Familiar Lovers

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Chapter Ten

Jordan pulled his shirt off over his head, revealing his broad, muscular chest. He had spent a few brief moments celebrating his new engagement with Melanie, before walking her to her room. They agreed to keep the news silent until after Stephanie’s wedding, but he knew it would be difficult. He was certain her parents would guess the reason behind the smiles across their faces come morning.

He was about to pull his pants off, when a soft knock sounded at the door. At first, he had thought it might be Melanie sneaking back, but when he opened the door, he felt the sinking of his heart as he stared into another pair of pale blue eyes.

“My mother thought you might like an extra blanket,” Mark said, tossing the man the light cover.

He walked into the room without an invitation and over to the window, then leaned against the edge.

“Come on in,” Jordan said with a soft chuckle, then closed the door and turned around to face the man.

“How’s life been treating you, J.J.?”

Jordan smiled and shook his head.

“I knew you’d remember me,” he told the man, tossing the blanket on the foot of the bed. “The rest of the family didn’t know me as well as you did.”

“What are you doing here, Jordan? Why is it, nobody else recognizes you?”

“Because they don’t remember the kid from so many years ago. To them, I’m just the guy their daughter brought home one day.”

“So, you finally made it into Melanie’s life, huh?”

“I suppose you could say that. But she doesn’t remember me, either. Not yet at least.”

“What are you doing here, in my family’s house and my sister’s bed?”

“You’re very nosey, pal, even for a brother.”

Jordan walked to the bed and removed his billfold from the pocket of his jacket, then tossed it to him. He watched Mark inspect the badge and ID, then narrow his eyes at the man.

“What’s the F.B.I. want with my family?”

“Not your family, exactly. More like former members.”


“Very good, you should try out for one of those E.S.P. talent shows.”

Jordan sat down on the bed, drawing a deep breath. He was irritated, but not so much with the man in front of him, as it was with the whole case. He wanted it over, he wanted to celebrate his future with Melanie, and he wanted to start their lives together.

“Don’t snap at me, or I’ll spill the beans to my folks.”

“They already know.”

“But I take it Melanie doesn’t?”

“I can’t tell her yet. I know she’ll be frustrated, but until Prescott is behind bars, she’s still in danger.”

“What’s Donald want with Melanie?”

“It’s a long story, and I can’t get into it, even with you, but he’s been trying to get back into her life. He’s already approached her, twice. I don’t think the jerk knows how to love, so it’s not like he’s regretting letting her go. I think he needs a decoy, a scapegoat, or a shield.”

“How did you get involved in all of this?”

“My boss learned that I knew your family, and that Prescott was Melanie’s ex-husband. When I found out about it, I took the assignment, because of her.”

“How much of this does she really know?”

“Nothing and I want to keep it that way. If Prescott suspects anything, he could harm her, and I won’t let that happen.”

“You’re still in love with her, aren’t you Jordan?”

“More than I ever was.”

“How can I help?”

Mark was ready and willing to aid the man in anyway necessary to ensure his little sister’s safety, but the able part worried Jordan. He may be in good physical shape and no doubt, capable of protecting Melanie if need be, but he lacked experience and the sixth sense needed to act quickly.

“Just keep an eye on her and make certain Prescott doesn’t have the opportunity to get her alone. I’ll handle the rest.”

“You’ll need a partner Jordan. I can do it.”

“I have a partner. His name is Craig Michaels. He’s one of the best agents the force has. He’s been doing a lot of the legwork for me, but he’ll be here to help back us up. He always seems to appear when I need him.”

“Like Casper, huh?”

Jordan chuckled thinking about the man’s assumption.

“Something like that. You better get out of here before somebody gets suspicious. Just keep an eye on Melanie, when I’m not around. Deal?”

“You’ve got it pal,” Mark said, shaking Jordan’s hand before walking to the door. “What are your plans pertaining to my sister?”

“Can you keep a secret?” Jordan asked with a wide grin.

“You asked her to marry you?” Mark answered with a shocked tone to his voice

“What’s wrong with that?”

