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Abrock

"No Longer A Stranger"

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Okay, she says "My bad" and yet five days later still NADA!! Ahem, get crackin missy.

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*sheepishly crawls into corner*

So sorry ladies! I'm gonna get crackin', I promise!

~Mel

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So, here's some more...

***

Drew unconsciously popped his knuckles while sitting on a sofa in Lori’s childhood home. It was a nervous habit he’d had ever since he was a teenager, but it only surfaced when he felt like a sitting duck, waiting for a big event to hit. It was only about ten in the morning, but even that hour had come too quickly for his liking that day.

Lori came back into the living room with a portable house phone in her hand.

“Just talked with my dad,” she explained. “They’re running late… pretty bad traffic.”

Drew nodded, and then continued to survey the carpet. He sat on the edge of the sofa, his forearms on his thighs and his hands together. Lori couldn’t help the smile that appeared on her face. She sat down next to him, purposely reclining into a relaxed position.

“They’re just my parents,” she commented, “They’re not royalty.”

Drew looked back at her. “Huh?”

“You look nervous.”

Pausing for a moment, Drew realized his posture. “Oh. Um… not nervous,” he said as he leaned back into the couch, “Just anxious.”

Lori’s fingers naturally found their way to the back of his neck, idly stroking his hair. “What for?”

“Well… it’s natural in meeting the parents for the first time, right?”

“Yeah, it is. But like I told you, my parents are gonna love you.”

Drew smiled weakly. “I can still be nervous, right?”

“I thought you were just anxious,” Lori grinned.

Drew grimaced, grabbed a decorative pillow and lightly threw it into her. “Ha, ha.”

“And besides, this is just a short visit. Not like I’m bringing you home for a holiday, unlike what you’re doing to me!”

Drew laughed. “Like Halloween counts!”

“It’s still a holiday.”

“Yeah, but do you ever hear people say that they’re bringing a girlfriend home for Halloween?”

“Still a holiday!” Lori pointed out with a bit of dramatic flare. “The actual holiday doesn’t matter… we’re still staying with your parents overnight!”

Drew chuckled, shaking his head. “Okay, you win… I’m subjecting you to much worse.”

“Thank you,” Lori replied with a smile.

“However, I do have to do this first,” Drew said, gesturing to the house.

“Ah yes, true… okay, perhaps we’re even then?”

“Even. For now anyway.” He leaned over and kissed her.

Fifteen or so minutes later, the two heard a car pulling into the driveway. Despite her assurances to Drew, Lori felt her stomach jump and her heart rate increase as her parents approached the front door. She did her best to remain cool, at least on the outside, wanting to give Drew as much confidence as possible.

David and Melanie Carson walked through the front door, both looking expectant. When Lori came into view, both broke into smiles.

“Hi sweetheart!” Melanie gushed, Lori coming forward to embrace her.

“Hi Mom, great to see you!” Lori returned, pulling back a bit.

“Did we make you wait long?”

“We suffered through it,” Lori grinned.

“Hey kid,” David greeted his daughter, pulling her into a hug.

“Hey dad, how are you?”

“Oh, can’t complain. It’s great to see you.”

Drew watched the exchange from a bit of a distance, not wanting to intrude on the reunion. If he understood correctly, Lori hadn’t seen her parents since she started working for the Keith’s in May. They’d helped her move into the pool house, and that had been it until now. From what he saw before him, five months was a long time for this family to be apart.

After a few moments, Lori turned towards Drew, holding out her hand to him. Drew walked to meet her, took her outstretched hand and stood before her parents.

“This is Drew,” Lori introduced him.

David gripped Drew’s hand in a firm shake. “Good to meet you, son.” David was nearly Drew’s height, yet with a thicker build that once may have been an asset to an athletic lifestyle, but now it was curbed a bit with some middle-aged weight.

Drew nodded pleasantly in the affirmative, and turned to Lori’s mother, who also extended her hand.

