John Francis - Chapter 188

Friday, October 24, 2008 at 8:18 AM
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“No.”

For just a moment Jon just lay there, his body still wedged against hers, staring at the woman he had just made love to, the woman he had just asked to marry him. She reached out a hand, cupping the side of his face.

“Jon…I love you, but that isn’t enough.”

He looked away from her face, totally thrown. This was not the answer he had expected.

An unexpected vulnerability hit him and he slipped off her, to the side of the bed, standing up and pulling on a pair of sweats from the floor. He stood for a few moments as Amanda gathered the covers, pulling them over her breasts.

“Jon…”

He waved a hand at her, motioning for her to stop speaking.

“It’s okay…I…understand.”

“No, you don’t.”

His voice roughened as he answered.

“Yeah, I do.”

A few quick strides took him to the doorway, where he paused without looking back.

“I’m gonna get some coffee.”

And with that he was gone.

Amanda stared at the empty doorway then threw herself backwards onto the pillows.

“Shit!”

~~~

Jon padded barefoot downstairs and into the empty kitchen. He was putting the grounds into the coffee maker when Amanda entered the room. She had obviously just thrown on a robe as her hair was unbrushed and there hadn’t been enough time for a shower. She stood there at the entrance to the kitchen, watching him as he studiously avoided her gaze.

Abruptly putting her hands on her hips, she stalked into the kitchen. She stepped into his path and moved a hand on his chest.

“When did you become a coward?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Growl at me all you want, I’m not afraid of you.”

A surprised look entered his eyes at that.

“Of course you’re not afraid of me…” He started to bristle.

“Then why are you afraid of me?” She shot back.

“Manda, what are you talking about?” His initial hurt was being overtaken by exasperation at her line of questioning.

“If you’re not afraid of me, why won’t you ask me why I said no.” She cocked her head at him, determined to have this out, now, before it could fester for another day.

“You don’t want to, that’s why.” He started to turn away, but her hand stopped him.

“I swear to god, Jon, I’m gonna punch you in the stomach again!”

His eyes widened at this and he was actually startled into grinning at her.

She gave him an abrupt nod.

“There, that’s better.”

Rolling his eyes at her, he shook of the grin. He switched the coffee on and then turned to face her, crossing his arms and leaning back on the counter.

“Okay, why won’t you marry me?”

She shot back. “Why won’t you talk to me?”

“That’s why you won’t marry me, because I won’t talk to you?” His voice rose as he questioned her.

“Jon, what do you want in a wife?” She looked at him quizzically, wondering if he would tell her.

“What? I want a partner, a friend, someone who…” He broke off at her nod.

“Someone who wants to be with you, just as you are?” He gave a brief dip of his head in answer.

“Does a partner share with the other?”

He nodded again.

“I’m not asking you about your past because I know that will come. I’m asking you to share now with me. That’s what I want in a husband.” Although softly spoken, her words seemed to echo around the large room.

Jon was silent for what seemed forever and then seemed to decide an internal battle that ended in a big sigh and a nod of his head in agreement.

“I had to see Dorothea last night. Right until that last minute I wasn’t sure it was over, but it was. It felt like the biggest failure of my life and I don’t do failure.”

Her hand came up to snuggle between his crossed arms.

“Don’t you think I could see how you were feeling? I keep telling you I’m not a child you have to protect. I’m a grown woman and I know about having a past, having loved someone else.”

Jon relaxed his arm to let her hand to grip it more completely. With his eyes gazing off toward the distance he allowed himself to continue.

“It was everything that day and the drinking only made it worse. When we got back to the house and I…couldn’t…it just made me crazy and I took it out on you.” He paused, deeply ashamed at what he had to say next.

“…and later, what I said…” He looked at her now, refusing to hide from whatever she showed him. “…can you forgive that? I know you’ll never forget, but can you forgive me?”

Amanda paused for a long moment as she considered what he had said. That had been hurtful, no doubt about it, instantly taking her breath away like a blow. The truth was though, he had been married for almost 18 years and he was drunk. He slipped. She doubted it would ever happen again. She squeezed his arm.

“Yes, I can forgive you for that.” She felt his arms loosen further as she smiled her answer.

They both hesitated as the coffee finished and Jon got cups. It wasn’t even dark outside yet, but both were feeling a tiredness deeper than that from their recent activities.

Both leaned against the counter, sipping the hot coffees, silence settling around them. Jon softly cleared his throat.

“Somehow I keep hurting you…everything tells me to trust you, that it’s safe to do so…yet somehow I keep pushing you away…” He struggled to get the words right, not missing the irony of having trouble getting his feelings out.

