Lexa and William were on their way to visit her parents. They were being accompanied by Jarvis and Yowie, the former who had just been broken up with. He had seemed to worried about it and had merely shrugged it off. He wasn’t even mad at her, his mellow disposition not allowing him to feel the anger that most men would feel upon hearing they were not enough. Both William and Lexa felt bad for him! but he simply let it go and allowed his ex to make her own decision.
“Are you nervous about meeting my family?” Lexa asked.
“A little, yes. I’m better with people than I used to be, but crowds still put me on edge.” He answered honestly.
“You’ll do just fine.” She grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze. “How about you Jarvis, ready to meet the horribly exciting people who spawned me?” She hooked her arm through his and he smiled down at her.
“They must be pretty amazing to have made someone like you. I’m very excited. Plus, all this walking will allow me to draw.”
“They’re planning a party for us you know that? My father will be very happy to see you again William. I know he’ll love who you are now.”
“What’s not to love? I’m and overly aggressive young man with a penchant for scaring the crap out of people. The only ones who can stand being close to me are you, Jarvis and our animals.” They all protested at the same time. He was putting himself down because he was nervous about making a good first impression.
“You saved my life more than once William. They are going to love you very much.”
William rubbed the back of his neck. “I hope so. I would hate to cause you grief because I said or did the wrong thing.” He found himself wishing he was more like Jarvis, calm and unaffected by negativity.
“My parents wont hate you if you do one or two things wrong. They are very loving and understanding people. They were wonderful parents to have growing up. Please don’t worry like this”
“I’m sorry, I just can’t help it” A small part of William worried that if her parents didn’t like him it might make Lexa love him less or consider leaving him like Jarvis’s girlfriend left him. He hadn’t thought of her leaving until Jarvis got broken up with. Now it plagued his mind that he may do somthing and she would move out of their home or make him leave. He had grown far too attached to Lexa to lose her so he needed to impress her parents. She adored them so much and he would do anything for them to approve. Lexa held tightly to William, wishing he would relax but it didn’t seem her words were helping very much. She was confident her parents warmth would wrap around him as soon as he got there and he would feel better.
Her father was a tough guy but you could always feel the warmth and love in the house. Her parents had such an amazing relationship and she was happy she had found an amazing relationship of her own so soon after leaving the house. Her parents had been extremely excited when she wrote to tell them they were coming. Lexa could practically feel the happiness jumping out of their return letter. She had shown it to William but that didnt comfort him either. She guessed it was his normal tension of meeting new people.
Nightfall arrived and they settled down to rest. They would be at her home tomorrow somtime before lunch and she couldn’t wait. She had missed her parents very much and was hoping her parents had succeeded in getting her brother to come home. That was the only person she worried about making William uncomfortable. He had a tendency to rub people the wrong way but she would put him in his place if he became a problem to William. If she couldn’t her dad always would.
The next morning William made breakfast while Lexa and Jarvis drew together. Even though he knew their friend had no intention if flirting with her, he still felt a stab of jealousy. He didn’t have any special skill he could teach Lexa. Ruuka and Arashi both whined at him and he sighed. Tobin lifted his head and gave him a look that said get over it. He glared at the lion who simply turned so his back was to William.
“You learn incredibly fast Lexa. Your drawings are very beautiful, the lines soft.” Jarvis said with a smile of approval.
“Thank you. I’ve been practicing every day, you can ask William.” She replied.
“Day in and day out.” William said and Lexa could hear the irritation in his voice. Jarvis just shrugged and went back to drawing.
“Can you excuse us for a few minutes Jarvis?” He waved her off and she got up, grabbing William by the arm and pulling him away from camp. Their animals went to follow and she told them all to stay. They quickly laid back down and did not attempt to follow a second time. “What’s wrong?” She asked when they were out of earshot.
“Nothing, I’m fine.”
“Don’t lie to me William. Tell me.”
He looked down into her concerned eyes and felt guilt crushing down on him. He sighed and pulled her into a hug. “I’m jealous of the time you and Jarvis spend together. You two talk and laugh and draw together, your personalities flow so easily together. You and I have nothing in common.”
“Would you like me to stop hanging out with him?”
“No!” He almost yelled. “I would never ask that of you. He is a good friend and he makes you happy. I just wish I had something like drawing that I could teach you.”
“We love each other, that’s the biggest thing we have in common and the most important.” She pulled back to look up at him. “I don’t think you are really worried about Jarvis spending time with me, I think you are just so anxious that you don’t know what to do. You are clinging to me as your life line because you are afraid. I promise everything is going to be okay.”
“I know, I’m sorry for my idiocy. I love you very much.”
“I love you too William, my beautiful wild man.” She kissed him and they walked back to camp.
“We okay now?” Jarvis asked and William nodded. “Good, I finished making breakfast for you.”
They sat and ate while Lexa noticed William look at her frequently. He was trying to do it so she wouldn’t notice but she had gotten to know him far too well for his looks to go undetected. Once they were done they quickly gathered their things and walked again. Lexa walked faster today because she was so excited. In only hours she would be with her family. Willima loved seeing Lexa so thrilled. If this went well he wanted to visit more so she would be this happy again. Lexa ran without a word once their town came into view. Tobin seemed excited aswell. William, Jarvis, Yowie, Ruuka and Arashi ran after them. Soon William was once again by her side”please wanr me next time”
“Don’t be sorry, I knwo you’re excited my love” She stopped in front of her house “you ready to meet them?”
“As ready as I can be.”
“How about you Jarvis?”
“I’m excited, lets go in” They approached the house and Lexa knocked. Her mother flung the door open and hugged Lexa “Oh my beautiful girl! I’ve missed you so much!”
“I’ve missed you too!” Her father came running and practically snatched Lexa away from his wife. Lexa could feel how much her father had missed her being home. “Look at you, you’ve changed.” Lexa looked over to see her mother Annalise hugging William tightly. When she let go Jethro put Lexa down and hugged Willima firmly “Even if my daughter hadn’t told me I coudl see that you were that same little boy I helped. Thank you for saving my daughter and making her so happy. I’ve heard nothing but good thigns about you. I’m also impressed by the home you built for her. The pictures are amazing. I’m so glad you could come”
“I try very hard for your daughter. You raised a wonderful woman. Thanks again for saving me all those years ago.”
“No need for thanks, you have thanked me enough for helping my daughter and making her smile. No amount of money or thanks can equal the smile of my daughter.” Willima smiled, he felt a bit more realxed already. Next Jethro hugged Jarvis “welcome, you’re art is fantastic. I hear it’s selling well in your gallery.”
“It is sir, thanks for sending your friends”
“They ahve money to blow, why not blow it on one of my daughters companions. What is your cats name again. I’m so sorry I forgot.”
“Nice name, Your wolf is named Ruuka isn’t it William?”
“Good and the other wolf is Arashi.” Lexa nodded “great, I will try and remember. Come inside and we’ll decide where to go for lunch. The animals will eat in the back yard. A friend of mine is coming over with some very good food for them.” They all walked inside and sat down. The animals started mingling and introducing themselves. “You two have some impressive animals.”
“Thank you, we love them very much.”
Jethro and Annalise chatted with their daughter and Jarvis while William listened. He enjoyed the smile that was plastered on Lexa’s face. “Reagan should be over at some point today.” Jethro said and William felt Lexa tense. He grabbed her hand and she squeezed it.
“Oh really, how is he doing?” Lexa asked.
“Same as always, being a rebel.”
“Oh Jethro, he’s not that bad.” Annalise said.
“You always say that. He’s still got that temper and it still comes close to driving me to murder.” He sighed. “Sorry sweety, I know you miss him and I try not to say such things about him, but sometimes he frustrates the hell out of me.”
“It’s okay daddy. He’ll be good while I’m here.” Lexa replied with a smile. They talked until lunch time and then Lexa went into the kitchen with her mother to help make them something to eat.
“So have you and William thought about marriage?” Annalise said softly.
“Yes, I try not to bring it up to much since I want him to ask me when he’s ready.” she smiled at her mom. “I know how bad you want to be a grandma. Just be patient.”
William could hear Lexa from the living room even though he was sure she thought he couldn’t. He sighed, feeling as if he had failed her in some way. The one time they had talked and he had said he wanted to marry her, had not really been him asking. The front door suddenly opened, drawing his attention to a man who was unmistakably Lexa’s older brother. “Where’s the lion cub?” Reagan asked and Lexa came running out of the kitchen and into his arms.
“I missed you so much.” She said and kissed his cheek.
“I missed you too. How have you been?”
“Great. I have so much to tell you.”
His monkey came walking in behind and Lexa hugged him too “hello Fontaine.”
“eh quit talking to him, you need to catch me up on you”
“I see you still treat your monkey like he doesn’t have feelings”
“He doesn’t, he’s an animal” Lexa sighed and pointed to William “that’s my boyfriend and the other man is Jarvis” Reagan waved then looked back at his sister. “Lets sit down” They walked to the unoccupied couch and sat beside eachother. “You happy little sis?”
“Very, I’ve written you and told you how happy I am”
“True but things can change at any time. I kicked my girlfriend to the crub last week. She became so annoying.”
“Too freaking clingy, god I couldn’t get away from her.”
“What you consider clingy is normal in a relationship.” Jethro interjected “Well I like a girl who doesn’t want to be with me so much. She wanted to move in and that was the final straw”
“You were with her for over a year”
“that means she needs to move in? I don’t just go around taking in strays like you. As soon as you leave home you have two men living with you. HOw do you know you can trust those two? They could be plotting your murder.”
“Shut up, why do you have to be such an ass”
“You know I’m teasing them”
“You tease people in horrible ways”
“Fine fine, I’m sorry. I dont want to be fighting with you or dad yet” His comment had deeply bothered William even if it was a joke. He tried just to breath though. He had to make a good impression so her parents would like him. “I’m going back in the kitchen with mom. You be good out here Reagan”
“Of course little sister” Annalise sighed when Lexa returned “he’s already starting on a bad foot. I wish he would be more courteous” The men in the living room were mostly silent until they were called for lunch. The animals food had already arrived so the animals were out back eating. William sat on one side of Lexa while Reagan took the other. Lexa could feel the tension between William, Jethro and Reagan and wished it hadn’t happened so soon. Her brother couldnt be anywhere for ten minuets without causing people to get on edge.
“so daddy, what do you want to do?”
“Ice skating, I miss when you and I went ice skating once a week”
“I’d love that! I haven’t been since I moved out!”
