Apartment dwellers, yes! Friends? Yes, also; they certainly became that over the course of the year that he'd lived there and ran into her periodically. Lovers? Not yet, certainly; at this point only friends, and for a time period, merely acquaintances.
John, Jack, Warner, a robust 37 year old writer —- his, up to that point, secret.
(Secret? Well, really a matter of only being his business and not anyone else's. So, he didn't proclaim to others that he was a writer. It never really came up that much. And there was this thing about his writing: he wrote 'bodice rippers', as they were called. They were about historical ladies and their loves and follies, their flirtations and their foibles. He included good historical research —- indeed, John Warner was basically a historian with the soul of a romantic. He knew the formulas to use, and used them well. He included plenty of believable, realistic sex. He paraded, in front of the reader, scenes about lovely ladies in their unmentionables, although he never hesitated to mention and describe the underclothing that those ladies wore.)
Jack really kept to himself and coddled his companion, a large tabby cat, Socrates. He worked at home but tried to be a good neighbor. He gave himself the chance to workout and watched his diet closely. He refused to allow his life style to make him into a middle aged potato. He was, as I've said, a robust 185 pounder, just a bit over six feet tall. He had wavy, prematurely gray hair, turning already white.
He'd had a marriage in his background. But it was to 'the Harridan', as he called her, when talking about her to Socrates —- something that he rarely did any more. She'd been the product of a very, very strict home and grew up with the scars of various kinds of corporal punishment seething in her mind—- times spent kneeling in a dark closet, sometimes on hard peas, mouth rinsed out with soap now and again. Her parents were models of their kind of righteousness! They certainly produced a 'Harridan'.
She provided Jack, over a marriage of about 10 years, with years of denied sex —- yes! years! —- having learned early what a convenient power item sex was. She had constant mood swings that would serve to leave him in the cold, relation wise, now and again and were lightened by intense times of care for him. There was at least one attempt at suicide, and then a string of infidelities. He constantly gave thanks, these days, for their not having had any children. The 'Harridan' was merely, for Jack Warner now, a bad memory. But he'd learned the secret of mentally throwing such past incidents out the window and watching them go, floating away attached to balloons that would carry them far, far from his mind. It left Jack Warner pleased and pretty much at peace.
Jack cooked well, and was a great companion to his pal Socrates.
Patti Reese was one also: an apartment dweller. That is to say, of course, that it was her current reality, although she'd never given up on the idea of owning a lovely home. Thus far, it had been the apartment. She too loved animals but her crazy schedule, as a nurse at the University hospital in town, didn't leave her enough 'free time' to care for an animal well; so that, there was no comforting 'Socrates' in her life.
She was, at the time of the 'knee' incident, roughly Jack's age. But Patti, at the age of 35, was a beauty.
(There are those who have as their absolute standard of beauty, the young, slim Victoria Secrets models. But there are also those calm thinking, level headed individuals who know better, and look to a woman who is from 33 years of age or so to about 50, or even older, for the absolute standard of female beauty. Patti Reese was, at 35, the epitome of such a beauty. She had short, frosted hair —- it was easier to keep during the trying and busy times that she spent at the hospital ER. She looked positively striking, so to speak, in her 'whites', which she preferred. But she didn't dress, even in her 'down' times, in a sexy fashion. It was only the rare and privileged guy who got to look at Patti without those 'whites' on who saw that she was a goddess in the flesh —- rounded hips, melon like 36c breasts, large, responsive nipples, strong legs —- Patti too was a workout person. She was almost the complete opposite from those horribly thin underwear models, that have been mentioned.)
She and Jack lived near one another in the same apartment building. There were leaks of information about that place that it was being sold and might 'go condo' but as of yet, there was no surety about the rumor.
Patti and Jack had indeed met on occasion at periodical social functions that took place at the apartment building, in the social room for the people that lived there. They weren't held too often but they did see one another from time to time. On those occasions, they spoke, joked with one another and generally enjoyed becoming friends. They also discovered, over an amount of time, that they both attended, not regularly, the same Episcopal church, which was not far away. They did see one another there periodically, however.
