Stuck In Fire 2 - Justin Bieber

Justin is finally reunited with Katie.. and that's awesome. I don't know what to write, 'cause i haven't read the story o.o IT'S NOT MIIIINE. I JUST POST IT TO READ IT :P

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34. 34

The night after we had all slept over there, I reported back to Jimmy Chan's to start working as Marcus' hostess/waitress. I have to admit, I was really scared to walk in there alone for the first time…but Justin had to help Katie with her homework. I almost volunteered for that but I thought it would be good for Justin to see that there was more going on in his head than little naked me's dancing around. He has a great mind and I wanted him to discover that for himself.

So I bravely walked into my new place of employment to find Marcus in the restaurant area, his shirt over his nose, his one hand spraying a can of Lysol and the other hand a can of Glade, Cinnamon flavor.

"UGH!", I put a hand over my own nose and waved the fumes with my other hand, asking, "What are you DOING MARCUS ?"

"This whole fucking place smells like white people!", he shouted, not bothering to turn towards me, "White people and old man SHIT stuffed with broccoli! I'll never get it the FUCK out!"

"White people do NOT have a SMELL.", I rolled my eyes, walking towards the other end of the place, where the ozone layer was thicker and breathing was possible.

"The FUCK you don't!", Marcus snapped back, standing over the spot Ben had laid in the night before…and then both his fists hit the spray cans and fired relentlessly to the floor.

"Stop doing that, Marcus!", I watched him from over here, "People will suffocate if they come in and I have to sit them down! Open a window!"

People were coming into Jimmy Chan's on a regular basis now…especially when Justin and Katie started going to the rodeo's on Saturdays and handing out flyers we made for the restaurant. It looked like, whether Marcus liked it or not, people were going to be coming into this place…a lot. On the weekends, sometimes, we were full up and there was actually a WAIT to get a table! It was really exciting to see it happening and I loved coming to work here. Marcus didn't scare me anymore, in fact I thought he was fun. I liked trying to figure him out in my head, silently analyzing him now and then.

Justin was teaching me a lot about serving and how to move gracefully from table to table…in a small amount of time, I was doing it and not tripping or dropping things! I was proud of the job I was doing…Marcus and I even bonded as those weeks went by.

And I kept seeing this cute little boy around. He was also there at Thanksgiving…and I DID see him sleeping over that night also…Katie was always close to him and they looked like they had been playing together whenever I'd seen her with him. He was Asian and had these huge brown eyes…and long, silk black hair, tied in a ponytail behind his head. He wore a black t shirt and a pair of gray sweatpants…worn black sneakers.

I got down at eye level with him and asked, "Hi, honey, what's your name?"

Nothing. He just looked at me, acting scared or tense, I wasn't sure which.

"Is your Mommy here?", I asked next, looking around for someone who might be his mother…but I got no answer again.

Then Marcus would show up and bark out, "What the Hell is THIS? Blue's Clues? Table seven needs drinks!"

He handed me a slip of paper and I went to fill the order…and when I came back a minute later, the kid was gone. I asked Marcus about it and he just shrugged and said, "How the fuck would I know? Who am I, Mr. Rogers?"

I giggled, thinking of Eddie Murphy playing Mr. Robinson…doing a skit where he acted like Mr. Rogers.

"Did you ever see that Eddie Murphy…", I began but Marcus just glared at me…so I gulped and said, "Never mind."

Sometimes Justin would come in for dinner while I was working and we would play and flirt with each other, as if we had just met. That was a lot of fun.

The first night was a surprise and I turned to see this tall, lovely specimen of a man standing there. I blushed at first sight and he smirked at me while I fumbled for his menu.

"Two?", I asked, looking around for a good table.

"No, just me.", he grinned a little sheepishly, "I'm…alone."

"Uh…", I frowned in disbelief, "How did THAT happen? All the girls around here lose their sight or something?"

"Or maybe they're seeing clearly for the first time…", Justin said under his breath as I walked towards a nice small table in the corner.

I laughed a little at that and replied, "Well, yea, you DO look like a bad boy, I can see that."

"Is this alright?", I asked as we arrived at the table.

"I guess.", he shrugged, sitting down, "It doesn't really matter if it's just me, as long as the food is good."

I made a face and commented, "Oh, you poor thing. Your night is not going to improve."

Then he smiled up at me and sexy as hell, said, "It just did."

After that, I was a mess. I fumbled and trembled with everything I touched for him. With all the other customers, I was fine….confident, unafraid, friendly…assured…but whenever I came back to this beautiful stranger I was all thumbs. DAMN! How can he do that to me after we've been together all this time? He must have some kind of witchcraft up his sleeve.

I felt his eyes on me as I took care of other people…and I saw pride there as I worked. But then, again…when I brought him his water…I spilled a little of it.

"Sorry, sorry!", I took a linen napkin from the empty seat at the table and soaked the water up.

Then he put his hand gently over mine, whispering, in this deep, buttery voice, "Relax. It's alright. You don't have to be afraid of me, you know. I don't bite…much."

I shivered, remembering those words from the first night I had met him…and it was like a tiny hello from the real Justin…reminding me it was him…and that I had nothing to fear. It put me right at ease.

"That's too bad.", I answered, looking at his eyes with lust in mine, "I like to be bitten."

I had thought that one up long ago…after I had gotten home from the club that night…hours later, coming up with a cool comeback. I was glad I finally got the chance to say it to him…and not faint afterwards.

As I walked away, he coiled his smooth fingers around my wrist and stopped me.

"WAIT!", he almost pleaded, as I turned to face him…and he gave me that look…that crooked, sly grin…and added, "I didn't say I COULDN'T bite. I've got teeth. Sharp…teeth."

And I almost melted into a puddle right there. How does he come up with this stuff out of nowhere? He is so gifted. I bet he could pick up an old man if he wanted one.

I smiled and gently responded, "Good. You'll need 'em for your dinner soon."

He smiled back and almost nodded, liking my banter with him…and licked his lips…leaning in closer and brushing his soft fucking lips against my knuckles…and said, "I'll save lots of room for dessert. Promise."

Shit.

And then it came out of my mouth for REAL!

"Shit.", I said, clearly in heat as I let out a deep breath…I pulled away, embarrassed, hearing his soft laughter…and I ran back to the kitchen, retreating…needing time to regroup.

I took a glass of ice water and threw it into my own face…glad the ice cubes went down my top…maybe now my brain can work again.

Marcus looked up and his eyes boggled at my wet shirt, he even stopped chopping what he was cooking so he didn't lose his fingers.

