March 11, 2015

Haley: Week Twenty-Four, Day Six

Living Green Tip #4: For an eco-friendly picnic, try to choose a destination that's easy to get to by biking, walking or using public transportation.

Haley swiped the brush across the canvas. She'd chosen a red background for passion.. and maybe love!  She'd been with Gage for several weeks now since Love Day, and while they weren't officially boyfriend and girlfriend, he'd let it slip the other night that he loved her!

Thankfully, she hadn't heard any of the strange noises since Gage had started coming by more often.  Gage liked to tease her that she'd made it all up to get his attention.  As if!
 
"I feel ridiculous," Gage grumbled from the bed.

Haley grinned and glanced back over her shoulder.  "Just a little bit longer!" she pleaded.  She really wanted to get his angles right!
Disgruntled, he perched on the edge of the bed.  "I can think of a few things more pleasurable to do in the bed..." he hinted huskily.

"You promised you wouldn't move!" Haley giggled.
Gage surged to his feet and crossed the space between them, running his hands up and down her arms.  "I can't help it," he told her. "I just want to make the most of every minute I get with you!" He nuzzled her neck.  "Lying in your bed while you paint me isn't my idea of fun."
Haley spun in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck.  "I like seeing you in my bed!" she purred.

Gage looked over her shoulder at the work in progress and cocked a brow.  "You're not going to sell this piece, right?" he asked a little hesitantly.

"Why? Are you feeling shy now?" Haley teased.  "No," she assured him.  "This is for my enjoyment!"

Gage looked so relieved, she couldn't help but add, "Can you imagine if the guys are your work saw it?!"
"That's not even funny, Haley!" Gage flipped, raising his voice and jabbing his finger at the painting.  "You said no one would know it was me and that no one would see it!"
Haley felt immediately contrite.  "You're right, Gage. I'm sorry!" she said quickly, wanting to erase the look of disdain from her lover's face.  "I promise it will just be for us!"  She shouldn't have teased him about showing anyone his painting!  She wouldn't like it if he did the same to her.

Even after apologizing, Gage didn't seem quite convinced of her sincerity.  "I promise, sweetie! I shouldn't have joked about it!" she added.

"It wasn't very funny. Something like that could ruin my reputation," he argued, still not mollified.
"I know, sweetie. I know! I'm sorry! I can't believe I was that stupid! Do you forgive me?" she asked, standing up on her tiptoes to kiss him.

Gage leaned back from her kiss, "I'm pretty sure we can think of something," he said huskily. "This time you have to do whatever I tell you!"
 A thrill shot through Haley.  He forgave her! "Anything," she whispered.

Gage groaned and pulled her against him, crushing her mouth with his kiss.

 ***

A few hours later, after they'd bathed and dressed, Haley and Gage were enjoying an impromptu picnic on the living room floor.

"Are you sure you're okay we didn't go down to the park?" Gage asked as he popped a grape in his mouth.

She'd been a little disappointed that he hadn't wanted to go to the park for their picnic.  It hadn't looked that rainy...  Haley smiled. "Of course! You were right, it kinda looked like rain.  Besides! And think about how much gas we saved!"
Setting his plate aside, Gage leapt at her, tickling her ribs.  Haley laughed, leaning back on her elbow.  "Besides," he said as his tickles turned to strokes.  "We couldn't do this if we were at the park.."  
Gage leaned over her and began kissing her.  Haley opened her mouth and groaned, wrapping her leg around him.
Best picnic ever, Haley thought dreamily, reaching down to pull Gage's shirt off.
Just then, the door opened.  "Oh! God! Sorry!" Rachel said when she saw them making out on the floor. 
"RACHEL!" Haley said with surprise, sitting up and gently pushing Gage off.

"I can't do anything right!" she cried, racing to the bathroom and slamming the door.

Gage grimaced and dropped his head on Haley's head.  "I guess that means we're not going to finish," he asked  needlessly.  Haley was already getting to her feet and straightening her clothes.
"I'm sorry, Gage. I should probably see what's wrong.  It's not like Rachel to be so over-emotional... well.. more over-emotional than normal..."

Gage shrugged. "I guess I should get going anyways.  I needed to get home to get dressed for my shift, anyways."
"You can always bring your uniforms over here," Haley suggested.  She'd been hinting that if Gage wanted to stay over more, she'd be okay with it.  She'd even bought him a toothbrush to use while he was over.

