I was dragging my butt, getting out of bed. I rolled over and was on all fours, looking toward the bathroom. I looked at the clock, quarter past eight. God, my ass hurt. I reached back behind me and felt it, it was still there, but God it took a pounding most of the night. I smiled at the visions rolling through my head, remembering everything I did to keep Steve going, working him over and over, getting him back up.

Honestly, I don't know how he even managed to get out of bed this morning. I hoped he was okay at work today. I got off the bed and went into the bathroom, turning on the light. I looked in the mirror. I jumped at the sight of myself. Jeez, talk about bedhair! I looked like the Wildman of Borneo, or had just come out of some cave. I scared myself, holy shit. And speaking of that, my mouth tasted terrible. I brushed my teeth, and then used the toilet.

I turned on the shower, looking at this little phone booth, and said NO, no more! I shut the water off and went to the other bathroom. I turned that one on and stepped in, having more room, to turn, get my hair wet, oh yeah, it was almost luxury compared to the other one. Okay, stupid! Problem number one: No soap or shampoo. Turn the water off. Problem number two: No towel, dipshit! Okay, with no coffee, what can I say? I climbed out dripping wet and went to the other bathroom. I grabbed a towel, soap, and my bottle of shampoo and went back and started this all over again. I reveled in the larger shower. Doorbell. Fuck! I shook my head. Doorbell. I let out a scream. I left the water going, got out and walked dripping wet to the door and opened it and walked away, going back to the shower.

"Uh, hello?" Came a voice from behind me. I froze halfway down the hall. I turned slowly and saw a man standing in the entryway. "Are you Kevin?"

"Uh, yes I am. I thought you the neighbor...I'm sorry, can I help you?" I asked, totally naked and dripping wet. He held out his hand, looking me up and down.

"I'm Cal. We're here to install the carpet?"

"WHAT? They were suppose to call to arrainge a time for installation." I blurted out. "No one called me. I have to get the furniture moved out and..."

"Easy...hold on." Said Cal in a soothing tone. "Obviously you were in the shower..."

"Yeah, I was. I thought you were the neighbor coming over for coffee, as she always does in the morning. I'm sorry," Realizing my nakedness all of a sudden. "I'm gonna..." I said pointing back over my shoulder.

"No, it's totally our fault. Sounds like we got our wires crossed somehow. I apologize for barging in like this." He said, looking at the floor.

"No, no. I'm sorry for snapping." I stepped back toward him, to get the door closed, when out of the blue, Evie came bouncing up the step and into the house. "Morning, Evie. Evie, this is Cal, he's with the carpet company." Evie shook his hand, looking him up and down. She looked over at me, and rolled her eyes.

"Honestly, Kevin. Can you ever answer the door with clothes on? What are you thinking? What were you doing?" I tried to say something, but she was on it this morning. I held up my hand. She stopped.

"Evie, coffee." I said, pointing toward the kitchen. "Me, shower." Thumbing to myself. "You, show Cal." I turned and walked back down the hallway, I could feel the two of them watching me. I pulled back the curtain and stepped back into the lukewarm water, finishing my shower.

I shut it off and pulled back the curtain, grabbing the towel. I didn't see them from where I was, and wrapped myself and walked to the bedroom.

They were there, talking about what had to be moved and so on, as I grabbed clothes. I walked into the bathroom and got dressed and dealt with my hair. Wow, I was looking human. I brushed my teeth, again, and hung up the towel. I walked back into the bedroom. They both looked at me.

"Better?" I asked Evie, who smiled at me.

"Much. Coffee should be ready. What do you take in yours, Cal?"

"Just black, thank you." He turned and looked at me. "May I use your phone?"

"Sure. It's in the kitchen." I answered. We all walked out and into the kitchen. He picked up the phone and dialed, while Evie poured coffee.

"Honestly, Kevin. You answering the door like that..."

"I thought it was you." I said flatly.

"What if it was some kind of killer or something?" She was shaking her head. "Anyway, I thought we talked about this."

"Yes, mom." I said, taking my coffee, sipping at it. Now, I was feeling more human. We listened to what Cal was saying on the phone. Whoever he was talking to, was giving him all the right answers. Cal gave the phone the address to the house, and then hung up. He smiled at us, as Evie handed him his coffee.

