Jessie and Valene go out to dinner and Jessie tells her how he feels...
|Valene found herself standing in front of the body mirror in her bedroom and get frustrated. She wasn't finding herself the bit least attractive. She didn't know what Jessie wanted in her anyway and was about to call the whole thing off, when she heard a knock downstairs and Nadine calling to go get it.
She was wearing a conservative black knee length skirt with a rustic blue tank top. She slipped on a pair of heels that she had bought while she was here and grabbed her sweater and purse and walked down the stairs. She wasn't about to wait for someone to call her down like she was being announced.
Jessie was standing in the living room, wearing a pair of black jeans, black cowboy boots, and a sapphire blue dress shirt with a string tie. He smiled when he saw her coming down the steps. Suddenly, she felt like an idiot. Everyone was staring at her and she didn't know what to do. So, she smiled.
"Ya look purty." Jessie said as she reached the living room.
"You sure do, Val. Too bad you didn't have a patch to match the rest of your outfit." Nadine said with a soft smile on her lips.
"Very funny Nadine. I wish I could just take the stupid thing off, but I figure I'd look more of a complete doofus than I already do."
Kitty walked in from the kitchen with a large grin on her face. "Oh Valene, what a beauty before my eyes." She walked over to Valene and gave her a hug.
"Aunt Kitty, I doubt I'm a beauty, at least right now." Valene replied with a roll of the eyes.
"Ahh, I wouldn't doubt yourself. You would be beautiful if you were to be wacked upside the head with a tree." Kitty grinned and gave Valene a kiss on the cheek. "Now you two go and have fun. Love ya, Val." She turned then and walked over to her arm chair where she picked up a crossword and began to work on it.
"Go have fun, Val. I'll talk with you tomorrow." Nadine smiled and walked over to the couch where she had a crossword she had been working on as well.
"All right then. I'll see you guys later." Valene and Jessie left, closing the door behind them.
In the car on the way to a restaurant Jessie had picked out, they hadn't spoken a word to each other. "I do think ya'r purty. Whether ya think it or not." Jessie told her, trying to get a conversation going.
"Yeah, well, I almost didn't come. I don't know what you see in me anyway. Right now, I do look like a sixteen wheeler ran over me. I even feel like it. I don't know exactly what you see in me, Jessie. I really don't."
"Why's that? Ya are truly beautiful, and I don't care what the hell ya think. Okay?"
She smiled and folded her hands over her lap. "Thanks, Jessie. Thanks."
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Valene felt almost embarassed as she walked into the restaurant. It was a nice restaurant at the edge of Almira. There was a soft melody being played by violins and it swept through the entire restaurant.
She stopped, almost too afraid to go forward, but was urged along when Jessie put an arm around her waist and whispered in her ear that everything would be okay. She smiled and they found themselves a seat. It was a booth in a back corner.
"Don't worry about so much what others think of you. Only think of what I think of you." Jessie told her with a reassuring smile.
She rolled her eye and smiled. "Thanks Jess. That helped me alot."
"Okay...so don't even think about what I think. Just think about yourself." He explained to her.
"I don't know. I guess it wouldn't be that hard." Valene told him, giving him a shy smile.
A waiter came over with a smile. "Here are your menues for this evening. I'll be back in a few minutes to take your order." They gave him a nod and he walked off, back towards another table.
"This steak looks good." Jessie announced. He lowered the menu to get a look at Valene who was still looking at her menu. She hadn't noticed him looking at her, and if she had, she wasn't paying any attention. He grinned when she finally looked up to see him.
"Yes it does. You like 'em bloody don't you?" She gave him a smirk.
"If you want 'em good, you eat 'em while they're still a moo'in." He grinned and closed his menu. "What are you getting?"
"I'm not sure. That New England clam chowder on fettucine looks good...but I might just have a turkey salad."
Jessie tilted Valene's menu back. "A turkey salad? You mean a regular tossed salad with turkey pieces on it? Go with the fettucine."
