Jon woke shortly after when he felt soft footsteps on his thigh and heard a low rumbling coming from that direction. He raised his head slightly to see what was creating the disturbance and saw the psycho cat from earlier was attempting to settle in between us and appeared to be marching. He felt a light thud near his head and another furry beast appeared, purring loudly like a motor near his left ear. So far Floyd had not returned, so he felt relatively safe and drifted back to sleep, his ears filled with the continued humming of two cats bedding down for the night.
The sun was streaming in through the window when I woke in the morning. It was still early, only six-thirty, but it was breakfast time for the kids and Eddie was reminding me of that fact. He swatted my head repeatedly and I lazily brushed his paw away until he decided on another tactic. He screamed loudly in Jon’s ear and that woke him with a start.
“What the…?” he muttered, orienting himself to the situation as Eddie rubbed his chin on his head.
“He’s hungry” I smiled.
Having accomplished his mission, now that we were both awake, Eddie walked across Jon’s chest and lay down on my shoulder and kissed me in the way that cats do.
“Good morning, sweetie. Mommy will be up in a minute” I said, patting his head and rubbing his chin. “Good morning, love” I added, turning to look at Jon. He had a bemused grin on his face, observing Eddie’s morning ritual.
“Morning, babe” Jon replied, leaning to kiss me and getting Eddie face instead as he greeted Jon with a head bump.
“Well, at least this one doesn’t seem to hate me” he said, scratching him behind the ears.
“Eddie’s a loverboy. And I see Zeke has overcome his shyness” I noted, peering down at the familiar site of Zeke stretched out between us.
“He’s been here most of the night. I woke up when he came in and the big one was here too, purring right by my head” he shared.
“And I see you’re still alive and in one piece! I’ll be sure to let Eva know that you survived. How are your allergies? Did you remember the Zyrtec last night?” I said as I yawned.
“Nope, I forgot to take it. My eyes are itchy, but not awful. I’ll take it when I get up” he said, stretching lazily.
“Speaking of that, I better get up and feed the monsters” I said, helping Eddie off my shoulder.
“And are you planning to feed me too, or do just the cats get breakfast?” he teased.
“I suppose I’ll feed you too, but there’s probably not much of a selection until we go shopping. I can probably find enough for omelettes. Is that okay?” I offered.
Jon grinned and I got up and went to the kitchen, feeding the cats first and starting the coffee. There were eggs in the fridge and cheese, but little else that was usable besides a can of spam I had for emergencies. I started making breakfast and Jon sauntered in, completely naked. I stopped beating the eggs and looked at him.
“Breakfast au naturale?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“Didn’t unpack yet, but I’ll go throw on some clothes if you like” he smirked.
“That won’t be necessary” I replied, forcing myself to look away and pay attention to the food on the stove.
“What else are you making there? I smell meat” he commented, walking over to the stove and slipping his arms around me and pawing at the robe I’d thrown on.
“Fried spam” I laughed, thinking it was probably not the delicacy he was accustomed to usually. I slapped the hand that was attempting to loosen the belt of my robe and ordered him to go sit down.
“I haven’t had that since I was a kid! I love that shit, but only if it’s fried. It’s pretty nasty otherwise” he said, surprising me. But then again, he wasn’t fussy. He seemed grateful for anything I was willing to cook. And that was a good thing, since my repertoire was rather limited and I hated cooking.
“I like it too, actually” I admitted, adding the eggs in a separate pan.
In a few minutes, breakfast was ready and I sat down with Jon at the kitchen table and we ate as the cats milled about looking for scraps. Beowulf, my skinny senior citizen, got a piece of spam which she took greedily from my hand. We chatted a bit and I noticed that Jon really did enjoy the spam and ate every bite.
“Are you full? I could make toast too?” I wondered, unsure if I was feeding him enough as I wasn’t used to breakfast myself much.
“No, darlin’, that was great. More coffee?” he offered, pouring himself some and filling my cup as I nodded.
“So, what’s today’s agenda?” he asked with a naughty look.
“Well, we could go to Zoar Valley later, since you’re already dressed for it.”
“What? That gets my vote if we can go there naked!” Jon said, looking surprised and pleased.
“Zoar is rather famous as a nudist area. The guy who willed the land to the County was a dedicated nudist and made a provision for a section there to remain “clothing optional” in his will. It’s a really beautiful place too. But I need to do a couple things around here before we go anywhere” I explained.
I was mentally running over the list of things that needed attention before starting back to work after a week off. And the house needed vacuuming and cleaning generally and there was laundry and…the list went on.
“Is there anything I can do to help? Whaddya need, darlin’?” he offered.
“Would you be willing to go to the store in town and pick up some groceries if I make a list? I need to check messages and email, get some things ready for work, do some laundry and unpack and clean out a space for your clothes. And the house is filthy” I said, reviewing all the chores that needed doing.
“Sure. I can do that! And I can clean tomorrow when you’re at work. I’ll make myself useful. I want you to keep me around” Jon said softly.
I was struck by the vulnerability his comment showed beneath the teasing tone. I wasn’t the only one who was wondering how we would blend such different lifestyles to make it work. He really wanted to be a part of my world. And it had been a very long time since I had had anyone in my life who wanted to share responsibilities. I reached across the table and took his hand in mine, looking straight into his eyes, and the look I saw on his face told me he meant every word. I stopped myself from asking whether he was sure about this and trusted him instead.
“Thank you. It means the world to me that you’re willing to share the mundane stuff in my life with me. You can’t imagine how much I want to have a partner as well as a lover” I said seriously, really laying my cards on the table.
“So do I” Jon said, serious now too. “I want to be more than the visiting boyfriend. I wanna be your man in every way. And I want you to be my partner too. I behaved like a wretch at the game yesterday and ignored what you said about Steph. I shut you out of the most important part of my life, my kids, and I was more angry with myself for that even than for blowing it with Steph. I am so sorry. I’m possessive about the ones I love, but I will never do that to you again. Can you give me a chance to prove myself?”
I had tears in my eyes now. This had been in the back of my mind and now that he’d said it too I was filled with a sense of relief. I felt pure joy at the realization that I could truly share my life with someone and not just include them in it. I came around and sat on Jon’s naked lap and hugged him. No words were needed to tell him how I felt. He hugged me back and whispered in my ear.
“I love you, babe. But if we stay here like this much longer I won’t be responsible if we get side-tracked before we get the work done!” he said, toying with the belt on my robe again.