Jay’s eyes creaked open. The sun was streaming through his bedroom window, heating the room and hurting his eyes as he tried to get them all the way open. He winced and covered his face with his arm. He really wanted to sleep some more, but his bladder was protesting and his mouth felt like he’d slept in the desert. Worse, his muscles were all aching as a result of moving countless heavy boxes the previous day. And what was that God damn thump in his head?
Jay dragged himself out of bed and headed for the relief of the bathroom. He stood underneath the shower’s steaming water and let it sooth him. As the pulsing spray of water and the Advil he’d popped did its job, he started to feel better, and it occurred to him that the thumping wasn’t in his head at all. He turned his head around to where the sound was coming from. There was something being bounced against the side of the house.
Jay couldn’t think. He needed coffee, and then he needed to stop that damn banging and reassess what needed to be done to this place. He’d bought it months ago, but before he could move in his dad had gotten sick and he’d gone home to help. He hadn’t even met the neighbors yet.
* * *
Aaron and Thom stood on their driveway, batting a tennis ball against the side of their neighbor’s house. The short fence between the properties was their net. Sort of. Thom dropped his racket.
“This is boring,” he said. “I’m hot.”
“Whadda ya wanna do?” Aaron said, dropping his own racket on top of his brother’s.
“I’m gonna go for a swim,” Thom answered. “You wanna?”
“Uh huh,” Aaron said. He shoved his golden curls out of his face and grinned, his giant smile revealing a missing tooth.
Thom walked towards the house.
“Where you going?” Aaron asked.
“To get changed,” Thom said.
“Why? No one’s gonna see us.” Aaron was already on his way to the backyard. He didn’t have patience for time-wasting things like getting changed. It wasn’t like they were at the beach.
“Cause Mom will kill us,” Thom said emphatically. “She hates when we swim in our clothes.”
“Mom’s farming,” Aaron said. “She won’t notice nothin’. ‘Sides, we’ll dry off afore we have to go home.”
* * *
Alex sat back on her computer chair and sighed. Again. Damn game company. How could she be expected to plant all the crops, water her neighbors plants, and complete all the tasks when there were constant connection issues? Her blood was boiling as she clicked on the support button. She had spent good money on those gaming tokens, so they had better make the stupid game work properly.
* * *
Thom first and then Aaron jumped off the high fence onto the small mattress that had been placed at the foot of the fence so they wouldn’t get hurt when they jumped. They’d spent their summer swimming here. It was almost as good as having your own pool. Aaron did a bomb into the water, relishing the feel of the cold water. Thom followed his brother, but he did a proper dive, like his mother had shown him.
* * *
The coffee maker now perked happily, filling the kitchen with its enticing aroma, while Jay poured the eggs he had just beaten into a hot pan. He would have to do something about getting the newspaper delivered, he mused as he poured himself a glass of juice. In the meantime, he would amuse himself by writing his list. There was a lot of stuff that needed doing here, and the first would be a coat of paint. Inside and out. And the pool would need attention too. Probably easier to call a pool guy to do that.
A plate of eggs and a cup of steaming brew in hand, Jay pushed the back door open with his foot. It’d be nice to relax out in the fresh air with his breakfast. He sat on the lounger that, along with a small table and a couple of chairs, were the only furniture on his patio. It was refreshing and private. Vines grew all over the latticework that surrounded the outdoor eating area, filtering the light and yet allowing a gentle breeze to seep through, if there was one. The scent of the climbing roses and honeysuckle was soothing to the soul.
Suddenly, his peace was shattered by the sound of a child’s hurt cry. “What the hell?” he croaked, as he leapt from his comfortable perch, knocking his coffee over in the process.
His eyes widened in shock at the sight of two young boys inside the pool area. The bigger of the two seemed to be hovering over the smaller one. “What’s happened? Are you hurt? Who are you, and what are you doing here?” he barked. His mind was swirling. He didn’t know these children. Why were they alone? How had they gotten into the pool area? As soon as he’d bought the place, the one thing he’d been sure to check before he’d gone back to his parent’s ranch was that the pool fencing had been secure.
