Hidden From Life Chapter 11

Hidden From Life
Chapter 11

“I made a fool of myself this morning, and I’m hoping you can do me a big favor,” she began. “Is there a chance you can come with me to my house after school?”

Lauren raised an eyebrow at the suggestion and shook her head.

“Julie, what have you done that you need my protection for?”

“Well, not really protection, well maybe a little, but more for moral support.”

Julie proceeded to tell Lauren everything from how she had dreamt about John and relieved her stress fantasizing about him and her to where she overslept because of that and up to the point where her robe opened, revealing her breasts to him.

“I don’t know how I’m going to face him again, and the job has just started,” she concluded.

Lauren had listened to everything her friend said with a mixture of amusement and concern and thought for a few minutes before replying.

“If you want Julie, I’ll come with you, but in my opinion, you should go alone. It doesn’t matter if it goes anywhere. You should get some. How many years has it been? Go have fun.”

“No, I can’t. Lauren, you’re right; I need it and all, but I can’t. I throw myself at him, especially after what happened this morning.
Come over to pick something up so I won’t be alone with him because he’ll leave once I get there.”

“Fine, if that’s what you want.”

That afternoon, Lauren followed behind her friend’s car as she drove home. They entered the house together, and John soon came downstairs. He was sweaty and dirty, but he smiled when he saw them.

“Hey Julie, how are you?” he asked, his eyes narrowing when he saw Lauren. “Hey, I know you, don’t I?”

“Hello Johnny, I’m Lauren, and you hung out with my sister Trish back in the day.”

“That’s right, how is she doing? I haven’t seen her or much of the old crowd since I returned to town.”

“She’s good, married now with a little boy. They live over in Andersonville a few miles away.”

“Let me get you that book,” Julie said to Lauren as she slipped away. She heard the two gaily chatting about the past as she headed upstairs. When she came down, she handed Lauren her lesson plan book, though she had been carrying it the whole time with her.

“Thanks, Jules. I’ll see you tomorrow. It's nice seeing you again, Johnny. I’ll let Trish know you’re back in town.”

“Yeah, that's cool, Lauren. I better go now as well and let Julie have her house. Goodnight, Julie. ”

She closed the door behind them and watched them walk to the street where they were both parked. They talked for a minute before climbing into their vehicles and driving off. Julie ensured she was up early and ready to leave the following day before he arrived. She attempted to hurry past when he did, but he stopped her.

“Julie, before you go, we need to talk.”

“Okay,” she said with her heart in her throat, dreading what he might say.

“Well, I’m kind of at an impasse with the work. I'm almost out of work until you let me know what windows you want done, which rooms to paint first, and the colors. I have a few more hours’ worth, and that’s it. We have to discuss it.”

“Sure, no problem. I understand, John. After school today, we’ll talk,” Julie answered, relieved that was what he wanted to talk about. See you later; I have to go.”

With that, she was gone, leaving John alone. He shrugged helplessly as he wished to discuss more than that but wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. It was pretty evident that Julie was uncomfortable around him after yesterday morning. He could understand it, especially given her shy nature, but it weighed on him. Last night all he could think of was the sight of her naked breasts and how much he wanted to suck on them.

He hadn’t lied when he told her he studied her as a student. Julie was a lot more attractive than she gave herself credit for, he thought, and though she did her best to conceal the fact, her slender body was sexy as hell to him. Plus, he fondly remembered how her face would get wistful or passionate when she read certain poems back in class, usually a love poem by one of her favorites. It was true he wanted to stay in town due to his father, but the other reason John took the job was he hoped now that he was older, he might have an opportunity to tell her how he felt and maybe have a chance with her.

John went to work since nothing would be done about it until later. He removed the remaining items before noon, leaving him precious little to do. He next took accurate measurements of all the downstairs windows in case she wished to replace them. Finally, he measured the windows upstairs, including in the bathroom, Julie’s mother’s room, and the spare bedroom used as a storage room. Her bedroom he avoided as he didn’t wish to invade her privacy in that way with how things were at the moment.

John spent some time playing with Emily, dragging a string across the floor and watching the cat pursue it until, finally, the feline got bored and wandered off to take a nap in a sunny window. When Julie arrived that afternoon, she was surprised to see John sitting on the porch next door, sipping lemonade with the Russell’s. They waved to her, and she returned the greeting, but she made no move to join them, instead standing at the curb with her arms folded.

“It seems Time for me to go. Thanks for the lemonade, folks,” John said as he rose from the wicker chair.

“You’re welcome anytime, John, and you let Julie know the same. Here we are next-door neighbors, and we rarely talk to her these days,” Edna told him as he departed.

Once he reached her on the sidewalk, Julie made a sour face before asking, “So what’s up with the busybodies next door, trying to squeeze you for information about me?”

