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A Reluctant Hero

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I found strength, thinking about something greasy to soak up whatever alcohol was still swishing around my stomach, to get out of JD’s bed. He had just walked out of his bedroom to find me a cure for the screaming pain, and I thought I’d be dressed and vertical by the time he got back.

I failed to take into account just how much I’d fucking drank the night before. I’d just bent down to pick up my clothes that I’d tossed off onto the floor, when I heard him clearing his throat in the doorway. Damn it.

Shame burned through me at the reality of Kelsey’s dad having a wonderful view of my ass barely covered by the thin black satin of the strip they laughingly called panties at the specialty store where I’d bought them. The only redeeming quality of this moment was that my bra matched. Biting my lip, I considered my options. Stay bent over, praying he’d leave his own fucking house, or stand up and straighten my back and pretend that this entire ordeal wasn’t the most embarrassing shit I’d ever experienced,

I chose the latter. I was a fucking adult. A best selling writer, for shit’s sake. I was ASKED to teach creative writing when I took the time to stick closer to home. It was how I met Roger the cheat. Teaching a class at the local college, there he was, sucking up to the author in residence. Fucker. Clutching that righteous indignation like a security blanket, I dressed with my back to JD.

Tugging my tight jeans up my bare legs, then pulling the loose fitted silk t-shirt over my bra, I looked around for my shoes.

“They’re over here,” he offered, his voice sounding different, and hearing it made my hopes that he’d gone to a different room to wait until my ass wasn’t higher than my head rush down the drain. I turned and saw him holding up my heels by one hand, in the other a bottle of pills. “Sit, Ani,” I sat down on the edge of the bed and he moved closer, handing me the bottle first. “Take two and call me in the morning.” Smiling wryly and shaking my head, I took two pills from the bottle as he grabbed my juice from the end table and handed it to me. As I swallowed them, he knelt in front of me and I stared down at the top of his head as he took each of my feet and put my heels back on. “I took them off, I’ll put them back on.” His eyes met mine and I had to swallow hard again. Fuck, why did he have to be Kelsey’s dad? “Ready?”

My thoughts ran toward how the twist of lust I had from him putting on my fucking shoes had made my panties wet as all fuck, but I had to shake myself free from that. Breakfast. He meant food. Control yourself, Anilea. “Yeah, I’m ready.” Swallowing again, trying to coat my throat with saliva so I didn’t sound so husky or breathless, I tried to smile. “Do you have a good place in mind?”

 

He picked a small diner not far from his place. A place that I’d never find on my own, not that I planned on coming for any unannounced or even announced visits. The scent of coffee, yeast of fresh baked bread, and grease, glorious grease hit my senses as soon as we walked in. I may have moaned. I probably did, since JD shot me a look that my frazzled, still somewhat drunk ass couldn’t fathom.

Ordering our breakfast, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Shit. Pulling it free from my pocket, I looked at the screen. Kelsey. And ten missed calls from Kelsey and five from Roger. Ugh. I answered the current call and rolled my eyes at JD’s daughter’s freak out.

“Oh my God,” she was practically screaming in my ear. “I’ve been calling all night. I thought you were dead. Even Dad didn’t answer his phone.” I had to hold the phone back from my head, and I was fairly certain that the table furthest from ours could hear her. “Jesus, I didn’t know if he found you, if you’d been raped and murdered, do you have any idea how freaked out I’ve been?”

I set the phone on the table, no need for a speaker phone with Kelsey. “I’m fine, and you’re clearly gearing up for motherhood early.” Our food arrived, JD’s eyes were twinkling as his daughter continued her verbal rampage. “I have no freaking clue why your dad didn’t answer his phone, Kel, maybe ask him?”

“How?!” She screeched, and I felt another headache coming on. “He STILL won’t answer his fucking phone.”

I shot him a look as I took a bite of toast. “Hey, Kelsey.” She stopped ranting and the silence almost stunned me. “I didn’t answer because I was occupied.”

“Occupied?” I knew that tone. That ‘you slept with someone inappropriate’ tone. My dad had used it on me a time or two when I found one of his colleagues too tempting to turn down. “You were occupied?” Dear God, I kicked his ankle under the table and he had the nerve to grin at me.

“Yeah, Kelsey, occupied.” I swallowed my toast and shook my head at him. “I mean your friend, she’s quite a handful when she gets shitfaced.” Oh, you wouldn’t. “Between carrying her to the truck, carrying her to the house, tucking her in- Well, you can see that I was OCCUPIED.”

Still shaking my head, I took a long drink of my juice. “Kelsey, your dad made sure I didn’t choke on my own vomit, that’s it.” For fuck’s sake, don’t lose me a friend, JD. “I’m repaying his kindness with breakfast, can I call you once I get home?”

“Sure, sure.” She answered, but I could hear suspicion clouding her voice. “Call me when you get ‘home’.” And then we all said goodbye and hung up.

“She thinks we-” I was staring at the phone feeling completely horrible.

“Gave in to your urges?” He was smiling around his coffee cup. “Like you said, Ani, it would be a waste of the ride if you don’t remember it.” Fuck.