Saving One Another
Chapter 9

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/ft, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, First, Oral Sex, Masturbation, Petting, Pregnancy, Cream Pie, Slow, Violent,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 9 - Love can blossom when least expected. Just ask Gary and Shiloh. Both of their lives are at low and dark points. Gary, a retired and divorced pilot, has love as the last thing on his mind when he moves into a new house. That's where he meets Shiloh, a soon-to-be 17 year old. She helps him move in and, later, deal with the darkness in his life. He helps her deal with her abusive step-father. They both, in their own ways, save each other and come to terms with their feelings for each other.

Shiloh turned to me, eyes wide, and grinned. I couldn't help but grin back. Anything that brought such pure joy to my girl made me happy.

"You. Own. A. Mustang? You own a Mustang?!?!" she exclaimed to me.

"Yes. Yes I do. And before you ask," I said, forestalling her obvious next question, "I didn't tell you before because, honestly, I had better things keeping me occupied." I winked at her and continued, "I didn't even think about it until we were talking about that show you'd watched. It clicked then."

We walked up to the old warhorse. Shiloh lightly ran her hand over the smooth aluminum skin on the fuselage. She suddenly stopped and turned to me with a confused look on her face.

"How the heck did you manage to buy one of these? I googled Mustangs after that show and saw on a couple of the search results that they typically run over a million bucks."

"I didn't buy it. It was the fighter my grandpa flew in World War II. He'd managed to rescue it from the scrappers via some deals he made with the officer in charge of the operation. From what he told me, the two of them were old college roommates and it was his friend that'd contacted him when he saw the old horse come in to get chopped up. Obviously, this was after grandpa was out of the Army Air Corps, but he bought it for pennies on the dollar. At the time, Uncle Sam was more worried about getting money than they were about destroying a piece of history. He flew it fairly regularly up until he lost an eye in a farming accident. After that, it sat in an old hangar owned by a crop dusting company. When he willed it to me five years ago, I restored what I needed to restore—which wasn't much since the owner of the crop dusting company kept it fairly good condition—and I've flown it as often as I've been able to. I was the only one in the family who flew. Plus, I was the only one, according to his will, who truly appreciated what this fighter stood for, what my grandpa faced and believed in."

I was walking around doing the preflight check as we talked. I noted how Shiloh was intently watching over my shoulder what exactly I was doing.

"What'd the rest of the family say about you getting it?" she asked me.

"Not much really. Wasn't much they could say. Two of my cousins tried to raise a stink about it. To them, all they saw was the money the plane was worth. They figured they'd get a quick, easy buck by threatening to get a lawyer claiming I had unfairly and unduly influenced his decision.

"Well, grandpa's lawyer straightened that silly belief by pointing out the fact that the will had been signed while I was deployed to the Middle East dropping bombs on Osama and his buddies right after 9/11. Sadly, those same cousins haven't talked to me since then; breaks my itty bitty heart, it does." Sarcasm dripped from that last comment. Shiloh giggled at me.

"Another question, baby. How is it that we can both fly in it when it's a single-seat fighter?"

"Well," I replied, "when I got the plane, Kaitlyn wanted to fly with me. Lisa, on the other hand, wasn't much for flying unless it was absolutely necessary.

"A few models had been modified to serve as two-seat trainers before, so I researched what kind of mods they'd done. Basically, the main mods consisted of moving the radio and removing a fuel tank, both of which were located behind the seat. After that was done, a second seat could be put in. Unlike the operational trainers the military used, this one doesn't have a second functioning set of controls. It's simply a seat. And I replaced the original radio with a much smaller modern one. I modified the fuel tank that used to be there. Now instead of being completely removed, it's simply smaller. Because of that, I bought drop tanks for those trips that were long distance. One of the drop tanks I modified to be nonfunctional and serve as a cargo holder, you know, for luggage and the like."

"So what's the range on it now?" Shiloh asked.

"Well, originally it was just under two thousand miles. Now? It's roughly fifteen to sixteen hundred miles."

We finished the last few items on the checklist in silence. Once finished, we pushed the old bird, called 'The Bouncin' Betty', out of the hangar and closed it up. In the light of the dying day, Betty oozed the same grace and agility that she had the day she rolled off the production line all those decades ago.