"Why? The salad isn't good?" She asked.
"You need to eat some real food. Like the other morning." He replied.
She raised her eye brows. "The other morning?"
"The morning I picked you up and took you out for breakfast." He replied.
"You didn't take me out to breakfast. I ordered it and I paid for it. I even paid for your lousy coffee!" She exclaimed.
"Hey! I always get free coffee. So don't even go there."
"Oh really." Valene closed her menu.
"So, are you going to get the fettucine?" He asked as he took both menus into his hand and tapped them a few times on the table.
She smirked and shook her head. "Yeah. I think so." She put a strand of hair behind her ear. "What am I going to do with you Jessie? Has there been a day of my vacation where I haven't seen you?"
He laughed and leaned back in the booth. "I can't help the fact that you don't stay home. Plus, it's not like I can work much with my shoulder."
She looked up at him. "How is your shoulder?"
"Ahh, it's been a few days, still a bit stiff, but Laremy is helping out quite a bit. Thinks I've gone soft or somethin'."
"Why?" She asked with a soft laugh. "Not you."
"Yeah. He thinks so anyway, 'cause he thinks you're beginnin' to like me." He shook his head then looked up at her, catching her blue eyes with a soft glimmer.
"Maybe Aunt Kitty, Nadine, and Laremy can start a group." Valene retorted, still not finding the strength to admit she had fallen for Jessie. It was hard to kno that it was just short of a week before she had to head back to the city. Jessie sure wasn't going to go with her, and she knew she couldn't stay. She had a job...a home...a life, no matter how bleak, back in the city. It hurt to know that she would have to go on with her life knowing that she could've changed course back when.
"You aren't going to admit it, are you?" He asked. He folded his hands in front of him on the table. "Are you always this damn stubborn about everythin'?"
She shook her head and lowered her gaze. "I don't know what you're talking about Jessie. It would be stupid to admit anything. Even if I did. I know you wouldn't feel the same. You don't like the city girls. We're too damn independent."
"Never could say that I couldn't change my mind. Men do that you know." He drew a circle on the table with his finger, watching it as it went in small circles on the table, before looking up. "That is probably going to be the closest you're going to get to admitin' it, ain't ya?"
She looked at him, smirked, and shook his head. "No...yes...I don't know what you're talking about."
"I think you do." He whispered as the waiter came back over. Jessie and Valene gave him their orders and then smiled as the waiter brought them two glasses of wine for their dinner.
"I think you hit your head too hard the other day." Valene retorted as she sipped her wine.
"I think that woman didn't hit you hard enough!" Jessie recoiled.
"Oh thanks. I don't look attractive enough?" Valene ran a hand through her hair, wishing she hadn't said that. Why did she care? Did she really? Of course she did. Of all people she didn't want to lie to, it was herself. She had dressed this way to please him. Even if the rest of her didn't exactly match or look good enough, she always had her figure to help out.
"I think you're just dandy."
She smiled and shook her head. "Not at the present state, I'm not. I do look like I got hit with a sixteen wheeler."
"No you don't. Molly probably does. But you couldn't look like that. You're like an angel, one sent from the Lord himself." Jessie grinned, bearing the smile that sent her stomach into flutters and her breathing erratic.
"What changed your mind about city women?" She asked, curious.
"Me? I doubt that I...of all city woman, could change your mind about us."
"You aren't a natural city woman. There's country in there. You rode a horse better than I could."
"No. No I didn't. It's just that you were being stupid, knew the horse couldn't jump, yet you did it anyway. You show off too much, Jessie. It's not attractive."
"You don't like to be impressed? I thought that was a thing with all women?" He asked.
She laughed and shook her head. "Not a lot of women like to be impressed when their impressee gets hurt."
"Did you cry?"
He looked into her blue eyes, his brown ones seeming to melt her insides. "Did you cry when I fell?"