"I'll have a complete crew here in about a half hour." He said. My stomach flipped. I didn't know how I was going to move all this furniture by myself. "Let's have our coffee, and then we can start to move everything out of the house." I was relieved, I was going to have help. We chatted about the carpet and what it's installation was going to take and how long. Cal was asking about the entryway. I told him I didn't want it carpeted. He nodded and suggested a wood floor. He had some left over from another job and had it in the truck outside. He went to get a piece, leaving Evie and I alone.

"Well, he's helpful." I said.

"And really good looking, too."

"Now, Evie." I said, "You have to think of Brian." I winked at her. She rolled her eyes at me, as Cal came back in. He showed me the piece and I liked it, a hardwood strip, that was dark, like an oak. He said it was a mahogany. If I wanted it, he could add it to the bill, or I could pay for it and the installation today. I said, I could pay today if it went in. We shook on it.

Before long, everything was being pulled out of the house. Most of it went into the garage, some thing went out on the patio. As we were getting toward my bedroom, I stripped the sheets and took them out and started the washer, as they were trashed from last night. The crew arrived, and the chaos started. Soon, what carpet we had in the house was stripped out and gone, the underfloor was cleaned, and the new pad was brought in and layed out. As soon as one room was padded, the carpet went down, half the crew working on the pad, the other on the carpet. I watched as the entryway was pulled up, that old scuffed up floor, and the new hardwood went down.

Evie was in hog heaven, watching all of these guys butts, crawling all over the floor, most of them were actually pretty good looking. I pulled her out and went to find Cal. I told him, we were going to town to get lunch for the crew, and would be right back. He smiled and said he would keep an eye on things. I felt I could trust him. Evie and I took off and went to this deli she knew. We placed an order for tons of food for these guys, and then we went to the bank. I went in and cashed a check, to pay for the floor. We drove back, pulling in, setting down all the food and drinks we had bought there on the counter.

I was amazed at how much they had done. The only room left to do was the back spare bedroom. It was incredible, and that new carpet smell, just can't be beat. I knew I would have to call my Mom and tell her. The new entryway was stunning, but with that old shabby door, yeah, I had to do something with that. Cal walked up to me as the crew was Devouring what we had brought. They were careful to stay in the kitchen area, and not drop on the new carpet. Cal and I talked for a few minutes. I told him I just couldn't be happier with what they were doing.

After their lunch, some of the crew went and lay carpet in the bedroom, while the others went and started to pull furniture in, as a couple of the guys were vacuuming with huge vacuums. They would ask me where to place things, and I just pointed, directing traffic like a cop. It was fun. By two, they were done. I shook each of their hands, thanking them as they were leaving. Cal was the last to go, I paid him in cash for the floor and gave some extra for a good job as a tip. He shook my hand, and then, why, I don't know I gave him a hug. He laughed and patted my shoulders. He turned and gave Evie a handshake and then one of his cards. She smiled and giggled.

I took Evie by the hand and we walked around the house together, looking at all of the rooms, one by one. I loved the carpet, and how it looked. We walked back into the dining room, which in my opinion was the best looking room of the house. The bare walls needed something, and it was so big. It was actually the same size as the living room. I let out a deep breath, Evie rested her head against my shoulder, I put an arm around her waist.

"Thanks for being here." I said softly.

"Thanks for having me."

"You are more than welcome here, anytime, as long as I'm around."

"You mean that?" She asked.

"Of course, Evie." I turned and hugged her. "It's like, you're the big sister I never had. It means a lot to me."

"That's sweet, Kevin. It means a lot to me too." She hugged me tight.

"I need to go to the store to get something special for dinner for Steve. It was our anniversary yesterday and I kinda blew it."

"Really? Not from what I heard last night." She smiled. "You guys kept me up most of the night."

"Close your window, or play music." I said, flatly.

She laughed out loud. "Come on, let's go to the store."

"Let me go put the sheets in the dryer. I'll meet you next door." I turned and walked into the garage and loaded the dryer, setting the timer. I walked back into the house, hearing the phone ring. I walked over and picked it up.

"Hello? Yes, this is Kevin. Mrs. Herrington, yes I remember, how are you?...I am fine, thank you. No, I was just doing some laundry...really...really?...well, Mrs. Herrington, I would love to. Yes, I will be sure and do that..." Evie walked back in the door, obviously looking for me. "...so, you want me when? Let me write all this down, yes...okay...okay...yes, I've got it. Yes, Mrs. Herrington, I certainly will, and thank you so much for calling. Yes, I'll be there. Bye, now." I hung up the phone, and threw my arms up into the air. Evie was staring at me, smiling as I danced in a circle.