It was during such times and events that Jack discovered that Patti loved animals. He, after that, introduced her to Socrates, whom she absolutely adored. But, at that time, Jack was still smarting from 'the Harridan' and wasn't looking for any entangling relationships.
Patti's story simply had been one of almost total dedication to her nursing —- she'd become a floor and department supervisor at the hospital and dedicated her 'off' time to doing some teaching there. She was also a little basically shy and there simply hadn't been that many men in her life, besides the occasional fling, more occasional than regular, for sure.
It was also during that time that Jack discovered that Patti Reese had a failing, she loved pie!
One of Jack's true talents, that he'd gotten from both his Mom, Anna and his aunt Rena was the ability to make fantastic pies. He tried to not do it too often, lest he become, as he told Socrates time and again, too heavy. It was only a periodic task for him, though he did bring pies to those social events that were meant for the apartment folks. It was at one such that Patti discovered the truth about the goodies that Jack brought.
"I have to ask," she said to him on one such occasion, "Where you buy your pies. They are lovely!"
He laughed and she just gave him a curious look.
"I don't buy them!" he said, "I bake them! Use my Mom's and Aunt Rena's recipe for crust and it's easy to make the filling."
"Easy? I don't think so," she replied with a broad smile. "It's more like a talent, and it's one that I have never particularly mastered."
"Well, when you need a piece of pie, or a pie, you just let me know and Socrates and I will put our aprons on and whip one up!" he'd said to her.
(On one occasion, when she was invited to a girl's luncheon and each were bringing something, she offered to bring a pie, and he made one for her, apple. It was a huge hit.)
Patti and Jack were friends, though the thought of them being lovers was never really on their agenda. It must be said, however, that Patti, from the start, was in love with, totally smitten by Socrates. She made it her business to ask about him, when she had a chance, though her path, due to her work hours and Jack's didn't cross all that much.
A PROBLEM DEVELOPS AND A FORTUITOUS ACCIDENT:
Slowly but gradually, certainly with plain enough evidence to not be able to be ignored, Patti Reese began to develop a problem with her right knee. She put up with the pain for a good while. Her next approach to the situation was to buy a brace and use it at work. This worked for a while, but after a bit of time, she was no longer able to ignore the knee, and it's constant pain.
She visited a friend of hers, an orthopedic surgeon, who did tests and told her that her right knee was in bad shape. The doctor friend talked with Patti about a 'bone on bone' situation, and the need for a replacement. She emphasized the fact that such replacements these days were fairly common.
Patti's response was to decide to think about it. But, of course, the knee had its own opinion about things. From time to time, the knee would simply give out and Patti had to do some 'dancing' to keep from falling on her face.
It was one such event that propelled her more quickly than might have been the case toward getting something done about her knee, and caused a kind of flurry with Jack.
She was going down into the basement of the apartment building to get some laundry. At the same time, Jack was coming from the basement. He had an armful of sheets that he'd done and smiled, as he saw Patti coming down the stairs.
"Hey!" Jack said, obviously happy to see her.
"Hey, yourself," she said but that's as far as she got.It was precisely at that instant that her knee gave way. Since she was on the stairs, it pitched her headfirst down the stairs, and into Jack's waiting arms. He simply dropped his laundry and caught her, as she lost her balance, stumbled and went head long into his arms.
"Woah!" he said. "Are you alright?"
"No," she said, the pain obvious, as she sat on the stairs to get her breath. "It's this damn knee! It goes out like this time and again."
"Had it looked at?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "I just have to take the time and get it replaced. Don't like the thought of the surgery but incidents like this one scare me."
"I guess!" he said. "Are you going to be alright?" he asked then.
"Yes," she said, working the knee a bit. "Thank you for the rescue!"
"My pleasure!" he said, "Can I, maybe, walk you down to the laundry room?" he asked finally.
She agreed, not wanting to have the fall that she'd almost had. He gave her his arm, and they went down the stairs together. Patti was truly thankful for his help, both with the potential fall and in getting down the stairs afterwards, and said so. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, that caused Jack to smile.
