’was the funniest thing!”

I glanced over to Tank. His eyes didn’t come up off the plate.

“I don’t know how you managed with him for all that time Kate. But don’t you worry. I’ll look after you now. After lunch we’ll take the truck. There’s a waterfall up the valley that’s damn near as pretty as you are Kate.”

“Excuse me Ma,” Tank’s chair came back with a squeal as he stood, “I got some work to do.”

I watched Tank leave quickly. His fists were jammed into his pockets and he didn’t once look at me.

“Yeah, he’s probably been missing his horses,” Jed scoffed, “The mare’s in foal and I ain’t sure the stallion was the father.”

“Jed,” Drew’s voice was low with warning, “There are ladies at the table.”

“It’s alright Pa, Kate here had to put up with Tank for all that time. I don’t doubt that she knows what I’m talking about.”

“Excuse me?” I turned to him. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

Jed laughed and held up his hands in surrender, “Woah, sorry Kate, sorry Ma’am. I was just meaning that Tank’s never been too good around the ladies.”

I could see from his smug expression that he didn’t mean that at all.

“Well Tank was the perfect gentleman to me,” I watched his eyes widen in surprise.

“Really? Well that’s something new.”

Jed’s eyes travelled over me, “So how about you and I head out to the waterfall?”

“Maybe another day Jed,” Drew cut in. “The lady is tired, even I can see that. And I want you to finish fixing the tractor.”

“But Pa the tractor can wait,” Jed shot back to his father.

“No thanks Jed. He’s right I’m tired. Another time.”

Jed smiled but his eyes were probing, “Is that a promise Kate?”

I just shrugged and started to collect up the plates with Anne.

“Hi, I’m Nate and this is Matt. But if you want you can call me Nathan and him Matthew, we don’t mind,” the nervous voice came from behind me. “Sorry Miss. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Hi Nate, Matt, Tank told me about you both.”

“He did?” Nate’s forehead crinkled. “Tank has never been much of a talker. I’ve never seen him say more than three words to a girl.”

“He told me that you were the Tight End and Matt was the Wide Receiver.”

“Yeah, that we were, and Jed was the Quarterback. Hell I miss those days. You’ll have to excuse us Kate,” Matt held my eyes, “We haven’t seen a girl since the world went all Tight. We didn’t think we’d ever see a beautiful woman again.”

“Well then maybe you should stage a rescue and go save those girls from Father John.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Drew said from the door to the kitchen, “If I don’t do something you boys are going to banging horns. Can’t have one ewe in a paddock of rams and expect anything good.”

I smiled but I felt like crying. I wasn’t sure I could stay here and watch Jay fawn over Tank. This place wouldn’t feel like a sanctuary if she was here.

I helped Ann tidy up as she chatted about her boys and her life. I half listened but smiled as she touched on Tank’s youth. I looked out of the window and wondered where he was and what he was doing. I wasn’t used to having him so far from me.

Jed was waiting on the porch as I came out.

“Please let me show you around Kate,” he fingered his hat, “I’m sorry for being rude before. We are all a little out of practice with talking to ladies. It’s just been the guys. I’m sorry if I upset you.”

“It’s alright Jed,” I smiled at him, “I’m not upset. It’s just strange being here. This is so different to what I’m used to.”

“While I show you the farm can you tell me about the city?” Jed put his hat on and offered me his arm, “I loved the city. I had plans to get an apartment and a job fixing those fancy European cars. But instead I’m stuck out here. Have the army taken back any of the cities yet?”

I shook my head and without thinking about it I took his arm. He showed me the garden, the tractor shed where he worked, the stables where Tank was often found, and we ended up in the barn. I sat on the hay bale. I touched the spiky dry straw and wondered if this was the hay Tank had told me about.

“Please Kate, we have to know. Is there anything left?”

“No,” I grimaced as their expectant faces dropped. So I sat on that hay bale with three men sitting around me and I told them everything I knew up to the point I met Tank. I didn’t touch on the time after as for some reason that felt personal.

No one spoke after I finished.

“It must be worldwide or someone would have come to help,” Matt’s said breaking the silence. “I was hoping that the rescue effort just hadn’t found us yet.”

I shook my head.

Dinner that evening was a sober affair. Drew spoke about the state of the fences in the West paddock and Ann asked Matt about the corn in the lower fields. The boys all were lost in their own thoughts and eventually we just ate in silence.