"What?" She asked.

"Come on, grocery store, now. Oh, and Evie, I need to buy your car." I said, pulling her out the door. She knew exactly what I meant, she was squealing as the door shut behind us.

Grocery store run over. Evie and I went in and started to put dinner together. The butcher at the store, gave me some recipe cards, and then I saw it and I knew what I wanted to cook. With Evie's help, it was well under way. We talked while we were cooking. We noticed the time, and I poured some iced tea for us. I went and got the sheets out and made the bed. Everything was just about perfect. I had about an hour I figured before Steve came home. I was so excited. I had so much to show him, to tell him. Evie and I had plans to go car shopping tomorrow for her. She knew what she wanted, but didn't know if she was ready yet for it. Women, trying to make up their minds, ugh!!

Seeing that everything was ready to go, she finished her tea and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I gave her a hug and she went home. She was such a good friend. I enjoyed her company, and now that I was going to work, I would miss spending time with her. I checked the clock again, down to about a half hour. I started the oven.

I set the table, the new dining room. I went out back and cut fresh flowers for the table, arrainging them in a bowl. I heard the oven buzzer go off. I went in and put my Cordon Bleu in. I set the timer for fourty five minutes. I tossed a small salad and put it in the fridge. I filled a pot with a little water and put it on the stove. I grabbed the steamer rack and set in the pot, getting the water going. This time I heard the door open, and I spun around.

Steve stopped at the entry, looking around. He looked back outside, then stepped out, looking up at the entry of the house. "Yeah, this is my house, or at least, I think it is." I walked over toward him, slowly, smiling. "Yeah, there's the love of my life, my beautiful guy. It must be the right place." I was smiling wider, holding my hands together in front of me. I felt like I was going to scream with excitement.

"So? How was your day, dear?" I asked.

He chuckled. "Not as busy as yours, obviously. I don't know whether to strip here or outside and then come in." I laughed out loud, getting closer to him. "How? When? Was I asleep at the wheel or something?"

"No, you big dummy. It's a surprise. I ordered it last week when Mom was here. What do you think?"

"I...I think...I don't know what to say. The house looks so different. I'm shocked, actually."

"Did I do something wrong? You don't like it, do you? I'll have it changed. He left..."

"Kevin, honey, stop." Steve walked up to me. "Just let me take it in. It just looks so...different. Wow, I'm amazed." He said, as he looked down the hall, and then toward the living room. "Well, the kitchen sucks now, doesn't it? Guess that'll be next, huh?"

"Uh, no, babe. Bathroom first. New shower, remember?" Steve grinned and nodded. He knelt down and ran his hand over the new carpet. I could tell he liked it, but he turned his attention to the entryway, and the new hardwood. He ran his hand over it, feeling its smoothness.

"What if we did this in the kitchen?" He asked softly.

I knelt beside him. "You really like it?"

He looked at me. "Oh, sweetie. You have really good taste, expense taste, but good taste. How could I not like it? Look at what you've done, and in one day?"

"Well, there was quite a crew here. About twelve guys. They knocked it out pretty quick."

"How much was all this, anyway?"

"Not to worry." I said softly, kissing his cheek. "It really wasn't that much. And Mom took care of the pad. The only extra was the hardwood and the installation for it."

"You shouldn't pay for..."

"Now, you hold on there, mister." I said, standing and going back to the kitchen. I checked the water, adding the broccoli in the steamer rack. I covered it up with the lid. "I think it's only fair that I pay my way as well, and this is something I wanted to do, for you. After all, you surprised me with the new furniture, so turnabout is fair play. Now, dinner will be ready in a few minutes. You go and take a shower and I'll have it on the table."

He smiled, kissing me softly. "Yes, dear." He walked down the hallway.

"Put your clothes in the hamper!" I yelled after him. "You big dirty brute." I mumbled.

"Yes, dear!" He yelled back.

Dinner was ready, and I served it on the table, arrainging a platter with the chicken and the broccoli. I set the salad out, and poured tea. Steve returned a couple of minutes later in his shorts. He hugged me tight, kissing me softly. He pulled away and we sat at the table. He ate like he hadn't eaten in a week. I was amazed at how much. There was absolutely nothing left at all. I cleared the table and started to do dishes. I washed and he dried.

