Mr. Miller stopped in just before 4 to take the closing shift. He was such a sweet boss. He always made sure I was able to go home early enough to spend some time with Peyton.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Mr. Miller!” I headed out the door to go pick up Peyton from my sister’s house. She was a stay at home mom so she had offered for Peyton to get off the bus with Fin at her house.
When I arrived I saw another truck in the driveway that I’d never noticed before.
My sister greeted me at the door and let me in.
“Hey, how was work?”
“Good. How was Peyton? Did he behave?”
I could hear the two boys playing in the other room. It was so nice to have someone that is close to Peytons age for him to play with.
“He was great! Fin really loves having him around.”
“Hey Bell! Would you mind grabbing us another beer?” I heard coming from the other room.
“Sure babe!” Bella hollers back then turns to me.
“Want a beer or wine or something? Come in the living room, we can let the kids play for a little while.”
“Umm no I’m all set, I’ll just let Peyton know I’m here. I don’t want to be rude if you have guests.”
“It’s just Joey, they have a fire meeting later so they won’t be here too long”
Great. I should have had a beer.
She dragged me into the living room and handed the two guys their beers.
They were watching a old football game and Joey must had not noticed I came in with Bella.
He had his feet kicked back on the coffee table and one arm up over the couch. When he realized I was there her about spit his beer out.
“Hey Cash. How are you?”
“Good good, here I’ll make room for you.” He moved over on the couch and Bella settled in on the arm on the couch and put her legs over his lap. I had no other spot than the middle of the couch. Right next to Joey.
Great. Don’t make it awkward. It’s just Joey.
I had just sat down on the couch and Peyton came in to show me a toy.
“Hey mom look at this!”
He showed me a huge yellow truck with a purple dinosaur in the back.
“Wow, that’s pretty cool!”
He ran back into the room to grab another truck and came back. This time he went right to Joey.
“Joey will you play trucks with us?!”
“Um....only for a little bit then we have to go to a fire meeting.”
They started walking into Fin’s room.
“Okay!” “My dad was a fire fighter too. Did you know that?”
My heart stopped. I can’t believe that Peyton is talking about his father to Joey.
Now that they were completely gone to Fin’s room I turned to see Cash and Bella both looking at me grinning.
“I know you are trying to set me up Bell but I’m not ready yet and I don’t think I’ll ever be. I don’t need anyone.”
“Hey I didn’t say anything.” She said with a wider grin.
“I’m not getting into this girl talk, I’m going to find another beer.” With that Cash walked out.
I talked with Bella for a little while trying to avoid the subject of Joey as much as possible.
“Alright I still have to make dinner, I’m going to get Peyton and head home.”
I walked towards Fin’s room when I heard “Joey, I really like you. Maybe I can ask my mom to have you spend the night some time and we can play!”
“Umm. Yeah maybe sometime. We can’t leave your mom out though so if I can spend some time with her then I’m sure we could work out a deal.”
I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to be asked that question right now and I didn’t know how I was going to avoid it when I knew Peyton was going to ask as soon as he could. I don’t know why Joey would even want to spend time with me anyways. I’m sure he was just trying to be nice.
I tried to peak into the room without being caught and I saw Joey laying on his side on the floor playing dinosaurs and trucks with the boys. When I saw him look up I quickly hid behind the wall.
Shit. Now what am I supposed to do.
All of a sudden Fin and Peyton come running out and scare me and laughing so hard they are bent over. I jumped a mile.
“Joey told us to scare you Aunt Em!” Fin said laughing.
Joey came out a moment later, shrugged his shoulders and walked by me smiling.
“Alright boys you got me good but it’s time for Peyton to go home.”
“We still need to have dinner and bath”
Peyton sulked and followed me to the door. We put on our shoes and I thanked Bella. Peyton said bye to Fin. As we walked out I saw Joey and Cash getting into the truck. Joey stopped and headed towards me.
“Hey what’s up?”
I put Peyton in the car and buckled him up, shut the door and turned around to face Joey.
“Peyton is a really good boy and I don’t have any kids of my own to spend time with so maybe I could come over some time and play. If that’s okay with you.”
Really Joey? I thought it was going to be Peyton that asked not you and I avoided it with him so why?
“Oh um yeah. I’m sure he would like that.”
“Alright, well maybe Friday night then? Since he won’t have school the next day.”
