Like a Good Neighbor Chapter 17 and 18

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The next two days were hectic as Kate shopped for last minute Christmas presents and Jennifer helped me clean the house. That morning the caterers arrived and Kate laid out all of the food on tables in the large dining room. Most of the food was set up in stainless steel chafing dishes which Kate would light the warmers up about an hour before.

There were two pans of turkey sliced, one ham sliced, and one roast sliced. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, eggplant casserole, dirty rice, and a small pot of gumbo were all arranged on one table against the wall. On a smaller table Kate had laid out the three trays of small sandwiches, chicken wings and meatball with some small buns.

Jennifer’s boyfriend Lance was the first to arrive, so I put him to work icing down the soft drinks and beer. Kate’s family started arriving about ninety minutes later with her mom and dad being the first. Then both sets of grandparents arrived then slowly but surely aunts, uncles, and cousins. Jennifer was designated to give everyone the tour of the home and show here the bathrooms were. Kate showed everyone the dining room and where the food was located.

Everyone gathered in the living area where the two large sectional sofas and chairs were put to good use. Some of the younger cousins went with Jennifer to the theatre room where she put the big television on for them. Most started on the appetizers right away and drinks were given to everyone. I happened to be in the kitchen with Laura McKinney’s mom, Kate’s grandmother came up behind me.

“This is a beautiful home Jace and the food is delicious.”, she commented.

“Thank you, Ms. Maggie, but Kate took care of all the food. I’m not a great cook but I can get by.”, I replied.

“Do you have any family coming?”, she asked.

“No ma’am. I don’t have any family really……………. My family died in an automobile accident years ago. I lost my mother, father and four sisters.”, I answered.

“Wait…… Big Jim Johnson was your father?”, she asked.

“Yes ma’am.”, I answered.

“Oh, my goodness. Your father built the home we live in today. He was a very good man and extremely honest. We love our home.”, she commented.

“My dad would be pleased to hear that.”, I replied.

“Just so I’m clear here…… You’re going to ask Kate to marry you today?”, she asked smiling.

“Somebody spilled the beans.”, I responded.

“No Jace. My daughter told me because she was bursting at the seams. But I told no one not even my husband. Only three of us know and you, of course.”, she laughed.

“Good……… I want it to be a surprise.”, I said.

“Just so you know……… my granddaughter loves you to pieces. Well, we all do, and you will be a wonderful addition to this family. Kate is a good soul and deserves to be happy.”, Maggie stated.

“Thank you, Ms. Maggie.”, I replied.

Everyone sat down around three o’clock to eat dinner on the massive dining room table. Having fourteen chairs came in handy allowing all the adults to eat at once. Before I sat down, I pulled Jennifer into the back of the house and into my bedroom.

“Jen, we only have a minute or so. I’m going to ask Kate to marry me in a little while. Here is the ring.”, I stated, opening the box.

“Oh my god, Jace.”, Jennifer screamed jumping on me.

“Shhhhh…… be quiet.”, I laughed.

I explained to Jennifer what I wanted her to do and she was so excited to be part of it. I gave her the ring and she put it in her front pocket. We walked out quickly as to not draw any attention to ourselves.

At around five o’clock or so everyone got together to start exchanging gifts. Kate and Jennifer were taking the gifts from under the tree and handing them to the correct person. Once all the gifts were in front of the correct person everyone started ripping into the bright colored paper. No one was more excited than Kate as she tore through the wrapping paper.

She received clothes from her parents as well as the items I had bought from Sak’s which she loved. Jennifer had opened both her computer and IPAD which she loved. Everyone was finishing up when Kate started to open the long narrow box which contained the Rolex watch. When she saw the green Rolex watch box she gasped.

“Oh, you didn’t.’, she squealed.

She opened the box and just stared for several seconds then looked up at me for quite a while. She got up and walked over and kissed me for several seconds. When she pulled away, she had tears in her eyes.

“Jace, you shouldn’t have done this. I know how much this was.”, she said softly.

“It doesn’t matter how much it was.”, I answered, squeezing her hand.

She walked back across the room stopping by her parents to show them the watch. Her mother Laura looked over at me and raised her eyebrows telling me that it was time to ask her daughter to marry me. I got up according to plan and went into the kitchen where I could still see everyone. Jennifer looked at me and I nodded to go ahead with the plan.

Jennifer got up and walked across the room toward Kate with a very confused look on her face which was great. She stopped in front of Kate and extended her arm towards her holding the red velvet box.

“Kate, this was in my computer case with no name on it. Do you know who it’s for?”, Jennifer asked, really playing the part well.

I had slowly walked up behind Kate and she was so intently staring at Jennifer and the box she did not notice. Kate took the box from Jennifer and turned it around opening it up slowly.

“Oh my God.”, Kate screamed, holding the ring out in front of her.

I leaned over on Kate’s right side so that I was very close to her ear. I leaned in and spoke very softly into it.

“Kate, I love you……… will you marry me?”, I whispered.

Kate jumped up and step up on the sofa and jumped over the back cushion into my arms. She was crying and laughing all at the same time.

“Yes, yes yes………. I love you.”, she screamed hanging on to me for dear life.

After several minutes of running around showing the entire family her ring and me getting acknowledged by the entire family things settled down a bit. I was sitting next to Kate on the sofa her hand in mine as she looked at the ring.

“Jace, this had to be expensive as hell.”, she said softly.

“Nah, I got a great deal on it.”, I replied.

“Kate, I was with him when he bought it. Let’s just say the price was unimaginable. That’s seven and a half carats.”, Laura McKinney stated.

“You were with my mom?”, Kate asked.

Yes, I wanted to make sure I picked the right one.”, I answered.

“Oh, you picked the right one.”, she responded, kissing me again.

Around nine o’clock or so everyone started to leave because we would be having Christmas dinner at Kate’s parents the following day. Kate, Jennifer, and I spent the next hour picking up the food so we could take it with us the next day. Once everything was cleaned, we all took showers and settled into bed, it had been a long day. Kate came out of the bathroom and climbed into bed next to me.

“Jace, this has been the best day of my life. I can’t believe I’m going to be getting married to my best friend.”, she smiled.

Just at that time there was a knock on the bedroom door. I shouted to come in and the door opened, and Jennifer walked in. She had what looked like a greeting card in one hand with a very nervous look on her face.

“What is it, Jennifer?”, Kate asked, sitting up in bed.

I uh…… I want to say something……. I mean read you two something I wrote. And uh…… please don’t be mad at me.”, she stuttered.

“We would never be mad at you…… at least not for long.”, Kate laughed.

“I’m being serious……”, Jen responded quickly.