"Dry them off!", he scowled, "I'm not runnin' the BADA BING CLUB here!"

"THEM?", I laughed, going to the ladies' room to turn the hand blower on myself…I was hoping Justin would come in here and ravage me…but he didn't. I remembered the night at the gas station with the bathroom and wished I knew why it had bothered him so much…but it was between him and Peter. Maybe someday he'll tell me. Do I want to know it?

I would love to crawl under his table and start undoing his pants, just to see how he would react. But then I pictured what Marcus would do to us and I scratched that idea off the list. Maybe some night after closing, he'll let me close up and we could play that game.

But then the mature Selena came into my mind and ruined my fun. She said that I work here and how it's not right to disrespect Marcus' place that way…and blah blah blah…so I decided to play innocently…and attack his cute little ass once we got home. Maybe I'll rape him in the car again…and I was so surprised to see the wicked gleam in my own eyes in the mirror staring back at me.

"They" seemed to be dry now so I got back out there to work. I passed Adonis' table without a glance and went to table six, where there were four cowboys smiling at me. They wanted their check and I gave it to them…but before I left, the blonde one with the stubble said, "The food was good, but the service was EXCELLENT."

I got the double meaning in his words and hoped Justin wasn't about to fly through the air and land upon them like Spiderman.

I just smiled, remembering my Justin lessons about serving…and said, "Well, thank you. And when you tip, my husband and seven kids thank you too. Have a good night."

I grinned and turned, seeing Justin smiling back at me, looking very relieved as I walked up to his table.

"Your food will be right out, Sir…thank you so much for your patience.", I said politely.

"I could wait forever.", he said without a hint of sarcasm, giving me that drop dead gorgeous grin. I wish I could wait forever. I wanted him five minutes ago. He really has turned me into a horny little kitten, rubbing myself up and down his leg. And I've never been happier in my life.

"You just might.", I snickered, going to the kitchen window, asking, "Hey, I need white boy's food. Are you done spitting in it yet?"

"Almost.", Marcus smiled at the plate with affection, as if it were a child of his…and he put all Justin's food on the metal counter, "Tell him to enjoy every mouthful."

"If you make him sick tonight, I'm kicking your ass, Homey Clown.", I warned him, taking the tray of food over.

"Okay…", I said as I placed everything down in front of him, noticing I hadn't dropped or spilled anything so far, "A few different choices of poison here for ya. It's all in how long you want the pain to last before you drop. Enjoy."

"Uh, wait.", he took me by the wrist again and I looked at him, "I don't want to eat alone. It's fucking sad. Why don't you take your break and join me for a little?"

I looked around and saw that no one else was here…it was getting close to closing time, and most people in this town only ate from 4pm – 8pm. It was around nine thirty now.

"You know…the grabbing thing…", I cast my eyes on his hand, "I didn't say anything about it before, but that's not exactly gentlemanly behavior. And I AM trained in karate."

He smirked and didn't let go, but he looked at his hand around my wrist.

"I'm not a gentleman.", he stated without shame, that sexy smirk back in place, "And if you wanna throw me to the floor, it's okay with me."

Damn he's good. I mean…BAD.

"And also…my boss is Satan.", I informed.

"I know.", Justin smiled, "But if he comes around, I'll protect you. Please."

I looked around and decided to take my break now. I hadn't had one all night.

"Well, the customer is always right, isn't he?", I slowly sat down across from him…and he released my wrist.

"Yes.", Justin smiled, a genuine, happy smile…no sexual message in this one.

"I like the way you say that.", I flirted back, taking my napkin and placing it in my lap.

"Good.", he started touching the food, "I plan on saying it a lot tonight."

I had to giggle at that one. Very good.

"Try this.", he held a little piece of shrimp breaded with Marcus' secret seasonings. He held it in his fingers in front of my mouth and I gave him my seductive smile in return.

I put my hands on the chair I was sitting in, and leaned forward…licking my lips and then biting my bottom lip…and then…I opened my mouth and let my tongue hang out a little bit…not in a disgusting way…I hoped it was in a sexy way.

Then Justin trembled and dropped the shrimp and said, "Shit…sorry. Wait…I'll get another one…don't MOVE."

I almost laughed but held my pose for him…it was nice to know I could make him nervous too. I enjoyed that.

I wiggled my tongue out a bit as I waited and then he placed the new shrimp into my mouth…and I took it…and licked my tongue over his fingers…getting the sweet sauce.

"MMMM….", Justin sounded deep in his throat when I did that…and I chewed the shrimp…moaning out with my eyes closed.

"So good.", I opened my eyes and hit him with my wanton stare, "And the shrimp is okay too. More."

And I waited for him to feed me another one. He smiled so big I thought I'd get tears in my eyes…but I kept in sexy girl mode…and he fumbled around to find something new to feed me.

I got to type the message in Justin's unfortunate cookie that night…and it said:

You are going to be fucked tonight like you've never been fucked before.

Or so I hoped anyway.

I picked Justin up that night and took him home with me, where we did things that made our photos on the walls weep. Marcus still thought we were crazy white people but he didn't say it with such venom anymore. Justin almost missed that.

"Fuck me, Selena, more!", Justin screamed as I laid my breasts and face on the kitchen table, feeling him slamming me from behind. And I wore only my high heeled shoes.

I gasped and pounded myself back and forth, into him with more force as he screamed out and I mumbled, "The customer is always right…"

I had to watch what I said in the heat of the moment I learned fast with Justin. Like, I had almost said, at the end of that sentence, "Yes Sir." I couldn't say that or we were done for the night. I almost said, "It's a pleasure to serve you." I couldn't say that either…or we were dead.

Peter was teaching me about triggers…words that would kill Justin's mood or bring up memories he was trying to deal with or repress. We were also dealing with my insecurity issues…building up my self worth…and I really felt that I was beginning to get stronger…and see that I wasn't the plain Jane I used to be. I felt like it would take time…but…I was growing…changing.

I hadn't earned a lot of money at Jimmy Chan's but it was enough for me to afford a couple nice gifts for everyone. I got creative and thought up a couple of good ideas for Justin and Katie.

Katie had made a list for Justin and I of what she wanted and it was mostly toys, an ipod, a cell phone. When Justin saw make up on the list, he almost shit his pants. The same reaction came when he saw the word straightener on the list.

"Katie is turning into a girl, Justin.", I put my hand on his shoulder, adding, "It happens…she's gonna be ten in a few months. It's a big year."