“So great to finally meet you, Drew,” Melanie smiled, her handshake also firm. Drew could immediately tell where Lori got her build and hair color. Melanie in fact looked like she could be Lori’s older sister. By a couple of decades, to be sure, but a sister nonetheless.

“And you,” Drew replied softly. “Both of you.”

They all eventually settled in the living room, Lori and Drew on one sofa, and her parents on the other. They asked Drew the usual questions about where he grew up, where he went to school, and what he now did for a living, even though Lori had pretty much filled them in over the last few months.

Doing his best to be talkative, Drew leaned forward while talking with Melanie and David, holding tightly to Lori’s hand. He was surprised that Lori was relatively quiet, only interjecting when she was brought into the subject. But she seemed to have a constant smile on her face, something that naturally relaxed him.

After some time, Melanie announced that she should start lunch, to which Lori offered to help. When Drew did the same, Melanie said, “Oh, heavens no, you’re a guest. You and David keep each other company.” And with that, the two women disappeared into the kitchen.

“Mother-daughter visit,” David explained as Drew settled back on the sofa. “Melanie hasn’t seen her daughter in a few months, she wants to catch up with her.”

Drew just nodded, finding himself nervous all over again without Lori next to him. “So, we just keep each other company, then?” Drew said, attempting to break the ice.

David shrugged. “We could just turn on the TV, no use in being forced to talk.”

The comment froze Drew up for a moment, until he saw the grin on David’s face. Definitely a guy’s guy… David didn’t feel the need to fill the space with conversation. Drew found that comforting.

David surfed the channels a bit until he found a movie playing on a cable channel. After a few minutes, the scene shifted to a divorce court deposition. Drew really didn’t have his mind on anything in particular when David suddenly broke the silence.

“Lori tells me you’re divorced.”

Drew roused himself to pay attention when he realized David was addressing him. “What’s that? Oh, yes… yes that’s true.”

David nodded his head, looking thoughtful. “How long ago was that?”

Drew swallowed with difficulty, realizing this was going to be the topic of conversation. “About ten years ago.”

Leaning forward a little bit, David turned down the sound on the TV. “No kids?”

Drew shook his head.

“How long were you married?”

“Six months,” Drew replied with a slight break in his voice. “Well, we separated at six months.”

David’s eyebrows lifted. Whether in concern, interest or judgment, Drew couldn’t tell.

“Just didn’t take then?” David questioned.

Drew shrugged, trying to control his voice. He knew David’s intentions were perfectly noble, keeping Drew from creating any kind of resentment towards Lori’s father for asking these painful questions.

“I, um… it didn’t seem to take for her,” Drew replied.

“Oh? She left you?”

Drew nodded, subconsciously drawing in his lips. “Really for the best. I don’t think I ever made her happy.”

Nodding slowly, David leaned back into the couch cushions and folded his hands across his stomach. “Was she pretty young?”

Drew shook his head. “She was actually a year older than me. I mean, yeah, we were young, but well into our twenties.”

“How long had you known each other?”

“Since high school.”

David once again looked surprised. “Really? Did you date back then?”

Drew shook his head again, realizing that Lori’s dad was trying to discern what had ended the marriage. He gulped, hating to talk about the subject, but knowing that David was sizing him up as a match for his only daughter.

“I’d always really liked her,” Drew began to explain, “and we were kind of friends in high school, but we met up again after college and began dating. I mean, she liked me… but I don’t think she was ever really that into me.”

David began to slow nod again, looking like he was processing the information. “What made her marry you, do you think?”

Drew shrugged, though he did have an answer. He’d just never let himself say it aloud.

After a few more moments of David’s silent scrutiny, he said, “Well, I think I know my daughter pretty well, and I can tell she likes you. ‘Into you,’ you might even say.” A slight smile appeared on his face.

Finding himself growing red and chuckling in embarrassment, Drew nodded his thanks to David.

**

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Thank you Mel!!!!That was a refreshing surprise!!!!I didn't realize how much I had missed Lori and drew!!!!Hope to see more soon!!