After everything was cleaned up I knocked on the study door. Drew opened it and welcomed me in. I held the thin book in both hands.

“Is that it?” he looked at it. “Are you sure?”

“Yes sir, this is it. I’ve read it all Drew and I am hoping that you will find some meaning in the words. I spent a long time finding it and I can’t see anything in there that’s going to save us.”

“I didn’t expect there would be. No one could plan for something like this Kate. The government can’t work miracles.”

“But...? Then why did you send Tank to get it?”

“We all need hope Kate. Tank was getting down in the dumps. I gave him some hope to hold onto. I know it was a risky quest and he might not have made it home, but I knew that if he thought it was important he would return with a new lease on life. I just didn’t count on you, that’s all.”

I looked at him but he just smiled, “I figure it was the same for you Kate. You survived because you believed that this book was going to make everything better, am I right?”

I nodded feeling a little silly.

“No need to feel ashamed Kate, we all need dreams. I betting you wouldn’t have got as far as you did if you didn’t believe in this here book. It was just lucky that Tank ran into you when he did.”

I met his eyes with the unspoken question.

“Are you telling me that you didn’t transfer all that faith you had in that book to Tank? Disappointment is a dangerous thing these days. That’s why I’m worried about the boys now. They have been living on their dreams and now they have nothing left. It’s not your fault Kate. They needed to know but if I don’t give them something to make them believe in living again I’m going to lose them.”

“Lose them? What do you mean?”

“Men without hope become reckless and prone to doing stupid things. If I can get them a woman to love then they will have a purpose again. But I need you to tell me where they are. Tank won’t speak about it.”

“He won’t?”

“I don’t know what happened in that Church Kate but Tank’s mighty cut up about it. I don’t know what I am going to do with him. He’s a completely different problem.”

“Why? Surely if you’re going to the church you’ll get Jay.”

“Jay? He ain’t said anything about a Jay. He ain’t said anything about anyone other than you. I know my boy, Kate. He ain’t pining after just any girl. He won’t get over this pain he’s feeling easily.”

“I... he... I can’t.”

“I know what he did Kate. He told me that much. He’s mightily ashamed of himself. Look Kate I can’t tell you what to do but Tank’s a simple man. He’s too trusting sometimes and gets himself in some awful situations because of it. But his heart is pure as solid gold.”

I nodded but couldn’t meet his eyes. I didn’t want him to see the tears budding in my eyes.

“Tank doesn’t want anything to do with this church or the people in it but I can’t leave those ladies to suffer at the hands of that madman. I going to take the boys and free them from him. Then it will be their choice if they stay there or come back with the boys. I just need you to tell me as much as you can remember about the place.”

I spent the rest of the evening in the study drawing pictures of the compound, the buildings and the rooms in them and telling him everything I could remember.

I went to bed in Tank’s bed. I could tell that Ann had put clean sheets on it but it smelt of him. I wondered where he was sleeping. The barn was a simple shelter. I missed having his warmth next to me. I missed him.

The days began to run into each other. Drew kept the boys all busy and when they weren’t working on the farm he had them out practicing with the rifles or in his study talking strategy. Jed took me out every day after lunch. He drove me to town to get clothes or supplies and he showed me some lovely places. It was different to being with Tank. When he spoke he managed to paint himself in the best light whereas Tank was just more matter-of-fact with his descriptions. Jed bragged about his achievements and abilities whenever he had the opportunity. I just smiled and nodded. I didn’t mind. Tank had warned me that Jed liked to feel important.

I had been there a week when I decided that I should have the job of feeding the chickens. I picked up the bucket of scraps and headed towards the coop which was out behind the stables. It was going to be a beautiful day. The sky was already a crisp blue and the sun warmed my skin.

“What the hell did you do to her Tank?”

That was Jed’s voice. I slowed my steps and leaned against the stable wall.

“Nothing,” Tank mumbled back as he did when his brother was talking to him.

“You shoved your dick into her didn’t you? Hell Tank. You put her off sex!”

Tank didn’t answer him.

“You did! You fcuking dog! Can’t keep your dick to yourself can you? Well you can stay away from her! She better be begging for my cock soon! Hell I done just about everything to get her all wet and she still is as stiff as a board.”