"But I like her curls!", Justin sounded inconsolable, staring at the list, "And she doesn't NEED make up, her face is perfect the way it is!"

I giggled at him. "You sound just like my dad."

"And who is she gonna call on this CELL PHONE?", Justin sounded pissed now, "Some boy or something?"

"The only boy Katie likes is Dr. Peter.", I informed, "It's just a status thing. She sees other girls have it, so she needs to have it too. She wants to be like all the other girls."

"I don't want her like all the other girls.", Justin snapped back, clutching the paper until it got chewed looking on the edge, "I love her the way she is."

"Everyone changes, baby.", I hugged him, my chin on his shoulder, "You'll love her, even when she's a snarling, evil teenager. You just won't know it at the time."

"Teenager?", he frowned, "UUGGGHHHH….she's not even TEN YET!"

"Wait until she wants to have the TALK.", I said into his ear.

"Talk?", he perked up, concerned, "WHAT TALK?"

I rolled my eyes. "THE…TALK! The one about sex."

"SEX?", he flipped out now, the note in the air and then floating to the floor, "She is NOT going to ask ME about SEX! And if she DOES, I'm not ANSWERING!"

"Great, Dad…that's great.", I said, "Do that and you can guarantee that she has a family of four by her senior year of high school."

"Oh my GOD!", Justin looked around helplessly, "What would I SAY? What would SHE SAY?"

"I can't see the future, Eduardo!", I laid in bed, watching his back at my side, "The important thing to let Katie know is that…sex is about love. And it's a beautiful thing…"

"Sex and love?", he looked at me, "But then she'll think because she loves PETER it's okay to have sex with him."

"No….", I looked up at the ceiling, "First, that's not going to happen…and second…just because she's asking…or curious…doesn't mean she's going to walk away from you and go have sex! She's just learning now that…she's going to be a woman someday…and she will have questions."

"Oh GOD.", Justin kept worrying, grabbing at his hair.

"Justin…relax…", I moved my hand over his tense back, "You of all people have seen the two sides of sex. You've seen the passionate, beautiful happiness of making love…"

He smiled at me then, and leaned down into me. But I put my hand over his mouth, stopping him, "And then you've seen the uglier side of it…the pain, the abuse…the heartbreaking agony of empty sex…"

He gave a little nod to me then and was silent.

"You know firsthand, more than a lot of other parents, the differences of those two sides. You just teach her the difference…and tell her to wait until it's making LOVE…and I think she'll understand. Don't talk to her like she's a baby. She's not. Before you know it, she'll be asking you if she can go on the pill."

Then I lost him again.

"JESUS CHRIST!", he had both hands in his hair now, "And I'm supposed to say YES to that?"

"I thought you loved saying yes.", I teased him and got the look from him. That stern, father look that said to behave myself. It was damn hot.

"Yes, you say yes to that.", I said without hesitation, "Unless you want to be called Grandpa."

"Ohhhh….", he sounded like he was going to be sick, and he clutched his stomach with both arms.

"I know you missed a few years with her.", I gently laid him on his back and I rubbed his stomach with my own hand, "Those were young, little girl years…I get that. And she's growing up so fast, I know it hurts you. But we just have to be there, wherever she goes, we have to come along…not kicking and screaming all the way. Yes, we'll guide her and keep her in the rules…but we can't stop her from growing up. If we do, she'll go out there and do it without us. And we'll miss some great things there too. Don't be scared. She's gonna be great. She IS special. That won't go away."

"I don't want to lose her again.", Justin whispered, his voice creaking a bit as he held my hand in his, "I just got her back."

"You won't lose her.", I assured, "WE…won't lose her."

Justin began to talk again, still worried, but I snuggled into him and held him close.

"Shhh…let Mommy tell you a story.", I said.

"YAY!", Justin smiled, snuggling in more to my chest, holding me, "I love stories."

"Alright, hush and listen.", I began, "Once upon a time…in a land far far away…"

"Why does it have to be far far away?", Justin asked in a little boy voice.

What a pain in the ass this kid is! Lucky for him, he's so cute.

"In a land right around the block…", I corrected and he relaxed into me, "There was a lovely little princess…and her even more lovely father, King Eduardo."

"And Queen Selena.", he inserted me.

"Yes, Queen Selena, the long suffering wife of the old, foolish King.", I allowed as Justin pouted a bit.

"One day, the little princess went up to the sparkling King and said, 'I have something wonderful to tell you Daddy.' And the King said, 'What is it, Katie?'

And she told the King that a terrible dragon descended on the kingdom and ATE every boy that existed there."

"YAY Dragon!", Justin shouted with glee.

"Indeed!", I smiled, "And then Katie told the King that she didn't really want to have sex anyway. And everyone was so happy and they had a big feast and a wonderful party! Well, except for the families of the boys who got eaten. They went to plan their funerals."

"YAY!", Justin clapped, not caring about the poor dead boys at all…he is so evil.

"What happened to the dragon?", Justin asked.

"The dragon lived for a long long time…in the most beautiful forest the King could find in all the land. And he was never hungry, cold, or lonely ever again. The End."

"WOOO!", Justin celebrated.

"Yea, so when Katie grew up, she found a wonderful woman and they lived happily ever after!", I added, loving to tease him.

"HEY!", he sat up, frowning at me now.

"Good night, Your Highness.", I rolled over and turned off the light.

A couple of days later, Justin told me that Sharon had invited all of us to her house for a Christmas party. It would be a week before Christmas and Justin was so excited to go. He said that it would be nice for once to go to a REAL Christmas party where no one expected him to take his clothes off. He would say things like this to me, as if it were a normal conversation…and then I would go into the bathroom and cry for him, hating the pain that he'd endured over these last six years…hating that I hadn't found him sooner, so I could've spared him all that. But then, would he be who he is now? It fucks with my head.

Katie told us, too, later that Peter was invited to the party. Justin said that Jenna was starting to see Dr. Peter as a patient.

And now Katie was all desperate to get dressed up fancy for the party. She privately recruited me to help her with hair, make up, the dress – everything. It was nice that she wanted me and I couldn't say no. But, while we were shopping, I tried to gently give some advice about boys…men…and maybe try to change her mind about this obsession with Peter. She and I had some great talks and I felt us bonding…but I couldn't help but see the dangerous road ahead…and the blinking red lights saying 'BRIDGE OUT'…but there was nothing I could really do or say to stop it.

