Familiar Lovers

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Six

“Hey, it’s me,” Michaels said as Jordan answered his phone.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Jordan asked, folding Melanie’s socks before opening the drawer she had retrieved the clean underwear that morning.

“Found out some information from the manager at the motel. Harrison Williams had checked into a room last Friday. He told the guy that he was in town for a wedding, and he’d need the room for six or seven weeks. He paid for the place in full, and in cash, then insisted on having a room on the corner, out of sight. He said he wanted privacy because he suffered from migraines.”

“He’ll have a migraine when I’ve finished with him,” Jordan grumbled, tucking Melanie’s clean clothes into her drawers.

“The manager said he noticed a Greyhound bus label on his suitcase, so I sent Carter over to check their records. He also gave an address and license, issued in Connecticut, both in his alias name.”

“Didn’t he have a lover in Connecticut?”

“That’s right. We got a report back from the east coast office. The woman’s name is Scarlett Williams, and she’s got a rap record as long as a New York mile. Everything from prostitution to forgery. And get this, her ex-husband’s name was Harrison Williams.”

“Coincidence?”

“Not if you ask me. Her husband’s description is six foot, a hundred and eighty pounds, blonde hair, green eyes.”

“So, all he had to do was walk into the DMV, hand over a birth certificate…”

“And pick up a new ID,” Michaels said. “The desk clerk that was on last night told the manager that Williams came in late and looked like he’d been in a fight. He claimed to have had an argument with a former high school buddy who owed him money and got beaten when he asked for it back.”

“I wouldn’t be the bastard’s old friend, if he paid me,” Jordan grumbled, hanging Melanie’s dresses in her closet.

“There’s something else,” Michaels said, hesitating for a few moments. “The manager said a beautiful brunette came in this morning, asking for his room number. She claimed to be his sister. She kept her sunglasses on, but she matched Kent’s description. She arrived in a taxi and stayed a little over an hour before he drove away with her in a rented BMW.”

“It wasn’t Melanie,” Jordan said in a quick snap. “She’s at school all day.”

“Jordan, you can’t get your emotions for her tangled up in this,” the man’s voice said. “If the girl is involved with him…”

“She’s not. I’ll stake my reputation on it.”

“I’ve got an agent checking out the rental agencies to see what name he paid for the car in, and how he paid. There’s a team staked out at the motel, and another one keeping an eye on his family in Vernal.”

“Keep me informed on what you find,” Jordan told him, then hung up and tossed the phone on the bed.

He trusted Melanie, and knew she’d never be involved with Prescott. He had caused her grief and pain once, and she was smart enough to avoid getting hurt again. But if it was her…he felt a sudden tightening in his gut as he considered the trouble she would be facing. Donald Prescott was facing life in prison. If she was a party to his illicit acts, she would share his sentence.

With a heavy sigh, Jordan stood up and walked back into the bathroom, returning the hamper to its place. He had to prove she was innocent of her ex-husband’s crimes. He wouldn’t allow her to go to jail, or to waste her life pining after a man who was wrong for her. He had stepped aside once, and it cost him twelve long years of longing to be with her. He wouldn’t do it again.


Melanie arrived at her apartment a little bit after four and fell in the arm chair exhausted. The students had been extremely wound up and excited, facing a summer of no school and endless fun. The schoolboard arranged to have the fire department over, as always, and the school celebrated the end with a day of water sports.

The noise and shouting of children was thick, and echoed in her ears, even now. Her head was pounding, her legs ached from chasing after happy kids, and her shoulders were sore from lifting boxes of supplies back into storage. All she wanted was to relax in a hot tub, then have a glass of wine and go to bed early.

Melanie drew a deep breath and stood up. She glanced around the apartment and gasped. It had been cleaned. Her blanket from last night had been folded and placed on the end of the sofa, and the dishes from breakfast were washed and put away. The placed smelled clean, and she noticed the vase of plastic flowers had been replaced on the coffee table with a dozen real, red roses.

She went into her bathroom and smiled. Everything was clean, even the floor. The rug had been shaken, or vacuumed, and the sink and toilet sparkled. The smile remained as she started the tub, running the water a bit hotter than normal, then dumped in a generous amount of scented bath beads. She removed her clothes and turned around, tossing them into the empty hamper. With a curious frown, she looked at the wicker basket then hurried into her bedroom, completely naked.

