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Disclaimers: True to my moniker, I have finally written a new story… I apologize for the ridiculously long hiatus but life does that to you. So without further ado, here’s a new story, which I hope you enjoy. It’s all mine. And if you have comments, I would be delighted to hear them. Please do let me know if I have (of haven’t) “lost my touch”, so to speak.
It was just another ordinary day for the Matthews; the small family was getting ready to dine together for the evening. “Did you guys wash your hands?” Jacob Matthews asked his 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. Both kids quickly nodded their heads as they made their way to the dining room table. “With soap?” admonished the father with a raised eyebrow. Both children lowered their heads shyly and whispered under their breath: “No…”
Jacob raised his arm and pointed towards the bathroom. Dutifully, the children ran to the bathroom to re-wash, this time with soap. As they were making their way back to the table, the doorbell rang. Before Jacob could go and open the door, little Mikey ran passed him and swung the door open in excitement. “Aunt Jaime!!” The woman in the doorway held strong as the two little monsters jumped at her, trying to pull her into the house.
“Hey guys! How ya doing?” Jaime laughed and let her arms be pulled in two different directions by her favorite niece and nephew. Jamie was Jacob’s younger and only sibling. Their parents having died in recent years, they were the only family they had left. The children’s mother, Jacob’s ex-wife, was not really part of the equation ever since she decided to cheat on Jacob and break their family apart. So many trials and tribulations later, the children lived happily with both parents as part of a joint custody agreement and as Jacob had quite the full plate, Jaime was only too happy to help whenever and with whatever she could, which made her a constant fixture in her brother’s and nephews’ lives.
“What’d ya bring us?” The little ones asked in tandem.
Jaime chuckled and shook her head, “Do I always have to bring you something?” She looked at them with a raised eyebrow.
Mikey’s lower lip immediately popped out as he turned large, brown, puppy dog eyes at his aunt.
Jaime sighed in resignation as she quickly pulled something out of her purse. The kids’ eyes lit up at the sight of their favorite candy and chocolate. Jaime knew her brother would probably want to kill her for bringing the kids sweets, but she couldn’t help it. The kids grabbed the candy and were ready to rip through the wrapping when their father hollered from the kitchen: “After dinner!!”
Dinner was a mostly quiet affair. The kids talked amongst themselves as the siblings shared their weekly endeavors. When dinner was over, Jaime offered to help with bath and bed-time, to which Jacob quickly and gratefully acquiesced. An hour and a half later, the house was clean, the kids were in bed, hopefully asleep, and the two tired siblings were reclining on the couch in front of the nearly muted TV.
“Wanna do something this weekend?” asked Jacob.
“Sure. Have anything in mind? A friend of mine is putting on a children’s play this Saturday and the reviews are quite good. I could get us tickets, if you want.”
Jacob gazed at his sister and smiled, “Sounds great.” As he scanned his sister’s face, he was yet again shocked that no one had nabbed her. She was probably the most eligible bachelorette in their area code. Not to toot his own horn, seeing as they were siblings and related by blood, she was one of the most attractive women he knew. At nearly 5’11, with shoulder-length dark hair and bright blue eyes, a toned physique, and a completely disarming and modest personality, she made for quite a sight.
Jaime sighed. Slapping her thighs decisively, she got up and prepared to say good night. “I’ll see about those tickets then and call you. I’m going to hit the sack, it’s late and I have an early day tomorrow.”
“Alright sis. Drive carefully.” Jacob got up as well, hugged his sister and walked her to the door. Closing and locking the door for the night, Jacob headed to bed.
About 20 minutes later, Jaime reached her home. She unlocked the door and sighed unconsciously as she stepped into the empty house. She loved visiting her brother and his kids and enjoyed spending time with them, but her house always seemed especially empty afterwards. She was used to living alone, and it wasn’t the aloneness that bothered her per se, rather the occasional sense of loneliness that pervaded. She locked the door, made sure everything was in place, and went to bed as well.
