Something More...(attn: Ana, private)

((follows White Sleigh Ride ))

"Are we going to sit here all night, or do I have to drag you out of your seat and drive?"

Laughing Joey turned his attention to the task of driving. He turned the key in the ignition, zipped out of the lot, and drove them to the Target not too far from Ana's place. He was glad to have suggested it, because the holiday seemed to have closed down almost everything. They pulled into the almost deserted parking lot and headed into the store.

He headed to the toiletries section first, Ana's hand firmly encased in his own. He picked up one of those little travel cases that had a razor, shave cream, shampoo and soap in a little plastic zipper bag, then directed them to the men's department. He didn't say all that much, since he was anxious to be done here and take Ana home, not to mention the whole nervous as hell about what it might mean to be in her home, thing. Joey took just a few minutes to pick pajamas. He ended up with a pair of fleece green and navy plaid bottoms and a navy t-shirt that said "Snow Blows" under a picture of a snow blower. They didn't exactly match but it was good enough.

As they passed a stack of hand baskets he chucked the stuff in the top one and picked it up, then headed to the food section. They quickly found all the things needed for omelets and biscuits with sausage gravy, plus a bag of Joey's favorite coffee, only to find out that Ana didn't own a coffee maker. They made a detour to the small appliances and Joey made her pick one out. After much teasing and laughing they ended up with a crayola red 5-cup coffee maker, as well as a small coffee grinder.

There was a briefly intense moment when they argued about who was going to pay for the groceries, but in the end Joey managed to get Ana to let him pay for it all, promising she could pay for the next round they bought. The thought of needing to buy groceries with Ana again, both thrilled and scared him.

Laden with bags they headed back out to the car and piled everything into the back on top of the ice skates. Joey helped Ana up into the Jeep, apologizing briefly for neglecting to do so at the park, and they were off to the pizza place. They chatted and joked, as they waited for one small pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese for Ana, and one large pizza with mushrooms, and every kind of meat the place had, no sauce and extra cheese for Joey. Then it was off to Ana's. He pulled into the driveway on Ana's side of the little converted cottage she lived in.

His hands seemed suddenly stuck to the wheel and he was just a bit reluctant to go on with this next particular step. Why? He couldn't quite say, but he knew that this would change things. It always changed things, sometimes for the better sometimes for the absolute worse, but he knew their relationship would change and he wasn't sure he wanted to do that.

With a soft sigh, he unbuckled his seat belt and turned to face Ana once again.
"Are you certain you want to do this? I don't want you to do anything you are uncomfortable with Ana. I won't come in unless you are absolutely certain you are willing for this to happen. Okay?"

It was a bit of a cop out to lay it all on Ana like that, but he had to make sure that he wasn't pressuring her into changing something that honestly didn't need changing.

Montana 17 years ago
Engaging in an almost forced-march through Target, Ana kept glancing up at Joey's face to find him facing always forward, always towards their destination. At first she thought perhaps he was typical of most men and simply hated shopping. But after the conversation and teasing (especially targeting the remnants of her New Yawk accent when she would say "cawfey") over the crayon-red coffee maker and grinder... And then the return to the front of the store via the pharmacy where Joey disappeared for a moment through the feminine hygiene aisle (though Ana couldn't see what he'd brought back with him in the basket...) And the subsequent argument about who would be paying for the groceries...

Ana's mind lept to the conclusion that perhaps Joey was thinking he was going to get 'lucky' for Christmas.

Especially with the 'You can pay for the groceries next time I stay over' comment.

He did help her into the Jeep though, when they returned to the parking lot, and she smiled and gave a vague response of "It's nothing" when he apologized for not helping her in previously.

They waited in the lobby of the pizza place for the twenty minutes or so that it took for their pizzas to cook. Ana mulled the possibilities over in the few lulls and silences - but he still hadn't looked directly at her while they were sitting, not like when they'd been creating their ornaments. Part of her wished she could call Aishe or Fallon to say 'HALP!' but the night's events seemed now to be moving inexorably to her... bedroom.

When they pulled into her driveway, her lovely yellow Jetta snow-free and clear ("Thank you Bob,") she whispered mentally, Joey shut the engine off and didn't seem to be moving after he did so. She thought she heard him sigh, and he unbuckled and turned to her. "Are you certain? Absolutely certain?" It almost galled her to think that he had taken her out strictly to get into her jeans... But the quiet whisper of a friendly dance teacher's voice in her mind reminded her that were he not the gentle soul Joey seemed to be, he would not have been hired at his job.