Hugs,

Amy

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Bout time! Now don't wait so long for the next installment

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Sorry it's been nearly three months! But never fear, here's another segment. :smile:

~Mel

**

“So,” Lori began, “what do you think?”

Melanie chuckled a bit as she pulled food out of the fridge. “Thought you might start in on the questions before I got talking, did you?”

Lori grinned. “Well, I knew that’s why you told Drew not to come help.”

“I did mean it though, he is a guest.”

“Oh, I know… but c’mon Mom, dish.”

“Here, cut this tomato,” Melanie said, placing it in front of Lori on the table. Rolling her eyes, Lori got up and found a knife, plus a cutting board. After she seated herself again, Melanie smiled at her.

“You know I gotta start you on something before I begin!”

Lori began slicing the tomato. “Okay, okay, I’m working! So, what do you think?”

Melanie sighed in thought as she sat down across from her daughter, beginning to peel a potato. “I really like him.”

Lori looked at her mother in confusion. She’d wanted to hear those words from her mom, but her tone sounded reluctant… or rather, resigned?

“Um, that’s a good thing, right?” Lori questioned.

“Yeah, it is,” Melanie replied, but not with so much enthusiasm.

“Okay Mom, what’s the deal?” Lori asked, pausing in her cutting.

“It’s just… he’s the first guy you’ve really been serious about since what’s-his-name back when you were like, eighteen or nineteen…”

“And…?”

“Honey, can’t I be a little melancholy about my only daughter in love?”

Lori’s anxiety relaxed into a sympathetic smile. “Mom, you’ll never lose me, no matter what.”

Melanie dismissed the comment with a wave of her hand. “Oh, I know that, don’t be silly.” Yet Lori could see her mother’s eyes reddening.

“No silliness here, then,” Lori replied with a smile, attempting to lighten the emotion. She continued to slice the tomato she was holding.

“So, you are in love with him, then?”

Lori looked up from her task, seeing the earnest expression from her mother. “I am. Very much.”

Melanie smiled, and then swallowed with difficulty. “I can see that with the two of you. The amount of respect between you both is palpable.”

Lori couldn’t help grinning, knowing her mother wouldn’t have said such a thing if it wasn’t true. “Thanks, Mom… I’m glad you see that.”

Melanie cleared her throat, speaking again in a brighter voice. “So, you’re going to see his folks next weekend?”

Lori nodded. “Yeah, we’re staying there overnight because of Halloween… Drew wants to take his nephew trick-or-treating. His sister and her family live close to their parents, so…”

“So you get to meet the whole clan.”

Nervous jitters colored Lori’s voice as she responded, “Yep.”

“Oh, don’t be nervous, I’m sure they’ll love you.”

Lori smiled at her mom. “Because you weren’t nervous at all to meet Dad’s parents, were you?”

Melanie smirked at her daughter. “Okay, I suppose you’re allowed to be nervous.”

“Thanks for the permission,” Lori responded with a chuckle.

After a few more minutes passed with the two chatting a bit about the Keith’s ranch, Melanie turned serious again, causing Lori to eye her apprehensively.

“There’s something I feel I should talk to you about,” Melanie said with, it seemed, some effort.

A frown appeared between Lori’s eyes. “What’s going on?”

“Oh no, nothing like that… just rather a question I should ask you.”

Lori pressed her tongue between her lips in curiosity. “What’s up, Mom?”

Melanie took a deep breath before she continued. “Now, I know you’re an adult, honey… and I have every confidence in you…”

Now Lori was truly confused. “Perhaps you should just say it, huh?”

A faint smile played across Melanie’s lips. “Okay then. I just would feel better if I knew that you… you and Drew… were being careful.”

Lori’s eyebrows shot up towards her hairline. “Wha…?”

“Not that I think you two are reckless people, I know you’re very responsible, and Drew also seems the type. But sometimes you can get caught up…”

Lori, finally understanding, dropped her face into her hands with a slight groan.