"You okay now?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "I'll be more careful in the future."
Then he went upstairs to retrieve his sheets and go home, and she went about her business with her own laundry.
It was later, as he and Socrates were in his living room; he was reading and Socrates was snuggling, that the doorbell rang. When he went, he found Patti Reese standing there.
"Hey," he said, "How's the knee?"
"Feeling okay now," she said. "I wanted to stop by and say 'thank you' again for the rescue down there. It might well have been a disaster otherwise."
"My pleasure!" he said, smiling. "But come in. Your pal is here and wants to see you."
"Oh goodie!" She said and smiled, for just then Socrates appeared. She went down, gingerly on her 'good' knee and gave the large tabby some attention, while Jack looked on and smiled.
"I have an apple pie that I made," he said, "If you want a piece. I made one for the bake sale at church and made an extra one. I need to share it with someone, or else I'll start getting fat."
"No sign of that!" she said, smiling, "But I can do my part!"
They sat companionable and had their pie and talked about the plans for her knee surgery, which she'd finally decided upon.
"I have a niece who will be coming to be with me," Patti said, "So that I won't have to go, instead, to a nursing home. It's a matter of someone overseeing my home rehab. There's nothing that's very technical about it; it's mostly just a matter of helping me get around, getting me into and out of the knee flexing machine and the like."
"Good that you have someone that you can get to help you," he said, companionably.
"Yes," she agreed, "Otherwise it would be me with the fossils at a home. Don't just like the idea of that."
He laughed and said: "Don't want to be a 'fossil' before your time!"
They both laughed about that but he went on: "I can understand. When is it scheduled?"
"A week from next Monday," she said, idly stroking Socrates' back fur, as she talked.
THE HOSPITAL VISIT AND A DECISION:
Jack had made a decision about Patti's stay at the hospital. His own 'rewind' of the incident in the stairwell, with her pitching into his arms, was one that was playing well with his thoughts, when at home alone with Socrates.
"She felt so nice, Soc," he said to the attentive tabby on one occasion, and Socrates, hearing the familiar name, started to thump his tail and made accompanying remarks of his own.
"Yes, I agree!" Jack said, "But I'm just not sure that she even interested in a man. We'll have to revisit this idea from time to time and see."
He thought and then said, again to the cat: "But I will do one thing; when she's in the hospital, I'll go and visit her, maybe even take her a piece of pie. That might help my standing."
(The issue was a great deal on Jacks mind these day, especially since holding Patti, after she'd fallen, so to speak, into his arms in that stairwell. It had served to bring a whole host of thoughts to Jack's mind, thoughts about Patti Reese, how lovely she was, how physically striking she was, how adorable she was, how desirable she was ... at that point, Jack turned off the mental machine that was shooting out the phrases! "But you get the point, Soc!" he said at last and got a loud 'meow' from his roommate. But it was definitely an issue that Jack intended to tiptoe around. He just wasn't sure of himself.
As a matter of fact, he said to himself: "If this were a novel, and she was one of my heroines, I could easily solve the whole thing for both of us but this isn't a book and I'm just fool enough to not really know what I'm doing here.")
He knew when the surgery was scheduled and gave her recovery time. It was a day and a half later that he visited her. He had a small sac with him, when he entered the room. He went in to find that Patti was weepy. She brightened visibly, when she saw him.
"Oh, Jack!" she said, tears on her cheeks.
"Hi, Patti!" he said, concerned by then.
"How's it going? Or is that a stupid question asked of someone who's just had a knee replaced?"
"No," she said, "Not stupid; it's just that my niece contacted me. Her son has fallen and broken his leg. Now she can't come and help me out. I'm just giving myself a 'poor me' time period here, since I have to go to 'Adult Haven' for my rehab and I'm not looking forward to that at all."
"Ohhh," he sighed, "Well," he went on, "I'm not sure that it will make the situation that much better, but I have brought you a piece of blueberry pie."
"Oh, how nice!" she said, as he got the pie holder out of the bag for her.