“I can’t imagine you as a married man. It just doesn’t seem like something J.J. would ever do.”

“J.J. has grown up and willing to turn in his hiking boots, for a gold band.”

“The last I heard from you, you were happily involved in the seedy side of sex. What happened to that?”

“Who said I’m not still practicing it?”

“With my little sister?” Mark asked with wide eyes.

“I’ll never do anything to hurt her,” Jordan clarified. “I love her too much to cause her pain.”

“I’ll believe it when I see that gold band and a dozen little J.J.s running around this place.”

“That’s a curse I’m willing to endure.”

Mark left the room and closed the door quietly behind him. Jordan turned and opened the window slightly, allowing the warm summer breeze to blow through the room. Twilight on the farm was different from anywhere else in the world, even his home in Canada. It was calm, relaxing, and quiet.

With a content sigh, he turned and walked back to the bed. He stripped out of the rest of his clothes and climbed between the sheets of Melanie’s bed. He shut off the small lamp on the bedside table and laid his head back against the pillow.

The next few days would prove a breaking point with the Prescott case. He knew there was no chance the man was going to get out of Utah this time. Once he had all the information in his hands, he would willingly slap cuffs around the jerk, and hall him to jail himself. He would do it with the knowledge that Melanie was his, and together they would put the ghosts of her past behind her and embrace the future as husband and wife.

“This wedding is going to run me into the poor house,” Curtis complained, as he continued writing checks for his daughter’s upcoming nuptials.

Melanie laughed at her father’s aggravation, remembering how he reacted to each one of her siblings weddings, not to mention her own. At least she had a savings account, and she knew that her wedding to Jordan would not be a burden on her parents.

“You look a little peeked, dear,” Vera said, setting a glass of juice in front of Melanie. “Are you feeling alright?”

“I’m fine Mom, I just didn’t sleep well last night. Stephanie snores.”

“It’s just her allergies,” Vera assured her.

“Then she’s had allergies every night since she was born,” Curtis mumbled under his breath.

“No offense, but I’m going to share Jordan’s hotel with him tonight. I need sleep.”

“Are you sleeping with Jordan?” Vera asked, watching her father stop writing in his checkbook and look up at her from over his reading glasses.

“Mom, I’m an adult,” she said, fighting to keep the color from tinting her cheeks. “At least with Jordan, I’m happy and satisfied. Donald barely knew where to put it.”

“Melanie Charlotte,” Vera snapped as Curtis chuckled once, then cleared his throat and turned back to his task.

“It’s the truth. It took me a long time to realize, it wasn’t me not satisfying him, but the other way around. All Jordan has to do is hold me in his arms, and I’m completely lost. With Donald, unless I had money coming out of every pore, there was no need to offer his wife pleasure.”

Melanie reached for her glass of juice and took a drink as Patricia wheeled into the room. The conversation shifted back to the wedding and Melanie felt her stomach jerk. She drew a deep breath but felt it again, and knew she was going to be ill. She quickly left the room and made it to the half-bath next to the den before she expelled the contents of her stomach.

Jordan was coming down the stairs with Mark when he saw Melanie running down the hallway. He excused himself and walked to the door of the bathroom and knocked.

“Mellie are you alright?” he asked through the barrier.

Melanie leaned against the rim of the toilet. She heard Jordan knock, but ignored it for a moment, until her stomach settled. She frowned as she flushed the toilet and turned on the water. Her mind began to travel back three years, to the present she wanted to give to Donald. She hadn’t been sick a single day since then, and this felt exactly the same. Once she threw up, she was fine. She had no fever, no pains or signs of the flu, or other illness. That could mean only one thing, but she had to get answers.

Sending a quick text to her friend, she washed her mouth out and smoothed her hands down her hair before shutting off the water.

“You alright?” Jordan asked as she opened the door, staring at the flushed expression on her beautiful face.

“I’m fine,” she said shyly.

“What happened? Were you just sick?”

“No,” she lied, keeping her eyes lowered. “I just needed to pee.”

“Are you sure you’re alright?” he asked, pulling her into his embrace.