The little one sobbed pathetically and looked to the boy Jay assumed was his brother, who stood rooted to the spot, gaping like a deer in the headlights.
“Answer me one of you!” Jay said a little louder than he meant to. He was flustered. It wasn’t everyday someone else’s child gets hurt running around your pool. Especially when you didn’t know they were there. His head started to thump when he thought of what could have happened.
“You don’t have ta shout, Mister,” the injured child said through hitched breaths.
“Mom said not to run around the edge when it’s wet,” Thom said, finding his voice at last. “He never listens.”
“We was just swimmin’, and I hurt my leg. Look! There’s blood and everything,” the now slightly-calmer little guy said.
“I can see that,” Jay said softening. “Come on, we’ll get you all fixed up, and you can tell me how you got into the pool area. The gate is shut and too high for you two to reach.”
“We climbed over our fence,” the bigger of the two said sheepishly. “We were hot.”
“Yeah, we was hot, and we was just swimming.”
“I was just swimming. You were being a pest.”
Jay frowned. That fence had to be six feet tall. He swore under his breath when he saw the mattress. He could see the ladder through the crack in the fence.
“You’re not gonna call the police, are ya, Mister?” the older brother asked as they walked towards the house.
“No,” Jay said, running his hand through his hair with frustration. “But I’m going to have to talk to your parents and tell them all about the setup you have going here.” He narrowed his eyes as another question flittered through his muddled brain. The pool was clean. These kids couldn’t have cleaned the pool on their own. Someone had to have added the chemicals.
“We only have our Mom. Our Dad’s dead,” the littlest one whispered.
“Oh. I’m sorry,” Jay said carefully. “That doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to swim in a pool by yourself. I’m still going to talk to your mother. How old are you boys, and what’re your names?”
“My name’s Aaron,” Aaron said with his chin set defiantly. “I’m eight, and I’m not a baby. I know how to swim real good.”
“That might be so, but you could be the best swimmer in the world for your age, and it still wouldn’t be safe for you to swim alone.”
“Look what happened. You fell. If you hit your head, you could have fallen in the water and drowned.”
“But I didn’t.”
“But you could have,” Jay said. “What about you, young man. What’s your name, and how old are you?”
“Nine. My name’s Thom.”
“My leg hurts,” Aaron said eager to get the attention back on to him.
“I know. Let’s go inside and see if we can get you fixed up.”
“You don’t need to talk to our Mom, Mister. Honest,” Aaron said.
“Maybe not, but I’m going to anyway,” Jay said herding the boys towards the door. “Come on.”
* * *
“Well, I was pleased to meet you, boys. I just wish it could have been under better circumstances.”
“Me too,” Aaron said. Tears sprang to his eyes again, and he tried to snatch back his leg as Jay pulled a disinfectant wipe out of a new packet. But Jay was too quick, and he had the graze all cleaned up before Aaron got out a belated cry.
“Okay. You’re all fixed up. Time to go see your Mom,” Jay said, snapping a large band aid onto the small boy’s leg.
* * *
Jay knocked on the door and waited. And waited. Nothing.
“Maybe no one’s home,” Aaron said, trying to get past Jay and run. Thom rolled his eyes.
“Freeze,” Jay said, grabbing the back of the child’s damp shirt. “I’m sure your mother wouldn’t go out and just leave you here.” he said. “Surely. HELLOOOO!” he bellowed.
“It’s open,” Alex called distractedly from somewhere within.
Aaron made to escape again, but Jay stepped behind him. His large muscular frame effectively blocked the path of both boys. He opened the door and steered the motley crew inside.
“I know the way,” Aaron said cheekily as he tried to dodge the man’s grip.
Jay frowned. This little one had some attitude.
Alex looked up from her computer at the tall, handsome stranger and then to each of her boys.
“You boys okay?” she asked nervously.
“We’re fine, Mom,” Thom said.
“Who might you be?” she asked, eyeing Jay suspiciously.
“He’s the guy who owns the house next door,” Thom said.