“She ain’t sleeping with you?”

“Fcuk off Tank! Just cause you had her first that don’t mean nothing! She’s mine Tank. I put up with you fcuk around with the cheerleaders because I didn’t have a choice but I’m King here. She’ll see that soon enough.”

“Don’t hurt her Jed.”

“What’s it to you Tank? You haven’t fallen in love with her have you? Hell I knew you were dumb but I didn’t think you were that stupid. Like you could hold a woman like that Tank. You’re a dick Tank. That’s all.”

“I know Jed.”

“So you keep away from Kate and get over your little fantasy. It’s pathetic.”

I turned the corner of the stables to find Tank slumped against a wall his head handing low as Jed stood over him.

“Baby! What are you doing out here?” Jed smiled broadly as he saw me.

Tank just turned away.

“Don’t. Call. Me. Baby.” I said the words with deliberate emphasis. “And don’t talk to Tank like that!”

“What?” Jed laughed

“It’s alright Miss Kate, it ain’t nothing I don’t deserve.”

“Come on Kate, Tank and I are cool. He just gets confused sometimes and needs to be set straight.”

“You are the one who is confused Jed,” I glared at him. “I won’t ever beg you for anything.”

“Shit, you heard that? Hell Kate, I don’t mean it like that. That’s just us guys talking. You know how guys talk, right?”

“No Jed that’s just you talking.”

“Kate, don’t get all upset,” he shrugged, “Tank needs things explained in simple terms.”

“Tank isn’t stupid Jed.”

“What? You are joking right? Tank hasn’t got two brain cells to rub together. He’s as simple as they come.”

“You are wrong,” My voice was quiet as I held Tanks eyes. “If you think that you don’t know him at all.”

“Miss Kate, you don’t have to defend me.”

“Kate, come on! You’re a smart woman surely you can see he’s thick as a brick.”

“No Jed, Tank is smart and resourceful and brave. He’s a good man.”

“Now I know you are joking!” he looked between Tank and I, “I mean look at him. He can’t even dress himself in the mornings. I mean seriously it’s the same every day. Kate you don’t have to feel sorry for him.”

“I don’t feel sorry for him,” I said looking into the depths of his eyes.

“Look I know that he got you here and I am grateful to him for that. I mean if he didn’t we wouldn’t have met and that’s something to be thankful for.”

Tank’s right eye flinched.

“I’m not here for you Jed.”

“Ohh but Baby, you will be,” Jed laughed.

“Don’t call her Baby,” Tank growled.

“What? Tank? Did you speak back to me? I’m the Quarterback, Tank.”

“There ain’t no football anymore Jed,” Tank’s shoulders were squared and he was drawing himself back up.

“Shut up Tank. Football might be gone but you ain’t nothing! You’re just a dick, only good for fcuking. And you fcuk everything up.”

Tank dropped his eyes from mine and his shoulders sank again.

“Jed, How dare you say that!”

“Why not? It’s true! Hell I loved Beth but every time I did the slightest thing wrong she’d be jumping his bones! She was my girlfriend and she couldn’t keep her paws off my brother! He’s so dumb that he couldn’t see that they the whole cheer squad used his dick to keep their boyfriends in line. The whole team hated him and he couldn’t see it.”

“I didn’t mean to Jed. Not with Beth.”

“Yes you did. If she wanted anything from me all she had to do was start bragging about how big you were and what you could do for her in bed! She had me by the balls and it was all because you are a dick!”

“I didn’t mean it. I knew how you felt about her. There was only the once and that was an accident. The girls tricked me.”

“Yeah, whatever. They flaunted you as their property. And like the moron you are you let them.”

“I’m sorry Jed,” Tank shuffled his feet. “I get everything wrong.”

“Yes you do. So you just stay away from Kate.”

“Jed,” I interrupted, “Don’t speak for me. I’m not yours to command. Tank is a good man and if he said it was an accident then it was an accident.”

“Ohh I get it,” he rolled his eyes, “I suppose I should have seen this coming. You want to ride on the Tank. Go on fcuk him. Get it out of your system. When you realise that he’s all meat you’ll come crawling back to me. Hell, I thought you had more class than that but you are just as much of a whore as...”

He didn’t finish the sentence because Tank’s fist silenced him. He stumbled back against the stable door.

“You hit me?” Jed screeched.