“Ok by all means be serious.”, Kate replied.

Kate opened the card and held it out in front of her and then she looked like she was trying to regain her composure. I had no clue what this was about, but I hoped it was not bad news.

“Dear Jace and Kate,”, she began, her voice shaking a bit.

“Several years ago, my life was turned upside down by the two most important people in my life. Many nights after I realized my mother was not going to come back my life seemed to hold little potential. I was destined to be another kid raised with no parents and no future. But then Jace you came back into my life and told me it was going to be ok. That whatever I needed you would be there for me.”, she started.

Kate squeezed my hand tightly as she listened to Jennifer’s every word. I was as emotional as I ever got which was rare for me. I had only cried once in my life and that was the day, we buried my family.

“Since the day you spoke those words, you have never once let me down. Now Kate you have come into my life as well and have become so dear to me. Without the two of you I do not know where I would be right now. But I want to thank you for everything you have done for me and all the things you will do for me in the future.”, she continued, very emotional.

“I know I’m being selfish, but I need to ask you for two last things. I so desperately want to be your daughter and I want to call you mom and dad. Because right now, you are my family. And later hopefully my children can call you grandpa and grandma. Please let me be your daughter……”, she sobbed.

“Oh baby, come here.”, Kate sobbed patting the bed between is.

Jennifer walked over to the side of the bed and climbed in over Kate and sat back in between the both of us. She was still crying clutching the card in her right hand.

“Jennifer, you know how I feel about you and you’re already my daughter. I would be honored to be your dad and I’m sure Kate feels the same way.”, I stated, leaning over kissing her cheek.

“Of course, I feel the same way.”, Kate responded.

It was a very emotional moment for the three of us and Jennifer stayed for about an hour as we talked about the future and the wedding between Kate and I. Kate promised that Jennifer would be the maid of honor which thrilled her. I know it was after midnight before we went to bed knowing we had an early day tomorrow.

I got up about six o’clock on Christmas morning and started a pot of coffee. I was on my second cup when Jennifer walked in.

“Hey dad.”, she said, smiling.

“Hey Jen, did you sleep well?”, I asked.

“Yes, I did. Mom not up yet?”, she asked, getting a kick out of the new arrangement.

“Nope, why don’t you go in and wake your mother up?”, I laughed.

“I’ll bring her a cup of coffee.”, Jen stated.

“Oh, already sucking up to mom huh?”, I asked.

“You know it.”, Jen giggled.

The next few months flew by and soon Jennifer was on the softball field preparing for the season. As Becky promised she was throwing in the 68-69 mile an hour range with a very wicked drop ball. Jennifer could read batters well and she always somehow seemed to fool them. One thing Becky had taught Jennifer is to hide the ball as long as possible. Once the ball came out of the glove it could not go back in. So, Becky had taught Jen how to use her body to conceal the ball.

Sacred Heart was facing Our Lady of Divine Name in their first game. Sacred Heart was ranked number one in the state and Our Lady of Divine Name was number five. The opening game was on a Friday evening at seven o’clock at the LaSalle softball complex in town. Kate and I got there about six and went to the home team side. We sat in the front row and greeted the few parents that were already there.

I noticed several men there that had on college polos that bear different names. One was Ohio State, another had Clemson and the third had Georgia on it. After a quick chat before the game Jen’s coach affirmed that they were there to see her. As soon as Jennifer finished her warmup she came up to the fence and told us hello.

“How many scouts are here?”, she asked with a smile.

“Three that I know of.”, I replied.

“Well, they’re in for a treat because drop and rise are dead on today.”, Jennifer giggled.

“Jen, whatever the umpire calls maintain your composure. Don’t get frustrated or complain. Simply show no emotion and do what you do best. Let them see if you sign with them, they are getting the complete package.”, I said.

“Yes sir, love yall.”, she answered, running to the dugout.

Jennifer took the mound first since Sacred Heart was the home team. She threw exactly thirteen pitches in the first inning striking out all three batters. Jen’s pitch was snapping the catcher’s mitt and she had only thrown two off speed pitches. I noticed the man with the Clemson shirt behind the fence at home plate with a JUGS gun timing Jennifer’s speed. He clocked a few pitches then went back into the stands and made a phone call.

By the fourth inning Jennifer was still pitching well and had only allowed one walk. She had hit a single her first time at bat and walked the second time. By the bottom of the fourth they were up 8-0. Jen pitched the fifth striking out all three in succession. As she came off the mound the coach told her she was done and going to second base to complete the game.

Sacred Heart got the first two batters on base by walks. Our Lady swapped pitchers and put in a senior pitcher that Jennifer had played travel ball with and against. After a series of warm up pitches Jennifer stepped into the batter’s box. The first two were balls but then Jen fouled the next two off. With a 2-2 count the pitcher threw a rise ball that had no lift to it. It came across the plate chest high and Jennifer ripped it into center field. The ball carried over the fence and Jennifer had a home run scoring three more runs.

The game ended with the score of 14-0 after six innings. Jennifer had two hits and a walk, in addition to pitching five almost perfect innings. We met her after the post-game meeting with the coach and was walking to the parking lot when the man in the Clemson shirt showed up.

“Jennifer, you played a good game today. I’m Mark Post from Clemson University. We heard a lot about you last year, so I took the trip to watch you play today.”, he stated.

“Thank you.”, Jennifer replied.

“So, you are …………?”, he asked.

“We’re her parents.”, Kate responded.

Obviously, the remark took him by surprise because even an idiot could tell Kate and I were not old enough to have an eighteen-year-old senior in high school.

“Ok uh……… Jennifer, I had a packet here for you to look at and maybe if all goes well, we may offer you a scholarship at the end of the year. We offer twelve scholarships a year with a few being a full ride and the rest partials. Any idea what field you want to pursue in the future?’, he asked.

“I’m leaning towards medical school like my mother here.”, Jen stated.

“You’re a doctor?”, Mark asked Kate.

“Yes, I am. I was an emergency room doctor and just recently went into private practice.”, Kate replied.

“What’s your GPA Jennifer?”, he asked.

“As of mid-terms I’m carrying a 3.97. I’m taking half dual enrollment and the rest honors.”, she answered.

“Very impressive. Look that information over and I’m sure you will see me again shortly. By the way, you threw several pitches in the sixty-nine range.”, he commented turning and walking off.

We walked to the parking lot and watched Jennifer get in her SUV then walked over the Jaguar which was parked in the next lot. I saw the man with the Ohio State shirt talking the Sacred Heart head coach, Billy. We got into our car and left the parking lot continuing the conversation about what school Jennifer should look at.

