As always, thank you to my awesome team. PapaKilo14 is my editor. Hope everything keeps getting better. Hal does an edit to clean up after us and he's very cool. My beta readers are the best in the business. Pixel the Cat, who amazes me every day, OldDave1951(recovering nicely, thank God) and GeorgeAnderson (also recovering), my very special friend. Love you guys and thank you so much.
I stumbled out the patio door with a nightstick in my hand. The damn dogs were in my trash again. The rumble of my trash container turning over woke me up. This was the third time this week and I was getting sick of it. Why couldn't people keep their damn dogs at home? I knew the dogs were just hungry, but this was ridiculous.
I opened the back gate stealthily and prepared to rush out and deal the mangy curs some punishment. I flung the gate open and dashed to the garbage containers. There were two dark forms with one container on its side. I raised the club and they noticed me.
"Please, mister, we was just hungry," one of them said. "We'll clean it up! Don't hit us!"
It wasn't dogs; it was two children. They were definitely feral, though. It was dark back there and I grabbed them by the collars, dragging them into the backyard under the security lights. I stood them up and looked them over. They were ragged and dirty. They looked like vagabonds. They had on nondescript baggy clothes and ball caps. It was cold out and I could see them shivering.
"Did you two turn my garbage over earlier in the week?" I asked.
They looked at one another. "Yes, you always leave some stuff like pizza or something in your trash," one of them said. "I'm sorry we left it. We won't do it anymore. Just let us go, mister, we won't bother you no more. We'll clean it up."
This wouldn't do. I took them firmly by the shirts and marched them inside. I took them straight to the bathroom, pushed them in and shut the door. "Don't come out until I get back," I said.
I went and got some of my ex-wife's sweatpants, hoodies, clean socks and big fluffy towels. I took them to the bathroom and opened the door. They were trying to open the window and get away. "You may like being dirty," I told them, "but I don't think a hot shower is going to hurt you. There's soap and shampoo in the shower. Here are clean clothes and towels. Get undressed and get in the shower."
"We don't like being dirty," the biggest one hissed at me. "We ain't got no nice shower like you. You just going to stand there?"
"You might steal something," I said.
"Yeah, right," the little one said. "We going to steal your toilet paper. We ain't thieves. You some kind of a pervert, mister? You like little girls?"
I was dumbfounded. Now that I looked closely, there were definitely girls under all that dirt. "I ... I..." I stammered, "I didn't know you were girls. Just clean up and I'll get you something to eat. Come to the kitchen when you get clean and I'll feed you."
I left them the bathroom and went to the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator and took stock. There was cold fried chicken, half a bowl of potato salad, a half-eaten vegetable tray, some pastrami for sandwiches and baby dill pickles. I divided the chicken onto two plates. There were three pieces for each one and I gave them each a big pile of potato salad. I put the veggies on a plate and got some ranch for them to dip in. Some pickles on the plate, a pastrami sandwich for each of us and some chips for me, and them too, if they wanted them, completed a pretty good meal, I thought. I hoped they liked Muenster cheese, mayo and mustard on their sandwiches.
I heard the bathroom door open quietly and whispers outside the kitchen door. After a minute, two of the most beautiful girls I'd ever seen walked into my kitchen. They had long, midnight black hair and olive skin. The greenest eyes on earth, a little almond shaped, high cheekbones and just the cutest little noses imaginable made them quite a pair. They looked like they hadn't quite made it to teen yet, maybe eleven or twelve. It was funny seeing them in Brianna's clothes. She's a tall girl and they were very little. They had sleeves and pant legs rolled up and they looked like vagabonds.
"Pull up a chair," I invited them. "Do you like Coke, or I have juice or milk."
They both wanted milk. "I'm McCay North," I told them as I poured their milk. I sat it on the counter in front of them. "Dig in."
"I'm Maggie," the big one said. "That's short for Margret. She's Stokely. Can we really eat all this?"
"You can have more if you want another sandwich," I said. "I'll cook for you in the morning. I'm not cooking at 2 AM."
"No, this is good. Thank you," Stokely said.
Maggie looked at me suspiciously. "What do you want from us? We ain't doing no nasty stuff."