Katie was moving towards that moment…that first little heartbreak…and I couldn't save her from it. I even talked to Peter in my sessions and he was aware of what was going on…he took it seriously and said, "I will do whatever I can so that the hurt is small. I promise, Marie."

I didn't reveal too much of all this to Justin, because I knew he'd do crazy things to stop the scene from happening. He'd send Peter to Siberia for the holidays if he thought that would stop his little girl from getting hurt.

Justin still worked his butt off everyday at the stables…and also caring for Dancer everyday so most nights he would eat and then shower…and then pass out in bed after helping Katie with her homework. He had so much on his plate right now and I'm glad those marshals took a bit of a break over the holidays and left us alone. Sir Kevin was still missing, out there somewhere, alive or dead. Raven was released from jail on bail but under house arrest. James' ass is still sitting in prison, awaiting the trial.

The weekends were ours…and sometimes Katie and I would go out on our secret shopping for Christmas…or Justin would take Katie…or sometimes Ben and Angela had Katie and Justin and I would go out to shop for our little girl. Ever since the Halloween incident, I really began to feel like I belonged in Katie's life. She let me in more…and it wasn't all about Justin…she wanted me sometimes INSTEAD of Justin. And after I talked to a crying Justin about that, he was fine.

I really didn't mind it when Justin cried over Katie. It touched me that he cared so much…it attracted me to him even more. And I so loved being Dr. Selena when I could…for him.

Josh had become a very good friend over the last month. I laughed a lot with him and it felt nice to feel so care free and young. He had not once tried or said anything inappropriate…he was not interested in me that way but we still got along almost like a brother and sister. We talked a lot and I told him what I was allowed to…I knew all about his life and how he got into psychology. We have a lot in common. I had other friends, too…mostly the students in the group that Josh had gotten me into. They were more my age from those first bunch of friends I'd met and they were also psychology geeks, like me…and we got along a lot better. We could discuss things and give our own theories on certain topics…it was challenging…and great! I finally had a little piece of this world that was my own…and I loved it.

I brought my friends into my home and made them a part of Justin and Katie's life, too, wanting them to mix and blend in well together. And they did. For the most part.

Justin never hid his disgust with Josh when he came around and I remember the first dinner we all had together. It was at the Campus Café and Justin kept selecting songs on the little jukebox at our table that spoke volumes.

There was Unfaithful by Rhianna, Your Cheatin' Heart by Hank Williams, Don't Talk to Strangers by Rick Springfield, and finally, Before he Cheats by Carrie Underwood.

That's when I took him outside to yell at him for ten minutes. Why didn't we ask Peter to come along with us?

When we went back inside, Josh was playing pool and invited Justin to play him. I had a feeling this was some weird male pissing contest kind of thing…but my friend, Lynn, persuaded me to let the boys play while me and a bunch of my girlfriends drank apple martinis and advised me on men, the stupider sex.

I didn't even know that Justin could play pool…but I kept peeking over and seeing him taking shots…and the balls always went into the holes! They were talking, too, and that worried me.

Then the girls were getting a little buzzed and started asking me about Anthony in bed. I blushed and said I had to go to the ladies' room…escaping.

About an hour later, the guys returned and they were smiling. They weren't best buddies, but there seemed to be an understanding there now.

The girls were asking who won…and then Josh put his arm around Justin, who was smiling from ear to ear, and Justin crossed his arms mightily and announced, "I did."

I smiled before I realized it, Justin always won everything, didn't he? He could do anything and I was still jealous of that fact.

"This guy's a little hustler.", Josh informed, taking a swig of his beer, "In fact, that's your new name…Hustler."

Justin looked at me and I said, "Everyone has a nickname with Josh. I think it's just because he forgets everyone's real names."

"What's yours?", he asked me, looking a little miffed that he never heard it before.

I looked down in humiliation, deciding to just say it.

"Hurl.", I stated, and the other girls were laughing, Josh smiling down at me with affection.

"Hurl?", Justin asked, thinking he'd gotten it wrong, "Why?"

"The first day I met Marie…", Josh said loudly, "She was puking in the flower beds outside my office. And I knew we'd be friends forever."

Justin looked at me and furrowed his brow, "You never told me that. You got sick? Are you okay?"

Oh man. I can't tell him that I threw up because I was thinking of what Victoria had done to him, because of me. That would break his heart.

"I think I ate a bad burrito or something.", I shrugged, blushing deeper.

"At least your names start with the same letter.", one of the girls, Brandee, chuckled.

Suddenly, I just wanted to get away from all of them…and have Justin all to myself. A slow song came on and I grabbed him and ran to the dance floor.

"Hey, OW!", he chuckled as we got there, "Let me get my arm back into its socket and then I'm all yours."

"Sorry.", I put my arms around his neck and stroked the back of his hair, nose to nose with him as we moved a step left…and then a step right…and his hands cradled around my spine, near my ass. Just where I wanted them. Mmmm…

"Are you okay baby?", he asked, looking into my eyes deeper, "If you're not, we can go home…how many drinks did you have while I was gone?"

"One.", I said, "DAD. I'm alright. I just missed you."

He laughed a little and held me tighter. "My baby.", he purred, kissing my lips softly, closing his eyes, "I'm always with you, you'll never have to miss me."

"Promise?", I asked, feeling extra clingy tonight.

"I promise.", he said right away, then smiled and added, "If you can believe a vampire's promise…"

"What did you guys talk about?", I asked suddenly, not wanting to be reminded of anything to do with Victoria, "What was that?"

"We played pool.", he shrugged, looking at the table where two other college kids were playing now, "He thought he'd beat me. But I know pool. Back in the day, when I wanted a warm place to hang out, there were always a few pool halls open. This woman taught me how to play. I got pretty good at it and then I used to play for food and hotel money. The trick is to act like you suck the first couple games…then you spring…and take 'em for all they're worth. It beat hanging out in the cemetery in the winter, let me tell you…"

"Woman?", I smirked, "What woman?"

"Just a woman.", he grinned, "Christine. She was nice to me."

"That was when you were with Tanya…", I said aloud, figuring it out, "When you had nowhere to live…did you…"

"No, I didn't sleep with her.", he frowned a bit, "Not every nice woman I've met is after my cock, Selena, believe it or not."

"I know…"

"And even if she WAS, I AM capable of being faithful.", he sounded angry now, "I wasn't born a slut, those lessons came later."

He went to move away from me but I clung onto him and let a little sob out.

"No, no…don't…don't leave…", I whimpered, "I'm sorry…I'm sorry…I didn't mean that…don't be mad at me…please…"

Justin looked up and held my chin in his fingers, making me look up at him.