“Positive. I need to go change shoes, then I’m going to meet a friend in town.”

“Who?” Jordan asked with a deep frown.

“Liza Forge. She’s my best friend from school.”

“Can I drive you?”

“No, thanks, but I’d love to take your fancy car. Do you trust me to drive a hotrod?”

Jordan laughed as he pulled her into his embrace and kissed the cheek she turned to him.

“I trust you, I just don’t know if I trust all the guys who will be staring at you. I know how people look at me when I drive it.”

“Are you saying the car is a chick-mobile?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, don’t worry. I’m very devoted to the owner,” she assured him, then lowered her voice to a whisper. “Even if I don’t have a ring.”

“That can be remedied easily enough,” he smiled.

“Later,” she insisted, taking his hand and walking to the stairs. “I’m going to meet Liza for lunch, but I should be back around one or two.”

“That’s a long time to be away from you. What am I going to do without you for two or three hours?”

“I’d suggest trying to get to know my brother, Mark, better, but you seem to be pretty chummy already. How do you know Mark?”

“The same way I know you, only not as…physical.”

Melanie giggled, then kissed his cheek and hurried up the stairs alone. She went into her own room and took out the purple dress Jordan had bought her, along with a pair of sandals, then went into the bathroom. She stared at the image in the mirror for a moment, before removing the cellphone from her back pocket. She pulled up the app she used every month and gasped.

Two months without a cycle. How could she have been so stupid? Why didn’t she consider contraception? Why didn’t she ask Jordan about it?

She was about to slip her phone back in her pocket when it buzzed. She pulled up her texts and smiled. At least she wasn’t lying to Jordan when she said she was meeting an old friend.

“Mellie, I couldn’t believe it when I got your text,” Liza said as Melanie walked into the office, seeing her friend behind the counter.

“I was so happy you answered,” Melanie said, hugging her friend. “It’s been too long. How’s Louis and the boys?”

“Everyone’s fine. And I have news,” the short redhaired woman said with a blush. “I’m going to have another baby. We’re hoping for a girl this time.”

“That’s wonderful. Congratulations. When’s the big day?”

“December 21st.”

“Maybe a Christmas baby, like her mama.”

“I hope not. I hated sharing my birthday with Christmas.”

“I have a favor to ask you,” Melanie began as they walked back to the counter. “I want to take you to lunch, but first I need…can I get a…I can’t even say it.”

“Mellie are you preg…”

The girls stopped talking when the side door in the hallway opened and the elderly doctor stepped out, following a middle-aged woman with her teenaged daughter.

“Mrs. Becker needs to bring her other children in for vaccinations,” the old man said, then glanced to Melanie.

“Well, Mellie Kent, how are you?”

“I’m doing very well, thank you Dr. Bishop. How’s the family?”

“They’re good thank you. Are you here for your sister’s wedding?”

“Yes, I am. I thought I’d take your assistant out for lunch and catch up on old times.”

“That sounds good,” the man said as he turned to Liza. “Just lock up when you leave. If you have those labs taken care of, you can take the rest of the day off. I’m going to meet my brother on the golf course and see if I can win back that twenty dollars I lost the last time he made a hole in one.”

“Everything’s done, Dr. Bishop. Good luck.”

“Thank you,” the doctor chuckled, taking off his lab coat and hanging it on the coatrack next to his office. “I need all the luck I can get.”

Melanie smiled as the man said goodbye, then watched the woman and her daughter leave the office. She turned back to her friend, who stood up and walked to the door, locking it and turning a sign in the window that read closed.

As modern as the world was, Dr. Bishop still liked the old-fashioned ways. He had two exam rooms, ran his own lab tests, and liked paper charting. He was a good doctor, even if he was behind on the times.

“Come with me,” Liza said excitedly.

Melanie followed her down the hallway to the large lab and watched as her friend pulled out a cup from the cupboard. She handed it to Melanie with a soft giggle.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “You know where the bathroom is. Just bring it out when you’ve finished.”