“Good, first I want it to be father daughter but then I’ll share you. Is that ok William?”
“suck up” Lexa kicked him “stop it right now. You are trying to antagonize him like you always do with my boyfriends. One more mean comment and I will refuse to talk to you Reagan”
“Jeez, I’m just playing”
“well it isn’t fun to anyone but you” Jethro said annoyed.
The rest of the meal was finished in strained silence. Afterwards Annalise took Jethro to collect the ice skates and William could hear them having a whispered argument about Reagan and about Jethro trying not to lose his cool. Right now William felt like strangling the punk, but managed to keep his emotions hidden and his hands to himself. Jethro and Annalise came back with the ice skates and Jarvis declined.
“You don’t like ice skating?” Jethro asked.
“I just don’t feel like it today.” He answered. “I feel like drawing.”
“You always feel like drawing.” Lexa said.
“We’ll bring them anyway, just in case.” Jethro held out the pair of ice skates and Jarvis took them.
“Do you guys always have these many extras?” William asked and Jethro nodded.
“Before ai moved we always had people over, friends or family even strangers. We’d always go out.” Lexa explained. “Do you know how to ice skate?”
“No, but I’m willing to learn.” That made. Lexa smile. They decided to walk to the lake so they could enjoy the sun. William turned his face up to the bright light and allowed it to warm his skin. Since they didn’t want their animals getting bored, they had left them to relax and play. When they got there Jarvis sat down on a bench with William while the others pulled on their ice skates.
“Aren’t you going onto the ice?” Jarvis asked as he flipped his sketch book open.
“Once. Lexa has spent some time with her family.” William answered and smiled at Lexa’s happy expression. Jarvis drew them as they moved across the ice, loving how amazingly graceful they all were. Reagan came back breathless with Lexa close behind. She gestured for William to come on to the ice and he quickly tugged on his skates. She helped him to his feet and pulled him onto the slippery surface.
“Whatcha doing there?” Reagan asked Jarvis.
“Drawing and looking through Lexa’s work.” He answered as he flipped through the pages. “She asked me to teach her to draw so I’m just making notes on things she needs to improve upon.”
Reagan snatched the sketchbook away and flipped through it. “Seems like a waste of time to me, taking in strays and learning to do this when she could be doing other things with her time. Like learning to run a law firm. Dad’s an idiot for wanting to pass the company down to her.” He tossed Jarvis his sketchbook back.
“Or maybe you’re the idiot and that’s why your father doesn’t trust you.” Jarvis said it so calmly that it took Reagan a moment to register what he had said. He came angrily to his feet and Jarvis mirrored his movement. Reagan swung at him and Jarvis ducked then uppercut tend him in the jaw, sending him sprawling. “You’re an idiot and a waste of time. Never speak negatively of Lexa again.” He was still calm and sat back down, continuing his sketching.
Reagan got up and yelled “I’m going back to the damn house!” He took his skates off and sprinted for home. Jethro quickly got off the ice and walked over to Jarvis. Jethro was angry but tried to control his tone since the anger wasn’t directed at Jarvis. “what did he say about Lexa?”
“don’t worry about it sir, I handled him.” Annalise came over “I’ll go talk to Reagan sweetheart. Just calm down and enjoy the ice with Lexa while she is here. You have been really looking forward to her visit so don’t let our son ruin it. Jethro huffed and hugged his wife “alright, you need to get him in line before I do Annalise. I will not tolerate him talking bad about his sister. Especially not when she’s the only one I can be proud of.”
“What? He cant hear me anyway. Besides, he’s an ass and should hear that. He needs to grow up and stop being such a spoiled brat. You are the only reason I haven’t cut him off financially.”
“I know honey, just calm down and enjoy your daughter. I will talk to him.”
“want me to escort you home?” Jarvis offered “That’s so sweet but I will be ok. You just enjoy drawing.” Jethro smiled “My daughter keeps fine company. Reagan lives to antagonize and be a jerk. Don’t take anything he says personally”
“It’s nearly impossible to upset me sir. I only punched him because he swung first.” Annalise hurriedly walked off to find her son and try to get him to act decent. Lexa frowned then William kissed her cheek “don’t be sad sweetheart”
“I just wish my brother would let any family get together be peaceful”
“Will you get back to teaching me so I can see you smile and hold back your laughter as I shake all over the place.” Lexa smiled and Jethro sat down to enjoy watching the two. “does it bother you when people talk as you sketch?”
“No sir but I may get so into it I dont hear you. If I do not respond please just say it again”
“My little girl looks very happy with William. Are they happy at home?”
“From what i see they are very happy. Their differences compliment eachother really. William is still learning how to be normal since he lived alone for so long but your daughter never gets angry. She simply corrects him and he changes the behaviour. He tries very hard for your daughter. He is nervous about impressing you because you mean to much to Lexa.”
“He shouldn’t be worried about that. He risked his life for my little girl and he makes her smile. As long as she keeps smiling, that’s all that matters.”
“Maybe you should tell him that.” He sketched a little more. “Why is your son such a brat?”
“I don’t know. I’ve tried everything I can to get him to act right, but he refuses. He’s always running off Lexa’s boyfriends. I think he may be jealous of her.”
“Why when she is so generous?”
“Because we give her more, we trust her more. We give Reagan a set amount of money that he must survive on, but we let Lexa buy whatever she wants. We know she won’t blow her money on ridiculous crap. I also want to pass the business down to her. She doesn’t have to be here to run it, but having it in her name instead of Reagan’s would be for the best. At least I know she won’t run the firm into the ground. She’s incredibly reliable. I love my son, I really do, but he is so difficult.”
“Sibling rivalry is common. You have to expect one to be the leader and maybe he doesn’t like that it’s not him. I haven’t known Lexa long, but she always takes the first step forward. William and. I would follow her to the ends of the earth if she asked.”
“I’m glad she met the two of you. Thank you for standing up for my daughter.”
William was finally getting his balance and was able to move around without almost falling on his face. Lexa smiled happily, letting go of his hands and making circles around him. He grabbed her, her momentum spinning him around and causing them both to fall on the ice. He held her tightly to him, taking the full impact so she wouldn’t get hurt. “Are you alright?” She asked as she pushed herself to her knees.
“Perfectly fine love, that was fun.”
“I can’t believe Jarvis hit someone.” She helped him to his feet and they made their slowly to Jethro and Jarvis.
“I didn’t think he knew what aggression was. Of course your brother did swing at him first. Jarvis must have really gotten under his skin with his blunt, calm honesty.” They came to a stop, accidentally kicking up small piece of ice onto. Jarvis’s sketchbook.
“Sorry.” Lexa said and he just smiled at her as he dabbed gently at the pages with his scarf.
“Ot’s okay, no harm done.”
They put their shoes back on and Lexa hugged her father “Please don’t let Reagan upset you dad.”
“I’ll try not to. I want to enjoy this time with you. The house hasn’t been the same without your presence.”
“Come visit me more often. You are always welcome dad.”
“I know but you have only just gotten out on your own and you seem so happy. I have been giving you space to just enjoy your own home and your boyfriend.”
“It’s not quite my own home. I’m still paying you back for it”
“Even though you don’t need to but I have to admit it makes me proud you don’t want to live off of my money. You have always made me proud Lexa. You are my only evidence that I’m not a terrible father. I can’t imagine what people think when they see your brother.”
“No negativity please dad.”
“Sorry princess, can we go to your favorite ice cream parlor?”
“Would you guys like some ice cream?” Jarvis and William nodded then Lexa spoke again “Shoudl we get mom?”
“Your moms on a no sweets kick again. She will not want to go and I’m sure she’s busy with Reagan.”
“alright, are we walking?”
“That far? You can do that but I’m getting too old beautiful. We walk home and take the car.”
“alright” They walked along and chatted while Jarvis kept sketching. Lexa was curious as to what he had done so far but she decided to leave it alone until he finished. He would let her see but she hated to interrupt him. When they loaded into the car William and Jarvis sat in the back seat while Lexa sat with her dad up front. “after ice cream i want to go to the firm. Everybody has been dieing to see you again.”
“I would love to go. Is everybody the same as when I left?”
“We had to fire Roger and we replaced him with a woman name Clarice. She’s really serious but she’s nice. I see a sense of humor in her. I think she onyl acts so serious because she wants the men to take her seriously. You know how it goes with female lawyers.”
“Maybe I can get her to joke around with me”
“You could turn a brick wall into playdough if given enough time. I’d like for you to talk to her so she is more easy going and realizes all the men I employ are nice and dont think she’s less because she’s a woman.”
“Why did you fire Roger?”
“Sexual harrasment of Tiana. I gave him a warning and then there was another incident and I kicked him to the curb. He thought he could do what he wanted because he brought in so many wins.”
“he was always a creep. I’m actually glad he wont be around to oggle me.”
“He oggled you?”
“Yeah I just never said anything since you can be so over protective.”
“You should have said somthing if he was making you uncomfortable.”
“I wasn’t uncomfortable, I didn’t like it but it didn’t upset me”
They finished their ice cream and got back in the car. Jarvis seemed to marvel at her hometown. It was bigger than anywhere he had been. William’s anxiety spiked and he hunched down in his seat. Jarvis had the window open up front and all the smells overwhelmed him. Jethro came to a stop in front of a large building with his name printed on the front.
“This is the family business.” Jethro said and Lexa giggled.
“Daddy built this place up from the lowest of the low.” She said as the got out.
“That’s right. I had to claw my wait to the top, pissed a lot of people off along the way.” Lexa laced her fingers through William’s and her arm around Jarvis’s and pulled them into the building. They took the elevator up to the second floor and Jethro checked to make sure everyone was at their desks. “Alright, come on baby girl.” Lexa stepped into the large office space and everyone looked.
“Well are you all just going to set there and stare at me or do I get a hug.” She said and they all jumped up and practically ran over to her. They were so excited to see her that William went to let go of her hand. She wouldn’t let him and quickly introduced him and Jarvis. Jethro called Clarice over and she introduced herself with a very business like tone. “I hope you’re giving these boys a run for their money.” She said to Clarice.
“I work very hard.” Clarice replied.
Lexa laughed, making all the younger men melt. William almost growled at the adoration in their eyes. “Oh Clarice, you and I are going to have to go out for drinks and talk about how to really work these guys.”
Clarice found herself smiling back at Lexa. “I would really enjoy that.” They talked to everyone for a good hour, Lexa recounting her journey to Nurlice. They couldn’t believe she had been attacked twice and thanked William for taking care of her. Jarvis showed them his work, interesting Clarice the most.