“I’ll be honest with you Jace. I don’t see her being able to juggle softball and medical school. Secondly, I don’t think a lot of D1 schools will offer her a full scholarship knowing the risk. She may consider graduating college first then going to medical school. It would take a lot longer but be much bursa eskort easier on her.”, Kate stated.

“We will sit down and figure it all out. I’m not concerned about the scholarship. I can pay for her to go anywhere she wants that is not an issue.”, I replied.

“I know honey……”, Kate answered, patting my arm.

I knew that this year was going to be very hectic with Jennifer’s season and being a senior in high school. Then, Kate and her mother were on the beginning stages of planning our wedding. In addition, Kate was still getting the hang on being in private practice. It was probably going to be the craziest year of my life, but it had to be done.

Halfway through the season Sacred Heart was undefeated with a record of 18-0. During the spring break they were going to Florida to play in a show case tournament against some of the best high schools in the country. They would be in Orlando for a week which gave Kate and I a break for a few days.

We were talking in bed on a Thursday night and it was during the day that Jennifer had left. She had just sent me a text telling me the bus should get in at about seven o’clock in the morning. Jennifer received a surprise text message just about ten minutes later. She read it quickly and appeared somewhat shocked.

“Uh, this is from Sarah. She wants to take the two of us out to dinner tomorrow night.”, Kate explained.

“Well, I knew she wanted to take you but why me?”, I laughed.

“I have no clue……”, Kate giggled.

“You can go if you want. I don’t mind.”, I replied.

“Um……. What if she wants to fuck me?”, Kate asked.

“That’s up to you.”, I laughed.

“So, if I decide to fuck her you won’t be jealous?”, Kate asked, staring into my eyes.

“Nope, not a bit. I feel different about women than I do men.”, I answered.

“Why don’t we both go together?”, Kate asked.

“If that is what you want then sure, not a problem.”, I responded.

“Ok, I’ll text her back.”, Kate said.

I fell asleep shortly thereafter and the two of them were still texting away. The following morning Kate informed me that we were going to pick her up at her condo then drive to the restaurant. We would pick her up for about seven this evening.

I finished at the gym early and went home and took my shower before Kate arrived. Kate showed up a little before five and informed me that dress would be casual. So, I grabbed a pair of jeans and a Under Armor white compression shirt that showed every upper body detail that I had.

I was dressed and ready to go when Kate came in from the bedroom dressed in a pair of her skinny jeans, one of her sheer white blouses with a white camisole underneath and her snakeskin short boots. We took the Suburban since there were three of us and to not cramp Sarah in the rear seat. I punched the address into the GPS and forty minutes later I pulled into the condo parking lot. Kate called Sarah and informed her we were there in parking lot in the Suburban.

A few minutes later, a tall blonde hair woman appeared and started walking towards the car. Kate jumped out and waved her over and opened the back door for her. She slid into the back seat and quickly buckled her seat belt.

“Jace, this is Dr. Sarah Macklin, one of my partners. Sarah this is Jace Johnson, my fiancé’.”, Kate offered.

“Nice to meet you Sarah”, I answered.

“Same here Jace. I have heard a lot about you.”, Sarah stated.

Kate and Sarah talked quite a bit as I drove to the restaurant. I pulled into the parking lot of one of the best steakhouses in the city. We all got out and the girls walked around the vehicle to my side. The look on Sarah’s face was priceless when she first saw me standing upright.

“My god Kate, you said he was big but holy shit.”, Sarah laughed.

“I don’t lie about Jace. He’s the real deal girl.”, Kate giggled.

“It’s like I just got approved by the FDA.”, I responded, causing both to lose it.

I followed the girls into the restaurant giving me a chance to check Sarah Macklin out thoroughly. Kate was right, she was a beautiful woman with a gorgeous face. She was a little on the thin side and had extremely small breasts but a nice tight ass. The two of them were babbling on about work which I knew nothing about.

Sarah informed the hostess that she had a reservation for three for seven o’clock. The hostess checked her logbook and asked us to follow her to our table. We were put in the rear of the restaurant behind a large section of plants which gave the table some privacy. We all sat down and the waitress came over and took a drink order. Kate and Sarah order red wine but I stuck with iced tea. I was not a huge fan of alcohol. It did not take long for Sarah to begin the interrogation.

“So, I hear you asked my partner to marry you?”, she stated.

“Yes, I did.”, I replied.

Suddenly my cell phone rang and I reached into my back pocket to pull it out. I turned it over and looked at the screen and noticed that it was Jen. I answered the phone quickly.

“Hey sweet pea, how are you?”, I asked.

Jennifer informed me that she was doing well and having a great time. She had just finished a game when they won 11-1 and she pitched the entire game. They would play again tomorrow against a team from Georgia. She also said that a recruiter from Ohio State had talked to her for a few minutes. I told her to call me tomorrow and let me know how she did in the next game. She promised she would, and we hung up. I relayed the information to Kate so she would know what was going on.

“That’s the girl you have living with you?”, Sarah asked.

“She’s not really a girl…… she’s eighteen years old and going to college next year.”, Kate laughed.

“You dated her mother right, Jace?”, Sarah asked.

“Jennifer’s mother and I lived together for a while along with Jen.”, I answered, feeling that Sarah was being a bit pushy.

“Yes, Kate told me the story…… really sad.”, Sarah replied.

Kate and Sarah began talking about what it was like having an eighteen-year-old daughter around. Kate explained that I took most of the responsibility for Jennifer and always did what needed to be done. Kate explained that I had lost my parents at right about the age Jennifer is now so I could relate to the situation only there was no one to help me pick up the pieces.

We finished dinner and we dropped off Sarah back at her condo then we went straight home. That night in bed, Kate asked me what I thought of Sarah.

“She very pretty but she seems a little stand offish to me. I don’t know honestly, it’s the first time I got to meet her.”, I replied.

“So, you’re not attracted to her?”, Kate asked.

“Not really. But like I said, it’s the first time being around her.”, I answered.

“Were you attracted to me the first time I walked into your gym?”, Kate asked.

“I don’t think of clients that way. It was business.”, I replied.

I took me a while to go to sleep that night thinking about some of the things that Kate had mentioned. I think Kate was disappointed somewhat that I did not find Sarah attractive. I think it was perhaps a test to see if a three way might be possible for us. At this time, I just didn’t see it happening, but I was not sure how bad Kate wanted it to happen. I figured to just let it be for now and not bring it up. If Kate started another conversation about it, I would handle it at that time.

Jennifer came back from her trip where they had finished second in the tournament. She earned an MVP award and a Gold Glove award. She went right back to practice and had a big game on Friday night. I made sure that I finished up early on Friday because I had to drive about an hour north to get to the softball complex. They were playing Westboro High School which was a new school in their AAA classification and no one knew much about them. Kate couldn’t make it due to scheduling, so I left the gym about four o’clock and headed straight to the game.

