Archive | March 2020

Love Takes a Swim Part 44 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai and Paisley are kissing, Cody interrupts them, annoying Kai. Paisley fusses at Kai, saying that Cody is jealous of them. His crass comment that at least Cody isn’t getting laid either, makes her jab him in the ribs.

“Sorry, what did I say?”

“It’s the whole attitude I object to. You’re being a cocky son-of-a-bitch, and I don’t like it.”

“I’m sorry. It’s a guy thing, babe. When there’s a beautiful woman around that one’s laid claim to and another one wants….”

Laid claim? I’m property now? I’m not an object to fight over, Kai! I’m a person!”

“Paisley, I know that! I didn’t mean it that way. Of course you’re not an object.”

He took her gently by the elbows. She tried to jerk away, but he pulled her into an embrace.

“I’m sorry. I screwed up, and I’ve upset you. Forgive me for being a dumb guy, huh? You’re amazing and beautiful. Sometimes I forget what you’ve been through. And I don’t think about what he was like. Please don’t judge me by his standards, cause I swear I’m not like that. I’d never treat you like a possession.”

“What did you mean by laid claim, then?”

Kai sighed, flinging out his arms as he tried to explain. “Not like that. Men get very territorial, especially with women. Those with manners, will respect that this woman, or that, is off limits because there’s a designated interest. If I like you, and I show that I like you, say it, claim you, as it were…. It’s a way of showing how much I care about you. Other guys will back off.”

Paisley gave him a level stare, waiting for more. Kai didn’t have more. He wished he did, but he didn’t.

“Do you understand? It’s like with me. You’ve shown your preference, so other girls should back off, and give you your space.”

“Should?” She raised an unfriendly eyebrow. “Should.” Crossed arms and angry eyes greeted him.

“I have women coming onto me constantly, because of what I do. But once they know I’m attached, most of them back off.”

“But not all?”

“Like guys, there are some girls who don’t take no for an answer…. Babe, why are we arguing? I don’t wanna fight.”

Paisley didn’t know why she was arguing. What he’d said or how he’d said it—something had struck her wrong. She was furious and upset. She wanted to scream and cry. Mostly, she wanted to run away from her chaotic emotions. Suddenly in tears, she ran from him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Kai followed her, calling her name, but she only ran faster. A sprinkler head that hadn’t gone all the way back down, caught her toes as she ran blindly past. Tripping, she went headlong, landing hard on her side. Kai was with her in an instant.

“Paisley! Babe, are you okay? Cody!” he bellowed for his brother.

Gasping and sobbing, Paisley lay on the ground as Kai did an assessment. Cody joined him, then ran back for the first aid kit and wheelchair. Kai’s hands trembled as he checked for broken bones.

His mother joined him, her face full of concern. “Is she okay?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know!” Kai felt unfamiliar panic rising.

“Kai, look at me,” Nina said calmly. “You can do this. You know what you’re doing. Forget it’s Paisley, and check. Deep breath.”

He did what she said and started again. “Nothing’s broken, but she could have some fractures. She’s bruised, got a nasty laceration across her toes…. I can drive her to the hospital.”

“I’ll take her. I need you here. We’ve got people coming. You lead class, and Cody can sit on the tower.”

“Me? I don’t know anything…. Get one of the aerobics instructors….”

“They’ve got their own jobs to do.”

“My notes—are in my bag….” Paisley grimaced in pain as Cody and Kai lifted her into Nina’s car. “The iPod has the music…. I’m sorry. I’m so….”

“So am I. It’s okay.” Kai kissed her gently. “I’ll see you soon.”

He closed the door carefully and his mother pulled out of the parking lot. Paisley’s pale face showed clearly as they drove away. He felt horrible. His actions had made her run. He’d upset her, scared her somehow, that he didn’t quite understand. He’d never had a woman run away like that, and it upset him, too.