“Jon, if you’re angry I can take it. If you’re upset, or frustrated, or any of a hundred things, I can take it. But I won’t be someone you keep things from. I can’t settle for that.”

He took another sip of his coffee and looked at her. Her eyes were softly luminous and her expression warm and welcoming.

“I want to try. I want to be with you. And I am sorry for hurting you.”

The sincerity in his voice brought an answering smile.

“That’s a start.”

Jon frowned at her, his mood still on the dark side from her refusal. He had been badly surprised by that, expecting her to immediately accept. He set his coffee cup down and moved in front of her. His arms crept around her back as he pulled her close, kissing her lips gently. He deepened the kiss, but stopped and pulled back to crook an eyebrow at her as her hands gently pushed at his chest.

“I like this start.” His voice lowered as he tried to nuzzle her neck.

With her hands firmly on Jon’s chest, Amanda looked at him.

“You’re trying to hide again.”

Jon’s smile faltered.

“I’m not trying to hide.”

Her head shook softly side to side as she looked at him.

“You don’t want to talk anymore and you think if you get me in bed, I’ll stop talking.”

Jon took a slight step back.

“That’s not true.”

Amanda just looked at him, her eyes never leaving his face.

He took in a deep breath and ran fingers through already unruly hair. His eyes skittered over different surfaces as what she’d said ran in his mind.

“I do that, don’t I?”

“Yes, you do.

“Well, hell…” He began, frustration of a different nature now in his tone.

“You did it when I came back this afternoon. We rushed off to bed before we could talk.”

“What do you want me to say, Manda?”

“I want you to know that you do that and realize it doesn’t get rid of problems, it only postpones them.”

He nodded a little grimly, realizing in a spark of insight that he had been doing this for years with Dorothea. He would come home and instead of dealing with all the little issues that were waiting for him, he would continually distract his wife until she simply gave up. Apparently that wasn’t going to work anymore.

“So how will you know, how will I know, if it’s okay after we’ve talked?”

“I’m pretty sure that me smiling and moving into your arms will be a good enough hint.” Her eyes gleamed as she gently teased him into accepting a new way of dealing with problems.

He gave a small chuckle and then pursed his lips.

“Anything else?”

“Oh for god’s sake! Men! I don’t have a list here, you know!”

That got a genuine laugh out of him as he looked at her over the lip of his raised coffee cup.

“So…if I kiss you now…and you kiss me back…I’m out of the doghouse?”

A answering grin crossed her face.

“Let’s just say you have a temporary reprieve.”

He moved a little closer to her.

“So I’m on parole?”

She moved a little further from him.

“Definitely on parole.”

He took two large steps that put him right in front of her.

“I have to earn my way back?”

She put up a hand to stop his forward movement.

“With words, John Francis!”

He grabbed her hand, pulling her toward him and using her momentum to raise her onto his shoulder.

“Jon!”

He strode purposefully to the stairs, then started up as she squirmed against the shoulder in her stomach. Setting her down inside the bedroom, he shut the door and engaged the lock. Gleaming eyes met hers as she stood with her hands on her hips, watching him.

“I have words. I want to be different with you. Give me a chance.”

Moving to stand in front of her, he wrapped a curl around his fingers, tugging on it gently as she watched his face.

“Give me a chance.”

Amanda searched the blue eyes meeting hers. She saw sincerity and intention. She nodded at him and watched the serious look dissolve into a luminous smile. She moved into his arms and kissed him. A few minutes later he pulled back and grinned at her.

“Can I ask you again yet?”

She grinned at him, her eyes twinkling and her smile a quick flash as she leaned her head forward to murmur against his lips.

“No.”

6 comments

  1. Cheryl Says:

    Love it! Finally Jon is getting it. Glad to see that he is understanding things aren't going to go the same with Amanda as they did with Dorothea. Smart woman she is. Loved this chapter great way to start my day and sweetest/cutest ending. Great Job Sun.

  2. She is a stronger woman than I am, that's for sure. He could um *distract* me any time he wants. :) I hope he really listens.

    Faithfully yours,
    The Fiction Mistress

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You done good Amanda!!!!
    Chris

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I'm with you, Fiction Mistress, anytime he doesn't want to talk...

    Seriously, though, this was a great chapter and a good start to the weekend!

    Thanks, Sunstreaked!



    Linda

  5. GO AMANDA!! I've missed that strong, smart, sassy and real Amanda lately and I'm glad she is back and getting in Jon's face. He deserves it!!

    Fantastic chapter!

  6. Shelly Says:

    You go Amanda!!!

    This is the Manda I'm used to seeing!!

    Off to read more!!

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