“Oh?” she asked, and then it dawned on her. “Oh.” She did her best to straighten her hair with her fingers.
“Uh huh,” Jay said. “Do you have any idea where your children were?” He was still cross with this woman, but he had to admit she was very cute. She was tiny, with big blue eyes and messy blonde curls that trailed over her shoulders and down her back. Plenty sassy by the look of her to boot. She was obviously pulling herself up to her full height, ready to defend herself and her brood.
“Playing,” she said, her hands on her hips in a ‘what of it’ stance. “It’s what kids do. They go outside, they run around, play with toys.”
“Tell your mother what you were doing,” he said, one eyebrow raised with disapproval.
“Swimming,” Aaron said. “And bleeding.”
“Where?” Alex asked. Her eyes then fell to the band aid on her son’s leg. “Were you swimming in your clothes again?”
They were swimming! Jay wanted to say. That’s what mattered. They were swimming, and no one was watching them.
“Boys,” she said to Thom and Aaron with slight irritation. “You know you have to wear suits when you swim.”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“They were swimming. Aaron fell over—it happens. He seems okay. No harm was done.”
Jay scoffed. “Your son fell. Near a pool. No adults were there.”
“Great,” she said. “This is all I need.”
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“Another stick-up-the-ass neighbor that’s going to bleat at me about my kids,” she said. “They’re just kids! It’s the summer! They like to let off a bit of steam, have some fun while school’s out. I’m so sorry that they trespassed on your precious property!”
Sassy and an attitude, Jay thought. Interesting that he found that fact more appealing than he probably should.
“Yeah, Mister. We was just havin fun like Mom said,” Aaron added.
“Hush,” Jay said, fixing Aaron with a stern glare.
“Don’t tell my son what to do.”
“I just want to talk about what happened to the adult in charge. I don’t want to have a group discussion.”
“Leave my kids to me. What they do isn’t your business.”
“They were in my pool. That makes it my business.”
“One time they were, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“But you always let us swim there,” Aaron said helpfully. “You said it was okay if we did after we all cleaned up the pool that time!”
“Really,” Jay drawled. He was such a pent up ball of tension at that moment that he didn’t know what he wanted to do first. He wanted to bend this little lady over his knee and spank her bare bottom until it was rosy. But he also wanted to throw her over his shoulder and take her back to his place and drop her in his too-large bed. He’d peel off every stitch of her remaining clothing and…
“Yeah really, Mister, she said it was a waste,” Aaron said, tugging on his shirt and bringing him back to the present. “It’s wrong to waste stuff.”
Thom had found his tongue apparently. He punched his brother in the arm. “Not helping, dummy,” he said.
“Go to your room and get changed out of those wet clothes,” Alex said with a sigh.
“I wanna listen,” Aaron said.
“I’m gonna get something to eat first. I’m hungry,” Thom said.
Jay tried to stop his eyebrows from raising, but apparently he didn’t succeed.
“They’re just showing off!” Alex said. “Because you’re here.”
“Apparently,” Jay said.
“They do mind me, normally!” she said.
“If you say so,” Jay said, trying to hide a grin.
Thom opened a bag of chips and perched on the edge of the couch to watch the show. Alex dropped onto the last step.
“Look, I can take things from here,” Alex said, her face flaming with embarrassment. “You can go now.”
“Not so fast,” Jay said. “I’m not going until we settle this.” He stood his ground with his arms folded. He filled the hallway, and he had no intention of leaving until he was ready. This was a man who didn’t take orders or even strong suggestions if he didn’t feel like it.
Alex forced a smile of sorts, although it looked a bit more like a grimace, Jay thought. It was understandable though—she was embarrassed. Her kids were acting like a pair of brats in front of a stranger, which was a shame. They seemed like nice enough kids.
“I think we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot. I’m sorry. It wasn’t totally the boys fault,” Alex said in an effort to appease the new neighbor.
Jay returned her smile, his arms still folded.
“No, it wasn’t,” he answered.
