Chapter 81

Tessa woke a few hours later, her body ached in all the best places. He was warm and solid behind her. An arm tucked under her head and the other around her waist as if he wanted to keep her close even in sleep. She rolled over so that she could face him. The night was still thick with inky blackness and the even breathing of her…well, her man.

The heart to heart they’d had earlier had killed most of her insecurities about them as a couple. Even if they weren’t in the ideal situation, she knew he loved her. She’d have to take things on a bit of faith from here on out. And wasting a precious night like Christmas was definitely not something she was willing to do.

She smoothed her fingertips over his chest and up to his shoulder, finding the sinewy muscles of his shoulder and arms before letting her touch trail off into his hair. The thick waves were soft and thick, curling around her fingers as his breathing changed and a low groan rumbled in his chest.

“Mmm…wake me up like that anytime,” he said in a smoky voice.

She laughed, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

He stretched and curled his arm around her neck to pull her close. “Sure you did,” he said brushing a kiss along her forehead.

She dug her nails into his sides until he laughed softly. “Excuse me if I didn’t want to waste what was left of Christmas.”

He pulled back a bit, “Oh is that what we did?”

She snorted, “Well, not earlier.”

“I would hope not.” He trailed his lips over her cheek until he found her mouth. He slid his tongue between her lips as they enjoyed a long, unhurried kiss. Rolling onto his back he dragged her on top of him.

Even sore, her body wanted more of him. She reached into her drawer and found what she needed, rolling it down his length just before she guided him inside. The pace was slow. Each thrust was achingly deliberate with the darkness sealing them in a timeless space. Nothing mattered but his touch, his mouth and their bodies together.

The climb was slow and lovely. The earlier desperation was replaced with a leisurely exploration of each other. And as she drifted into release his fingers found hers, locking together palm to palm, body to body and heart to heart.

Letting herself slump until she covered him like a blanket, she sighed. Amazingly, sleep wouldn’t come now. She’d gotten…she glanced at the clock…four hours of rest and her body was pretty much good to go even with a dose of loving that would normally put her out for days.

“I’m wide awake,” she muttered into his neck.

His hands came up to smooth along her hips and up to her back and back down. “You? Are you sure you’re Tessa? Shouldn’t you be snoring by now?”

She sat up and turned on the light. “I don’t think you’re very funny.” She threw her pillow at him. “And I don’t snore.”

He winced and held a hand up at the intrusion of light into their little cocoon. “Sure you don’t, baby.” He rolled off the bed and grinned over his shoulder as he padded into the bathroom and took care of the condom.

She stuck out her tongue and crawled to the edge of the bed.

“Don’t stick any of that out if you don’t plan to use it,” he said and gestured to her mouth and arching back as she stretched.

She wrinkled her nose at him and pulled out sweat pants and a t-shirt from her drawers and got dressed.

He laughed as he returned, buttoning his cargos. “Nice shirt.”

She looked down and chuckled. She hadn’t paid attention to the drawer that she’d gone into. Jon in a shag haircut grinned from her chest. “What? Don’t like my These Days Tour shirt?”

“I can’t believe you-“

She dragged him close and wound her arms around his neck. “If you say have a shirt that old, I’ll belt you one.”

“Hell no, I have shirts older than you.”

She bumped her nose along his jaw. “Okay, what were you going to say?”

“Have worn it so much that I’m flaking off.”

She blushed. There was no need to tell him that she used to sleep in it more times than she could count. She slipped away. “Yeah well, it is pretty old.”

“Ouch,” he said and turned her toward the door. “I’m hungry. Got anything to eat around here?”

They headed downstairs and she opened her fridge, shutting it with a groan when milk was the only thing sitting on her top shelf. She opened the freezer and found a half gallon of freezer burned ice cream and ice cubes. “Umm….”

Jon peered over her shoulder. “Looks like my fridge when Lotti’s away.”

She bumped him back with her hip and crouched into her cabinet.

“I’m suddenly not hungry anymore,” he said and grabbed her hips.

She turned around and smacked him with the Cheerios box, “You can have that for dessert.” She laughed up at him and remembered the box she had upstairs. “Of course your Christmas present might be a little more fun.”

His blue eyes twinkled, “And just why would my present be more fun? Is it something like that hot purple present I got before?” He turned toward the cabinets, throwing a waggling eyebrow over his shoulder.

“Left one,” she said absently and took out the milk.

“Ah,” he grabbed two bowls and snagged two spoons from the silverware drawer.

She shook out cereal into each bowl. “Well my present can be worn by either of us.”

“I know I’m kinda skinny, but if I fit in your clothes I’ll kill myself,” he said and set a bowl in front of her, pouring milk over the little o’s.

She snorted around a mouthful of Cheerios and struggled to swallow. “Oh the imagery,” she said and couldn’t stop the laugh.

Sitting beside her at the table he lifted a spoonful to his mouth. “I’m done with the ladies wear section of stores thank you.”

Tessa lifted a foot onto the chair and tucked her knee into herself and dug into her bowl again. She remembered the days that he wore more glitter than her grandmother and chuckled to herself.

“You can picture it, can’t you?”

She arched her brow and nodded, “Nope.”

He picked out a dry piece and flung it at her.