“Don’t speak to Miss Kate like that,” Tank’s voice was shaking with his fury. “She’s a better woman than you deserve.”

“Hell then how do you hope to deserve her Tank?”

“I don’t. I don’t deserve her.”

“Yes you do,” I whispered.

His eyes came to me quickly.

“What? You want him?” Jed laughed.

“Yes. Yes, I want Tank.”

“Miss Kate you don’t have to say that. I don’t think I could live through losing you again. You don’t have to...”

I stepped forward and put my fingers on his lips, “You’re a good man Tank. You are everything I’ve ever wanted in a man. You make me laugh, you make me feel safe and I love you.”

Tank didn’t say anything as I removed my fingers. His took a deep gulp.

“You have to be joking?” Jed scoffed in the background. “How can you love him? He’s a fool.”

I let my fingers trail over his jaw line.

“He’s right Miss Kate,” Tank’s whisper was husky. “I am a fool.”

“See, See, even he admits it! You won’t be satisfied with him.”

“I was a fool to let her touch me. I was a fool to forget what was important. I was a fool Miss Kate.”

“Yes you were Tank. But you won’t do that again.”

“No Ma’am.”

I smiled, “Then you are my fool and I don’t plan on letting you go.”

“He’s a dick, a piece of meat. What are you going to do once the sex becomes routine?”

I turned to Jed so that I was in front of Tank, “Don’t you speak about my man like that. Tank is mine now and it’s about time you started treating him better Jed.”

“You can’t choose him over me, he’s..,” he was going to stay more but I still had the scrap bucket in my hand.

I upended that bucket onto him. The scraps and gooey liquid sloshed all over his face and down his chest.

“If I ever hear you saying anything bad about Tank again I will give you far worse than a bucket of scraps Jed Armstrong!”

“Fine, you deserve each other! Don’t come crawling back to me Kate when you want a real man in your life.”

“I suggest you leave now Jed,” Tank threatened, “I won’t take you insulting my girlfriend.”

Jed huffed and strode off.

I turned to Tank. His eyes were on the floor, “You don’t have to be my girlfriend if you don’t want. I didn’t mean to...”

I planted my lips on his and silenced him with a kiss. He groaned and his arms pulled me closer as his tongue entered my mouth. My hands went to his hair and shoulders as my heart soared.

“Ohh Baby,” he groaned then pulled away from me. “Sorry Miss Kate. I won’t call you that anymore.”

I smiled at him and stepping back into his arms, “Call me your love.”

“My love?”

I smiled, “Yes or maybe your wife.”


“Do you still want to marry me?”

“Yes, but...?”

“Will you love me, protect me and cherish me all your life?”

“Yes of course.”

“Even if I’m sick?”


“With you be a father to our children Tank?”

“Ohh Miss Kate, you can’t mean?”

“Will you, Franklin Joshua Armstrong promise me all these things in front of your family?”

“Yes my love.”

“Then you are my husband and I will never let you go again. I love you Tank.”

He picked me up and carried me towards the house.

“I’m getting married Ma!” He gushed as we passed his mother in the Kitchen. But he didn’t pause he bounded up the stairs and straight into his room.

He dropped me to stand in front of him and he shut the door. His lips fell on mine before the door clicked into place. His hands worked to free me of my clothes.

“Tank if you so much as look as another girl ever again, I’m going to very pissed,” I murmured as he kissed down my neck.

“Yes my love, I won’t be that dumb again. I belong to you Miss Kate. I’m yours. Just don’t cut me off again. I want you to yell and scream at me if I do something wrong. I don’t know how to fix things when you go all quiet. And my love, I don’t want Jed touching you. You are mine to touch.”

“Ohh Tank, Jed didn’t touch me.”

“Yeah, he did. Every time his skin touched yours I wanted to punch his lights out.”

I couldn’t help but smile at him.

“But you know I have never let another man touch me like you touch me.”

“Yes Ma’am, and that makes me feel 10 foot tall and bullet proof. I love you Miss Kate and I’ll never let anything happen like that again.”

“I know you won’t Tank. Now make love to me,” I whispered as I led him to the bed.

“Yes Ma’am,” He gathered me up in his arms and I could feel his erection throbbing against me. “Are you sure that you’re all better? I hurt you last time and don’t want to...” he groaned as I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled him to my entrance.