Digging through Paisley’s bag, he found her notes and iPod. Cody climbed the tower and Kai took his place on the pool deck, smiling at the group. They gazed up at him with curiosity from the water.

“Paisley had a fall,” he announced. “She’s okay, but Nina took her to the hospital, just to be sure. So I’m gonna be your instructor today.”

Mr. Sims booed playfully, swatting water at him. Kai pretended to glare, pointing at the older man.

“Just for that, you get laps after class, Mister!”

“Yeah, yeah! You’d like to try. Let’s get this class going, buddy. Chop chop!” He chopped the water for added effect.

Kai set up the music and started the warm-up. Class was going well until about halfway through. There was always a small group of people who chatted instead of exercising. There were four women and one man, who flirted with them all. They seemed to think that because it was Kai in charge instead of Paisley, they could talk even more. They got louder and more annoying, to the point where one of the women in the class spoke to them.

“Hey, could you guys keep it down, please? I can’t hear him.”

“Why, you wearing a turtleneck?” The one man in the bunch, who was probably in his sixties, responded.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Family Matters ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageOlivia Gray and Boone Strange have known one another since childhood, but haven’t seen one another for quite some time. She’s home, going through her grandmother’s house, since Gram has recently been diagnosed with dementia, and put in a home. She’s at his grandfather’s house next door, when several members of the Strange family arrive to help her with the daunting task. One of them is Boone.

The front door opened and one of Porter’s granddaughters walked in. She and Olivia were about the same age.

“That my little Frangipani?” Porter called.

“It sure is, Granddad! Livy, it’s so good to see you!” The young women hugged. “Girl, I have missed you! You ready to get to work?”

“Sit down and have a cup,” Porter invited. “The others are coming. I knew you’d be first. My little Frangi is always early. Now, that brother of yours…. Pfft!” He waved his gnarled hand. “Boy was born late.”

“Boone’s coming?” Olivia tried to keep the eagerness from her voice, but figured she probably failed miserably.

“I thought he was working today?” Frangi said.

“He told me he was coming. Now, whether that means after work, now, or midnight, who can say? That young’un keeps his own time. We got real time, and Boone time.”

The women giggled, knowing it was true.

“Mama says he’ll probably be late to his own funeral.”

The front door banged shut.

“Whose funeral?” A mellow baritone asked from the living room.

“Slow, but ears like a fox,” Frangi said. “You’ll be late to yours,” she said as her brother wandered in.

A sly smile spread across his face. “Is that Olivia? Lord, girl! Pops told me to come help with Granny’s, but he didn’t say you were gonna be here. Do I get a hug?”

Olivia’s breath caught in her throat when she heard his voice. “It’s been too long, Boone. How you been?”

She stood, legs shaking, as he folded her in his embrace. His strong arms wrapped around her and he held her close. She thought she heard him sigh contentedly. Maybe that was wishful thinking on her part, because it felt like coming home, to find herself in his arms. Reluctantly, she let go as he released her.

“Chile, you are skin and bones!” he declared, sounding like his grandfather. “What do they feed you in Florida?”

“Not enough, apparently. Sally’s already read me the riot act, and Porter fed me more for breakfast than I eat in a day.”

“She ate it all, though,” his grandfather stated. “Bet she’d eat more if I offered it.”

“No, I am officially full. If I eat anything else, I might vomit.”

“I can eat,” Boone said as he gave his grandfather a gentle hug.

“I know that, which is why I made plenty. Help yourself, your hands ain’t broke.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 43 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai tells Paisley a little bit about Toby, who was a late bloomer. Of course, with a big family, it would be hard to find a woman he wasn’t related to.

“That’s probably what slowed him down.”

“Prolly. I’m happy for him. Makes me kinda jealous.”

“Really? You want children?”

“If Brianna had, had our baby, he’d be going into first grade.”

“It was a boy?”

Kai shrugged, shaking his head. “Never knew. I just kind of thought it was a son. Maybe wishful thinking. Most guys want a boy to pass their name on—teach them all those manly things….”