Shiloh stepped back and eyed the old fighter with appreciation. I walked over to her and wrapped my arms around her from behind. She leaned her head back against my chest.

"The name—Bouncing Betty—who is it named for?"

"My grandma. That's her in the nose art," I replied and pointed at the scantily-clad pin-up girl painted on the nose of the Mustang.

"And all those swastikas?"

"Those are for the planes that Grandpa actually shot down. He was an ace in the war."

I helped Shiloh climb up into the cockpit and followed her up. I helped her strap in the aft seat before strapping in myself. I fired up the old Packard-built Rolls Royce engine and let it warm up. It thrummed and vibrated with power.

We donned headsets to let us communicate. I asked her if she was ready and she eagerly replied in the affirmative. I called the tower—we were at the large airport in Boise—and got clearance to taxi. We taxied to our spot behind a 727 waiting for takeoff. Once it took off, we moved into position.

We got clearance for takeoff and I throttled up the engine. I held the brakes for a few seconds and then released them. We launched forward, the piston engine roaring with a fury. We soon reached takeoff speed and I pulled the stick back. We lifted off and soon I had us winging north over the Sawtooth Mountains.

I grinned as Shiloh whooped and squealed. She was in complete awe, much like my daughter was when I took her on her first flight in the Mustang, so I laughed at her child-like glee.

I turned us back towards the valley and sought out our house. I found it fairly easily and brought the plane down to a low altitude and flew over our neighborhood. Shiloh was talking a mile a minute pointing out various places and landmarks.

The thing about the Mustang, it wasn't made to be flown flat and level like the bombers it escorted in its missions. No, it was made to carve up the sky and carve up the enemy. I gunned the throttle and pulled us skyward. I heard an 'eep!' over the intercom as we went vertical. More eeps, squeals, screams and laughter resonated in my ears as I took the Mustang through her paces with a variety of maneuvers.

Soon we headed back towards Boise and landed at the airport. We taxied over to the fueling point, fueled the plane and then taxied over to the hangar. I climbed out first and helped Shiloh down from the wing.

As soon as her feet touched the ground, Shiloh had her arms around my neck and body pressed against mine. She pulled my face down and kissed me feverishly. There's nothing like a teenage redhead's body pressed up against yours to make you realize just how lucky you really are in life. And I am lucky. I've had my ups and downs in life and the downs were some seriously bad times for me. But, you know, Shiloh's one of the highest highs for me and I'd never change that or exchange it for something or someone else.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Gary! Thank you so, so much!" Shiloh squealed into my ear.

"You're very welcome, kitten. I hope you liked my birthday-slash-wedding present," I said with a grin.

"Oh, God, you don't know how much I loved that, mister!" she purred. "You know what?"

"What?" I replied.

"I wanna learn how to fly now. I mean, if it's not too much of a problem." She suddenly looked unsure of herself.

"Baby, Shi, you don't have to ask permission. We're a couple, a team, and I'll support whatever it is you want to do." I tilted her head up to look at me. "If flying makes you happy, then that's what we'll do. I want to give you everything you've never had and have ever wanted."

She pulled me in for another kiss, a tender one this time. "As long as I have you, then I'll be happy. Everything else is just a bonus."

We separated and pushed The Bouncing Betty back into the hangar and secured it. We hopped in the truck and drove to a Denny's for a late-evening coffee and snack. We discussed what would need to happen for her to get her pilot's license. We paid our bill and left. As we walked to the truck I noted how she still hadn't completely come back to earth; she had been almost literally floating since we landed. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I couldn't wait to help her get her license.

We got home and the door had no sooner closed when Shiloh started stripping her clothing off. I followed the trail of random clothing items to the bedroom where I found my redheaded beauty lying on her back, legs in the air, stripping off her panties.

She had one leg out when I leaped on her, eliciting a surprised squeak from her. My face was firmly planted in between her creamy thighs. I sucked her little clitty into my mouth and sucked hard on it and flicked my tongue over it repeatedly. She groaned and instinctively spread her legs wide, giving me better access to her sweet treasure.