Her clothes had been washed and hung up, or placed in the drawer, her bed made, and even the stack of pillows she kept as decorations had been fluffed and placed against the headboard. Setting across the mattress was a box of chocolates with a big red bow and a small card. She picked it and giggled a she read the note.

Have only one but save the rest. I have a special treat for tonight. Love Jordan.

Melanie took one chocolate from the box then returned to the bathroom and shut off the water. She had spent an active, emotional, and even frustrating day at school, but all of that vanished in the span of a few minutes. She felt happy, content and eager to see what Jordan had planned for them.

With a smile, she lit four candles on the counter and wrapped her hair on the top of her head. She scrubbed the dust and sweat from her face, then layered her delicate skin with green mud. Cautiously, she stepped into the tub, gasping at the heat, then slowly sat down. The room was quiet, dim, and smelled of lilacs and vanilla. It was the perfect retreat from a chaotic day.

Melanie took the washcloth and dipped it into the water, then rung it out and laid it across her eyes. She reclined against the back of the tub and drew a deep breath. The heat surrounded her, lulling her into a relaxed, comfortable slumber.

The day’s events slowly slipped away, along with the images of burglars, intruders, and danger. She drew a deep breath as the sound of the front door opened. The heat surrounded her like a lover’s embrace as the sound of the door closing again slowly weaved its way into her subconscious.

Melanie’s heart skipped a beat as the memories of what had happened to Jordan flashed through her mind. She thought of the burglar coming back, trying his hand with another apartment. She searched her mind, wondering if she should pretend to be sleeping, or try and fight. She looked around, trying to find something to use as a weapon, finding only the long wooden handled back scrubber. She was about to grab for the towel when the door to the bathroom pushed wider and Jordan poked his head around the corner.

Melanie fell back against the porcelain edge and began to breathe again. Panic and fear raked through her tired soul, causing her to feel lightheaded and weak. She looked back up at the man who stood smiling down at her and narrowed her blue eyes through the green concrete on her face.

“Why do you insist on sneaking up on me?” she asked him, her voice sounding more scolding then angry.

“I knocked but you didn’t answer,” he began calmly. “When I saw your car outside I knew you were here, so I just let myself in. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Well you did. I thought it was your friendly burglar coming back for seconds.”

He watched as she took the washcloth and began scrubbing off the mask. He was patient, hoping the time it took to make her appear beautiful again, would relax her anger.

“What the hell do you mean, let yourself in?” she asked, reaching for the towel next to the tub. “Since when do you have a key for my apartment?”

“Since this morning. The police restricted me from my place for another few days. They want to take some fingerprints and can’t do it until Monday, so I asked Mrs. Walsh for a spare key. She charged me fifty dollars for it.”

“The next time you decide to take advantage of me, at least do me the courtesy to let me know.”

Melanie stood up in the tub and wrapped the large, fluffy towel around her tiny frame, then looked at the man who stared at her with a confused expression on his swollen face.

“If this is going to be an inconvenience, I can go to a motel,” he assured her, studying her features closely.

His mind flowed back to the conversation he had with his partner. He wondered if her reaction was from her suspected visit with her ex-husband, or from regret over the night before.

“I’m sorry Jordan,” she said with a deep sigh. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you. It’s not an inconvenience and you’re more than welcome to stay. I’m just tired. I’ve had a long, exhausting day, and you scared the hell out of me.”

“In that case, how about you let me make it up to you and take you to dinner?”

Melanie lowered her stare and chuckled lightly.

“In your condition? People might think I’m so desperate for a date, I picked up some drunk in the alley.”

“I promise not to embarrass you, Miss Kent. I’ll wear and eyepatch, and we can stop at the costume store for a pirate’s outfit. We’ll even sit in a dark corner and I won’t leave to use the bathroom.”

Melanie laughed openly at the man’s words as he reached out and wrapped his arms around her waist. She accepted the kiss he gave her, then slid her damp arms around his strong neck.

“To be honest Jordan, I was hoping for a quiet evening at home. I’ve had a very hectic day and I really don’t want to get dressed again.”