“What would you teach your son?”

“How to swim,” he said as if that were a given. “How to take care of other people, and how to treat the woman in his life.”

“Did your dad teach you those things?”

“Brad did. He’s a great father. Even if I wasn’t his kid, he always treated me like I was. My dad’s always been around, don’t get me wrong, but it was Brad who raised me. And that was okay. He and my father have always gotten along. His wife’s a nice lady, very cool with it all. I hope to introduce you soon. They’re supposed to be down for the wedding and Christening. He’s kin to Toby, I think I mentioned.”

“Yes, you did.”

“The lines of kinship start to get murky. Then they get muddy, then downright opaque. Someone keeps it all straight. I just call my generation all cousins. The folks mom’s age are aunts and uncles. We’re a pretty casual bunch, it’s mostly first names, so we don’t have to keep careful track.”

“You think your father will like me?”


Paisley started to tear up.

“He’ll love you. Don’t worry so much. He and his wife are super awesome.”

“He’s so cute and cuddly,” Paisley said, completely changing the subject. “KD’s so adorable!”

“He is, for sure, one good looking kid.”

They pulled up at his parents’ house. Kai opened her door, helping her out. She slid into his arms, holding him close.

“You were fantastic tonight. You stayed so calm and took care of Epi….”

Kai stopped her words by giving her a kiss. He couldn’t express what he was feeling any other way. He was overwhelmed by his experience, shocked to find that there was a large part of him that desperately wanted a wife and children. He never would have considered it, if it hadn’t been for Paisley’s presence in his life. He didn’t want just any woman for his wife, he wanted her. And he wanted her to be the mother of his children.

Only the fact that this was his mother’s home, and she’d kill him if he had sex with Paisley under her roof, kept him from misbehaving. He and Paisley kissed a long time in the living room, but when he walked her up to her room, he didn’t go any further than a chaste goodnight kiss. He ached with desire, but he had a way to deal with that. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. He wasn’t sure how much longer it would. He hoped Paisley wouldn’t make him wait as long as Epiphany had made Toby. He didn’t think he had the self-control to last two months.

He put on his party music and got in the shower. He made sure to put on his boxers, because he didn’t want to get stuck naked in bed with her again.

Fortunately, or not, depending on the perspective, Paisley didn’t come in with him. It was just as well. He woke up with the worst erection of his life—to date, and there and been some bad ones, especially in his teen years. A little private party took care of that and he was able to get dressed and get his breakfast without embarrassment.

Kai and Paisley drove to work together. She kept talking about Epiphany and the baby, excited by the new life they’d helped bring into the world. She was so excitable, it was affecting him, making him want her even more. Before going inside, he leaned across the center of the Jeep and kissed her.

“I love you,” he whispered. “So very much. I want to make love to you, make you a woman, give you a son….”

Paisley gazed up at him, touching his lips and cheek with her fingers. “I want that too. I love you, Kai. I didn’t realize until last night how much….”

They kissed a few more minutes until someone pounded on the car hood. It was Cody. He’d seen them pull up and sit there. Not wanting to do his brother’s job, in addition to his own, he came out to take care of it.

“Move your lazy, bony ass, bro! Hiya, Paisley!”

“Trust Cody to spoil the mood,” Kai said with a frown.

“He’s jealous,” Paisley said quietly. “Don’t you think he’d like a girlfriend? Besides, I think he has a little crush….”

“I’ll crush him,” Kai said, glaring after his brother.

“It’s that alpha male thing,” she said with a giggle. “Can’t stand for another man to take an interest.”

“He’s not a man, he’s a kid.”

“He’s as much a man as you. He may not have your experience, but he’s got the same desires and needs you have.”

“Well, at least he’s not getting laid any more than I am,” Kai said with a contented smirk.