She shook her head and rolled her eye. "Are all men as impossible as you? Or just the ones I've met so far?"
"Ahh, so you did?" He grinned when she leaned back in her seat and just shook her head endlessly. "I knew you did."
"I think you're full of yourself. You scared me, I didn't cry. I wanted to hit you though."
He made a pretend pout. "So...you didn't cry?"
"Sorry to bust your ego bubble."
Jessie shrugged. "It's only my ego." He gave her a wry smile and looked away.
"I'm sorry. But I've made a vow to never cry over men. It's a sad, sad thing." She shook her head as she told him.
He kept his eyes in contact with hers, and he wanted to say something, she could tell, but when the waiter came over, it had distracted him from whatever had been resting on the edge of his tongue.
"Thank ya, Sir." Jessie replied with a grin.
"Enjoy your dinners. If you need me, I'll be around, just raise your hand or whistle." The man smiled and walked off.
"Glad you got the chower fettucine?" He asked.
He didn't have to wait for a reply to know that she did. She swirled the fettucine around on her fork and put the noodles into her mouth. It was dripping with clam sauce. As she stuck it into her mouth, some clam sauce was left on her lip. Before he had a chance to tell her about it, she licked it off with her tongue.
She nodded. "Yes. This is good."
Valene pushed her hair behind her shoulders and took a sip of her wine. He didn't have to tell himself that there was definitely something about Valene that he couldn't explain. Not only was she beautiful, and that she was a nasty rattler, but he loved her personality, and he knew that she was a vulerable woman beneath the thick shield she had created for herself.
He hadn't felt this way about any other woman. None of the women that Laremy had set him up with. He didn't know what to make of it, but he knew he wasn't going to let her go. He would just have to show her how he felt and get her to shed her shield so she could evaluate her feelings for him. Whatever they may be.
Jessie cut into his steak and felt his mouth water. "This steak is the best around." He told her sticking the end of his knife into the steak piece and popped it into his mouth.
"Eh, steak is all right. It has to be done. Completely. No pink." She told him as she swirled some fettucine around on her fork.
"How do you live?" He asked her.
"I live normally." She informed him as she put the noodles into her mouth.
"Whatcha doin' tomorrow?" He asked as he ran a steak piece around in the butter which had dripped off his potatoes.
"I don't know. I want to take Aunt Kitty out shopping. What, you want to know so you can go and stalk me down?" She asked as she took a sip of her wine.
"Why do you say that?" He inquiered, his eyes narrowed.
"Oh, don't even look at me like that, Mr. Taylor," She smiled and shook her head. "Name a day, since coming here to Almira, that I haven't see you...at all." She raised her right eye brow and leaned her wrists against the edge of the table.
Jessie raised his eye brows and stuck a piece of steak into his mouth. "I guess you could say you got me there."
"That's what I thought." She felt smug and leaned back in her seat.
"I can't help that everytime I go to do something, I see you. It's not like your hard to miss." He replied with a slight smile and a soft shrug.
"You saying I'm fat?" She questioned him, as she swirled her fettucine around on her fork.
"Why would I say that? You are not fat. You have...you have...." He was trying to find the word to express his fascination for her beautiful figure.
"I'm waiting. What excuse are you thinking of?" She demanded.
"You have a beautiful, luscious, mouth watering, gorgeous, and totally edible figure." He grinned as he finished.
She rolled her eyes. "Totally edible? Mouth watering? Are you totally out of your mind?" She grinned. "I can say...that was a good try. Never had anyone put my figure into such....descriptive words."
"I'm only stating the truth." He told her.
"Uh huh." She replied as she sipped her wine. "I'm full."
Jessie looked at her plate, there was still quarter of her dinner left. "Full?"
"Yes. I've been eating salads and small portions. That...breakfast you saw me eating, I didn't eat all of that. I ate some of it. Since...the death of my father...I've just never been hungry."
He laid his silverware down on his plate. His steak was gone, and all of his potatoes. All that was left was the juice from his steak and the melted butter from his potatoes.
