Chapter Nineteen

Jack shivered. Desi asked, "Cold?"

"Not really," she answered.

Desi sensing Jack pulling away asked, "Then what is it?"

"Just … just thanks for stopping when I asked you to."

Surprised Desi said, "That's what a man does."

Jack nearly rolled her eyes but didn't. Desi was an old soul with old fashioned ideas of what made a man and what made a woman. But he was also young and full of what her father would have called "piss and vinegar" … at least he would have when Mom wasn't around. It was an odd combination, one Jack found extremely enticing and very confusing at the same time.

"Dezz … I … I didn't mean to tease. I … really meant to …"

"Hush on that. I ain't stupid. I know what you wanted, could feel it. But you needed me to stop so I stopped. On some things you're just as much a bebe as Concha and Lena."

"Hey!"

"Shhh. Don't wake them up. This ain't something I'm ready to explain to them. I just mean … look, I don't want to … to get into my past and your past because it don't change what we're doing here together. I'm just saying that … that I know you're a good girl and I mean to treat you like one. I just don't expect you to act like a nun and I ain't gonna treat you like one either. I know what I want. You know what you want … it's just gonna take you a little longer to get there with the rest of it. I'm ok with that. Question is are you okay with that?"

This time Jack really did roll her eyes. "You drive me crazy. You go day-glo red at even a hint of feminine hygiene products but we practically have sex, stop short, and you're all prosaic about it like it is no big deal."

Desi cleared his throat. "Now I didn't say it was no big deal. I'm saying it ain't no big deal to wait as long as you need to. I'm also saying I don't think you ain't got no morals because you like what we did do. But I ain't stupid. This is all new to you. And being with you makes it feel all new to me. So let's savor it, no need to rush."

In pure unadulterated frustration Jack groaned quietly and said, "This is too easy. Why are you making it too easy?!"

"Why do women think too much? Huh? Just accept that this is the way it is because this is the way I'm making it. OK? Stop looking for something to be upset or hurt about. I ain't Josh and I ain't Don."

"No, you're like Dad," Jack said finally giving up and relaxing against Desi so she could warm back up. "He would say the same thing to Mom. 'Teena, stop thinking it to death and over analyzing it.' If I heard him say that once I heard him say it a million times. Mom made it her mission in life to plan everything out so everyone else could enjoy life. And then she would get stuck thinking about the implications of all the plans and get on this Ferris wheel of around and around and up and down and … sometimes it was just a bit much. I always vowed to be mellower and here I am doing the same thing and then you saying the same thing as Dad."

Desi cleared his throat in a little discomfort and said, "Jackalene, your father isn't exactly what I want to think about when I'm holding you like this. Makes me want to look over my shoulder to make sure there's no avenging angel about to fill my butt with buckshot."

The very idea made Jack snicker and say, "Relax. My parents always wanted me to be happy. They liked Josh … but I have to admit they also never made much noise about getting more serious either. Dad and Josh's father … well they got along and were polite but it was an open secret that Josh's father had hopes that Josh would pick a girl from their church. It took almost a year before they stopped accidentally on purpose inviting extra girls from their church over whenever I was coming over for dinner or something. Supposedly it was so I would have girls there my age and keep things proper, but I knew they were actually just pointing out the differences between me and the others … the way we dressed, wore our hair, yada, yada. It bothered me at first but after a while it didn't and when they sensed that it didn't they let it go."

"Jackalene," Desi growled. "I don't want to think about Josh when we're like this either."

"Oh. Uh … sorry."

"Good. 'Cause just because I know you and him didn't have this doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly want him around all the time."

"But … huh? He isn't here. He left with his family to go who knows where."

"Good. Let him stay there. The only man there is room for around here is me."

"You're definitely strange Desiderio Arturo Raymundo Oswaldo Jimenez."

Desi looked at Jack a little strangely and asked, "Eh … what's with the whole name? Not even Aunt Rita would do that to me when I was at my worst. I ain't been a bad boy."

With a bit of a naughty grin Jack said, "Depends on your definition of bad." Then she pretended to be offended and said, "If you can call me Jackalene then I can call you by all your names."

"I call you Jackalene because I like it. It's different. I don't like being loaded with every male name in my family … father, grandfather, and great grandfather. At least they didn't put my great great grandfather's name in there … Jesus. That would have been fun listening to all of that with every new teacher."

"Silly, there wasn't enough space on the role. But listening to them try and pronounce Desiderio was kinda fun. I still remember Mrs. Ketchum in tenth grade."

"Don't remind me."

"Dezzy, Dozzdy, uhh … then you said Desi will do and she said Desi will do what? That became your theme out on the soccer field."

"I thought I said don't remind me," he growled low against Jack's throat causing her to shiver for a different reason than the cold.

They played back and forth like that for a while. It was a kind of dance, they were getting to know each other on a different level but still showing they were already tied together by a long mutual history. But eventually all things must come to an end, even the good stuff. They put the rest of their clothes back on and when the girls woke up before them the next morning there were no awkward questions to answer or situations to explain.