I laughed. "No, me either. If either one of you has any designs on my virtue, you're going to be disappointed."
They clearly didn't understand my sense of humor. "I'm not available to little girls," I said.
I could tell they didn't like the "little girls" reference but they started eating. They ate like wolves. "Hey, whoa, slow down," I told them. "It isn't trying to get away. The chickens are dead and the potatoes were never very fast. You're going to make yourselves sick!"
That got a chuckle out of them but they ate less ravenously. "Where are you girls staying?" I asked them.
"There's an empty house down the block," Maggie said. "We found a mattress and we've got some stuff to cover up with. We're afraid the crackheads are going to move in, though. As soon as they find out it's empty they will."
"Would you like to sleep in a warm, clean bed tonight?" I asked them.
They looked at me suspiciously again. "Not mine," I laughed. "I have three spare bedrooms. Well, they're mine too, but you know what I mean."
They giggled nervously. "We ain't got no money," Stokely said. "We can't pay you. We collect cans, but we just spend all that on food."
"I'm not asking you to pay me," I said. "Did you hear me say I want you to pay me?"
"What gives?" she asked. "Why you being so nice to us, Mc ... Mc..."
"Call me Mack," I said. "Everyone does."
"Why you acting all nice, Mack?" she asked.
"I'm not 'acting' any way," I told her. "I'm a nice guy, just ask my Mom." That got smiles from them. I liked that. I decided I'd make them do it a lot. "If I were in your shoes I'd want someone to be nice to me," I said.
They seemed to consider that. "Can I have some of those chips?" Stokely asked. I pushed the bag over and they both reached in while they ate their sandwiches. I had finished mine. They drank their milk and looked like they wanted more. I poured them another glass and they drank that, too. I was amazed, but they cleaned their plates down to the crumbs and ate all the veggies. They must have been really hungry.
"Off to bed," I told them. "You'll each have your own bathroom. There are toothbrushes, combs and stuff like that in the vanities. Aspirins, tummy ache stuff, toothpaste and floss in the medicine cabinets. Anything else you need you have to ask me for."
"Can we lock the doors?" Maggie asked.
"Yes, but you have to open them in a reasonable amount of time if I ask you to," I said.
They looked at me funny. Light dawned in Maggie's impossible green eyes. "He's afraid we'll steal stuff," she told her sister. "We won't steal anything, Mack. It's okay if you don't trust us. We don't trust you very much either."
I had to laugh. "Okay, we have a mutual distrust. You're going to find out you can trust me. I hardly ever harm beautiful girls."
That got me another pair of flashing smiles. I think they liked the "beautiful" part. They followed me down the hall and went into their rooms. I heard the locks click and smiled to myself. When I got back in bed, I lay awake for a while. What was the deal on these girls? Why were they rummaging around in my trash? Why were they on their own? Where was their family? I was going to get some answers in the morning.
I was getting dressed when I heard the floor creak down the hall. I opened the door a crack and they were sneaking toward the living room. I figured they were going to leave so I opened the door. They froze.
"You girls ready for breakfast?" I asked.
They looked at each other. "Maybe we better just go," Maggie said. "You ain't going to, like, keep us or nothing, are you?"
"You mean, force you to stay?" I asked.
They looked at each other again. They looked back at me and nodded.
"No, I won't force you to do anything," I said. "It's against my rules to force people to do things. I'd like it if you'd eat breakfast with me, though."
They glanced at one another again. "You'll let us go after that?" Stokely asked.
"If you want to," I said. "Actually, I was hoping you'd want to spend the day with me. If you don't, that's okay, but do you have an appointment somewhere?"
"Yeah, we need to meet with our stockbroker," Maggie smiled. It lit her up like a Christmas tree. "What you going to feed us?"
"First, you left an 'are' out of that sentence," I told her. "It's, 'What are you going to feed us'."
"You an English teacher or something?" she asked.
"As a matter of fact, I am," I told her. "I teach English Literature at the University."
"Cool," Stokely said. "We don't go to school. Too busy."
"You do eat breakfast though, right? I was thinking waffles and bacon. Do you girls like that?"