As she gazed into the Willy Wonka-esque depths of his chocolate brown eyes, she replied with a bit of a rasp in her voice,
"Before I answer that, I want to thank you very much for the wonderful time you've shown me tonight, and the gentlemanly company was exquisite. That said..."

She pushed her glasses back onto her nose and rested her hands on her thighs for a moment before continuing again with a rasp, "If you don't think you can handle a 'no' - which would definately make me uncomfortable - then you shouldn't come in." She reached over to pick Joey's hand out of his lap and brought his glove-warmed digits to her lips. Brushing her kiss against his knuckles, she gently settled his hand back where it had been, smiled at him, and opened her door. As she swung her feet through the open door and slid off the seat, her jacket caught on something and she fell into the pile of snow along the edge of her driveway with a phfut. Sighing into a faceful of snow, she quickly got up from under the jeep, catching the edge of her shoulder on the corner of the closing door. Brushing herself off carefully she closed the door and stepped away from the Jeep. Thankfully she was able to get upright and walking across her snow-drifted lawn and said over her shoulder, "I'm okay, I'm alright." and even made it to the front door to unlock it before she looked back at the Jeep to see if Joey was going to follow her or not.
Joey 17 years ago
He wasn't sure what to do now. He sat in a sort of stunned silence for a moment, his fingers tingling where Ana had kissed them. He flinched as he watched her fall from the Jeep, and land face first in the snow. Unable to move yet, he flinched again when she hit herself with the door, then began to trudge across the yard with a casual "I'm okay," thrown over her shoulder. He had been sure of what was happening tonight and while he had not begun this evening with that intention, the rejection hurt.

Shaking his head, he hopped down out of the Jeep and went around to the back. He liked Ana, much too much to end their relationship over a misunderstanding about sex. He had a feeling that if he drove away right then, that is what he would be doing. He pulled all of the target bags out and set them on the ground, before moving the skates over and pulling up the little storage compartment lid and pulling a brightly wrapped box, complete with ribbon, out. With it in one hand he shut the back door, beeped the alarm on the Jeep and picked up the target bags in the other hand. Then followed Ana's footsteps to the door.

"I can handle no, but there won't be a need for you to say it."
Montana 17 years ago
Joey was just about right in front of her as her gaze fully turned away from her door. "No need for you to say it." Something in what he said had a tone of regret coloring it, and for a moment she felt a little guilty, even if it did almost confirm her suspicion.

Was the thought she had truly a suspicious one? Was it not a statistically let alone hormonally 'normal' thing for a guy - a red blooded human male over the age of twelve - to want to put his parts to use? Though... he did look at her eyes first and not her breasts... And tended to keep his gaze meeting hers when they spoke...

She opened the door and motioned him in and suggested,
"Please set that stuff on the couch, just to your right," when she realized he'd not brought in the pizza. "Did you leave the pizza on the back seat?"
Joey 17 years ago
He did as she asked and swore under his breath. "Yeah, I did. I'll get them."

Mostly he didn't want Ana to fall into the snow again, but he still needed a moment to collect himself and stop acting like a scorned prom date. Well at least stop feeling like one. He walked past her out the door and loped across the yard, pulling his keys from his pocket. He unlocked the doors and pulled the pizzas from the back. He returned to the porch, stamped the new snow from his boots and stopped next to the couch. This was the furthest he'd been in her home and didn't know where the kitchen was.
Montana 17 years ago
Ana heard him mumble and arched a brow, wondering if he'd sworn or cursed himself or muttered something different entirely. She carefully shucked her boots at the doorway and had hung her coat, leaving her scarf, hat and mittens on.

She traipsed into the bathroom to quickly arrange Joey's toiletries on the sink when she found the tasteful and generic brand name box. She held them for a moment, and looked at herself in the mirror. She thought she looked goofy but cute, with her winter regalia still on and wondered if it was a 'woman' thing or a 'Montana Kensington' thing. Placing the box right in front of the other items, she took a quick stop at her bed and picked up the two pair of slippers there; one a fuzzy pair of bunny slippers, the other a much larger pair of leather moccasins. Holding the moccasins behind her back, she returned to the living room just as Joey re-entered the door and stopped.
"The kitchen is straight back. But first, take off your boots, please, and just leave them by the door. Your feet'll warm up faster." She held out the pair of moccasins to Joey, a tentative smile forming on her face.
Joey 17 years ago
Grinning Joey toed off his boots, while juggling the pizzas. he took the supple leather slippers from Ana. "Thank you. These are great."