"And, by the way," he went on, "Greetings from the philosopher with with whom I live."
"Oh," she sighed, "Socrates my love."
She ate the pie and enjoyed it a great deal, and they sat for just a little while. Then, morose again, and getting lost in her own thoughts, she became silent. Jack took it as his sign to leave.
"I'm going to get out of here now and let you get some rest," he said.
"Thanks for the visit, Jack," she said, "And the pie and the greeting from that beautiful cat!"
Jack did leave then but, once he had gotten to his car, he stopped. A thought hit him immediately and he knew that he was going to act on it. He went back into the hospital and went into her room, greeting her again, as though he hadn't been to see her in a long time.
She was weepy still, when he got there but brightened up, when she saw him.
"Jack?" she asked, but he put his hand up in the air and said: "Okay, let me talk and don't respond until you hear me out. Okay?"
She shook her head 'yes' and he spoke to her: "Look," he began, a bit nervous about his proposal, especially since it would help his 'cause' with Patti Reese so much. "I am not working just now, and I have all sorts of time. It's just me and Soc kind of hanging around together."
He paused then, collecting his thoughts and then jumped right in: "Soooooooo ... why not let me be the rehab assistant? I can do that! I once worked as a hospital kind of aid. I know a few things and I'm sure that just a little research will get me up to speed. What do you think?"
He thought for a moment, as she took it in, with more tears appearing on her cheek and said, almost in desperation: "And Socrates approves of the plan totally!"
"Oh, Jack!" she said, beginning to weep.
He gave her his handkerchief and waited.
"That's about the nicest thing that anyone has done for me in I don't know how long!"
Jack brightened. "Think of the pies!" he said.
She giggled and said: "Think of how fat I'll get!"
"Naw," he said, "I'll get you well enough to chase you around the room or around the floor of the building. That'll take care of the weight thing."
He colored then, realizing what he'd actually said to her. But she was giggling again and simply held her arms out for a hug.
"Come here, you wonderful man!" she said to him, and Jack Warner finally, finally had Patti Reese in his arms!
"How can I possibly thank you?" she said into his ear. "This is so nice!"
She sobbed and said to him, as she held him, the closeness itself giving her the courage to go on: "When I was young, at least younger, much younger, my Momma went to one of those horrible places, and she died there. I've never forgotten that. I always blamed my step-dad for doing that. I was a late life baby and my dad died right after I was born, and then it was, eventually, the step-dad but I never forgot my Momma in that place, and how she hated it. I know that there are lots of nice places but that one wasn't; it just wasn't."
She broke off then and looking at him, said: "Sorry that I'm getting you all wet. I've been grieving with this decision all day long, and this makes me feel so much better. You're so nice to do it!"
He grinned at her then.
She went on: "But your work; you have time?" She smiled and said: "Jack, I don't even know what you do."
He realized that his 'secret', if it were really that, was about to be exploded.
"I write," he said.
"Oh, I never knew," she responded. "What do you write?"
He actually blushed then, and knew he was doing it.
"Jack?" she asked, a bit of concern in her voice.
"I write romance novels!" he said.
She got wide-eyed and giggled but said a quick: "Sorry!"
"No," he said, holding up his hand, "It's okay; it makes me giggle myself," and they both laughed then.
"I use the name 'Shirley Longtime'," he said.
"Oh, I've seen those books," she said, "They seem so sexy!"
"They are!" he said, shaking his head, "I can't believe that I'm telling you all this."
She giggled. "More," she said, "I want to know more!"
"Well," he went on, "There are very few ways of making money to live on, as a historian, which I am by training and inclination. But I discovered this knack for taking historical situations, which I research and turning them into ripping good romances, sex and all."
She put her hand over her mouth and giggled then, and he grinned at her.
"How is that working out?" she asked, interested now.
"Fabulously," he said.
(He wasn't often ready to talk about this but realized that talking to Patti was such a comfortable thing, and he told her so. She smiled.)
"I write several a year, and they pay me astonishing amounts of money to do the writing," he said then.