I swirled my tongue around her clit before dipping it in and out of her sweetly wet pussy. Shiloh wrapped her heels behind my neck and held me firmly in her crotch. I laved my tongue up and down her lips and flicked my tongue over her pink puckered asshole. I reached my hands up to take her nipples in my fingers and lightly pulled and twisted them.

She moaned and squirmed, squealed and bucked under my ministrations. She keened her way through her first orgasm as I drank her proffered juices. It was my mission to give her two powerful orgasms before I eased my assault. In a mere thirty seconds or so, she was on the verge of her second orgasm.

"G ... God! Right there, baby! Suck it harder! Unnngh! Yes! Yesyesyesyes! Eeeeyeahhhh!"

I held onto her thighs as she arched her back and thrust her hips into my face as her second orgasm hit her like a tidal wave. She pulled me up on top of her and kissed me.

"Mmmm ... I taste good, baby," she cooed at me. She was twitching with the aftereffects of the orgasms I had given her. "God, I love what you do to me, handsome. I feel like I'm blowing up every time you give me an orgasm."

She purred and moaned as I kissed her and rubbed one of her nipples with a thumb. I reached up and brushed a stray strand of bronze hair out of her eyes.

"God, Shiloh, I love you so, so much. I thought I knew love before, but every second of every minute of every day that I'm with you I realize how wrong I was. I never felt with others what I feel for you. When I was at my lowest, darkest place in my life, you showed up, like a guardian angel, to save me from myself."

"I know, baby," she whispered.

She knew how bad I'd been when we first met. We'd talked about it a little bit in detail, but I don't think she fully believed or understood just how bad-off I was, nor for how long.

"Baby, you saved my life. I'd gotten this place for the simple fact that I needed out of my dad's place. I had every intention of putting a gun in my mouth and pulling the trigger and I didn't want to do that at dad's place. It wouldn't be fair to him to have that constant reminder in his house." I kissed her tenderly as she silently started to cry. "I ... I didn't think there were any others out there for me, that I would forever be unhappy and depressed the rest of my life. I didn't want to be happy; I hated my life and couldn't go on.

"But then I met this brilliantly smart, immensely deep and absolutely beautiful redhead. Before long I found myself looking forward to our time together. Before I was even attracted to you, relationship-wise, I found myself a happier person. I found myself wanting to make this redhead—you—happy. It took a little bit, but I discovered that I loved you and wanted to be around you the rest of my life. If it weren't for you being you, I wouldn't be here. I can't envision myself being anywhere else but by your side."

Shiloh crushed me with a hug, softly crying into my neck. "Don't you ever consider that again, okay?" she croaked into my neck.

"Never again, baby. I don't want to put you through that, ever."

"Good," she replied as she released me and looked into my eyes.

She pulled me down and we kissed again. I felt her reach down and guide me into her. We made slow, tender love and she came twice more before I came myself. When I slipped out of her, I kissed my way down her body until I was faced with a very wet pussy.

I grinned up at her and dove in and cleaned up our combined juices that were leaking out of her. She came one more time before she pulled me up and rolled me over. She took her turn cleaning me off and got me off one more time, drinking my entire load before she crawled back up and spooned with me. We slipped off to sleep sated and content.

The next day I headed into work over at Micron. I'd been retained as an on-site engineer for the company; it'd allow me to keep bringing in a steady paycheck while Shiloh finished school and decided where she wanted to attend college. She was still up in the air between a degree in business management and mechanical engineering. I wasn't much help in her decision—I wouldn't tell her which degree I thought she should pursue. I wanted her to pick what she wanted to do, not what I wanted her to do. We had discussed this issue at length and, while she knew my stance and said she understood, it still aggravated her a little bit. I just told her I'd support whatever decision she made.

I had a few things I'd wanted to catch up on at work that I'd been delaying because of my wedding. The new production plant wasn't scheduled to start operations until after Thanksgiving, but that didn't mean I could procrastinate on stuff needing to be done.