“Sure. Maybe 6? Unless your ready before. We eat around 5. Friday is pizza night.”
“Sounds great. I’ll be there for 5.”
I turned to head to the car.
This isn’t a date so I don’t know why I feel nervous.
The rest of the week we did our normal routine. He stopped into the store every day for lunch and we talked a little more each day. I kind of liked having him to talk to. The more we talked the easier it seemed.
It was finally Friday, I had just stopped to pick up Peyton from Bella’s.
“So I heard you have a date tonight.”
“I do not have a date tonight. Joey is coming over to play with Peyton.”
“I do hope he has some time to play with you too. I wouldn’t want you to be left out.”
“Oh stop. He doesn’t think that about me.”
“Yeah I normally spit my beer out when you walk into the room too.” She said playfully.
I rolled my eyes and yelled to Peyton to get going and reminded him that Joey was stopping over tonight.
“Moooom! Hey mom! Can Fin come too?!” He was running down the hall to me now.
“No, not tonight.” Bella interjected “Maybe next time! Next time you can have a sleep over here with Fin and maybe Joey will stop in for a little bit” She said with a smile.
“Alight” Fin and Peyton both said defeated.
“Tomorrow night can we Aunt Bella?”
“I’ll talk about it with you mom and Joey.” She said smiling.
I knew that smile she was up to no good.
We stopped at the Pizza Place on the way home.
“Can we watch Shrek with Joey tonight?”
“Sure we will see if we can find it when we get home and you can ask Joey.”
Once we arrived home I put the pizza in the oven to keep it warm while I hunted for shrek. When I came out of the closet with the movie I was met with Joey and Peyton. Peyton had let Joey in.
“Mom! He’s here!”
“Awesome, do you wanna eat first then play?”
“Sure did you find Shrek mom?”
“Sweet! Joey did you want to watch Shrek later?”
“Sure bud. Let’s go eat.”
We all went to the kitchen to eat. It felt oddly comfortable with Joey there tonight.
After we ate we played baseball outside until dark.
“Now can we eat popcorn and candy and watch Shrek?”
I got the snacks ready and Joey put in the movie.
“Mom it’s starting!”
“I’m coming!” I hollered from the kitchen.
We sat on either side of Peyton while he had the big bowl of snacks on his lap.
The only light in the room was coming from the TV. We sat their snacking and quietly watching the movie. A couple times my hand grazed Joeys when reach for snacks. I looked at him each time but he didn’t seem to notice.
Half way through the movie Peyton fell asleep. I had moved the snacks out of his lap earlier and good thing because they would be all over the floor. Peyton was leaned on Joey and snoring.
I whispered to Joey that I’d probably put him in his bed. Joey said he’d do it. He gently picked up Peyton and brought him up the stairs to his bed. While he was doing that I went to the kitchen to pick up.
I was doing the dishes when he came into the kitchen.
“Thank you” I said quietly
“Anytime. You know I once carried you to bed like that.”
I laughed “yeah and I’m sorry about that.”
“I’m not, we had a good time.”
“You were not the one puking.”
“True.” Pause. “Em, your beautiful you know that.”
I froze and looked over my shoulder at him. I felt a warm feeling inside of me and I really didn’t know how much longer I could push him away when he was here looking like that.
He came closer slowly and put his finger under my chin tilting it up to look at him.
I turn around and faced him. The warmth spreading.
“Maybe some time we can go out just us adults.”
I didn’t know what to say. My heart wanted to say yes but my mind said no.
“Maybe.” I finally said licking my lips.
Why did I do that?
He kissed me then. A slow soft one. A small moan escaped me and invited his tongue into my mouth. We kissed harder like we both were full with need. He picked me up and put me on the counter spreading my legs so he could get closer still kissing me. I ran my hands through his hair and pulled him closer. He kept his hands on my back pulling me in.
He started to kiss my neck and I let out another moan. It felt so good to be in his arms.
I started to undo his pants and found that he was hard. He put his hand on my hand to stop me.
“Not tonight Em.”
I looked down feeling rejected.
He picked up my head up with his finger again. “Let me take you on a proper date first.” He kissed me one more time softly.
I wanted him bad but I knew he was right. We just started to know each other again.
He helped me finish the dishes and then kissed me goodbye.
I laid in bed thinking about him. I couldn’t wait to see him again.