Liza walked arm in arm with Melanie as they moved down the sidewalk toward the café they liked so much. Like a lot of Vernal, it was just a small Mom and Pop place, but they served amazing homemade pies.

“So, tell me about this guy,” Liza said. “Is he cute? What’s he do? Does he know?”

“He’s gorgeous, he’s a reporter, and no he doesn’t know. Nobody does. I guess I’ve just been so overwhelmed by all the attention he gives me to consider the possibilities. But I’m not going to say a word until after Stephanie’s wedding.”

“Do you think he’ll want to get married?”

“He’s already asked me, but it’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone. Especially Stephanie. She’s worse than Facebook.”

The women waved to the old man in the stained apron, then sat down at a table near the back of the room so they could speak in silence. They ordered their usual grilled ham and cheese on wheat, with fries and homemade coleslaw.

Melanie watched until the girl walked away before she looked back to Liza. It was fun to catch up, even if they tried to keep in touch online.

“I saw Donald the other day,” Liza said with a sour look on her freckled face.

“Yeah, he’s back for Cory and Stephanie’s wedding,” Melanie commented.

“He was such a jerk. I’m so glad you got rid of him.”

“I think you were my only friend who tried to talk me out of marrying him. I always thought it was because you were jealous.”

“Of him? Never. I knew he was cheating on you, but Louis insisted I stay out of it. He thought you were dating other men as well.”

“I wish I was, but I thought I was in love. I didn’t realize what kind of man he was until it was too late.”

“Has he spoken to you yet?”

“Unfortunately. He was just as he always was. Arrogant and rude.”

“Why isn’t he staying with his parents?” Liza asked, thanking the girl when she brought them their sodas. “I thought he’d be mooching off them while he was here.”

“I thought he was staying with them,” Melanie said with a frown.

“We saw him in Salt Lake with a brunette. She was kind of skanky. You know the kind, big boobs and a body created by liposuction.”

“That sounds like his type.”

“I was surprised he was going into a cheap motel, but I’m sure that’s where those kind of women prefer.”

“So long as he’s out of my life, I don’t care what he does.”

Melanie hugged Liza goodbye once more, then climbed back into Jordan’s car. She sat back and reclined against the headrest. Now that she was alone, the feeling of knowing she was pregnant began to escalate. She wanted to see Jordan and tell him, but again, she wanted to wait until the wedding was over. She didn’t want anything to take away from her sister.

Jordan was in the front yard with the older kids, a frisbee flying across the span of grass as she pulled into the parking area beside the backyard. She watched Jordan throw the disc then turn and walk toward him. She was excited and anxious to tell him her news, but decided the timing wasn’t right. She’d wait until they returned to Salt Lake, where they could discuss it in private. There was always the possibility that he wouldn’t want children. It was a subject that had never been discussed before.

“Hello beautiful,” Jordan said cheerfully as he neared the car, a wide grin across his lips. “How was lunch?”

“It was wonderful,” she told him, accepting the hug he offered her. “I forgot how much I enjoy gossiping with old friends.”

“Any good gossip?”

Jordan chuckled as he saw the light pink tinting her cheeks. Michaels arrived back at the farm moments after she left, then agreed to follow her. Unlike Newberry, he knew how to tail a person without letting them know it. Once she pulled into the doctor’s parking lot, he was notified of her actions every ten minutes until she was on her way home.

“Not really,” Melanie answered as they walked toward the backdoor. “She did tell me she and Louis saw Donald with a dark-haired woman a few days ago. She said they were going into a cheap motel in Salt Lake.”

“That’s interesting,” Jordan said with a frown.

“I guess his wanting me back didn’t include a lifetime commitment.”

“Are you upset about that?” he asked, pulling her to a halt and looking into her pale blue eyes.

“Not at all. I happen to be in love with a wonderful man, and I don’t care about that two-timing jackass.”

“You have no idea how happy I am to hear that,” he chuckled. “But is this a deep love, or do I stand a chance of talking you into going to my motel for a quick romp?”

“I would suggest you ask my parents if I could be spared, but I know you would use your charms and talk them into letting me out of my chores.”