I arrived before most of my department did—an old habit from my days as a squadron commander in the Air Force. I was on my second mug of coffee when Janey, my secretary—sorry, my administrative assistant—poked her head into my office. Janey hated the term 'secretary', said it brought to mind the cliché of bosses banging their secretaries. I damn near scaled my sinuses when she'd said that the first week we'd been working together. Coffee does not feel good when you snort it out your nose from laughter. She'd told me that the only way she'd bang her boss—me—was if I paid her a half-year's wages and wore a hot pink tutu as my work attire. She'd said this with a wink and a laugh while patting me on the back to keep me from choking to death on my coffee. Janey was happily married to one of my old Guard buddies, so we'd known each other for a few years already.

"Morning, Gary!" she said in her ever-chipper voice. "How's married life treating you?"

"Can't complain, Janey, though I'm a tad on the tired and sore side," I replied with a silly grin.

"I bet!" she laughed. "You should've known that before you married a teenager." She'd met Shiloh several times and was one of the few people who didn't judge our relationship whatsoever. "Be sure to tell Shiloh to feed you extra Metamucil. It'll keep you spry and agile in your advanced age. Oh, and you guys need to come over for dinner sometime." She tittered at my expense before popping back out of the office.

I spent the better part of the day working on follow-up functional checks of the backup power generation sector of the plant. I called Shiloh—she was off for the Thanksgiving holiday—and we chatted about how my day was going. When I asked how hers was going, she acted mysterious by noncommittally saying it was going ok and that she was doing 'stuff'. Wouldn't say exactly what she was doing. I figured she had something planned, so I let the subject drop; she'd tell me in due time when she was ready.

I finally called it a day and headed home. I called home and asked if Shiloh needed me to stop and get something for dinner. She gave me a small list of items to get from the grocery store. I stopped at the local Walmart on the way home and got the items Shiloh needed for some shrimp alfredo pasta and garlic bread.

I got home, gave Shiloh the groceries and hit the shower. After my shower I worked in the office on some paperwork and revised some checklists for work. The time flew by as I dove headfirst into my work. Before I knew it, Shiloh came in, rubbed my shoulders and asked me if I was at a stopping point. I told her I was and she gave me a peck on the cheek.

We ate dinner in silence. There had been times since the incident with her stepfather back in July when she would clam up. She still had nightmares of what she'd seen and what'd happened to her. It was at those times that I just held her. Sometimes she'd talk, other times she'd cry. She'd eventually come around and we'd just talk. Tonight seemed to be one of those nights.

When we were done eating, I told her the dishes could wait and took her hand. We went and sat on the couch and cuddled a little while. Her head was lying on my chest, fingers stroking paths on my chest. She finally looked up at me, a hesitant look in her eyes. I brushed the hair from her forehead and kissed it.

"Gary, am I a gold-digger?" she quietly asked.

"What? Heaven's no!" I replied, surprised. "Have you ever asked me for anything? No. Have you spent money on frivolous things? No. In fact, I've had to almost force you at times to get something for yourself. You've been a good friend and confidante to my daughter. You've made my family as much a part of yours as much as they've made you a part of theirs. You never once asked me about how much money I made before we got married. Why? What's got you thinking you're a gold-digger?"

She didn't answer right away. Again I just waited patiently. "I ran into Karly and Misty at Walmart this morning," she said quietly. Karly and Misty were Rudy's nieces. "As soon as they saw me, they started in on me. Called me a gold-digger. Called me a murderin' cunt. A cock tease. Both'a them threatened to kick my ass and put me in the hospital for what happened to their uncle. I tried to ignore them and I did. Until one of them shoved me to the ground. It was Karly that did that. When I was down Misty kicked me in the stomach."

I stiffened and Shiloh rubbed my arm. "Don't worry, baby. She only got one kick in," she quietly said. "I hopped up and knocked her ass out. I just left after that. That's why I had you stop by to get the groceries." She giggled softly.

"Uppercut?" I asked. Hey, I couldn't help it. I just had to know.

"Hook to the jaw," she giggled. It was good to see her mood lighten up.

"Well, don't worry about what they think, sugar. What matters is what I think and, more importantly, what you believe."

"I know. It just ... bothers ... me from time to time." She paused momentarily. "I looked online today about flight lessons. Also made some phone calls. I think I could get my license by the end of spring." And just like that, Shiloh was over what was eating at her.

