AJ made love to Emily for a few more hours before he was done showing her just how much she loved her. They lay in each others arms for awhile before it dawned on Emily just what had happened.
“AJ…could we….” She started, sitting up.
“Talk?” he asked.
“Of course. I don’t really know where to start. I think we both know what happened before. We stopped communicating. Things got awkward and instead of talking about it with each other, we ran away from our own demons.”
Emily nodded. “You’re right. I know I kept giving you excuse after excuse to push you away and I never should have done that. I thought I needed to be alone to work things out but I was so wrong about that.”
“How can I help you?” he asked softly.
“I need closure.” She said. “I need to move on with my life and it’s what I’ve struggled with the most. How do you make closure with losing a child? You can’t just shut out the memories. He was my child!”
“Being at peace with it doesn’t mean losing the memories. It just means you’re at peace with what happened. That you’re ready to lay it to rest and move on. It means you have to confront all of those feelings that you’ve been trying so hard to hide from. It’s going to hurt Emily, but it has to so it can get better. I drank to run away from my pain. Look where that got me.”
“I’m scared, AJ.” She whispered.
“Of what?” he asked, looking into her eyes.
“That it won’t stop hurting. It’s easier to pretend than to deal with that.”
AJ felt his heart melt and he pulled her into his arms.
“It always gets better, Em. There’s always a happy ending out there somewhere, you just have to let yourself find it.”
Emily nodded. “Will you help me?”
“I’ll be there every step of the way.” He promised.
“I think maybe we should set up some ground rules for our relationship.” She said.
“Well, I mean, we know a lot about each other, but since we’re still working on the whole communication thing, maybe we should lay a few things on the table in advance. You know, to help ward off a problem. For example, sometimes, I get really irritable and irrational and I just want to be left alone. You, on the other hand, hear something’s wrong in my voice and you won’t leave me alone until I tell you what it is, and then because it’s irrational you get upset and then we argue. Really, if you had just let it go, it never would have happened and I would have gotten over it. Does that make sense?”
“Well, yeah but sometimes when you say nothing’s wrong you’re trying to hint at me that something’s wrong but I’m supposed to know what it is and I don’t. So how am I supposed to know when I’m supposed to know and when I’m not?” he asked, totally confusing himself.
“Well, if I say I’m just being irrational then just let it go. I already know I’m being silly.”
AJ nodded. “Ok. I’ve got one for you. I hate it when you worry about me.”
“I’m not allowed to worry?” Emily asked, astonished.
“That’s not what I mean. You worry I’m going to drink again. It’s written all over your voice when I call after a bad day and you insist on keeping me on the phone. You’ve got to trust me, Emily. I’ll seek out help when I’m feeling tempted but I can’t have you always second guessing me.”
“That’s fair. I have one more.” She said.
“Lord, what else is there?”
“I hate it when I haven’t had sex in three years and then you go and make love to me like that, because it only leaves me wanting more.” Emily said, with a seductive smile.
“Ah, so I was right after all, wasn’t I?” he whispered in her ear.
“I told you I’d prove to you how great sex can be.”
“You certainly did. But I’m not convinced. You’d better show me again…..”
AJ never needed to be told twice.
AJ and Emily stayed up all night alternating between making love and talking. They never slept because they never felt like they needed to. They did, however, need to eat.
“I’m starving!” Emily said after their latest romp, this time in the shower.
“Work up an appetite, did you?” AJ said, wrapping a towel around his waist. “Me too.”
“Do you want to go down to the breakfast buffet?”
AJ nodded. “That sounds pretty damn good to me.”
They threw on some clothes (AJ had to wear his tux since he had no clothes with him.)
“Are you sure I don’t look too weird?” he asked in the elevator.
“AJ, you’re AJ. No one bothers to question what you wear anymore.” Emily said as she kissed his cheek.
Emily thought for sure everyone else would still be asleep at this hour. Unfortunately, she was wrong. As soon as they were noticed walking in hand in hand, Leighanne, Brian, Kevin and Kristin all stood up and applauded as they sat down.
“Knock it off!” AJ said, laughing at Emily’s bright red face.