“I’ll help you with them when we get back.”

Melanie chuckled softly. She had no doubt he would do exactly that, despite what the chores were. If she had to put him up against Donald, she would take Jordan anytime of the day. Fortunately, there was no competition. Jordan won by a longshot.

The sound of the door to the den opened behind her, making Melanie turn in its direction as she hung up the phone. She arrived back to the farm shortly after four o’clock and decided to call her doctor in Salt Lake. The best place to speak privately was her father’s den. She arranged for an appointment first thing next week, hoping that she would have gained enough courage by then, to tell Jordan he was going to be a father.

Mark stood inside the threshold, an old ragged black phonebook was clutched in his sun brown hand. He smiled shyly at his sister and shifted from one foot to the other.

“You alright?” she asked, inspecting the man, as if scrutinizing him for being tardy after recess.

“I’m fine, I just wasn’t expecting to find anybody in here. I had a phone call to make and I wanted some privacy.”

“What’s wrong with your cell?” she asked, glancing at the book then back up to his eyes.

“I forgot to charge it last night, so I hoped to use Dad’s phone.”

“Is that a hint, you want me to leave?”

Mark smiled and shook his head softly as he entered the room and closed the door behind him. He walked over to the desk and leaned against it, looking very much like the little boy who often got caught playing hooky.

“I guess I should talk to somebody. I feel like I’m going to bust if I don’t.”

“What’s wrong?”

Mark drew a deep breath and sat down in the chair next to her. He shifted the small book, from one hand to the other, staring at it intently before looking his sister in the eye. Blue met blue and Melanie knew he had a deep hidden secret in need of revealing.

“I’m married, Mellie,” he said, watching the expression of shock cross the young woman’s features. “Not only that, but I’m probably a father by now. Khirra was too far along to come back with me, so I had to leave her behind with her mother.”

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“We wanted to, there just never seemed to be the right time. I didn’t want to tell Mom and Dad in a letter, or over the phone. It seemed too impersonal, but then when we were planning on coming back to the states, we found out Khirra was pregnant. There were complications and we weren’t certain if she’d be able to carry the baby full term. When Stephanie phoned a few months ago to tell us about her and Cory... well, it just didn’t seem like the right time then, either. She was so happy, we didn’t want to take away the spotlight.”

“What about now?”

“Stephanie is so happy, I’m afraid of making her take second seat to all of this. This is her big day and I want her to reign supreme.”

“Do you love your wife, Mark?” Melanie asked, studying her older sibling’s features.

“Of course, I do, what kind of question is that?”

“It just seems to me like you’re ashamed of her, or maybe of your family? Is it because we’re so much simpler than you would have preferred?”

“No, it’s nothing like that.”

“Mom and Dad are going to be upset and think you’re ashamed of your past, or your family, if you don’t tell them. Or is the real reason because you’re feeling guilty for something, other than holding your secret?”

Melanie watched the man’s confusion, then stood from her chair and walked to the door.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” she told him, then left the room.

She silently cursed herself for lecturing her older brother. She had no room to talk, given the fact she too was hiding a terrible secret.

Mark watched her leave, then drew a deep breath. He knew she was right. There really wasn’t any reason not to have told his family about Khirra, or the baby. But his feelings on the subject were unclear and clouded by apprehension. He wasn’t ashamed of his family, as she suggested, he just knew they would be upset that he didn’t tell them he was getting married. And now the baby.

He picked up the phone and began to dial the long and exhausting ritual of numbers needed to contact another country. He placed the phone to his ear and listened as it connected. Khirra had been telling him for months to call home, but he didn’t know how to tell his family about his wife. Now, he knew he’d have no choice.

Melanie stepped back into the comfortable kitchen and poured a glass of milk. She took a drink then sat it on the counter as she leaned against the edge. Curtis and Vera sat together at the well-used table as they reviewed the final arrangements made for Stephanie’s wedding, the day after tomorrow. Her mind seemed so cluttered with thoughts, it made her temples throb, forcing her to close her eyes against the pain.