I arrived a little after five o’clock and Jennifer was on the field stretching with the pitchers. The rest of the team was hitting balls on the tees in the pop-up nets. I went to the fence and Jennifer ran over and kissed me on the cheek. She informed me that she would be starting today but probably would be pulled early because of the amount of pitching she had done during the break.

I sat on the front row of the bleachers down on the right corner away from most of the parents. I was not the typical softball parents who cheered when things went right and complained about the umpiring when things went wrong. Of course, umpires would miss a few calls, but I always felt the team’s play effected the outcome of a game, not an official. Since Jennifer’s team was the visitor, they would bat first. Jen had been moved from the four-hole hitter to the third hole hitter. Katy Wills had been destroying the ball, so she was moved to clean-up.

The Westboro pitcher walked our first batter then allowed a single to our second. Jennifer stepped to the plate with runners at first and second with no outs. The pitcher left a fast ball hanging on the inside of the plate and Jen turned on it well. She hit a deep fly ball down the third base hit and landed deep right inside the chalk. Jennifer wound up with a stand up double and scored both base runners.

A minute later Katy Wills hit a monster home run over the right field fence and we were up 4-0. By the time we took the field we had a 6-0 lead. While Jennifer took her warm-up pitches the look on the Westboro parent’s faces was priceless. Obviously, they had never seen someone throw at the speed that Jennifer had.

Jennifer pitched three innings and when she left the mound Scared Heart was leading 12-0. Jennifer went hitless on the mound and three for four at the plate as Sacred Heart stayed undefeated with a 14-0 win. I talked to Jennifer for a short while after the game and she promised to call me when they got back to school to let me know she was headed home. Jennifer had been very conscious of keeping me updated as to where she was at. I did not want to be controlling but it made me feel a lot safer knowing she was safe.

I got home around nine o’clock that night to find Kate in the office on the computer. She told me that she had ordered pizza and there was still a lot left in the oven. I took a shower and ate a few pieces of pizza while I was watching television. I went back into the office to see if Kate was close to finishing up but she told me she had at least a couple of hours to go. I kissed her softly on the lips and told her I was going to bed.

Just as I was walking down the hall Jennifer called me and told me she was heading home. I turned around and went back to the office telling Kate that Jen was on the way home. I noticed her texting on the phone and she barely acknowledged me. That was extremely odd for Kate, but I figured she was preoccupied with the business.

The next few weeks flew by and Scared Heart still had not lost a game with their record now at 22-0. I had made every game but one which had been played in early afternoon. The gym had been extremely busy and I was trying to juggle my work, watch Jen play and spend time with Kate.

I woke up on a Saturday morning around three in the morning and knew I was not going to be able to go back to sleep. So, I got up carefully as to not wake Kate and went in the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I went out in the back and sat in the lounge chair next to the pool and relaxed. Things had been very hectic lately with me trying to juggle Jen’s game, the gym and Kate. Jenn9ifer would be leaving for college soon and depending on where she went to college at would possibly limit the games I was able to attend especially if I had to fly.

As I was on my second cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but think of how Kate had become somewhat distant. She had basically put the wedding plans on hold with her mother because they were trying to grow the practice. But more than that Kate was not her normal bubbly self. She seemed a bit more stressed out and I could understand that because she was now financially responsible for ten employees.

And I think sometimes Kate maybe thought that my relationship with Jennifer was maybe a little too obsessive. Kate had mentioned once that my love for Jennifer was symbolic for the way I had loved Shelby. Sometimes I thought Kate may be right, but I wanted the best for Jennifer and after all I had no family to worry about. Someday unless things changed everything I owned would be passed down to Kate and Jennifer.

I was ready to go get another cup of coffee when Jennifer walked out of the back door. She came over and hugged me then sat down on the end of the chaise lounger.

“Jace, what is wrong with Kate. She seems very ……… um, I don’t know like she’s somewhere else. I don’t know exactly how to describe it.”, Jennifer stated.

“I think it’s her work Jen. She has been a little stressed out lately.”, I replied.

“Are you two, ok?”, she asked, looking into my eyes like only her mother could.

“As far as I know we are sweetie. Why would you ask that?”, I responded.

“I don’t know……… maybe it’s just me.”, she answered, getting up and going back inside.


Jennifer’s regular season was finishing up and she was being heavily recruited by five large schools. Oklahoma, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Duke and Arizona State were all trying to get her to sign. She also had conversations with Tennessee, Northwestern, Texas and UCLA. Several schools had offered her a full ride scholarship and others were partials. I did tell her not to let money influence her decision and I could cover the tuition with no problem.

She was still seeing Lance every now and then but knowing she would be away for the next four years seemed to cool things off between them. I can’t say I was disappointed because I did not want Jennifer to make any bad decisions this young in life.

That Friday night, the three of us sat down and talked about what schools Jennifer wanted to visit. She was allowed three official visits before having to make a decision. Jennifer seemed to be leaning toward Virginia Tech, Clemson and Arizona State. She had accepted a visit from Clemson and would leave the following Friday. And for the time being she had put the idea of a medical degree on the back burner to pursue softball. Once again, I noticed that Kate seemed a bit distracted and I’m sure that Jennifer noticed it too.

I dropped Jennifer off at the airport the following Friday at noon for her trip to Clemson. It would also give Kate and I sometime to be alone which I felt we desperately needed. Everything had become a little stale for us. I sent Kate a text telling her that I wanted to take her out later to have dinner at whatever restaurant she wanted. She told me where she wanted to go so I called and made a reservation for seven o’clock that evening. We arrived on time and the hostess took us to our table and seated us. We ordered our drinks and the waitress promised to return.

The waitress brought our drinks back and took our order. She told us it would be about twenty minutes before our food was ready.

“How was your day, baby?”, I asked.

“Ok, still trying to catch up.”, she sighed.

“You ever think about going back to the hospital. You seemed happy when you were in the ER.”, I asked.

“I have thought about it……… I didn’t have to worry about all the bills and salaries. But the hours were super crazy. I’m not sure right now which was better.”, she answered.

“Only you can answer that, Kate.”, I replied.

“Hey, have you ever given Sarah anymore thought?”, Kate asked.

“No, not really. Why would you ask that?”, I inquired.

“I was just wondering.”, she said, glancing away.

“Kate, is that what this is all about……… You want me to accept Sarah?”, I asked.

“Not bursa escort bayan really……… I mean maybe a little. I don’t know really……”, she answered, her voice trailing off.