He wondered why she had Joey-sized slippers hanging around her house, but decided she'd simply thought of him and had bought them. That was the easy answer. He dropped them to the ground and slid his feet easily into them. He handed the pizzas to Ana and shucked his coat, hat and gloves, hanging them next to Ana's, then he brought his boots over to the shoe rack and placed the large work type boots next to the row of Ana's little shoes. The contrast made him chuckle softly.

"You look cute like that." He grinned at her and retrieved the pizzas from her grasp, before heading to the kitchen. He deposited them on the table, and looked around for the most obvious place for plates.
Montana 17 years ago
Ana noticed Joey had an air of grace about him as he 'danced' around to remove his shoes and put on the slippers. He complimented her and she smiled a reply; her hands and ears were still cold. She followed him to the kitchen and nudged the thermostat to the 'warmer than Arctic' setting, then reached to the top of the fridge for some wide, heavy duty paper plates. "Paper plates in holders work well for pizza," she stated with a sagely tone, "and I've got trays near the couch if you want to sit in the living room, or we can eat in here," she suggested.

Pulling a long, wide-bladed pizza cutter from a drawer next to the sink she commented,
"Though I think if we stay in here we'll want to light one of the stove burners, get a little heat in here. What do you want to drink? I have some Sprite, tea, water, milk... Might even be some caffeine free diet something-or-other and root beer in there. Oh and various fruit juices."
Joey 17 years ago
He took the plates from her and set them on top of the pizza boxes. "Water's good for me, though beer would be better. I'll make due." He gave her a grin and a what's a-guy-to-do shrug. He picked up the pizza and plate pile and turned back to the living room.

"Let's eat in the other room, it'll be warmer, plus I like to be comfortable when I eat."

He gave her another big grin and headed out. He set the pile on the coffee table and moved the target bags to the floor, and put his gift for Ana under her garish tree. He laughed in spite of himself at it, and made himself comfortable on the couch, making two piled of pizza and plates, before throwing back the lid of his own and placing a couple of slices on a plate. At home, he'd have just eaten out of the box.
Montana 17 years ago
"Alcohol," Ana started with an apologetic half-shrug (as she was not truly apologetic as to its lacking, but to not being able to fulfill the simple request) "is not something I habitually keep in stock." She pulled two large textured plastic glasses from the overhead cabinet, filled it with ice from her freezer, and held each under the painfully slow dribble of her fridge's water dispenser.

When she returned to the living room, she noted a wrapped box under the little tree at the end of her dry bar. Hiding a smile, she set the glasses of water down on the table and joined Joey on the couch.
"The heat's been kind of iffy this past week. Rather annoying getting up and being able to see your breath. Okay well it's not that bad, but it's also really cold. I'm expecting a repairman for the heater on Wednesday, and new windows come March. Though," she continued as she leaned forward for a single slice, then sat back and half-turned towards Joey, "I can't imagine this is any less cold than my old place would have been, at the corner of University Apartments. Thank goodness for roofs, in any case, right?" She glanced over the handful of pizza as she folded it, New York style, and bit carefully into the still-steaming cheesy tip.
Joey 17 years ago
Joey bit into his pizza as Ana settled into the couch with him. He grinned at her around the mouthful, and swallowed before answering her.

"If you want, I can take a look at your heater in the morning when it's light. I keep some tools in the jeep. If I can fix it with what I have I will. If not I'll get what I need and fix it Tuesday. No need to pay a repairman when you've got me. That is if you want me to."

He grinned at her again and took a large bite of his pizza. washed it down with a bit of water, then took another bit. He didn't do a whole lot of chewing and he really needed to slow down so as not to give Ana a "ok that's just weird" thought about him.
Montana 17 years ago
Ana waited and smiled carefully as she chewed her pizza before responding, "That's very nice of you to offer, Joey, but I don't want you to feel obligated to fix your... your... to fix my broken things." She'd half wanted to say 'girlfriend' but... was she? They'd only been on one date... Was coffee even counted as a date? Was this one over yet? Did it matter? Ana quieted her strange and out-of-place thoughts.

When she refocused on Joey, she saw him chomping away at his pizza - the slice now almost gone - and his cheeks puffed out almost like a chipmunk's.
"If you choke I reserve the right to use your stomach as a trampoline, instead of doing the Heimlich. Mmmkay?" She winked at him and took another dainty bite.
Joey 17 years ago
Joey nearly choked at that and had to swallow hastily. "Deal."