Paisley’s punch to the ribs not only took him by surprise, it hurt. Glancing at her, he realized for the first time that she was actually angry with him.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 42 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallEpiphany heads to the hospital with her son. Toby thanks Kai for taking care of his family for him, and tells him a little about his early relationship with Epi.

“Rare. Who knew we’d find two, huh?”

“Paisley seems pretty great. Epi likes her. She’s real shy, doesn’t take to many people.”

“So’s Paisley. With a guy like what’s his asshole, who can blame her?”

“I wonder if Sushi’s made any progress?”

“Ask him when you call to tell him about…. What the hell did you name your son?”

“We had a name all picked out, but we changed it.”

“No kidding? To what?”

“We wanna name him after you.”

“Me? Toby, dude, I didn’t…. Epi did all the work.”

“If you hadn’t taken charge, I’d still be sitting on my ass not knowing she was in labor till she had him on the beach. You totally rocked, dude. We both appreciate it. We want you and Paisley to be godparents. Will you?”

“Toby, man, I don’t know what to say….”

“Say yes, ass wipe.”

They were passing the information desk when he said that. One of the women frowned at him. He grinned, flashing a peace sign. They went to the security doors leading to the labor and delivery floor. Toby showed his bracelet and they opened the door for them.

“Do me a favor,” Kai said to Toby. “If you name him after me, you won’t call him Little Kai or something retarded.”

“Promise. We’ll name him Marcel instead.”

“You won’t either. I won’t let you saddle my godson with a gay assed name like that.”

“We were thinking Kai Drew, call him KD for short. Whatcha think?”

“I’d be honored,” Kai agreed. “Very honored and proud.”

Suddenly, he wanted to cry. Nothing his friends had ever done, touched him like that. He stopped walking, overcome with unfamiliar emotions.

“You okay, man?”

“Yeah.” Kai rubbed his face. “I—yeah.”

“No, really. What’s up? I never saw you look like that before.”

Kai couldn’t speak. Shaking his head, he pressed his lips together, because he felt like he was going to start sobbing any second. Toby’s eyes clouded. He took Kai in a manly embrace, hugging him hard.

“You’re the best guy I know, Kai. Dude, if you start bawling, I’m gonna too. Don’t you dare, make me fking cry!”

“There you are!” His mother stuck her head out the door. “We were just wondering where you were! I love the new name choice! I approve!” She grabbed Kai, kissing his cheek, then pulled her son over with her other arm. She cried unashamedly, holding them both close. “Little Kai is so adorable!”

“We’re gonna call him by his initials, Mom. KD for short.”

“If you call him Little Kai, everyone’s gonna think he’s my kid,” Kai said. “Don’t want to steal Toby’s thunder.” He chuckled, punching his friend.

“As if anyone could mistake that little blond baby for yours! Now that he’s all cleaned up, he’s like a little dandelion! Come see!”

They walked in to find Paisley holding KD. She was smiling and crooning at him as he gazed at her. He was indeed like a dandelion. His golden blond hair stuck up in every direction like he’d gotten a shock of electricity. His eyes were dark blue and slightly crossed.

“Hell of a good looking kid,” Kai said as they transferred KD over to him. “You did good, Epi. He’s perfect.”

“Eight pounds, fourteen ounces,” she said with a grin. “Twenty-three inches long. How did I do that?”

Kai chuckled, touching her cheek tenderly. “Like a pro, babe. You did great. You should be proud of yourself. I’ve seen women deliver babies almost half as big, and not do as well. You’re officially a trooper.”

She beamed at him, touching her son with her fingertips. “Did you ask him?” she said to Toby.

“Sure did. He said yes. You?”

“Paisley wanted to see what Kai said. So, will you?”

“I’d be thrilled to be his godmother. I don’t know what to do….”

“No worries,” Emily said. “You’ll figure it out. After the wedding, we’ll have a Christening.”

“When’s the wedding?” Kai asked.

“After I’m all healed up,” Epi said. “God forbid I should deprive Toby of his love romp.” She giggled, then grasped her abdomen. “Oh, that’s tender when I laugh.”