"I've never read any of them," she said, "I'll have to get some and read them."
"Well," he said next, "You will have time on your hands."
"So it seems," she said.
He put his head down near hers and spoke softly to her then —- not even knowing why he was going to say this:
"Don't tell anyone but it's really made me and Socrates pretty much rich!" he was grinning then and gave her a quick apology but she held up her hand and said:
"No, no, I need to know who it is that I'm going to let into my apartment to aid my rehabbing."
He grinned and said: "I guess so!"
"Oh, Jack," she said, spreading her arms for him again. "This is so nice of you!" she said, as he fit himself into her arms.
"Well, well," said a voice from the doorway. It happened to be her orthopedic surgeon, Dr June Server.
Patti gave her a grin and said: "This is my pal Jack; he's going to help with my knee rehabbing at home."
Dr Server held out her hand and said: "Glad to meet you, Jack!"
They talked a bit about what would be involved and Dr Server also gave Jack some leads about where to find more information. She did her examination and then she left.
"I almost introduced you as 'Shirley Longtime'," Patti said, giggling behind her hand.
"Know what I'm going to do?" he said, with some resolution in his voice.
"What?" she asked, still giggling.
"I'm going to write a new novel and the heroine, who will get her clothes torn off and all, my normal happy treatment, will be named Patti."
She positively shrieked at that and he was grinning at her.
They had a long visit that day, and Jack found that he had to restrain himself from telling her how gorgeous he thought that she was. He left, promising to come back the next day.
"Yes, I know," she said, "Shirley Longtime isn't working these days!"
"Nope!" he said, "Not scheduled to work for about a month and a half, and then it'll be a story about a blowzy slut named Patti!" He grinned at her, once he finished, and she shrieked again into her hand.
"I'll get you!" she said.
"I can out run you, with your gimpy knee!" he said but before leaving the room, went back to her and planted a kiss on her forehead.
"Thank you for the offer, Jack," she said. "I really appreciate it!"
"It was Socrates' idea!" he said brightly.
"Okay," she responded, "Then he gets the kiss!"
"Oh," he said immediately, "But we both talked about it, he and I and agreed it was a good idea."
"Come here," she said, and did indeed kiss him.
He loved it! It was soft! Her lips were soft and she smelled so nice! He surprised himself, when he realized that he was actually saying those things to her.
It left her grinning, as he left.
During those days, when Patti Reese was in the hospital, Jack fit himself into the role of caregiver with her. It seemed like a comfortable and natural choice for him, and one that she enjoyed and actually treasured.
There were some difficult times for Patti at that time. The routine of using the knee flexing machine was both tiring and painful. She was on a course of carefully controlled meds to help her out but was, often enough, weepy or almost so, when the machine was in use.
Jack was the constant encourager. He spoke to her all the time about the progress that she was making, moving toward the goal of a knee bend of 90 degrees. He brought her treats to eat, not all of them pieces of pie, and even brought pictures of Socrates for her.
They developed a kind of schedule with Jack there. He told her that he wanted to begin to read to her, since they had so much time. She liked the idea and so, Jack and Patti began to explore the novels of Dickens, a favorite of both of them.
Jack began with 'Bleak House', his personal favorite, and they spent the time, especially when Patti was attached to the knee machine, in the reading of 'Bleak House'. It proved to be a treat for both of them: for Jack, the time that he was spending with her was wonderful time for him, and for Patti the time went by so much quicker, and she began to truly look forward to the times, when Jack would come to visit. He was there daily.
It was a Tuesday. He appeared in the doorway of her room, and had a sac with him that day.
"Oh," she said, "Jack and goodies! What do we have today?"
"Don't tell anyone or they'll all want one," he said, and, opening the sac produced, much to Patti's delight, a meatball sub.
"Whoohoo!" she said with great élan. "I love meatball subs."
"Lunch for us!" he said.
"What can be better than this," she said next, joyfully, "A meatball sub and 'Bleak House', read by that famous author Shirley Longtime!"