“Alright, I’ll call for pizza while you dry off,” he told her, kissing her lips again. “I’m not going to object if you don’t want to get dressed. I rather like the natural look on you.”

“Have you always been perverted or is this a new side of you?” she asked with a smile.

“A man can’t help but be perverted around a beautiful woman, wrapped only in a towel.”

Melanie laughed as he pulled her closer, kissing her neck as his hands roamed over her back. He reached her bottom, poking out from under the towel, then gripped her tiny buttocks in his large hands, squeezing gently.

“I hope you like everything on your pizza,” he told her with a deep sigh.

He had to keep his hands off her until tonight. He had plans for her, and he needed to try and get some answers out of her. Despite how beautiful and seductive she was, he couldn’t afford being distracted.

“Don’t get those smelly fish, I hate those things,” she told him as he moved away from her.

“Coward,” Jordan teased then kissed her once more before he walked toward the living room.

A few minutes passed before Melanie joined him, dressed in a heavy blue bathrobe and fuzzy pink slippers. She looked comfortable, relaxed, and ready for that quiet evening she’d been dreaming of all day.

“Why do I feel like the honeymoon is over?” he asked, as she sat on the sofa beside him. Melanie frowned at the man who winked his one good eye at her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.

“Well, you do look as though I’m anything but company, Darling,” he told her, forcing her to glance down at her attire and laugh.

She did look like an old housewife in her worn robe. But it was comfortable and hid the secret of her complete nakedness beneath it.

“A typical evening without the children,” she told him as she leaned her head against his shoulder. “I could have worn that sexy night gown you bought me for our anniversary, except for one thing.”

“What’s that?” he asked, kissing the top of her head.

“You didn’t buy me one.”

“Good point. Since I’m band from my apartment with no spare clothes, I need to go shopping this weekend. I owe you for that torn top anyway. I’m sure I can find at least one sexy negligee for you.”

Jordan pushed her down against the arm of the sofa and kissed her mouth with as much passion and tenderness as he had shown her the night before. His hot breath sent chills of pleasure and urgent delight dancing along her spine as his head bent down, tracing the soft skin of her neck. All seemed perfect in the world tonight. There were no fears, no worries, no uncertainties, as the strong secure arms wrapped around her tiny form, inching her beneath him.

“I love you,” Jordan whispered against her hair, feeling the burning need for her growing more urgent with each passing moment.

Melanie pushed him away and looked at him with more passion than he had ever seen in a woman’s eyes before.

“You don’t really know me,” she told him, her voice barely above a whisper as she smiled up at him.

“I know you better than you think.”

“We have met before, haven’t we?”

Just as she was certain he would tell her what she wanted to know, the bell to the security door rang, leaving the unanswered question hanging in the air like a dark wall.

“Don’t move,” he smiled, kissing her lips once more.

Jordan left the apartment and met the delivery boy outside, then came back up and kicked the door closed behind him. He walked silently to the counter and set the box, hot and steaming from its contents, on the tiled top. He took the bottle of wine he had brought home with him and popped the cork, before turning back to her.

“I had an interesting conversation with our landlady this morning,” he told her, taking two glasses out of the cupboard. “The police came over to talk with me about last night. Would you believe, she had her ear to the door when we opened it? Anyway, she threatened to call the owner on all the trouble I’ve caused.”

“Trouble you’ve caused?” Melanie snapped, straightening up on the sofa.

“I told her to tell the owner, I was planning on writing a report on the lack of security and how it’s put his tenants in danger of being abused.”

“What did she say to that?” she asked with a wide grin.

“One slice or two?” he asked, as he poured the sweet liquid in the glasses.

“One,” she answered, walking to the counter and leaning against its edge.

She watched him for several long moments as he dished up their dinner, placing the pizza on the clean plates he removed from the dishwasher. He was handsome, even with a broken, deformed face, and it was frustrating that she couldn’t place him. She tried to remember him, but as hard as she tried, her mind was blank.

“My threat helped her let off a bit of her steam, but I’m still tempted to write the article. Did you know the owner of this building, has four more just like it? He takes old mansions and remodels them into apartments. He’s making a fortune, and yet he cares little about the security of them.”