I quietly told him about the job. His mouth was wide open. He had a million questions about it and what I was going to do. I gave him as much information as I could, without really know all the details myself, I was really only guessing. He seemed a little upset about it, but said he wasn't. I told him about the car. He gave me a price to give to Evie. It seemed fair, but really, I didn't know. I trusted his judgement. He said it would be nice to have another car here. We could park it in the garage to keep it nice. He kissed me, long and passionately after the dishes were done. After, I asked if he was upset, but he said no, that everything goes forward in life, we had too as well. He just didn't seem that happy to me. It was still fairly early, but he wanted to go to bed, to sleep. I understood as last night, with all the pounding we did. I knew my butt could sure use a rest.

I locked up the house, and joined him in the bedroom. He pulled back the sheet and climbed in. He turned on his side, toward the bathroom. I shut the light off and got undressed. I walked into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I came back in and climbed in next to him. He patted my butt on top of the sheet.

"Night, little man." He said, softly.

"Night."

I was awake before the alarm. I sat up, having had a really bad dream. I rubbed my eyes, and looked over at the clock. Three minutes before the alarm, wow. Ton of stuff to do today. Bank, car shopping, clothes shopping, motor vehicles, insurance. Ton of stuff! I climbed out of bed and went and made coffee. I came back, after Steve had hit the snooze button. I went into the bathroom, peed, and then brushed my teeth. I walked back in and grabbed my shorts, slipping them on. I wanted to do some laundry today. I might as well get that going. I grabbed the clothes and headed to the garage. I loaded the machine and came back in hearing the perculator churning, it was smelling good.

I went to the sink and pulled out a couple of cups and set them on the counter. I saw Steve walk down the hall and into view. I smiled at him, he smiled briefly back at me.

"Do you have a couple of minutes? Coffee's almost done." I said softly.

He walked over to me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders, pulling me into him. I breathed him in, I loved his manly scent, so natural and clean.

"I wish I could. Have to go and move equipment to another job today. I might be home early. Just depends on how the day goes."

I looked into his tired, beautiful eyes. "Okay. Do you want something for dinner?"

"You're trying so hard, aren't you? I love you, Kevin." He kissed me softly. "Whatever you make, I know I'll enjoy. Dinner last night was fantastic, by the way. Thank you, so much."

"You're very welcome." I looked down at the floor. "I was just trying to make you happy." I said softly.

He picked up my chin with a thumb. "Quit trying. I have you here, with me. I am happy, very happy. It's all gonna work out, I know it is. Let's just be ourselves, and love each other, and quit trying so damned hard, it's gumming up the works. Okay?"

"Okay. I just love you so much."

"I love you more." He kissed me gently, turned and walked out the door, waving his fingers at me. I smiled softly as it shut. I turned, letting a tear fall down my cheek. I was right, he IS upset. I poured my first cup of coffee, and sat on the stool, thinking. I just can't blow this, I have to be careful and not blow this. I sipped my coffee slowly, and then saw the predawn light come through the dining room window. Gotta get those curtains going, I thought. Running out of time. Laundry.

I got up and walked into the garage. The machine was just now done. I moved them to the dryer and turned it on, and then started another load. I went into the house, going to the bedroom, and made the bed.

With time to kill before Evie came over, I scrubbed the 'phone booth' down, then cleaned the toilet and the counter, scrubbing the sink. I mopped the floor. Then went in and poured another cup of coffee. I walked out back and watered the flower beds, pulling a few weeds, staying on top of it, the flowers were producing tons now. I pulled the dead blooms off and put them in the can, then went back into the house and grabbed the laundry. I took it to the bedroom, and folded it up and put it away in the big dresser.

Doorbell. I put on a shirt and went and answered it. I let Evie in and fixed her coffee for her. We sat on the stools and read the paper together. After we were done, we folded the paper. I had held out the classifieds for her. There were some cars ads on the back page. We looked them over together. We saw one dealership that interested her, she was looking for a Honda. Something economical, sporty, but not too fast. She had a ton of tickets.

I told her I needed to shower and finish the laundry, She said she wanted to change as well and that we could leave in a couple of hours. She touched my arm with her hand. I looked at her.

"Kevin, what's wrong this morning? You're so quiet." She asked softly.

I hung my head and the tears came, dropping onto my lap. "Steve's upset."

"What about? Why? Did he say something?"

"It's the new carpet. I know he's upset that I spent money on the house. He says I'm trying to damn hard." I sat there, almost in a crumple, tears streaming. "I'm scared, Evie. I don't want him to be mad at me or to lose him because I'm stupid."

