Familiar Lovers

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Chapter Fourteen

The night soon gave way to morning and Melanie awoke on the sofa in the living room, where she had stayed the night before waiting for Jordan to return to her. It was nearly ten o’clock and she hadn’t seen anything of him since the airport.

A sense of fear filled her as she straightened up on the sofa. Maybe something had happened to him. Maybe Donald had tried to escape and killed Jordan in doing so. The barking of the old hound dog brought her back to reality, as the smell of bacon drifted down the hallway towards her. Voices echoed through the quiet house, and she knew her family was awake.

She walked down the narrow hallway, wiping the sleep from her sore eyes. Mark stood beside the sink, her parents sat at the table, while Stephanie and Cory stepped into the back door. Melanie stared at the young couple and frowned.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, ignoring the slight blush on her sister’s innocent cheeks. “I thought newlyweds were supposed to sleep late their first day together.”

“We wanted to start our married life off right,” Cory said with a chuckle and a squeeze around his wife’s waist.

“How? By being with your in-laws?”

“I can’t think of anything better than being with this family,” a voice said near her ear.

Melanie turned and saw Jordan standing behind her, his hair wet from a recent shower and his chest absent of clothing. She took into account that he was clean shaven and smelled as fresh as a morning after a rainstorm.

“Where have you been?” she asked him, no longer caring about the family members listening to them. “I was up half the night waiting for you. I thought something had happened.”

“Whoa, slow down or I can’t keep up with your questions,” he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her forehead. “I came in around two and found you asleep. You looked too peaceful to wake up, so I let you be.”

“What took so long? Why didn’t you call me?”

“There was a lot to take care of, Melanie. Donald had to be handled and there was the airport to satisfy and the story to get out for the early edition. It just took longer than I had anticipated.”

“You still should have called,” she scolded with much less steam than a few moments before.

She poured herself a glass of orange juice and began sipping on its contents. She looked at the occupants of the small room who had begun talking about yesterday’s events. The urgent need to tell Jordan her secret was overwhelming. She wanted to tell the whole world, but he owed her an explanation.

“You said you’ve known me since I was sixteen,” she said, bringing a halt to the conversation as everyone present studied her features. “How do you know me?”

“Do you remember when you went to Montana to visit your grandfather?” Jordan asked, sitting his glass of juice down on the counter beside her.

Melanie nodded her head gently, unwilling to interrupt the man’s explanations.

“Your grandfather had a neighbor, his name was Drexell Martin. Do you remember him?”

Melanie frowned thinking back over the miles of years.

“I remember an old man who lived about a mile down from my grandfather’s house. He had a broken hip, or something, is that who you mean?”

“That’s the one. Do you remember the old man’s nephew? He came to spend the summer with him, to help him out with the chores?”

“I remember him. We used to go horseback riding and he’d always bring a picnic with him. I used to swear he was going to turn me into a blimp before the summer was over.”

“Do you remember his name, Mellie?”

Melanie thought for a second, trying to recall the boy in more detail then she had already said.

“It was something really strange. J.T., or B.J....no wait, I think it was something like J.J. That was it. I remember him carving our initials in a peach tree in his uncle’s orchard.”

“And you cussed him out for hurting the tree.”

“Well he did. There was sap all over the place. It made a sticky mess...how did you know about that?”

Jordan chuckled and glanced across the room to Mark.

“J.J., Melanie, stands for...” Mark began.

“Jordan James,” she finished for him. Jordan chuckled again and nodded his head softly.

“So, you do remember me?”

“J.J.?” she whispered, stepping towards the man, staring at him as if it had been the first time in years. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I wanted to, it was just all so complicated. I was undercover and had to make certain you weren’t involved in Prescott’s activities.”

“You knew about Donald and didn’t say anything? Why?”

“Melanie, you have to understand. I couldn’t confide in you. We weren’t sure how deeply you were connected with him.”

“Then you’re not a reporter after all? It was all just a lie.”