“What? We’re just glad the Cold War has finally ended!” Brian said, smacking him on the back.
“Did you sleep well Emily?” Leighanne asked, winking at her.
“Actually Leighanne, we haven’t been to sleep yet but thanks for asking!” Emily smiled. Now it was Leighanne’s turn to be embarrassed.
After they were done eating, Brian leaned over to Emily and whispered, “Baylee’s at my parents for three more days, so don’t even think of showing up at home for another week!”
Emily smiled. “Thanks Brian.”
AJ helped Emily pack her things up and convinced Kevin to drive them over to his house.
“Would you like another tour? I’ve redecorated since the last time you were here.” He offered.
AJ concluded his humorous tour in his bedroom, of course.
“I want you to make your self at home here. Seriously. Eat whatever you want, watch tv, anything. I want you to feel at home when you’re here.” AJ said, sincerely.
“Well, does this home have a laundry room because I wasn’t planning on staying here longer and I’m all out of clean clothes to wear!”
“Of course I have a laundry room. I just don’t put it on my tour because it’s a rather dull room. But you don’t have to do laundry, just wear your clothes again, I don’t care, I do it all the time!”
“Well, it’s not really my clothes I’m worried about; it’s my dirty underwear that I don’t want to wear.”
“And who says you’ll even be wearing underwear here?” he asked, mischievously.
Emily smiled and called his bluff. “Fine. Then tonight, when you take me out to dinner, you can sit there the entire evening, dessert and all, knowing that your girlfriend is going commando and you have to keep your hands off in public!”
AJ thought for a moment and decided he’d be much better off showing her the laundry room.
When Emily returned a few minutes later, he insisted she come enjoy some lemonade on the deck with him.
“So, you want to go out to dinner tonight, do you?” he asked, pulling her down on his lap.
“Yes. If tonight will be anything like last night, and if I have my way it will be, I’ll need a good meal to keep up my strength.”
“Oh, so we’ll be going at it again all night, huh?” he asked.
“AJ, you have turned me into some kind of sex crazed woman.”
“How so?” he asked, biting his lip.
“I can’t stop thinking about it. All I think about is you and me in bed together and how great it felt. I have been in a constant state of horniness since we got out of the shower this morning.”
“And yet you want to go out to dinner? Couldn’t we just order in?”
“No. I’m old school. You gotta buy the lady dinner first before you bang her brains out.”
AJ chuckled. “Alright, alright. I’ll take you out to dinner. Anything specific or will fast food do?”
Emily laughed. “Close. I was thinking hamburgers sounded good.”
“I know the best place to get a burger! You’ll love it! But I just have one question.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Can we have sex before dinner?”
Emily smiled as she nodded seductively at him.
“Good. Then I have another question.”
“Have you ever done it in a pool before?” he asked, nodding at the pool out in his yard.
“No, I can’t say that I have. Are you offering?”
“If you’re up for it, I’m up for it.” He said.
“Isn’t it a bit cool out? It’s December!”
“Yes, but it’s a warm December in Florida and the pool is heated.”
“Oh, well then by all means, let’s go for a swim!” Emily said, getting up and walking over towards the pool taking off her clothes on the way.
It took AJ a second to get moving, he was too entranced by the sight of her stripping. He managed to catch up to her as she was stepping into the water.
“You’re right. It feels pretty good in here!”
“It’s going to feel a whole lot better in a few minutes.” He muttered into her ear.
“So, how exactly do we do this?”
“Well, for a beginner, I would definitely suggest staying in the shallower end of the pool. We don’t want to drown ourselves! Secondly, we stop talking and get down to business. “
AJ grabbed Emily and pulled her up against him as he brought his lips down on hers in a rough, passionate kiss that left her breathless and thankful she was in water because she was certain her knees would not have held her up otherwise. Emily brought her hands up and ran them through his wet hair as she kissed him back, demanding more with her lips. AJ let his hands wander causing her to moan into his mouth. He backed them up until he had Emily positioned against the wall of the pool right on a water jet.
“Trust me, you’ll like it.” He said, when she gave him a quizzical look.
