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A Reluctant Hero

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Kelsey’s favorite dinner was simple to make. I could do it with muscle memory alone, and nothing would fuck it up. As I worked, I considered Dorothy Richter. Maybe I hadn’t been fair with the woman. I’d offered her pregnant daughter a home, sure, but I guess that she could have taken my gesture of goodwill as me butting in where I wasn’t needed. I wasn’t a parent, but if I had a daughter, I could see where a stranger offering her a place to live while she was going through some issues with her family might be construed as sticking my nose where it didn’t belong.

I was putting the finishing touches on the dining room table, which I’d covered with a tablecloth for the first time since I’d bought the damn thing. JD was right, of course, the table was gorgeous. Making it into kindling would be a damn waste, but staring at the gleaming top only made me see Roger’s naked self grinding against a student. So a heavy lace covering, a family heirloom, was now covering the entire damn thing. I added candles, and a few flowers, and then set the table.

Dinner would be ready in around a half an hour, when the first guest arrived. I say first, because my life seemed to be a massive fucking surprise party that kept coming, calls and now visits.

 

“Dorothy,” I greeted her as Kelsey came in through her own entrance. They met at the threshold of the dining room and I could see how impressed JD’s ex wife was at the sight of my home and it’s decor. “We have a little bit of time before dinner is finished, Kelsey, why don’t you take your mom into the living room. Dorothy?” Her focus returned to me, and I smiled. “Can I get you something to drink?”

I got a small tray out for the three drinks I’d made when I was told I had another visitor. And this was a visitor that would have been welcome on any other fucking evening, but I had a feeling that steadily rose as he walked in, that shit was just getting started at being the weirdest evening of my life.

 

“JD,” I heard Kelsey’s mom call out, her shock evident in her tone as I came out of the kitchen with my tray.

Under other circumstances, with more warning perhaps, the site of JD looking like a deer trapped in the headlights might have been funny. Maybe. He was looking from me and the tray I held, to the living room that currently houses his ex wife and daughter. Whatever he’d had planned for the evening, the look he shot me when he turned to face me showed that he was disappointed at the loss of it.

“Hey,” I offered, taking the tray into the living room and sitting it on the coffee table. “What do you want to drink, JD?”

He followed me into the kitchen, and I was so fucking happy that I’d insisted on a real door for the room because he had me pressed up against the island as soon as it swung shut behind us. And then his mouth was on mine and he was granted one of his wishes, swallowing that tiny noise that I made when our tongues touched. My hands were tangled in his hair, and I could swear that the room temperature rose ten degrees as he feasted on my mouth.

We pulled back, but not away, and he leaned forward so our foreheads touched. “Fuck if I haven’t thought about doing that since the other night.” He rubbed his nose against mine. “Actually, I think I’ve thought about doing that since I fucking first laid eyes on you.” My hands were still in his hair and I chuckled at how we met. “Yes, Ani, even drunk as a skunk I wanted you.”

“Too bad that I insisted I wanted to remember the ride, huh?” He dipped back in for another taste as the timer rang behind me, reminding me that I had his daughter and his ex only a few rooms away. “Shit.”

“I didn’t know Dorothy was going to be here,” really? It was a surprise to me too, at least when your child suggested it. “Guess I’ll head home and call you later so we can catch both of our fucking houses on fire.” I rolled my eyes as I pulled away and started getting dinner put into and on serving dishes.

“Grab a plate from-” I pointed to the cabinet that held my better set of china. “And utensils from-” Another gesture. “The extra napkins are here,” I pulled open another drawer. “I made enough for leftovers, trust me, one more to the table won’t be a burden.” He stepped up behind me and I felt the heat of his full length press against my back. And then his lips met the back of my neck and I had to hold back a very loud moan. “Careful, I’d hate to fucking drop dinner.”

“If you do, then we can send Kelsey and Dorothy out for take out, and we’d have the entire fucking house to ourselves until they come back.” His lips were sliding along the curve of my neck to my shoulder.

“It would only take them ten minutes, JD.” I bit my lip as his teeth nipped at my shoulder. “Tempting though that idea may be, I think I’m gonna want more than ten minutes.” His laugh vibrated through me and then he pulled away. Damn it.

“Have it your way,” he was opening the kitchen door to add his place setting to the table. “Don’t say I didn’t offer.”

 

Dinner wasn’t as bad as I feared. Dorothy did shoot a few weird looks at JD and then me, but she didn’t say anything. Kelsey tried to keep the conversation flowing, and it mostly worked. Mostly. JD had set his setting across the table from me, and since I was at the ‘head’ of the table, he was at the ‘foot’, and the length meant we couldn’t touch if we tried. We could look, though, and I didn’t know for sure about him, but I was a squirming mess on my end.

 

As I was about to announce dessert, another guest arrived. A very unwelcome guest. When I told Pandi to send him away, he got a tad vocal, and I sighed.

“Fine,” I stood up and stalked to the front door. “Give me a moment, please.” I knew that Dorothy was about to ask questions behind me, but all I could focus on was the imbecile that was waiting for me on my doorstep.

Roger looked rough. That’s the best way I could put it and I swear it wasn’t colored by the last activity I saw him engaged in. No, he was rumpled, his hair was sticking up like he’d been pulling at it, and he looked almost feral in the eyes.

“I thought I told you that we’re done.” I said, glaring up at him. “That would mean that you aren’t welcome here, Roger.”

He took a step closer to me, and I felt the heat of JD against my back again. I couldn’t see his face, but Roger could and it stopped his forward momentum. “Who the fuck are you?” He asked, his voice a pale imitation for the deep voice that answered him.

“JD Richter,” his voice sounded normal, so I couldn’t fathom why Roger looked so scared. “You must be Roger.” That snapped Roger out of his fear and into defense mode.

“What the hell are you doing in my house?” My ex had the nerve to ask. HIS house? The literal fuck?

“YOUR house?” I was inches away from throttling his ass. “I don’t know what drugs you must be on to be that fucking delusional, but THIS-” I waved my hands at the expanse of my property. “Is MINE. I financed it, I had it built, and I am the only fucking name on the Goddamn deed, so Roger, I think you need to get the fuck off of my lawn.”

“You heard the lady,” JD’s voice had changed, slightly, and I saw Roger gulp. “Leave. Now.” I watched as Roger tried to decide if it was worth the fight, but JD had about six inches on him, and from what little I’d touched so far, he was solid muscle. “Go.”

Roger chose to take the ‘high road’ as it was. “Fine.” He spat out, looking for all the world as though he was the victim in our story. That I’d somehow betrayed him. “Fine. You can have her.” And then, in the most hilarious flounce that I’d ever witness, he turned with his nose in the air, and fell off the step he’d been standing on.

I couldn’t help it, I laughed. He looked like a fucking buffoon, indignation and wronged, and now he was face down in the grass with his ass up high. Fucking hell. I turned away, and finally saw JD’s face, but all I could see was my own mirth reflected.

“Fucking idiot,” he muttered, shutting my front door behind us, and then kissing my lips gently. “Come on, I think Kelsey and Dorothy are getting dessert served.”