“No problem, babe. You married me for my problem solving skills.”
“No, I didn’t! I married you cause you’re the sexiest thing in three states! Purely mercenary,” she explained to Hana. “This man can do more in bed than any other man I dated.” She kissed her husband. “As well as being handsome and sexy, he’s also just as sweet as Jasper.” Their kiss was longer this time.
Jasper shifted uncomfortably. Clearing his throat, he interrupted like Theo had. “Y’all wanna be alone?”
“Yeah, we do, twin-in-law. Go the fuck away,” Theo said, kissing his wife deeply as he flipped off Jasper.
“I’ll show you your room, Hana,” Jasper said quietly as they got up.
“You won’t either,” Julia called after him. “I can’t have you defiling a young woman under my roof.”
“Who said anything about defiling anyone? I do have some self-control, you know.”
Julia glared at him, hands on her hips. Her foot tapped menacingly. “I don’t think so. Hana, I’ll show you up. Jasper, you keep that bad boy in your pants a while longer.” She walked rapidly toward the house.
“Jules!” Jasper yelled helplessly after them. “What the hell?”
Theo laughed at him, loudly, tauntingly. “Face it, bro. She knows you too well.”
“I’m not like you, Theo. I didn’t do everything with a kooch, in school.”
“Unfair! I said no a few times.”
“Oh, really?” Jasper’s tone was derisive. His expression changed to one of worry. “Does she really think I’m that bad? What’s she gonna say to Hana?”
“Don’t worry, bro.” All teasing left him. “I don’t think she’s going to say anything bad. Julia knows you’re a good man. I think she wanted a chance to talk to Hana alone, that’s all. She likes the girl, who wouldn’t? But you do have a rep as a fast worker. I think Julia senses Hana’s inexperience. She doesn’t want her hurt.”
“I’d never hurt her, Theo. I’m falling in love with the girl. I think I love her already. I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. Enid always talks about her. I’ve seen pictures since she was five. Apparently she’s talked to Hana about me too, just not as openly.”
“Her family isn’t like ours. Her mom’s a stiff. Her dad is cool, but her mother is some sort of straight laced creature from the Victorian Era. Very concerned about what’s proper, all that. Enid can’t even act like herself around them.”
“I can’t imagine living like that.”
“Me either, which is why I’m glad she’s with us during her recovery.”
They talked a while longer about Enid’s condition. Theo asked very specific questions. He was a physician’s assistant and working on his PhD homeopathic medicine.
“You should talk to Dad about the treatment program he’s set up. It’s pretty interesting. I think it will do her a world of good. Having Hana was a godsend.”
“She’s a very special lady,” Theo said. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “Look, it’s not my business, but I’m gonna put my nose in.”
Jasper shrugged, leaning back in his chair, trying to act casual.
“She’s a virgin, right?”
“So— Be careful, that’s all. Let her set the pace.”
“I am, Theo. I can’t stop my attraction to her.”
“I’m not telling you to. It’s just— You’re a pretty big guy, and she’s not all that big.”
“Jesus, Theo, are you going to give me an anatomy lesson?”
“No. Never mind. Forget I said anything. I’m worried about the girl, but okay.”
“I know what I’m doing. Could you not?”
“Do you? Really? Ever been with a virgin?”
Jasper wouldn’t look at his friend.
“Cause I know your first time, she was far from it. And the next few girlfriends, as well as the last few, none of them either, right?”
Jasper clenched his jaw, trying to hold in his anger and disappointment. His eyes watered with embarrassment.
“That’s a big no, Jobu,” Theo concluded. “I was gonna give you a few pointers to make it easier,” he said quietly. “I wasn’t trying to stop you, bro. That’s partly what I meant when I said to take it slow. Come on, would I bust your balls over this? You’re crazy about the girl, and eventually you’re gonna get together. I think I know a little more about anatomy than you do, that’s all.”
“Fine,” Jasper said grudgingly. “Fire away.”
Up at the house, Julia showed Hana to the guest room. She liked Hana a lot, and hoped she and Jasper would stay together. From what little she’d heard of Hana’s family, she thought she could use a healthy dose of theirs.
“I guess Theo and Jasper have a lot of catching up to do?”
“Yeah, probably. Those two were inseparable. It wasn’t until he started doing his farrier work that they were ever very far apart. They were even roommates in college.”
© Dellani Oakes 2022