"You had more than one drink tonight, little girl.", he said matter of factly, the anger in his voice and eyes gone now.

"I don't remember…", I felt a little dizzy and he nodded, as if he knew he was right.

"I knew it.", he kept dancing slowly with me, "You're not so drunk that you need to go home, but…you're a little buzzed...you are not to leave my sight for the rest of the evening, you understand me, Selena? And when we get to the table, you're having a few coffees."

"Yes Justin…", I smiled, loving how well he took care of me, "So…what did you guys talk about? Are you like…friends now?"

"Not exactly friends.", Justin looked to the right a bit, then back to me, "But we established some things. He knows you're mine and he has no intention of going after you for himself. And if he does, he knows he has a very thorough ass beating coming to him."

"Oh my God, you two actually SAID these things?", I wanted to die of embarrassment now. How could I talk to him now and what would I say?

"It's a guy thing, Selena.", Justin informed, "Don't worry about it. I think he's okay. Not the snake that James was, that's for sure. He said you remind him of his best friend when he was a kid. She got married and moved to Japan with her husband. That's his story, anyway. If he does anything strange, you TELL me…right away. Is that clear?"

"It is clear.", I smiled, leaning my face against his, loving this feeling of being in his arms as the music played "Blue Eyes" by Elton John.

We danced and Justin said, "I didn't pick this one. It doesn't fit. Your eyes are brown. The most beautiful brown I've ever seen."

"Well you can always change it to 'Brown Eyes'", I smiled, getting another kiss…this one deep and hot.

Then he started singing softly in my ear…"Brown eyes…baby's got…brown eyes….oooh, I LOVE…brown eyes…when I'm by her side…where I long to be…I will see…brown eyes laughing in the sun…laughing in the rain…baby's got…brown eyes…and I am home…again."

I grabbed him and kissed him so hard and deep…my tongue was suffocating him as I moved my body up against his…my leg curled around his…

"Time to go home, baby.", he smiled, laughing a bit as I kept attacking his lips with mine, a hungry savage out of control, "Come on, stop being a naughty girl and hold it together for a few minutes so you can say goodbye to your friends."

"And then you'll do me?", I asked, panting the words.

"WHO ARE YOU?", he asked, laughing at this new side of me that the martinis brought on, "And why am I fighting this?"

I don't even remember saying good night to all of them…and then when Justin got me to the car, I fell asleep in the passenger side, leaned back in the seat as he drove. When I got up the next day, I was in my favorite pajamas and covered up snugly in my blankets, and Justin was making something for me in a blender…the noise was DESTROYING me!

He had done it on purpose, to teach me a lesson about drinking too much…and he had the secret cure for a hangover that he was blending for me. I swore I would never drink alcohol again, once I felt a real hangover this intense. I hurled some more that day and thanked God Katie was with Ben and Angela this weekend. Justin held my hair while lecturing me on knowing when to stop and knowing my limits when drinking socially with friends. If he wasn't being so adorable, I'd have torn his fucking arms off…but I needed him that day…I felt like I was dying.

He took such wonderful care of me…nothing was ever more than an inch away when I needed it. Justin never left my side and always had a fresh hot cloth ready for my head that was killing me. He rubbed my temples and whispered Italian love song lyrics to me while I whined. I loved him twice as much at the end of that night than I did before. He is gentle, he is patient, he is never tired when needed. And the best of all, he is affectionate. Even though I stunk like puke and was miserable, he always held me and kissed my face and forehead…telling me how cute I was, calling me a sweet little drunk.

Time raced by and before I knew it, we were all getting ready for Sharon's Christmas party. Justin said we didn't need to get all dressed up and I wasn't…but I had my hands full with Katie. She was determined that tonight was going to be special for her. I wanted to say "NO!" and "Katie, he's a grown man in his thirties!" But I knew nothing I said was going to stop this crush. I trusted in Peter that he would handle it right.

When we finally came out of Katie's bedroom, Justin's mouth hung open as he took in the sight of his daughter. Her hair was all straightened, swept up in a French twist with soft strands of curled hair at each ear. The dress was beautiful, and one of my early Christmas gifts to her, an elegant but simple silk dress, red, that went past the knee a bit…but showed a little of her legs…and she was wearing pantyhose for the first time. The shoes, she had wanted high heels but I didn't go for that. The shoes were flat but stylish and in short, she looked like a Christmas angel. I did not put any heavy makeup on her, just a little foundation and some lip gloss. It was all she needed. She really is beautiful.

"Kate…", Justin breathed, "You look so beautiful."

"Thanks Daddy.", she smiled, so excited and happy.

"You have real make up on…", he said, not with an angry tone…but surprised…and his eyes moved to me.

"Just a little.", I inserted, "She wanted to just…try it."

"Okay.", Justin said, staring at his daughter, then his eyes teared up a little and he said, "You look so…you don't look like my little girl anymore."

"Dad.", Katie's eyes got wet now too, and she hugged him, "I'm always your little girl. Don't make me cry, I'll mess up my face."

And so we went to the party…and Peter was already there, drinking hot chocolate. Sharon and Bob hugged Justin and then me…welcoming us into the house, which was huge! It looked like the whole damn town was there!

"This is my daughter, Katie.", Justin introduced her to Sharon, Bob, and Jenna…and she shyly said hello, letting Justin take her coat off. They commented how much Katie looked like Justin, but he said, "No, she's the picture of her mother. She got lucky there."

Peter stood up when he saw us coming in and he smiled at Katie, saying, "You look very beautiful, Kate. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Dr. Facinelli.", she beamed up at him, unable to say much more.

Justin intercepted their little talk and tried to get Katie to go take a look at Dancer with him, but she was wearing fancy shoes and didn't want to get them all muddy or covered with snow. Justin looked like he lost his puppy when she walked away, following after Peter.

I came right up and said I wanted to see Dancer…and the two of us went to visit her in the stables. I knew I had some heat coming my way from Justin now.

"Why did you do that?", he asked me, hurt coating his voice as he moved his fingers over Dancer's sleeping face, the lights low here at night.

"Why did you dress her up and make her look…like that?", he asked further.

"She wanted to.", I shrugged, "Maybe it was wrong, I don't know…I'm not very good at this whole mother thing. But for the last few weeks, you saw it…she wanted to be with me…she asked me questions…she liked me. She looks wonderful, I didn't trash her up. If she did it all on her own, that's what she would've looked like…I controlled it."