“You’re not going to answer me, are you?” she concluded a moment later as she took her pizza and returned to the sofa with him.

Jordan stopped from putting the plate on her table cloth, tossing it aside and looked directly at her. He was tempted to tell her everything, but he wanted to make certain he had a good footing in her life, before she learned his secrets.

“I’m not ready to get into it right now, Melanie. Just believe me when I tell you, I do know you and I am in love with you. Just please don’t ask me anything more, alright?”

Melanie smiled and nodded, agreeing to let the subject drop until he was ready to discuss it. Even though she openly agreed to his conditions, apprehension and caution flashed its warning lights in the back of her mind. This man was very strange and that scared her. She didn’t want to fall in love with him until she knew more about who he was, but it was too late for any of that and she knew it. She was in love with Jordan James and there was nothing she could do, or wanted to do, to change it.


Melanie reclined in the bed, the small carton of rocky road ice cream in her hands. She listened as Jordan hummed contentedly in the bathroom, then smiled. Last night had been an interesting, if not messy evening. The man had many, many ideas, and promised to introduce her to each one in turn. Last night was just the first.

After they ate dinner, and relaxed on the sofa sipping wine, they found themselves wrapped in each other’s embrace again. Jordan was delighted to find her robe had been the only barrier between her and his eager explorations.

She closed her eyes, remembering how he explored her with his mouth, bringing her to climax on the sofa before carrying her into her bedroom. He wanted to help her explore the darker side of passion and watched as she removed the pillows from the bed.

“Did you notice your gifts?” he asked her as he pulled the blankets down to the foot of the bed.

“Do you mean the roses and the chocolates?” she asked, watching him smile. “I loved them. Thank you.”

“Did they make you happy?” he asked, wrapping her in his strong embrace again.

“Very much. It was the perfect end to a very chaotic day.”

“It was my pleasure, Darling. But did you follow my instructions with the candy?”

“Yes. I only ate one, though it was difficult. I love chocolate.”

“I remember,” he told her, then covered her mouth quickly before she began asking questions. “I want to teach you how much fun food can be during sex,” he added, helping her onto the bed.

“I was wrong, you’re not just a pervert, you’re a pervert from Mars,” she giggled, laying down as his hands moved her into position.

Jordan laughed cheerfully and kissed her once more, then left the bedroom. She could hear him in the closet, then bit her bottom lip when he returned with the towel she had loaned him. He spread it out across the mattress, then patted the soft fabric with his hand.

“Be a good girl, and lay down on this,” he told her with a wicked grin.

Melanie giggled as she climbed onto the towel and laid down, then reached her hands above her head. Jordan removed a package from beneath the bed, where he had tucked it and chuckled.

“I assume you like being restrained?” he asked her, placing the bag next to her.

“I assumed that’s what perverted Martians do to their prisoners.”

“You’re not a prisoner, my love, you are a very willing captive.”

“Willing and ready,” she smiled.

Jordan laughed as he sat down next to her, opening the package. This woman was the perfect lover for him. She enjoyed the dark side of sex and liked to explore as much as he did. Though there was still a lot he had to know about her, what he did know he loved.

“I found a very interesting store in Salt Lake today,” he told her with a wicked grin. “I found some very special gifts for you, besides the roses and candy.”

“What kind of gifts?” she asked, sitting up on her elbows.

“The naughty kind that will make you cum in many wonderful, perverted ways.”

Jordan removed two sets of fur covered handcuffs and placed them on her tummy. He then removed three packages, one with a small handheld wand with a small black ball on the end, one with a phallus shaped device in a deep pink, and a string of assorted beads of florescent orange.

“Do you know what these are?” he asked her, watching her play with the fur on the cuffs.

“I may be naïve, but I’m not stupid,” she assured him. “I had friends in school who used vibrators, and after…a while back, I was tempted to get one for myself. But I figured, if I couldn’t have an orgasm in marriage, what made me think I could have one alone?”

“You couldn’t have an orgasm, because your ex didn’t know how to help you,” Jordan said with a stern, almost angry voice. “Don’t blame yourself for that. Just like anything else, you have to be taught how to enjoy sex. A man can get a hardon just by thinking about a pussy, but a woman needs to be stimulated and played with. If he doesn’t take the time to show you, then he’s not much of a man.”