He put the crust down and picked up his second piece. "I don't mind fixing things for my girl. Besides, I like fixing things. I'm very handy."

He gave her a wink, the doule ententre had been an accident, but it was still accurate. He took another bite of pizza and washed it down with water.
Montana 17 years ago
"Your girl? You mean you have someone else? Lucky girl, I'm sure," Ana winked over her glasses and before she began gnawing on the crust, amended as a new sensation caught her attention, "Since you're so handy, could you 'hand' me a napkin?" Her tongue snaked out on her lip to try to catch a bit of cheese oil that had escaped her mouth.

"You know I'm kind of surprised Russ hasn't yet come out to see us, what with you having so much meat on your pizza. You could almost feed the entire carnivore section at the zoo with two slices of that."
Joey 17 years ago
Laughing Joey picked up a napkin and gently dabbed at the corner of her mouth where her tongue had just been. He handed the paper square to her and returned to putting pizza in his mouth.

"Yeah, that's weird that he's not out here."

Joey looked around for the little puppy that had peed on him in their first meeting. He swallowed his mouthful and gave a small whistle and a couple of kissing noises. Soon after two small yips sounded from the back of the little house. Then a ball of fur came flying from Ana's room to scramble up onto the couch and begin trying to lick Joey's face off. He managed to get his plate put down on the coffee table away from the wiggling butt and scrambling paws of Russ.

"Ok ok, hello to you to. What took you so long little man?"

He nuzzled with the puppy to get him to quit with the licking and murmured softly in his ear until Russ gave a small yip and turned circles in his lap before laying down and resting his head on his paws. Joey picked up his plate and finished his pizza in two bites. He'd eat more later.

"I guess he was waiting to be called. Is that usual for him?"
Montana 17 years ago
Ana smirked at him with a mouthed "Thanks" and then giggled behind a strategically positioned palm (to hide the mouthful of pizza crust) as Russ came charging in to accost Joey. After swallowing, she joked, "But if you call him like that, he's sure to come barrel-assing in thinking you have food..."

"Which, interestingly enough, we do have." She bit a corner of her crust off and held it out on her palm to the puppy.

"No, actually, it's not," Ana commented, remembering many evenings of leaping balls of fur after she returned home from the library. "Though lately he has been slacking on it a bit, the leaping furball thing I mean... Perhaps he'd been a bit traumatized by the loss of his first mommy and just needed reassurance that someone would come home for him." Her voice got a bit quiet and Russ looked at her with a sad puppy dog face - somehow he seemed to know when Ana mentioned Shay, however briefly - and saw the morsel of crust and licked it from her hand.

"Though usually I do try -not- to feed him when I'm eating, especially not from the couch or the same plate."
Joey 17 years ago
"I'm sorry about Shay." He didn't know the whole story, and doubted Ana did either, and so she didn't say anything else. Instead he put his hand on her knee. With is free hand he stroked Russ's super soft puppy fur.

"Good, because this little guy needs only healthy puppy chow and cookies." He ruffled the dog's fur and gave a little growl. "That's right you need cookies don't you."

Russ leapt down from his lap and started doing his best impersonation of a big grown-up dog. Laughing Joey jumped up from the couch and raced the little lump of fur into the kitchen. He'd seen a box of treats up on top of the fridge. He pulled the box down and took one out. he broke it in his hand before dropping down on the floor to Russ height. He rolled over on his back while Russ barked and jumped around him, licking his face. Laughing he put a little piece of the treat on his forehead and Russ jumped up on his chest, planted his paws on Joey's cheeks and gobbled the bit off his forehead.

He grabbed the puppy with his free hand and with a gentle growl brought him to the floor and onto his back. he tickled through the fur which resulted in much wriggling and yips, before giving Russ another piece of his treat. He pulled his legs around and sat cross legged on the floor while Russ jumped and yipped he tossed the last few pieces at him and Russ even managed to catch one mid-air.

Laughing so hard his belly had started to ache, Joey stood and went to the sink to wash his hands and rinse puppy slobber from his face. He dried his hands and face and scooped the little puppy up into his arms.
"Ok little man, no more face licking." Russ responded with a lick of Joey's wrist then settled against his chest with a sigh.