Little did she know that I planned on giving my buddy a call and I estimated that she could get it by Spring and that I'd already planned on booking her classes to start the week after Thanksgiving. It was going to be a surprise late birthday present.

"And?" I prodded.

"Annnd," she drew out, "I'd like to get one. I felt so free up there last night and want to know what it's like to be in control of that freedom."

"Okay!" I replied and smiled at her. This won me a giggle and a kiss. "I'll call some folks I know that do flight training at the airport. We'll get you your license, babe."

She kissed me deeply and then hopped up. "Wait here, babe," she said with a grin. She disappeared down the hallway and I relaxed on the couch. After a minute or two she returned with a box wrapped in colorful paper.

"I'm sorry this isn't as cool as you taking me on my first plane ride." She handed me the present and said, "Happy birthday, Gary." Then she kissed me. Man, I savor those kisses each time she gives me one—they're worth more than all the diamonds in the world.

"Thanks, hun. You could give me a rock and I'd treasure it like a gold bar."

She kissed me again, sucking on my bottom lip. "Thank you, babe. That means a lot to me to hear that. Now. Present. Open," she giggled.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied in an officious voice.

I unwrapped the box only to find that Shiloh had wrapped the box itself completely with clear packaging tape. I arched an eyebrow at her and burst out into uncontrollable giggles.

"One rule," she said with more giggles.

"And that'd be ... what?"

"No... ," she started giggling. " ... Sharp objects... ," her giggles not uncontrollable. " ... Can be used... ," she continued with a snort accompanied by a giggle. " ... To cut the tape." She burst into all-out laughing.

"Hardy, har-har, little Miss Gigglefish."

"No, seriously, baby! Please! For me..." she pleaded with more giggles. "Call it 'Shiloh's Rule'."

I harrumphed at her. "Finnnneee... " I said with an exaggerated pout. I could play the petulant little boy quite well.

It took me nearly twenty minutes to unwrap all that tape. Every time I looked at her, Shiloh started giggling. I'm glad she could get such amusement at my expense. Oh, payback was going to be such a sweet, sweet bitch. I was really going to enjoy Christmas.

I finally opened the box and pulled out something wrapped in colored tissue paper. I pulled the paper off and was looking at a small picture frame containing an obviously used piston ring surrounding a picture of the two of us, both of which were set on a background of faded gray cloth.

"That's from the second day we'd known each other," Shiloh said quietly, her giggling suddenly quiet and forgotten. "I didn't want to buy you something since I don't have any money of my own—I know, I know," she said, halting my comment I was going to say about my money also being her money. "It's our money, but I still felt like it'd be like you were buying your own present. So ... I decided to do something a little more personal. That piston ring is from when we rebuilt the Shelby's engine and that gray cloth is from the faded old shirt I was wearing the first day we worked on the car." Her eyes were liquid and brimming with tears. "I just wanted a reminder for you—for us—about where we started. You know, something personal. I hope you like it." She was still insecure about a lot of things, especially when it came to what others thought of her.

I set the picture aside and took her in my arms. "Shi, it's perfect. I'd rather have something like this than something that'll lose value in a few years. Well, except for maybe a new fifty-inch flat screen television."

Shiloh stuck her tongue out at me and playfully punched me in the arm. "Jerk," she pouted playfully. She pulled me down, whispered "happy birthday, baby" and kissed me.

Her hands roamed while we kissed, finally finding the button on my jeans. She fished my dick out of my pants and stroked it. I hardened in her grasp quickly. She quickly got up and led me to the bedroom by my hard-on. There she gave me my other birthday present, or rather presents. Multiple presents, all wrapped in a teenage girl's body. We celebrated well into the night and part of the next morning before we finally drifted off to sleep, her halfway draped across me.

I woke up the next morning to a cute redheaded teenager gently sucking and licking my morning wood. I could wake up in a bed full of cash and it wouldn't even be close to comparing to waking up with Shiloh naked on me, naked sucking me or, even, naked against me doing nothing at all.

