I woke up to Max’s stare. He’d just taken a shower and was standing over me wearing only a towel, small beads of water dripped off his hair and slid down his shoulders and chest. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from drooling. My mouth twitched upward as my gaze wandered from his lips, to his chest, tightly muscled stomach, narrow hips, muscular legs, and down to his feet. Concentrating hard not to let my gaze settle on any certain part of him I followed the same trail back up to his eyes.Wow. The intensity of his eyes startled me. My pulse gave a quick kick in anticipation. He sat down on the bed and lightly stroked my face with the back of his knuckles. “You need to get up,” his voice rough, “Chase will be here soon.”
I balled my hands into fists. It was all I could do to keep from yanking him down on top of me. I waited until he sauntered into the closet before I left the warm confines of my bed, reminding myself again that I didn’t want to travel down that road. I went straight to the bathroom, locked the door behind me, and blasted the cold water in the shower.
I located my phone, turned it on, and fluffed myself up some. I’d just booted up my computer when noises of pots and pans banging around echoed up the staircase. My phone joined the cooking sounds with it’s ring. I followed the sound, answering before it went to voice mail. “Hi Rose, Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Montana it’s so nice to hear your voice. I’m glad you answered.” Rose said, sounding down.
“You don’t sound very happy Rose.”
“I’m a little homesick and I haven’t heard from Bear yet.”
“Have you talked to him at all since you’ve been gone?”
“Every day, up until today. You haven’t seen him by any chance have you?”
“No, but I’m sure he’ll call you soon. It could be he’s having a rough morning or something, it did snow several feet up here.”
“You’re probably right. What are your plans for today?” She laughed. “Let me guess, absolutely nothing. You’re going to sit in front of the fire and watch movies or read.”
“I wish. Max and Chase decided it would be fun to have Thanksgiving Dinner here. It sounds like they’re busy cooking right now.”
Rose was silent for a moment. “I’m glad you finally meet Chase, he’s a good guy. What’s going on with Max? What is he doing there?”
“He likes me? I really don’t know Rose.”
“So you’re not dating him or anything? Did you find out anything else about him?”
“No, and no.”
“That’s too bad on both counts, maybe I was wrong and he’d be good for you. I bet you can’t intimidate him as easily as other guys.”
If only, he‘d be long gone by now.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Rose, besides I’m pretty sure I’d drive him crazy. I’m sure he’d be much happier with a more docile female.” I tried to picture it. It didn’t work.
“You need a man in your life Montana.”
Here we go again. “I don’t. How is your family?” I changed the subject.
We talked about her family for a while and I promised her if Bear didn’t call her I’d go search for him.
As soon as I hung up with Rose my mom called. She was heading out with a group of other gals to the casino, and free food. I wished her luck. I didn’t mention Chase or Max to her, I knew if I did there would be tons of questions and I’d be on the phone for hours with her.
“Don’t forget to turn your phone on Christmas Day.” My mom hummed.
“I won’t. Have fun.”
I hit the end call button and stared at my phone a moment, half expecting it to ring again. When I was sure it wasn’t going to I snuck down stairs, out the back door. I wanted some fresh air without a body guard.
The forest was peaceful, the sun was out, and the sky was blue. The day was perfect. I sat in a chair on the back deck. My phone rang.
“Hey sis, how’s it going?”
“It’s going fabulous, we’re thinking about becoming pregnant again!”
“Congratulations. When’s the big day?”
“Ooh, not until summer, I don’t ever want to be pregnant during the summer again! Were going to try for a winter or spring baby, hopefully a boy.”
“Speaking of child, how’s my niece?”
“She’s yanking on my pant leg right now, impatient to talk to you.”
I laughed. “And how’s my favorite husband.”
“You know he loves it when you call him that.” She giggled. “He’s perfect, as always.”
My sister’s name is Zoë; she has blond hair, blue eyes, is taller than me, and is the exact opposite of me. She’s outgoing and friendly to everyone, plus she’s always well dressed and perky. Her husband Shawn is one of my most favorite people. He has black hair with a touch of gray on the sides, hazel eyes, and a great body from working construction. He loves my sister more than life itself. He would do anything for her and Charlie, my niece. If I was ever to have a relationship I would like one like theirs. That one reason alone ruled out Max by itself.
“Hold on sis, Charlie is going to die if she doesn’t talk to you right now.”
The phone banged around in my ear for a second, I felt Charlie‘s high energy buzz through the line before she said anything. “Hi Charlie, how much sugar have you had today?”
“How did you know I was on the phone? You know mom and dad won’t feed me sugar. Mr. Lopez says hi too.”
Charlie is the big three, has black hair like her father, blue eyes like her mother, and is a rocket. She’s friendly, outgoing, and talks a mile a minute.
I let her talk until she had to take a breath, then I quickly asked her “How’s Mr. Lopez?” Mr. Lopez is her giant pet turtle, I think she tried to ride him once, but he wouldn’t move fast enough for her.
“Mr. Lopez has gotten bigger, I swear. Well I don’t really swear, mom says it’s bad to do that.”
I smiled, Charlie was hoot. While she was rambling on about Mr. Lopez Max stepped out on the back deck with his arms crossed over his chest and my smokes in one of his hands. I grabbed my smokes, lit one, and handed them back to Max. He lit his own while he stood there watching me as I listened to Charlie.
It seemed like an eternity before Zoë was able to wrench the phone out of her daughter’s hand.
“Love you Charlie, we’ll talk again soon.”
In the background I heard Charlie calmly tell her mom she wasn’t done talking to me.
Zoë was laughing when she spoke. “Shawn just rescued us, he’s taking Charlie outside and wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Right back at him,” I said smiling. He was an excellent father too.
We talked for what seemed like forever. I didn’t say a word to Zoë about Chase or Max either, she would have interrogated me just like mom if had, and I wasn’t in the mood to answer any questions. She, like mom, promised to call on Christmas Day with a, “please remember to turn on your phone.”
Max gestured me back inside once I hit the end button. As soon as we stepped through the door he backed me up against the wall, hands braced on both sides of my head, and kissed me fiercely.