“Did you bring your business card?” Lexa asked him and he fished in his pocket, handing one to Clarice.
“I can paint or draw whatever you want, just ask.”
She smiled brightly “I will definitly be getting in touch with you. Your work is amazing. I wish I could draw like that.”
“You draw amazingly, I loved looking through your sketch pad over lunch last week” Jethro said while Clarice blushed and Lexa asked “you draw too?”
“Yes but I don’t show anybody normally, your father insisted so I let him” Jehtro smiled “well there’s no reason not to show anybody. I hope you didn’t only let me because I’m your boss. I was just trying to get to know you since you’re so serious.”
“No sir, I didn’t only let you becase you’re my boss”
“Good, you should go to your office with Jarvis” Clarice shook her head and Jarvis gave her his warm, genuine smile “It’s only fair I get to see your work since you saw mine. A creature as beautiful as you could only create magnificent work.” Clarice blushed more then said “ok, follow me then” Lexa looked at her father “I was serious about getting drinks with her. When is her next day off?”
“She has the day after tomorrow off but I can give her tomorrow too if you want to go out with her tonight. I would like some one on one time with William anyway. I’d like to bond with my potential son in law. If Lexa gos out with Clarice will you go out with me tonight?” Jethro asked. William didn’t like the idea of Lexa going to a bar without him but he said “ok, sounds good.” To make sure Jethro was pleased with him. Jethro pulled the credit card he kept for Lexa out of his pocket “I’m your father so don’t back talk me. You’re taking this tonight so you two can do whatever you want. Please let me treat you two tonight.”
“alright daddy, thank you” Jethro kissed his daughters head then they began chatting with the lawyers that weren’t busy at the moment. Only a few had to scurry off to handle their cases. William wished some of these men would go away. He hated how they looked at his mate. Eventually they all had to go back to work. Lexa, Jethro and William went to Clarices office where Jarvis and Clarice were still chatting. “we’re leaving now Jarvis. Clarice, my father has given you tomorrow off so we can go out and get drinks tonight.”
“Thank you Mr Biller”
“My name is Jethro”
“Thank you Jethro, sorry”
“I’ll pick you up after work.” Lexa said. “Just wait for me here okay?”
“Alright, I’ll see you then.” They left and went home. Reagan was upstairs with headphones in, sulking. Lexa wished he would just grow up. She wanted so desperately for him to get along with William and Jarvis. They were a big part of her life and she was so tired of her brother trying to push everyone away. She helped her mother make dinner while the men chatted in the living room. William sneezed and she giggled.
“Did you burn incense while were gone mom?” Lexa asked.
“Yes, of course. Why?” Annalise answered.
“William’s nose can’t handle it.” He sneezed again and she heard the front door open then close. “I better go check on him.” She left the kitchen and headed out onto the front porch. He was still sneezing. “Honey, are you alright?”
“The whole house smells like sage. My nose is going crazy.” He sniffles and wiped the tears off of his face. “My eyes are watering so bad.”
“I’m sorry baby, but my room should be fine. She only burns it downstairs.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss. He rested his hands on her hips and moaned into her mouth. Even the gentlest touch of her lips against him, drove him completely crazy.
“Please don’t go out drinking tonight. Stay with me.” He whispered.
“Are you worried?” He nodded and she kissed him again. “Don’t be, everything will be fine. Besides, my dad wants to spend time with you.”
“What if something happens and you can’t get ahold of me? What if some guy hits on you or tries to kiss you and I’m not around to stop them?”
“I’m not helpless.”
“I know that, but you’ll be drinking. You’ll be vulnerable.”
She smiled up at him and brushed her fingers over his cheek. “If anything happens, I’ll call Jarvis or Reagan.” he frowned, but couldn’t argue with her logic. “Please try to have fun with my father. He’s a good man and wants to know you.”
“I will, for you I will try.”
Lexa smiled at him and gave him another kiss. “I’m so lucky to have you William”
“I hope you always feel that way”
“I will” They sat out there until Jethro came out to say dinner was ready. William and Lexa waked in holding hands. William was sneezing again as soon as they came through the front door. Annalise frowned, seeming really sad “I am so sorry William. After Lexa said somthing I remembered she told me in one of her letters that you can’t handle incense. I burn it daily so it is a habit. I feel so terrible. “Don’t please” William said then had to cover his face again to sneeze. He continued “I’ve been enjoying meeting you two. I’m going out with Jethro tonight and Lexas room should be free of the incense so I will be ok.”
Jarvis came down from Reagans room “He doesn’t want to eat with us.”
“will you take him a plate then sweetheart?” Jarvis nodded and Jethro refrained from making an issue out of it. He kept reminding himself that he needed to enjoy his daughter while he had her instead of feuding with his son. Jethro partially felt he was acting out to try and ruin her visit anyway. Jarvis came back and joined Lexas family for dinner. “was he kind to you Jarvis?”
“He was fine” They sat there until Jethro told his daughter Clarice would be getting off work. “I still have your car in the garage.” Jethro took out his keys then removed hers from the ring. “You be safe tonight sweetheart. I promise to take care of your boyfriend” Lexa kissed Williams cheek, Jethros, Jarvis’s and then her mothers before leaving. William was already worried about her. Jethro could see it “She will be fine William. You and I are going to have a great time. Are you ready to head out now?” William did the best smile he could force and said “yes”
William was just relieved to have a reason to leave their house. It was almost like leaving a gas chamber when they were out in the fresh air of the world. After they were buckled Jethro appoligzed again about the incense. “it’s not a problem”
“It obviously is, you look like you’re crying your eyes are watering so badly.”
“I don’t want Annalise to feel bad”
“You’re a good man William”
“I guess. Where are we going?”
“Some bar and grill place I have meetings at sometimes. Do you drink?”
“Uh not really. I tend to get a bit unpredictable when I drink to much. I’m sure Lexa has explained what Ruuka did to me, made me very animalistic.” Jethro nodded. “I don’t like being out of control. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Lexa waved at Clarice as she pulled to a stop. She couldn’t help but think the woman looked nervous. “You don’t have to look like you’re about to have a heart attack. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Sorry, I’ve never really had time for going out and making friends. This would be my first girl’s night in years.”
“Then lets have a lot of fun.” Lexa reached over and tugged Clarice’s ponytail out of her hair. “There you go. Nice and relaxed looking.” Clarice blushed and Lexa giggled. “Don’t tell me you never relax.”
“Does sleep count?” Lexa pulled away from the firm and drove quickly to the Rusty Sprocket. It had a weird name, but it was a good place.
“Come on, let’s go get our drink on. Oh and don’t worry about the price of anything. Dad said I could get us whatever I wanted.”
“What if some guy comes up and hits on us?”
“Politely turn him down and if he continues I’ll bust him in the chops then let William get his scent and chase him down.” They went inside and up to the bar. The bartender, a good looking young man with a lemur setting on his shoulder, came up and smiled at them. “What can I get you?”
“Well first, take my keys.” She held them out and the bartender took them, looking relieved that he wouldn’t have to wrestle them out of her hands later. “Let’s see, two cranberry and vodkas to start. We want to loosen up after a long day.” His smile widened and he went to make their drinks.
“You are very good with people.” Clarice said.
“I kind of have to be. My dad owns a law firm so I was always around the people he worked with. I used to go with him into work and just set around talking to him and everyone else. I even went to court with him a couple of times. He’s really scary when he’s up in front of the judge and jury. He never loses a case.”
“He’s never agreed to defend bad people and he still makes a lot of money. It’s different from where I worked before. Your father makes everyone feel like family.”
“That’s because you are silly.” The bartender came back with their drinks and told them the first one was on the house since Lexa was being so responsible by giving up her keys.
“So, who’s going to pick us up if we get drunk?”
“Oh.” Clarice blushed and Lexa giggled.
“You like him huh?”
“He’s really handsome and I could listen to his voice forever. It’s so soothing.” Clarice said growing redder by the word. “He’s single.”
“He lives so far away though”
“Maybe he would move for you or maybe you could join a law firm where he lives. It’s not as big as my dads but my dad could get anywhere to hire you. I’m sure he would give you an amazing reccomendation if you chose to come home with us. Jarvis has a really nice house, I helped him pick it ou and furnish it.”
“Who’s to say he likes me and moving in with eachother is so fast”
“Lifes short, we have around a hundred years to live on this planet. Embrace what you want and go after it. Donm’t waste the few years we ahve here. Just ask him when you’re sober. He might not take you seriously when he picks us up”
“I’m not sure if I can”
“You’re a lawyer, hoist those boobies and do it” Clarice laughed and Lexa smiled. “you should lighten up around the firm. My dad only hires men he likes. He wouldn’t hire a man who would think less of a lawyer because of their gender. I promise none of them are judging you. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere.”
“Th elast place I worked the men were always putting me down”
“If anybody does it at my dads firm you just tell my dad. He wont allow it”
“Your dad seems so nice. It’s odd since he’s so brutal in court.”
“He’s never willing to let the innocent go to jail. He’ll go to any lengths to make sure”
“was that hard on you growing up?” Their drinks arrived only making for a small interuption. “Not really, my dad was pretty good at balancing. He did miss a few functions but he made up for it every time. Reagan took it harder than I did. I was always happy he was helping a good person”
“Yeah, I’ve heard Reagan is sort of the black sheep”
“Only because he chooses to be. No matter how often we offer a hand he slaps it. No more of this though. We’re supposed to be having fun. What did Jarvis think of your work?”
“He loved it. He said my style is unlike any he’s seen before and he would love to see more of my works”
“I bet he’d like to see the work of art under those clothes” Lexa winked and Clarice turned red again “You act as though you know he likes me.”
“I do know, I could see it in how he looked at you. That was definitly attraction.” Clarce smiled “I’ll try to loosen up around the office.”
“Good, everybody there is a lot of fun. You replaced the only person I didn’t like”
“So what do you think of us so far?” Jethro asked as they enjoyed their steak. William stopped chewing and looked at his face. He swallowed the piece of meat in his mouth and cleared his throat.
“You’re Lexa’s family so I like you all a lot. What is important to her is important to me.”
“What about Reagan?”
“All that matters is that Lexa loves him and that’s enough to keep me from losing my cool. Besides Jarvis already hit him.”
“He doesn’t seem like the type to lose his cool like that.”