Toby took her hand, kissing it. “He’s amazing, babe. Thank you. Thanks for my son.”

“Time for us to go,” Emily said almost too loudly.

Kai handed Epi the baby, giving her a kiss on the forehead. Toby gave Paisley a kiss on the cheek, and they left with Toby’s folks. As he drove home, Kai couldn’t help grinning.

“Hard to believe he’s a dad. I never would’ve thought Toby would be the first one of us to reproduce.”

Paisley giggled. “Why?”

“Cause he was such a goob! Didn’t even get laid the first time, until he was a senior. Not that it’s a bad thing. He was a late bloomer. And try finding a woman he’s not related to!”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from The Experiment ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageA senior in college, Maggie is struggling with a required freshman psych class. It’s her own fault, she’d been putting it off. If she doesn’t pass, she won’t graduate. When her professor offers here a chance to participate in an experiment, she jumps at the chance. She soon finds she’ll be paired with a man, a complete stranger. They will get “married”, and live together as a couple for the next six weeks. Tonight is their first meeting. Maggie has no idea what to expect.

A man walked in, catching her attention. He was six feet tall, lean built, with broad shoulders. His dark brown hair was cut in a sort of early Beatles style and was tossed around in such a casual way, it probably took ages to fix. He bent forward to talk to the hostess, hands in the pockets of his tan chinos. He wore a darker tan corduroy jacket and a plaid shirt that was buttoned to his adam’s apple. His expression was made difficult to read by the black framed glasses he wore. Give him a pocket protector full of pens, he’d be right out of Revenge of the Nerds.

Maggie stood as he approached the table, holding out her hand. He took it, his palm slightly sweaty, shaking it in a moderately firm grip.

“Jaeger Jeffreys,” he said by way of greeting. He pronounced his name Jay-ger.

“Margay Simmons—but you can call me Maggie.”

Jaeger came around to help her with her chair. Unused to such attention, Maggie sat too quickly, flopping awkwardly onto her seat. Fortunately, Jaeger didn’t seem to notice.

“So, Jaeger,” she croaked. Clearing her throat, she took a sip of water. “Do you go by a nickname? Like Jay or Ger?” Realizing she was babbling, Maggie stopped talking and took a deep breath. Another sip gave her an excuse to stay quiet.

Jaeger chuckled. “I sometimes go by Jeff or Jay. Good friends call me J.J. You can call me any of the above, or the full handle. I answer to about anything.”

His voice was a smooth tenor flavored by a slight Southern accent that she thought was from Alabama. Maggie had a good ear for accents and could usually pinpoint where someone was from after a very short time.

“Unusual name, Jaeger.”

“Yep. Mom’s family name. It’s actually my middle name. First name’s awful.” He made a face.

“It can’t be that bad.”

“Trust me. When I know you better, I’ll share.” He took a sip of his water.

The waitress brought their soup, a delicate gazpacho with croutons. Conversation lagged slightly as they ate.

“So, Jaeger, what do you plan to do once you graduate?”

He put down his spoon and folded his hands under his chin. “First of all, my future wife can call me Jay—please. Secondly, I’m going into the family business. Dad’s an accountant, his dad was, and his dad. Going back to the War Between the States, when my many greats granddaddy was pay master for General Lee.”

“The Civil War, you mean?”

Jay shushed her playfully. “Lord, chile, don’t ever let my granny here you say that! She will shoot you for a Yankee! She calls it The Recent Unpleasantness.” He laid a thick layer of Southern on his statement.

“Yankee! I think I might be offended by that.”

Jaeger laughed, slapping his thigh. “I say all that and you catch onto Yankee? Lordy. Where you from, Maggie?”

“I was born in Tennessee, but raised in Florida. I’m as Southern as you are.”

He held up a finger, wiggling it at her. “I do beg to differ. I was born in the Appalachian Mountains, in a cabin in the Chattahoochee National Forest. I was raised in Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama. My folks were from Citronelle, Alabama—population just around thirty-six hundred. They now live in Biloxi, Mississippi. My granddaddy’s family was one of the first families to settle there in 1811. I have a family tree with so many branches, I don’t know all my first cousins and only a handful of the seconds. So, I promise you, to my granny, a girl raised in Florida—she’s a Yankee.”

Maggie bridled, sitting up straighter in her chair. It took her a moment to realize that he was teasing her. She saw an amused glitter in his eyes. She hadn’t noticed it before because of the glasses, but they were a dark sage green.

“Smart ass,” she muttered.

Jaeger winked. “Been called worse.”

Their entrees arrived. Maggie had opted for the coriander pork chop with a sweet potato and cooked apples. Jaeger had a steak, fries and grilled pineapple.

“I’m glad to see you’re not a vegan,” he said as he cut into his steak. “I dated a girl for awhile, only to find out she didn’t eat meat. Considering she didn’t share that fact with me when I invited her to dinner at the steak house, it was somewhat….”


He winked, pointing his fork at her. “Bingo. I enjoyed my meal and she took a cab home.”


“Yeah, it was our third date too. Subject couldn’t come up before that?”

“You’d think so. What’s significant about the third date?”

Jaeger stopped eating, glancing up at her over his glasses. His fork and knife were poised to cut and framed his face in glittering steel.

“Um—the third date. After the third date…..” He tilted his head from side to side indicating she should fill in the blanks.

“Oh, my God! I’m dumb. I don’t—date—a lot. Like—ever?” Embarrassed, she attacked her pork chop with renewed vigor.

Jaeger’s laugh made her ears burn. She glared at him.

“I’m sorry. Just, it’s kind of refreshing to find someone who’s not jaded. You don’t know how rare that is, Maggie.”

“I suppose that could be a compliment. At least you didn’t call me naïve.”

“Now why would I do that? Being naïve isn’t a bad thing, but it implies being cut off from reality and not familiar with the bad things in life. You’re not sitting in some ivory tower, you’re out here with the rest of us, but you haven’t let the association with the bad things tarnish you.”

Maggie stared at him in silence, a bite of pork in her mouth. She had no idea how to reply to that. He’d summed up her life entirely in a few sentences. Not only that, he made her sound strong, positive and self-possessed. Everyone else treated her like a silly little child. She smiled.

“Thank you. I believe that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in a long time.”

“Then you don’t hang out with the right people.” He concentrated on his food.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 41 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallThe party ends abruptly when Epiphany goes into labor. With a little assistance from the ambulance crew, Kai delivers the baby.

“You coming?” Toby asked Kai.

“We’ll drop by, I promise. I got stuff to do here.”

What he meant was they had paperwork to fill out, as well as a hell of a mess to clean up. The towels hadn’t been enough to contain it. Kai didn’t know if they’d ever get the blood out of the couch and suspected they wouldn’t. Not that Toby’s parents cared. They could afford a new couch.

“I can’t believe he was born right here at home!” Toby’s mother said, through joyful tears. She hugged Drew and kissed Kai. “You boys were wonderful! Thank you!”

“Just doing our job,” Drew said. “I think the couch is a gonner,” he said to Toby’s dad.

“No problem. Kai, will you help me take it to the road?” He bagged the cushions in black garbage bags.

“Sure will. Then we’ve got paperwork to do.”

“I got it,” Drew said. “Just need your John Hancock.” He pointed to the spot where Kai needed to sign. Someone had already filled it out.

“Thanks, guys. I wasn’t sure I could do that solo.”

“You’ll do great on your next one. Did good, kid,” Drew assured him.

The others congratulated him, slapping him on the back.

“I love delivering babies. We see so many people in agony at the end of their lives,” Drew said as he prepared to leave. “It’s great to see someone just starting out.”

“You don’t think the cord was a problem, do you?”

“Probably not. Doctor can tell you that. You did just right. You got a knack, kid. A real talent. Good job.”

That compliment meant a lot to Kai. He’d worked with Drew and his team for part of his training, and they knew their stuff. They weren’t expansive with their compliments, nor did they pull any punches when he screwed up. The criticism was always constructive, given in a positive manner, but they never told him he’d done well, unless he deserved it.

“Better head to the hospital now,” Toby’s father said. “Thanks, Kai.” He clapped him on the shoulder. “I’m glad you were here.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. McTeague.”

Toby’s father cuffed him, grinning. “Since when did you start calling me that? I’ve been Dad or Bob since you were seven.”

Kai chuckled, eyes twinkling. “Haven’t seen you in awhile….”

“You’ll always be family, no matter what. So, this is your girlfriend? Fiancée? Wife? We didn’t get a chance to be introduced. I’m Bob McTeague and my wife, Emily.”

“This is my girlfriend, Paisley Saunders,” Kai said. “We just started dating. She teaches at the club.”

“Really? What do you teach?” Emily asked.

She and Paisley talked happily as they cleaned up the towels and sheets from the couch, putting them in the wash. Kai and Bob picked up the couch and carried it to the road for the garbage men to pick up the next day.

“I can’t believe I’m a grandfather,” Bob said proudly. “Hell, I can’t believe my son’s a father! He’s still a kid!”

“He’s almost twenty-three,” Kai pointed out.

“Kid, I was twenty-five before I even got married. My son’s younger than his mother was when she had him. You can’t imagine how weird this is. When they told us Epi was pregnant, I freaked. Not that I was upset about the baby, but because I couldn’t figure out where all those years went. I remember him as a golden haired toddler playing on the beach, like it was yesterday. My son’s a father now. He better be a good one, or I’ll knacker him.”

“He’ll be great. He had a fantastic example.”

Bob gulped, nodding his thanks. “We’d better get ourselves ready to go.” He looked like he was going to cry.

Kai followed him back to the house in silence. The women were ready to go, so they washed their hands and headed in a mini-convoy to the hospital.

Epiphany and the baby were already in their room. Toby stood on the sidewalk having a cigarette. Kai joined him, not because he wanted a smoke, but because his friend needed him. Paisley went up to see Epi and the baby with Toby’s folks.

“So, how you doin’, Dad?” Kai asked his friend.

“Freaking. What if I drop him or something!”

“You’re not gonna drop him. You’re gonna do great. I thought you’d quit that habit.” He took a drag of the cigarette and kept it, stubbing it out on the pavement.

“I did. I bummed one off another dad. Dude, you totally saved the day. I can’t thank you enough for what you did for my family. Jeez, my family—my son—feels totally weird to say that. I’m a father!”

Kai handed him a stick of gum, popping one in his mouth as well. Leading Toby back to the hospital, they talked about how things were progressing with Paisley.

“Still not past first?”

“Got to second, if you count groping on the beach today.”

“Any groping counts, dude. Women of quality are worth waiting for. Epi made me wait almost two months.”

“No kidding? What’d you do?”

“Jacked off a lot. It was murder, but totally worth the wait. I’m her one and only, can you believe? How often do you find a girl our age, who hasn’t been around a lot?”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 40 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai is persuaded to play the guitar and sing, making Epiphany very happy. Paisley is astounded that he can sing so well.

“Thank you,” she said, tears in her eyes. “How did you know I absolutely love that song?”

“Didn’t have a clue. But I do, too. Any requests?”

Epiphany nodded, glancing at Toby. “Could you play Epiphany by Staind?”


The guitarist was already playing before Kai sat back down. He put his arm around Paisley and started to sing. His voice was sweeter, more mellow than the guy from Staind. By the time he got to the first chorus, all the women were in tears. The guy on rhythm harmonized with him, adding a dimension to the song that Paisley hadn’t realized was missing, until that moment. The harmonica added a haunting accompaniment. By the time they were finished, Epiphany was sobbing, clutching her stomach. Toby held her, talking quietly.

“Damn, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” Kai said, hopping from his seat. “She okay?”

He could see the young woman was in pain. His mind kicked into professional mode, and he squatted by her chair. She took a deep breath, blowing out slowly.

“You in labor?” he asked quietly.

“I don’t know. I might be. I haven’t felt good all day, but I didn’t want to disappoint Toby. He wanted to give me this party….”

“Any bleeding? Water break?”

He went through a list of symptoms while he took her pulse. It was racing. Another pain contorted her features. Less than five minutes apart.

“Party’s over, my friends. I think we’re gonna have a baby.” Kai whipped out his cellphone and walked toward the house in order to get a better signal.

The nearest hospital was 20 minutes away. The nearest fire station was five. He wasn’t sure Epiphany could wait 20 minutes, plus the ride. He didn’t really want to transport her himself, so he called the professionals. Not that he wasn’t, but he’d never delivered a baby solo, and he didn’t really want to start tonight—not when he’d been drinking. Grant you, it was only one beer, but this was his friend’s baby. God forbid anything went wrong.

The call placed, he went back to Epiphany’s side. “Can you walk, hon?”

She shook her head. Kai and Toby carried her back to the house. She had three more contractions by the time they got her there. Toby’s mother got towels and they laid her on the couch. It was a good thing they’d covered it because her water broke a few seconds later.

Fortunately, right after that, the paramedics arrived. Kai went out to greet them, giving them his report.

“You think she’s gonna have it now?” the lead paramedic, Drew said.

He heard Epiphany scream inside.

“Get these people out of here,” he told the others. “Show me,” he told Kai.

Toby’s parents had already started clearing people off the beach, ushering them around the outside of the house. They went quickly, excited at the prospect that the baby was coming as planned. They didn’t mind that the party was over, they were too happy for the new parents. Soon, they were gone.

Paisley wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t part of the family, nor was she a friend, but Epiphany insisted on holding her hand, whenever she had a contraction. Toby supported her back as she pushed and Kai coached her, keeping her calm. Toby’s parents stood side by side, out of the way, watching as their grandson was born.

Drew talked to Epi, telling her what to do, assuring her she was doing a great job.

“Glove up,” he told Kai.


“Hurry. You wanna catch or not?”


“Shut up, kid, and get your ass over here.” Drew laughed at Kai’s stunned expression. “Paying attention to what I’ve been doing?”

“Yes, sir.”

Kai washed his hands with betadine, and put on gloves quickly, taking Drew’s position. He was a little embarrassed seeing so much of Toby’s fiancée, but she was past caring. Drew took his place by Epi’s side, as Kai told her when to push.

“You’re doing great, Epi. Give me another, sweetheart.”

Screaming loudly, she pushed hard.

“He’s crowned. Give me good one.”

Roaring with effort, she pushed hard and the baby’s shoulders popped out. It was then Kai saw the cord around the baby’s neck. He slipped it over the head, moving it out of the way quickly. The little one struggled, gasping. At least his face wasn’t blue, he was a nice, healthy pink, under all the muck. Drew nodded, his expression serene.

“Give me another good push, darlin’ and we’ll have us a baby!”

Epiphany clutched Toby’s shirt, pulling his chest hairs. Her other hand crushed Paisley’s fingers. Taking a deep breath, she waited for the next contraction, bellowing as she pushed. The baby popped out, landing in Kai’s hands.

“Congratulations, it’s a boy!” He laid the baby on Epiphany’s abdomen.

Kai tied off the cord and had Toby cut it while Drew took care of the afterbirth. Paisley watched as the baby was wrapped in warm blankets, and they prepared Epiphany for transport. The ambulance backed up to the door and she was put on a gurney. The new family were loaded in the ambulance and headed to the hospital.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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