She grabbed me and pulled me to her, hugging me tight, stroking my hair with her hand. "Oh, that big, stupid jerk. He's only upset because he didn't do it first. You're trying to make a home out of this...sex filled... 'bachelor pad'. Do you remember when you first walked in here? What it looked like? Why, I was almost ashamed to be his neighbor, it was such a dump. Now look, you have single handedly turned it around. He's such a clod! Oh, that man! And, I'll tell you what he's probably more upset about, and that's you getting a job! It means he's losing his house-maid. You forget, I know him, and how he thinks. Oh, he's such a jerk! He wants you to be here, and not do anything but be here for him. Probably wanting you to take his boots off for him, too!"

I pulled back from her, she looked into my wet eyes. "I don't think he's like that." I said softly.

"That's just it, Kevin. You don't think, you react. He's going with it. You have your whole life in front of you, and he wants it to here inside these walls, waiting for him. He's in a rut, going to work every day, coming home. Have you noticed how he doesn't talk much?" I nodded. "That's because he's in a rut, his own little world, that he's built right here. You need to do what you want to do. Now, if that's just being the house-maid, well then, do your best." She got off the stool, leaving me.

"You're right." I said softly, wiping my eyes with the backs of my hands. "I have to do something more about my life." She came around and hugged me again. I hugged her back.

"I'll be back in a while. You pull yourself together and get ready to go." She said, giving me a kiss on the forehead. I smiled briefly. She walked out the door. I got up and went out to the dryer. I pulled the laundry out and took it into the bedroom. I folded it up and put it away with the other load from before. I went to the other bathroom and turned on the shower. I walked into the bedroom and then the bathroom and grabbed my towel, walked back in the other bathroom and dropped my clothes. I stepped in and let the water run over me. I took my time, washing myself and my hair. I shut off the water and grabbed the towel, drying myself. I walked out, hanging up the towel. I was going to make this my bathroom. I was resolved to change things, small as they might be, it was a start. I grabbed my old clothes and walked into the bedroom, pulling out some new clothes, and slipping on underwear, for the first time, since we had gotten together. Jeez, they were tight and confining. I finished getting dressed, and gathered all of my things, checkbook, bank book, and walked out of the bedroom. I unplugged the coffee pot and rinsed it out. I grabbed my key and walked out the door.

Evie drove this time, God she was a scary driver, weaving in and out of traffic, talking, radio blaring. I was white knuckled the whole way and actually relieved when she parked the car. She gave me a look, like, WHAT? I took the keys away from her and scowled. It's a wonder she wasn't dead yet. I put the keys in my pocket. We had arrived at the first lot. She looked around and didn't see anything she really liked. We left and went to the next one down the road, I parked. She scanned the lot from the car, not getting out. She didn't see anything there either. I drove on. The next lot was more promising. She got out of the car, and I followed her.

The salesman walked up and began to talk to me, not to her. I thought it was rude. He was an older man, maybe fourty something, with a pot belly. He was wearing a really ugly tie that was loud. You couldn't help staring at it, it was so ugly.

"So, you and the little misses car looking for a family car, huh?" He leaned close to me. His aftershave was very potent. I almost gagged. "Got a bun in the oven?" He said softly, gently elbowing my ribs, winking.

"Uh, no. She's looking, I'm driving." I said flatly. He nodded his head, winking again.

"What's she looking for?" He asked, standing beside me.

"Maybe, you should ask her?" I threw out. He cleared his throat and stepped toward her.

"Are all you have is used models?"

"Uh, yes, ma'am." He answered.

"Well, thank you. I'm really looking for something newer."

"Well, okay. I have a few newer models over..."

"Thank you." She said, as she walked by him. "We'll be back, if I don't find what I'm looking for."

Off to the car, again. We drove near my bank, so I stopped and we went in. I walked up to one of the desks and asked for some help. The lady recognized me and asked me to wait a minute. She called over to another desk with the phone, and the man that I had dealt with before came over, smiling, and shook my hand. I explained what I wanted to do, about a cashiers check. He smiled and motioned us to his desk. In a few minutes, Evie had a cashiers check in her hand for the car. She smiled at me, over the amount. It was the amount that Steve had suggested and she was pleased. We stood, shaking his hand, and then walked out. Evie hugged me in the parking lot. We drove to motor vehicles and waited a little in line, getting the vehicle tranferred to my name. I was screaming inside, now truly owning my first car. I could go anywhere, do anything I wanted. The feeling of freedom, is was so good.