William laughed. “He probably didn’t. He’s the calmest person in the universe. He puts me to shame. I get jealous really easily and he never lets it get to him. I try to keep my mouth shut when Lexa talks to other men because I don’t want her angry with me. She got mad once and ai don’t want that to happen again.”
Jethro nodded and took another bite of food. “So, you want to marry her right?”
“Yeah, I mean it doesn’t really matter to me if we get married or not because I’ll always love her. I just want her to be happy. We talked about it once, but never brought it up again. I think she’s waiting for me.”
“Well, when you’re ready I can take you to look at rings.”
“I would like that a lot.”
Lexa and Clarice giggled as they made their way out of the bar. Clarice tripped and Lexa caught her. “Easy there. You have a horrible alcohol tolerance don’t you?” All Clarice could do was nod. Lexa fished her cell out of her pocket and called Jarvis. “Clarice wants her sexy artist to come pick us up, so hurry before she faints.” She hung up and Clarice turned bright red.
“Why would you say that?” She covered her face in embarrassment.
“Because it’s true.” They leaned against the building, waiting patiently.
“Hey, what are you two doing out here alone?” A male voice asked and Lexa glared at the man.
“We’re making out, what’s it look like. We’re also not interested.” Clarice said.
“Awe come on, you can’t say that when you don’t even know me.” The man reached out and ran his fingers over Clarice’s cheek. She slapped his hand away had he grabbed her wrist. Lexa tried pulling him off, but he batted her away.
“Let me go you pig.” She screamed. The man was suddenly jerked back and throw on the ground.
“You touch her again and I’ll gut you.” It was Jarvis, his voice angry and his eyes full of rage. Lexa had never seen him this way before.
“She’s not fucking worth it.” The man spat as he stood and huffed off. “are you ok?” Jarvis asked, his voice drenched in concern. “I’m fine, he only had me by my wrist. Are you ok Lexa?”
“Lets hurry and get you two home.”
“Why don’t you spend the night at my house Clarice” Lexa offered with a wink she didn’t bother to hide from Jarvis. Clarice was blood red “I don’t know if I should”
“You’re really drunk, why don’t you atleast let me take Lexa home and I’ll go back with you to your house. I can make you breakfast in the morning and take care of you tonight.” Jarvis said then Clarice nervously replied “Ok” Jarvis smiled “lets get you two home where there aren’t jerks harasssing people.” Lexa got in the back while she noticed Jarvis guide Clarice to sit up front with him. Lexa was tempted to tease but figured if she left it alone they would be together by the next time she saw them. They were both equally as taken by eachother. Jarvis’s behaviour shocked Lexa though. He had honestly lost his cool back there.
He probably didn’t know it yet but Lexa could see he was very much in love. “wait here ok Clarice?” Clarice nodded then Jarvis walked Lexa to the door and into her bedroom. “you good until William gets home Lexa?”
“Yeah, go makeout with your hot lawyer.” Jarvis laughed “Maybe when she’s sober. I can’t take advantage of her like that”
“She wants you, she thinks you’re hot”
“well, we can figure out all that when she’s sober” Lexa giggled and Jarvis quickly returned to the car. “where do you live?” She told him and they took off to her apartment. She seemed very near passing out so he was glad she was consious enough to tell him where she lived. He helped Clarice walk inside and into her bedroom. “I’ll go get you some water, want anything else?”
“No thank you” When he came back he said “do you have a guest room I can sleep in?”
“Yeah, down the hall”
“alright, please yell for me if you need anything atall. I used to sleep outside so I’m an incredibly light sleeper.” He smiled as she passed out. He pulled up the covers then moved her up on the bed so her head was laying on a pillow. Jarvis tucked her in then said goodnight even though she couldn’t hear him. Jarvis would ahve loved to stay in the room with her but he knew that wouldn’t be appropriate atall.
William was laughing as they drove home. Jethro had told him a story about the time Lexa had run out of the bathroom butt naked with Annalise chasing after her. Lexa had lead her mother outside and then climbed a tree and actually hissed at Annalise like a cat. The whole time Tobin was tugging on Annalise’s sweater to keep her from catching the six year old little girl who didn’t want a bath. He planned on teasing Lexa later and probably every time they got in the shower. They made it home fairly quickly and William was happy to smell Lexa was home. When they stepped inside Reagan was sitting there eating a bowl of cereal and staring at the TV.
“She’s upstairs wolf boy. She looked pretty trashed when your artist buddy brought her in. You should go check on her and make sure she didn’t throw up in her sleep.” He said, not even looking at them.
“Thank you.” William replied and Reagan waved him off. He hurried upstairs and Jethro plopped down next to his son.
“What is it dad? Did I do something else wrong?”
“You were being awful nice.”
“So, I’m an adult. I can do whatever I want.” He glanced at his father and then went back to watching TV.
“I thought you didn’t like this show.”
“I don’t remember saying that.”
“Everytime Lexa used to watch this you would complain.” He stared at his son in disbelief.
Reagan shrugged. “There were a lot of things Lexa likes that I don’t like. Can I just watch I peace please?”
“Alright fine. See you in the morning.”
William quietly opened Lexa’s bedroom door. He smiled when he saw she was sleeping peacefully. He closed the door behind him and crossed the room, gently slipping her shoes and jeans off. She shifted in her sleep then opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” He said softly as he tugged his own shoes off and climbed in next to her.
“I’m glad you did.” She snuggled in close and bit his chin. “You’re getting a beard. Pretty sexy.”
“You smell like booze.” He grinned and she nodded.
“Probably. I saw a very peculiar sight tonight. Hmmm I rhymed, how funny. Anyway, I saw Jarvis lose his temper, I mean he looked intent on murder.”
“Some guy at the bar grabbed Clarice and knocked me over. Dick. Jarvis threw him on his ass and threatened to kill him. He looked like a hissing cat. I expected him to make that evil yowling sound.”
William chuckled “Maybe he’s actually found real love. I don’t care how calm you are. You don’t act like he did when that woman broke up with him. He wasn’t affected in the slightest. It wasn’t even fake, it was honestly him not caring atall”
“I think he loves her and I know Clarice loves him. I’m wondering what’s going to happen.”
“Just go to sleep for now sweetheart” Not long after he said that had she fallen back to sleep. He held her lovingly just enjoying the contact. He knew she would feel horrible tomorrow with a hangover since she didn’t drink very often. William was in shock due to how much fun he had with Jethro. He went out expecting it to be a night he had to tolerate but he loved it and found himself wanting to do that again somtime. William could easily see why Lexa loved her parents so much and was excited about coming home. William was going to tell her everything about his day with Jethro when she felt better later tomorrow.
He hoped the hangover wouldn’t be too bad but he wasn’t there to see how much she drank. William kissed Lexas cheek then relaxed himself to fall asleep. When he woke in the morning Lexa was still sleeping very hard. He kissed her head then walked downstairs. He could smell the amazing breakfast Annalise was preparing for everybody. “Morning William” Annalise said cheerfully. “Morning, your daughter obviously had a lot of fun last night” Annalise giggled “well if she’s still the same old Lexa she just sin’t used to drinking”
“she’s still the same. When her plate is ready I’ll wake her for breakfast”
“It’ll be done soon if you want to go ahead and start trying to rouse her.”
“alright, I’ll be back” Jethro stood “let me go try and get Reagan to join us. He seems more willing to be a human”
“be nice please”
“I will” Jethro hugged his wife briefly then went to his sons room. He wrapped on the door. Reagan grunted “yes?” his voice strained with sleepiness. “Breakfast is almost ready, we were hoping you’d come”
“I’ll be down soon” Jethro took his first step back in shock then went down to the kitchen to wait for his children to arrive at breakfast. In his mind he was pictureing them as the small children they once were. He missed those little feet running around his home. Soon William came down carrying Lexa. He sat her at the table then took his place beside her “hangover?’ Jethro asked. Lexa smiled “Only a small one”
Reagan came downstairs louder than Lexa liked. She gave a groan of agony and grabbed her head. “Damn it Reagan walk quieter.” She complained.
“Don’t blame me for your poor choices.” He replied she glared at him and he grinned as he flopped down next to her.
“My poorest choice was being related to you.”
“That was a choice?”
“For all you know it could have been. Why are you being so nice?”
“Can’t a brother tease his baby sister.” He pinched her cheek and she swatted his hand away with a small laugh.
“What did you do?” He shrugged and started eating. “Is this because of the beating Jarvis gave you?”
“I wouldn’t really call it a beating, more like a stern talking to. Don’t get me wrong, that little fairy has quite an arm on him.” Lexa slapped him in the back of the head and he frowned as he rubbed it.
“Be nice and don’t call gays fairies, it’s not nice. Besides Jarvis is far from gay.”
“Know that for a fact do you?”
“Totally, I mean we make out all the time.”
“Uh oh, better watch out Willy.” They started laughing and it warmed Jethro’s heart. This is how they used to be, always playing with each other. There was a time Reagan had been Lexa’s idle. It was back in a time when he had told her firmly never to be like him, back when he supported his sister’s every choice.
Jarvis made fruit salad for Clarice since he knew the smell of eggs and bacon would probably turn her stomach. He found her some Tylenol and filled a glass with water then headed upstairs. She was still asleep when he walked in and sat the food and water down next to the bed. “Clarice, wake up.” He said softly as he gently shook her. She slowly opened her eyes and then covered them as the bright morning light caused pain to lance through her head.
“I am never doing that again.” She said and he laughed.
“I brought you some Tylenol and food and water.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Yes you are so please set up and take these pills.” She groaned, but did it anyway. She popped the pills in her mouth and gulped down the water. He handed her the howl of fruit and she ate even though she didn’t want to. “Would you like more water?”
“Yes please. I feel dehydrated.”
“You probably are.”
He quickly walked back to the kitchen and got Clarice another glass. He heard a meow behind him and was confused for a moment since he knew he didn’t bring Yowie. Jarvis turned to see a calico cat staring at him. “Hello there, you must be Clarices partner.” The cat purred and he smiled “she really is perfect for me” Jarvis thought to himself. He really hoped he could build atleast a good friendship with Calrice before it became time to leave. He already felt himself falling madly in love. He may not know much about her but he loved everything he knew about her so far. Jarvis was glad her cat seemed to like him. Miasy followed Jarvis back to the room then hoped on the bed to comfort Clarice.