Gage looked at her tenderly.  "I told you I'm not ready to move in," he said gently.  "Trust me, moving in too early can change a relationship."

Haley pouted a moment.  That's what she wanted! She wanted their relationship to be more serious!
"I love you!" she told him, pressing a quick kiss to his lips.  "I'll see you soon!"
"I'll miss you!" he said, hurrying from the room to let her deal with her wailing friend.
Haley sighed as she went to the bathroom door and knocked.  "Rach, it's me! Can I come in?"

"Yes!" Rachel sniffled.
"Rach? What is it? Is it Alan again?" she asked.  Shortly after Love Day, Rachel had been devastated when Alan had broken up with her.
 "No, it's not that!" she said, breaking down in tears.  "It's worse!  I really messed up!"
Haley perched on the tub next to her best friend.  "What is it, Rach? You're scaring me!" 
"Oh, God. I don't know what to do!" Rachel moaned.  "I.." she looked away from Haley, almost too embarrassed to admit the truth.  Gritting her teeth, she blurted out, "I'm pregnant!"

Haley's mouth dropped open. Blinking as she tried to assimilate the information, she said,  "Okay. Well, I'm sure when we tell Alan..." she stopped because Rachel was shaking her head.  "Okay? No, what? We're not telling Alan?"

"It's not that, Haley!" Rachel said, burying her hands in her hands and crying even harder. "Alan's not the father!"

Haley mouth dropped open once again.  "Okaaay," she said, cautiously asking, "Do we know who the father is?"
Rachel groaned. "I hooked up with your house-cleaner, Kraig, after Alan broke up with me." She buried her head on Haley's shoulder.  "I can't get a hold of him. I was hoping you could help."

"But Rach! He quit without collecting his last week's paycheck. The agency sent over a new maid!"

Rachel sobbed even louder.  "My life is ruined, Haley!"

Haley wrapped her arms around Rachel and patted her back.  "It's not ruined.  We're going to do this together."

"You mean it?" Rachel asked, leaning back and peeking up at her friend.  "You don't hate me?"

"For what? Getting pregnant? No!! Don't be ridiculous." She squeezed Rachel's hand.  "You're my best friend."

March 4, 2015

Haley: Week Twenty-Four, Day Five

Living Green Tip #3:  If you hate the hype of Valentine’s Day, but still want to show your love that you are thinking of them, plant an indigenous tree in the name of your beloved!


"That must've been so scary!" Rachel Vasquez exclaimed from her spot on the couch, nestled against her boyfriend, Alan Langerak.  

Haley thought back to the prior night when she thought she'd heard the noise and rolled her eyes, feeling ridiculous.  "I was so scared! But, the officer walked around and didn't see anything.  Gage said that it was probably just a raccoon.." She trailed off.  She felt so silly about calling the police over a wandering raccoon!

"Oooo... Gage...?" Rachel asked, catching Haley's slip at once.  "So dish, girl! Is he hot? Mean in uniforms always get to me!"
"I'm sitting right here, Rachel! Shit!" Alan snapped.  
Rachel glanced back at her boyfriend, "Baby, you know I love you.  I want to know if Haley thinks he's hot! She needs to get laid!"

"Rachel!" Haley protested, embarrassed that her love life, or lack thereof, had become the topic of conversation.  
Ignoring her now pouting boyfriend, Rachel turned back to Haley.  "Oh, come on, Haley! I keep telling you that you need to live a little!  So on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate Officer Gage?" she snickered.  Rachel never got embarrassed talking about sex, unlike Haley!

"Rachel, I'm not doing this!" Haley squirmed for a moment, blushing furiously.
"Haaaaaaaaaaaaaley," Rachel pestered, waiting for Haley to break.  She always broke, Rachel smiled.  Deep down, Haley wasn't as big of a prude as she thought she was!  Wait for it...
 "Fine! He's a 7!" Haley caved, "And he had dimples," she added as an afterthought.  It drove Haley crazy that Rachel always wanted to rate how hot a guy was from 1 to 10.  She'd come up with criteria for the rating so that their ratings were synchronized. 
Just then, the housekeeper let himself inside.  "Good morning, Ms. Black-Wolff," he said, carrying in his cleaning items.

"Good morning, Kraig," she said, praying to God that Rachel was done talking about her sex life.
"Definitely a 9," Rachel said under her breath as Kraig walked by. 