"Yes, exactly," he said, "And our Shirley has a fix on her next heroine, the libidinous Patti, whose picture in a pair of medieval panties will decorate the cover of the book!"
He got the usual squeal of delight from Patti, when he mentioned the book that he was going to write with her as the main, though slutty character —- he did write it later too!
During their chat that day, with Patti strapped to the machine, Jack was very encouraging, since Patti was almost at the degree of knee bend that the doctor wanted her to have.
While he was there visiting, Dr Server came in to check on Patti.
"What are you reading?" Dr Server asked, from the doorway.
"He's reading 'Bleak House' to me," Patti said, "Though I wanted him to read something sexy by Shirley Longtime. You know with clothes in tatters and all hot sex." She was grinning from ear to ear, when she said it, and got a grin from Dr Server too.
"Yes, I like those also," Doris Server said, and Jack just blushed.
"He's being a stick in the mud though," Patti said then, "So it's 'Bleak House'!"
"Well, he seems to be being a good companion!" Dr Server said then.
"Oh, he really is!" Patti said enthusiastically.
Doris Server then stopped the machine to measure the bend of Patti's knee and was pleased.
"We're just about where we need to be with the knee bend," she said. "I think that we're going to let you go home tomorrow. The ultimate goal, at which point the knee machine will no longer be necessary, is a bend of 120 degrees. That should come in the weeks ahead. I'll want you to be using the machine a couple times a day, about two hours or so at a time.
GETTING SET AT HOME:
Jack was ready for her the next day. They had gotten to the point, in their relationship, where there was not even a question about how Patti'd get home from the hospital. They simply both took it for granted that it would be Jack that fetched her. It was a comforting thought for Patti and a joy for Jack.
He went to her room and found her ready and excited. She was wearing a pair of loose shorts, that he'd brought for her, that didn't have a tight covering over her knee, which at this point was spectacularly colored from bruises.
"Ready?" he asked brightly, when he entered the room.
"Yes!" she said with gusto.
"The philosopher is asking for you and I said that you'd be home today. He is insisting on coming for a visit," Jack said next.
"How nice that will be!" Patti said, and smiled.
"Okay," he said, "I'll take some of this stuff with me and will be waiting for you at the entrance."
"Good," said the nurse in attendance. "We'll have someone there with her in just a few minutes.
Jack left at that point, with his armful of Patti's stuff and went for his car. He was indeed waiting for them, when they came out of the hospital doors. He got out and opened the front door for her, and helped to get her fit into the car. He'd had the seat, the passenger seat, put way far back to give her enough room and it worked out well.
Once she was seated in the car, Patti took a moment to look at it, it was a tan Cadillac CTSV Sedan.
"This is so lovely," she said, running her hands over the seat, and smiling.
"I told you," Jack said softly, "That Socrates and I are rich! Writing stuff like 'Patti's Panties', which will be the title of my next book, has made me that."
This 'title' got the expected squeal of delight from Patti, who covered her mouth with her hand.
"I'm gonna bite you," she said, "The first chance that I get!"
"Bite your caregiver?" he asked incredulously.
"Yep!" she said, "Count on it!"
Then she got serious and said: "Jack, it's so nice of you to pick me up and take care of me this way! I really and truly appreciate it!"
"I'm angling for Patti's panties!" he said, without any forethought at all.
He began to apologize immediately but she held up her hand and said: "Are you talking about the infamous Patti from the semi sex novels?"
"I am!" he said brightly, pleased that she'd taken his 'gaff' so well.
"Well, hang on, buster and you might get lucky!" she said then, and formed her lips for a kiss, which he leaned over and received.
"Home now, James!" she said.
"Yes, Socrates awaits!" he replied.
"Goodie!" she said, leaning back, and then she added again: "I love this car!"
"See what writing infamous and almost dirty books will do!" he said with a grin.
"My pal the famous author!" she said sighing and smiling at him.
"Tired?" he asked.
"Yes," she admitted, "It's been a great effort."
"We need to set up a schedule for your treatments and machine use," he said.
"Yes, yes," she sighed, "The damn machine."