They did so we went in and they got out the waffle iron while I mixed up the batter. They cooked the waffles while I fried two pounds of bacon. I'm kind of a syrup snob. I'm a coffee snob, too. I let Maggie turn the bacon while I ground coffee beans and put the percolator on. It all came together pretty well and we had real maple syrup and waffles. They disgusted me by asking if I had creamer for the coffee. I keep some around for the barbarians and Brianna and they liked the vanilla hazelnut. We ate all the bacon and they each had three waffles.
"You girls stick with me and I'll have you as fat as toads in a week," I told them. They both laughed and it was the most wonderful sound I'd ever heard. They drank milk like starving calves, too. My pantry was going to need some work.
"So tell me about Maggie and Stokely," I said. "What's up with you girls? Why are you digging through people's garbage for food?"
We took mugs of coffee into the living room and they told me a tale of woe. Their father was an autoworker. He lost his job when they were little and started drinking and knocking them around. Their mother divorced him and they never saw him again. The Detroit economy was a mess. Well, everything about Detroit was a mess, but jobs were hard to come by. Their mother drove a cab and she picked up the wrong fare one night. He stabbed her for what little money she had on her and left her to bleed to death.
They'd been put in foster care and the man of the house started molesting them. They ran away and they'd been living on the streets for three months. Their last name was Steele and they worried about freezing to death, being raped or killed, and where their next meal was coming from.
I sat there for a while after they finished talking. Jesus Christ, they were breaking my heart. I wondered how many like them were out there. It was probably a more common story than I imagined. I wondered if they'd let me help them. I wondered how I could help them. It seemed unlikely that child services would let them stay with me. A single man keeping two young girls sounded like something a pervert would dream up, and I was pretty sure it wouldn't fly with social services. They interrupted my reverie.
"Mack, you married?" Stokely asked.
"I was," I told them. "My ex decided I wasn't ambitious enough. She's a hotshot lawyer and she was going places. She didn't have room in her life for being married."
"What a bitch," Maggie said.
I laughed. "She's really a very nice person. She didn't cheat on me or anything and we're still very close friends. We mutually decided that we should never have gotten married. We were very young and very dumb."
"How old are you?" Stokely wanted to know.
"I'm twenty-eight," I told her. "How old are you?"
"I'm eleven and she's thirteen," she said. "What we going to do today?"
"What 'are' we going to do today," I told her.
"Yeah, what you said."
"We're going to talk," I told her. "First I'm going to introduce you to someone."
I opened the garage door and a bundle of wiggling fur shot in. He noticed our guests and shot over to them, leaping onto the sofa and laying across their laps, swiping them with a big, pink tongue.
"This is Grandville," I told them. "I call him Granny."
They were giggling hysterically as he drenched them with his tongue. He weighs about 130 and they weren't getting up with him on their laps. I'm sure he weighed more than they did.
"Down, Granny," I told him. He reluctantly climbed down and lay on their feet.
"He's huge," Stokely laughed, petting his head. "What kind of a dog is he? He's kind of striped like a tiger."
"He's a Bull Mastiff," I said. "He's called a brindle and that's why he's that color."
"He looks like he could bite our faces off," Maggie said.
"Yes, he could, but he won't. He's friendly to my friends. He sees you sitting in our house and being friendly so he loves you. If you were being belligerent toward me, he would have been alarmed and very aggressive. Now that he knows you, he won't let anyone be belligerent toward you either. If I yelled at you, he wouldn't like that. He's very protective of people he loves."
Stokely jumped down and lay on top of him, hugging him around the neck while he licked her arm. "I love him," she said. "He's so wrinkly and cute! Does he live in the garage?"
"No, he lives in the house," I said. "He was sick yesterday and I put him out there so he wouldn't puke all over the house."
"What made him sick?" Stokely asked.
"He eats stuff he shouldn't," I said. "He chews up sticks, eats bugs, dead stuff he finds, no telling what. He seems to be okay today."
"Gross," Maggie exclaimed. "He was licking my face!"
"Yeah, he's cute, but kind of a mess," I said. "He's my buddy, though, so I just put up with him. He'll be your buddy, too, if you let him. We should take him for a walk."