Emily’s response was to wrap her legs around his waist and nibble on his ear until he was ready to give her what she wanted. She didn’t need foreplay. To her, the entire day had been foreplay. She needed him inside of her, plain and simple. So, not wanting to disappoint, AJ gave her exactly what she wanted.
It was dirty and raw. It was nothing like the sweet sex they’d had the night before. They were both moaning loudly as he made love to her. It didn’t last long; they were both so aroused from the whole situation that it didn’t matter. AJ had to hold Emily above water as the came together to keep her from sinking under.
“That was fucking incredible.” AJ said, holding her close as they caught their breath.
“Oh my God. That was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to swim in this pool again without feeling dirty.” Emily replied, still breathless and on the verge of sinking underwater.
Soon after they got out of the pool, they got themselves ready for dinner. AJ wore dark jeans and a plain white t-shirt and Emily threw on a pair of jeans herself and a black, short sleeve blouse.
Emily laughed when she spotted a few pieces of toilet paper up in his tree as they pulled out of the driveway.
“I’m so sorry about that! If you want, I’ll climb up and get them down!” she said, laughing hysterically.
AJ chuckled. “That’s ok. It’ll come down eventually.”
“So really, how pissed were you about that?” she asked.
“Before I knew it was you guys doing it, I was pretty pissed. I thought it was some stupid fan or something. So I called the cops because you never know what else they might do. Then when I saw you guys sitting back there, I knew what you were doing and I knew you were right. I was being an ass and I probably deserved it. Did you really talk to hookers in there?”
Emily smiled. “I sure did. They even told me where they work if you want to meet them.” She winked.
“Uh, no thanks.”
“They taught me some pretty good tricks if you’re interested in finding out sometime.”
AJ raised and eyebrow at her. “Really? I’m definitely interested.”
“Well, then I’ll just have to show you after dinner!”
AJ and Emily spent the next few days doing not a whole lot other than eating and making love in various parts of the house as well as in the bedroom. On Wednesday, Emily decided it was time to do something else together.
“AJ, do you even have any Christmas decorations?”
“Not really. I’ve hardly ever been home the last few years to celebrate it so I never really bothered. I think I have a wreath for my door somewhere.”
Emily looked horrified.
“Is that a problem?” he asked.
“Yeah! I can’t make myself at home until this place is festive! Nor can I let someone I love live in a house without lights on it!”
“Sort of like a ‘friends don’t let friends not decorate’ policy?” he asked, smiling.
“Alright, well, where do we go to get some then?”
“Well, normally I would have taken you to Bronners, the world’s largest Christmas store, but that’s all the way in Michigan and we don’t have time for that this year! Do you have a Wal-Mart around here?”
“Yeah, there’s one about twenty minutes from here.”
“Alright then. Get in the car and take me there. Oh, and bring your credit card!”
“What are you, some kind of elf?” he teased.
“Exactly. When it comes to me and Christmas, you don’t mess around! Now let’s go!”
AJ decided it was much safer to humor her and so he went to get his keys. He was at least smart enough to drive his truck instead of the sports car with not much room for shopping bags. He had a feeling they’d be needing the room.
Emily led them right to the Christmas section of the store, insisting they each take a cart. She knew just how to get AJ in the spirit of things. It didn’t take much really. He did like to shop, she just needed to show him some things he liked. She won him over when she took him to the section of the giant inflatable decorations.
“Em! Can we get that one that looks like the giant snow globe with the snow falling and the little snowmen dancing inside of it?”
Emily grinned at him. “That one’s my favorite!”
AJ grabbed the big box and threw it in his cart.
Now that she had his attention, it was down to business. They started simple with candles and wreaths before moving onto ornaments and garland, tree skirts and stockings.
“Em, why did you get 5 stockings? There’s only two of us!” he asked.
“Because I got one for each of us, one for each of your dogs, and one for your mom.”
“My dogs? My dogs get a stocking?”
“Why not? We’ll get them some bones and chew toys. They’ll love it!”
“If you say so…..”
Emily finally led him over to her favorite part. The lights!