“I shouldn’t have cleaned the pool and told them it was okay to swim there. It was just that no one was there and it was summer, and it is such a waste to have the pool just sitting there doing nothing.”
“I agree with you about the pool not being wasted,” he said, grinning at her amazed look. Her smile was pretty, he thought, even if it wasn’t real. “Look, I’m not an ogre,” he sighed. He did want to reach some kind of resolution. Damn, he wanted to get to know her better. There was a certain vulnerability in her eyes that he was drawn to. “I don’t even know your name.”
“She’s called Alex,” Aaron said from the step where he’d been perched, watching the exchange.
“I have no objection to Aaron and Thom swimming in my pool, Alex. I just want to find out why they were alone. I wouldn’t have even worried about the ladder if I knew you were with them. Watching them.”
“I… um,” Alex started while her brain searched for a decent answer.
“Were you working? Is that why you couldn’t watch them?”
“Mom always works on the farm,” Aaron said with a proud smile. Suddenly he was front and center again, now that it looked like they were going to keep their pool privileges.
Alex’s eyes bored into Aaron, willing him to shut up. “Mr…”
“Jay,” Jay filled in with a confused frown.
“Mr. Jay doesn’t need to know our business.”
“Jay. Jay is my first name. The farm?”
Color crept up Alex’s neck and into her face. “I… I was doing something on the computer,” she said sheepishly.
“Working?” Jay asked curiously.
“Not exactly. I don’t work. Well, I work here, but not work work. I have kids,” she rambled.
“Relax,” he said. “I was only curious.”
“You should see my Mom’s farm!” Aaron said. “It’s huge! It has so many vegetables and animals.”
“Maybe she’ll show it to me some time,” Jay said with a smile.
“She has lots of games on Facebook.”
“Aaron,” she chided.
“She has another place where you have to find stuff. It’s cool.”
“Okay enough now, Aaron,” Alex said with a frown.
“Upstairs, now!” Alex yelled immediately regretting her overreaction in front of Jay. “Please.” Her eyes bored into Thom, pleading for help.
“Okay, okay,” Thom said grabbing his brother by the arm.
“You don’t gotta yell, Mom.” Aaron said following his brother up the stairs.
“I know what this looks like,” Alex said.
Jay held his hands up. “Not my business.”
“I know they’re a little unruly, especially Aaron,” she said quietly. “They’ve lost their father. I need to make allowances for that,” she said, her eyes misting.
“How long ago did he pass?” Jay asked carefully.
“Three years ago,” she said.
“Sorry?” Jay asked. “Three years?” His eyes were wide and confused.
“Yes. Three years. You can’t put a time limit on grief,” she said, feeling on the defensive again.
“No,” he said. “I guess not.”
Alex could see he was disapproving, although he didn’t exactly say as much. Well, she didn’t care anyway. “Losing someone makes you focus on what’s important. I choose to focus on doing what I want, when I want, and letting my boys do the same.”
Cute, Jay thought. “Okay. I get it. Your house, your rules. I will say this though. You keep the boys out of the pool unless you’re watching them.”
“Your house, your rules,” she said.
“Exactly,” he said.
“Thank you, Jay. I’ll keep an eye on them.”
“And no more jumping over the fence,” he said. “Someone could have broken their leg.”
“That’s why I put the mattress there.”
Jay’s eyebrows just about shot to his forehead. “You put that there?”
“Of course,” Alex said. “I wasn’t going to let my kids jump over the fence straight onto the ground.”
“Well, no more!” he barked with exasperation. “Use the gate.”
* * *
Alex wanted to be angry at him for being so high-handed, but she found she couldn’t. There WAS the fact that he was very good looking. There was something very attractive about his bossy persona. “Okay,” she said with a silly grin that landed on her face without warning. And will you be there too? she wanted to ask.
* * *
Jay had been about to leave when a thought occurred to him—a solution to the question of how he was going to get to spend more time with his cute blonde neighbor and her unruly entourage. “Why don’t you bring the boys over for dinner tonight? We’ll get some pizza, and we’ll talk.”