"The very one!" was his reply.
Jack parked in the apartment garage and fetched a collapsable wheel chair that he'd rented to take Patti to her place.
"This is all so nice!" she said, and he just smiled, remembering especially the kiss.
Socrates was waiting for them. Jack had been overseeing her apartment and had the big tabby at Patti's, knowing that she'd want to see him right away.
Patti was pleased. "There's my pal, Socrates!" she said, reaching down to scratch the big cat along the back and behind his ears. He waited for the adulation and simply purred, and, after a few seconds rolled on his back so that his belly could be scratched too.
"Hussy of a cat!" Patti quipped.
"Gee," Jack said with a grin, "I almost rolled on my back so that I could be next!"
Patti covered her mouth with her hand and giggled into her hand, giving him a look that included a kind of twinkle in her eye.
The first thing that Jack did was to see to it that Patti got settled in bed. She had worn a pair of loose shorts from the hospital and opted, at least at first, to keep those shorts on. They agreed on a schedule for her that would work in the 3 hours of flex machine time that she needed to do every day.
She lay down on the bed and snoozed a bit, with Socrates taking his place on the bed next to her. She only woke when she heard, about an hour later, Jack come into the bedroom. He was carrying a tray, that was loaded with glasses of milk, grilled cheese sandwiches and pieces of pie.
"Oh, isn't this the grandest!" she said, smiling at him.
They ate companionably, with little nibbles of cheese for Socrates now and then, though he was a fairly fussy eater. When they were finished, Jack took the tray back to the kitchen and washed the dishes, doing the clean up.
She was a bit weepy, when he went back to the bedroom.
"What is it?" he asked with concern. "Pain?"
"No," she said, then she launched into what she had to say: "Jack, I've given my life pretty much to taking care of people and I know the value of such personal care and I have to say that you are taking care of me in the finest way possible!"
He grinned at her, and, once again, said what popped into his mind: "I'm trying to get into your pants!"
She fairly exploded with laughter, while he said "Oh, shit! Did I really say that!" He shook his head in dismay, as he said it.
"You did, buster!" she said with great glee, "But that's gonna have to wait just a while!"
He grinned, still reddened from realizing what he'd blurted out, and said: "Yeah, but got you where I want you!"
She grinned back at him and said: "Yeah, you do!"
Then she opened her arms for a hug! The hug lasted for a few moments and they both enjoyed it. While they were hugging, Socrates was making his noises and got a kiss on the head from Patti, after the hug was done.
"Hey," Jack complained, "He got kissed and I only got hugged!"
"Stick around, big guy!" she said, "Yours is coming."
Of course, with the nature of her surgery, and the closeness of the situation, it was inevitable that a crisis would come. Neither of them had dwelt upon that possibility but if they had, they'd surely have agreed that something was going to happen, sooner or later.
It was, as fate had it, more sooner than later. It was actually that afternoon. Jack had been reading to Patti, who had just finished one of her two hour and a half sessions on the flex machine.
"Jack," she said, "I have to go to the bathroom!"
"Ohh," he said, realizing that this hadn't been part of the plan, and wondering how he could have overlooked it.
"You need help?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "Just to get me there and get me seated. I need to pee."
"Oh, okay," he said and went to her side of the bed. He helped her swing her legs out of the bed and grabbed her under the arms to lift her up. She cooperated by putting her arms around his neck, and together, they got her up.
He aided her then to get her into the en suite bathroom. He got her up and steady and gave her the crutches but walked with her, steadying her as she went. When she was established in the bathroom, it looked as though she could manage herself.
As she sat, she made sure that her bad knee was outstretched. To do that, she had to kick off her loose shorts. When she was finished and cleaned up, she realized that she couldn't get up.
"Oh dear!" she said to herself. "Well, suck it up, girl!" she said to herself and called for him.
She heard his voice through the door asking: "Patti, what is it?"
"Jack," she said in a small voice, "I can't get up!"
He entered the bathroom then and grinned at her and said: "Big opportunity here!"