“No, I am a reporter. I started with the F.B.I., four years ago, when I was doing a story about a guy they were looking for. I was able to find out more details then they could at the time, so they hired me to go in undercover and report on my findings. The agreement was, they got their man and I got the story. It made me the top paid reporter in D.C. and got me an anchor position with the nightly news. Anyway, when my boss learned that I knew you, he recruited me for the Prescott case. Mark and I had kept in touch over the years, and he told me about you and Donald getting married and then later your divorce.”

“So, that first night, when we met, it was just to cover your tracks?”

“Partially. I needed to make contact with you and try to make friends. I needed to earn your confidence, in case you did know anything, then hopefully you would confide in me. Besides, I forgot to pack any soap, so at least that part of it was true.”

Melanie was quiet for a long moment. She thought about everything that had been said and everything that had happened since she met the man.

“When you made love to me,” she asked quietly, ignoring the eyes that turned to her, “it was just part of the job?”

“That had nothing to do with the job,” he told her firmly.

Jordan placed his hands on her forearms and turned her to face him. His eyes were so intent, it nearly made her cry.

“You can ask Mark if you don’t believe me. I fell in love with you the first time I saw you, except back then, there was no room for me in your life. You were so wrapped up on Prescott, nobody else could get close to you. I knew one day he would hurt you and I prayed when he did, I would be there to pick up the pieces.”

“I’m pregnant Jordan,” she said, blurting out her secret, unable to stop the words from spilling from her lips.

Her words shocked herself as well as her family, but only Jordan remained unaffected by the news. He continued to stare at her, a strange expression in his dark eyes twinkled at her, as he looked down in her face.

“Didn’t you hear me?” she asked, certain the man had gone into shock.

“I heard, but it’s far from a surprise. I was expecting it to happen sooner or later.”

“What do you mean, you were expecting it? I just found out a couple of days ago.”

“Melanie, I’m not as stupid as you may think. Neither of us thought or discussed protection, let alone used anything. It was only a matter of time before you became pregnant.” Jordan leaned into her, kissing her cheek softly. “I’m just glad it was sooner, rather than later.”

He chuckled at the color tinting her cheeks, feeling the excitement and pride of the announcement begin to well up inside of him. Then he remembered how she had miscarried once before. He looked at her gently, worry and concern etching his handsome features.

“Is everything alright? Are you alright?” he asked her gently.

Melanie’s temper began to boil. Her emotions were all tangled up with each other and she was unable to contain any of them.

“No everything isn’t alright,” she shouted, pushing him away. “You lied to me, you used me to trap Donald, you got me pregnant and now you act as if it’s an everyday occurrence. You make me feel like the grand prize in a sideshow carnival. Is this why you proposed to me? Because you knew I was pregnant?”

“I asked you to marry me, because I love you. I don’t give a damn about that baby. To me, it doesn’t exist, but you do. I’ve loved you since we first met. Maybe I should have taken the opportunity to seduce you when you were sixteen. Maybe if I’d have gotten you pregnant back then, you would never have had anything to do with Prescott.”

“How dare you talk to me like that. This baby is alive, and you say you don’t even care about it. It’s your child, Jordan. What kind of a man are you, anyway?”

Jordan grabbed Melanie around the waist when she turned to leave the room, holding her with just enough pressure to ensure her restraint.

“I never said I didn’t care Melanie. I just said, you mean more to me right now. The baby is just a thought, words. The reality of it hasn’t set in yet. Give it time. Once we’re married and it starts growing, it’ll be a different subject.”

“What makes you think I want to marry you? Maybe I want to be a single mother, did you ever think about that?”

“Is that a fact,” he teased her easily, turning to confront the woman’s parents. “What if I decided not to marry your daughter?” he asked Curtis, who had remained silent throughout the course of the conversation. “What would you do if I left her alone, pregnant and disgraced?”

“I’d hunt you down and bring you back at the end of a shotgun,” the older man answered shortly, picking up on the fun he was having irritating his daughter.

“See? If you don’t marry me willingly, your father will have us at the altar, with a loaded rifle in my back.”

“It’s no more than you deserve,” she told him, folding her arms across her chest.

Jordan laughed and hugged her against him again.

