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[story] Adventures of Hannah episode 7

Episode 7

Hannah didn’t tell her mother about the

date.

She was half scared, half excited about the

prospect of spending a whole evening with

Joe.

Because there was no denying the

anticipation

tap dancing in her belly. Sitting across the

table

withhim, talking to him, thinking about the

kiss.

Which was why she choose her best

underwear

and sprayed a generous amount of perfume.

She gave herself a quick head to toe. Fitted

black shirt with tiny black flowers

embroidered

on it. Her good black jeans. She looked

about as

good as she was ever going to.

Her mother was chopping vegetables at the

kitchen counter and she looked surprised

when

Hannah appeared in the kitchen doorway.

“You’re going out? ”

“Yeah. Sorry . I meant to tell you, but it

kind of

slipped my mind, ” Hannah fibbed.

Her mother took in her loose hair and good

shirt

in a single gaze. “Not a problem. Have a

nice

time. ”

Hannah suspected her mother knew exactly

who she was going out with. She simply

shrugged and headed for the door. Joe was

waiting by his car already, his head damp

from

the shower. He looked good in a dark

brown

shirt and black jeans. Maybe a little too

good —

one look at him and her palms got clammy.

“Hi, ” he said.

“Hi.”

“You look great, he said, his gaze running

appreciatively over her body. Shall we get

going? I booked us a table at an Italian

place, ”

“Okay.”

Joe rounded the car to open her door for

her.

She muttered thanks as she slid into the

car.

She wasn’t used to having men wait on her.

Once they arrived they were seated in a

corner,

a fat candle on a small wooden table casts

a

warm light over them .

They ordered a bottle of red and some food.

With the ordering out of the way and

wineglasses in front of them, they stared

across

the table at each other.

“This is nice, ” she said lamely.

“Yeah. Place seems good ”

“Listen, ” they both said

Hannah laughed awkwardly. “You go first, ”

Joe cleared his throat. “I was just going to

say

sorry if I’m a bit rusty. Haven’t done this

sort of

thing for a while. ”

“Well, incase you hadn’t noticed, I ‘m not

exactly a social butterfly myself, I ‘ve kind

of

been keeping a low profile lately. ”

She took a deep breadth, then let it out

again.

She hated telling anyone about the

wedding,

but he was bound to hear it from someone

eventually.

“I was engaged last year, but the wedding

was

called off at the last minute, ” she said

before

she could change her mind.

There was a short pause before he

answered.

“That must have been tough.”

“It was called off because my fiance fell in

love

with my best friend. ”

His expression didn’t change: he simply

nodded

in acknowlwdgement.

“You already knew, didn’t you? Who told

you?

“Your mom. ”

“Bloody hell. Is nothing sacred?

“Not where moms are concerned.” Was that

who you were talking to at the coffee shop?

Your ex?

“Yeah. Wanted to tell me my friend is

pregnant.

Joe went still, then swore under his

breadth. “I

hope you told him where to get off.”

She liked that he was angry on her behalf.

“Not

exactly. I congratulated him. I ‘m not going

to

waste the rest of my life being angry with

them.

“You a Buddhist or something? ”

“Nope. Just sick of feeling like I want to

punch

something. ”

He smiled and she found herself smiling in

return.

“I have a big trip planned. Soon I will hit

the

road. Just need to wait for the owner of the

garage to find someone to take over from

me,

buy some gear then I ‘m off. ”

There was a small silence. When she

glanced up

he looked. … disappointed. That was the

only

way she could describe the mix of

frustration

and regret she saw in his eyes. Then he

blinked

and it was gone.

“Ruby’s going to miss you, ” he said.

What about you? Will you miss me?

Hannah

secretly thought in her heart.

“I’ll miss her, too.

Their gazes met across the table.

“So, where are you heading for first? ” he

said

breaking the small silence.

Hannah spent the next twenty minutes

detailing her planned route to him.

“So you’re going to camp most of the

time?” he

asked.