The days passed one after the other, nearly merging into one another as their respective jobs kept the siblings busy. During the week, they would speak on the phone daily but actually meeting and spending time with each other would only occur once or twice a week. It was Thursday when her brother called asking for a favor. He was stuck at work and couldn’t get out fast enough to pick up his daughter. Knowing that his sister’s schedule was more flexible canlı bahis şirketleri than his, he asked if she could come and pick Nicole up from school. Jaime readily agreed and moved some appointments around to do just that. An hour after the phone call, Jaime was already standing outside Nicole’s school. When the bell rang, she was allowed entry into the school premises and she went searching for her niece’s classroom. Not having been asked to pick up the kids very often, she stumbled around a bit until she finally found the right place. The classroom’s door burst open as a large number of enthusiastic little ones scampered into the hallway. Jaime quickly stepped aside before the throng of children could actually trample her to the ground. Looking around, she quickly spotted her niece in the crowd and walked over to her. Jaime frowned when she saw the sad look on the girl’s face. Crouching down on one knee, Jaime looked into Nicole’s sad eyes and brushed a tendril of hair out of her face.
“What’s wrong munchkin?”
Nicole shrugged and made as if to leave.
“Hey, wait up. Come on, sweetie, what’s the matter? You know you can tell me anything…” Jaime insisted.
Nicole turned to her and said, “Some girls made fun of me. Never mind, let’s just go.” She tried pulling on her aunt’s hand to get her moving, but Jaime stood stock still.
“What girls? Point them out, I’ll have a little chat with them…” Jaime said in a more menacing tone than she intended. She may not have had her own kids, but whenever anything happened to her niece and nephew, her ire and apparently maternal instinct, would immediately flare.
“No! Don’t say anything. Please! Can we just go?” The girl seemed on the verge of tears.
“Of course we can go, but maybe if you tell me, there is something I could do…” Jaime felt helpless. She wanted to help the girl but also didn’t want to cause her further embarrassment.
Nicole sighed before telling her what happened. “It’s those popular girls… they make fun of me… that I don’t play like them, that I don’t dress like them, or look like them… that I’m a nerd… and then everyone else started calling me that…”
Jaime hugged the girl to her. “Oh honey, I’m sorry… you know, you don’t have to be a part of the ‘popular crowd’ to have a good time in school or in general. It’s more than ok not to look like everyone else, or dress like them, or do what they do. They should want to be more like you, not the other way around. Sweetie, you’re beautiful and smart and kind, and absolutely wonderful! You don’t need those girls to tell you how great you are, because you should know how great you are and be proud of who you are. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd when I was your age. Some would say I was even kind of a nerd myself…” Jaime smiled crookedly. “And look at me now!”
Nicole released a small chuckle as she wiped a tear away. “You’re still a nerd…” She said cheekily.
Jaime laughed out loud and went to tickle her sides. “Oh I am, am I?! Why you little…”
Nicole shrieked with laughter as she was tickled mercilessly. Several seconds later, a quiet throat clearing snapped them of their fun. Jaime looked up from her kneeling position to be met with a beautiful pair of mirthful green eyes. Throwing the woman a crooked smile, Jaime put her niece down and raised herself to her full height. Now that she was staring down at the young blonde who interrupted them, the green eyes widened slightly in shock.
“Hi. Sorry for the ruckus, we’re just leaving…” Jaime said kindly.
“It’s quite alright. I’m Sarah Fields, Nicole’s English teacher.” The teacher offered her hand in greeting.
“A pleasure to meet you. I’m Jaime Matthews, Nicole’s aunt.” Jaime took the soft hand in her own and shook it lightly.
“It’s wonderful to meet you too.” They noticed Nicole migrated down the hall as the women chatted, and Sarah then said, “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation… I’m sorry about the other girls giving her a hard time… I’ll try to see maybe I could speak to them or do something about it, but I must say, what you said to her was very sweet.”
Jaime blushed a little and lowered her eyes. “Thanks. It’s the truth. And she is a great kid, regardless of the fact that she’s my niece.” They both chuckled, and for some reason that neither woman could explain, the air became slightly charged all of a sudden. Not knowing how to break the invisible tension, both women sighed in relief when Nicole hollered from across the hallway, “Aunt J, you coming?!”
Jaime rolled her eyes and mumbled under her breath, “Should really speak to that kid about inside voices…” Sarah heard her and laughed. “It was really nice to meet you,” she said again, touched Jaime slightly on the arm, and turned back into the classroom to wrap up for the day. Jaime stood there unmoving, still reeling from the encounter. She touched her hand to her arm, where the teacher had softly brushed her fingers against her, shook her head and then followed canlı kaçak iddaa her niece.
