John Francis - Chapter 22

Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 8:25 AM
Jon entered Amanda’s room quietly, aware that she was asleep. He undressed and then curled himself around her, his face in her hair, breathing her in. She murmured in her sleep as he tightened her against him and he felt her warmth and heard her deep rhythmic breathing. A peace he had been missing for more years than he could count filled his being. He knew he had his work cut out for him making her believe how he felt about her, but he knew now that he was never going to let her go. With deep contentment, his breathing slowed and he slept.

Amanda woke early the next morning and was immediately aware of the strong arms around her, the chest hair against her back and, she giggled silently, the unmistakable evidence of a man’s hardness pressed tight against her back side. She carefully disentangled herself from his embrace and he although he stirred a little, he continued to sleep deeply.

She quickly performed her morning ritual and dressed in shorts and a tank top, thankful she had stopped home for her own underwear. She tiptoed out of the room, closing the door silently behind her. She went downstairs, the growing smell of coffee telling her that at least one of the other men was up.

Entering the kitchen she saw Richie sitting at the table sipping his coffee. He smiled broadly at her and she answered him with her sweet smile. Walking over to him, she leaned in and kissed his cheek.

“Good morning,” her husky sleep-filled voice greeted him. “What time did you guys finally get to sleep?”

“About two,” he supplied.

“And you’re up this early?” She glanced at the kitchen clock where it showed 7:30.

“Yeah, my flight is in a few hours.”

“I’m sorry to see you go, Richie.”

“Yeah, well, it’s just a few days and I’ll see you when I get back.” He cocked his head at her. “You will be here when I get back, right?”

He felt more than saw her slight hesitation before she answered him. “Yes, I’ll be here.”

“Ok, darlin’ girl, Uncle Richie is listening…” he grinned at her.

“How do you DO that?” she laughed, shaking her head at him.

He smiled wickedly at her. “Beautiful women ALWAYS have my full attention!”

She grinned ruefully at him, “Richie, I’m not beautiful so don’t blow smoke!”

He gaped at her, his comical expression actually drawing out a small deep chuckle from her throat.

“Honey, you are one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. And, if you don’t know that, well, let’s just say the mirror is not always the best indicator of beauty.”

He continued as she blushed lightly, “It’s your heart, Mandy, it’s your laugh, your mind, and your personality, but mostly your truly good heart. Your looks are just the icing on the cake.”

Shaking her head, she grinned at him. “Can I keep you around? You sure do talk pretty!”

“Oh, I think you’ll see me around,” was his cryptic response.

She looked at him with a question in her eyes, but he just grinned his famous smile at her and chuckled. Shaking her head again, she let her eyes and her mind wander to the man upstairs.

Richie watched her and from her face he could tell where her thoughts had turned. He cleared his throat to get her attention and she turned back to him. His eyes pierced hers.

“You love him, don’t you?”

She gasped and her eyes widened as his words hung in the air.

“Manda…?” he probed further.

Tears filled her eyes as she tried to fight off her feelings, tried to remember all the reasons why she couldn’t feel this way, but his eyes refused to release her.

“Yeah, Richie,” she whispered, “I love him.”

Satisfied, he nodded, “Good!”

“Good?!” she burst out, “Good?! Richie! It’s only been…” her mind tallied and she gasped again, “three days! Just three days! I must be crazy! He can’t feel…it won’t last…it’s not…Oh shit!” she swore.

“Manda!” his tone was sharp.

“What?” she startled at his manner.

“Stop it! Just stop it!” he demanded, his tone no longer teasing. “You are the best thing to happen to Jon in a very long time and…admit it or not…you need him. Stop with all the reasons why not and be who you are. Dammit woman! Are you blind, cause I know you’re not stupid!”

She actually gaped at him, her mouth open at his tone and his words. Nodding her head finally, she managed “Okay, okay…it’s just that…” He interrupted her.

“No! No more with the excuses, no more trying to talk yourself out of your feelings. Live, baby, live and accept it. You love him” he stated firmly, “Who the fuck cares how long it took to feel that way!”

She gave him a smile then, a smile that warmed his heart for her and for Jon.

“Thanks ‘Uncle Richie’, guess I needed that,” she looked deeply at him, “but don’t tell him, please? He can’t feel the same way and I don’t want to…I don’t want to lose him…so please, don’t tell him. I can live with him not loving me, but I don’t want to be without him.” She begged him with her eyes to understand. “I’ll be there for him as long as he wants me to…but I don’t want to know yet that he…that he just needs me, that he won’t love me. I can accept what I’m given for as long as it lasts.”

It was killing him to keep silent, but he knew that Jon was the right one to tell her how he felt. He nodded at her gently, “Secret to the grave, baby, we’ll just add that one to the list.”
She smiled at him then, a soft almost tearful smile, as he reached out to bring her into his arms. She stood there as he held her tenderly, her face buried in his shoulder. Richie saw Jon then and saw that he had stopped dead in the living room. He smiled over Amanda’s head at Jon, a smile filled with happiness for his friend. Jon’s stiffened muscles relaxed at that smile and he made his way towards them.

1 Responses to John Francis - Chapter 22

  1. Opester Says:

    That Richie! He really does have a way of drawing things out and keeping these two self-aware. Perhaps He should become a therapist! I picture Richie like that tho-vey attuned to other people's moods and needs. He always strikes me as such a sensitive soul! You write him as i picture him!

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