"I'm not mad at you, Selena…but…", he looked at me for the first time since we came out here, "Tanya…always dressed up like that. She was always wearing special shoes and fancy suits…like my mother. Don't mess up my face. I hate that fucking sentence. And Katie said it to me tonight."

I felt sick inside, I had no idea…

"I'm sorry…I didn't know that…", I began, feeling tears come to my eyes at the way his voice had just sounded.

"She couldn't come see Dancer because of her god damned shoes.", Justin muttered, moving Dancer's mane aside, out of her eyes, "I don't want her to be one of THOSE girls, Selena!"

"Alright, I'm sorry.", I felt horrible, and I felt a tear fall, "I'll talk to her. She just wanted to look…extra pretty tonight."

"Why?", Justin frowned, moving a couple steps away from Dancer, "Because PETER'S here tonight? She chased after him like I was a piece of NOTHING in her way!"

"You're jealous.", I discovered.

"Yea, you're DAMN right I'm jealous!", he spun around, facing me, "My nine year old daughter is after a 40 year old man!"

"He is not forty.", I informed.

"I don't care if he's 100!", he bellowed, making a couple of the horses whinny in response, "I don't like this, I don't want Katie looking like that or ACTING like that either!"

"Justin, I know…listen.", I began, "Peter plans on talking to Katie tonight. An important talk. I have a feeling that tomorrow Katie will not be chasing after Peter anymore."

"Why didn't anyone tell ME about this?", he frowned.

"Because you're wonderful and you'd want to protect her.", I said, "But you need to let this happen. It'll be an important part of her growing up. Crushes…are hard…but girls need to have them…and have closure. Let Peter handle this."

Justin hated it but he went back to the party with me…and he even started to have a little fun…especially when Sharon started handing out gifts to everyone.

"Anthony.", Sharon pointed at Bob, who was carrying a huge box with bright green wrapping on it, "This is for you, from Bob, Jenna, and me. We also all want to thank you for all your very hard work and efforts. No one…and I mean NO ONE…has learned this job so quickly and has done it with more care and love then you have. We hope you'll be with us for years to come. You're family. Merry Christmas."

Justin looked at me and had tears in his eyes…and a tender smile.

"Thank you.", he choked out and tore into the gift…and everyone laughed, enjoying his excitement and youthful energy.

"They're so cute at this age.", Katie said with a dry sarcastic tone and everyone laughed even more.

"Wow…", he opened the box and saw a gorgeous saddle sitting inside. It was black leather and had silver decoration in it…and he said, "My name is on it…and Dancer's!"

I looked closer and saw that it did have the name Anthony in silver, in formal script handwriting…and on the other end…the name Dancer in the same writing. This saddle was not a cheap little saddle. It was flawless and the detail was amazing. I felt bad that it couldn't have said Justin on it. But I couldn't help that. Either way, Justin loved it.

"Sharon picked it out.", Bob informed as Justin kept stroking his hands over it, in love with it, "It's the best of the best…custom made. We know that Dancer may never let you put this on her, or let anyone ride her…but God works in strange ways, kid. You never know. Dancer may let you ride her someday…and when she does, you have the best saddle made by man to do it with. And if she doesn't let you ride her…well, then you still have it to look at someday…and remember your very first mare…your best mare…your Dancer."

"There wouldn't be a Dancer without you guys.", he said, holding the saddle with pride, "Thank you all. I love you."

And they all hugged…even Jenna was in it. But it was great. And I wasn't jealous at all. In fact, I blinked a tear away. Justin may think of himself as some stable boy, but it really felt as if he'd found a life here…he had found a place where he was doing good work…and loved for it. I don't care if your job is a waitress or chief surgeon, if you have that at your place of work, you have everything. And he does. I hope someday, I can be this fulfilled when I go to work.

All Justin's new stable friends and co workers clapped for him as he kept holding the saddle and studying every inch of it. You could see how touched he was and how precious it was to him. I had a feeling it would be laying between us in bed one night.

"Marie…", he looked up at me, "Come see this. It's so beautiful."

It certainly is, I thought, looking at him as I got closer, sitting on the floor next to him to let him show it to me.

Justin had given Bob a silver plaque that had his name engraved on it and a running horse etched into the background, along with some personal words Justin had etched into the silver.

It read:

Dear Bob,

When we first moved here, I was so angry and afraid. Afraid that I couldn't make it here and do such a tough job like this one. Angry because I was weak and soft and didn't think I had what it takes to make it here. I was angry at myself. I told myself I hated it here.

And then I met you and you showed me the meaning of strong, of friendship, and of doing an honest day's work…and how to love it. You taught me to ride. For all this and more…I will be eternally grateful. And I will always be your friend. We've made a life here and we have never been happier. I love it here now and I love all my new friends. I love you, Bob. Thanks.

Anthony Justin Masen

Justin had wanted his real name in there somewhere, so no matter what, Bob would always know that what he said on the plaque was the truth and not a lie. Bob cried for twenty minutes after reading Justin's gift and Bob's wife had to take him outside for a little walk to calm him down. Maybe Justin has rubbed off on a few of the townspeople here, I smiled to myself.

Sharon opened our gift to her and found a beautiful stuffed white horse doll with glittery pink hooves…and a very nice necklace laid around her neck with a diamond heart and in the center of the heart, the one word FRIEND was etched inside. Justin had wrote a card to her and she read that, clutching the horse doll in her arm, and putting a hand to her mouth as she cried reading it.

It said:

Dear Sharon,

Without explaining the details, I want to tell you that when we first met, I was pretty scared of you. Honestly, women have not been very kind to me in my life, especially when they were in a position of power over me.

I tried to keep out of your way, to avoid you, and hope you didn't interact with me too much.

But I got a wonderful surprise. You are an amazing boss, a sweet person, and a great friend. I trust you…and I'm not afraid of you and if you knew my past, you'd know what a compliment that is. You are a very special person and I hope you know that. What you did for Jenna, what you've done for me…and so many others…says what a giant heart you have.

I love being a part of your stable and I do thank you for giving me this chance. Again, I won't let you down.

I love you,

Anthony Justin Masen

I thought Sharon would never let him go after reading that card. But Justin never pushed her away…he held her until she was good and ready to turn him loose.

A little later on, there was a big room off the living room where people were dancing…and there was Christmas music playing. I managed to get a nice little dance with my Justin before he noticed that Peter was dancing with Katie a few feet away.

"Hey, Peter is dancing with Katie!", Justin said loudly to me.