“So what do you think of your teacher, Ms. Fields?” asked Jaime nonchalantly a few days later.
Nicole looked up from the phone she was currently playing on and shrugged. “She’s ok.”
Jaime chewed on her lower lip. “Hmm… Is she married?” She tried to sound as casual as possible without raising any kind of suspicion at her weird line of questioning.
Nicole scrunched her forehead in puzzlement, “I don’t know… why?”
“Oh no reason. Just wondering.”
Nicole shrugged and went back to her game. Jaime wasn’t exactly out to her family and/or friends. She wasn’t exactly ‘in’ either. She had dated both men and women but had yet to find her match. If and when she found her perfect match, she figured she would tell everyone, not thinking it was really anyone’s business till that point. But she had to admit to herself that it had been a while since anyone had triggered any kind of interest in her. Sarah was different somehow. There was just something about her that made Jaime’s insides all warm and tingly. She felt completely juvenile at the ridiculous thought; a 35-year-old woman feeling warm and tingly at the thought of a woman she didn’t even know. “Ugh…” She mumbled to herself… ‘I seriously need to get laid…’ the thought brought a roguish grin to her face. Jaime considered herself a fairly decent person, kind and generally genuine, but for the most part, a realist. Even though, deep down inside, she knew she had some slivers of romanticism. Leftovers from childhood, she assumed. Life made her somewhat bitter and jaded, but there was always a tiny glimmer of hope that just wouldn’t let the spirit of a true romantic die.
Several weeks had passed and little by little, her conversation with the teacher slowly faded to the back of her mind. Life continued as usual, with work taking over most of it. Family and friends filled the rest of Jaime’s free time. She barely dated, having gone on one too many awful dates that ended with her regretting going on them in the first place. Knowing that her brother struggled with his many duties, she decided to surprise him and the kids with a home cooked meal. Jaime knew how to cook and did a pretty good job of it, but never actually cooked just for herself. She enjoyed cooking for the people she cared about but cooking for herself just never really appealed. She would usually end up just throwing something together and eating in front of the computer as she worked. There was no need for an elaborate meal plan to do that. However, once in a while, the mood would strike, and she would buy fresh ingredients and cook up a storm. On such a sunny afternoon, she picked up all the ingredients necessary for a meat lasagna, as she knew her brother loved that, and got to work. Making sure the veal ragù was nice and soft with a perfect balance of seasoning, she prepared the bouillon sauce in an adjacent pan, while dipping the lasagna sheets in milk to soften them up before layering the final dish.
An hour or so later, the lasagna was cooked, filling the house with appetizing aromas. Slicing the lasagna and placing the portions in portable boxes, Jaime packed everything into her car and drove over to her brother. Jacob opened the door and smiled in surprise at seeing his sister. “Hey! What are you doing here?” He hugged her and ushered her in.
“I knew you were busy so I thought I’d make you a lasagna. This way, you won’t have to worry about food for a few days.” Jaime took off her jacket and went to greet the little ones who were glued to the TV. “Hey guys. Don’t I get a hug?” Both kids gave their aunt a sideways hug, while keeping their eyes on the screen, God forbid they should miss anything. Shaking her head with a chuckle, Jaime went to dish out the food.
“Come on, unglue yourselves, wash those grubby hands and let’s eat.”
As they sat at the table, munching happily on the lasagna, Nicole suddenly remembered she had an important school project due in a few days. “I have to bring something to show and tell and a family member needs to come and speak to the class about their job.”
Jaime and Jacob looked at each other and rolled their eyes. “And you didn’t think it was important to say something about it before tonight?” asked a frustrated Jacob.
Nicole shrugged and mumbled an apology.
“What am I going to do? I can’t get off work with such short notice. Nicole, did you ask your mother?”
“No… Aunt Jaime, can you come?”
Jaime was in the midst of chewing when the question was directed at her. She stopped chewing and swallowed thickly. “Me?” the question came out in a somewhat squeaky voice.
Nicole smiled and nodded. Jaime looked at her brother and he was sporting a very similar look to the one presented by her niece. Jaime turned her gaze to Mikey, who has been sitting rather quietly, munching on his food.
“You see how they’re ganging up on me?” She jokingly asked the little one. Mikey laughed and patted his aunt’s arm.