Melanie blushed as she lowered her eyes back to the items laying across her abdomen. He was right. Donald hadn’t taken any time at all to explore her, or love her, like Jordan did. All he cared about was having his own orgasm. Once he was finished, he’d go into the kitchen, get a beer, then fall asleep in front of some worthless infomercial about flipping houses.

“Melanie, talk to me,” Jordan said softly. “What are you thinking?”

“I was just comparing…” she trailed off. She wasn’t sure if she should tell her lover that she was comparing him to her ex-husband.

“There’s no comparison,” he told her sternly. “Tell me when the last time was Prescott made you cum?”

“Never,” she said sadly.

“Is that why you divorced him?”

“I didn’t divorce him…he left me.”

Melanie looked sad as she remembered that last night of her marriage. It was a painful, depressing time that left her with a deep need to avoid ever getting involved with another man.

“He was a fool,” Jordan told her gently as he lifted her chin with his finger. “I know how lucky I am to have you in my life, and I will never let you regret it. I love you and I’ll never leave you, no matter what happens. I’ll always be right here beside you.”

Melanie watched him move closer to her, kissing her lips gently. She felt him ease her down to the towel covered mattress as his hand slid between her legs. She loved how he touched her, and she loved how he played with her. There wasn’t another man alive who could make her feel the way he did.

“It’s time to play,” he whispered into her ear as he kissed his way across her cheek.

Jordan straightened up and took the handcuffs, smiling when she raised her hands above her head again. He slipped one fur covered ring around her wrist, then wrapped it around the brass swirl of her headboard. He secured it to her second wrist before reaching for the packages across her.

“I picked up some lubricant to try,” he told her, holding up three small, different colored packages. “Once we find your favorite one, we’ll pick up a bottle of it and keep it on hand.”

Jordan picked one out of the three, then began ripping open the packages of toys. He pulled the items out of the plastic coverings, and once again, laid them across her abdomen. He tore the package with the lubricant open, and slowly drizzled it across the string of beads.

Melanie gasped as the cool liquid flowed onto her stomach, smiling when he chuckled. He was enjoying himself too much, teasing and playing wit her for his own pleasure.

“Bend your legs,” he ordered her as he lifted the beads and ran his hand along the length of them, spreading the gel to each round object.

“What are you doing?” she asked him, feeling him smooth his slick hand across her bottom.

“These go in your rectum,” he told her in a simple, matter-of-fact tone.

“You’re really going to put those up my butt?” she gasped as he chuckled.

“Trust me, Darling, I know how to make you feel good.”

“But…I don’t think I want them…not there.”

“Relax. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll like it.”

Jordan didn’t wait for her to agree. He placed the beads against her anus and firmly pressed them inside her. One after another slowly and easily slipped into the tight opening, until all six were tucked inside her body.

“That wasn’t so bad, now was it?” he asked with a wicked grin, watching her narrow her eyes before chuckling. “I told you I was going to teach you how to play with food. We’ll start simple, with one or two chocolates, then move upwards to whipped cream.”

“Pervert,” she mumbled, watching as he tossed the box of candy to the bed next to her.

He opened the lid and chose a piece of chocolate from the black holes. He placed it to her lips and smiled.

“Lick it,” he told her in a deep, husky voice.

Melanie did as she was told, tasting the sweet chocolate on her tongue until it was warm and soft. She gasped when he moved it to her erect nipples, covering them with it before sliding it down her body. Again, he placed it to her lips, groaning as she licked the top side of the chocolate.

“I want to put that mouth to work,” he growled softly. “But I have other plans for you tonight.”

“I’ve never done that before.”

“You’ve never done this before, either,” he chuckled, watching her blush.

Jordan returned the candy to her body, repeating the actions until his path had been mapped out. He moved the candy across her clitoris, his smile widening when she gasped. He loved to tease this woman, and he was enjoying himself more than he had with anyone he’d ever tried this with.

“Let’s get serious,” he told her, slipping the piece of chocolate into the small opening of her tight portal.

“Jordan,” she gasped, staring at him as he straddled her hips.

