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[story] Adventures of Hannah episode 5

Episode 5

JOE paused outside Ruby’s bedroom door

to take

a deep breath and consciously relax his

shoulders. Ruby didn’t deserve his anger.

He lifted his hands and rapped on the door.

“Rubes, it’s me,” he called.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you like that”. He

la!d his

hand on her shoulder. “I didn’t mean to

frighten

you.”

Ruby lifted her head and he could see she’d

been

crying. “No!”

“No, Daddy, you’ve got it all wrong. Hannah

didn’t take me for a ride and now you yelled

at

her and she’ll never let me near her agian.

JOe frowned, “Ruby, I saw you on the bike.”

“She didn’t take me for a ride! I asked her

to but

she said no. Then she said I could sit on

the bike

if I wanted to and she was really nice and

lifted

me up and help me when i thought i was

going

to fall.” Ruby said in an urgent rush.

“Hannah’s going to hate me now” Ruby

said

miserably.

Not half as much as she hates me

….thought

Joe.

I’m sure she doesn’t hate you, Rubes. You

didn’t

do anything wrong. I was the one who made

the

mistake”

“we should go next door right now and

apologize

to Hannah,” Ruby said. She was already

wriggling toward the edge of the bed and

she

looked at Joe expectantly.

He nodded. “That’s a good idea,” Even

though it

was going to make him squirm.

“I tell you What. Why don’t you make a

pizza for

Hannah, and I’ll take it over to her on my

own

and apologize? he said.

Ruby smiled and shrugged.

They went to the kitchen to create a pizza

especially for Hannah.

Finally Joe had a pizza in his hand and a

speech

roughed out in his mind. He felt like a kid

going

to the principals office as he walked up the

front

steps to Hannah’s house. Gritting his teeth,

he

rang the door bell.There was a rattle of a

door

chain bein removed, then Mrs. Napier

opened

the door.

“Oh. Hello, Joe. How are you?” Robyn said.

“I’m good, thanks”. Um, I was actually

wondering if I could have a quick word with

Hannah?”

Robyn’s smile widened. “Of course you can.

Why

don’t you come in and I ‘ll go grab her? ”

Joe stepped into the foyer as Robyn

disappeared

up the hallway. He glanced around as he

waited.

A door closed somewhere in the house and

Joe

turned just as Hannah entered the foyer

wearing

a pale green satin bathrobe. Her hair was

wrapped in a towel and she had her arms

crossed defensively over her chest as she

stopped in front of him. She glanced at the

Pizza

and arched an eyebrow.

“It’s for you. Ruby made it” he said

awkwardly.

“To say thank you for the motor bike ride I

didn’t

take her on, I assume?” Hannah asked

coolly.

He squired his shoulders, “Yeah, about that.

I

owe you an apology. I jumped to

conclusions. I

should have let you explain before I barged

in.”

“Yep, you should have.”

He winced. “I’m sorry”.

She eyed him for a moment, then her gaze

dropped to the pizza. “Ruby made this for

me, is

that what you said?”

“Yes.”

She held out her hand and he passed teh

pizza

over. Now that her arms weren’t crossed

over her

chest, he could see the outline of her

b0s0ms

against her robe. The soft shape of her Tips

was

clearly visible beneath the silk, and he

realized

that she must be Unclad beneath it.

It was the first time they’d been alone since

the

kiss, and Joe was acutely aware of it. He’d

initiated it, after all. He’d been the one who

pushed her against the wall. But she’d

hardly

been a reluctant particip@nt. The memory

made

his blood hot.

“Listen, about the kiss ……..” he said

Hannah’s gaze flew to his face, “I know, it

was a

mistake. It was silly ——”

“It wasn’t a mistake,” he said, “come out

with

me?”

She looked as surprised as he felt.

“You mean on a date? she said

“Yeah. YOu, me, no kids. The usual kind of

thing”

“Why?”

“Because I like you”

“Oh”. Her gaze dropped to her feet, but he

could

see the corners of her mouth curling into a

smile.