I just lay there watching and feeling. That was about all my simple, sleep-addled mind could compute at the time. She may have been new to sex, but she could play me like finely tuned violin already. She licked up and down my shaft before completely engulfing me in her mouth. She sucked gently and scraped her teeth lightly up and down the length of my penis. As she was doing this, she was fondling my balls and lightly rubbing that particular area between my balls and asshole. I lasted all of five minutes before I felt the familiar churning in my balls signaling my impending orgasm.

When I came, it was like fireworks were exploding in front of my eyes. I grunted long and hard as I exploded in her mouth. She moaned around my dick as she firmly locked her lips on me to keep the cum from escaping. She jacked me in time with my pulses, milking me for everything I could offer to her warm, wet mouth.

When I finally finished, she released my pecker from her mouth and licked her lips. "Mmmmm ... morning handsome!" she chirped. I don't know how she does it; she always wakes up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Me? I'm not fully functional until after I have a cup of coffee. Or three.

I smiled at her. "Morning, gorgeous. What a way for an old guy to wake up. You're spoiling me, you know."

"If spoiling you means that I get to play with this," she said as she fondled my softening dick, "Then I'm going to make you the most spoiled person on the planet." This I looked forward to. "I just wish we could do more, though," she continued with a slight frown. "My period is starting; I think that's why I was so topsy-turvy emotional yesterday."

I chuckled at her. "I think we'll survive, little one. We'll just have to find other means to occupy our time."

We got up and got our day going. I didn't have to work today, it being the day before Thanksgiving, so I puttered around the house while Shiloh worked in the kitchen. We were heading over to Sam's house the next day for Turkey Day, so we were bringing a couple pies and some potato casserole Shiloh called 'funeral potatoes'.

While Shiloh did her thing in the kitchen, something mystical called 'cooking' I believe, I called up my buddy that gave flight lessons and we talked about getting Shiloh into flight training. We hammered out a tentative schedule and figured she'd have her license by springtime, much like I'd figured.

Phone call done, I entered the kitchen to the aroma of heavenly delight—taters! If you're not from Idaho, you just wouldn't understand. Shiloh didn't hear me come into the kitchen since she was bopping her head in time to some music on her iPod. I just leaned up against the fridge and simply watched her work her magic.

She was wearing an old t-shirt and silk boxers, both nearly the same rust color as her hair. As she bopped her head, her hair lightly bounced and she wiggled her hips in time as well. She hummed, held a hand in the air and pirouetted, stopping midway through the spin when she saw me watching her with a bemused expression on my face.

She pulled the ear buds out and blushed. "And just how long have you been there ogling my butt, mister?"

I made it a point to look at the clock on the microwave. "Ohhhh, I'd say about the last ten minutes."

Her eyes bugged as she blushed more. "No way! God, I'm so embarrassed!" she squeaked.

I laughed, "Just kidding, Shi. I was only ogling that teenage butt of yours for a couple minutes. Your dignity is saved, much to my disappointment."

She stuck her tongue out at me and turned back to the stove. I slid up behind her, wrapped my arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck. I hit her sweet spot and she shivered in response. I rubbed her mound through her boxers and she leaned back against me.

"Not fair," she breathed. "You know we can't do anything with this stupid period. Keep it up and I'll rape you, period or not."

I nibbled and tweaked a nipple with my other hand as I continued rubbing her pussy. She groaned in frustration and spun around. She pushed me against the island counter behind me, grabbed the waistband of the shorts I was wearing and yanked them, and my underwear as well, down. She dropped to her knees and took my entire dick in her mouth and sucked me to hardness.

She looked up at me, popped my hard-on out of her mouth and said, "You, mister, are lucky I have some modicum of control."

She took me in her mouth again and wiggled the tip of her tongue in my pee hole before taking me as far into her mouth as possible. She pushed my dick against my belly and licked my balls as she rolled them in her fingers.

She licked up my shaft and swirled her tongue around the head. She lightly started jacking me as she took the head into her mouth and started sucking. I felt my balls draw up against my body as my impending orgasm neared. Shiloh felt this as well and redoubled her efforts. A few seconds later I had to grasp the counter behind me to keep to my feet as I came—no, exploded—into her mouth. To her credit, she didn't let a drop of cum escape her mouth even as I bucked my hips.