He looked down at me as he eased himself into me. His eyes were brimming with love and I knew that he was mine. He might have made a mistake but I trusted him not to do that again. He wouldn’t hurt me again.

“I missed you so much, my love,” Tank kissed me as our hips danced together.

He lowered himself down so that his weight was on me and our skin was flush. My hands went to his hips and my fingers pulled themselves down to his ass. It was tight as he worked to drill me with his sex. His chest muscles felt so smooth and hard as they moulded into my soft skin.

I kissed his shoulders and the taut plains of his chest.

“Brand me, darling, brand me as yours,” he groaned.

I kissed him at the base of his neck and sucked and applied my teeth. His back arched as I did. He growled and his fingers dug into me. He held me, supporting my shoulders and head, as I gave him the hickey. When my lips left him there was a red welt as evidence of my passion.

“Your turn, mark me Tank. Show everyone I am only for you.”

He didn’t need any more encouragement. His head fell to my shoulder and he bit me and sucked my skin. The pain and the pleasure was intense. He drove into me as he bit me and my body overflowed.

I couldn’t let this man go. I had to hold onto him. I clenched around him as my body sought to combine with him. I wanted us to be one. I wanted to have him inside me like this forever. He pushed harder and faster and the spot his erection was rubbing and the spot he was sucking had my body melt. I gave into the feelings he was evoking within me and I burst into flames.

My fingers sank themselves into his ass cheeks as I urged him to sink deeper. He bucked his hips so that they were straining against mine as I sang out his name.

He lifted his mouth from my neck and smiled at me as he stayed fully ensconced in me.

“You belong to me my love. You better marry me because I ain’t gonna let you out of this bed without my ring on your finger.”

“Is that a promise?”

He smiled, “I might not let you out even after you got it on your finger.”

I laughed and he groaned and his eyes widened as my abdomen muscles moved against his manhood that was still buried in me. He slammed himself into me as his face showed his surprise. He thrust himself deep into me again and came with my name on his lips.

“Ohh, I definitely ain’t gonna let you out of this bed!”

He pulled me back to his lips and he kissed me thoroughly. It wasn’t long before he was inside me again. His large hands didn’t leave my skin and his lips constantly sought mine as he made love to me with just as much devotion as I felt. He whispered his love for me and his desire as we sealed our promises to each other. We pledged ourselves to each other in the most intimate way possible and in every position possible. He kept me in bed all day.

“Tank! For fcuks sake Tank, give her a break!” Jed’s voice filtered through the door, “And Pa wants to see you both in the study.”

“In a minute Jed,” Tank yelled back as he held my hips and thrust into me from behind. On my hands and knees I laughed with embarrassment which had Tank throwing his head back and slamming into me with desperation.

“Ohh hell,” the voice from the hall groaned, “If anyone wants me I’ll be in the shower, again.”

I bit my lip and blushed.

“I like it when you laugh,” Tank said as he slid from me and collapsed on the bed. “Hell, I like everything you do. You make me feel so good, my love. I ain’t never felt this satisfied before.”

“Well I’m not allowed out of bed,” I smiled at him and held up my left hand pointing at my empty ring finger.

“Ohh shit, I forgot, sorry Miss Kate.” He jumped off the bed and picked up his jeans while fishing around in the pocket.

He pulled out a ring and turned to me smiling.

“You kept it in your pocket?”

He smiled a little sheepish as me, “I love you and I hurt. I carried it because it made me remember what I had done. What I had lost.”

He dropped to one knee. Naked and still wet with our sex he proposed to me.

“Kate, I promise to love you for all my life. I promise to try never to be an idiot. I just want to be your man and I’ll do everything I can to try to deserve you. Marry me Kate?”

I wrapped my hand around his jaw and smoothed away the lines on his face, “I love you too Tank and I’ll be proud to be your wife.”

He let out a loud whoop of exhilaration and grinned a broad grin as he pushed the ring onto my finger. We kissed each other as we slowly helped each other with our clothing.

His father was waiting in the study.

“Pa, Miss Kate is gonna marry me,” Tank smiled shyly.

“So I hear. I wanted to talk to you about that. There will be no divorce in my house. So if this is all about sex you better enjoy that without any talk about Marriage. If you marry then you do it for more than the physical reasons.”

