Why Me?

Chapter Fifty-Six

Mike was surprised at the number of people on the streets. He had never been shopping on the day after Christmas, or at any other time, for that matter. 'Women's work'! But he seemed to be enjoying himself, as we strolled along, checking out the stores to see which ones were open, and which ones had their sales banners in the windows.

I was a little surprised, myself, at the number of smaller stores open. I had expected the larger ones to be open on Sunday, but not the small shops. We passed a little store that Mike recognized by name, because his Mom bought most of his and Milo's clothes there. The signs in the window were urging us to come in and check out their specials. So we did.

Poor, innocent Mike had no idea of usual prices, so he didn't recognize bargains when he saw them. He pulled a shirt off the rack and looked at it. "Hey, what do you think of this?" I took a look at the shirt he was holding, and I could just see him wearing it. The mental picture was really great!

"Let's take a look at this." I grabbed the sleeve and checked the price tag: a $35.00 shirt, on sale for $15.00! Then I checked the size, about two sizes two small to fit his massive shoulders. "Let's see if we can find this in your size!" Fortunately, there weren't too many guys in town who were as big as Mike; we found two shirts in his size, one white, and one a pale blue, which would really bring out the color of his eyes. I gave him my best puppy dog look.

"Uh, Mike, we could get both of these shirts for less than the regular price of one. Do you like them?" I was holding my breath. I really wanted him to like them!

He grinned. "Well, if you think they're OK. I don't know much about buying clothes."

I let out the breath I was holding. "I think you'll look great in them, especially the blue one, but the white one is good for dress, with a suit."

He cocked an eyebrow at me. "And how often do I wear a suit?"

"Not nearly often enough! You really look great in a suit!"

He grinned and shook his head, but he took the shirts and walked on, carrying them over his arm.

I needed some new underwear. Don't you hate it, when the waistband starts to lose its elasticity, and things start slipping at the most inopportune times? I found the display and was looking at the package deals, when Mike spoke to me.

"Hey, how about some of these?" He was holding up a very brief silk thong.

I could feel my face getting red. "Uh, I don't think so."

"Why not? Mark got something like this for Annie for Christmas. I think you'd look great in something like this!" He had that evil grin on his face.

"Mike, that's a picture I really didn't want in my head this morning!" I didn't mention that I had already had pictures of Mark with Annie's new underwear already. Mike just chuckled. He wasn't going to let go of this!

"What size do you need? What's your favorite color? Would you rather have the thong back or a full seat?" I glanced around, hoping there were no other shoppers near enough to hear our conversation.

"Mike, let's get serious here, OK?"

"I am serious! I think you'd look great in these, and I want to get you a few pairs. Now, what size do you need, and what colors do you like?"

I sighed and surrendered. When he gets this way, there's no reasoning with him! I picked out three of the thongs and handed them to him. "There! Are you happy now?"

He nodded, wearing a big grin. "Yep! I can't wait to see you modeling them for me!"

I grabbed up a couple of packages of boxer briefs and headed for the checkout. "I think I've got everything I need here." He followed me, practically waving the offending underwear at shoppers we passed. When we got to the checkout, he grabbed the packages I was holding and laid them on the counter with his purchases. A bored young clerk rang up the sale, and Mike handed him his credit card. When the clerk had put our purchases in a big bag, Mike grabbed the bag, and we left the store. My face still felt hot.

Mike grinned at me. "I didn't know this shopping stuff could be so much fun! Now I see why gay guys like to go shopping! Where to, next?"

We wandered around town, checking out the stores that were open, but nothing really caught our eye, until we passed a donut shop. We stopped, looked at each other, and went in. After two donuts and a cup of coffee each, we headed home. When we got in the house, Mike set the bag he was carrying on the couch and began digging around in it. He pulled out a black thong.

