Chris was awake but not ready to get out of bed. The sun was shining in through the thin curtains, and he knew that he was burning daylight. Unfortunately, the only thing that ran through his mind was that this was the final day in Boston for Mallory and Henry. He kept checking his phone, waiting for Mallory to text or to call and tell him to come to the house. He knew they were probably busy packing and decided that maybe he should be the one to do the inviting instead of the other way around. He grabbed the phone and hurried and sent a text.
“Morning beautiful – how about I bring dinner over tonight? That way you don’t have to cook or worry about anything. Deal?”
She didn’t immediately respond, and he tried not to let it bother him. He just kept thinking that she was busy and probably had not heard the phone chime to announce his text. But when 45 minutes had passed, and he had not heard from her, well then he became his own worst enemy. This time instead of texting, he dialed her number.
She picked up on the first ring, “I am so disappointed in you Evans, it took you 45 minutes to follow up? I was beginning to think you didn’t care.” Her voice was light and full of laughter, and her smile radiated through the phone line.
“You mean it was a test? Damn you Mallory!”
“Of course, it was a test, I wanted to see how bad you wanted this,” her laughter was now out of control.
“Oh, you have no idea how bad I want it, and I am telling you I am running a tab that you will eventually have to pay off.”
“Oh promises promises,” she sang back to him. “In all honesty, you bringing food would be great. I figured I would have to buy groceries to make dinner and then worried about what I would do with the leftovers. I can pay for dinner but if you could pick it up and bring it, I would really owe you one,” she said flirtatiously.
“You aren’t paying for dinner. Is there anything I should avoid? Is anyone allergic to anything or do they not like a particular type of food?”
“I still hate Chinese food, Chris if that’s what you want to know! And for the record, everyone else will eat anything you put in front of them – I am the only picky one in the group.”
“Figures! You have to make me work for it, don’t you? What time do you want me to come over?”
She was silent for a moment, not sure how she should really answer him. Her brain wanted her to answer one way, and her heart (and ovaries) wanted her to answer another. She knew that her silence was slowly killing him and she honestly didn’t mean to torture him. She decided to go for it, “I want you here now – I know, probably shouldn’t say that but I feel like a teenager all over again.”
As she spoke the words, Chris was getting out of bed and getting clothes together. He didn’t talk, he only listened and was sure he could hear desire in her voice. He walked into the bathroom and began to undress as she continued talking, he had no idea what she was saying until he heard her yell his name.
“Chris! Aren’t you going to say anything?”
“Um…yeah, I am hanging up the phone so I can take a shower. I will be at the house in 15 minutes, and you can say all of those things to me again because I honestly lost my mind when you told me you want me.” He quickly ended the call and jumped in the shower, leaving Mallory laughing on the other end of the phone.
She hung up and walked back towards the kitchen where John and Darby were sitting at the bar drinking their bottles of water. She grabbed her own bottle out of the refrigerator, twisted the cap and took a long drink before turning to look at them.
“Ok,” she took a deep breath and prepared to just get it out all at once, “Chris is getting ready to come over and will be spending the day and evening with us. He is even going to stay and have dinner, too.”
John and Darby just exchanged glances and then John reached into his t-shirt pocket and pulled out a dollar bill and handed it to his smiling wife. “Thank you, so much my dear,” she said as she kissed his cheek.
“What in the hell was that?” Mallory asked incredulously.
John started laughing, “We had a bet going as to how long it would take for you and Chris to be back together as a couple and falling all over one another.”
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“No, Darby said it would be before we went back to Atlanta and I said with the way that you two were arguing the other night that it would take longer. She was adamant that it was all pent up sexual frustration and once you two acted on it – Boom! It would be over.”
“Well, to be clear, we didn’t act on anything. So, if that nullifies the bet, hand the dollar back over Darby.”
“You didn’t act on it at all? No, touching or kissing or heavy petting? Seriously, you two have kept your hands to yourself?”
“Oh…um…well…I might have kissed him a time or two,” she said, her face turning crimson. “We were possibly tempted to do more but stopped because you two were in the house and because of Henry.”
“Speaking of the little angel,” Darby said while glancing around the room, “How did things go yesterday?”
“I think I hear him coming down the stairs, ask him yourself.” Henry was, in fact, coming down the steps and propelling himself into the hallway; he was singing and dancing his way into the kitchen. He almost came out of his skin when he realized that everyone was standing there watching him.