Maisy meowed then rubbed her head against Clarice “I’m fine Maisy, I’m just hungover.” The cat meowed again and Clarice semi smilled “He isn’t staying long, he was just nice enough to come take care of me.” Maisy curled up into a ball then Jarvis handed Clarice the water “You didn’t tell me your partner was a cat when i told you about Yowie.”
“I was nervous and wasn’t thinking. Your voice is so soothing I just wanted to listen to it.” Clarice blushed at her words. With how badly her head hurt she wasn’t thinking before she spoke. A warm smile stretched across Jarvis’s face. “You mean that?” Clarice nodded, still blushing. “You don’t have to blush about it Clarice. I like your voice and company too. Maybe when you’re feeling better I could go pick up Yowie so our cats can get to know eachother.” Clarice looked over to her ball of fur “would you like that Maisy?” Maisy briefly lifted her head and gave Clarice a look she knew meant yes. “It appears Maisy does want to meet Yowie. Why don’t you get him now?”
“I’m not leaving you until you feel better. Yowie is fine with Lexa and her family”
“I had so much fun with Lexa. I heard Jethros daughter was nice but since I heard it from men I didn’t know. All a girl has to do is look beautiful and it doesnt matter how she treats men. Lexa is one of the few who is both beautiful and nice.” Clarice looked away. Jarvis could tell Clarice didn’t think she was beautiful. “You’re even more beautiful than Lexa. I can see in your face you dont think so.” Clarice chuckled “you dont need to lie to me”
“I’m not lieing, I think you’re gorgeous Clarice”
“But Lexa is way gorgeous and she has something I don’t. She’s funny and charismatic and adventurous while I’m just…” He leaned in and kissed her, silencing her in an instant. He pulled back, smiling at her red face.
“Yes she is all of those things, but only you are perfect for me.”
“Why did you kiss me?”
“Because I wanted to and you wouldn’t stop putting yourself down.”
“You don’t seem as affected as me.”
“Get to know me better and then I’ll show you how you make me feel. Now, why don’t you go shower it might help you feel better.”
“Okay, thank you for taking care of me.” He smiled ate her and she went into the bathroom then switched on the water. She stripped down and stepped under the warm water, feeling instantly relaxed.
William pulled Lexa upstairs after breakfast, wanting some time for just them. Everything had been so hectic until now. Even though he felt guilty thinking it, he was glad she had a hangover. He closed and locked her bedroom door then pulled her onto his arms. “Are you okay William?”
“I just want a few minutes alone with you, away from the noise and the smell of incense still lingering in the air.” He answered and kissed her cheek. He buried his nose in her hair and inhaled her scent. “I love your smell.” He nibbled at her ear and she shivered.
“Oh I see what you really want. Alone time, I get it now.” She teased and he pulled back to smile at her.
“It’s true that I need you right now, that I want to push you down and rip these clothes to shreds, but it would be rude of me to do so when your parents are awake and wanting to spend time with you.”
“Take it easy on my clothes while we’re here. I only brought so many.”
“Don’t worry. I need to talk to your dad about something important today anyway.”
“Is it about me?”
“Could be. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.”
Lexa smiled and kissed him. “I need more sleep.”
“I’ll lay here and hold you until you’re resting. Then I’ll go talk to your father.”
“I love you so much William” He took in her scent again “I love you too” William said softly. He ran his fingers slowly all over Lexa to help her relax. When she did fall asleep he lingered by her side for awhile longer then got up so he could talk to her father. William went downstairs and asked “Jethro, could I talk to you outside?”
“Of course you can” They walked out then William said “I would really like to buy Lexa a ring if the offer still stands” Jethro smiled, obviously thrilled he had asked. “Of course! Lets go now while she’s getting over her hangover. We can grab some lunch after we’re done if it takes us a long time”
“Let me just go kiss my wife bye” William smiled then nodded. When Jethro returned they got in the car and left “we also need to get Lexas car from the pub. We’ll stop by there on the way back. You can go get the keys and drive it home”
“Sounds good” They pulled up to Kays then got out. “don’t settle and I can have anything changed. For example if you see a ring you’d like for her but you think it would look better with somthing added or a different color stone I will change it. No price is too high. I honestly have more money than I could spend so you ahve no limit on this ring. I also refuse you paying me back. I only tolerate my daughter not letting me take care of her because it would upset her if I didn’t”
“Yes sir, thank you so much for this”
“Thank you for loving my little girl so much” They looked around for a few hours but William couldn’t find anything he liked “Do you want to try Zales?”
“anywhere, nothing jumps out at me in this store”
“Zales it is then” They got back in the car and headed to the mall since that was the only Zales in town. William studied ring by ring until he was holding one that he coudl imagine her loving “could you engrave a wolf on one side and a lion on the other?”
“Of course, any other changes?”
“On the inside I want it to say my hearts forever yours, wrapped around your finger like this band” Jethro smiled amused “that is absolutely adorable. Look at the big bad wolf being all sweet” William smiled as a blush appeared “I really love your daughter”
“I knwo you do, that’s why I wanted to buy you a ring so you could marry her and be as happy as I am with my wife. The smartest thing I ever did was ask Annalise out and then to marry me. My life wouldn’t be as wonderful as it is without her. She’s braved many storms with me and has been there to make the happy days a dream. I wish only the best for you and my Lexa. She wil be a good wife”
“I’ll try to deserve her Jethro”
“You already do, she tells me so much about you. You seem very loving and devoted to her”
Clarice was glad Jarvis wasn’t in her room when she came out of the bathroom wrapped in just her towel. In her haste to get away from him, she had completely forgotten clothes. She pulled a pair of shorts out of her chest of drawers and a long sleeve shirt out of her closet. She dropped her towel and pulled them quickly on. Since it was her day off she saw no reason to get dressed. She heard footsteps and turned around as Jarvis entered her room.
“Oh good, you managed on your own.” He said with a warm smile.
“On my own?”
“Getting your clothes. You forgot them and then I heard you walking around so I figured I’d make sure you were okay getting them by yourself.”
“Oh, yes. Thank you. I feel better now, so you can go get your kitty of you want. I’d like to see him. I bet he’s cute.”
“I guess. Just imagine me, but a fluffy white cat.” She laughed and he smiled. “Just relax okay, I’ll be back as quickly as I can.”
Lexa woke feeling a lot better. She stretched and got out of bed, deciding to take a shower before William got back. She grabbed her favorite skirt, the one William called her gypsy skirt, and a tank top then headed into the bathroom. She showered quickly, dried and dressed then brushed her hair up into a messy bun. She went downstairs where Reagan was sitting on the couch looking depressed.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, making him jump.
“Holy shit Lexa, you scared me.” He ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up. “Nothing is wrong.”
“Don’t bull shit me bro, tell me what’s up or I’ll put you in a headlock.” He gave her a small smile and she sat down next to him. “Come on, tell me. You could always tell me anything.”
“Do you hate me?” He asked and she looked at him confused. “Your friend told me that I was a waste of time. Is that how you see me?”
“Of course not, but you have been so mean to everyone especially me. We used to be so close and I feel like I did something wrong.”
“You are the best sister a brother could ask for.”
“Then why do you always treat me so bad?”
“Because I feel like I’ve already ruined my chances at being someone dad can be proud of so I guess I just decided it wasn’t worth being nice. Then that artist tells me I’m a waste of time and it really hit me that I’m a piece of shit.”
“Reagan, we love you no matter what and we always will. You are still my hero, you are still the one I want to call when I need answers. I want us to be like we were back when we were kids. I hate that we fight all the time and that you fight with dad all the time. It used to make me cry because I thought you hated me.”
Reagan embraced her tightly. “You just are so together and I’ve always been trouble. I’ve been snotty since I was born but you have always been kind. You never bragged about who our father was or used it to get somthing. Everybody that ever meets you loves you and they hate me. I deserve it because I’m a jerk but still…” Lexa kissed his cheek “we can work on it. There’s an amazing man hiding inside of you. I used to see him all the time growing up. Why don’t you come move in with William and I for awhile and I can help guide you into being a better person. After that you could come home and work on your relationship with our father.”
“Yeah…the old man cant stand me”
“That’s not true Reagan. You just frustrate him with that mouth and how you treat others” They let go of eachohter “Will William let me stay so you can give me a swat every time I’m an ass. I’ve just gone so much that I’m not even sure how to be a good person any longer.”
“William will allow anything that makes me happy Reagan”
“I love you so much Lexa”
“I love you too Reagan, I’m glad I walked in on you like this”
“Me too” He said fighting back tears ‘it’s ok to cry Reagan”
“I’m a man, I don’t cry”
“Dad is the toughest man we know and you’ve seen him cry”
“No I ahvent, he’s never cried”
“You don’t remember when we were in preschool. I’m not sure what dad did but mom kicked him out of their room and told him to sleep on the couch. He cried both nights and those days where she wasn’t speaking to him.”
“I totaly forgot about that, It was the only fight I ever saw them have” Lexa shrugged “it was so long ago I doubt they even know any longer. Men cry unless they aren’t secure in themselves. Are you too chicken to show your emotions Reagan?” Reagan smiled and a tear trailed down “no”
“good” They talked about lighter things until Jethro returned with William who quickly stuffed somthing into his pocket. Lexa knew why they went out was somthign secret so she left it alone. Lexa hugged William then Jethro before saying “Reagan is coming to stay with me for awhile. He wants to be a better person and he wants to be around me so I can help him go back to the person he was before he became an ass.” Jethro looked shocked then hugged Reagan “I’m glad son, this day seems to be full of nothing but great news. When will you come back?”
“I’m not sure when I’ll move back to my apartment but when I get back I hope we can do stuff together like we did when I was younger”
“Of course we can Reagan” A few more tears slid down Reagans cheeks as he embraced his father. “How do you feel William?”
“If that will make you happy it’s fine with me. You will not treat your sister poorly in my house though Reagan. I will not tolerate it atall so you better stick to being a better person” Reagan nodded then William shocked him by also wrapping his arms around him for a hug. That broek Reagan competely. He just sat there sobbing as they now wrapped him in a group hug.
Jarvis stopped when he walked in the door and just stood there wondering what was going on. “Is everyone okay?” He asked and they all looked up. “Reagan are you crying?” Reagan nodded. “I didn’t realize being beat up by an artist was that bad.” Reagan laughed through his tears and wiped his face.
“You hit hard, that’s for sure. I didn’t expect a scrawny guy like you to have so much strength.” Reagan joked back.
“How would you know if I’m scrawny or not? Have you been watching be undress? Pervert.”