“I love you Melanie and I know I should have asked you to marry me in a more romantic way, then in your bedroom, but you’d say yes anyway, so I couldn’t see wasting the time.”

“You’re awful confident with yourself, Mr. James,” she snapped, trying to put off the smile that threatened to escape her sensuous lips.

“Just when it comes to you and my love for you.”

Jordan kissed the woman gently, sending tingles of delight and desire running along her spine and the inner part of her thighs.

“Are you sure about this? There’s a lot involved in being a parent. Just look around you. You could end up like this one day.”

“Is that a promise Darling?”

Just then a knock sounded at the back door and Craig Michaels peeked inside. He made his way through the room, shaking everyone’s hand, before coming to Jordan. He smiled at Melanie and kissed her gently on the cheek.

“Well I got it. It wasn’t easy, but everything’s been arranged for one o’clock,” he told Jordan, handing him a slip of paper.

“Great, that will give us just enough time to eat and get dressed,” he answered, accepting the paper and looking at its contents.

“What’s going on?” Melanie asked, a frown creasing her slender brow.

“Don’t look so worried,” Craig answered her, smiling happily at the woman. “It’s nothing fatal.”

“You’ll have to excuse Melanie,” Jordan told the man, trying to look dignified and sophisticated. “She’s working on that stern maternal expression for when our child is born.”

“Hey, that’s fantastic,” Craig cheered, shaking the man’s hand again. “You must be on cloud nine right about now.”

“Well, I’m pretty damn close, that’s for sure.”

“This calls for a toast,” the dark man said, winking at his friend next to him, as he accepted the glass of juice Mark handed him. “How do you think we ought to celebrate this happy occasion?”

“What do you say to a wedding?” Jordan asked, ignoring Melanie’s gasp of shock.

“Sounds great. When and where?”

“What about here, say one o’clock?”

“Jordan James!” Melanie snapped, setting her recently retrieved glass of orange juice down on the counter top. “Are you telling me, you’ve already arranged for us to be married? Today?”

“Who said anything about you?” he continued teasing. “I thought Craig and I would get married.”

“Right. After all, we’ve been together an awful long time,” Michaels added with an arm around his friend’s shoulders.

“That’s enough of that, you two. Now be serious. What have you done, Jordan?”

Melanie looked near out of patience and ready to burst into tears, forcing Jordan to put his arms around her waist again and kiss her tenderly.

“With Craig’s help, I’ve arranged for a judge, caterers and the band from yesterday, to be here for our wedding. It took a little string pulling, but I even managed for a license, just to make everything legal as well as moral.”

“When exactly were you planning on telling me about all of this?”

“I just did Darling. Or weren’t you listening?”

“How dare you just walk in here and expect me to drop everything and marry you? You have a lot of guts, pal.”

“What else were you planning on doing today?”

“I don’t know and that’s not the point.”

“Then what is, Melanie? I’m tired of playing around. I want you for my wife and the sooner the better. What could be more important than getting married to the man you love?”

“Maybe I’d like to be asked if I want to marry you. Did you ever think about that?”

“I’ve already asked you, and you said yes.”

“That was before I knew you were J.J. Now, I don’t know if I want to marry you. The kid I remember was pretty self-assured with himself.”

Jordan sighed with exasperation and fell to one knee. He took Melanie’s hand in his and kissed the top of it gently.

“Melanie Kent, would you do me the honor of agreeing to be my wife and the mother of my child?” he asked in a dramatic voice.

Melanie blushed and giggled shyly.

“Oh, get up,” she told him. “You look silly on your knee.”

“I’m staying right here until you say yes.”

“Alright, I’ll marry you, now get up from there.”

Jordan stood up and pulled her against him tight. He kissed her lips with deliberate force, sending those familiar tingles traveling across her spine.

“There’s one more thing,” he told her, releasing her slowly.

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a diamond and platinum ring, then slipped it gently on her finger. “Now it’s official.”

“Make certain about this Jordan,” she told him, admiring the ring and the brilliance of its gem, set in the center of an elegantly scrolled band. “I don’t plan on going through another divorce.”

