“What’s this?” Johnattan chuckles softly as he holds up the glittery, purple body suit with bell-feet and funnel sleeves.
I look at the suit with a smile reminiscing on the memories within that outfit. It has been five years since I’ve seen that.
“That was Lexi’s high school Halloween costume,” I reply holding out my hand for the outfit.
He hands it to me and I run my fingers over the material, the softness gliding over my fingertips.
“This one year Lexi and I decided to do a throwback costume. I was a sexy Point Dexter and she was a disco diva,” I smile as the glitter rubs off on my hands. “We kept this costume because it was one of the last costumes our mothers made.”
I smile sadly, as the memory of watching mom and Momma Jacobs trying to operate a sewing machine plays in my head. Momma Jacobs was taught the trade as a child, so she was knowledgeable in the field... but my mom was blank, completely and utterly lost.
It was funny watching her make minor mistakes as she tried to make my costume. Once she sewed her top to my poodle skirt and somehow managed to stitch the buttons for the top into her hair.
Yeah, mom sucked at sewing but it was nice of her to try for me... It showed how much she loved me and at the end of the day the costume looked beautiful. Her best and last work.
“My Point Dexter costume is probably here too,” I say as I place the suit onto my lap, reverting my focus onto the boxes in front of me. “We stashed most of our old stuff here for safe keeping.”
I pry open the white box and cough as dust greets me.
“You okay Christi?” Johnattan asks worried and I wave him off coughing out a yes. “You know we brought that dust mask for you to use right? Not to sit on your neck and look pretty.”
I roll my eyes using my hand to fan away the dust. “Really I had no idea...”
“Christi... ” he says sternly and I look around sticking my tongue out at him. He chuckles with a shake of his head before prying into a box of his own. “You can be so childish sometimes.”
“Got a problem buster?” I ask as I stare into the box of CDs.
“No, I quite like it... I mean every Daddy needs his little girl.”
“And that totally didn’t make you sound like a pedo,” I say sarcastically, pulling out one of the CDs.
C&L pep rally.
Johnattan’s hands find their way onto my hips, that familiar tingling resonating through my skin. I jump at the sensation and in shock before relaxing in his comforting embrace. The heat of his body steeps through my jeans jumper and my body becomes very aware of his proximity.
While his hands work wonders on my skin, his breath against my highly sensitive skin causes the hair on the back of my neck to rise. How can one man have such an effect on me?
“You and I both know I like my women age appropriate, Christi,” he whispers pecking my neck – tingles resonating – and I smile as his hands move to cradle my stomach. To hold our babies.
My free hand moves to cover one of his, my thumb caressing each knuckle affectionately. I giggle as he nibbles and plants heated kisses along my jawline. It tickles...
“Plus, why would I need to stoop so low on the age board when I’ve got myself a stubborn brat right here,” he says swatting my ass playfully. “One who loves to defy and ride me.”
I squeal as he grabs a handful of my ass, fits of chuckles escaping my lips. Oh Johnny... My sweet JBear. Turning to face him, I wrap my arms around his neck, and smile as my bloated stomach acts as a barrier between us. “Es verdad papí.”
“Yo sé mi niñita,” he grins and I peck his lips.
The heat seems to rise in our bodies at the small contact between our lips and I find myself coaxing his bottom lip. He groans huskily pulling me in for a longer mouth to mouth and I moan, a smile gracing my lips at how hungry he is for me.
It’s been a month since I’ve banded sex and Johnattan is trying really hard to cope with it. I’m roughly two months away from popping out these little angels from my coochie, so I decide it’s time to put our hefty activities to rest... I’m becoming too winded for it and we can’t risk something going wrong so late in the pregnancy.
Johnattan understands but it’s hard for a man that’s used to getting sex almost every day to cope with restraining for months... but my man’s strong and seems to only have the hots for me so he’ll wait and that’s one more reason why I love him so.
Pulling away, I tap the CD case to the back of his head and he reaches back with a free hand, grabbing the case. I lick my lips as he holds up the item reading the words in black.
“C&L pep rally?” he asks with a cocked brow.
“Did I ever mention that I was a cheerleader in high school?” I ask sheepishly and he shakes his head. “Well, Lexi and I were and that CD is a few of your pep rally performances.”
“Well that’d explain your flexibility at that beach in Jamaica,” he grins pecking my nose. “So, my little ex cheer. You wouldn’t mind if I hook up your TV set and we take a trip down memory lane do you?”
“Not at all Mr Blake,” I say sweetly and he pecks my nose before going to set up the DVD player.
Hours later, we find ourselves on one of Lexi’s couch cuddling and watching each and every CD in that box, laughing, cooing and crying... missing Lexi as each second passes by.
Relishing in the legacy she left behind for us to indulge in.
“Calm down,” I say as I clasp my hand in Johnattan’s.
His palms are sweaty and he’s jittery. I caress his knuckles but he pays me no mind as his eyes look at the people around us eagerly, searching the crowd for a familiar face.
“He’ll be here,” I say optimistically tugging his arm and he looks down at me with worry and anxiety in those electric blues of his.