I got his leash and Maggie wanted to lead him. He mostly leads the person with the leash so she stayed a few yards ahead of Stokely and me, being dragged along. Stokely put her little hand in mine. I looked down at her and she smiled up at me. God she was beautiful! "Is it okay?" she asked.
"Sure, baby," I said. "I like holding hands with pretty girls." She blushed a little but she didn't turn me loose. We walked a couple of miles and Granny was panting and drooling by the time we got back. It was cold but he does that anyway.
We got more coffee and talked all afternoon. I finally asked them if they would let me help them. "What can you do?" Maggie asked.
"I really don't know," I told them. "I could talk to Brianna. She's a lawyer, albeit a different kind. Maybe she would have some ideas."
"Is that the bitch?" Maggie asked.
"Maggie, she isn't a bitch," I told her. "Stop calling her that. Do you trust me?"
They looked at each other and then back at me. "Yeah, I guess so," Stokely said. "You're being very nice to us."
"Well, let's give her a call and see if she'll come over," I said. "You'll like her. Just give her a chance."
Brianna was busy but she said she would come over for dinner. Bri is this tall, gorgeous redhead. She's smoking hot but she's never figured that out. I could tell the girls were impressed when she walked in. She gave me a kiss that curled my toes and hugged both the girls.
"You've replaced me," she winked at me.
"No, Bri, you're irreplaceable, you know that," I kidded her. She really is. I told the girls we were still friends and we are. We're friends with benefits. We still have some great sex together, sometimes once a week or more. Sometimes she comes over and stays with me for a week or so and we fuck like bunnies. She just doesn't have time for a husband in her life and I doubted she ever would. She loves me in her own way and I love her too. We just can't be married. We get along perfectly as fuck buddies, but we fought like cats and dogs when we were married.
"So, who are your new girlfriends?" she asked. She smiled at them and I knew they were dazzled.
"I'm Maggie and she's Stokely."
"Pleased to meet you," Bri said. "You do know that this guy is dangerous, right?"
"Not to us," Stokely said. "I think he might be to someone he was enemies with. He has a club and a really big dog."
Bri prodded Grandville with her toe and he moaned. "Hey big guy," she knelt and hugged him. "Miss me?" He rolled his eyes up at her but couldn't muster the energy to raise his head.
"What's up, Mack?" she asked. "What did you want to talk to me about? Not that I mind the dinner invitation. He's a fantastic cook, girls, if you can get him motivated."
"I think he made lamb chops," Maggie said. "We've never had that before."
"Well you're in for a treat then, but what's up?" she asked again.
We ate dinner and I explained. "We need your help, Bri," I told her. "We don't know anything about legal stuff. The girls are orphans. Well, their dad may be alive but no one knows where. He abandoned them and their mother was murdered. They were in foster care and some asshole started feeling them up. They ran away and they're living on the street. They were dumping out my garbage looking for something to eat and I caught them. Now we're trying to figure something out so they won't be back out on the street."
She looked at me for a minute. "You want them, don't you? Jesus Christ, Mack! You've always wanted kids and because I won't give you any you want them, don't you?"
I blushed. "Yeah, I kinda do. How do you think that could happen, Bri?"
"I don't think it could," she said. "No family court is going to give you two young girls. You're a single man. It's a recipe for disaster. They won't do it."
I looked over at the girls. They were staring at me with wide eyes. "What?" I asked.
They looked at each other and burst into tears. Both of them ran over and threw their arms around me. "You wanted to keep us?" Stokely sobbed. "I can't believe that. I didn't think we would ever find anyone ... anyone... " she couldn't go on.
I held them tightly. "Yes, girls, I was thinking about it. You need someone to watch out for you. I need someone to look out for me. I thought we might do that together." Their little bodies were shaking and they pressed against me tightly.
I looked helplessly over at Bri and there were tears running down her cheeks. She looked from the girls to me. "Damn it, Mack, look what you're done to me. Just when I think I know you, you always surprise me. What am I going to do with you?" There was an odd look on her face, like she was seeing me for the first time. "Let me think for a few days. Girls, you're going with me. You can't stay here with Mack. It would ruin everything if that ever came out. Mack, we're taking Granny with us. I can't stay home and he'll have to look after them."