“Kate, I will do whatever you want me to do. All you must do is ask.”, I responded.

“I’m not sure really………”, she mumbled.

“Kate, have you slept with Sarah?”, I asked, staring directly into her eyes.

From the look on her face, I did not need a response. I knew that she had and it also hit me that Sarah was the reason that Kate had been so distant lately.

“I uh……. yes, I have. You told me that you were ok with it.”, she said, hardly able to look at me.

“Yes, I did tell you that. Only you should have told me. How long have the two of you been sleeping together?”, I asked.

“Right after that time we all went out to dinner together.”, Kate answered.

“So, what exactly does your relationship with Sarah mean. Is it just fucking or is it more than that?”, I asked.

“At first it was just fucking……. I’m not sure now.”, Kate said, softly.

“You’re not sure about what. Sarah or me?”, I inquired.

“She wants me to move in with her. Be in a real relationship…….”, Kate offered.

“Oh…… I had no idea you felt that strong about her.”, I answered.

“I’m sorry Jace……. I knew that you were not crazy about her, so I didn’t ask you to join in. Then one thing led to another and now I’m really confused. She is open to a relationship with both of us if you’re ok with that.”, Kate suggested.

“Honestly, I can’t ever see me being in a relationship with Sarah nor do I want to share you.”, I replied.

“I’m sorry, Jace……. It just happened.”, she said, getting emotional.

“Kate, do you love her?”, I asked, my stomach in a knot.

“Yes……”, Kate answered, hanging her head.

“Wow…. Um okay so what do we do now?”, I inquired.

“You tell me.”, Kate answered quickly.

“Well, it’s up to you. I do want you to be happy. If you want to move in with Sarah, then that’s what you need to do. I won’t stand in your way. It’s not what I want but ……… you need to decide that for yourself.”, I offered.

“I’m just trying to figure out how to make everyone happy.”, Kate sighed.

“I don’t think that’s possible Kate.”, I answered.

I picked up Jennifer from the airport Sunday evening and we went straight home. She was telling me about the campus and the trading facility that she would use. She explained the entire program and assured me that everything was taken care of. I suggested she take at least one more visit before formally announcing her choice. She agreed and decided to visit Arizona State in two weeks. I did not say anything to Jennifer about the conversation that Kate and I had. I did not want to burden Jen while she was trying to make a difficult decision.

I put my relationship on hold with Kate. It made no sense to take her to bed if all she could think about was Sarah. She kept promising she would figure it out and let me know. I took Jennifer to the airport once again on a Thursday night and returned home. Kate was waiting for me in the living area.

“Jace, we need to talk.”, she stated.

“Ok Kate, talk.”, I replied.

“Jace, I do love you. I need you to know that. But I’m in love with Sarah. I can’t lie to you or myself anymore.”, she said, tears running down her cheeks.

“I understand Kate. You can’t pick and choose who you fall in love with.”, I replied, feeling a bit sick to my stomach.

“Jace, I know you don’t love me like you did Shelby. I can see that by the way you look at Jennifer.”, Kate stated.

Kate’s last comment made me very angry. I had to hesitate a bit before I said something that I could not take back. It took about thirty seconds.

“Kate, you’re better than that remark. Don’t you dare ever blame Jennifer for what you are doing. I love you the only way I know how. I realized raising someone else’s child is a bit unorthodox, but she grew up in front of my eyes. Jennifer is not the reason you’re leaving me and do not ever even hint that is why. You’re leaving to be with Sarah, period.”, I replied.

“No, I didn’t mean anything by that……”, she started.

“It’s ok Kate. So, what are you going to do?”, I asked.

“I’m going to move in with Sarah after I talk to Jennifer.”, Kate replied.

“I think it would be better for you to leave this weekend while Jen is gone. Then you can call her Sunday night and explain. Or meet her the following week after school. I don’t want her to see you leaving.”, I stated.

“Oh…… Well, I guess I could do that. Would it be alright for me to use the Suburban to move all my clothes and things.”, she asked.

“Sure, not a problem.”, I answered.

Kate got up and walked over to me and leaned over and gently kissing my lips for quite a while. It had been quite a while since she had kissed me like that.

“Jace, would you take me to bed tonight………. One last time?”, she asked.

“I really want to Kate……. But I can’t for two reasons. One it would hurt too fucking much to actually feel what I am losing. And second, don’t go into a relationship with Sarah cheating on her already.’, I replied.

“You’re right Jace. Thank you.”, Kate replied.

That Saturday morning Kate moved out of my house in just two trips in the Suburban. She said goodbye at seven thirty on a Saturday night with one small brief kiss and my engagement ring in my right hand. I did not sleep well that night knowing once again my world had turned upside down. How was I going to explain this to Jennifer. Even though it was informal she was once again going to lose the mother figure in her life.

I picked up Jennifer around noon from the airport and she filled me in on the ride home. While she had a great time, she still preferred the Clemson campus. We arrived home and I brought her suitcase in and took it to her room. I came back into the kitchen where Jen was going through the refrigerator looking for something to eat.

“Where’s mom?’, Jen asked, her head still in the refrigerator.

“Kate has moved out Jen. She won’t be coming back.”, I replied.

“What the fuck?”, Jennifer screamed turning around.

“Jennifer please, the language.”, I said in a reprimanding tone.

“What happened?”, Jennifer said, devastated.

“Nothing bad happened Jennifer. She simply fell in love with someone else. It happens sweet pea.”, I responded.

“With whom?”, Jen answered, crying.

“Another doctor she works with.”, I responded.

“Wait, aren’t all the doctors that work with her women?’’, Jen asked, surprised.

“Yes, they are. The lady’s name is Sarah. Kate will call you and the two of you can talk.”, I offered.

“How are you doing?”, Jen asked, walking over to me and putting her arms around me.

“Not too good but I’ll get better……”, I promised.

Sacred Heart finished the season with a record of 35-1 and the number one seed in the state in the AAA classification. Jennifer had been untouchable pretty much all season and set a record for most strike outs in one season. They were prepping for the first playoff game which we would host because of the best record in our classification. As long as we won, we would continue to host as the home team. Jennifer had been extremely kind and considerate to me knowing the situation I was in. In fact, a few times I had to be careful not to pull way and offend her.

I had not heard from Kate for a couple of weeks when her mother called me out of the blue. I debated whether or not to answer the phone, but I figured sooner or later this would happen.

“Jace, this is Laura McKinney. What the hell is going on with you two?”, she asked.

“Nothing Laura, Kate has decided to move on. She fell in love with someone else.”, I answered.

“What happened?”, she inquired.