Everyone laughed then Jarvis called for Yowie who came running down the stairs, leaping into his companion’s arms. “I have someone special for you to meet.” He said as he scratched Yowie behind the ear.
“How is Clarice feeling?” Lexa asked.
“Alright. She had quite a headache this morning. How about you?”
“The same. Thanks for getting rid of that guy last night. You really shocked me with that spurt of rage.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I just felt so angry with the way he was touching Clarice and then he pushed you over. It was surprising to me too. I haven’t been that mad in a long time. I hope it doesn’t change your impression of me.”
“Of course it doesn’t. You are still the same.” He smiled happily.
“I’m going to go back over to Clarice’s. She wants to meet this big ball of fuzz.”
They told him bye and Jarvis hurried out of the house. He was so excited to get back to Clarice. He loved spending so much time with her. He felt bad thinking about the fact he had not loved his ex as much as he should. He had done everything to make their relationship work, but in the end his best had not been good enough. She had wanted more, but he had had work to do. He had to pay Lexa back. He had told her that many times and the fact that he was paying more attention to his closest friend and that she was female had made things worse. He had not even felt bad when she had left him. It would kill him if Clarice never wanted to see him again. Just thinking about it made his heart hurt. He planned on asking her to come back with him. He loved living in Nurlice and didn’t want to leave. He knew she would love it too and he was sure he could convince her to go back with him.
When Jarvis got to Clarice’s home he knocked lightly so it would hurt her head as little as possible. She answered with Maisy close behind. Clarice smiled when she saw Yowie. “He is a cutie” Jarvis smiled as she moved to let him walk in. Jarvis sat his cat down to see how he interacted with Maisy. The cats started smelling eachother then nuzzled heads which made Clarice giggle softly. It was enough to make Jarvis’s heart stutter. Maisy and Yowie ran off and into another room. “She’s showing Yowie her room.”
“She has a room?”
“Yep, she has a little kitty bed and all her toys in there. He’ll love it. I know most people don’t give their animal partners their own room but I love Maisy very much. Would you like to see her room?”
“I’d love that” She guided him to where the cats ran off. He looked around, surprised at just how much was in here.”
“wow, when you said she had a room full of toys you were serious. That is so cool you’ve made stuff for her to climb. I didn’t think about that. Where are they anyway?” Clarice pointed to a corner of the wall that had a little house. “She goes in there a lot. I can almost guarantee you they are in there”
“That is amazing, how did you build all this?”
“My cousin Geoff did all this when I was in the hospital. Apparently while I was under the influence of a bunch of pain killers I was going on and on about how much Maisy would love if she could walk around the ceiling of her room and just how I’d imagine it looking. I have always been close to him and he decided to do this just because he loves me. He even refused to let me pay him back for the materials and his time. It was just something kind since I had been through so much.”
“why were you in the hospital if it’s not too much to ask.”
“My house got broken into while I was home. I had stayed home sick from work so I’m guessing the burglar thought I’d be away when he broke in. I’m just glad Maisy was out wandering around so she didn’t get hurt too. One of my neighbors heard me struggling with the man and called the cops. Maisy was so depressed after that. She felt bad she wasn’t here to help me. Geoff doing this went a long way to making her feel better.” Jarvis couldn’t resist hugging Clarice “I’m so sorry” He said sounding genuinely sad which shocked her. “don’t be sad. I lived and I don’t let my life be controlled by fear. I was a bit nervous being alone at first but my cousin stayed with me until I was confident to be alone again. Would you like to meet him?”
“When? He lives about ten minuets away”
“When you feel better, how’s your head?”
“Much better, I just barely have a headache but the asprin I took should be working any moment. I can give him a call if you really want to meet him and aren’t just saying that.”
“I want to know everybody and everything that is important to you”
Jarvis sat patiently waiting as Clarice called her cousin. He watched her pacing around the living room, studying her. She noticed him looking at her and blushed. Her skin grew even hotter when he didn’t look away. She swallowed and hung up. “Do you always stare at people like that?” She asked, breaking his concentration.
“Sorry, yes I do it frequently. Just ask Lexa and William. When I want to draw something and I don’t have my sketchbook, I stare so I can remember.” He answered with a smile.
“You want to draw me?” He nodded and she pulled one of her sketchbooks off of her bookshelf. She found him a pencil and handed them to him. “Where do you want me?”
“On the coffee table.” She sat down, feeling a bit nervous. “We don’t have to do this. I can draw you by memory.”
“What if you forget something?”
“Your image has been forever burned into my mind. Every line, every shadow will be there for the rest of my life. There is nothing in the world that could make me forget your face.”
“You make me feel so relaxed. There is no way I can refuse you when you talk like that.” He flipped the sketchbook open and started drawing. Every now and then he would glance up at her and she would smile.
William wanted to get Lexa by herself, but he couldn’t bring himself to take her away from her family, especially now that she had repaired the relationship with her brother. “You okay William?” Jethro asked and he nodded. “Are you going to ask her?” He said quieter.
“Maybe later. I don’t want to take her away, she looks so happy. Her happiness comes first, even if I have to wait the rest of my life.”
“Pulling you out of that fire was the best thing I ever did.”
“I disagree sir. To me, fathering Lexa was the best thing you ever did. If you had not, I would still be living alone in the woods. I would have never saved her, I would have never fallen in love with someone who isn’t scared of the wild animal in my heart and soul. I can never thank you or Annalise enough.”
“Hey you two, are you talking about me?” Lexa asked.
“Now why would we do that when there are so many other interesting things to occupy our time with?” Jethro said and she started laughing.
“I love you guys.”
“we love you too” Jethro said with a grin. When she walked outside with Reagan and Annalise Jethro asked “when are you going to? I’m really excited.”
“Probably this evening after dinner. That is if there’s a time when she isn’t having fun.”
“We are far too awesome for that to happen son. Just ask her, you will thrill Annalise too and I want to see a good smile on that beautiful face.” William smiled “Part of me wondered if Lexa just imagined you and your wife to be this perfect and happy couple but you two really do seem very happy together.”
“I love Annalise very deeply, I fell in love with her the moment our eyes met. I’ve only made one major screw up in our marriage and it has never and will never happen again. Lexa gets her kind and forgiving nature from her mother. She’s an absolutely amazing woman and I’m glad our daughter ended up just like her.”
“she has your brains and leadership skills too” Jethro smiled “that she does. I knew from the time she was little that she could be anything she wanted. If she ever develops an interest in the firm she could run it well but I dont see her ever really wanting to work there. That line of work is too uptight for my little girl.”
“Since Reagan is going to improve the type of person he is why not let him run it?”
“I will have to see the evidence of his change first. I can’t just go on my sons word. I will though if he does get better since he wants the job and Lexa would only do it because it would be her duty. We will cross that bridge if my son meets me there. I really hope he turns his life around. If anybody can get him straight it’s Lexa”
“He wont be an ass very often in my home. I don’t care what relation you are to Lexa, you will not disrespect her in my home”
“even you but you would never be mean to your daughter” Jethro smiled, amused. Jarvis looked up at Clarice again and she giggled “you don’t really need to look at me do you?”
“No, but I like to. I have you perfectly memorized but the actual sight of you is much more amazing” He responded softly as he continued to draw. “the girls must go crazy over you where you live.”
“You’re so sweet though.”
“I don’t talk like this to every girl I meet. Is that what you think? That I’m saying empty words?” Jarvis stopped drawing and looked into her eyes. They seemed a little worried. “No, I mean..I’m sure you flirt though…you just seem so smooth” He set the sketch book and pencil down then began to kiss her again. “I mean what I’m saying to you. I tell women they are pretty when I think so, I wont deny that but I wouldn’t take care of just any woman like I took care of you last night. I wouldn’t want the picture of you seared into my memory if you were just any woman. One thing you can even ask Lexa is I’m a very mild tempered man. I don’t get upset easily so the fact that I was so intensly angry at that man for grabbing you also shows that you aren’t just any girl. You inspire a passion in me Clarice. You are already very important to me. In fact…I love you…I was planning to wait a little longer to say so but I do love you Clarice”
Not ready for her answer yet he locked their lips again. He felt her face grow feverish in temperature. When he was ready to hear what she was going to say he moved back and looked into her eyes again. Carice was in shock but was fighting to say somthing to Jarvis since eh seemed to now be needing a response. “I’m glad you mean what you say Jarvis. I love you too but how would we work out. You live really far away…”
“You could move in with me. There’s a law firm there so you could keep your line of work. it wont be as impressive as Jethros company but you will still get to defend people.”
“You’d want me to move in with you?”
“Of course, I love you and I know you’d love Nurlice. Maisy will too. I ahve a really big house. It’s bigger than yours. We can give Maisy and even bigger room than she has now. I’ll work really hard so you can buy her more cool toys. I’ll do anything that will convince you to come back to Nurlice with me Clarice.”
She just swallowed and he continued talking. “Do you want me to beg? Because I’ll beg. Do you want me to ask you to marry me? Because I will buy you a ring right now.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, crawling into his lap in her excitement. He held her tightly to him as his lips moved hungrily against hers. There was a knocking on the front door and she pulled back, both of them were breathless and flushed.
“Shit.” She said and he cracked a smile.
“You better answer that.”
“I don’t want to.” She kissed him again.
“He came all this way, so go answer the door.”
“Fine.” She pouted and he laughed as she got up and went to the front door. She tugged it open and her cousin hugged her. “Come on, I want you to meet Jarvis.”
“Ah yes, the man who took care of my little cousin when she was stumbling drunk.” He walked in and Jarvis stood as he extended his hand. He took it and they shook. “I’m Geoff, thank you for keeping her safe. I never knew you had such a wild side Clarice.”
“I was more than happy to make sure she was okay.” Jarvis replied.
“I don’t have a wild side Geoff. My boss’s daughter wanted to hang out so we went drinking.” Geoff hugged her again and she blushed.
“It’s okay to let your hair down every now and then. You’ve always been so serious, it’s about time someone broke through that tough exterior.” He turned back to Jarvis. “She wasn’t always hard headed, I remember one time when she had a crush on this guy and she was so damn shy and blushing. Then one day she just decided to get ahead in life she’d have to bitch slap every man that came her way.”
“She has been nothing but sweet since I met her.”
“You must be special then.” Clarice covered his mouth with her hand and he started laughing.
“Would you like to have dinner with us tonight?” Jarvis asked.
“I would love to, but I can’t. I have to take Chaza to the vet. She’s been kind of sick lately.”
“Alright, maybe next time.”