She was like a tornado as she swirled around and swept them and Granny out of the house in into her Mercedes. "I'll call you," she said.
She did call for about thirty seconds three times over the next two weeks. I didn't see hide or hair of them until she called me Friday morning and told me she wanted to meet me for dinner at Alphonso's. It's a nice Italian place in Pontiac and we went there a lot. She was already there when I arrived, sitting at the bar with men swirling around her. She jumped up when she saw me and left them drooling. We went to a booth and she pushed me over and sat by me. She usually wants to sit across from me so I knew something was going on. We ordered and she didn't say anything for a while.
"You know I love you, right, Mack?" she finally began.
"Yes, I love you, too," I said.
"I don't mean like I love your Mom or anything. I'm in love with you, Mack. I always have been since that day at Cedar Point. You're the only man I've ever loved or ever will love," she said. "I trust you implicitly. I love everything about you except being married to you. You know how I am. I like to be free, no commitments, no baggage, nothing tying me down. I love my job and my life. I don't love them more than you, but I don't have to choose. You're as faithful as Granny is. We have an understanding. I don't fuck anyone but you. I never have, you know that. You've always understood me. That's why all this is going to sound as strange as hell."
"Uh oh," I laughed. "Sounds like I'm in for a nasty surprise."
She shot me a 'you're an idiot' look. "Yes, I'm afraid you are. Will you marry me, Mack?"
I nearly choked to death on my wine. Wine down the windpipe is a bad place for it to be. After I recovered, I just sat there with my mouth open.
"Stop being a dolt and answer me!" she snapped.
"Hell no," I finally got out. "Why, Bri? We make each other miserable. We'd be at each other's throats in a month. What's wrong with what we do now?"
"Nothing," she said. "This has nothing to do with us. It has to do with the sweetest, most adorable girls on the face of the planet, Mack. I'm totally in love with them. You fucked my life up completely when you invited me over that night. They're desperate to see you. They cry and beg me every night to come and see you. The problem is, I'm not going to give them up. I've never had so much fun or aggravation in my life as I have since they've been with me. Neither one of us has a stable home environment. No judge in his right mind would give them to either one of us. If we were married, they would give them to us in a heartbeat. So, if I want them, I'm going to have to take you as part of the package. If you want them, you're going to have to put up with me. Can we do it, Mack? We're great fuck buddies and I love you to death. Can you avoid irritating the hell out of me?"
"I doubt it," I told her. "You're just as bad as I am. You come home drunk, you're never on time for anything except your job, and you don't come home at all then don't call me. Hell, Bri, we've been there and done that."
"Yes, I know. The thing is, what if it's different now? I can't wait to get home at night. I always call them if I'm going to be late and I've had one glass of wine a night since I've had them. I never dreamed I could feel like this. Marry me, Mack. Give me a chance. I'll give you one."
"I think we need to talk about things," I said.
"So talk. What in the hell are we doing? You think I'm just flapping my gums here? Tell me what needs to happen. You want me to go first?"
I took a big gulp and signaled the waiter for another glass of wine. "Shoot," I told her.
"The thing that pisses me off about you the most is you're so needy," she said. "You need to know everything that I'm doing in great detail. When I'm going to be where, who I'm with, what I'm doing, when I'm going to be home. You're kind of OCD about stuff. If you would just quit trying to control me and let me be me, we'd still be married. You never could. It drives me crazy. Surely you know by now that you're the only man I'll ever be interested in. You know that, right, Mack?"
"Yeah, I guess I do," I said. "That used to bug the hell out of me. I worried that you'd find someone and leave me."
"That's never going to happen," she promised. "I've never even thought about another man since the day I first met you. I go to dinner with clients and colleagues. I go dancing with groups, men and women. I entertain. That's what I do, but from the moment I met you no man or woman has ever touched me intimately or ever will. Do you believe me?"
