Hidden From Life Chapter 12

Hidden From Life
Chapter 12

“Just the check, please,” he answered.

On his way to her house, he took a few quick peeks at her face, and her eyes shone as brightly as the stars. When they arrived, he began unloading as Julie opened the front door. Once everything was inside, John paused to ask Julie a question before leaving.

“So, since I’ll be back tomorrow, what time should I come? I know it's Saturday, and you want to sleep late.”

“Honestly, I get up simultaneously on weekends, John, so come whenever you want. I’ve been putting off tackling Mother’s room as I’ve been dreading it, but I can’t do it anymore if you’re going to paint it and replace the windows. So please don’t bother bringing coffee. I’ll make some and have breakfast. Deal?”

“Deal,” he answered.

She opened the front door and stood leaning against it as he passed. John turned to say good night to her when something he read in her expression caused him to change his mind. Suddenly, he leaned in and brought his mouth to hers. Her lips were soft and yielding, and he passionately kissed her. For the first few seconds, Julie had remained passive, but as time passed, she responded fiercely. Her arms twined about his neck, and she eagerly returned his kiss. Her tongue slipped into his mouth, where it tentatively explored.

John’s arm wrapped around her back and pulled her body to his, and he thrilled from the feel of her pressing against him for the first time. It had too much effect as he felt himself begin to harden. Not wishing to move too fast and scare her, John reluctantly broke the kiss before it was too late. He gazed down at her, and as he watched, she opened her brown eyes and stared back at him.

“Wow, Julie,” he said, “that was something else.”

“Yes, it was very nice, I think,” she said as she pressed her body against his, “I think I feel something else.”

After saying that for a moment, she gyrated her pelvis to his, leaving no doubt about what she was talking about, but she then stepped back and grabbed the door for support.

“Good night, John, and I’ll see you in the morning,” she told him before slowly closing the door.

He stood there for a minute as his mind whirled from what had just happened before he headed to the truck. It seemed to him that his feet didn’t touch the ground until he climbed into the cab. For her part, Julie was experiencing similar emotions. When Emily came to say hello, Julie lifted the puzzled cat and danced with her in her arms as she sang a song.

With it still being early and him being pumped up, John didn’t wish to return home yet, so he stopped off at the local watering hole. As he sipped his drink, John replayed the kiss repeatedly in his mind and enjoyed it a little more each time. When the waitress came over to see if he wanted another round and mildly flirted with him, he realized he should go home. He politely declined and left her a nice tip as he headed out. There was no sense in taking a chance on being stupid when it appeared he had the opportunity of a lifetime awaiting him. His father was surprised he was home so early, but he told him he had to work early the following day.

The following day, John was up at dawn and had to restrain himself from rushing out the door. He shaved deliberately and put on more cologne than he would going out for the night. He fought to take his time and not arrive too early. Finally, at eight a.m., he couldn’t wait any longer and headed over. True to her word, Julie was up when he arrived and opened the door shortly after he rang.

John swallowed hard when he saw her wearing a cute little girly-t showing her arms, a snug-fitting pair of jeans, and long hair pulled back in a ponytail. As he entered, the aroma of coffee brewing wafted across the air to his receptive nostrils.

“Come to the kitchen,” she told him, leading the way.

For his part, he was glad to follow as, for the first time, he was able to observe her cute, little butt not hidden under a loose skirt or sweatpants, and he strongly approved.

“Sit down, and I’ll get you some coffee, John. How do you take it, and are eggs and bacon good?”

“Black, one sugar, please. Yes, that’s fine, Julie, thanks,” John said as he slid into a seat in the cozy little kitchen.

She placed the cup before him a minute later, then slipped an apron over her head and tied it before cooking breakfast.

“Did you have a good night’s rest?” he inquired as he lifted his cup.

“Yes, wonderful; I feel very refreshed, and you?”

“I had a hard time falling asleep truthfully. No matter what I did, I felt too excited to relax. I couldn’t wait for the morning.”

“Oh!” Julie said, and he noticed the blood rise to her face.

They ate in an awkward silence, filling their mouths with longing stares and meaningful glances. Once she was finished, Julie rose and cleaned the dishes. When John was done, he headed to his truck to retrieve his compound miter saw, tools, wood, and tarps.

He set up the saw on a tarp in the garage and headed upstairs. After placing a tarp under a window in her room, John removed the old one. Things proceeded smoothly; he was on the second window when she stopped in the doorway to say hello.

“I see you’re busy getting things done so I won’t bother you now. I’m just off to work on clearing Mother’s room, so I’ll see you later,” she said, then she was off.

He continued his work, and as the morning progressed, he made good progress. John was now caulking around the second of the newly installed windows when he was startled by a loud cry and something crashing onto the floor. Immediately, he dropped what he was doing and hurried to where the noise came from.

He found her standing by the closet door of her mother’s room, clutching some yellowed envelopes while an old, now broken cardboard box sat nearby, spilling onto the hardwood floor. She turned as he entered the room, and he read shock and pain clearly on her face.

“Julie, are you hurt?” he asked with concern.