“I know you probably don’t relish talking about this with me,” Melanie continued at Lori’s reaction, “but it’s important, honey.”

Lori couldn’t help a short laugh that escaped her. She pulled her blushing face out of her hands to look at her mother.

“Mom, honestly don’t worry about that.”

“I’m a mother, my function is to worry,” Melanie replied with a smile, though her gaze was still serious.

“What I mean is… um, Mom, I’m still… we haven’t… you know.”

The crease between Melanie’s eyebrows smoothed as her daughter’s words sunk in. At first she looked a bit surprised, which annoyed Lori a little, but then sat back in her chair with a proud smile.

“Wow… really?”

Lori rolled her eyes good-naturedly, more flush creeping up her neck. “C’mon, Mom… it can’t be that big a surprise, can it?”

“No, I suppose not.” Melanie continued to smile. “It’s just today’s mentality, you know? Seems to be this normal part of dating, even casual dating. I mean, you and Drew are more serious, so I guess I just kind of assumed.”

Lori took a noticeable breath. “Mom, do you remember what I told you… I was fifteen or so, I’m not sure… anyway, I told you about how I wanted to wait?”

Melanie nodded. “I do remember that. You had just talked with your friend Nicole.”

“Well, I haven’t forgotten that promise to myself.”

Melanie reached across the table and squeezed her daughter’s forearm. “I wasn’t saying you had, honey. It’s just that our teenaged views often change dramatically when we become adults. I was very proud of you at that age for setting that goal for yourself, and I admit that I hoped rather than expected for you to keep that promise. And again,” she pressed on, “it wasn’t because I thought you incapable or without enough conviction to follow through.”

Lori smiled at her mother to ease her discomfort. “Definitely understand, then.”

Melanie folded her hands on the table, looking relieved. “And well, let’s face it, Drew is one handsome fellow.”

Lori laughed a little louder than she normally would have, feeling the tension between her and her mother break. “That he is… that he is. So glad you noticed!” She grinned.

“And he’s okay with this, er… arrangement between the two of you?”

Lori nodded. “He is. We’ve talked about it pretty extensively.”

“It’s just that you said he’s divorced. Usually it’s quite difficult for a guy to abstain after he’s already been there, done that, you know? Well, I guess not just for guys, but all the same.”

Drawing in her lips, Lori continued to nod. “I know. When we were first dating, we had a little bit of a close call. We were just getting a little too into a kiss, and I sort of freaked out a bit. Not because he was pushing me to do anything,” she reassured, “but that I knew I could easily lose myself in what was happening, and I wanted to keep my promise. We had a good talk about it then, and then again a few weeks or so later. So, we’re on the same page.”

Melanie nodded appreciatively. “I’m glad to hear. In that case then, be sure you don’t start anything you can’t finish, okay?”

Lori blinked, confusion settling across her face. “Say again?”

“I mean, you would be surprised what’s considered to be foreplay. You don’t have to be settled for a make-out session, or dressed for bed. Little things in the everyday routines can often serve to rouse a couple. Especially if one or both of them have experienced it before.”

“I…” Lori began, about to declare her innocence on the matter, when she was bombarded with memories. She paused, remembering three months before; hers and Drew’s pivotal conversation, all the while lying in her bed. She also remembered even further back, the date where she’d declared she wanted to wait until she was married. They had had a soapsuds fight… could that truly have been what triggered the intense kiss? Her mind paused for a moment, wondering, until she remembered the way they had washed the dishes together just before.

Lori brought her hand up to her face and began chewing on her middle fingernail. She hadn’t really thought about the fact that little things might make things frustrating for Drew. She still knew that he didn’t have any expectations of her in that regard, but she certainly couldn’t be helping things along if she was engaging in possible foreplay.

After a long stretch of silence, Melanie asked her daughter what was on her mind. Lori explained the story of washing dishes, which had led to her and Drew’s first discussion about physical intimacy. Lori ran her fingers through her hair, suddenly nervous that she’d been unconsciously frustrating Drew on a regular basis.