"Yes, it's the same for me. I trust you, Bri. I know you'd never hurt me. You're just so carefree and careless. I'm as in love with you as I was on the first day we were married. I think you feel the same way about me and we were comfortable where we were at."
"Well, I'm not anymore," she said. "There are these two girls who need a family. I love them nearly as much as I do you. I love them more than my job. I want to be part of their lives and the only way I see that happening is with the two of us doing it together. So, will you give me a chance, Mack? Will you marry me and try to love me so we can have this family together? I'm never going to bear children. I'm too vain and selfish to do that to myself. However, we can have these girls. Marry me, Mack, and I'll try my best to make you deliriously happy, okay?"
"Obviously, you've had some time to think about this," I said. "Give me some time, too, okay?"
She glanced at her watch. "You have twenty minutes," she said.
"Jesus, I'm on some sort of deadline?" I asked.
"Yes, they're going to be outside waiting for us in twenty minutes," she said. "They should get here in ten minutes. They're going to walk Granny for ten minutes and then a car is picking us up to take us to your house."
We hurriedly finished our meal and walked outside. There was a limo waiting but no sign of the girls. The driver told us they were walking the dog. He seemed to disapprove of "the dog." Maybe he didn't like drool on his upholstery. We waited a few minutes and I saw them hurrying toward the car.
"Let's go," Maggie said when they got to us. "There's a guy following us. Granny doesn't like him. He growled at him."
I glanced down the sidewalk and there was a young man approaching. He was about five eight, had tattoos and metal sticking out of his face. He had on a stocking cap and a hoody and his pants looked like they were about to fall off. I think he was under the impression that he looked thug, a pale imitation of the "Real Slim Shady."
"What you looking at?" he addressed me.
"Nothing, we're just leaving," I said.
"You think you all fly, nice sport coat, fine women, big car," he said. "You look like you got some spare money."
The dude was nuts. I was eight inches taller than he was and probably a hundred pounds heavier. I don't have a fat belly either. "I think you better move on," I told him. "My dog doesn't like you."
He advanced to about four feet away. "I ain't scared of no pussy dog," he said. "How much money you got on you?" He reached inside his coat toward the top of his pants and I saw a flash of metal. I kicked him in the chest and he launched backward through the air. A gun fell out of his pants to the ground. Maggie lost Granny's leash as he sprang. The kid had the presence of mind to protect his face with his arm and I heard the crunch as Granny destroyed that forearm. He screamed and Granny ripped the sleeve out of his hoody.
"Grandville, heel," I said.
He dropped the sleeve and came to sit beside me. The kid was writhing around on the ground and I went and knelt beside him, Granny at my side.
"Choke, Granny," I told him.
He sprang forward and the kid froze as those huge jaws closed around his neck. "I think you're an asshole," I told him. "Are you an asshole?" He nodded a little, his face rigid with fear. "Say it," I told him. He didn't respond. "Bite, Granny," I said.
He screamed a little and I saw blood trickling down his neck as those huge canine teeth broke the skin. You could hear the air snoring in and out of Granny's nose. "Say it," I repeated.
"I'm an asshole," he gasped.
"How much money you got?" I asked him. "Give it to me."
He reached into his pocket and Granny must have squeezed. "Slowly," I told him as he flopped around.
He pulled out a roll and handed it to me. "Let him go, Granny," I said.
He reluctantly released his hold and the kid scrambled backward. "I'm giving you a twenty yard head start," I said. "Then, I'm going to send him after you. I suggest you run fast."
He was off like a sprinter. He got about fifteen feet and his pants fell down. He took a nasty tumble and jumped back up, pulling his pants up and holding them with his good arm as he ran. "You need a belt," I called after him.
I turned back to the girls and all three of them were standing there with their mouths open. I kicked the gun into the storm sewer opening. "What?" I asked.
Bri unfroze first. "You're a nasty son-of-a-bitch to mess with, Mack. Remind us not to piss you off."
The girls launched themselves at me and I hugged them up. "Jesus, Mack," Stokely said into my chest. "I thought that guy was scary. You fu ... you messed him up. Thank you. You did that for us, didn't you?"