We went shopping for clothes for my new job. There was a mens store not far from motor vehicles. We went in and looked around. I had noticed how some of the people were dressed at the store I was going to be working in, and I wanted to look nice. We picked out a few things and I tried them on. Evie kept bringing new items and looking me over when I walked out try something new on. She would have me turn around, walk for her a little, and then tell me yes or no. After a while of this, there was quite a collection, a yes area, and a no area. We finally gathered the yes group and went and paid for it all. We loaded it in the car, and drove off to the store I would be working at.

We walked in, looking around. I wanted a few things to decorate the house with. We looked more at wall art, and small tables, vases, and such. I picked out a few things for the dining room, took them to a register in that department, and paid for them. Those items were loaded in the car, and I took Evie out to lunch. We stopped at the little Italian place Steve and I had been to. The older man in the white apron remembered me, asking how my birthday was. I smiled and said it was good. We ordered and soon lunch was brought to us. Evie and I talked about the car. I told her she could have it whenever she wanted it, that we could work out a schedule, she could take me to work, pick me up, until she found what she wanted to buy. She thanked me, as long as I kept it in my garage. I laughed.

We went to the grocery store and picked up things for dinner. She saw Brian, who smiled at her, and talked to her for a few minutes in an aisle as I filled the basket more. She came up to me, findin me in another aisle, smiling. I smiled back at her.

"Okay, where's the canary?" I asked, leaning on the basket.

"Still singing, somewhere..." She replied, looking totally happy. I widened my eyes at her. "...okay. He wants to see me again."

"Well, I would to if I had had that much sex the first night." I whispered. Her eyes went so wide, and her mouth fell open. She slapped my arm. "OW!" I said, looking around.

"You're such a jerk!" She said, trying to look hurt.

"So, when?" I asked, softly.

"Well, mmm, tonight, maybe."

"You little..." I leaned my head against hers as we walked down the aisle slowly. "...so why hasn't he called you?"

"He said I wore him out." She giggled. "He said he couldn't go into work the next day cause he could barely walk." I chuckled, thinking of my sore butt. I knew how he felt.

"Well, that's good." I winked at her. "See? It keeps 'em coming back for more" I wiggled my eyebrows at her.

Her mouth fell open again. "You are a jerk, aren't you?"

"A cute one, yeah" I wiggled my eyebrows again. We walked up to the register. The clerk kept smiling at me, ringing everything up. I smiled back at her, briefly. Brian came up and bagged everything and then wanted to walk it out for us. I started to say no, but, Evie jumped in and said yes, batting her eyes. We followed him out, chatting. Soon, we we're all laughing. I liked him, even though he was younger than me, but not by much, he seemed very smart. Evie was smiling from ear to ear, looking at him with total lust, as he was bent over in the back of the car. I elbowed her, shaking my head.

We waved and drove out of the parking lot, heading for the house. Once, there we pulled in the driveway, and then unloaded everything. Evie put the groceries away, I put my new clothes on the bed, sticking my bank book in the dresser drawer. I started to decorate with the things that I had bought. My focus was on the dining room, as you saw it first, walking in the front door. I moved the pictures around, back and forth. Evie only watched me from the kitchen. Finally, I made up my mind, and hung the three that I had purchased. Evie said everything looked good. She said she was going home to get ready for Brian. She wanted to make him something to eat. I smiled.

"What?" She asked.

"Going after the youngster." I joked. "Getting ready to trap him."

"You hush." She blushed. "He's sweet."

"And, hung like a horse."

"Kevin!" She was going even redder.

"It's true, isn't it?" I leaned on the counter. "You like it, and you know it."

"Well, yeah." She said, softly. "You want pictures?" She tried to joke back.

"Maybe. He is really cute." I winked at her. "I might try and steal him away."

She chuckled. "I'll have Steve kick your ass." She gave me a kiss on the cheek and walked out.

I looked at the time, it was a little after three. Where the hell had the day gone? I started to get dinner ready. I went out back and cleaned the hibatchi, then poured charcoal in it.

I went back into the kitchen and got the prep going. I pulled everything out and started to cut up vegetables for shish-ka-bobs. I was about done when I heard the front door open, and then close. I didn't look over my shoulder, I just kept going.

"Hey, little man. What's going on?"