"Now, Davie boy, I want you to go in the bedroom and strip. When you come out, I want to see you in this!" The evil grin was at full force. I shook my head and went in the bedroom to follow his orders. When I came back to the living room, he took a sharp breath and whistled.

"Wow! Even better than I hoped it would be!"

My ears were so hot that they must have been glowing, and I could feel the blood pounding in my cheeks. He sat down on the couch.

"C'mon over here." I was decidedly nervous, as I approached him. He reached out and pulled me in, so that I was standing between his knees. He turned me gently, and rubbed my exposed butt. Then he turned me back around.

"Definitely not a ten-year-old!" His hand slipped down over the front of the silky material. I could feel myself responding to his touch. He leaned forward and kissed the growing front of the thong. "Oh, yeah!" He stood up, grabbed me and tossed me over his shoulder, as he headed for the bedroom. We never woke up until the sun was going down.

We got dressed and went out to the kitchen. Along with all the other containers of food, Mom had sent big packages of sliced ham and sliced turkey. We decided to have sandwiches for supper. While I was making sandwiches, Mike put the coffee pot on. As soon as everything was ready, we took our supper into the living room and sat down on the couch to eat. Mike got up and put a CD on the stereo.

We finished our sandwiches, and I got up to take the plates out to the kitchen. I brought back the coffee pot and refilled our cups. Mark had found another CD, so I snuggled down beside him and just drifted in the little world that was just the two of us. The past week had been busy and exciting, and we were both ready to go to bed early.

Over breakfast next morning, we discussed our plans for the day. One of us had to be at home when the guy came to install the phone, and I wanted to get everything packed away and in order. Mike had a couple of errands to run, so he left shortly after breakfast, promising to be home by lunch time. As I was straightening and dusting in the living room, I came to the little Christmas tree on the stand in front of the window. I stopped to look at it, and found myself talking out loud to Mrs. Gombasz.

"I wish you were here to see this little tree. I'm sure you would like it; it's really beautiful. And you must have been really happy here, at least at one time, because your house really feels like home. I'm so sorry that you couldn't live out your life in your own home, but I guess it's better that you be where you can have friends to talk to, and someone to watch over you when you need them."

I wiped away a tear that was pushing from the corner of my eye and got back to work. About ten o'clock, the doorbell rang. Oh, I didn't know we had a doorbell! It was the man from the phone company. I showed him where the phone jack was, and in a few minutes we had phone service. He told me that we had the same phone number as before, wished me a happy New Year, and left. Well, now,....

I picked up the phone and dialed Annie's office number. We had the week off, but she and Mark had to work. The secretary who answered the phone told me that Annie was out of the office today. She was at home, waiting for her phone to be hooked up. I left a message for Mark, so they would know that we had our phone.

Then I called Mom. When she answered, I said, "Guess who has a phone now!" She chuckled.

"I'm really glad to hear that! Tom was still muttering, when he got home the other day. I'm not sure whether it was walking in the cold or seeing Mike in the altogether that got him so upset." She was really giggling now, and I couldn't help joining her.

"Well, anyway, Mom, we have phone service, and we still have the same number. I just wanted to let you know."

"Davie, could you get away one day this week to come over, when Mike's not around? I'd like to talk to you about something."

"Mike's out, running around town this morning, and, now that the phone man has been here, I'm free any time you want me."

"Why don't you come over now? The coffee pot's on, and there's still a lot of that torte from dinner left. We could have a quiet chat. Tom went to visit some of his old friends."

"OK, Mom, I'll be right over. I'll just leave a note, in case Mike gets back sooner than he planned."

"Fine. I'll see you in a few minutes." She hung up in her usual, abrupt manner.

I found an old envelope and scribbled a note on the back, telling Mike that we had phone service and where I was going. Then I grabbed my coat from the rack by the front door and set out down the street. I was really curious; what did Mom want to talk about?

When I came in the kitchen door, Mom was just setting the torte back into the fridge. Despite what we had done to it at dinner, there still seemed to be quite a bit left. There were two plates on the table, with big slices of the torte, and coffee cups were waiting to be filled.