"Well, nobody messes with my girls," I told her. "He left you a little donation for your college fund." I handed her the roll. She counted it. There was $700 in it. He must have robbed some other poor suckers recently. She split it with Maggie and we got in the car.
I was turned a little in the back, hugging Maggie, and I noticed something. "There's a van following us," I said.
"I know," Bri said. "It has some of our stuff in it."
I raised one eyebrow at her. "Yes, I know I'm taking a lot for granted," she grinned. "Girls, Mack said yes. We're going to get married again and we're going to keep you."
They gasped and squealed. "Really, Mack?" Maggie asked. "She really isn't a bitch. You were right. We love Bri. She's been so nice to us. We have a bunch of new clothes and she got us into this nice school! We're going to make you guys so proud of us! I promise you'll never be sorry."
"We know you will, sweetheart. Don't worry about that," Bri said.
I was in a bit of shock. I tried to say something but I couldn't get the words off my tongue.
"Are you okay, Mack?" Stokely asked.
Bri laughed. "No, he's going into full panic mode. His carefully ordered world is turning upside down. Everything in his house is spotless. Everything is in the perfect place. He's going to have girl's panties hanging in the shower and we're going to move his books and leave drink rings on his coffee table and it's going to make him nuts. I honestly don't know how he manages to live with Grandville. We're going to have to love him so much that he doesn't care that there are crumbs on the counter. Think we can do that?"
"I think you can," Maggie laughed. "I don't know about us."
"Oh, he's a sucker for pretty girls," Bri assured them. "All you will have to do is bat your eyelashes at him and he'll melt into a puddle. He'll be pissed off at me, though. That will piss me off and you girls will have to love us out of it, okay?"
I groaned. "I didn't actually agree to any of this," I said. "Bri is being her usual hurricane and just sweeping us all along."
"Do you love Bri?" Stokely asked me.
"Yes, I love her on the other side of town," I tried to explain.
"Yes, but we all need to be together to be together," Maggie said. They all burst out laughing at that statement and I had to join them. The idea was ridiculous. How did I lose control like this? As usual, Brianna had just taken over. My little enquiry into helping the girls had become a full-blown marriage and adoption scheme. By such small actions, a whole life spins out of control!
I thought this was a harebrained scheme and I told Bri that as soon as we got to my house. There was a flurry of activity and movers carried mountains of stuff inside and put it in various rooms. To my astonishment, there was pile after pile of girls' clothing going into Maggie's and Stokely's rooms.
"Where did you girls get all that stuff?" I asked Maggie as she swept by.
"Bri took us shopping a bunch of times," she said, disappearing into her room.
Bri stuck her head out of my room. "God, Mack, don't you ever get rid of anything? You have stuff you had when we got married. I'm throwing it away! I need drawers and closet space."
I raced to rescue my high school letter jacket from the trash heap. "Stop it, Brianna," I yelled in. "This stuff isn't to be thrown away! If I didn't want it, I wouldn't have it! Damn it! This is my house and I'll throw your bony ass out if you don't stop it."
She stuck her head out and gave me a glare. "Bony ass, huh?" she snorted. She grabbed me by the sleeve of my jacket and dragged me into the bedroom. It looked like a cyclone had hit. In one motion, she locked the door, pulled her dress over her head and leaned over with her hands on the bed. My breath caught in my throat. She didn't have on any panties!
Her ass was anything but bony. It was firm, small, tight and very muscular! She shook it at me. "Fuck me, Mack," she looked back over her shoulder at me, her blue eyes blazing. "I'm as hot as I've ever been. I need that big cock, baby. Quick, we can make out later."
"I'm onto your fiendish plan," I told her. "You're trying to fuck me into forgetting about my house and my life being destroyed."
"Yes, just fuck me now," she pleaded. "Don't make me beg, Mack."
I'm sorry to say that her fiendish plan succeeded. By the time she was done with me, I was as helpless as a newborn kitten. She was up and going the minute she realized she wasn't going to get me up again any time soon. "Go take some vitamins," she said as she swept out the door. "We've got a lot to do. This isn't over."