“If I can. The weather is good and I think its

the

best way to see the country. ”

“Not going to miss hot and cold running

water

and all the mod cons? ”

She cocked her head and raised an

eyebrow.

“Not a fan of the great outdoors, Joe? ”

Me? I love it. Always have. Beth couldn’t

stand

it. Had to have a roof over her head, air –

conditioning, running water, you name it.”

The name came out of his mouth so

casually, so

naturally, but they both stilled. It was the

first

time he ‘d ever mentioned his wife to her.

“Beth

was my wife, ” he said.

“How did she die? ” she asked, trying to

make it

easier for him since he seemed determined

to

address the issue.

“It was a car accident. I was up north on

the rig

and she was driving to collect Ben from

karate

practice. A driver ran a red light, smashed

into

hercar. ”

His knuckles were white, she reached across

the table and la!d her hand over his.

“Its okay. We don’t have to talk about it.”

He stared at her, his expression bleak. Then

something in him seemed to relax. “Its

more

that I’m out of practice. Its been two years.

And

people don’t exactly line up to talk about it.

“I can imagine, “she said drily.

“The worst of it was that she didn’t die

straightaway. She had massive head and

internal injuries. They operated while I flew

down from the rig. She died before the

plane

landed. ”

She tried to imagine the torture of sitting

on a

plane, hoping against hope that her loved

one

would survive, willing the plane to fly faster,

get

there sooner, only to arrive to the worst

possible

news.

“I ‘m so sorry. That must have been a

terrible

thing to come home to.”

“Tough memories. ” he nodded.

Watching the grief on Joe ‘s face, it had

suddenly hit her that he was still hung on

his

dead wife. And that meant that anything

that

happened between them was, by definition,

doomed to failure.

The buzz of a cellphone interrupted her

thoughts. Joe pulled a face and reached for

his

back pocket.

“Sorry. I told the sitter to call if there were

any

problems.”

“Of course.”

She fiddled with her cutlery, not wanting

Joe to

think she was eavesdropping, but it was

hard to

avoid overhearing his conversation even

though

he was talking quietly. It quickly became

obvious from his tone and what he was

saying

that he was talking to Ruby.

“The spider’s not going to hurt you, honey,”

he

said. “Its probably more afraid of you than

you

are of it.”

Joe flicked her an apologetic glance, but

she

shook her head to indicate she wasn’t

fused. His

kids needed him, she had no issue with

that.

Joe smiled as he listened to his daughter.

“Okay, how about this? You bunk down on

the

couch and I’ll check your room when am

back

from my meeting? How does that sound?

Joe said good night to Ruby and ended the

call.

“Sorry. Ruby had a spider in her room. She

is

terrified of things. ”

Hannah nodded. She told herself to ignore

what

she’d heard (meeting) , but she couldn’t

help

herself. “You didn’t tell her about our date?

He looked uncomfortable for a moment, “I

haven’t dated anyone before and I wasn’t

sure

how she ‘d react. I know she loves you, but

I

didn’t want her getting the wrong idea.”

Hannah stared at him, wondering what he

thought the wrong idea was.

She shook her head slightly. “Who are we

kidding? ”

He raised his eyebrows. “Sorry?”

She gestured towards the table, the candle,

the

wine. “All this, what happened the other

night…… I’m about to head off for months.

You’ve got your kids. We’re both walking

wounded. This was never going to happen. ”

He looked arrested for a moment, then his

shoulders visibly relaxed. “You’re probably

right.

I’m not exactly the best catch at the

moment. ”

They shared stories and had great laughs.

They

lingered over coffee. By the time they were

walking back to Joe’s car, Hannah was

feeling

warm with goodwill and a mouthful of

coffee.

They bantered some more in the car on the

way

home, the radio playing softly in the

background. She was surprised when the

car

pulled into the street.

“We’re here already. ” she said stupidly

when

he pulled into the driveway of his house.

“Seems like it.”