“Nothing really……. We never fought or argued. She just spent a lot of time with Sarah and I guess it happened.”, I responded.

“Jace, I am so sorry…… I just don’t know what to say.”, Laura said.

“I know the feeling……”, I replied.

On Friday night I got to the field about ninety minutes prior to game time and spent a few minutes with Jennifer before her warm-up. Apparently, word must have got around about my breakup because every girl on the team was around me and cutting up. I knew Jennifer was worried about me after all I had been in two failed relationships in a short time. With everything going on I don’t really think losing Kate had sunk in yet. Jennifer with college only months away and me with the gym being really busy was a distraction to say the least.

I returned to the bleachers and sat down on the Scared Heart side waving to a few of the other girl’s families. One dad remarked that this team was really good and they would need Jennifer in a big way today. Jen had become a celebrity and she very seldom ever disappointed.

Jennifer took the mound and warmed up as usual. She looked good and she was snapping the catcher’s glove. She drove through the first three batters with a total of eleven pitches for the first three outs. The home plate umpire had a large strike zone and Jen immediately took advantage of it.

Jennifer pitched an amazing game striking out fifteen of the twenty-one batters she faced. I think she might have approached sixty-eight or sixty-nine miles an hour on several of the fastball’s she threw. Working in the gym on her legs had definitely given her more velocity on the pitch. She was two for four at the plate with a single and a triple on the night. They posted a 6-0 victory and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

After the game Jennifer asked me if she could invite several girls over to spend the night at home. I told her that was no problem as long as their parents understood that Kate was no longer there. The last thing I needed at this time was a disgruntled parent on my hands.

I drove straight home but it was about ten thirty when Jennifer arrived with three other girls. Jen had brought Katy Wills, Becky Thompson, and Rylie Hendricks with her. They were all starters and had played together since they were young girls. I offered them the entire house including the pool which they jumped at the offer. In less than an hour they had taken over the backyard. I ordered three large pizzas for them and one large for myself.

I went to bed around midnight with all the girls huddled in blankets in the theatre room binge watching movies. They were very quiet and did not disturb me at all. I was up at six the next morning to knock out my early workout. I was back lifting heavy trying to put on about ten to fifteen pounds. I finished my workout and went home around noon. The girls were just getting up after a long night watching movies.

All four of them were in the kitchen warming up pizza from the night before when I walked in. Of course, like young girls do they all had to giggle presuming I had heard what they were talking about, which I did not.

“Hey Jennifer’s dad. How are you?”, Rylie laughed.

“I’m good Rylie and you?”, I asked.

“Oh, I’m really good……”, she replied, laughing hard.

“Do you know you have been voted the hottest dad in the school?”, Becky giggled.

“No, I did not. Why didn’t you tell me Jen?”, I asked, trying to be serious.

“Uh, maybe because I don’t want to tell you what they say about you.”, Jen replied cautiously.

“Makes no difference to me sweet pea.”, I stated, heading for the bedroom.

About two hours later Jennifer brought the girls home and then returned to the house crashing in her room. She had not got much sleep the night before, so she was extremely tired and they had practice Sunday morning.

I decided to go on another cycle to gain some size this time using testosterone, HGH, Winstrol and Anavar. I went on beast mode in the gym training sometimes eight to ten hours a day. When I wasn’t lifting, I was training with the Muy Thai instructor or in Krav Maga. I blocked everything out of my life other than Jennifer. In just months I was back up to two hundred sixty-five pounds and was as big as ever. I just pushed through it determining to get myself into the best shape of my life.

Jennifer had an incredible senior season and Sacred Heart won their second straight AAA State Championship. She was named to the first All State Softball team as pitcher and second team as an infielder. She was named Best Senior in the state and was ranked the fourth best pitcher in the country. Jennifer’s room looked like a college trophy room with all f the awards sitting around.

Jennifer graduated with a 3.98 grade point average and accepted a full scholarship from Clemson. She had put her medical school dreams on hold to concentrate purely on softball. She left for Clemson in late July to get situated and I took the trip with her. We set her up in the athletic women’s dorm and I met all her coaches. Everything was provided to Jennifer including three meals a day in the athletic complex. I did get Jen a credit card for any other expenses and told her I would pay the bill.

Once Jen left the idea of losing Kate finally hit me. The house was so quiet at night and sometimes I had trouble sleeping. Jen called almost every night and we would talk for maybe ten minutes or so. She would tell me everything going on but in part I knew she was worried about me being alone. She did admit that her training and practice were beyond anything that she had ever been through. She lifted weights every day, hit hundreds of balls and pitched hundreds of pitches. By the time she was finished she was exhausted.

Several weeks later I received a text from Kate. She asked me if I would feel uncomfortable with her and Sarah working out at the gym. I thought about it for a while and then replied that I had no problem with it. I was not a person to hold grudges or ill will against someone. Most of the world didn’t care about it and most times the only person who felt bad was you. Hating took a lot of emotions and most of them were negative.

The following morning at around six in the morning Kate and Sarah did show up. I was working legs and under the squat rack when they showed up. I had just finished a set when the two of them walked over. Sarah appeared to be extremely nervous.

“My god Jace……… how much weight have you put on?’’, Kate stated, kissing me on the cheek.

“I’m pushing two seventy right now.”, I replied.

“How is Jennifer?”, Kate inquired.

“She’s great. She is at Clemson, but they are working her butt off. She’s trying to adjust.”, I answered.

“Ok, we’ll let you get back to your workout. Thanks for letting us use the gym.”, she said.

“Not a problem ladies. Enjoy your workout.”, I responded.

They went across the room and started their routine, and I finished on the squat rack and went to leg press. I finished up the leg workout and went downstairs and showered. I then went to my office and started on some paperwork. From that day on Kate and Sarah showed up every morning or every evening.

When I reached two hundred seventy-five pounds and I started a cardio and cutting cycle. My goal was to lose as much fat as possible but keeping my muscle mass as high as possible. We were approaching the holidays again and I was looking forward to Jennifer coming home for Christmas. I was not going to be alone over the holidays and that was a good thing.

Thanksgiving came and went but I was still training as hard as possible. I was in the best shape of my life and my fighting skills were getting a lot better. Jennifer had called me the first week of December to ask me if her roommate, a senior by the name of Kaley Hackler could come home with her for the holidays. Her parents were celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary and would be in Switzerland. I told her it was not a problem and I set up the plane tickets and sent Jennifer the information. görükle escort

Since Kate and Jennifer had left, I had spent very little money on myself. I paid utilities, insurance, and food but little else. My checking account had really swelled back up, but I could give Jennifer a great Christmas. It was about two weeks before Christmas late at night where I received a text notification. It was from Kate. I opened it and adjusted my eyes to the screen

“What are you doing”, Kate asked.