"C'mon." He told her.
"Where?" She asked, squinting her eyes at him.
"Your done. I'm done. And it's a surprise." He told her.
She reached for her purse and dug around for some money. "I have it, Valene." He told her as he stood, reached into his butt pocket, and pulled out his wallet. He tossed a five down on the table. "C'mon." He reached for her hand and took it, engulfing her small hand into his.
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Jessie couldn't stand it. He wanted her to know that he wanted her. He wanted to hold her when she talked about her past. He wanted her to feel as though no one had ever loved her the way he did. He wanted to hear her heart beat against his ear. Wanted her to see and feel the ways of love. To show her that not everything is bad. That not everything is just...sex.
"Where are we going?" She asked after a few moments of silence. The night was beautiful. The sky was clearless, the ocean of blackish blue silk, sewn with beautiful small speckles of diamonds.
"To our spot." He told her. She knew of it. He had taken her there a few days ago, when she had told him about everything. About her mother, about her ex-boyfriend, whatever his name was.
"Our spot?" She asked.
He nodded. "Yup. Our spot."
"When did it become that?" She asked.
"When we were there the last time. You told me yourself that it was easier for you to talk there."
"You want me to talk?" She asked.
"No. I'm going to talk to you."
"Because I want to. Anymore questions?" He asked. He didn't mean to sound rash, but he was just so frustrated. He wanted her to know how he felt. None of this shyness. None of this keeping his feelings locked away and pretending they weren't there. The lock was breaking against the door, and he couldn't help it. Every time he looked at her, those emotions banged against the door, screaming for release.
"No. I guess not." She replied quietly.
When the arrived Jessie hopped out of the truck and was over and opened the door before Valene had a chance to open it herself. He took her hand and helped her. There was a slight dip from the road and he didn't want her to slip in her shoes.
The moon seemed to lay a milky white silk ray down upon the area. It highlighted the small stream and seemed to make it glow eerily. It made the place almost magical. A bull frog croaked off in the area and a few lightning bugs blinked on then off.
It was perfect, he thought as he tightened his grip around her hand, leading her to where they had once sat together. He turned her so that she faced him and he cupped her face and lowered his mouth to hers.
Her lips softened and parted under his and he entered his tongue. It was magical, not only to him, but to her as well. She grabbed onto his wrists, unsure of whether she could support herself. Her breath had been sucked from her body and her heart was beating so fast, so quick, she thought it was about to burst.
When he pulled away, her lips still tingled from the kiss. She fluttered her eyes open and looked up at him. "Wha...what was that for?" She asked.
"It was to show you just how much...how much I want you." He explained. He held onto her chin with his hand when she tried to look away. "Don't. I want to explain."
No. Not again. I can't handle this. No. I can't. "Please. You don't mean it." She told him.
"Look at me Valene. I want you to look at me when I talk to you. I'm tired of playing coy with you. I want you. And hell, I might even love you. I can't stop thinking about you. I try to find excuses just to leave my farm and hope your out driving about, just so I can see your face, hear your voice. No woman has ever done this to me. I can't explain it, and in a way, I don't want to. I like this new feeling." Her eyes were wide, glossy, and vulnerable.
"How can you want me? I'm a city woman, I smoke, I have....I have so much baggage." She told him.
"I don't care. Plus, you haven't smoked the entire night. I think you might be on the verge of quitting." He smiled before he continued. "I think you're beautiful. Nothing could even come close to the beauty you have. Your eyes...they're so large, so beautiful. You're spirit, yet fiery, is so...open, so beautiful. Everything about you is beautiful. When I close my eyes, you are all I see, all I dream about. I go crazy wondering when I'll see you again." He cupper her face and smiled. When she smiled up at him, he softly kissed her lips. "And those lips. So luscious, so edible." He leaned back down and kissed her, devouring her mouth with his. Letting her know just how much he wanted her.