“Trust me, Darling. You’ll be begging me to buy you chocolates.”

Melanie closed her eyes, feeling the candy becoming soft inside her. It was a strange feeling, and she fought to hold still. She was terrified of what might happen if it moved in farther.

Jordan knew she was frightened, but he was determined to make certain she found pleasure in his touch. He bent over her, kissing her lips gently before taking another piece of candy from the box and slipping it into her mouth. He moved down her slowly, licking and tasting every inch of her chocolate covered flesh. The feeling of his mouth on her was hot and erotic, but knowing he was licking her clean made her pulse race.

His mouth continued to move across her until he was between her legs. He smiled as she moaned, his tongue licking the sweetness that covered her flesh. He teased her until she was writhing beneath him, panting in need. He dipped his tongue into her canal, groaning as he played with the melting candy.

Melanie tried to hold back, but she couldn’t resist. The feeling of what he was doing to her drove her to the brink of insanity and she cried out, riding his tongue with all the passion she felt inside.

The sound of her phone ringing shook her back to reality and she returned the spoon to the ice cream carton. She picked up her phone off the bedside table and pressed the button as the shower shut off.

“Hi Daddy,” she said, not having to hear his voice to know his ringtone.

“Hi Sweetheart,” Curtis said in his normal cheerful tone. “I wanted to let you know, your mother has planned a pre-rehearsal supper for Stephanie, whatever that is, and we wanted you to come down a few days earlier than you planned.”

“Sounds like fun, when is it,” she answered, watching Jordan come back into the bedroom completely naked.

“June twenty-second. It’s casual, but you know your mother, casual could mean anything from black tie to jeans and a tee-shirt.”

Jordan listened to the one-sided conversation as he rubbed his hair with a towel. He smiled seductively to her, then moved up to stand next to her, his mouth moving to the drips of ice cream across her chest.

“Okay, Daddy, I’ll talk with you later,” she said into the phone, blushing softly as he raised up, smiling at her. “Goodbye Daddy. I love you.”

“What’s going on?” he asked, watching her set her phone aside.

“My mother has planned another of her famous suppers for next month. It’s supposed to be a pre-rehearsal thing for my little sister, but it’s basically so my mom can show off her party skills. The whole family is going to be there. It’s going to be the start of the wedding events. Would you like to go with me?”

“It’s a family thing,” he told her, tossing the towel aside and laying down across the mattress next to her. “Won’t I be intruding?”

“No. My family wouldn’t see it that way, and I want you with me.”

“Then consider me there.”

“Do you still want to go shopping?” she asked him as he leaned over her, licking and nipping her nipple.

“I need to. I can’t keep wearing the same outfit I’ve had on the past three days.”

“Then let me get a shower and we can go. I’m sticky from last night.”

“Did you enjoy it?” he asked, calling after her as she hurried into the bathroom.

“I’m not sure. It was rather brief. Perhaps you should try it again tonight.”

“Anything you say, Darling,” he laughed, climbing off the bed and reaching for his clothes he’d dropped to the floor last night.

He had found a new favorite pastime, and it started and ended with playing with Melanie Kent.


Melanie stood outside the dressing room, waiting for Jordan to try on the clothes he’d selected. She paced through the nearby racks of dresses, looking at them with interest. Summers were hard on teachers, and this was the first year she didn’t have tutoring to keep her going, so her budget didn’t include money for shopping.

Jordan stepped out of the wooden box and smiled to the woman sitting guard over the dressing rooms. He tossed his clothes into the cart and watched Melanie. He had promised her a negligee, but he rather enjoyed having her naked. With a wicked grin, he stepped up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist.

“If you don’t want the nightgown, you can get something else,” he told her against her ear. “I rather like keeping you nude.”

“Pervert,” she giggled.

“Do you want a dress instead?”

“I love dresses, but they’re expensive.”

“May I ask you something?” he began in a serious voice, causing her to turn to look at him. “Where do you see us in six months?”

“I don’t know,” she frowned. “I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Then answer me this. Are we just friendly neighbors, or do you want to start dating other men?”

“Neither one,” she answered, her frown deepening.