“Whats so funny?

“Um, I think i like you, too,” she said,

“But…….”

He took a step closer, “But What?

She lifted her head and looked straight into

his

eyes. In an instant all the heat from

yesterday

was there between them. He could feel

himself

growing hard, just from a look.

“Okay. Yes” she sounded a little breathless.

She

licked her lips. “I’ll go out with you”

Joe got home from Hannah ‘s and Ruby

was

anxious to know what transpired between

them

but he waved it off.

His son Ben, a 12 years old teenager was

already up in his room to finish his

homework.

Joe ran Ruby a bath, as usual he had to go

roust her out after half an hour.

She was splashing happily when he entered

the

bathroom. She ‘d molded her hair into a

bubbly

bouffant on top of her head and was

singing to

herself as she made shapes in the

strawberry

scented bath foam.

“How you doing in here? ”

“Good. You should try some of this

strawberry

bubble bath, daddy. It smells good enough

to

eat.”

“Hmm. I ‘m not sure strawberry is really me,

sweetheart.”

“Daddy, do you think Hannah ‘s pretty? ”

she

watched him from beneath her eyelashes,

trying to appear disinterested in his answer.

“I don’t know, I haven ‘t really thought

about it,

” he lied.

“Do you think she would like to dress up

and

have fun? ”

“I ‘m sure Hannah has a lots of people she

likes

to have fun with, ” he said. Its time for you

to

get out now. You want to wash your hair

and

get into pj ‘s?

“Its just that there ‘s this thing happening

at

school. The mother – daughter fashion

parade.

And I was thinking that maybe Hannah

wouldn

‘t mind being my partner in it. But I wasn ‘t

sure is she would want to or not, ” Ruby

said in

a rush. Her hands were twisted together

and

she was watching him uncertainly.

He moved into the bathroom and sat at the

edge of the tub. He was speechless.

“So do you think I should ask Hannah? ”

Ruby

prompted.

“I ‘ll have a word with her tomorrow,” he

said.

“Leave it to me.”

Ruby slapped both hands down into the

water.

“Really? Really? Truly? ”

“First thing, ” he promised.

Ruby surged out of the water and flung

herself,

bubbles and all, against his chest.

“You ‘re the best, Daddy.”

He knew he wasn ‘t. Not even close. But he

was

doing what he could.

*******-**—*********-******

The next day Hannah head off to work with

thought of last night on her mind. She

couldn ‘t

believe she ‘d said yes. What had she been

thinking? Even if she hadn’t still been

grappling

with the aftermath of her failed wedding,

there

was a small matter of her imminent trip

around

Australia which she is considering to clear

off

her mind and the fact that Joe had two

children

to consider. Not exactly your ideal dating

scenario.

When she got to the workshop they had a

busy

day scheduled and she threw herself into

work

the moment she arrived at the garage. She

‘d

just finished flushing the fuel injector on a

Rhonda Civic when something made her

look

up and she saw Joe walking toward her, his

long stride eating up the ground. She

quelled

the impulse to slip into her office and let

another deal with his enquiry, whatever it

was.

She ‘d never backed down from a challenge,

even one as confusing as Joe.

“Hey, ” he said as he stopped in front of

her.

“You got a minute? ”

She crossed to the Honda. Joe followed.

“Its it about the date? ” she asked

“No. It ‘s about Ruby. Her school is holding

a

mother daughter fashion parade ”

“Right.” She had no idea where he was

going

with this and she propped an elbow on the

rocker cover, waiting for him to get to the

point.

His gaze flicked up to hold hers, then

quickly

flicked away again.

“Ruby and I were talking last night and she

suggested that maybe you wouldn ‘t mind

doing it, ” he said, his tone absolutely

neutral.

Hannah straightened so quickly she

knocked

her shoulder on the hood of the car. She

rubbed it absently, staring at him.

“You want me to go in a fashion parade? ”

she

asked incredulously.

“Not me. Ruby. And I absolutely understand

if

you ‘re not up for it. It ‘s a hassle.