“Please can we, Mom?” the boys chorused from the top of the stairs.
Alex took a deep breath. She was so confused. She was feeling an attraction she hadn’t felt since her husband died.
“Please? Come have dinner with me? We can all have a swim after dinner if they mind their manners,” Jay asked pleadingly. He knew playing to the audience at the top of the stairs was his best bet at getting her to agree.
Alex narrowed her eyes at him. “Okay. I guess.”
“Well, good,” he said with a smile.
“Bring your manners boys and your best behavior,” he called up the stairs.
Alex glared at him, and he held his hands up in mock defense.
“Your house, your rules.”
“Thank you. Glad you get it,” she said cheekily.
“Oh, I do,” he said. “And at my house it’s my rules,” he said with a grin. “I’ll see you three tonight, about six o’clock?”
“Six is fine,” she answered, attempting to bite back the giant smile that was trying to escape.
“Good. See you then,” he opened the door and finally left.
Panic flooded through Alex. She had to move and fast. Did he say they would all go for a swim? That would mean her too. Geez. She ran up the stairs to bribe the boys into staying inside for a while.
* * *
Jay couldn’t wipe the grin off his face as he crossed his yard and headed to his front door. This was the most excited he’d felt about meeting someone in a long time. She was a smart ass and disorganized and she came with two challenging kids, but she was adorable, and he couldn’t wait to see her again.
* * *
Alex checked that the boys were engrossed in a video game, and then she headed to the bathroom. If it was possible that she was going to actually put on a suit, she was going to have to do some general maintenance. It had been a while.
She turned the taps on and squirted some bubble bath into the water. She was lucky that this main bathroom had a bath. It’d be nice to soak in a relaxing tub when she was finished. There was a full length mirror in there as well, one that she hadn’t used for a long time. Oh well, she may as well take an honest look at herself, so she could see what she actually looked like in a bikini. After stripping naked, she turned to look in the mirror. Good God! Just as well she hadn’t felt too hot and bothered down there in a while. She could start a forest fire. General maintenance nothing, she needed an overhaul. She’d never shaved before, but she used to get waxed when Steve was alive. After, well, she just hadn’t bothered. Luckily, her sister had insisted she buy some supplies just in case. She gathered the things she needed from the cabinet, put them on the shower ledge, and then went to stand in front of the mirror again. Damn. Why couldn’t she be taller. When you’re taller the weight kind of spreads out a bit. Doesn’t get so concentrated on your ass and thighs. She really needed to go on a diet. Still, she wasn’t going to be able to lose her love handles in a couple of hours. Back to the forest—at least she could fix that.
What exactly should she do about it? The whole hog or a landing strip? Hmm. She really only needed to neaten up what would escape from her bikini bottom, but while she was there she may as well get a little creative. She’d seen pictures online the other day. A heart would be pretty, she thought with a smile.
The lid on the ladies’ new can of shaving cream was a very pretty pink, she’d thought when she bought it. Shame they’d worked more on the color than making the lid actually easy to come off, though. She pulled, she tugged, she did everything but throw it at the wall. No dice. The lid was stuck on so tight, it was never going to move. She could use soap, she thought. This though, was specially for the job, and she didn’t want to take any chances, not down there. She dumped it down on the counter with irritation, and it was then that an arrow caught her eye.
“Oh, you turn it,” she said with a scoff. “Why didn’t they just say so.” She squeezed a liberal amount of delicate foam into her hand and spread it all around the area she was going for. She propped one leg up on the ledge in the shower stall so she could get the scary part out of the way first before she worked on the artsy portion. Satisfied that she was clean down there, she turned on the shower and rinsed.
Now for the difficult part. It would be hard enough to draw a heart upside down on a piece of paper with a pencil. Trying to shave a heart in overgrown pubic hair that was gummed up with shaving cream was like trying to mow a heart with a lawn mower on a snowy mountain. Impossible. How were you supposed to see what you were doing anyway? Alex wiped off the cream to have a look at her efforts and sighed. That was the saddest looking heart she’d ever seen. It would detract from her wide ass maybe, but not in a good way. Another handful of shaving cream and a new razor and she was finally squeaky clean. She’d forgotten how good it felt to be so free.