"I know, I saw that.", I looked at them sadly, "I think he's going to have the talk with her soon. He has looked so uncomfortable all night, agonizing over this. Poor Peter."

"Poor Peter?", he asked, "Try poor Katie!"

"You are not to leave this dance floor, do you understand?", I gently scolded him a bit, "Let Peter handle this."

"But Selena…", Justin looked so lost and helpless as he watched Peter take Katie by the hand and walk off the dance floor with her, a gentle smile on his lips as he glanced up at us…and I gave him a little nod, trying to smile back.

"Oh my God.", Justin sounded pained as they walked away together.

I turned in the other direction, hoping there was something else I could do to take his mind off Katie's love life…and there it was!

"Hey, Marcus is here.", I said and Justin's head whipped around, looking at Marcus, and he was wearing a nice red shirt with a black tie…nice black slacks…and he was dancing…with Jenna!

"WOAH.", Justin said just as I was thinking it, "He's with Jenna!"

"They're DANCING together!", I added, the two of us gossiping together like little old ladies.

"I know, holy CRAP!", Justin laughed, "They're going to kill each other!"

We kept dancing and spying on Marcus and Jenna…and I even danced fast just so I could keep watching Marcus. He's a great dancer! And Jenna looked so happy and as if she was having so much fun. She was laughing…and it looked like she was digging Marcus. Weird.

Then, Katie came running up to us and announced, "I want to go home now."

It was a very sad and agonized sounding sentence…and I knew that Peter had the talk with her. Justin looked down at her, his own sadness showing through, as he picked her up and tried to carry her out to the car.

"No, Dad!", she cried, "I'm not a baby anymore, STOP picking me UP like one!"

Ouch. That knife went right into Justin's heart, it showed on his face.

"Okay, Katie, come on.", I just put my hand on her back and walked, letting her follow us. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Sharon and Bob's family…and soon we were on the way home. Katie sat in the back, sniffling and not saying another word as Justin drove, always peeking at her in his rear view mirror.

I kept trying to make conversation with Justin to make some noise so Katie could cry privately, as much as she could in the back seat. But Justin kept asking, "Are you okay, Katie?"

I nudged him and shook my head, deciding to turn on the radio for the rest of the way.

Once we got home, I got into my pajamas and grabbed the chocolate ice cream and the Hershey syrup…and got two big spoons…the only known cure for a broken heart…and went to Katie's door, tapping gently on it.

"What DAD?", Katie sneered from her side of the door.

"It's not Dad, it's Selena.", I said softly, "Can I come in?"

Justin watched this from a few feet away, very worried and hoping I could help her, even if he couldn't at the moment.

"Okay.", she finally replied…I was in. Justin nodded and smiled in a bit of relief, giving his consent for me to try and cure the hurt a little.

She was laying in bed, crying, and wiping her eyes as I stood there with the ice cream and supplies.

"Hey sweetie.", I sat on the bed next to her, "I know this is your first time, so I'm here to tell you the rules. When your heart gets broken, rule number one is to have your best girlfriend come over and get into your bed with you…snuggle under the blankets…eat lots and lots of chocolate ice cream WITH…always WITH lots and lots of Hershey syrup…watch a chick movie…cry…and talk about the vermin that hurt you. If you want, this first time, I could be your best girlfriend…unless you'd rather have your Dad or someone else…maybe G-Mom?"

"I want you, Selena.", Katie said with a very weak little voice…I almost cried right there with her.

"Yea?", I asked, getting choked up.

Katie pulled the covers down, inviting me to get in and she gave me a little grin.

"Yea.", she agreed…and I got in…Katie covered my legs up with her blankets…and I realized this was the first time I got to lay in here with her…Justin usually got this privilege. I sat up a little and took the cover off the ice cream…and handed her one of the spoons…and pointed the ice cream container towards her…letting her take the first spoonful. And she did…we were on our way.

Before I knew it, the ice cream was half gone…and The Notebook was half over…and Katie was talking, half crying at the same time.

"I mean, I know he's old and everything…", she sniffed, "I know I'm not grown up yet…but I won't be a baby forever! Lots of couples have age differences! Look at Legends of the Fall! Isabelle Two grew up while Tristan was gone and when he came back, he fell in love with her, they got married, they had kids!"

"I know.", I agreed, squirting more syrup into the ice cream container.

"Love sucks.", Katie said, getting a little angry now…and that was good. It's better than crying, that's for sure.

"Peter…", Katie began softly, "Peter is such a great man. Is it wrong for me to know at my age what I want in a man someday?"

"Absolutely not.", I answered, "He is great. And you'd be blind not to see that in him."

"He's smart and funny…and handsome…", Katie said, her eyes still seeing him as she spoke, still deeply in love, "He's everything I always dreamt of. Even tonight, he was so sweet…and completely wonderful. He gave me this Christmas present…"

She pulled up her pajama sleeve and showed me a beautiful bracelet with diamond and ruby hearts linked together…and in the center, the heart was split down the middle.

One half was gone and the other half remained there. But the half that was there said 'FRIENDS'.

"That is so gorgeous.", I admired it for real, it shone in the darkness.

"Peter has the other half.", Katie smiled down at her bracelet, "He said that I was way too good for him. And that he wants to be friends with me, always. He asked if his friendship was enough. I had to say yes to that. I couldn't hurt him by being mean. I would never do that to him. He was only doing the right thing. That's one of the things I love best about him. He's so good."

"Katie…", I smiled at her, so proud of how mature she was, "You're so good. You ARE grown up, in your heart. Most girls your age would cry and scream and be cruel to Peter for not feeling the way they wanted him to feel. But not you. Look at you now. You're kind and warm and forgiving. I do know one thing, that some day all the boys will be after YOU. And then, Peter will turn around and see that you're all grown up…and see how wonderful you are…and wish that things had been different. And that he missed out on a really classy woman."

"You think so?", Katie asked, taking another bite of ice cream.

"I know so.", I ate some more.

"Does love always hurt like this, Selena?", Katie asked me.

"Well, I've only been in love once…"

"With Daddy, right?", she asked, giving a clever little smirk.

"Right.", I gave her a little look and she giggled, "And I can honestly tell you, love isn't perfect. It's wonderful…and it brings you to life…and then…it can cut…and hurt just as deeply sometimes…even when you're with the right guy. There's pain in every relationship. But you both have to decide if it's worth it…and if the answer is yes…then you really have something precious…and unique…and you both have to protect it and make sure it keeps growing every day. It takes work. Love isn't easy."