"Ew, you have puppy breath."
Montana 17 years ago
"Yeah, I don't get steak and lobster, why should he?" Russ' look of confusion at Ana made her giggle, then she arched a brow in surprised silence at the pup's sudden leap to the floor. She laughed aloud as Joey ran into the kitchen, preceded by sonic fluff - or were they exactly apace? - then found herself rocking on the couch holding her sides as they roughed and tumbled on the floor of her kitchen. She gasped aloud a few times as it looked like one head or another would collide with her fridge or the wall or a table leg or really anything solid...

Shaking her head in disbelief as they returned to the sofa, Ana felt the twitters in her belly of her hard laughing slowly subside.
"I don't know which of you is a bigger goof. The tall one, or the small one that got him to be so."
Joey 17 years ago
In the walk from the kitchen to the living room Russ had fallen into a deep puppy sleep. Joey gave Ana a big grin and picked up another piece of pizza. He could eat now that the little guy was all tuckered out. "I think it is a draw all things considered, he did stand on my face."

Laughing he took a bite, which in Joey land means half a slice of pizza. In two more bites he finished the slice and was trying to decide if he should have more now or later. He decided on later. He tossed the crust on the plate with the other two and pulled his pizza box closed one handed. Ana had already closed her own less two slices. Well they'd have left overs for lunch tomorrow. That is if he managed not to eat the entire thing when he got up in the middle of the night.

With Russ still tucked against his chest he took the pizzas into the kitchen and slid them in on top of all the groceries they had brought home from Target. He returned to the living room and crossed to Ana's book shelf. He'd noticed a couple of titles he'd wanted to read and so picked out one called On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. He'd been wanting to read this series for a while and was delighted that Ana had the first book.

He moved to the couch and turned so that one leg was along the back cushions and the other was still bent with a foot on the ground. He held his arms out to Ana.
"Why don't you come over here. Have you read this yet?"

He held the book up for her to see.
Montana 17 years ago
Ana sat grinning mutely, watching Joey devour another slice of pizza without disturbing Russ. It was nice to see him sleeping peacefully... Whenever Ana was lucky enough to tire the pup out enough to sleep he seemed to do so fitfully, whining and tossing as if dreaming. But with Joey, he was much more sedate.

Joey had stood and gathered the pizza boxes before Ana could react; he put them into the fridge and then came out, a purposeful set on his face, as he stepped to the bookshelf. She grinned but quickly suppressed it when she saw him pull the deep yellow-colored book from the shelf, and merely watched with interest as he sat, monopolizing two and a half cushions. She looked at the shiny car depicted on the book's cover and could contain her grin no longer.
"That copy? No, it's brand new. I've worn out two others."

Placing her napkin on the empty plate in front of her, she rubbed her palms up and down her denim-clad legs. "Would you mind if I got changed? These jeans are annoying me."
Joey 17 years ago
Joey gave her a grin. "Well then you won't mind if I read it to you."

He cocked his head to one side to study Ana for a moment, much like a curious puppy would."Nope, I don't mind. Please make yourself comfortable. In fact I think I'll do the same."

He stood and went to rummage one-handed through the Target bags. He placed the pajamas on his bended knee then pushed against it to stand. He had heard Ana leave the room while he was looking and decided to find Russ's bed before changing. The little puppy needed to get some good rest and his arm was not the best place for that. He assumed the bed would be in Ana's bedroom so he went there first.

He didn't see Ana so he figured she was in the bathroom. Joey crossed the room and knelt before the little dog bed, his body hidden by Ana's bed. He set his pajamas aside and gently laid Russ in the bed. He whimpered, so Joey stroked his fur. As his hand moved methodically over the tawny fur, he worked his sweater off over his head then pulled the faded black t-shirt over his head as well. He tucked the warm Joey-scented cotton around the puppy. He gave one of those shuddering sighs, and tucked his nose into the folds, before settling back down into deep sleep. Something told him this little guy hadn't gotten much sleep since his mommy had disappeared.

He gathered pajamas and sweater and unfolded himself from the floor. He turned around and found Ana with her back to him. She had just tossed her jeans to the bed and stood in her panties and sweater. He knew he should turn around or try to walk out with his eyes closed, but he couldn't manage it. He watched as she pulled off her sweater and undershirt in one motion, revealing the smooth line of her back. She had that hollow around her spine that he loved on any woman, but on Ana it was spectacular. Her skin was pale and pink, he clenched his fist around the ache of longing to touch.

As she reached up to unhook her bra, he turned his shirtless back to her with an inaudible sigh. After a moment's more hesitation, he cleared his throat.