Haley blushed in embarrassment.  "Rachel!" she squeaked.

"I'm still here!" Alan snapped.  "Or should I go?"
"Aw, baby, you know I think you're a 10!" Rachel said, winking at Haley before scooting over to cuddle with her boyfriend.

"Yeah? A 10?" he asked, gloating a teeny bit.
Rachel nuzzled his nose. "Definitely a 10!" she said huskily, leaning in to give him a kiss.
Alan's misgivings were swept away for the moment.

Haley cleared her throat and looked away.  She always felt so silly when Rachel started making out in front of her!

Rachel giggled and stood up.
"If we're going to make our reservations, we need to leave now," Rachel said.  "Are you sure you don't want us to change our plans and stay?" she asked, ignoring Alan's protest behind her.

Haley shook her head, "No, you guys go have a great romantic get-away.  I'll be fine!"

"You'll call me if you need me, right?" Rachel pressed, leery about leaving her bestie alone after the weird noises.  She could totally have a stalker!  "Oh! Or call Officer Gage!"  Rachel wiggled her eyebrows.

Haley sighed. "Nothing's going to happen!"

"Come on, Rach, we have to go!" Alan urged, ready to get on the road.  It was a long drive out to the cove where he'd made Love Day reservations.
"Okay! Okay!" Rachel said, giving Haley a hug goodbye.  "Call me if you need me," she reminded her.

Haley smiled.  She couldn't ask for a better friend!  Rachel might be a little overly dramatic, overly emotional, and way over-sexed, but she had a heart of gold and was unfailingly loyal.  "I'm going to be fine! Go! Enjoy your Love Day!"

 ***

After Rachel left, Haley headed upstairs and finished her landscape.  Stepping back, she looked at it critically. 
 Then she headed inside to start a new project.
Her ringing phone interrupted her progress.  Setting the brush and palette aside, she dug her cell phone out of her pocket.  
"Hello?" she asked when she'd flipped open the phone.

"Hi Haley!" her friend, Maritza, said in greeting.

Haley tucked the phone between her ear and shoulder. "Hey! What are you up to today?" she asked, thinking that perhaps they could get together for a Non-Love-Day celebration since Maritza wasn't seeing anyone either.

"You won't believe it! I'm out at Crystal Springs! Your dad said he thought he'd spotted some horned lizards the last time he went through there."

"Oh, that sounds fun," Haley lied, feeling a little disappointed.  "We'll have to get together when you get back to town!"

"Will do!" Maritza said cheerfully.  "Talk to you soon!"
Haley pulled her apron off and hung it up, then trudged downstairs for dinner.   She grabbed a pre-made salad from the fridge and set it down at the table.  "Dinner for one," she said with a sigh.
Remembering that her little garden probably needed some care, Haley headed outside to pull some weeds and water the little seedlings.
 She was almost finished when she thought she heard some rustling.
"Hello?" she called out, standing up quickly and nervously looking around, trying to convince herself that she hadn't heard anything.  "Hello?"

She stayed still, trying to listen for any small sound.

***

She heard a twig snap.

***

Not wasting a second, she turned on her heel and sprinted inside. Checking the bar, she grabbed Gage's card and shakily dialed his number. 

 ***

Officer  Gage Solomon checked around the front yard before heading up the stairs to knock on the door.  He took a moment to adjust his clothing and smooth back his hair.
Haley peeked through the peephole and confirmed it was Gage before opening the door.  She threw open the door and greeted him. "Thanks for coming over!" she said shakily  "You left your number, so I thought I should call you."  She grimaced when she noticed he was dressed up.  "I didn't interrupt a Love Day date, did I?" she asked nervously, biting her lip.

"No! I was just out with a few guys from work!" he told her.  "I was glad to get your call."  Pausing, he indicated the door. "Can I come in?"

***

"I know I heard someone this time!" she said.  "I heard the leaves rustle and when I called out, they went really still. Would a raccoon do that?"
Gage shook his head. "I looked all around the perimeter of the house.  I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe there was someone lurking," he explained. 

Haley covered her face with her hands. "I am so embarrassed! I let my friend Rachel get me all worried about a stalker! I don't think I'm going to sleep a wink tonight!" she said fretfully.

Gage hesitated.  "Do you think your friend... Rachel, is that her name?... can come stay with you tonight?"