“For sure. It was very nice to meet you.”
“It was nice to meet you. Thanks for coming here to meet me”
“When Clarice called me to introduce me to a man I had to come. I didn’t know if she still knew they were for anything else but working with. Like I said, she got law on the brain and started turning down any guy that tried. If I have time tomorrow could all three of us do somthing together? I’ll bring some old pictures of Clarice.”
“No you wont” She interupted making both men laugh. Jarvis put a hand on Geoffs shoulder “yes you will, please call me if you get time. I’ll put my number in your phone if you have a cell.” Geoff handed the phone over and Clarice covered her face “This was a mistake” Geoff hugged his cousin “this is wonderful, you looked adorable as a kid.” Jarvis handed Geoffs phone back then said “Please come if you can”
“I will, you be good to my cousin” Geoff quickly left and Jarvis pulled Clarice into his arms “so if I’m special I guess I don’t have to beg you to come home with me. I will still see about a ring so I can marry you. Any preferneces?”
“You dont have to marry me”
“Thank you for letting me know, I will still marry you anyway as long as you would want that with me.” Clarice kissed Jarvis again and he smiled against her lips. When she puled back she asked “how long until you need to return to Nurlice?”
“Lexa and William will be leaving in the next three days. I would rather travel home with them since their partners are much stronger than ours. I’ll know we will get there safely that way. Is three days too soon? We can wait a bit longer if it’s needed.”
“How will we move my stuff?”
“Jethro is a warm hearted man. He would pay for it to be delivered. I’ll just pay him back for that aswell. I’ve paid off most of what I already owe anyway.”
“Then I’ll be ready when your friends are ready”
“Lexa is already your friend too. William is your friend by default, if your friends with his girlfriend he is friends with you. I want to warn you I do have to work often because I owe Lexa and her father money. I promise I wont neglect you. In fact I will probably end up neglecting my work because of you but maybe it can be solved if you would let me sell works of you. I coudl spend time with you and pay off my debt if you wouldn’t mind. The world should see that sweet face anyway.”
“No one would buy paintings of me.”
“Sure they would and of they don’t then I will gladly keep them for myself. What do I have to do to show you how beautiful you are?” He grabbed her chin and tipped her head back. “Would you like me to kiss you again?” She nodded and he brushed his lips gently over hers. She moaned and quickly covered her mouth. Her cheeks turned a bright red and he chuckled at her embarrassment. “Have you never been kissed by someone other than me?”
“Of course I have! I’ve even had sex, but no one has ever made me feel like that from just a kiss. How do you do that?” He shrugged. “How are women not throwing themselves at you like you’re the greatest thing since soda?”
“I have never felt this way about other women, only you fill me with such passion. My kisses are simply reflecting how I feel about you. I have never wanted another woman the way I want you. I crave you Clarice, I love and need you more than anything. I want to take my time and make sure you enjoy everything I do. Whether it be kissing you or making love to you. I want you to remember every detail. I want the simple brush of my fingers to set you on fire.” She actually gasped, her heart thundering loudly in her chest.
“You talking like that should be outlawed. It’s absolutely unfair in every way.” She managed to say, her voice coming out in a whisper.
“I mean every word. I want your body and your heart to be mine and mine alone.”
“Same to you.”
“They already are. I don’t want anyone else.”
“Neither do I. You make me very happy and nervous and excited. You make me feel everything at once. It’s so terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I love everything about you, especially the way you look at me. Never stop looking at me like that.”
William waited until Lexa finished chopping vegetables for Annalise and called everyone into the living room. He wanted everyone to see how he felt about her. “Is everything okay?” She asked and he nodded as he pulled her to the center of the room. He pulled the box out of his pocket and took a deep breath before dropping down on one knee. She covered her mouth and teared up even before he opened the box or started speaking.
“I guess I don’t really have to say anything do I?” He smiled up at her as he took the ring out of the box. She held up her hand and he slipped the ring onto her third finger. “So that’s a yes then?” She nodded and he stood to pull her into a hug as she cried. “Please don’t cry baby. I know they’re tears of happiness, but I can’t take them.” She pulled back and locked their lips, pouring all of her love into her kiss.
“It’s about time.” She finally said and he hugged her tightly. Everyone jumped up and wrapped them in a hug. “I can’t wait to tell Jarvis and Clarice.”
“why don’t I give them a call?” Jethro offered then Lexa answered “Lets give them one more night alone. We can call them tomorrow.” Jethro smiled “I’m losing a good lawyer aren’t I?” Lexa let out a small laugh “I think you are, could you call Pellington and Welsh’s law firm to get her a job.”
“Of course I can, she has been doing amazing at my firm. I only wish there was more than one law firm out there. That one is fine but she has the skill to be at a much better firm.”
“I dont think it’s going to matter to her daddy” Lexa said and Jethro nodded “No, I dont think it will. Let me give those to knuckle heads a call and get her set up with a job if she chooses to follow Jarvis. Over dinner I expect to talk about how we will celebrate this engagement tomorrow. I want a full day of nothing but rejoicing. When night comes you two better start working on some grandbabies. Your mother has been dieing for atleast one. She gave you life, you owe her Lexa” Jethro said with a smile while Lexa and Annalise laughed. “Fathers aren’t supposed to promote their daughters having sex before they are actually married dad” Reagan said teasing. “Oh please, she’s been having sex since she was a teenager. It’s about time we got some adorable little ones to look at as a result”
Jethro ran to find his phone and turn it on. He was keeping it on silent and in his room unless he needed it so work couldn’t pull him away. William lifted Lexas hand and kissed her ring before taking it off “what’re you doing?” Lexa asked “I want you to read what’s written inside.” She read it and smiled, a few more tears dripping out of her eyes. He slid it back on and kissed her head. Annalise returend to the kitchen to complete dinner. Reagan followed knowing his sister had forgotten all about cooking with their mom.
William and Lexa stood there holdign eachother tightly until Jethro came down. “She has a job when she wants it. They were excited to be getting one of my lawyers.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” They walked into the kitchen and everybody chatted about tomorrow while the meal was being completed. The conversation kept going as they ate and long after. There were so many ideas flying about how they could celebrate. Lexas mom kept tearing up every now and then. Eventually all got tired and went to their rooms for the night.
Jarvis and Clarice relaxed on the couch and watched a movie. She had made him chicken alfredo which she had seemed particularly bothered by because it was pretty much all she had. She had not been grocery shopping in awhile since her work schedule had been hectic. He had tried his best to reassure her that anything she made would make him happy. He had his head resting in her lap and was staring up at her, admiring her beautiful face. He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her down to kiss him. She moaned and he sat up, pushing her down onto the couch.
“I want to hear more of that sound.” He whispered in her ear then nipped at her ear lobe. He slid his hands under her shirt, his touch feather light as he undressed her. “You are so beautiful.” She turned red from head to toe as she lay there naked before him. He pulled off his own clothes, tossing them on the floor with hers. He pulled her up as he sat back, settling her on his lap. His lips found hers in a gentle kiss as he pushed slowly into her. She orgasmed instantly, her head thrown back as a loud cry was torn from her throat. She closed her eyes, her fingers holding tightly to his shoulders as she rode him. He kissed her neck, sucking and nibbling his way down to her shoulder. “I love you.” He whispered as he ejaculated. His lips found hers as she orgasmed again, catching her cry. She lay limply against him, panting as she tried to catch her breath.
“That was amazing.” She managed to say and he kissed her shoulder with a smile.
“Yes, you were very good.”
She laughed and raised her head. “I was talking about you.” He brushed his nose against hers and she felt herself melting all over again. He was tender and so sincere that it nearly moved her to tears.
“I will never get enough of you. I hope me being absolutely voracious for you is okay.”
“It’s more than okay. I feel the same way.” She yawned and he shifted her on his lap so he was cradling her. He carried her to bed, laying her gently down and then checking that everything was locked and turned off. He went back to her, crawling under the covers and pulling her into his arms.
“Sleep now my love.” He said softly as he stroked his fingers up and down her arm. “Sleep and dream only of me.” He kissed her forehead and she allowed herself to slowly drift off, feeling safe on his arms. Jarvis closed his eyes, falling asleep and counting on Yowie to alert him to any burglars. He would not let another man harm Clarice for as long they lived.
Jarvis woke to the sound of his cellphone ringing. He wanted to ignore it but thought it might be her cousin Geoff wanting to show him childhood pictures. Jarvis tried to carefully get out of bed but she stirred anyway. He sighed sadly “I really didn’t want to wake you”
“It’s fine” at this point his cell quit ringing but soon started up again. He kissed her head then went in the living room to grab it. He saw it was Jethro and quickly answered “yes sir?” Jethro told Jarvis about Williams proposal and that they would be over in about an hour to pick them up so they could all celebrate. Jarvis hung up then pulled on his clothes from the previous day. Once he was fully clothed he returned to Clarices bedroom “aw, I was enjoying your naked body” Clarice said with a smile making his heart flip. “William proposed to Clarice and they want us to celebrate with everybody. You get dressed and I’ll make us some scrambled eggs with toast.
Clarice sighed knowing that was really his only option when it came to food. “Do you honestly think as an artist my houseis fully stocked with food? My house is also pretty messy so stop worrying so much. I love you and I couldn’t care less what is in or not here. It wont matter soon because you wont live here. Do you own or rent this?”
“I have been working on owning it so I guess I will have to work on selling it”
“Maybe Jethro knows sombody who will help.”
“Jethro has conections with everything. Only his competition and people who have lost to his clients hate him. I have no worries” Jarvis couldn’t resist walking back in to kiss Clarice before heading to the kitchen. Clarice pulled out a light blue sundress then found her matching bra and panties. She pulled it all on then sprayed a small amount of perfume on herself. Once that was done she brushed her hair and decided to actually wear it down today. It was always in a bun or a ponytail but Jarvis and Lexa made her have second thoughts about that choice.
When Clarice came into his view he forgot all about the eggs he was preparing and stared at her. She giggled “you’ll burn the eggs” He jerked his head back to the eggs “sorry, it’s your fault for being a real life painting. You are perfect Clarice.” She smiled as her heart sang. She opened a cabinet and pulled out a bag of cat food then went to Maisys room. She filled her bowl then grabbed the water dish to switch out her water. By the time that was done Jarvis had the food on the table.
William laced his fingers through Lexa’s as she drove to Clarice’s. Jethro followed behind with Annalise, Reagan, and the animals since he had a truck. He brought her fingers to his lips and gave them a gentle kiss that made her smile. “Are you happy?” She asked and he nodded enthusiastically. Nothing could make him happier than having her.