She put her hand over her mouth and giggled at the same time. Then he went to her and hoisted her up. Her beige panties were down around her ankles then, and the shorts were lying off to the side.
"Don't quite know what to do here, Jack!" she said softly.
He looked into her face and smiled and said: "Patti, just do what's best; I'm here to help."
She followed his advice but he hadn't counted on what she 'thought was best'. She stopped struggling right then and put her arms around his neck and kissed him.
He made an immediate throat kind of noise, surprised and gladdened by this latest development, and kissed her back. He slowly slid his hands down her back, holding onto her carefully with one hand and letting the other simply wander around her naked ass cheeks.
Patti was sighing now: "Oh, finally! Finally! Finally! This has been such a long time in coming, Jack! I have to say that I cherish your goodness, and the way that you take care, are taking care of me, you and that wonderful cat! I cherish that and simply want it for me! It's my selfish wish! That's what it is!"
"Wish granted!" he said into her lips, "I've already spoken to Socrates about it and he warned me that if I didn't comply, he'd pack his bags and move out of our place and into yours!"
She giggled then but kissed him again.
"Yes?" he asked.
"What a strange place and situation for a first kiss!" she said, giggling.
"It's an opportunity thing!" he said, "Finally got you with your panties down!"
"Well, your hand feels wonderful!" she said.
"Yeah!" he quipped, "It's called an opportunity feel!"
"Opportunity feel?" she asked, moving her head back to look at him.
"Yes," he explained, "Got the maiden in my arms, got her shorts off and her panties down, so then just go ahead and feel!"
She laughed then and said: "Okay, you've got me, feel free!"
"I am," he said, and then into her ear: "Closer and closer to getting into your pants!"
"Whoohoo!" she said explosively into his ear.
"I guess that's got to wait," he said.
"'Fraid so," she said, "But the knee is improving, and on the bright side, don't have to wear those terrible shorts any more."
"Oho," he responded, "Get to see you in your undies all the time!"
"Yep!" she said.
"Yippee! Wait 'til I tell Socrates!" he said.
"Sharing the wealth?" she asked, smirking.
"Always with my pal Soc!" he said and kissed her again, now with his wandering hand running though her pussy hair.
She leaned back and grinned at him: "Enjoying?"
"Totally!" he said, "But need to get you back to bed!"
"Yes," she said, sighing.
He knelt and she said, suspiciously: "What are you gonna do?"
"Pull your panties up! Why, what did you think?" he asked.
"Dirty things!" she said, brushing his lips with hers again.
"Okay, come on," he said, "The beautiful, sexy, panty wearing Patti goes back to bed now!"
"Is that who I am?" she wanted to know.
"Absolutely!" he said.
"For that you get another kiss and another feel!" she said.
This time, during the kiss, his hand was on her breast, fondling a nipple.
"Don't we need to take off the tee shirt and bra to make you comfortable?" he asked.
"Wicked man!" she said.
"Socrates told me to ask!" he said.
"He's too much of a gentleman!" she said.
"Nope," he said, "Cat with a dirty mind!"
"Whoohoo!" she answered.
He finally had her back in bed then to rest. She wasn't scheduled for the flex machine for another few hours.
"I'm going for coffee," he told her.
"I'd love one!" she said.
But when he got back into the room with the coffee, she'd taken her tee shirt and her bra off and lay there only in her panties, grinning at him.
"Ahh," he said, "The beauty unwrapped!"
"Yes, for you!" was her response to him, opening her arms to draw him in for a hug and kiss.
They did use the machine one more time that day but later, when it was actually bed time, there was a change. Up to that point, in order to be on hand, when she needed him, Jack had a lounge chair next to the bed and was intent on sleeping in the lounge chair. That changed that day.
"Tired?" Jack asked her, as he sat on the edge of the bed and stroked her face, showing the tenderness that was growing between them.
"A bit!" she admitted.
"Well let's get you set," he said.
"Have a request!" she said then.
"I'd like a shower! They said that if I wrapped my leg in plastic to keep water off of it, I could. Would you help?" she asked.
"Love to!" he said.