"I know.", Katie looked sad again, "I used to hear my Mom, crying at night sometimes. It scared me. My Mom and Dad used to fight a lot. I never heard my Dad yell ever…except when he talked to HER. I don't think they loved each other very much."

"Oh no, Katie…", I touched her straight, smooth hair, "That's not true. Your Mom and Dad loved each other very much. He's told me that himself. But sometimes…I don't know…sometimes people just grow apart…or fall out of love. They may have fought, but I think they did love each other…in lots of important ways. Sometimes, all the problems of life come caving in and can hurt things between a man and a woman. You should talk to your Dad about this some other time…he could answer those questions for you a lot better than me."

Katie nodded and sighed, seeing the movie was nearly over on the TV screen.

"He's out there, isn't he?", Katie asked, referring to Justin, "He's waiting to see if I'm alright."

"You know him.", I smirked, "He's probably got his ear against the door as we speak."

"I shouldn't have yelled at him for picking me up.", Katie said, ashamed of herself, "But he made me feel like such a stupid little BABY…and that's not what I needed to feel just then. I felt stupid enough as it was."

"I know.", I touched her hair again, playing with one strand in the back, "But I also know how deeply he loves. And Katie…he loves you more than anyone. I've never seen a father love a child the way he loves you. You're lucky."

"I thought you didn't like me…", Katie revealed, "Because he loves me so much. I thought you'd be jealous of me…"

"No way.", I put my arm around her, letting her lean on me, "You're his daughter, I would NEVER try to be more important than YOU. You're supposed to be number one. I would never change that. Even in spot number two, I get so much love…more than I ever dreamed of…I'll never complain. I love you, Katie. I know I'm not your Mom…and I wouldn't try to be that, either…but I hope you know that I'm always here for you…and if you want me, I'll be your friend forever, just like Peter is."

She smiled and put her arms around me…and I hugged her back.

"I still love Peter you know.", she whispered.

"I know."

"Don't tell Daddy, alright?"

"I won't tell.", I promised, "What happens during the ice cream ritual, STAYS at the ice cream ritual. That's a rule too."

"I love you, too, Selena.", she whispered to me, as if it was only for my ears.

I kissed her head, smoothing her hair and holding her as we watched Ryan Gosling on the screen. It was one of the best moments I'd ever had with Katie. We were women, leaning on each other…being there for each other. She loves me. And I love her. Truly. She was a living part of Justin and every time she looks at me, I see him there. But I didn't love her only for that. Her heart…has been through so much and yet loves as fiercely as her father's. She is so brave and sweet and smart.

Finally, Katie said, "I guess we should put him out of his misery and let him come in now."

"If you want.", I looked at her face and she nodded.

I pulled open the door to call him and he fell into the room, face down on the floor. That made Katie laugh so I couldn't get mad at him for eavesdropping.

"Oh, there you are.", I commented as he slowly got to his feet, his fingers pinching his nose and pretending to crack it back into place.

"I was just…checking the door…for…termites.", he said sheepishly, looking at Katie's face.

"Uh huh.", I smiled, "Well, I'm going to bed now. Katie…you survived…I'm proud of you…you're a tough little woman."

I fist bumped with her and left them alone, closing the door behind me.

EPOV

Katie was sitting there, looking into the ice cream container, probably wondering how she ate so much of that in such a short amount of time.

"Are you okay, Katie?", I heard myself ask again…and I winced, saying, "I'm sorry. Scratch that. I don't know what I'm doing, baby. I know I messed up tonight. I didn't mean to embarrass you. I never want to make you feel anything but happy, you know that, right?"

"I know Daddy.", Katie said, "Come here. Lay next to me like you used to. I miss that."

"Yea?", I asked, feeling a thrill of pleasure rush into my heart, "I've missed that too."

So I crawled into the bed and laid back, and Katie curled into my open arm, laying her little moist face against my shirt.

"I love you, Katie.", I said, hoping that took some of her pain away.

"I love you too, Daddy.", she sniffled, her little arm around me.

"I'm sorry.", Katie said after a long pause.

"For what?"

"I should've gone with you to see Dancer.", she said, her little voice breaking, "I was being such a jerk tonight, thinking I was all grown up and dressed like…a geek! Is Dancer okay?"

"Yea.", I smiled, holding her little hand, "She's fine. She was sleeping when I checked on her. Probably dreaming of you riding her."

"I'll never act like that again.", Katie said, vowing it with her tone.

"It's okay.", I said, "I was being a jerk tonight too. And I was so jealous, seeing you dressed up and dancing with Peter…looking like a young woman. I was freaking out, I thought your childhood was over and I missed it all. And some NERD was trying to steal my girl."

Katie giggled a little at that and held me tighter.

"No one is stealing me Dad.", she assured, "I won't let them take me away from you…not until you're all grown up."

"Thank you.", I smiled, in relief, "And that could take a long, long time."

"I know.", Katie yawned, falling asleep on me, "But that's alright. I have loads of time."

She was asleep two seconds later…she'd had a rough day and I was glad she was finally resting. Even if she had chocolate sauce all over her little mouth.

"I won't let them take me away from you, either…", I whispered, vowing it with all my heart and soul, "Not EVEN when you're all grown up. I swear, Katie…I swear."

I spoke to Peter the next day and he was alright. He even thought I was coming over to punch him in the face again, but I didn't. He kept asking if Katie was alright.

"She'll live.", I said, trying to sound tough about it all, then I dropped it and said, "Marie took care of her…she was incredible. They even bonded more over it. Women…sisterhood and all that. But she didn't bad mouth you. And Katie is still willing to be your friend, so…that's a good thing. I saw that bracelet you gave her…nice touch, Doc."

"I nearly lost it when she started to cry.", Peter still looked so tortured over the whole ordeal, "I tried to be as gentle as I could. I told her how wonderful she is…and I told her a little bit about Emma. Then I told Katie that as great as she is, that I'm just never going to love another woman again…not like I loved Emma. Then I explained the difference in our ages…and she did react with real love and understanding. She's very special, Anthony, you should be proud."

"I am.", I answered, "But the credit goes to Ben and Angela, not me. I wasn't there."

"No, Anthony.", Peter looked right into me, "You are the one who began raising her, you laid the foundation…and there is so much love there…I can see that in her little eyes. You loved her first…you loved her best…you taught her how to love others the same exact way. Don't think that doesn't mean anything. It does."

I also had to make a little trip to Marcus' place and scream at him a little bit.

 

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