When I finished cumming and started to soften, she gave me one last quick suck and stood up licking her lips. A primal grin covered her freckled face. She kissed me deeply and then turned back to the stove.

She looked over her shoulder and quipped, "Ain'tcha gonna pull up your shorts, guy?"

"I will when I can trust my legs to hold me up," I chuckled.

"Serves you right for turning a poor girl on and not being able to finish; that's just rude!" she replied in mock indignation.

I mumbled something incoherent and pulled my shorts up. I swatted her on her ass as I walked by. She eeped and shook her finger at me as I grabbed an energy drink from the fridge. I left her to her cooking orchestration as I looked for some music to play on our sound system.

I chose some thumping heavy metal music—Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park and some others—and cranked up the volume. I threw laundry into wash and started straightening up the house. An hour later, the tater casserole was cooling on the stove, I was done cleaning and the both of us cuddled on the couch.

We napped for a little while before we showered. We packed a few articles of clothes in a duffle bag, grabbed the casserole and pies and headed over to my brother's house. We were going to crash there so we could help Sam and Elizabeth get everything ready for the big family shindig the next day.

When we arrived at their house, Sam was just getting the smoker ready for the turkey. I lent him a hand while Shiloh went into the house. Both Sam and I sipped beers after we got the smoker up and running. Shiloh came out and commented how the smoker seemed just like an excuse to drink. We grinned and told her it wasn't. At least not the only excuse. Sam and I both said teenagers. This got me a punch in the arm and a tongue sticking out at me.

After a simple and quick dinner, the kids watched movies as us adults, well us adults and Shiloh, played some team pinochle. Shiloh and I lost, barely, with Shiloh carrying us with her card playing. I seriously suck at pinochle; give me Texas Hold 'Em or cribbage any day.

Around midnight we called it a night. We crashed on an air mattress in their living room, spooning, Shiloh pulling my arms tightly around her.

"I love you, Gary," she whispered to me. "I always will, you know."

"I know, darlin'," I replied and kissed the back of her head. "And I'll always love you, too. Sometimes I don't know how I wound up so lucky nor why you love an old guy like me."

"You better, mister, because I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. And don't worry about being lucky or wonder why I love you; just know that I do and that I always will."

"Well, I do wonder and even sometimes worry that I'll wake up one day and you'll be gone; that you've gotten bored with me or regretted your decision and want someone more ... youthful."

Shiloh rolled over in my arms to lay face-to-face with me. "Gary, that won't ever happen. Ever!" She pulled our heads together until our foreheads rested against each other. "I love you today. I'll love you tomorrow. I'll love you for every day after that. I've always loved you, even before we met. Maybe I didn't know you specifically, but I did know what I wanted in the guy I'd settle down with. You have everything I've ever wanted in a guy and then some. The only way I'll love another guy is if it's our son or if you pass away, years and years down the road."

"Hasn't it ever given you any problems, your husband being so much older than you?"

"No. I thought it might've at school, but surprisingly not much of a deal was made about it. Well, except for one time I overheard a couple teachers talking."

I hadn't heard this one yet. Shiloh wasn't normally the one to get on the teachers' bad side, so I was curious to hear what had occurred. "And?" I asked.

"Well, one teacher, Mr. Flannigan, the freshman biology teacher, was talking to Mrs. Hendricks, the AP Physics teacher, at lunch one day. They didn't know I was walking down the hallway. I heard Mr. Flannigan mention my name so I stopped outside the door of the classroom they were in.

"He was being all righteous and saying that I nothing more than a dirty little skank. That I'd never amount to anything more than a baby factory. Well, I was about to storm in there to give him a piece of my mind, but Mrs. Hendricks put him in his place. She asked him if he knew that I had the best GPA the school's ever had. He said he didn't and she asked him if he'd ever met you. Again he said no. Well, Mrs. Hendricks informed him that you were retired military with a very well-paying job. Well, Mr. Flannigan said that you must be some sort of pedophile and should be in jail for taking advantage of a young girl like me.