Haley sighed. "No, she and her boyfriend are out of town for Love Day."

"Maybe your boyfriend?" he queried.
 "Oh, I don't have a boyfriend!" Haley said, blushing. 

Gage smiled.  Green light, he thought to himself with satisfaction.  "Sucks to be alone on Love Day, doesn't it?" he said conspiratorially, leaning close.

Haley laughed, "Yeah, it really sucks!" She glanced at Gage again, trying to check him out without him noticing.

"Do you want me to stay awhile?" he suggested.  "Maybe it'll make you feel safer?"

Haley exhaled, relieved that she wouldn't be alone and a little thrilled to be alone with such a handsome guy.
They wandered into the living room and took a seat, chatting about themselves. 

Haley learned that he was seven years older than her, "That must seem pretty old to you!" he'd laughed at himself as he slung his arm across the back of the couch. "No! I can't wait until I'm older!" she'd said, trying to appear more worldly and mature than her humble eighteen years.

She learned that he loved art, "There's such a raw beauty in the human body, don't you think?" Haley had asked passionately, stirring to life like she did whenever she started to discuss art.  Gage had agreed, asking her if she'd ever painted anyone nude.  She'd laughed that she'd probably be too embarrassed to try that type of art work!

Gage even told her that he loved kids, "One day I hope I meet the right girl and can start a family."  Haley had averted her eyes and asked if he was looking for someone. 
"Yeah, I just don't know if I found the one yet."  Gage waited until she looked at him and then smiled, adding, "Although, I met this one sweet girl..." he trailed off.

***

Yawning, Gage stretched for a moment and then stood up"I can't believe how late it's gotten. I feel like I could talk to you for hours!"

Haley blushed. "I feel the same way," she admitted quietly.  Hesitating a moment, she bit her lip as she considered what she was about to say.  "Do you want to stay the night," she suggested, quickly tacking on, "On the couch?"

"You wouldn't mind?" Gage asked.  "I don't want to inconvenience you."

"No! It wouldn't inconvenience me! I'd feel a lot safer, also," she rambled, looking for excuses for him to stay.

"Then yeah, I can crash on your couch," Gage stepped a little closer, adding, "Although I'd love to cuddle with you in your bed."
Haley blushed and stumbled, trying to think of a reply.  "I..."

Gage put his finger to her lips. "It's okay. You're not ready, yet. I can wait," he told her.  "The couch will be fine."
Haley avoided making eye contact, flushing with a mix of anticipation and regret.  "I'll just go get you a pillow and blanket, then," she said, stepping away from Gage.  The attraction between them was pulsingOh Lord, why can't I be more like Rachel? she kicked herself.

 ***

Haley tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep easily.  She kept thinking about Gage, downstairs, in her house, on her couch, wanting to cuddle with her, in her bed, naked.

Oh Lord, where did that thought come from, she thought, grimacing and throwing her pillow over her head. 


Then she heard what might've been the house settling, a floorboard creaking, a scratch at the window... There were so many little noises in a house this size! 

Agitated, she threw off the blankets.  Maybe she'd feel safer if she was downstairs, too...
Before she changed her mind, she hurried down the stairs and saw that Gage had stripped down to his boxers to sleep and that his blanket had fallen off.

Definitely a 9, Haley silently amended as she gazed at him sleeping there.
"Gage?" she whispered anxiously. 

He was out cold and didn't respond.

Tentatively she bent over him, "Gage?" she whispered again a little more nervously.  Oh Lord, maybe I should just go back upstairs before I make a fool of myself!

When she touched his bare chest, Gage's eyes fluttered open and he groaned, reaching up to pull her down and then rolled over on top of her.
"Oh God, I knew you wanted it, too," he said huskily, leaning over to kiss her neck.  Haley moaned and put her hands on his shoulders.  "You do, don't you?" he paused, lifting himself off of her, searching her eyes for her answer.
Haley almost felt overwhelmed, reeling from the intense feelings from Gage nuzzling her neck, and from the feel of him resting above her body.  She smoothed her hands over his naked back, unable to form the words.

Gage had gone rigid, waiting for her response, and the feel of her trailing her fingertips across his back was testing his control.  "Yes or no," he told her, his tone rough with emotion.

"Yes."

***

Haley sighed, resting on top of Gage afterwards, and closed her eyes.  She could hear his heart beating rapidly as his arms came around her and held her close. Smiling, she fell asleep.