“Everyone will know you are mine.” He answered.
“You make a pretty good point of telling everyone that anyway.”
“You get all raised hackles with growls and snapping teeth anytime another man comes near me. The only ones you tolerate are Jarvis, my brother, and my dad. What are you going to do when you meet my other male friends?” She smiled at him and he frowned.
“Am I really that bad?”
“I was just teasing you. It’s okay because you try. You fight with your nature to make me happy.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “I love you William, even when you’re jealous.” His smile returned and she went back to paying attention to the road. When they arrived at Clarice’s, Jarvis was already ushering her out the front door along with their cats. He smiled and waved at them then pulled the back door open and let Clarice get in. He went around to the other side and slid in behind William.
“How was your day yesterday?” Lexa asked and Clarice blushed a bright red. “Oh, it was that kind of night. I see.” Jarvis grabbed Clarice’s hand and smiled at her. He was used to Lexa’s teasing.
“Congratulations to you two. I would like to do a portrait of you two as a gift if you don’t mind.” Jarvis said.
“We would love that. So Lexa, have you decided what you want to do? Are you coming to live with us freaks?”
Clarice laughed. “I would love nothing more than to live on Nurlice. I’ll be moving in with Jarvis. I wanted to ask your father to have my things packed and delivered for me so I can go back with you guys when you leave.”
“How exciting. I’m so happy I get to have a drinking buddy.”
“Oh no, never again.” Clarice replied and Lexa laughed.
“Don’t worry, I’m just messing with you.”
They soon drove up to a giant dome. “oh you’re joking, Maisy will be so upset.” Lexa giggled “Toby is uptight too at first but he really enjoys this place once he loosens. There’s a play room for smaller animals who can’t enjoy animal portion of the park if you two would like to drop Maisy and Yowie off.”
“What is this?” William asked since you couldn’t see inside the dome. He thought it was odd that this was the only building snow wasn’t building on. “It’s an indoor water park.”
“It’s freaking huge!”
“Yep, the biggest one there is. They have a whole section of the park where our animals can play. Dad is going to buy us all swim suits.” Lexa turned then continued “ready to show off that body for Jarvis? Oh wait, you’ve done that already” Clarice was blushing and and Jarvis hugged her “she loves to tease, dont be embaressed.” Clarice smiled at him “atleast inside the dome it’s incredibly warm.” They all got out and went inside. It threw William off just how warm it was when they entered. Jarvis had been to one of these so he wasn’t as taken back. When Jethro came in he paid then a woman escorted Jarvis and Maisy to where their cats could play. Jethro told them to meet him at the shop when their cats were situated.
Maisy and Yowie instantly ran off without looking back when they were set down. Clarice smiled “Well atleast they are happy to play here.” Jarvis nodded then the woman guided them to the shop. William, Reagan and Jethro had already selected suits but Anaalise and Lexa were still looking. Jarvis just grabbed a blue and black set of swim trunks which Jethro bought while the girls still thumbed through. Annalise finally grabbed one and showed Jethro who smiled and nodded. Now they were just waiting on Lexa and Clarice. A male worked tapped on Jethros shoulder and asked if it were ok if he went ahead and escorted the animals to the animal part of the park for them. Jethro said yes and the worked guided the animals away.
“I hope Tobys doesn’t freeze that side of the park again” Reagan teased his sister. “He’s a lot better behaved.” Jethro chuckled “It’ll be fine if he does. I’ll take care of it like the last time” Clarice and Lexa found swimsuits at almost the same moment then showed William and Jarvis who agreed it would look cute on them. Jethro paid for those aswell then everybody went into the bathrooms to change. Clarice was a little nervous even though Jarvis had seen her naked already but she couldn’t have stalled if she wanted to. As soon as Clarice was out of her changing room Lexa grabbed her hand and pulled her out to meet the rest of the family.
Both William and Jarvis stared opened mouth at Lexa and Clarice, the latter blushing furiously. “Do I look good?” She asked and Jarvis nodded with a big grin.
“Look, you make him speechless. That’s a good thing.” Lexa let her go and jumped into William’s arms. He spun her around and she laughed, happy to be with him. He lowered her to her feet and they walked hand in hand to the pool.
Clarice looked at her feet when she noticed other men looking at her. She always wore knee length skirts and nice blouses so it was a little awkward. Jarvis draped his arm over her shoulders and pulled her closer to him. “You look so beautiful.” He whispered in her ear and her cheeks brightened again.
“Thank you. Lexa seems so confident. I mean she’s not even worried about the other men.”
“She grew up the wild child. Spend more time with her and you will be more open too. She has a way of breaking through people’s shells.” He kissed her cheek. “She could always take you to get a tattoo.” He joked.
“She has a tattoo?”
Jarvis turned his attention to Lexa. “Hey Lexa, show Carice your tattoo.” He said and she stopped walking. She held onto William’s shoulder and lifted up her leg so Clarice could see her inner thigh.
“Didn’t that hurt?” Clarice asked.
“Not at all. William has one too, a lot bigger than mine.” She lifted William’s arm so Clarice could see the wolf.
“Wow, it’s beautiful.”
Once they were at the pool Lexa said she wanted to jump from the high dive. She ran for the ladder with William in tow. Clarice shook her head and Jarvis took her down into the water with Jethro, Annalise, and Reagan. They watched as Lexa and William climbed up to the highest dove spot. Clarice couldn’t believe his brave they were. Lexa waved, smiled then dove off. She hit the water, sliding easily under and then kicking her way to the surface and moving so William could jump too.
After about an hour Clarice finally loosened up and began having a great time. They all laughed and messed around in the wave pool then relaxed in the lazy river. After lunch Lexa wanted to ride the slides. Jethro and Annalise didn’t feel up to it so went to the lazy river again while Jarvis, Clarice, William and Lexa went to the slides. Jarvis wanted to do the couple slide first since Clarice had never gone to water park. He wanted to be holding her for her first time. William was very happy with that idea so he would have a reason to hold Lexa. They went down the couple slide a few times then went over to try the biggest slide in the park.
They went down slide after slide having an amazing time until dinner time rolled around. They found Lexas parents then went to change back into their normal clothes. Jethro had a worker go gather the animals while they changed. Maisy and Yowie returned first seeming to have had a good day themselves. It took much longer for anybody to come with Toby, Vesper, Willow, Ruuka, Arashi and Fontaine but they knew their partners were probably hard to wrangle. William suggested he go help but Jethro shook his head “They will get them. If they need us they will come for our help”
Not long after the words left his lips a few men were walking with the animals in toe. “Lets drop all the animals off at home and find a nice place to eat dinner. I’m paying and I will have no back talk from any of you, understand?” They all nodded with huge smiles then walked out to take the animals home. Every one of them were tired from all the playing so didn’t mind just being dropped off with the promise of food being on the way. Jethro called and orderd somthing for the pets, paying with his credit card and planning on leaving his door unlocked. He wasn’t afriad of robbers with two wolves and a lion in their home.
They went to a steak house, the smell of meat instantly catching William’s attention. Lexa laughed and everyone looked at them confused. “Down boy.” Lexa said in a teasing tone and William leaned in and gave her earlobe a soft nip. She was instantly covered in goosebumps and glared at his smiling face.
“That’s what you get for treating me like a dog.” He said softly.
“Don’t think I won’t get back at you for that.”
“I’m looking forward to your so called revenge.”
Their openness made Clarice blush again. “Get used to it because they talk like that all the time. William spent years alone in the woods, only having lovers every once in awhile and Lexa doesn’t have a modest bone in her body.” Jarvis said.
They were quickly seated and ordered what they wanted. Jarvis’s phone vibrated and he pulled it out, cracking a smile at the picture sent to him by Geoff. He tapped on Clarice’s shoulder and she turned a deep crimson. “Oh no, that asshole.” She said and covered her face.
“What’s wrong?” Lexa asked and Jarvis handed her the phone. “Oh my god you were so cute.” It was a picture of her naked in the tub with a plastic bucket on her head. William did his best not to laugh as Lexa handed the phone back to Jarvis.
“I can’t believe he sent you that one of all the pictures he could have sent. I curse the day his mother put those phot albums together.”
“I’m sure any children we have will be equally as cute.” Jarvis said and she looked up at him.
“You want kids?”
“Is that okay?”
“Yes, I’ve always wanted children. I love children.” That made him smile and he kissed her just as their food arrived.
Jarvis was happy to hear she wanted children with him. He wanted everything with her. She was the first woman to ever make him think of a future. Before her his art always came first but in the short time since he met her she had already become the most important thing to him. He knew he could work less and be fine. Jethro wasnt in any hurry to be paid back and was impressed that he had paid back so much of his debt already. Jarvis didn;t know why that impressed Jethro though with how often he sent his rich friends to browse the paintings. Over dinner they discussed with Jethro what to do with Clarice’s home. He said he would take care of it and would call when he had done somthing with it. After that the conversation was filled with wedding plans. Lexa and William were beaming as they discussed it. It made Jarvis want to buy a ring right now but he decided to wait until after William and Lexas wedding so that he wouldn’t take away from their special day.
The last few days there flew by with every heart in the house aglow. Jethro arranged for a carriage to take Clarices stuff with them the day they left. Jethro insisted that it was on his dime and eventually wore Jarvis down into accepting the help for free. “You and my daughter are the only people I’ve ever had to fight to do a favor for” Jethro said shaking his head. Jarvis smiled “I just like to do things on my own just as Lexa does. I do appreciate all you’ve done for me. You and Lexa are so generous.”
“Well, when you have money like I do it’s only right you help others. The world would be a much nicer place if people would look out for one another. Money isn’t meant to be selfishly hoarded in my opinion. When it was time to go they all exchanged tear filled hugs. Jethro told Clarice to go to the law firm in Nurlice next weekend and they would get her set up and going. “They wont be able to pay you as much as I have but I didn’t think you’d mind. It’s a small firm since there isn’t much crime in Nurlice”
“I’m fine with it, I only need Jarvis” Jethro smiled “I love you all! Take care of Lexa and Reagan!”
“I dont need taking care of dad” Regan said with mock anger. Everybody laughed then set off to go home. Jethro was fighting back tears like he had the first time Lexa went home. As soon as they were out of sight Annalise wrapped her husband in a hug and let him cry. Annalise wished his children could comprehend how much their father loved them.
~ The End ~