“Not much just in bed watching tv.”, I replied.

“I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. It doesn’t help that I see you just about every day either. First, I want you to know how sorry I am for what happened. I think I was caught up in the moment and did not think things through. I really thought you would agree to let Sarah join us, in fact we both did. She was as surprised as I was when you said no. Anyway, it was on me and no one else. So, what I’m asking is…… are you seeing anyone else right now and would you consider seeing me again?”, Kate asked.

“Wow, you really caught me by surprise with that.”, I answered.

“I’m sorry…… really, I am. Sometimes you must lose something to find out how much it means to you.”, Kate stated.

“Not answering yet but……… how is this supposed to work. Are you still going to see Sarah?”, I asked.

“Sarah and I agreed a few days ago to go our separate ways. I’m also sure I’m going back to the emergency room where I was tired but happy. I’m going to move in with my parents for the time being until I get myself situated. You don’t have to answer me now or feel free to tell me to fuck off……you have a right to.”, she admitted.

“I would never tell you that. I’m not sure how to feel right now but I promise to answer you in a day or two.”, I promised.

“That’s all I can ask for………. Thank you so much.”, she replied.

Kate had caught me completely by surprise although in one way it was a nice surprise. Obviously, I still loved Kate and for all practical purposes she was my best friend. But on the other hand, what she did hurt a lot. At that time, I must remember she thought more of Sarah than she did of me. I was up most of the night wrestling with my decision and as of the following morning I still had not decided. That day sitting in my office at the gym I was reflecting on all the loss in my life thus far. First my entire family and then Shelby. Kate had left me for a while but thought maybe we could get back together. Should I give Kate a chance and see how it goes or just chalk up Kate as another loss in my wife. The answer came quickly without much doubt. Trying again made sense for me because deep down Kate was perfect for me. Yes, leaving me for Sarah hurt but was it worth losing Kate forever over. Right now, in this very moment no it was not.

I did not know what Kate’s schedule was at that very moment, so I simply sent a text that said call me. I didn’t want to exchange text messages for something this important. About an hour later Kate called me and thankfully I was still in the office.

“Hey, I’m sorry but I just got through with my patients. I’m at lunch now. How are you, Jace?”, she said very calmly.

“I’m doing well Kate. How are you?”, I asked.

“Nervous as fuck……”, she laughed.

“What are you nervous about?”, I inquired.

“The answer you’re going to give me…………” Kate admitted.

“Well then don’t be nervous because I want to see you again…….”, I answered.

There was a long awkward pause on the phone in fact after a bit I thought maybe I had dropped the call. So, I asked a foolish question…… are you still there? That is when I realized why she had been so quiet.

“Yes, I’m here ……”, Kate replied, sobbing.

“Please don’t cry, Kate.”, I asked.

“It’s ok……… I’m crying because I’m happy.”, she said, trying to laugh.

“Alright then.”, I replied.

Kate took a few moments to compose herself and when she returned to the phone it was definitely the Kate I remembered so well.

“So, when do you want to see me?”, she asked.

“Right fucking now, Dr. McKinney.’, I urged.

“That’s the best answer you could give Jace Johnson.”, Kate giggled.

“I’m just kidding Kate; you need to get settled. Besides just so you know Jennifer will be here tomorrow with a roommate from school.”, I offered.

“How’s does Jennifer feel about me after what I did to you?”, Kate inquired.

“Honestly Kate, we never really talked that much about it. When you feel up to it you can talk to her by yourself. Jennifer loves you. I don’t see it being a big deal for her.”, I replied.

“I hope not, I’m already catching hell from my parents. My dad is furious about it……… he barely speaks to me. When I mentioned that I might call you back he told me that I don’t deserve another chance.”, she sighed.

“Time fixes everything Kate. Remember that.”, I answered.

Kate promised to call me back in a day or two after she got situated at her parents. We agreed to let the holidays pass before starting any type of relationship again.

The following morning, I did my workout at six o’clock and showered then dressed. I handled a few things that morning and then left the gym around one o’clock to head to the airport to pick up Jennifer and her friend Kaley. Their flight landed at two-thirty, but I wanted to be a bit early. I was sitting in the concourse thirty minutes prior to their plane touching down. The concourse was very crowded and as normal I was getting the look from everyone. The look was what all bodybuilders were subject to. You were either admired or frowned upon there was not an in between. A lot of people looked at you and figured you spent your entire life in the gym. But in fact, most people I knew had regular jobs they worked around.

I looked up at the board and it showed that Jennifer’s plane had landed. About ten minutes later Jennifer came out of the tunnel and walked into the concourse. I got up from my seat and as soon as she saw me, she started running in my direction. She jumped into my arms and held onto to me for dear life. Finally, she lifted her head from my shoulder and looked me in the face still holding on.

“God, I missed you so much.”, she said softly, reminding me so much of her mother.

She then leaned up slightly and put her lips to mine in a kiss that lasted much too long. When she pulled away, she looked directly into my eyes maybe trying to gauge a reaction to the kiss. I think I was able to pull it off, but it really felt awkward.

“Where is Kaley?”, I asked.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you. She came down with the flu yesterday. The team physician did not want her to travel so she stayed on campus.”, Jen explained.

“And you……… you have lost some weight. You’re not eating?”, I asked.

“No, I’m eating tons. They have me on mostly protein diet and a cardio workout. I’m the backup second baseman this year. They have three seniors and two juniors pitching so they don’t need me there. They didn’t want me at my weight playing second base.”, she explained.

We went down and picked up her luggage and then made our way to the car. We drove straight home as Jennifer filled me in on her first half year as a college athlete. She would be in the batting cage at six o’clock in the morning then fielding ground balls at seven. She would then shower and be in her first class at eight fifteen in the morning. Jen’s last class was at two and by three thirty she was back on the diamond. They finished a little after five where she showered again and then ate in the cafeteria. Then she studied until bedtime which was usually between nine and ten at night.

We arrived home and Jennifer unpacked and put everything away. I was sitting in the living area when she came in and sat down next to me.

“What’s on?”, she asked.

“Nothing much, here see if you find something you want to watch.”, I stated handing her the remote and getting up.

I went into the kitchen and got something to drink and then went back to the sofa. I sat down next to Jen but not as close as she was to me the first time.

“Let’s watch this…… it’s supposed to be really good.”, Jennifer said.

“That’s fine.”, I replied.