“Yes Pa. I love her and I wouldn’t divorce her.”

“I know that Tank. Do you want to go help your Ma, I want to talk with Kate.”

I reached out and took Tank’s hand as he was about to stand to leave. I held it firmly, “Drew, I love Tank and I respect him. I won’t have any secrets from him. So if you have something to say you can say it to us both.”

He looked at me, “You love him? Alright. I’ll say this to you both. He is a good man Kate. If you leave him or find one of the other boys more to your liking, it will kill him. He’s gonna be this devoted to you all his life. His heart won’t take you being untrue to him. I know he’s done his share of cheating but he didn’t think about it like that. If you cheat on him, his heart will shatter.”

“Pa,” Tank whined as he grimaced.

“It’s the truth Tank. You are sensitive and you have fallen for her hard. She has to know what’s at stake if she isn’t in love with you. I got to know that my boy isn’t going to be hurt.”

“I love him Drew,” I smiled at Tank whose face relaxed, “It’s more than sex. There is so much more to him than that. I can see the man he is Drew and I love that man. I am devoted to him and I won’t be letting him go.”

Drew smiled, “Thank God! I am so happy for you both. But with you two making me a grandchild all day I have a house of horny boys all growling at each other. I’ll hear your vows to each other tonight because I got to get these young rams out of here while you two honeymoon. We’ll be off to rescue those girls tomorrow. That should give you a couple of days to pound the hell out of each other.”

He laughed while I blushed at his frankness. Tank leaned over and kissed me.

“Now go and tell your mother that she better be cooking up a wedding feast and finding her old wedding dress for you to wear.”

We left the study and Tank picked me up and spun me around in the hall outside.

“I love you Miss Kate,” his eyes were brimming with tears of joy.

I kissed him and we leaned our foreheads together as Tank fought to get his emotions back under control.

“I love you Tank, I’m not ashamed of your tears. You can cry.”

“I’m so darn happy,” he sniffed.

I threaded my hand in his and we walked out to tell his mother our news with us both crying out our joy.

We were married that evening. Tank wore his grey-green suit and tie and I wore his mother’s dress with some hastily made alterations tacked into it. We looked comical but I didn’t care. Tank grinned like his face was going to split in half and he stumbled on the words he had to say. But he said them and he meant them. When he slid the wedding band on my finger my heart melted.

I might not have saved humanity.

I might not have saved the world.

But I saved myself.

I found exactly what I was looking for and it wasn’t that book.

Tank picked me up and kissed me in front of his family and I knew I was saved.

Now we just had to work on the final step in the manual...

'Step 5 - Procreate'

The End.

Author Note -

This short story was written in 2011. It was meant to be a taster for a series of novels that I still haven't written - they are on my to-do-list. It was written very quickly and wasn't edited. Please enjoy it as such. I believe that this is the beauty of these websites - you get to see raw manuscripts before any polishing is done!

I would also like to address the question/comment that I hear from many readers. Tank cheated. Yes. He did. This, I believe, was consistent with his personality, his intellectual disability, and his life. Tank isn't like other men. His mind isn't that of a grown up and he doesn't fully understand consequences. He was passed around by women his whole life and this was how he understood sex. He didn't know how to say 'no' to women and it wouldn't have crossed his mind that he shouldn't have - despite how he felt about Kate. He is a simple man. He doesn't understand complexities like relationships and love. He 'loves' Kate but that word means different things to different people. I wanted to emphasize this. I wanted the reader to think that different rules might apply to Tank.

However I do understand why it has upset many readers. I do understand how readers feel he betrayed Kate and them. I know it is a sore point in the story, which is why I feel the need to address it here. I hope that by reading this you have some understanding of why I did this, even if you don't agree with me. I have read all the criticism, the opinions told, I see the points made and I'm not ignoring them. If I was rewriting this story - I would revisit this and see if I could portray his faults in a less controversial way.

While I'm asking for forgiveness, please also excuse writing style. I wrote this a long time ago and, although I still love Tank and the Tight, I should have done a rewrite before posting here! I really hope that my writing craftmanship has improved over the years!

If you are interested in my work please feel free to read my other first-draft stories available on Inkitt. I am going to self publish and I am writing like a mad-thing to have more content available.

Please enjoy my books and I do appreciate any feedback & reviews that you leave.

Cheers, Maree

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