She laughed and deflected. “I believe it was one of the live videos from 7800’s album. Some sort of Japanese show…”

He groaned and stared into his empty bowl. “It really sucks that you have seen all those.”

She stood and cleared the table then straddled him on the chair. “Well, let’s just put it this way…” she draped her arms over his shoulders and settled onto his thighs and let her feet dangle. “That skinny guy with all the make up and earrings and glitz,” she leaned forward and kissed his scrunched mouth. “Has grown into a very,” she lingered at his mouth, “Solid,” she brushed her lips slowly over his. “Very muscular,” she tangled her hands into his hair, “Hottie.”

His arms came around her, “Hottie, huh?”


“I don’t know about hottie, but thank God for personal trainers.”

“Oh shut up, you know you’re one of the hottest men on the planet.”

He rolled his eyes and stood, hooking her legs around his waist, “Uh huh.”

“You just don’t like compliments.”

“You’re right about that.” He walked with her to the couch and dumped her in the overstuffed cushions. “Stay there,” he said and went to the door.

She crossed her legs and yanked a pillow from behind her back to hug in front of her. “What are you doing?” she called out.

He padded back into the room, tugging a t-shirt over his head and holding a box in his hand. “Well, Miss Impatient, since we were talking about Christmas presents,” he handed her the box.

The Tiffany Blue of the box made her heart trip and her stomach roll at the same time. I’m sure you’ll get at least a lovely bauble out of the deal. I hear he only buys the best. She heard it in her head and closed her eyes against it. Dammit, he wasn’t like that. With trembling fingers she slid the big silver bow off the box.

“I promise I’ll do better next year,” he said and shifted closer. “I was a little rushed for time but I wanted to get you something.”

She looked up at him, her eyes widening. “Better? Jon, it’s a Tiffany’s box.”

He smirked, “Well of course it is. If I had more time it probably would have been Cartier.”

“Cartier?” she said in a near whisper.

“Yeah, it’s classier, like you are.”

“Like me,” she said lamely. “Jon, I’m the JC Penny’s type, maybe Macy’s on a good day.”

He tucked a strand behind her ear, “No way. You’re Hope Diamond forever stuff, Tessa.”

She leaned forward and clutched his arm. “I don’t need any of that stuff.”

He uncurled her fingers from his arm. “I know you don’t. That’s why I like giving it to you. There’s a difference between buying jewelry for a woman and buying the perfect gift.” He placed her hand back on the velvet box sitting inside the signature Tiffany blue and white box.

Was there a difference? I’m sure you’ll get at least a lovely bauble out of the deal. I hear he only buys the best. She shook her head and lifted the top. “Oh God,” she whispered. Any snotty reporter remarks fell right out of her head.

The necklace was exquisite. A simple chain held a perfect circle of silver…oh hell, it was probably platinum she thought distantly. Diamonds sparkled with both fire and ice in the circle and a slightly larger diamond flashed at the center. It was so…her. Simple and a little understated. “How?” she looked up at his face.

Nerves and a touch of apprehension made his blue eyes waver into an unusual green flecked aqua. She leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to his lips until she felt the tension wash away from him. “How did you?” She was at a loss, tracing the very tip of her finger over the chain, unwilling to touch the diamonds yet.

He grinned at her. “When I went to Philly the day of the fair I stopped in this ridiculous mall they have. Believe it or not, they have a Tiffany’s in there. This little beauty was tucked away in the corner a display box in the way back of the store. I’d looked around but didn’t find anything that said,” his grin widened, “Well, you. But then there it was, just as I was about to leave. I saw it and had to have it.”

He took the box from her and flipped the pendant out like it was costume jewelry. She gasped and reached for the box. “Oh my God, be careful with that!”

Jon just rolled his eyes and twirled his finger as if to say turn around. She tipped her head forward as the chain hovered before her eyes. It felt heavy against her chest as he secured the clasp.

He pressed a kiss to the nape of her neck and turned her around. “I have a feeling it would look a helluva lot better without my face in the way.”

She flipped the tour shirt off, “Let’s see about that shall we?”

**note: the link above isn't spam, it's the necklace if you'd like to see it**


mamybest said...

wow tara...i was wondering when he was going to give her the present. love the necklace....i love the cerea; scene!! very funny!!!


mamybest said...

ok..my keys are moving again...i hate it when they do that!!! cereal scene!!!!


Jen said...

Seems like I wait forever for the next chapters. LOL!

I'm loving the way you characterize the denizens of Joviland.

And pox on that stupid reporter...I hope she gets an eyeful of Tessa's "bauble"!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh that was wonderful. First off I love that she unknowingly put on a tour shirt - too funny!
Then the battle in her head over the "baubble" damn that bitchy reporter:( -
Love the visual aide you left for us to actually see the necklace Tara.
Hope Tess can keep those demons in her head at bay and Keep the Faith in Jon.

Anonymous said...

WOW TARA!!! i come home from vacation and i find 6 new chapters!!! keep them coming!!!


Hathor said...

I, too, was wondering about the gift; it's beautiful. Sigh. And, a pox on that "silly moo" of a reporter.

For the record, IMHO, Jon's face is NEVER in the way LOL!!

I like the way the story is going; thanks again for sharing it with us!

Anonymous said...

I have devoured each and every chapter after having only discovered this a few days ago. This is fantastic! Keep 'em coming Tara - dying to find out what happens next!!!!

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