“I’ve never been more certain of anything before. And I will never let you out of my life again. I made that mistake once and it nearly killed me when I thought I’d never have the chance to make up for my stupidity.”

“It was my stupidity, Jordan, not yours. If I’d have listened to you when you told me Donald was no good, then maybe things would have turned out different.”

“Never again is the name of Donald Prescott to be mentioned. He’s the past and I’m the present.”

“I promise,” she told him, crossing her heart in a little girl fashion.

Their lips brushed against each other’s in a brief and unsatisfying gesture when Melanie was suddenly jerked away from Jordan’s all too inviting embrace.

“Enough,” Stephanie argued, taking Melanie by the arm and pulling her away from the man. “If you two don’t knock it off, right now, there won’t be time for a wedding. It’s a good thing I left my gown here last night. You can wear it.”

“I can’t wear your wedding dress,” Melanie argued. “It wouldn’t be right.”

“Why not? It’s perfectly good.”

“But it’s white. I’m not a virgin and I’m nine weeks pregnant. I wouldn’t exactly look like the perfect picture of a blushing bride.”

“Who’s to know and who cares. This is the twenty-first century for heaven’s sake.”

“Not in Utah,” she said, as the younger woman pulled anxiously on her arm, tugging her down the hall and up the stairs to her room.

“I’ll call the rest of the family,” Vera insisted in a loud voice, hurrying to the phone.

“I’ll do that, you go help the girls, or we’ll never get this thing under way,” Curtis argued, turning his wife towards the doorway. “I’m certainly glad I only have Kathy left to get married. I don’t think I have the energy to keep doing this.”

“Jordan, why don’t we get you taken care of,” Mark insisted, leading the man out of the room and up the stairs. “Have you called your folks?”

“They will be here around noon,” Jordan smiled.

“I’ll pick them up,” Michaels called out, then turned and left the house.

The next two hours were spent in preparation of Melanie’s wedding to Jordan. The caterers Craig and Jordan had arranged for, had just finished setting up the tables from the previous day, with the food and cake. Vera had dressed in her outfit from Stephanie’s wedding, while her two daughters exchanged dresses. Melanie wore the white satin and lace and Stephanie wore the violet chiffon.

A soft knock sounded at the bedroom door as Melanie struggled to make her hair straight and soft. Stephanie walked to it and pulled it open then smiled and opened it wider. Melanie glanced up to an older couple who stepped into the room, then turned away from the mirror.

“Melanie, this is Jordan’s parents,” Kathy said, hurrying into the room.

“I’m so happy to finally meet you,” the woman said, hugging Melanie as she stood to greet them. “I remember how heartbroken Jordan was when he came home from his uncle’s.”

“He always said he’d find you again,” his father said, hugging Melanie in turn.

“Thank you…” Melanie said with a blush.

“Where are our manners,” the woman said with a smile. “I’m Becca James, and this is Evan, my husband.”

“It’s very nice to meet both of you. I didn’t know Jordan had called you. I didn’t even know I was getting married today. Your son has a heavy-handed way of making things happen.”

“He’s always been like that,” Evan said with a warm chuckle. “When he wants something, he doesn’t stop until he has it.”

“What about his brother and sister? Are they here too?”

“Yes, they are,” Becca said. “Rachel is helping with the preparations - she’s a professional caterer, you know, and Jacob is helping his little brother. You’ll meet them and their families a little later. Jordan told us we couldn’t delay you for long. The judge is here, and our son is anxious to start the events.”

“I’m ready if he is,” Melanie smiled.

“He’ll meet you at the altar,” Stephanie assured her. “He’ll be the handsome one standing at the end with a big smile.”

Jordan stood beside Melanie, her hand tucked gently in his, as he repeated his vows, promising to love her for eternity. Melanie felt weak and full of life as the judge pronounced them husband and wife. Then Jordan kissed her passionately, for the first time, as his wife.

They ate the food prepared by the caterers and talked and joked with the people gathered together. Melanie met her new in-laws, as they shared stories about her new husband as a child. Curtis had managed to contact all the family members and close friends for the wedding, making a round number of sixty-two guests.