"Not much, just getting dinner going. How was work?"

"It was alright. Got everything moved to another location to start tomorrow. It's closer to home, so I won't be leaving as early."

"That's nice." I said, still working on the prep, and not looking up.

"You look nice. Go someplace today?"

"Yeah. Had some errands to run."

"Oh." He said quietly. "Is that why the car is in the driveway?"

"Yeah." I turned and finally looked at him, with a blank stare. "Is it alright there? It's not in the way, is it?"

"No, it's just fine. So...I'm guessing you bought it from her?"

"Yeah, gave her what you suggested. She was very happy about it." I said continuing to prep.

"Good. I'm going to go get cleaned up. I'll be back in a few minutes." He walked down the hallway and out of sight. I sighed heavily. I finally got everything prepped and put it back in the fridge. I made more tea, and then refilled the pitcher. He returned and I poured him some over ice, handing him the glass. He smiled and sipped at it. "That's really good." He leaned against the counter, wearing his shorts and a tee. "So, what's with all the clothes on the bed?"

"They're for the new job. Didn't you notice how everyone was dressed when we were there?" He shook his head, looking at me. Why was Evie right? I thought. "Well, I wanted to get them, so it's not last minute, down to the wire." He only nodded. "Okay, are you ever going to talk to me?" I blurted out, getting a little angry.

He set the glass down, looking at me. "What do want me to say, Kevin?"

"Tell me what you're thinking, how you feel, what's going on." I sighed, trying to stay calm.

"I told you this morning."

"Yes, you told me to quit trying so hard. Well, okay, I'll quit trying. You said you loved me. Well, I love you too. But, you're not telling me everything." He turned his gaze away. "See? Right there. Why won't you talk to me?!"

He turned on me, getting in my face, looking angry. I stood my ground, glaring back at him. "Alright! I don't want you to take the job! HAPPY?!! You don't need to take the job! We have everything we need right here. I make good money, and you, by the grace of God, have been given money! We don't need anything else!"

"WE?! OR YOU?! Cause I think it's just you!" I couldn't believe I was screaming at him. "That's right, isn't it?! Haven't you thought about what I might want in my life?! Oh, sure, it's fine to sit here and play 'house', waiting for you to walk in the door, being the good little 'wife'! But, you haven't even given it any thought at all. HAVE YOU?!" I took a deep breath. I could see out of the bottoms of my eyes, his fists balling up, but he didn't move. "Maybe, I want to go to school. Maybe, I want to have a career." I had lowered my voice a little, trying to compose myself, as we were still eye to eye. "What about it? Are you saying that I can't have any of that?" I waited. He said nothing, just glared at me. "Fine! You want it that way? You want to keep it inside of you, not talk? You can do it by yourself!" I walked around him, going down the hallway. I went into the bedroom, grabbed my bag out of the closet, threw a few clothes in it, grabbed my bank book out of the drawer. I turned around, and he was standing there, in the doorway. His look was glassy. I couldn't tell what he was thinking?

"Are you going to your Mom's?"

"NO! I'm not running home to mommy! I don't need it, don't want it!" I walked to the doorway, he was blocking it. "Get out of my way." I snarled.

"Not til you tell me where you're going? Next door?"

"No, not going there either. GET OUT OF MY WAY!" I pushed an arm, past him, flattened out and got by him. I went to the front door, opened it, and started out. Evie came running around the corner, I walked past her and got into the car. She watched me for a minute as I backed out of the driveway, and then took off down the street. Evie turned and walked up to the house, glaring at Steve.

"What did you do?" She asked.

"Nothing." Steve said, turning to go back inside.

"Bullshit!" She yelled. "It's just like Mitch, isn't it?" Steve turned on her, glaring. "All Kevin is doing is wanting to make you happy. He got the job so you don't have to work so hard. He's trying to make a home with you, make it comfortable for you both." She slugged his thick shoulder. "And, you, you big stupid jerk, you won't even talk to him. You think as long as you 'bring home the bacon', he'll be happy. He wants to live WITH you, not live under you. Everything he does, he does for you." She turned and took a step away from him, then turned back. She looked at him for a moment., then slapped him, hard. "You just fucked up. You just let the best thing that will ever come along in your life, drive away. I feel sorry for you, VERY sorry." She turned and walked away , then around the corner out of sight. Tears welled in Steve's eyes. He put a hand to his cheek, rubbing it. He turned and walked in the house, closing the door.

 

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