The movie was entitled “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” and I had never heard of it. But then again, I would usually let Kate pick the movies when we were together. She started the movie and it became quickly obvious that she had picked this movie knowing what it was about. The movie seemed to be about a retired schoolteacher whose husband dies after thirty-one years of marriage. Supposedly, their sex life was horrible, and they only had sex in the missionary position where she never achieved an orgasm. So, she hires a young male sex worker to try and have her first orgasm. The movie is just various dates she would book in hotel rooms which she would meet the young man and their interaction together.

I felt extremely uncomfortable watching sex scenes with Jen being right next to me. This was the first time that Jen had ever been this close to me in this type of situation. I had always thought of Jen as the little girl I had first met years ago with Shelby. I had never thought of her as a vibrant sexual woman but that thought was running through my head now.

Thankfully, the movie finally ended and Jennifer got up and went to take a shower. I promised to order pizza and we could eat when she was finished. The pizza arrived about forty-five minutes later and Jennifer was still in the hall bathroom. I knocked on the door and told her the pizza had arrived. Several minutes later she walked in the kitchen and sat at the island on the stool next to me. She was dressed in a t-shirt and very tight spandex shorts. She smelled wonderful and thoughts were running through my head that I never thought would have.

“Hey, anything happen between you and Kate lately?”, Jennifer asked.

“Actually, we did talk yesterday on the phone a bit. She isn’t seeing Sarah anymore and feels really bad about what she did. She asked if maybe we could start seeing each other again.”, I answered.

“Oh……. What did you say?”, Jennifer asked, softly.

“We both agreed to think about it over the holidays then maybe see what happens.”, I replied.

“I guess that makes sense……”, Jen answered.

“Kate did ask me to tell her how you felt about her and what she had done. I told her and you and I had not talked about it much and I had no idea. I suggested that perhaps if we try again, she should talk to you.”, I responded.

“I love Kate, but I don’t like what she did to you. But that’s between you and her. Whatever you decide I am with you one hundred percent.”, Jen answered.

“Thanks, I’m sure Kate will appreciate that. Honestly, part of it was my fault so I really don’t blame Kate a lot.”, I replied.

“How was it your fault……. She left you for someone else.”, Jennifer stated.

“There is more to it than that, Jen. But it’s complicated.”, I offered.

“I understand that it’s personal between you two, but I know you very well and can’t imagine you did anything to intentionally hurt Kate. By the way, I’m not a child anymore.”, Jennifer stated.

“No, I did hurt her……… I uh…… well let me see how to say this. Oh hell, Kate wanted the both of us to sleep with Sarah. I just didn’t see Sarah as someone I wanted to be intimate with, so I refused.”, I stated.

“Oh, a three way…… how hot.”, Jennifer giggled.

“Oh hush……. You have no idea.”, I laughed.

“Really, you think so. You think I don’t know that you were doing both my mother and my aunt at the same time.’, Jen laughed.

“You knew?”, I answered amazed.

“Uh yea……… I knew.”, she laughed.

“Well anyway that is what happened. So, I guess since I refused Kate started up with Sarah. I think for a while she thought she was in love but now she knows better.”, I said.

“Well, I will say this to you and only you. Both my mother and Kate were crazy to ever leave you. You are the best man I know and the sweetest most caring man I know.”, Jennifer confided.

“Thank you, Jen I appreciate that.”, I said.

I bailed out of the conversation realizing that Jennifer was now a grown woman and knew more than I gave her credit for. I got up and made an excuse about taking a shower and headed for the master bedroom. I got into the shower and took a long one then put on shorts and a t-shirt. I turned the bed down and got in turning on the television. I was not really watching anything in particular and must have dozed off at some point.

Something startled me out of a deep sleep, and I tried to adjust my eyes to the dimly lit room. It took me a second to realize I was not in the bed alone. I felt a very soft hand on my left arm and turned that way. It took a second to realize that Jennifer was in the bed next to me.

“Jen, what’s wrong?”, I asked.

“Nothing’s wrong.”, she said softly.

“Then why are in my bed?”, I asked, confused.

“I want to ask you something…….”, Jen replied, her voice trailing off.

“Ok but can we talk about it in the morning?”, I asked.

“Um not really……”, she answered with some hesitation.

“Ok then, what do you need to ask me.”, I inquired.

“I don’t exactly know how to say this but I’m going to try. You know how much I love you and I can’t be more grateful for everything you have done for me. But I wanted you to do one very special thing for me…………… but it’s hard to ask you.”, Jen admitted.

“Jen, you know I love you. What do you need me to do for you. You know money is not an issue for me. Whatever you need I can get it.”, I promised.

“This doesn’t cost any money.”, she answered.

“Ok Jen……what can I do then?”, I inquired wanting to go back to sleep.

“Oh god, I can’t believe I’m going to finally say it. Would you please……… uh, sleep with me. I want you to be my first.”, Jennifer whispered.

“Jen, no way. Are you kidding me?”, I asked.

“No, I’m not kidding you. I want you to be the first man I sleep with. Why it that so bad?”, she asked.

“Jen, I can give you a hundred reasons why not. First, you’re my daughter for God’s sake.”, I answered.

“No Jace, not really. I’m the daughter of Tim and Shelby Phillips. There is no blood between us whatsoever. A few years ago, I thought of you as a father but now I see you as a man I want to make love to.”, Jen offered.

“Jen, it can’t happen.”, I replied, trying to wrap my head around what she was asking.

“You don’t find me attractive?”, Jen asked.

“Jennifer, it’s not that. You are a beautiful young woman. When I looked at you, I see so much of your mother in you. I would betray everything your mother and I had between us if I do what you are asking. I promised to protect you and help you. Not have sex with you. Then how do I tell Kate?”, I asked.

“First of all, my mother told me several years ago that she hoped I would find a man that was as good in bed as you are. A man that truly makes love to a woman. Second, no one has to know but us.”, Jen advised.

“Jen, once two people sleep together it’s hard to keep private. The way they look at each other gives it away.”, I stated.

“Jace, I don’t want some idiot being the first fuck in my life. I want someone to make love to me, not fuck me.”, Jennifer said.

“Jen……. I’m very sorry but I just can’t. I still love your mother so much and I cannot do that to the two of you. I hope you understand or will someday.”, I admitted.

“Right now, I don’t understand but I love you and must believe you know what’s best for me. But if you change your mind for any reason the offer still stands. I do want you to be my first.”, Jennifer replied, getting up and walking out of my room.

I didn’t sleep much that night with Jennifer weighing heavily on my mind. She was my daughter for all practical purposes, and I just did not have those types of feelings for her. Secondly, I felt I would betray every moment Shelby and I had spent together if I took Jennifer to bed.

Somehow, I hoped that our relationship would not change after this conversation but no matter what I could not take Jen to bed.

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