The sudden shout of exhilaration from the other room, echoed through the house, causing Melanie to look at her parents and frown. A moment later and Mark ran into the room. His face was red with excitement and his smile was so wide, it seemed to cover his entire face. His blue eyes shined with pride, as he grabbed Melanie by the arms and hugged her against him.

“What the hell’s wrong with you boy?” Curtis demanded, staring sternly at his son, swearing for the first time in front of his children.

“I’m a father!” he shouted proudly. “I have a six-pound four-ounce baby boy.”

“What?” Vera gasped, looking shocked and dismayed at the man, who reached out to her.

“I’m sorry Mom, I know I should have told you sooner, but I didn’t know how. I’m married. I have been for over a year and now I have a son. A little baby boy, all my own.”

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Curtis asked, standing to confront him.

“Dad please,” Mark said, trying to cool his father’s aggravation. “It wasn’t that easy. I was in Italy, you were here. It wasn’t a temple marriage and there were several other reasons.”

“Such as?”

“Khirra isn’t a Mormon. She comes from a very proud Italian family with a strong belief in the Catholic faith. It was hard enough trying to make her parents accept me. I just wasn’t in the mood to try and win you over too. We found out Khirra was pregnant before we had a chance to come back here and break the news to everyone. Then there were problems in the pregnancy, so she couldn’t travel, and I wasn’t going to leave her there alone. If it hadn’t been for Stephanie’s wedding and Khirra’s insistence that I tell you in person, I wouldn’t have come back now. Please understand. It wasn’t that we were hiding, we just didn’t know how to explain things.”

Melanie looked at her brother, feeling the mixed emotions of pride for his good news and the disappointment her parents experienced. The guilt of not telling them that Jordan asked her to marry him, or that she was pregnant weighed heavy on her conscience, and she fought to blurt out the news of both.

“I’m not sure what to say,” Curtis told him, walking over to the sink and setting his plate with the remains of Vera’s peach pie in it. “I thought we meant more to you then this. I had hoped we raised you to feel comfortable enough to discuss anything with us.”

Mark lowered his eyes, looking away from the man’s back. His recent feeling of pride had suddenly left him feeling weak and cold. The sound of a knock at the back door, brought a deeper silence to the room, as Jordan poked his smiling face through the door’s threshold.

“Hi,” he said, stepping into the room.

He looked around, noting the heavy cloud of emotion pinned inside the confines of the kitchen. He glanced towards Melanie and frowned, when she lowered her eyes to his intent stare.

“What’s going on? What’s wrong?” he asked, looking from one face to another for an explanation.

His heart pounded inside his chest, wondering what had happened and if it had anything to do with Prescott.

“Mark just told us he’s a father,” Melanie explained softly.

Jordan’s worried features lightened, as he looked at his childhood friend. His smile returned, and he reached out to the man, shaking his hand happily.

“That’s great, Mark. What did you have?”

“A boy.”

“Well congratulations. How’s the mother?”

“She’s doing alright. It was a hard labor, from what I’m told, over sixteen hours, but she’s good and very happy.”

“That’s great, I’m happy for you,” Jordan told him, still gleaming.

Mark glanced to his family gathered around the room and frowned again.

“I’m glad somebody’s happy for me,” he said, leaving the room and the people in silence.

Jordan watched the man leave, then turned back to stare oddly at Curtis and Vera, sitting quietly at the table.

“I take it you don’t approve of the mother?” he asked, standing next to Melanie.

“We don’t know her, to know if we approve or not,” Vera answered, reaching for the handkerchief she kept in her apron pocket.

Jordan’s frown returned as he watched the older woman wipe her eyes in the white cloth. He looked back to Melanie, studying her face quietly.

“Mark got married to a girl in Italy but neglected to tell his family about it. We just found out about her and the baby a few minutes ago,” Melanie explained softly, trying to avoid the man’s intent stare.

She knew if she looked at him, he would be able to read her mind and see the secrets she was hiding. Jordan’s frown eased as he looked back to the older couple who sat silently across from him.