Mom came over and gave me a big hug. "I'm glad you survived a family Christmas! They can be a bit overwhelming, sometimes. Come on, sit down!" She pushed me gently toward the table and brought the coffee pot. She poured us each a cup of coffee and sat down, facing me. Her expression was warm, but rather serious.

"Davie, what do you think of Terry?"

"Terry? I just love her! She's so sweet! But she seems to be scared of her own shadow. She reminds me of myself, when I was her age."

"That's sort of what I thought. From things you and Mike have said, I got the impression that you were very shy, even though you've fitted into this madhouse quite easily!" She grinned. "And that takes some doing!"

"I really was shy, before I met Mike. I was afraid to talk to people, so I kept to myself most of the time. Annie used to get really mad at me, because I didn't go out and socialize more. But I just couldn't!"

"Then you know what I'm talking about! Milo and Trisha love Terry, just the way they love all their kids, but I don't think they realize what a problem she has. I've watched her, and it just broke my heart to see her so scared and lonely. But I couldn't do anything about it; I couldn't interfere in the way they were bringing up their children.

"But when you appeared, it was as if she had found a kindred spirit. She almost attached herself to you, and I've seen the difference it has made in her. What I'm concerned about is how you feel about the situation. I don't want you to hurt her, Davie! She's one of my babies, and I'll fight for her, if I have to!" Mom's look of determination was almost frightening.

"Mom, you've got to know that I'd never do anything to hurt Terry. She's so special, and I'll do anything I can to help her. I know what it's like to need a friend, someone you can relate to, and I have to tell you, if she sees me as that friend, I am really deeply honored. And there's something that I don't understand. I've got the impression, from straight friends that every man, way down deep, wants a daughter. I'll never have one of my own, so Terry's kind of become my daughter, too."

Mom gave me a warm smile and reached across the table to pat my hand. "Thank you, Davie. That's all I needed to hear." She had tears in her eyes, and she wiped them quickly away. She picked up her fork and took a bite of the torte in front of her. "Did you like this?"

"Oh, yeah! I'd really like to learn how to make this cream cheese frosting! I've never tasted any like it."

"Nothing to it. I'll give you the recipe." We finished our torte, and she got up to refill our coffee cups. As she sat back down at the table, she patted my cheek.

"Davie, I thank God every day for bringing you to us. You'll never know the difference you've made in our family. And you brought me my daughter. Annie is such a dear, sweet girl. She's told me a little about her first marriage, but I think she's got a big surprise, and a happy one, in store for her. Mark's a pretty special person, too." I couldn't have agreed more!

When we finished our coffee, she got up. I stood up, too. "I think I'd better get back to the house, Mom. Mike will be home, wanting his lunch. I don't think I'm going to be able to eat any; that torte was delicious, but I'm stuffed!"

She grinned. "Well, we can solve that little problem!" She went to the fridge and took out the plate of torte. She cut a thick slice and reached up into the cupboard for a plate. She handed it to me. "There! Give him that for his lunch! That will keep him happy!"

She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. "Now, you get home and take care of that man of yours!" She was giggling, as I set the plate down to pull on my jacket, and she waved, as I went out the door and pulled it closed behind me.

Mike's car still wasn't back, when I got home. I went in, put the torte on the table and got back to my cleaning and straightening. I had been home about half an hour, when he came bouncing in, with a big grin on his face.

"Well, that was fun!" He grabbed me and hugged me.

"What have you been up to?"

He grinned. "Well, I went over to Milo's house and got some samples of the dresses from Trisha. I took them to the florist, and we had a long discussion on what types and colors of flowers would be best. I think our Annie is going to be surprised!"

"So, what did you get?"

"You'll see them Thursday, when the florist delivers them!" That grin was just a little too smug!