"Before Mrs. Hendricks could say anything, I did storm in and lay into him. I told him that, legally speaking, I was considered an adult when I got emancipated and that I chose to marry you. I also informed him that you've not once tried to take advantage of me and that you've done all you can to give me the life I've never imagined I could have. He sputtered and turned red. I then calmly told him that if he continued to talk about me behind my back, I'd castrate him."

I choked and coughed. "You told him what?"

"That I'd castrate him. Professionally speaking that is," she tittered at me. "Amazing how quickly teachers mend their erroneous ways when you just mention going to the authorities about possible inappropriate liberties taken by teachers with students."

"You didn't!" I gasped.

"Oh, I did, babe. The jerk deserved it. No one, I don't care who they are, is going to talk behind my back about me, my husband or my family—you and me—and I not do or say anything," she said seriously. Then she giggled, "You should've heard Mrs. Hendricks giggling. I thought she was going to lose it when I mentioned the whole castration thing."

I chuckled at her. My girl could be devious when pushed too far. "Well, thank you for defending my honor, little lady."

"You're very much welcome, mister. Anyway, aside from that, I've had a couple of the jocks in my class hit on me, especially after I started driving the Shelby to school, but I've just blown them off. They don't float my boat like you do, baby." She scooted back a few inches and gazed at me in the soft moonlight coming through the living room windows. "I love you for this," and pointed at my head, "for this," and rubbed my crotch, "and especially for this," and rubbed her hand over my heart. "As long as I have you, I have all I'll ever need, Gary," she said softly before kissing my tenderly.

Shiloh rolled back over and settled against me. I tell you, folks, my girl has a way with words and never ceases to amaze me. She's such a complex and intriguing person that sometimes I feel like I'm trying to just keep up with her. I laid there for some time just holding her and thanking God for giving her to me. Yes, I'm one lucky guy.

As I lay there, I suddenly realized I hadn't heard from Kaitlyn at all for my birthday. I frowned and sighed. No doubt Lisa had a hand in the absence of a phone call from my daughter.

On the verge of slumber, Shiloh murmured, "What's wrong, babe?"

"I just realized Kaitlyn never called to wish me a happy birthday. Normally she's very punctual about stuff like that," I groused.

"Lisa then?" she sighed in aggravation. It bothered Shiloh almost as bad as it did me at Lisa's attempts to keep Kaitlyn and me apart. She loved Kaitlyn as a best friend even though she was technically now her step-mom. "Maybe Kaitlyn emailed or texted you."

"Lemme check, little one," I said as I unwrapped myself from her and rolled off the mattress. I fished around in my pants pockets and pulled out my cell phone. No text message from Kaitlyn. I quickly logged on my email and found that she had emailed me. What I read was:

Dad,

I wanted to call you and wish you a happy birthday, but Lisa forbade me. She even took my cell phone and won't give it back. She also cut off the internet at our house, so I had to send this email from a friend's place. I don't know what's going on with her or why she'd stoop to these levels. I can't do this anymore. Please, please get me outta here, daddy!

Anyway, happy birthday! I love you and miss you! Tell Shiloh "hi" for me and that I miss her too!

XOXO Kaitlyn XOXO

P.S. Get me away from Kyle, PLEASE!

Needless to say I was pissed about this development. But what really bothered me was the postscript regarding Lisa's boyfriend. Kaitlyn had made mention that he creeped her out and that she didn't like him. But she'd never said why and I'd never pushed the issue. If it was serious enough, Kaitlyn would tell me, of that I had no doubt. I had my suspicions but nothing concrete to base those suspicions off of. Never once, however, had she begged me to get her away from him. I resolved to contact my lawyer in the morning, Thanksgiving or no.

I pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration and anger as I crawled back into bed. Shiloh laid her head on my chest, looking at me with love and sympathy as I recounted the main part of the email from Kaitlyn. We bounced ideas back and forth about what would've caused this escalation in hostility from Lisa, but couldn't really figure anything out. I finally recounted the postscript and my suspicions to her and the look of sympathy on Shiloh's face morphed into a look of horror.

"Oh, no!" she whispered in a little girl's voice. "Do you think he's actually done something, baby?"

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