“Huh ” she reached for her seat belt and

slid it

free. She started to frame a thank you in her

mind, but she didn’t want the evening to

end

yet. If she wasn’t living with her mother

she’d

invite him in for coffee. But she was. And he

had kids and a sitter at his place …..

“Well, I had a great night. Thanks.” She

said.

“We’ll have to do it again sometime.”

“Yeah. Although I’ll probably be pretty busy

getting stuff ready for my trip.”

“Right. I ‘d forgotten that for a moment. ”

His face was in shadows and she couldn’t

read

his expression, but there was a note of

regret in

his voice. Or maybe she was imagining it,

because suddenly she was wishing all over

again that things could be different between

them.

“Anyway, thanks, ” she said again.

“It was my pleasure. ”

She didn’t consciously think about her next

move, she simply leaned across to press a

quick

kiss to his cheek. Except he turned his

head,

and she found herself kissing the warmth of

his

mouth. He tasted of coffee and the touch of

his

tongue against hers sent a thrill all the way

to

her body. Desire pierced her so sweet, he

tugged on her shirt until he was pushing it

open, his gaze taking in her b0s0ms with a

single minded intensity that made her feel

like

the most desirable woman on the planet.

She was p@nting, mindless. His body was

bowed towards her, tense with desire and

need.

The sound of the car horn cut through the

night like a siren. They both started and

Hannah jerked away from the steering

wheel.

“poo,” she whispered.

The porch light came on. She had a sudden

vision of a sleepy eyed Ruby or Ben coming

out

to see what was keeping their father from

coming inside.

Joe must have shared her vision because

they

both scrambled for her shirt buttons at the

same time.

She was still twisting around, her fingers

working furiously at her buttons when the

front

door opened….,………

By the time the front door opened she was

decent.

“The babysitter, ” Joe said as a young girl

stepped onto the porch and looked

curiously

towards the car.

“Grace Kelvin, ” Hannah said, recognizing

the

teenager from across the street.

“Yeah.”

Joe gave Grace a reassuring wave and the

girl

went back into the house. He ran a hand

over

his face and exhaled loudly.

They stared at each other for a long time.

She

held out her hand.

“I had a nice time. Thanks. Part of it were

exceptional, but I’m marking you down for

failure to complete. ”

“You’re the one who sat on the horn.”

“Don’t I know it.”

He laughed at her, took her hand, his

fingers

closed around hers, warm and firm. “There

we

go with the bad timing again. ”

She slid her hand free. “Good night, Joe.”

“Good night.”

She exited the car, closing the door quietly.

She

let herself into the house and walked on her

toes across the tiled floor, in case her

mother

was still awake. She didn’t want to talk

now.

She was still buzzing with arousal,

disappointment and frustration. She

reached

her bedroom and eased the door closed.

For a

moment she simply stood there, her back

pressed against the door.

Heavy with regret, she got ready for bed.

**********??************

Joe felt like a kid. A Hot, dumb, inarticulate

kid.

He keep telling himself that Hannah was a

dead

end, still yet he couldn’t stop himself from

wanting her. But the fact still remains that

she

is going away, he was staying. There was

no

point pretending otherwise, even if the

physical

chemistry between them was hot enough to

launch a rocket.

But the fact remains, he can’t help the

feelings

building up in him, more especially when

she is

around.

He kept staring at the ceiling all Sunday

night

wondering if he is the only one it left an

impression on.

If only she wasn’t going away ………..

It was on his mind to ask if she really had

to go,

if maybe she couldn’t delay her departure,

hang around and explore this feeling

between

them.

But she’d been planning this trip for a long

time. She’d told him over dinner how she’d

already put it off once for her ex – fiance.

He

couldn’t ask her to put it off again for him.

What did he have to offer, after all? Neither

of

them had any idea what the future held. He

couldn’t ask her to delay her dream on the

chance that things might work out between

them. And what were the odds of that? Her

broken heart, his blighted one. His kids.

Plus all

the usual problems most couples dealt

with. It

will be a miracle if they lasted a week

Posted by on February 15, 2019.

Categories: /Literature/Stories

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