"So, what are we having for lunch?" He gave me his 'hungry' look.

"I went over to see Mom this morning, after the phone man was here, and we had a big piece of that torte from yesterday. I told her I wasn't going to be able to eat any lunch, so she sent a piece home for you. It's on the kitchen table."

"Oh, yeah! I love that torte, but she only makes it for holidays!"

"She's going to give me the recipe for her cream cheese frosting."

"Goody! Then I can have cream cheese frosting on everything!"

"I'm not sure how good it would be on steak or Brussels sprouts."

"OK, then almost everything! Mom makes the best cream cheese frosting in the world!"

"You'll get no argument from me on that!"

Mike sat down at the table and pulled the torte in front of him. I got cups from the cupboard and poured us each a cup of coffee. I pulled a fork from the drawer and turned to hand it to him, just in time to see him licking frosting off his finger. I just shook my head; some kids just never grow up!

He grinned at me, picked up his fork and attacked the torte. It didn't last long, and he sat there with a satisfied smile and frosting in the corners of his mouth. I brought our coffee and sat down at the table. I couldn't help grinning.

"Uh, Mike,..." I touched the corners of my mouth with my finger. He grinned and licked the frosting off his mouth. I just shook my head again. We relaxed with our coffee and just enjoyed each other's company.

After our "lunch," I decided to go back to cleaning house. We had been busy, and, even though we are both rather neat—most of the time—I hadn't done a thorough house-cleaning since we moved into the new house. Mike offered to help, so we got to work.

The ringing of the phone surprised me. It was the first call we had received. I answered and was surprised to hear Annie's voice.

"Davie, are you guys busy this evening?"

"No, we don't have anything planned."

"Would you mind if we come over for a little while?"

"Not at all! Why don't you guys come for supper? You can help us work on our fridge full of food."

"Well, that sounds like a real treat! Bet you don't have anything in your fridge that we don't have!"

"Probably not, but it would be nice to have someone to share it with."

"OK, what time do you want us there?"

"Whenever you get here. We can eat, whenever we get hungry."

"All right, we'll see you in a little while...and thanks, Davie!"

"Thanks for what?"

"Just for being there, when I've needed you. You're the best little brother a girl could have!" She hung up quickly.

Mike looked at me, as I turned around. "What was that all about?"

"I have no idea! Annie and Mark are coming over for dinner. But, Mike, I could swear she was crying, when she hung up."

We finished up quickly with the job we were on, and we were sitting on the couch listening to the stereo, when we heard the car pull up out front. Mike went to the door and opened it to greet our guests.

Annie brushed past him and ran to me, grabbing me in a tight hug. She was sobbing.

I held her, rubbing her shoulders to try to comfort her, and looked over to Mark, who was standing there. He looked as clueless as I felt.

When she finally got herself under control, she looked up at me through tear-filled eyes.

"Oh, Davie, it was awful! I was so scared!"

I held her and continued stroking her shoulders and back. "What was awful, Annie?"

"I had this dream. It was our wedding, and Paul was there. He stood up and objected, when the pastor asked if anyone had any reasons why we should not be married. He said that we were still married! I was still his wife, and I was a harlot for trying to marry someone else!" She began to cry again. "Oh, Davie, it was so real! I could still hear his voice when I woke up!"

Mark moved in and took her in his arms. He held her close and kissed her tear-stained cheeks. "Annie, it was a dream. Paul wasn't there, and he won't be there at our wedding. Anyway, you have the annulment papers. There's nothing he could do, if he wanted to."

"I need to talk to Mom! She'll understand." He stepped back and looked her in the eye.

"Do you want me to go with you, or is this private, 'woman talk'?"

I need to talk to her alone. I hope you understand." She buttoned up her coat.

"I'll be here, when you get back." He gave her a warm smile and a light kiss.

She left, and Mark turned to us. "I don't understand what's going on. We've been talking about the wedding, and where we want to go on our honeymoon, and she's been just fine. But the past couple of days, she's been getting tense, and now...this."