“Glad you’re with canlı kaçak bahis me on this, shorty.” She patted Mikey’s head, sighed and rolled her eyes in her brother’s direction. “Fine. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Yay!!” Nicole shouted excitedly.
Feeling a slight sense of déjà vu, Jaime was standing in front of her niece’s classroom three days later. There were two other parents, she assumed, ready to present their professions in class, standing nearby. No more than a few minutes later, the door opened and Ms. Fields ushered the speakers in. When she saw Jaime, an instantaneous smile appeared on her lips. Clearing her throat and standing in front of her class, Ms. Fields introduced the speakers and asked the children to be quiet and respectful. Jaime looked around the class, and when she spotted her niece, smiled and waved slightly. Nicole waved back.
The first parent to speak was a police officer and his presentation was well received. The children found his job to be exciting and dangerous. The second speaker was a lawyer. She told the class about a typical work day, about presenting cases in court, leaving the children intrigued. Then, it was finally Jaime’s turn.
“Hi everyone. Thanks again to the other speakers, who were absolutely fascinating. I don’t know if and how my job can compare to theirs but it can be quite exciting as well. You see, I’m a college professor. I teach literature, which is quite similar to what Ms. Fields does here, I believe, only to slightly older children.” The adults in the room chuckled at that but the joke flew over the kids’ heads. Jaime then went on to talk about academic life and research, about her favorite teaching topics and her own writing, and decided to bring the ‘lecture’ to a close when eyes started to become slightly droopy, resembling her own students to a tee. Before leaving the impromptu stage, her niece raised her hand in question. Jaime stopped in her tracks, and asked, “Yes?”
“Tell them about your band!” Nicole wanted to show her aunt off to the popular kids and was slightly disappointed with her presentation, so she decided to show them how cool she really was.
Jaime smiled, “But that’s not really my profession…”
It was Sarah who interrupted this time. “That doesn’t matter. You have a band? What instrument do you play?” The children were starting to get excited as well, to Nicole’s great pleasure.
Jaime felt slightly embarrassed but the last thing she wanted was to disappoint her niece… or Sarah…
“I’m actually the singer. And yes, I do have a band and we occasionally perform.” The answer brought on a slew of questions and comments from both students and adults alike. Jaime was just happy she did something right and felt it to her core when she glanced at her niece and saw her little face practically glowing. She winked at her and made sure to answer everyone’s questions.
Before they knew it, the class ended and the bell rang. The children were somewhat reluctant to leave their own personal rock star behind, but Ms. Fields eventually managed to clear the class. She thanked the other presenters and then came up to Jaime. “You were really great with them. Thank you so much for coming.”
“Oh it was no trouble at all. Glad it went well.”
“Oh it went very well… you’ve made quite an impression. If you need help with the groupies, let me know.” They both chuckled.
Jaime scratched the back of her neck and shuffled her feet a bit. She was nervous but for the life of her couldn’t figure out why. “Umm… if you want, I mean, if you’re not doing anything else, or you know… My band is actually performing this weekend. If you want to come, it should be fun…” Sarah just smiled as she looked at the tall, gorgeous brunette, who seemed to be unreasonably tongue-tied around her. It made her look absolutely adorable.
Jaime stopped for a second and thought about her previous sentence. “I swear to God, I am an English professor…”
Sarah burst into laughter, making Jaime chuckle as well. Sarah placed her hand on Jaime’s and said, “I’d love to see you guys perform. Thank you for the invite.”
It was later in the week when Jaime was out with her friends and bandmates, getting ready and setting up gear for their upcoming performance at one of the local bars in town. After her presentation at her niece’s school, Jaime felt exhilarated. She felt she had done right. The kid was happy and bursting at the seams with pride, and she got another chance to converse with Nicole’s lovely teacher. Again, it wasn’t an overly long or overtly anything really, kind of conversation. It was short and to the point but easy-going. And there was something more to it. A deeper layer that gave it a sort of intimacy one can only achieve with a person who has become close, familiar. And yet, in all the time she’d known Ms. Sarah Fields, which wasn’t a whole lot, they had barely exchanged more than a few words. There was just something about her that Jaime couldn’t put her finger on. She guessed she was attracted to her. Sarah was definitely an attractive woman. She seemed sweet and smart, good with the kids, charming. Enchanting really. But there was more to it than mere attraction. It went deeper than that, which struck Jaime as completely unhinged and strange. They barely knew each other!
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