“No, it can’t be. It just can’t. How is this possible?” Julie wailed. As she stood there, her eyes welled up with tears, which began to roll down her face.

“Do you need help, Julie?” he asked, unsure what to do and unaware of what had caused this reaction.

“How could she do this to me, John? Why would she do it, to lie to me my whole life like that? What did I do to deserve this?”

Sobbing uncontrollably, she fled past him and into the hall. As she did, Julie dropped one of the envelopes on the floor in passing. He watched as she ran down the hall and into her room. Prompted by the idea that there must be a clue to her sudden mood lying there, John bent down and lifted the envelope. It was unsealed, and a card was partially sticking out of it.

When he scanned the writing on the front of the envelope, he saw it was addressed to Miss Julie Jones, and the address was not only in another town but also in another state. He noticed that the postmark was from over twenty-five years ago. He removed the card and saw it was a girl’s birthday card. Opening it, he read the handwritten message, longer than most cards contained.

To My Princess Julie:

Happy Birthday, sweetie. I hope you’re well and your big day goes great. A girl doesn’t turn ten daily, which is exceptional. I'm sorry I’m not there with you. Your mother informed me you are still not ready to see me again.

I wish you would let me talk to you, Julie; we used to be so close. I know you’re hurt about what happened between your mother and me, but that has nothing to do with us. I don’t want to make you sad, so I’ll say no more now except to tell you how much I love you, and whenever you want, I’ll be waiting. Happy Birthday again, Julie! And don’t spend all the money on candy.

Love, Daddy

As John returned the card to the envelope, he saw a neatly folded twenty-dollar bill enclosed. He placed the envelope on a table near the door and headed to Julie’s room. Cautiously, he peered in and saw Julie huddled on her bed, sobbing softly. He couldn’t bear to see her like that, so he slowly approached her until he stood by the side of the bed. His hand reached out and gently touched her shoulder. She turned her face to him, but he appeared blurry in her tears. Sitting next to her on the bed, John spoke.

“Are you all right?”

“No, I’m not,” she practically screamed in reply. “All my life has been a lie. All these years, I thought my Father had abandoned me, that he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. That’s what she told me, and I believed her, the lying bitch!”

He was shocked. Not only had he never heard her use foul language before, but back when he was in school, people used to joke about how proper and polite she was. It was so out of character that he didn’t know how to reply.

“A lie, all a lie! No wonder we moved around so much back then; she was trying to hide us, to hide me from my Father! Why, Mother, why?” Julie cried out in anguish.

Unable to think of anything else to do, John wrapped his muscular arms around her and hugged her. She pressed her face to his chest and continued sobbing, and after a minute, her arm encircled his waist tightly. His hand stroked her hair soothingly, and he murmured in her ear.

“It’s alright, Julie, go ahead and get it out. That’s it, you cry, sweetie, and let it all out.”

He had no idea how long they stayed like that, but slowly, her crying lessened and ended. Through it all, he continued to stroke her hair and whisper encouragement. Finally, with a loud sniffle, she removed her face from his chest. He gazed at her and saw her eyes were still wet with tears, but her sobbing had stopped.

“Julie, would you like a nice cup of tea?”

“Yes, please,” she replied before adding, “Oh, John, I got your shirt all wet; I’m so sorry.”

He laughed at her concern over such a trivial matter before reassuring her.

“Don’t be silly, Julie, and worry about that. It will dry; now, how do you take your tea?”

“With lemon and honey,” she managed to get out.

“Okay, wait right here, and I’ll be back.”

He headed downstairs and put on the kettle, and as he waited, he absentmindedly fed Emily. It seemed inconceivable to him that someone would deceive in the way Julie’s mother had, but the evidence and her reaction to it were transparent. He couldn’t imagine what she must have been going through at that moment, finding out that she’d been lied to about something vital since she was a little girl. The kettle whistling roused him from his musings, so he hurried to the stove.

Two minutes later, he was again entering her room, where he found her curled on the bed, fast asleep. Not wishing to disturb her, he left the cup on her bedside table and tiptoed out of the room. Unfortunately, that left him with no work, as the other rooms upstairs weren’t prepped. He silently closed the door and returned to her mother’s room.

He gathered all the spilled letters and papers and put them on the bed, glancing at them as he did so. Many cards and letters were written in the same neat handwriting and addressed to Julie. Multiple addresses confirmed they had moved around a staggering number of times before settling in Juneberry. He shook his head again at the thought of what had happened to her.

He went downstairs for a little while, but with no work, he headed outside. After seeing her car sitting in the driveway, he decided the least he could do was wash it. He wound up wet from that, but her little car gleamed when he was done. After going inside, John decided to check on her, so he returned to her room. Julie was on her back now, had a peaceful expression, and was breathing quietly. He sat on a chair by the bed, watching her chest rise and fall gently.

The shadows were lengthening on the walls when Julie rolled to her side, stretched the entire length of her lithe body, and then sat up. She looked around, confused, until she discovered him sitting silently nearby. Then her face brightened immeasurably, and Julie smiled. It wasn’t a full smile, but it still warmed his heart.

To be continued
Written by nutbuster (D C)
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