“Well, it seems that someone is in a particularly good mood this morning. Did you get all of your stuff packed?”
“Yes, ma’am. Everything is ready to go except for my pajamas for tonight and my clothes for tomorrow. Do you want me to bring my suitcase downstairs now or just bring it down in the morning?”
John chimed in, “You can bring it down later, I will load up the car before we go to bed tonight, so we don’t have to do it in the morning.”
Darby got up from her chair to throw her water bottle away and ruffled Henry’s hair as she walked by, “So, did you have a good time with your mom and her boyfriend yesterday?” She turned and looked at Mallory and gave her a devilish grin.
“We had so much fun; we went to the aquarium and the children’s museum and then the science museum and then we saw an IMAX movie about the moon.”
“Whoa, buddy, take a breath before you pass out,” John joked, “So, it sounds like you had a good time. Did you tell Chris all about the sharks and jellyfish?”
As Henry began to answer John and go into detail about the events of their trip, Mallory moved around him and towards the front door. Her phone had chimed with a text from Chris letting her know that he was pulling into the drive. She quietly opened the door and ushered him in.
She whispered in his ear, “Henry’s telling John all about our trip yesterday. If we are quiet when we are walking toward the kitchen, we can hear what he is saying.”
Chris didn’t respond. Instead, he put his arm around her waist and pulled her to him. He gave her a seductive kiss and then playfully slapped her ass. “Sorry, I had to get that out of the way first.”
Mallory smiled and took Chris’s hand and began walking him toward the kitchen. She stopped short of the doorway so she could hear the conversation between Henry and John.
“So, you liked hanging out with Chris?”
“Yeah, he is really cool. He liked the stuff at the aquarium a lot, but I think he really liked the science center. It was his idea to watch the movie about the moon. I don’t think mom really wanted to see it, but he loves space. He said when he was a kid he wanted to be an astronaut.”
“So, you two had plenty of stuff to talk about at then, right?”
“Yeah, mom was bored I think. We talked about planets and stars and how cool it would be to travel to space. We even ate astronaut ice cream, but mom said it tasted gross. Chris made fun of her and told her she needed to quit being a stick in the mud.”
Darby decided to use her child psychology skills on the situation to see how this was actually working out. “Would you be okay with Chris being in your life, Henry? I know your mom has grown-up feelings for him and I believe he has the same type of feelings for her, does this bother you at all?”
“No, I don’t think so. I asked her if she was going to marry him but she said it was too early to talk about that. I just want mom to be happy. She doesn’t know that I hear her cry at night – I just don’t want her to cry anymore.”
Mallory froze when she heard Henry admit that he heard her cry at night. That was something she didn’t realize he knew and it was definitely something she didn’t want Chris to hear. He evidently sensed it because it was at that moment he squeezed her hand and kissed her temple. She knew that he would probably ask about it later, but for now, he was going to let it pass.
She cleared her throat as a way to announce their presence, “Hey! Look who I found lurking around in the front yard.”
Henry spun around, “Hi, Chris what are you doing here?”
“Hey buddy, I thought I would come by to say goodbye to you and your mom since I know you are going home tomorrow morning.”
“Yeah, we are leaving in the morning. You can stay and hang out if you want, is that okay mom?” He asked looking directly at Mallory. “John and I are going to watch a couple of movies.”
“Wow, that sounds like fun. I would love to hang out if mom says it’s okay,” he said, smiling an evil grin.
“I don’t have a problem with Chris hanging out and watching movies,” Mallory was trying to maintain her composure. It was hysterical that she wanted Chris over there, but somehow it turned into Henry’s request for him to be there. Their plan for him to be comfortable with Chris was definitely working.
Chris took a seat at the bar next to John, “So, what movies are we going to watch?”
John started to laugh and tried to quickly cover it up, “Amazingly enough, Henry has never seen any of the Marvel movies, Chris. So, today I thought I would introduce him to Ironman.”
Mallory and Darby began laughing hysterically, and Henry just looked at them confused. “Mom, why is that funny?”
“I think Chris is a big fan of Ironman. Aren’t they your favorite movies?”
“As a matter of fact, I do like Ironman, and I have seen all of the movies. Tell me Mallory, who is your favorite Marvel superhero?” He asked so smugly.
“Oh, I have a thing for Captain America,” she said, winking at him.