“I see,” he said, the sound of amusement echoed in his deep tone. “Well that’s definitely a reason to hate and despise the woman. I say you should pack Mark’s bag and escort him back to the airport. God knows, he’s not a very faithful son, if he runs off and marries a woman. And for what? Love? What an excuse, and that baby of his, well it’s just like a woman to use a baby as an excuse to keep a husband. I think it’s sinful. That’s what it is, sinful, plain and simple. Why, he should be ashamed of himself for falling in love, getting married and having a child.”

Melanie looked at Jordan in astonishment. No one had ever spoken to her parents like that, much less an outsider.

“You make us sound very selfish,” Vera said, looking down at her folded hands.

“Look, I know it’s none of my business, and I’m not a member of this family, at least not yet,” he added, winking at the young woman next to him. “But maybe you should give him a chance. There’s probably a very good reason he never told you about his wife and son. Maybe he was afraid you would act like you are now.”

Curtis stood up, squared his shoulders and stared at the man next to his daughter.

“I’ve never turned my back on my children and I’m not about to start now. It’s just a shock, and right now it’s hard to forgive him for his deception.”

“It wasn’t deception, Daddy,” Melanie said, coming to her brother’s defense, not to mention her lover’s. “Mark was scared, and it was hard on him keeping this secret. He’s been trying to make her parents accept him and he didn’t want Khirra to have to go through what he was. He loves his wife and he was just trying to protect her.”

Melanie looked at her father and hoped she could make him understand Mark’s position, and possibly prepare him for her own shocking news.

“They’re right, Father,” Vera said, touching her husband’s arm. “Mark is our son and we can’t turn our backs on him. We should be happy for him. After all, he’s just had his first child.”

“You’re all making me feel like a pompous ass,” Curtis told them, running a chubby hand through his grey hair.

“You’re never an ass, Daddy. Just narrow minded,” Melanie teased him, kissing his cheek.

Curtis chuckled and hugged his daughter tightly, before heading towards the door.

“I suppose it’s up to me to straighten this mess out,” he sighed, walking in the direction his son had gone a short time before.

Vera quickly joined her husband, ordering him to wait. She was determined to make her son realize she was just as proud of him as his father was. Melanie looked back to Jordan and smiled gently. She wondered if he would be as understanding with her, as he had been with Mark, when she told him her secret.

“You were pretty good, you know. You really made my dad see his error,” she told him, hugging him around the neck.

“I love you,” Jordan whispered, as his hand massaged the delicate skin beneath her shirt.

The soft mound of her breast was warm and tender to his touch, with her nipples forming hard peaks. Melanie gasped as he lifted her effortlessly to the counter, feeling his kisses travel across her neck to the opening of her blouse. His moist tongue burned a path of flames and desire across her cleavage and chest, then finally to her breast. He kissed and nibbled gently at the delicate peaks, bringing a moan of passion from deep within her soul.

“Jordan please,” she begged, twisting her fingers into his thick dark hair.

“I want you now,” he said in answer to her need.

Jordan pulled her to her feet, sliding her skirt up and over her firm hips. Her panties fell to the floor around her ankles as he lifted her suddenly, laying her gently to the top of the old kitchen table. The danger of being caught making love in the Kent family kitchen, brought a wave of erotic delight to his hard body, as he slid her closer to him, unzipping his pants.

It took less than a heartbeat before he was sheathed inside her. He began thrusting against her, smiling as the moan of desire escaped her throat. Knowing they could get caught by any number of family members, Jordan picked up his pace, quickening his thrusts. Heat and desire mingled with the need and love, bringing a bead of sweat to his brow.

The stimulation and ecstasy of making love to Melanie, found Jordan fighting back the moans of passion. He covered her mouth as he felt the muscles tighten around him. She arched her back and wrapped her arms around his neck, moaning her release into his mouth. Moments later, Jordan’s actions stilled as he joined her. The heat of his release filled her with the love and desire he held in his heart.

He felt the urgent need to shout to the world how desperately in love with her he was, but before he had a chance to exclaim his undying devotion, the sound of footsteps echoed down the hall. Melanie Sat up quickly, then found her feet on the floor as Jordan pulled out of her. She gasped in horror, watching Jordan tuck his lax penis into his pants and zip them.

“I’ll stall whoever it is,” he whispered to her. “Just hurry and get dressed.”

Melanie fought the urge to laugh, feeling like a little girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar. And what an incredible cookie jar it was, she thought, momentarily forgetting what it was she was doing. The sound of Jordan and her father talking down the hall, brought her back to reality. She gathered her panties and headed to the door, just in time to save her dignity before her mother stepped into the kitchen.

Vera eyed her daughter’s slightly upheaval appearance suspiciously. Her shy blush and sheepish grin made the old woman smile with uncertain knowledge. She didn’t know exactly what had taken place in the short time she and Curtis had left the two younger people alone in the kitchen, but from the looks of Melanie and the twinkle of guilt in Jordan’s eyes, she could guess the event with remarkable accuracy.

“Excuse me,” Melanie said with a deep blush to her cheeks as she hurried from the kitchen and up the stairs to her bedroom.

“Jordan, I want to thank you for making me realize what a jerk I was being, where Mark and his new family were concerned,” Curtis said, joining Vera in the kitchen and sitting back down at his spot at the table. “I guess it’s hard for any father to admit when he’s wrong. Mark seems happy with his choices in life, so I suppose it’s my duty to support him in his decisions.”

“I’d say that was the first step in being a good father,” Jordan assured him, joining him at the table where only moments before, he and Melanie had made such passionate love.

Looking at the faded wood, brought a smile of remembrance to his full, sensual lips. He wondered what the man in front of him would say, if he knew what had transpired between him and his daughter.

“I have to go out for a little while,” Melanie told Jordan the next morning, as they lay reclined together on the hammock in the front yard. “I need to pick up Stephanie and Cory’s wedding present from the engraver’s.”

“I’ll take you,” Jordan told her, kissing the top of her head as she cuddled closer to his broad chest.

“Afraid I’ll enjoy driving your car too much?” she teased him.

“You can drive it as much as you’d like, but I don’t want to let you out of my embrace. Even five minutes is too long.”

“You’re hopeless,” she giggled.

“Hopelessly in love,” he assured her, glancing up to the front door as Stephanie came bouncing down the steps.

“Mellie, I want you to come into town with me,” she said with a wide grin.

“Why?” Melanie asked with a frown as she sat up next to Jordan.

“I have an appointment to get my nails done, and I haven’t spent any time alone with you. Tessa gave me a gift card for a Brazilian wax, and I wanted you to help me pick out a nightgown for after the wedding.”

“That’s more than I wanted to hear,” Jordan said with a feigned look of irritation as he stood up from the hammock.

“You can get waxed too,” Stephanie told her sister, as if she hadn’t heard a word Jordan said. “Cory loves how it feels.”

“Okay, I’m out of here,” Jordan grumbled, turning and kissing Melanie’s lips.

“Come on, Mellie, please go with me,” Stephanie begged as Jordan started to walk away.

“I’ll go with you, but I don’t have the money for everything you’re getting done.”

Jordan stopped, reached into his pocket and pulled out the keys to his car. He walked back to the girls and smiled to Melanie.

“Take my car,” he told her, then removed his wallet from his pocket. “I’m intrigued with the image of seeing you waxed.”

Stephanie giggled, Melanie blushed, and Jordan smiled. He hadn’t expected this much of a reaction to his announcement. He removed his American Express card from his wallet and handed it to her.

“Can you get what you wanted while you’re in town, or do you want me to take you later?”

“I can pick it up,” she asked with a frown. “Jordan, I can’t take your money.”

“Yes, you can,” he told her in a tone that told her not to argue, then leaned closer. “I can’t wait to see the final results,” he whispered, then kissed her again.

Jordan turned and left before she had the chance to argue further. The idea of his reactions was an intriguing thought, and she actually found herself willing to experience the pain involved in the procedure.

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