“Ok, so we need indoor lights for the tree and for a few of the doorways. We need candle lights for all of the windows and we need lights to put outside on the house and trees and bushes. Now, I know that white lights are the trend right now but personally, I don’t like them. I need color. Lots of color. I was thinking it would be really cool to get a set of those colored ones with the bigger bulbs and hang them on the house with those twinkling icicle lights over there. What do you think?”
AJ looked slightly confused. “But the twinkling icicle lights are white.”
“Yes, but it’s ok because they’re icicles and they’ll be hung with colored lights.”
“Ok. Whatever you say dear.”
Emily smiled. “Thank you. You’ll like it, trust me!” she said as she threw several boxes of lights into her cart. “Now what do you think about these spiral trees? They’d be pretty in that corner of your yard where all those bushes are….” She trailed off, throwing the spiral trees in the cart as well.
“Hey Em, why do we need lights for the tree?” AJ asked as she was loading them up in the cart. “Can’t we just get one of those trees with the lights already on it?”
Emily turned around and gave him a horrified look.
“What? What did I do?” he asked, panicking.
“A fake tree? Seriously? You want a fake tree?”
“Is…that bad?” he asked.
“Yuh-huh! You can’t have a fake tree!”
“Because…you just can’t! It won’t smell like a real tree, it won’t look like a real tree, and because…I said so!”
AJ shook his head. “Hey look! Bubble lights!” he said, trying to distract her from her fake tree rant.
“Where?! I love bubble lights!!”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” AJ mumbled.
AJ made a comment when they paid the bill about needing to release another album just to pay for all the decorations.
“Bullshit!” Emily said.
AJ laughed. “You’re right. You know I’d do anything to make you happy.” He said, grinning at her smiling face.
“And you have!” she said.
If only putting up all the decorations had been as easy as buying them. Emily was very picky about where everything went and AJ eventually just decided to let her tell him where to put everything. Finally she sent him outside to work on the lights with some very specific instructions.
“I don’t like to see the cords hanging, and make sure they’re pulled straight on the roof so they don’t look uneven. Make sure you space the hooks evenly and make sure you get the lights into the bushes a little so they don’t show as much during the day. Be sure to use the green extension chords in the grass.”
“Yes. Don’t fall off the roof!”
“I’ll be careful, I promise.”
AJ laughed to himself as he climbed up on the roof. She must be one hell of a woman to have him out there doing all this. Secretly though, he was glad to have a festive house. He’d always wanted one deep down inside, he just never before saw the point. Now that he was sharing his life with Emily, he wanted everything to be perfect for her and if that meant hanging a shit-load of Christmas lights on his house, he was going to do it.
He was out there for several hours before he announced he was finished. Emily came out to inspect his work and was surprised that she didn’t have to fix a single thing!
“It looks lovely!” she said. “Let’s turn them on!”
“Ok. You wait here, I’ll go plug them in.”
When AJ plugged them in, there was a flash of light followed by a popping sound and then the whole house went dark.
“What the fuck?” he yelled.
“What happened?” she asked.
“The power went out!” he said.
“No, the power to your house went out. The neighbors still have lights.”
“Must be all these damn lights!” he muttered.
Emily came over and looked at the single plug in his hand.
“AJ, how many sets of lights did you hook together?”
“All of them, why?”
Emily’s eyes grew wide. “Umm…I guess I should have told you that you’re only supposed to hook up no more than 3 of the big sets together and 6 of the little sets together. Then you need to use another plug. Otherwise…..”
AJ was tempted to be mad at the situation but instead he started laughing. Emily soon joined in. She helped him re-wire all the lights while there was still day light left and then went into his basement with a flashlight to try and flip the power back on. She showed AJ how to fix blown fuses and quickly had his power restored.
“Where did you learn to be an electrician?”
“I’m a nanny, remember?”
“So, I’ve picked up some handyman skills along the way!”
They went back outside and plugged in the multiple plugs they now had and finally got to enjoy their beautiful, festive house.
“You know what? I do like it!” AJ said, admiring his work.
“I knew you would.”
“I love you, Em.”
“I love you too.”