Melanie had never been so happy. She felt like screaming at the top of her lungs, exclaiming to the world how much she loved her J.J. They danced and kissed and sang and laughed, throughout the afternoon and by six thirty, Jordan had managed to sweep his bride off her feet and drive her to the Marriott, where he had reserved a suite for the rest of the week.

He carried her across the threshold, then kicked the door closed behind them before setting her securely on her feet. The world could stop turning right this minute and he couldn’t care less. He had the woman he had wanted for twelve long years, in his arms. They were together and in love and everything was perfect. He kissed her lips gently as he walked her backwards toward the bed. Melanie closed her eyes, feeling the warmth and tenderness of his touch, as he helped her out of her sister’s wedding gown.

“Do you really love me?” she asked him, as he stood above her, pulling his muscular body out of the confines of his tuxedo.

Jordan looked at her strangely, then traced her firm round breasts with a tender touch.

“I’ve never known love like this,” he told her. “I love you more than anything in this world.”

“And the baby?” she asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“I love our child as well Darling. I never knew I could be so happy. Just a few short weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have you. Now, I not only have you, in a few months, we’ll have a baby all our own.”

“Do you want to know a secret?” she asked him as he pulled her down the mattress beside him.

Jordan leaned up on one elbow and studied her features with an eye of admiration.

“I loved you, even when you were just my grandfather’s neighbor, J.J. I remember telling Patricia, if it hadn’t been for Donald, I could easily have fallen in love with you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that? I would have fought harder for you”

“I felt it was my duty to be faithful to Donald.”

“Even though he wasn’t following your example?”

“I think I always knew he was dating other girls,” Melanie said, accepting the kiss her new husband offered and sighed deep. “Do you remember that day you carved our initials in that tree? You tried so hard to make love to me. I nearly surrendered. I guess I was just frightened of my own body. I wished so many times over the years that I had let you.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anyone as badly as I wanted you that day.”

“I thought about you on my wedding night. Did you know that?”

“Why would you think about me, when you were in your husband’s arms?”

“I wasn’t in his arms, Jordan. He was so drunk from our reception, that he passed out before anything could happen. We didn’t consummate our marriage for two whole days, and it was far from being satisfying. When I was laying there on my wedding night, feeling sorry for myself, I thought about you. I wondered what it would have been like being in bed with you. I wished then that it was you beside me, instead of Donald. I wanted to feel your arms around me. I imagined what it would have been like, making love with you.”

“Stop imagining Darling,” Jordan told her, moving to lay on top of her slender body. “I’ll be more than happy to set the record straight. It should have been me in bed with you that first night, just as it is right now.”

“Are you going to pass out on me, too,” she asked, feeling his touch travel along the inside of her thighs.

“Sure,” he told her, kissing the soft skin beneath her ear. “In about twelve hours.”

Melanie knew life with Jordan was going to be different. It was starting off with love and passion, just as a marriage should. She loved Jordan and there was nothing in the world that would prevent her from letting him know.

Someday soon, she would give him the one thing that would prove her love for him. She would give him a child. A life created from true love and grew with patience and loving care. Something she could never have given to Donald, something she never actually wanted to. But Jordan was different. Her love for him was so strong, she wanted to have a dozen babies, all with his eyes and his smile.

As Jordan moved slowly within her, burning life and flames of passion into her awakening soul, Melanie knew his love for her was real. She knew this was how love would always be. Jordan had proved it by saving her life, by coming to her when she desperately needed someone to breathe life back into her heart and by never giving up on her, even after all these years. He was hers and she loved the idea of belonging only to this one man.

Melanie had married Jordan, with the promise of loving him until the end of time. Nothing meant more to her then having this man with her, for all eternity.

Eternity, even the word sounded full of promise and endless love. Jordan and eternity were one in the same. Their love was endless and eternal, until the stars stopped shining, and the world stopped spinning. She would forever be his, and together they would walk into the future as one. One heart, one voice, one love.

Just her and her familiar lover.

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