He looked so sad and confused that I just wanted to hug him, but I decided that wouldn't be the best thing to do, right now, so I offered him the universal consolation of our house.

"How about a cup of coffee, while we're waiting for Annie?"

His grin was a little weak, but it was an improvement. We went out to the kitchen, and Mike grabbed cups from the cupboard and poured us all coffee. We sat down at the table and just looked at each other. Finally, Mark spoke up.

"You know him; do you think he'd really show up at the wedding?"

"Mark, from what I know of Paul, he's likely to do just about anything! It wouldn't surprise me to see him there."

Mike got a strange look on his face. His jaws were clenched, and he muttered between his teeth, "I don't think so!"

I looked at him in surprise. "What did you say?"

"He won't be at my big sister's wedding! I promise you that!" He had a determined look that almost scared me. I had never seen Mike this angry. Then he relaxed and smiled.

"No problem, guys. Anybody ready for a little more coffee?" He got up and got the pot to refill our cups. We were talking about their honeymoon plans, when Annie came back in. They had talked about going to Cancun, Mexico, but decided that they didn't want to spend all their time traveling. They were going to fly to Miami and spend the week in south Florida. Mike and I both agreed that a warmer climate this time of year was a good idea.

Annie looked a lot happier when she walked in. Mom had worked her magic again! We shoved the guys out of the kitchen, and she and I dug through the fridge and decided what we wanted for supper, while the guys sat in the living room with their coffee.

After supper, we sat around and chatted. They were talking about their honeymoon plans. They had talked about going to Disneyland, while they were in Florida, but they decided that they'd rather spend the week just sunning themselves on the beach and relaxing. They would both have a lot of work waiting for them when they got back to the office.

When they got ready to leave, Annie hugged me. "I don't know if I've told you this before, but you're just about the best little brother a girl could have."

I couldn't help grinning. "I think you may have mentioned it a few times, but I gotta tell you, I never get tired of hearing it!"

She kissed me on the cheek. "I meant it, Davie, and I mean it now! You're a special guy, do you know that?"

"Mike has told me that. I don't see anything special here, but as long as you guys do, I'll accept it."

After they left, Mike and I sat down at the kitchen table with coffee. He gave me a long, serious look. "You know, I wouldn't put it past that little weasel to show up at Annie's wedding and try to ruin it for her."

"I was just thinking the same thing."

His look changed to determination. "It won't happen, Davie. I'll make sure it doesn't happen." I was surprised at the angry tone of his voice. Mike is such an easy-going, accepting person. But there was something here that was almost scary.

We dropped the topic and talked about what we needed to do to get ready for the wedding. We would have to be sure to pick up our tuxes, and we both wanted to get a small gift for the bride and groom. We would have to go shopping for that, but we couldn't leave, at least together, until the TV installer had come to hook up our TV.

It had been a busy, eventful day for both of us, so we finished our coffee, and I got up and rinsed out the pot. After I had it set up for morning, we went to bed, and I snuggled up to Mike and dropped off to sleep.

Editor's Notes:

That Weasel, Paul would be just the sort of person to try to ruin Annie's wedding. I sure hope that Mike can do something to stop him from doing it, if he should actually try. As far as I am concerned, Paul was never the right person for Annie. I told Arli, the other day that I had a bad feeling about Paul, the very first time we saw him.

I was surprised that Davie didn't notice the way that Paul treated Annie. Paul was a dictator to her. He made all the decisions. I took an instant dislike to him.

I am so glad that Mom noticed the way that Terry is bonding with Davie, and that Davie thinks of her as sort of his daughter. I think he can help her come out of her shell, and become a bit more outgoing.

I guess we will just have to wait to find out what will happen next. I really do love this little short story. I am so glad that I was able to talk Arli into continuing it. I really do love the people in the story, except for the two villains.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher