Neddy escorted Larry out of his apartment and into the noisy chaotic back yard.
"Noise bugs me," Larry warned. "It can trip my Aspie stuff."
"Focus on me," Neddy smirked. "Try to stay distracted."
"I'd rather stay focused," Larry said and that made Neddy feel good.
Larry played whiffle ball and Pepper with some of the Hillsboro Pizza kids. He even climbed in the bounce house!
He retreated into the main house or his mother-in-law home when he felt particularly uncomfortable with the noise and chaos and Neddy usually went with him. They also took a walk around the neighborhood.
"I didn't want to wreck Connor's party," Larry said with guilt as they walked along the local streets.
"You're not," Neddy assured him. "There's plenty going on back there without them noticing you."
"I get nervous when the routine and norm is thrown off," he explained. "Jumpy. Anxious."
"You're doing fine," Neddy said. "But we can't stay away long incase the same thing happens to Cody."
"Yeah," Larry agreed, promptly turning around.
"I didn't mean right now," Neddy said with surprise.
"No, you're right, he's just a kid," Larry said. "We should make sure he's okay."
"I want to make sure you're okay," Neddy said.
"Cody should always come first," Larry replied as he began walking with longer quicker strides.
Neddy looked at him with amazement. No guy had ever told her such a thing before.
Cody was having a great time when they returned to the party and Larry did his best to maintain his functionality for the rest of the party that included a cookout and cake and ice cream. Neddy was relieved that Cody was maintaining his cool and happy that Larry was hanging in there too.
"If this is as bad as it gets for you, it's pretty good compared to some of Cody's meltdowns," Neddy told Larry during one of their breaks inside his apartment.
"You probably don't want constant double action in the bullpen," Larry said. "I don't blame you for not wanting a second date."
"This isn't a date, Larry."
"It's a birthday party," Larry said.
"But you also said that it could be a test run to see if there's any hope," he reminded her as they sat on the sofa away from the noise.
"You remember everything, don't you?" Neddy realized.
"Yes," Larry confirmed. "And I believe in hope."
"I know you do."
Neddy sucked in her breath. "I should, shouldn't I?"
"Yes," Larry replied in his usual flat line presentation.
"I'm having a good time," Neddy let him know. "At the birthday party."
"I am too," Larry said. "Not including the noise of course."
"The double action bullpen wouldn't be so bad," she said. "I've been dealing with Cody for all this time so I should be pretty good with you, right?"
"You probably deserve better," Larry said.
"So don't you."
There was a knock on the door and Lisa stuck her head in. "Time for cake and ice cream," she announced. "You up for that, Larry?"
"Of course," Larry said. "That's the whole point of the party, isn't it?"
Neddy smiled as she stood. "Come on, we don't want to miss Connor blowing out his candles."
People started leaving after the cake and ice cream which meant there wasn't as much noise. Neddy and Cody were among the last of the guests to depart, Neddy hesitant to make Cody exit too early since he was so positively engrossed in the activities and might go nuclear if she pushed him before he was ready.
It was Larry who got Cody to agree that it was time to go (making a joke that it was past his own bedtime) and the ride home was enjoyable with Cody describing everything he had done and experienced during the party as Larry methodically drove.
"Why don't you come in?" Neddy suggested to Larry as she helped the yawning Cody out of the backseat of the car.
"Sure," Larry agreed.
He waited in the living room while Neddy put Cody to bed, studying and memorizing everything in the room. He was surprised when Neddy returned having changed out of her dress and now wearing flowered pajama bottoms and a red tank top.
"I guess I should go," he said, standing from the couch.
"Would you like a nightcap?" Neddy asked. "Do you drink?"
"Didn't you have a few beers at the party?"
"A few," she acknowledged. "I could go for some wine now," she said, heading for the kitchen.
Larry followed. "Wine's fine," he said, taking a seat on the stool at the breakfast counter.
Neddy poured two glasses from a bottle she retrieved from the refrigerator. She crossed the room and placed one of the glasses in front of Larry while she stood on the opposite side of the counter with her glass in her hand. She took a few sips from her glass while considering the presence of Larry in front of her.
"So, what now?" She asked in a surprisingly sexy voice.
"Is the date starting?" Larry wanted to know.
Neddy laughed with delight.
"I have no idea how other people go about sex," he said.
"It doesn't have to be traumatic, Larry," Neddy told him.
"It can be confusing though," he said.
"At this point in my life, sex should be easy," Neddy sighed. "But the nonverbal cues you give really stresses me out."
"Isn't there supposed to be dance?" Larry asked.
"A dance?" Neddy asked with confusion.
"When you date, there's the official dance to perform," Larry explained. "Dinner, movie, conversation, and eventually go home, kiss, and have sex."
"That's the dance?"
"Only I never know where I am in the dance and what's coming next," Larry admitted.
"There are supposed to be cues you offer the other person as part of the dance," Neddy said.
"What kind of cues?" Larry asked.
"I don't know, Larry," Neddy groaned. "Maybe like a caring touch in a spot you don't usually touch or a kiss that is not just a goodnight kiss."
Larry stood from his stool and walked around the corner of the counter. He reached his hand out and rubbed the top of her arm. Then he leaned in and gave her a meaningful kiss. "Like that?"
"Like that," Neddy agreed, letting out a contented sigh.
"I can't deal with the delicate stuff," Larry complained. "It's too much cueing. Just tell me if you want to have sex."
She was taken aback by his invitation but then she realized she shouldn't have been surprised by his flat-lined blunt honesty. Then she had to ponder his suggestion, knowing that if she said no deep down she'd be lying.
"I want to have sex," she said softly.
"Okay," Larry replied with approval.
"You're not too anxious to have sex?" She asked.
"I'm too anxious not to have sex," Larry replied as he stepped into her and kissed her again.
"I know that feeling," Neddy purred as she returned the kiss.
They made out for a few minutes and then Larry walked her back to the kitchen table, pushing her back so she fell onto it. He yanked down her pajama bottoms and that surprised her.
She felt vulnerable being so suddenly exposed but she was so contented and preoccupied with the making out that she really didn't care.
Larry was exploring her with his hands and it wasn't long before she felt him inside of her and she would have laughed at the image of them humping on the kitchen table if she wasn't so overwhelmed by the unexpected satisfaction and joy she was feeling.
Even with the hard uncomfortableness of the table she realized that Larry was the best lover she ever had – he brought her to an orgasm that surprised her and he made her feel things she hadn't felt in a long time, so much so that tears came to her eyes even as she shouted out with a happy cry of satisfaction.
"There you go," Larry said when he was finished, lying on top of her as they both tried to catch their breaths.
"Wow, Larry," was all she could think to say.
"You know what this means, don't you?" He asked, not moving because he was still inside her.
"What?" She asked, starry-eyed and overwhelmed.
"Now we have to get married," he said.
She cried and laughed at the same time.