“My God, you ‘re really serious, aren’t you?

” she

couldn ‘t quite believe it.

“Well, yeah. Ruby ‘s not something I usually

joke about. ”

She laughed and slid the spanner she was

holding into the pocket of her overall.

“Sorry. I

‘m not laughing at you. It ‘s just the idea of

me

in a fashion parade. .. It ‘s pretty funny.”

She

gestured towards her attire. “I couldn ‘t tell

you

the last time I wore anything except jeans. ”

“Does that mean you ‘re not interested? ”

“It means I ‘m probably not a great choice.

Surely there must be someone else? A

family

friend? ”

His face was utterly impassive as he

nodded

briefly.

“Sure. I ‘m sure we ‘ll think of someone. ”

He

glanced at his watch. “Thanks for your time,

anyway. I appreciate.”

He headed to his car.

She watched him, feeling as though she ‘d

let

him down. Worse, she felt as though she’d

let

Ruby down. But the idea of her in a fashion

parade… it was absurd, it really was. Surely

Joe

could see that? She barely knew how to put

on

mascara and lipstick, and she ‘d practiced

for

weeks before the wedding so she ‘d be able

to

walk down the aisle in her stiletto heels.

She

was so not what Ruby needed.

And yet Ruby had thought of her and sent

her

father to ask her.

“D–n it.”

She took off after Joe, catching him just as

he

was sliding into the front seat of his SUV.

“Wait a minute ”

He looked at her, his hand on the door,

waiting.

She shook her head, still unable to quite

get her

head around it. “It ‘s not that I don’t want

to do

it. It’s just. ….. Are you sure? I mean, does

Ruby

have any idea how much of a handicap I’ll

be? ”

“Ruby thinks you’re the bee’s knees. ”

“Which shows how much she knows, ”

Hannah

said, but she could feel heat rising into her

face.

She was so tragic. It wasn’t as if he’d said

she

was beautiful or anything —- he compared

her

to insect appendages, for Pete’s sake. What

was

there to feel self – conscious about in that?

“When is it? ” she asked to cover her

embarrassment.

“A week from Friday. ”

She took a deep breath. “Okay. If Ruby

wants

me, i’m all hers. God help her.”

The tight look left his face but his eyes

were still

wary. “If it’s too big a deal, its fine. Like I

said, I

‘m sure there ‘s someone else. ”

She gave him a look. “Didn’t anyone ever

tell

you to quit while you ‘re ahead, Lawson?

You

just got me to agree to wearing high heels

and

makeup. My advice is to drive away like a

bat

out of here before I come to my senses.”

She was smiling, suddenly feeling

unaccountably goofy. Slowly his mouth

curved

into a smile.

“Okay. Thank you. I’ll tell Ruby after

school.

She’d be dancing on the ceiling, no doubt. ”

“That ‘s because she hasn’t seen me in a

dress

yet, ” Hannah said darkly.

“I was going to take her shopping on the

weekend. I guess maybe we should all go

together, make sure your outfits coordinate.

That’s the way it probably works, right? ”

She held up both hands helplessly.

“You’re asking a mechanic. But you’re

probably

right. What time do you want me to meet

you

at the mall? ”

“Seems silly to take two cars. Why don’t we

plan to leave at around ten or so and meet

out

the front of your place? Does that suit? ”

“Sure. Wait till Mom hears about this. She

‘ll be

in heaven. ”

They finessed the details for their outing

then

Joe drove away. Hannah remained where

she

was for a good minute or two.

A cocktail of thoughts and emotions swirled

inside her. Warmth that Ruby wanted her to

be

her partner in fashion crime. Surprise at

herself

for saying yes to such a ridiculous

proposal. And

something else. A sort of strange, foreign

excitement that she wasn’t quite sure she

even

wanted to name.

Brow furrowed, she strode to the workshop .

Hopefully Ruby wouldn’t have cause to

regret

her decision.

Posted by on February 15, 2019.

Categories: /Literature/Stories

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