“Then I’m putting you in the bunkhouse, Jas. Hana can have the guest room.”
“What’s the bunk house?” Hana asked.
“I get to room with the boys.”
“There’s only one guest room,” Issy explained. “There used to be two, but the twins are big enough now, we moved them into their own room so Willow had her own space. Couple more years, we’ll have to add on. The boys won’t want to share forever.”
“I’ll show you where you’re staying,” Issy took Hana to her bedroom. “Was I wrong to do this?” Issy asked quietly as they got to the guest room.
“No. Our relationship isn’t to that stage yet. Sharing a room would be too much of a temptation. Much as we’re attracted, we’re trying to take it slowly.”
“Good plan. Make him work for you.” Issy winked. Before she left, she took Hana gently in her arms. “Your first time should be really special. I know Jasper can handle that. The time and place will work out, when it’s right.”
“Thanks, Issy. Goodnight.”
“Night, honey.” She shut the door behind her.
Hana didn’t even question how Issy knew that she was a virgin. She was the most perceptive woman Hana had ever met.
The guest room had its own bathroom, so Hana changed into her nightshirt and brushed her teeth. She was just getting into bed when someone knocked at the door. Thinking it was Issy, she called, “Come in!”
Jasper peeped around the edge of the door. “Hey, baby. I just wanted to say goodnight to my best girl.” His eyes glittered happily. “Sleep well, okay?”
“I’m sure I will. I’m really tired after all the time on the road.”
“When we get back, we’ll make sure you get a lot of rest. I’ll take Enid backpacking, or something, so you can sleep.”
“Oh, you evil man! You’d end up carrying her instead of a pack, and I’d worry myself sick!”
He chuckled softly, glancing around to the hallway. No one was around, so he slipped in. “Don’t panic, I’m not staying. I need a kiss before I hit the bunk. The boys tend to chatter. Well, Thorn does.”
Jasper had on a pair of Sponge Bob pajama pants and no shirt. Hana admired his sleek, muscular torso, wanting to hold him and feel his bare chest next to hers. Her fingers traced the lines of his body from chest to waist unconsciously. Jasper gasped, stiffening as her hands dropped.
“Sorry!” She yanked her hands back. “I just want to touch you. I apologize.”
“No need. I feel the same. Enid’d kill me, if I did.”
His lips lowered to hers, slowly, seductively. Holding him close, Hana could feel him firm against her hips. Feeling almost guilty, she broke off the kiss.
“If we’re not real careful, we’re gonna be bad,” she whispered.
“Yeah. I better go. Night, Hana.”
He closed the door behind him rapidly. He knew he shouldn’t have tempted himself, but he had to see her one more time before he went to sleep. Despite dire predictions, the boys didn’t keep him awake for long. He was so tired, he fell asleep fairly quickly.
Morning came early in the Singleton household. By 6:00, the children were up and dressed, eating breakfast before catching the bus. Household noises woke Hana. She got dressed and went to the kitchen to see if she could help. Jasper was already there fixing lunches for the children as Mitch poured coffee for the adults.
“Hey, sleepy head,” Jasper kissed her good morning. “What kept you?”
“I wasn’t sleeping with the cow hands.”
“Good point. Have a seat, I’ll get you some breakfast.”
“Just coffee at the moment. I need it to prop my eyes open.”
“One mug of Elixir of Morning Light coming right up!” Mitch bellowed as he poured cream and sugar into her mug.
Hana was a little worried he’d put too much in, but somehow he got it just right. The coffee was strong, clearing her sinuses and making her blink rapidly in response. By the time she had finished her first mug, the children were piling into the family SUV heading to the bus stop with their mother.
“It’s nearly six miles to the bus stop,” Mitch explained. “She takes ’em down, I pick up in the afternoon.”
“Good system,” Hana said. “My mom did everything, micromanaged. She is so incredibly anal, it’s not even funny.”
“Baby, you make your mama sound just awful. Do you think she’ll even like me?” Jasper looked truly worried.
“I’m not even sure she likes me much,” Hana replied. “Mom’s an odd duck. You know that character Bree on Desperate Housewives?”
“The redhead, yeah.”
“Multiply her by a factor of ten, add two thousand and square the answer, you’ve got Mom.”
“Ooh— This is the part where you say, Not! Right?”
Hana just looked at him over the top of her mug.
“I got to meet this woman,” Mitch said finally. “Makes me awful damn curious. What’s your pa see in a filly like that?”
© Dellani Oakes 2022