“Christina, it’s been years,” he says with a strained voice. His eyes drift to the crowd coming up empty again before returning to me. “I don’t know what’s been happening to him, how he is or if he’s changed. This is feels like elementary school all over again... what if he’s different? What if we aren’t as close as we used to b–”
Sighing, I tip up on my toes silencing him with a kiss and he thankfully opens his mouth accepting my tongue which hungrily explores his mintiness. A sigh leaves the back of his throat and I giggle into our kiss. He grips my waist through my top and sensing that, this may progress a little too far, I pull away from him resting my free hand on his chest.
His eyes have glazed over into a misty blue and I smile noticing his anxiety has left him momentarily. Nothing like a little sugga to get your mind off your worries.
“Everything will be okay, Johnattan. It’s expected that he’ll be a little different, he has been in Iraq for years. I’m sure he has experienced a few life changing things... but regardless this shouldn’t damage your friendship. You boys will work through it,” I give a small grin as I use my thumb to wipe some gloss off Johnattan’s lips, those words falling from my mouth and he nods pecking my temple.
“You’re right, mi diosa. I’m overreacting,” Johnattan states taking a deep breath as his eyes glide over the interior of the airport.
We’ve been here for the last hour waiting patiently – well at least I was waiting patiently – for Johnattan’s long-time friend, Ryan Andrews to walk through the terminal.
It’s been about two years give or take since they’ve seen each other and after receiving a call from Evan – Johnattan’s driver and Ryan’s brother – about Ryan’s return, Johnattan has been overly excited.
Last night I had a hard time getting him to sleep. He was like a child on Christmas Eve refusing to drift off so he can catch Santa Claus when he’s dropping off the gifts.
Each time I thought I got him to sleep he would move, awaking me and I literally had to trap him under me so he couldn’t sneak out of the room.
It’s like I’m getting training for future battles with my children through him.
“Have you guys seen him yet?” Evan asks as he walks up to us with three bags of Doritos, a cheese dip and a 1.5 litre water, all visible through the clear plastic bags.
“No,” I reply before holding out my hand. “Gimme those, this craving is making me all jittery.”
He hands me the bags and I take out the dip handing it to Johnattan and the water to Evan. I pull the Dorito chips, instructing Johnattan to open the dip and submerged my chip in it. I brought it to my lips and as the cheesiness touches my taste buds I sigh.
“These cravings has me literally breaking out in hives,” I reply as I continue to devour the snacks, both guys staring at me with amused smiles.
“Don’t give me that look. I’m eating for three here and they’re greedy little angels...” I say rolling my eyes and in five minutes I consume all the chips and dip and water... and Ryan is still not here yet.
“Evan are you sure he was coming today?” I ask as I look over at the young chauffeur.
He’s in a black dress shirt, blue snug jeans, his blonde hair is a little shorter than last time but he still manages to pull it in a small man bun. Johnattan on the other hand is in a Blue dress shirt, Khaki shorts and blue converses. His shaggy hair resting on his shoulders, making him look relax... the opposite of what he really is.
“Yes, I’m sur–”
“I see him,” Johnattan says his voice barely louder than a whisper but we hear it.
Our heads fly up searching the crowd and a man in a faded blue jeans, a Yankee T-shirt and Nike sneakers catches my attention.
He has a mess of short blonde hair which is shaved at the sides leaving only a patch up top, he’s ripped all over and his face is hard with a few soft features, scarred especially on his cheeks and temples and he carries a hostile look. He and Evan share the same grey eyes but his look is almost like steel as they observe his surroundings. He isn’t short in the looks or height department and years of fighting battles gives him that rough, thug and mysterious look.
As his eyes drift to us they light up at seeing Evan then regard me in confusion with a raised brow before settling on Johnattan and freezing. Ryan stops abruptly, staring at his friend and Johnattan goes rigid beside me.
I look over at him and tug his arm. “Go to him.”
At first he doesn’t move so I slap him upside the head, instantly getting a reaction.
“What the f–”
“I dare you to finish that,” I say, hands on my hips and he swallows the curse, his eyes drifting between Ryan and I. “Now, go to your friend... It’s obvious he’s as confused as you are and don’t know where you guys stand. So go put his mind to rest... Go greet him.”
Johnattan looks at me hesitantly, earning a glare and soon he’s striding across the room to embrace his old friend, who drops his carry-on to pat his back with glossy eyes.
I smile as I watch them interact, eyes wide in disbelief yet glazed over with thankfulness... thankful that they can see each other again.
Evan rests a hand on my shoulder and I relax watching the reunion. Watching brothers from different mothers reunite, watching best friends find each other again... and as I watch this I can’t help thinking about Lexi, how I’ll never see her again...
“When do you think they’ll realise we’re still here?” Evan asks knocking me out of my thoughts. “It’s been ten minutes since they’ve been talking and it looks like their conversation is getting heated.”
Their rapid hand movements and expressions confirm Evan’s observation and I look at him with a shrug.
“Hard to tell,” I reply truthfully. “We could always just go over there and make our presence known and at the same time end the starting of World War III.”