Her freshly shaved pussy tingled as she sank down into the warm bubbles. She lay her head back against the back of the tub. Wow. Why didn’t she bathe more often. It was always a quick shower in the morning or one before bed. This was divine. She picked up the sponge and ran it over her body. Her nipples tightened, and excitement flooded through her as she ran the sponge across her chest, across her navel, and down between her legs. She dropped the sponge and allowed her fingers to explore her freshly shaved lips. Her clit swelled and hardened under her exploring fingers. Tiny frissons of pleasure rippled across her rapidly heating skin.
She closed her eyes and pictured her husband’s face. He was there, but he wasn’t right there like he’d always been. She squeezed them shut tighter and tried again to conjure up the vision of her husband. The naked one that always came to mind when she lay in her big bed alone at night. The one that she thought of as she brought herself to a lonely climax, when the house was silent. That one. She couldn’t see it. Steve’s face was there, and he was smiling, fading, changing. She blinked her eyes as her fingers flicked at her now swollen nub. Her senses were on hyper alert, waiting for the vision that always stirred things up. Nothing. She closed her eyes and sighed, and there was another image. Her breath caught in her throat and blood rushed to her lady parts, and they began to thump wildly as her fingers worked furiously of their own accord.
She was standing between Jay’s firm thighs. His leg hair was tickling her flushed skin, and he was frowning at her. He was displeased. He was lecturing her, but she didn’t know why. She looked down and watched as her fingers traced a path along the edges of his cut-off jeans.
Jay’s hand slapped her bottom hard, and she pulled her hand back. “Pay attention,” he said sternly.
Her tummy flipped, and she felt his fingers on her upper arm before he bent her over across his knee. His hand left a sharp tingling impression even through the denim of her shorts, and she sucked in a breath as she waited for his hand to fall again.
Alex was shocked. Where had this come from? But she didn’t care at this point. She ran her fingers over each of her nipples as the other hand circled her swollen nub with long, slow circles…
She yelped as Jay’s hard hand smacked her left bottom cheek. “Oh!” she gasped as he followed it up on the right. Then it started. It was all she could do to catch her breath as the hard spanks bounced off her wriggling backside. She kicked and she squirmed and did everything to get off the hard knee, but she was held tight. His heavy leg had swung over to hold her two legs in place.
She didn’t understand it, but her body was racing. With every imagined smack her body felt a jolt of pleasure, and her breathing quickened. She was going to cum, and she couldn’t stop it. She didn’t want to stop it, but she didn’t want the fantasy to end. She wanted more.
Jay hoisted her to her feet and his hands were on the button of her shorts. Her eyes widened when she realized his intention. The sound of the zipper as it slid down rang in her ears. Then they were pooled at her ankles along with her panties, while she stood there, embarrassed and naked from the waist down. Her face heated, and she hung her head, her hands trying desperately to cover herself.
Even in the warm, soapy water Alex imagined the feeling of the cool air as she stood there, exposed, waiting for what she knew was coming. She needed to come so badly now it was painful, and she closed her eyes, to take herself back, to feel his hand on her naked skin.
She was tipped back over Jay’s knee. Time seemed to stop while she hung there, waiting for that first smack, that first touch of his hand on her now unprotected skin. When it finally came the sting exploded across her right cheek and then again on her left. The spanks moved rapidly from right to left, up and down and all around, and they burned, making her wriggle and squirm. The hairs on his legs were rubbing her at her clit, and it felt so good, but her ass was on fire.
“Stop! Please!” she begged.
When the spanks finally stopped, he rubbed her burning cheeks, and she sighed with relief until the rubbing and the squeezing started another fire. It built so quickly…
Alex’s body stiffened, and she shouted out as spasms of intense, hot and cold pleasure rippled through her body, pounding every one of her senses, until she sagged, totally spent, into the water.
“Wow,” she whispered into the bubbles. Where had that come from?