John kept his face serene as he answered her. “No, not Julie. The other day, when they first saw me, they asked if I was doing work ‘in the Jones house,’ but I think that’s normal under the circumstances. They see some strange guy moving stuff out of your house.”

“Yeah, okay, but you have no idea how nosy they can be. Mother planted the hedge after we moved in, making it harder for them to spy on us.”

“I think it’s good for neighbors to watch out for each other’s houses. By the way, they told me to tell you you’re always welcome there.”

Julie rolled her eyes at that tidbit, and John couldn’t help smiling at her reaction. He expected something along those lines from her. They had moved up her walk as they talked and now went inside. Emily was nowhere in sight, and it had been a while since he had seen her.

“So, have you made any decisions on the windows, Julie?”

“I’ve decided that it makes sense to do them all now. I have the money available, so what’s the point in doing some now and then doing more down the road? I’m not sure what style to get yet, though.”

“I think you’re making the right decision, Julie. And as far as the style, you look at the styles and costs and decide from there. You might get cheaper models for some rooms and nicer ones for others. Since you have an older house with nice woodwork, I’d suggest you get the kind where the interior section is wood and the exterior is vinyl, so it blends in seamlessly in appearance. Some have built-in lattices or other features, but they add to the cost, so it’s up to you. I took the liberty of measuring most of the windows as I ran out of work earlier. I need the dimensions of your bedroom windows.”

They proceeded upstairs, where he took the measurements. She stood just inside the room. A few minutes later, they were again on the street, where John unlocked his passenger door to allow Julie to get in. As they drove, he figured now was the best time to broach the subject.

“About yesterday morning, Julie, I apologize. If I had waited until you left before starting to work…”

“No, John, it wasn’t your fault. If I was watching where I was going instead of rushing blindly into you like that, so no apology is necessary, and we won’t mention it again.”

He knew there was no way he could forget what he saw, even if he had never mentioned it, but he held his tongue - for the moment. With a sidelong glance, he noticed that Julie’s face was red as a beet, so he turned his face straight ahead as he drove.

“You have an idea of what color paint you want?”

“Uh huh, for the most part.”

“Well, you must decide what rooms you want done first. If you want, I can work tomorrow and get several windows done if they have them in stock, allowing you to have the rooms painted according to your schedule. When I paint your room, you might want to sleep somewhere else for a night or two because of the smell.”

“I’ll think about it, but I probably want my room done first if that’s okay,” she said softly.

“Whatever you want, Julie.”

Things worked out well at the home improvement megastore. She got all the paint colors she wanted, and some of the windows she chose were in stock. The bathroom window wasn’t available because it was an odd size, and the glass needed to be opaque, but the rest of the second-story windows and the paint were soon loaded in his truck. On their way back, John decided to try something.

“Julie, with all this running around, what do you say? Can I take us to dinner? A nice Italian place is coming up, and we can set a timeframe for the work while we eat. What do you think?”

Her initial thought was to say no, but she surprised them both with her reply.

“All right, but I insist that we split the cost.”

“Fine if that’s what you want,” he said with a big smile, happy that she accepted his offer.

They settled in and ordered dinner. At first, they discussed what rooms she wanted to tackle first, with her bedroom the number one priority, followed by the kitchen. As the meal went on, however, talk turned to other subjects aided no doubt by the carafe of wine John ordered. Julie learned that he had been living in Las Vegas before his recent return to town.

“Things were booming when I went out there; construction was everywhere. When things went south, I still did all right for a while as the company I was with had some contracts with the big developers or government-subsidized jobs; after a while, the jobs were completed, and the new ones weren’t coming in like before. Work started becoming infrequent, and soon, I was looking to do anything to tide me over.”

“If I had been able to dance, I’d have been able to earn money, but unfortunately, I have two left feet, so that didn’t work out. I worked with a magic act where I stood on stage with no shirt and assisted the woman who would be levitated or sawed in half. Another guy and I would lift her or help her get into a position in the box. Lousy pay and hours and certainly no future in it, though the work was easy. So that was my career in showbiz. Things worsened after that, and I knew I needed a change.”

“Then my uncle contacted me, letting me know my dad wasn’t doing well. Of course, he would never have let me know himself. Since my sister moved to Florida with my mom when my parents divorced, there hasn’t been anyone here except my uncle. So I came back, and here I am.”

“Wow, I never could have done that,” Julie replied. I was moving halfway across the country to a place where I didn’t know anyone or anything about it and to Las Vegas, too. Was it like in the movies?”

“Well, there are all kinds of movies, and there is more than one place, too. There’s the strip and the casinos and hotels, but for the most part, that’s a desert mirage unless you live in that world. There’s also the real part where most people live and work. Besides, I missed the seasons changing like they do here. The desert is beautiful, but I like to see the leaves change, especially during the first snowfall.”

They sat silently for a few minutes until the server came and asked if they needed anything further.

To be continued

Written by nutbuster (D C)
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