“I’m in,” he replies stretching his arms with a yawn.
He then takes my hand with a smile and bows, his other hand gesturing to the talkative males. “After you Mi’lady.”
I laugh giving a small courtesy before saying thank you and he leads us towards the men.
“– the day you disappeared, you just packed up and ran leaving only a note, a note... Ryan why would you–”
“I knew what your reaction would be to me leaving and I had to do it... After that day I knew I needed to leave, to do something for me–”
“And going to an area where your life was in danger every second was wise?”
“You don’t –”
“Gentlemen,” I say cautiously as Evan and I imposed. “I’m sorry for cutting your discussion short but we got tired of being back benched.”
I release Evan’s hand making my way to Johnattan, giving him a glare while Evan goes to his brother, whose eyes stare at me as if trying to decipher my purpose.
“I told you to go greet him not cuss him out about his decisions and worse of all you point blank forgot I existed,” I whisper angrily, folding my arms.
“I’m sorry Christi,” he says placing his hands on my arms caressing them. “It’s just that there is a lot of unresolved things between us–”
“And I’m sure they can wait for another day,” I say pointedly. “He just came back home from the horrors of that place, give him a few days before you two go at each other’s throat. Don’t rush him Johnattan, it’ll only push him away.”
“You’re right,” he sighs, pulling me closer. His brows furrow before he looks into my eyes. “I’m sorry baby, forgive me?”
I look away from him with pursed lips and he raises a brow playfully amused by my resistance. I huff and he surprises me by littering my face with kisses. I giggle trying to push him away but he catches my hands, continuing his torture until I caved.
He grins placing a chaste kiss on my lips and we pull away as someone clears their throat. I turn around to find two pairs of grey eyes on me, one amused and the other questioning.
“And who might you be?” He asks in a raspy, deep voice a hint of protectiveness in his words.
“Christina Hase,” I smile holding out my hand. “Nice to meet you Ryan, Johnattan has told me so much about you.”
He takes my hand in his rough one and gives me a firm shake before turning over my hand to view my engagement ring.
“So you’re the future Mrs. Blake,” he states before releasing my hand and I nod my head with a smile.
“So what ever happened to Down–under?” He asks Johnattan with distain in his voice and doesn’t take a genius to know he’s talking about Sidney.
“She couldn’t really level up to me,” I reply before Johnattan can, earning Ryan’s attention. He studies me and I can practically hear the clogs in his brain working. “I’m sure you’re observing this situation Mr. Andrews and you’re thinking that your best friend is only marrying me because I’m pregnant... but I’ll like to tell you your deduction skills are off.”
“Are they now?” He asks challengingly, arms folded. Both Johnattan and Evan stare at us as we banter neither wanting to interfere.
“Oh yes they are... and it’s quite rude. It’s like me just looking at you and saying you’re a soldier that ran into war because some things in life became too hard to bare. So, you tried to escape it by putting your focus on something bigger– your own survival. And after years of the same routine, you finally saw that you can’t run from it. As such, you decided to come back home, hoping for that sense of familiarity that you ran from years ago. Trying to be the bigger person and fix those problems...”
Everyone goes silent and Ryan’s eyes regard me with great interest but not once did he comment on my claims. When he finally speaks a smile graces his lips.
“You’ve got quite an animated fiancé, Johnathan,” he states looking at me, knowing I’d practically hit the nail on its head. “Ensure you tie this one, she’s a keeper.”
Johnattan smiles, wrapping his arms around me and nods, pecking my temple. “I plan to.”
I giggle at the words and the brothers look at us with genuine smiles, thankful that their fellow brother is happy.
Minutes later, Ryan decides to break up our banter taking me from Johnattan. He states that he wants to get to know his new sister a little better, leaving a sulky Johnattan with Evan. We stop at a small food place in the airport talking and eating... for me mostly eating.
By the time we are walking together out the airport, Ryan has asked almost a million questions about Johnattan and I and I had tried to answer them to the best of my ability. When we are near to the car, I decide to ask some questions of my own but he successfully evades them with jokes. A skill I’m all too familiar with... He has been using it since we’ve started this “familiarizing ourselves with one” another thing and it reminds me of what I used to do after my mother died.
“Ryan look,” I say as I pull him a side. “I don’t know what the hell happened over in Iraq or what happened before you left but you can’t keep it bottled up.”
He stares at me surprised yet bereft and I place a hand on his shoulder. “I’ve been in your shoes, afraid to talk about the shit in my life but eventually I did and I’m better. It’s not healthy to have all of this weighing you down. At least talk to someone. If not Johnattan, I can give you my therapist’s number but please at least try to talk these things out–”
“Hey guys!” Evan calls out from the car interrupting us. “Let’s get going!”
“We’re coming,” I say with a roll of my eyes.
“So what do you say?” I ask looking back at Ryan. “Will you give it a try?”
Surprisingly, he smiles at me taking a hold of my hand. “Johnattan’s really lucky to have you Hazel... and you’ve got a deal. Now, let’s go before those two get their panties in a knot.”