By the time the house was in some semblance of order it was 3 AM. By the time she gave me up for dead it was nearly four-thirty. I slept until 10 the next morning before stumbling to the shower. By the time I had shaved and showered, I was beginning to feel vaguely human. Bri was still asleep, that flame colored hair across her face as she lay on her belly. God, her ass was spectacular! I went into the living room and Granny was asleep and drooling on a pile of my best dress shirts.
I sighed. I got a glass of orange juice and a muffin. "Come on, Granny," I told him. "Let's get out of this scene of destruction." He raised his head and rolled his eyes, groaning as he got to his feet. We went out in the back yard and he did his business and came to lie down on my feet. I soaked up some sun, feeling as lazy as a big fat lizard. It was a very warm day for that time of year. The door opened and Stokely came out carrying a glass of milk and a muffin.
"Hi, Angel." I flipped a hand at her.
"Hi, Mack." She shut the door. She stood there for a minute and came to the glider I was sitting in. "Is there enough room for me?" she asked.
I scooted over and she sat on my lap, putting her feet in the empty space I had made. She curled up with a sigh and took a bite of her muffin. Her big green eyes pierced my soul. "Mack," she began, muffin crumbs spraying over our laps.
"Ah, ah," I told her. "Eat first; take a drink of milk, swallow, and then talk."
She giggled, but she didn't try to talk again until her mouth was empty. "Mack," she began again. "If you adopt us will you be our Dad and Bri will be our Mom?"
"Would you like that?" I asked her.
"Oh, yeah," she said. "Bri would be the coolest mom ever! You're not cool, but I think you're more ... dependable. I love you and I think you'd make the best dad in the world."
I nearly choked. "Well," I sputtered. "I guess it's good to be dependable if you're uncool."
She laughed. "I didn't mean it like that. I mean, she's like a force of nature and you're like a mountain. She really, really loves you, you know. She talks about you all the time. She told us all about you and her. Do you love her?"
"Yes, honey, but you said it. She's a force of nature. It's like trying to love a thunder-storm or a forest fire."
"Mountains don't care about thunderstorms or forest fires," she said. "Maggie's kind of like her. I'm more like you," she snuggled down into my chest. "I think if we wanted, we could just let them swirl around us and we'd kind of be like the calm at the center of their storm." She looked up at me. "I want you to be our Dad, Mack. I never thought we'd ... find anyone like you. Bri either." She cried a little bit. "We've been so scared and so lonely, Mack. You got room for girls like us in your life?"
I squeezed her little form close. "In my heart, Stokely. There's room in my heart. I've wanted someone like you and Maggie to love for years. I didn't think I'd ever have that. Bri never showed a speck of interest in having kids. I think you girls have messed up her life as much as you have mine. I've seen the way she looks at you. It's as if she woke up two weeks ago and discovered she likes being a mother. I've never seen anything affect her like you have."
"You were right about her," she confided. "She's awesome. She's kinda overwhelming sometimes. She decides to do something and just drags you along."
I laughed. "I know, right? She's always been like that. The first time I met her, a group of us from a college class went to an amusement park. She decided I was going to be her riding partner. I had actually come because I was interested in another girl. She dragged me off and we never saw the other people in our group again. We were twenty and I fell in love with her that day. She's like a virus. She just invades and takes over your life. We had our first fight a month after we got married."
"What did you fight about?" she asked.
"You're going to think this is ridiculous," I told her. "It was about shoes. She kept moving mine and putting hers on top of them. I had to dig through hers to find mine and she scuffed mine up. She says I'm obsessive/compulsive. Maybe she's right, but is it too much to ask for her to keep her shoes on her side of the closet? It just blew up from there. I drove her nuts and she made me crazy. I have a plan about what I'm going to do tomorrow. She's completely spontaneous. That's part of who she is and I love it, but it drives me crazy. She loves how organized I am but it makes her nuts. Those things clash, though, and we just get on each other's nerves."
She giggled. "Maggie and I fight about stuff like that, too. She spends half her life trying to find things she's lost. She gets up and just decides what we're going to do on the spur of the moment. I think we need to change a little bit, Mack. We need to go with the flow a little bit. They need to change some, too. They need to understand we like stuff to be in the right place. Do you think we can work it out?"