“Mellie, I was raised to believe that a man takes care of his woman. If she asks for a rose, you get her a bouquet. If she wants a chocolate bar, you buy her a package of them. If you want a dress, I’ll be honored to buy it for you. You’re my woman, and I want you to be happy.”

“Jordan, you can’t spend money on me. That makes me feel like a…”

Melanie paused to say hello to the parents of one of her students. Jordan stepped aside as the little girl wrapped her arms around her teacher’s waist and hugged her, causing him to smile. He loved how much people cared about her, and he was determined to make her understand that his love wasn’t based on sex.

“I’m sorry,” she told him a few moments later, as she walked to their cart. “That’s the hazards of working so close to where you live.”

“I didn’t mind. I love how people know you. It’s not like you’re trying to hide or running away.”

“What would I have to hide from?” she asked with a soft crease to her brows.

“Conversations, for one thing,” he told her with a half-grin. “We’re not leaving this area until you choose a dress.”

“Jordan, they’re thirty dollars. I’ve never spent that much money on an outfit in my life.”

“Good thing you’re not buying it. Now, pick out your size and go try it on.”

“Jordan…” she began, but was stopped when he kissed her, right there, in the middle of the aisle.

“Melanie, shut up and go try on the dress. If you don’t I’ll tell the next person who walks by that you beat me up.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” she gasped, watching a middle-aged couple head towards them.

“Excuse me,” he said, waving a hand to them.

“Jordan, no. That’s Mr. Skylar, the principal of my school.”

“Hello Melanie,” the man said, pausing beside them as Jordan smiled. “Is there a problem?”

The man looked from Melanie to Jordan, frowning at the color around his eye. The swelling had diminished almost completely, but the discoloration was still there in the form of an ugly greenish-yellow bruise, and the split in his lip was little more than a scab.

“I’m Jordan James,” the man said, introducing himself. “I’m Melanie’s boyfriend. We were just debating…”

“Jordan,” Melanie said in a soft croaking sound.

“Melanie was trying to decide if this dress would be appropriate for church as well as school, or if she should choose something a little more modest,” Jordan continued.

“It’s quite pretty,” Mrs. Skylar said. “Melanie has the perfect figure for that, and it’s not too short for church either.”

“I really like the color, don’t you?” Jordan continued. “I think Mellie looks beautiful in purple.”

“Well, she does have the coloring for it,” the older woman said with a wide smile.

“I’ll try it on,” Melanie conceded, taking the item and smiling to her principal’s wife, before glaring at Jordan.

“May I ask you, Mr. James, what happened to your face? It looks like you found the wrong side of a mugger’s temper.”

Jordan glanced to Melanie and smiled as she took the key to the dressing room and disappeared. He turned back to the white-haired man and chuckled.

“It was something like that,” he told the couple. “I walked in on a burglar a few nights back. Fortunately, my face stopped him from taking anything of value.”

“I hope the police caught him,” Mrs. Skylar said with a gasp.

“Not yet, but they have some very good leads. I’ll be happy to see him behind bars where he belongs.”

“I’m sure you will,” Mr. Skylar commented. “Tell Melanie we said goodbye, and good luck, son. It’s not easy to convince a woman to let a man buy her clothes. Especially someone as proud and stubborn as Miss Kent.”

“How did you…” Jordan asked with wide eyes.

“Oh, my boy, it’s happened to all of us. In fact, that’s how I proposed to Shirley. I took her to J.C. Penny’s, into the bridal department, and told her to choose her dress.”

“It wasn’t exactly romantic, but it was the start to forty-three incredible years,” the older woman said, wrapping her arm through her husband’s.

“That’s an excellent idea,” Jordan chuckled. “I may just take a page out of your book, if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. It wasn’t as romantic as flashing the question on the screen at a ball game, but it caught her off guard and managed to give us a unique tale for our children.”

Jordan shook the man’s hand and nodded to his wife, then watched as they strolled away. He glanced to the dressing room door as it opened, and Melanie walked out, the beautiful purple dress across her slender frame. She looked amazing, and the dress was barely two inches above her knee. It was perfect for her, and she looked happy when she glanced to him.

Once this case was finished, and Prescott was in jail, he would have to find a bridal shop to take her to. It was a unique idea, and it would give them something to tell their children as well.

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