“I just never considered that,” Lori said quietly while she played with the edge of the tablecloth. “I thought I was being careful, but now that I think about it…”

Sighing in thought, Melanie considered her daughter. “Do you think Drew would tell you if things were becoming too heated for him?”

Lori took a deep breath. “I would think so. He’s been pretty open about it, once we get talking. But that’s only been after more obvious things, which were also important conversations between us. When it comes to little things, I guess I really don’t know.”

“Well, forgive this question, but how many close calls have you had?”

Lori couldn’t help her face turning beet red. “Maybe two or three. And it’s never gotten far.”

“Okay then… have there been times when he’s physically distanced himself from you… for example, if you’ve been kissing and hugging a lot, and he’ll suddenly want to stop for a little bit?”

Lori thought long and hard about that question. There were more obvious times where Drew seemed to be the first to pull out of a kiss, or to let go of Lori before she let go of him. They were never extremely palpable actions that might cause her to feel rejected, and Lori usually chalked them up to Drew’s precaution. But she hadn’t considered that his precaution might come with heaps of frustration.

Relating her thoughts to her mom, Lori explained different things Drew had done to take precaution, including the weekend where he’d “forgotten” his swimsuit, and his sofa pushed up against his bedroom door during their private “prom.”

“Wow,” Melanie said after Lori had explained, “That’s really impressive. It’s so wonderful that he not only respects your wishes, but that he also gives an active hand in helping maintain them.”

Lori smiled weakly. “I just hope I’m doing my part.”

Melanie reached across the table and squeezed her daughter’s forearm. “Take heart, honey. It sounds like you definitely are. Now that you’re a little more aware, just keep that in mind. Of course that doesn’t mean you stop kissing and hugging him, but just be wary.”

“Maybe I should ask him about it…”

“Might not be a bad idea, just so you know where he’s coming from. It could be that this isn’t even an issue with him… maybe he just expects to be turned on from time to time and just deals with it.”

Lori felt her skin turn a deeper shade of red. Her mother chuckled.

“Sorry to embarrass you, Lori.”

Lori smiled and shook her head. “It’s okay; it’s just weird talking about this.”

“A little weird for me, too,” Melanie admitted. “Your dad took care of Rob when it came to these types of talks. Of course you and I have talked before, but not with a certain guy in mind.”

Lori nodded in agreement, her thoughts still lost in how to broach the subject with Drew.

Melanie cleared her throat a little before saying, “You gonna finish cutting up that tomato or what?” She smiled at her daughter.

**

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Thanks again for letting me know this was up Mel.

Sounds like Lori has an enviable relationship with her mom. That's really terrific and I love how you showed that through the conversation.

:goodjob2:

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Thanks for the reminder Mel!!

Great addition, it's nicely written! :clap: But please don't let us wait that long again...

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Was very excited when I got your PM , Mel....as always...great stuff...now keep it coming!!!!

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Thank you ladies! Truly appreciated...

This story is on my mind a lot, I promise. Since this started out as a silly little writing exercise (which I didn't expect to go further than ten or so pages), it's been hard for me to figure out where I want this to go, and how to get it there in the meantime. I do have a better plan than I've had in the past, which is good! but sometimes it takes me a little while to hash it out. :bonk:

Thanks for the encouragement to keep this going!! If not for you GALS, it would have been abandoned long ago.

:hearts:

~Mel

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Alrighty now, Miss Mel. You have another avid reader!

I have tried to write stuff so many times, but I have a terrible relationship with plot LOL

:wuv: Keep it comin!

Claire

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Hi there, Claire! I'm very happy you're enjoying the story!! I shall be keepin' it coming, I promise!

:hearts:

~Mel

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Awesome :goodjob: Dragon wants more. :yourock:

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Thanks Dragon! :) I shall do my best to oblige as soon as possible...

~Mel

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