Author's Note: Please read 'White Wedding' in order to understand what's going on.
I'm not in love with you anymore than you are with me. Heaven help the man whoever really loves you.
Dean ashed his cigarette for the last time before flicking it away. Sitting in his car he wondered if it was wise for them to meet at her husband's summer cottage. What if the neighbors were suspicious? Did he suspect anything? What if he made a surprise visit? He nervously ran his hands over his thighs one last time and then opened the car door.
Making his way towards the porch steps, he realized this was another large empty house. No wonder she was so quick to forgive and finally let someone else in her lonely world.
As he ascended the steps Dean wasn't sure where they stood. Were they having an affair or was it just a one-time thing like Julie originally proposed? He didn't know how he should act around her. She said she wanted to 'talk' so he decided it was best to just follow her lead.
He had poured his heart out to her before her wedding. At his most vulnerable, she chose the other man over him. He wasn't sure if he could put himself out there again.
"I always thought you would be the mother of my children."
But then he remembered how frank she had been about her marriage. Admitting she had made a huge mistake and confessing that he was the only one who could love her. But where did that leave her husband? If things were so bad why didn't she just pickup and leave?
It took everything in him to ring the bell and not run back down the stairs to his truck. He shifted uneasily on his feet before gaining his composure. After was seemed an eternity, but was only a minutes, Julie appeared at the door.
She was composed and demure, moving out of the way so that he could enter. She was dressed in appropriate white-collar attire, donning a polo and pants with a cardigan around her shoulders. He watched as she coyly pretended that there was no giant, pink elephant in the middle of the room. And she did this being the picture of a perfect wife, while she was completely ignorant of her allure over him.
He wanted to go back to her wedding day, remembering her standing there in her underwear preparing for the ceremony. She was so vivacious and alert, never backing down from a fight. Now she was calm and submissive, lacking excitement for life. What was worse was that he had failed to recognize it last week, being so wrapped up in his own crisis.
Dean wasn't listening as she pointed out certain rooms in the house and gave explanations as to why it was decorated a certain way. He didn't have to heart to tell her that it made no difference to him. This wasn't the woman he knew and loved, it was the shell of her.
"Babe, can we sit down and talk?" He said bluntly. Julie wasn't surprised by the request and seemed as if she had anticipated it. Secretly she had wanted to work up enough nerve to start a serious conversation, but he had beaten her to it.
She led him into the den and they sat side-by-side on the sofa.
"I'm gonna just come out and ask. What exactly did you invite me over here for?"
"Well," She began slowly, "I wanted to talk about what happened last week."
It was all she needed to say for Dean to surrender himself over to her completely. He walked over and pulled the cardigan off her shoulders before carelessly tossing it aside. He scooped her up in his arms, forcing her to look up into his eyes.
She shook her head, "Dean, listen to me-"
He recognized the astonishment in her voice. "I'll wait. Baby, I don't care how long it takes for a divorce."
She shook her head again and put her hands up. "I'm afraid we misunderstood each other."
"What?" The smile on his face faded until it was twisted into a confused expression.
"I won't leave him now, if that's what you're talking about." She said firmly. "At least, not right away."
"Why not?" She could hear the hurt and surprise in his voice. "You said it yourself, he isn't even around. Why not just divorce or get an annulment?"
"Just because everything isn't perfect doesn't mean I don't care about him. I know it's going to take a lot to make it work with Jake." She said prying herself out of his embrace. "But the truth is, you and me, we're not in love with each other anymore. We both know those days are long gone. I had hoped you'd be willing to just be friends, I thought that we both were under the same impression-"
He couldn't believe his ears! Just days ago she was crying on his shoulder about how empty and sad her life was and now she was defending it. "What about last week, all that nonsense about knowing he could never love you?"
"I know what I said, and maybe it won't work out. But I was just lonely. And you, well you're still getting over a tough breakup. We both just found comfort with each other for awhile." He shook his head in disbelief. "It would never work because we're both so different. I wouldn't date you just because my marriage to him didn't pan out."
He knew she was right. They had grown apart of the years and now she didn't belong in the same world as him. Hers was full of yachts and vacations, his was dead-end jobs to pay the bills. He thought he was still in love with Julie, but it was the Julie from high-school he still loved. She wasn't that girl anymore, no matter how hard he tried to imagine her back.
"Did either of us say we loved the other?" She said sensing that he was still having a hard time taking in everything.
"No, I guess not."
"Then what made you think that I would want to marry you?" She said trying to hide her amusement. Dean felt foolish for thinking that she would ever want to leave her new life for him. She had already chosen Jacob over him months ago and a busy work schedule was not going to change it.
"If you don't love me, than how do you explain sleeping with me, twice, while you belonged to another man?" He was trying not to sound bitter.
She shrugged. "I told you I was lonely. I thought it was understood that it was a one-time thing. It was exciting for the both us, I know, I was there. We've always had that sexual chemistry, there's no denying it's amazing. It just worked out that way when we were both looking for comfort and a friendly face. But do you really think we could have a relationship based on that alone? You know nothing about me or how my life has changed these last years. And the same goes for me."
He nodded, "I guess you're right." He realized that they had both become two completely different people, and it would take time before they would know each other again.
"Look, I really want us to be friends and be close again. I hope you can forgive me for everything." He knew she was talking about the incident before her wedding. "I know it's asking a lot."
He looked at her for a moment before answering. He should've been angry. He knew he should have been furious at her. But looking into her blue eyes made him realize that he would do whatever it took to get to know her again. He wanted to know what she was like. Did she still have to hold the TV remote? What was her favorite song? Did she still lick the foil tops from the pudding cups? He wanted to know everything about her.
"Yeah, I'd like that."
Julie had acknowledge in front of Dean that her marriage needed work, but she had no intention of telling her husband about her newfound friendship with her ex, or their few run-ins during their moments of weakness.
They had spent their weekends at each other's homes, watching movies
"Come over for Sunday dinner, it'll be like old times." He said with pleading eyes.
"I don't know Dean..."
"Think of how happy my mother will be to see you. She was devastated when we broke up all those years ago." He said laying it on thick, knowing she would feel guilty about never visiting his mother. Mrs. Portman and Julie had grown very close over the few years they dated during high school.
Julie was silent for a moment. She would have done anything to be in Mrs. Portman's good graces. There was something about her that made Julie want to be just like her. She ran a busy household full of love with a no-nonsense type of attitude.
"I always told Dean you were my favorite, but it looks like someone else has already scooped you up." She said pulling up Julie's hand to look at her ring.
"Favorite? How many girls did he bring home?" She said playfully.
"Well there was Cookie...Candi...Muffin. All the food names." His sister Carla piped in. She was a shorter version of Dean: Dark hair, tanned skin, and good-looking. It was amusing to hear the young girl criticize her older brother for his indifference in relationships. Julie was almost positive that she was perpetually in a relationship, moving from boy to boy. Not that she could blame her, the boys practically trailed Carla wherever she went.
"Very funny, Car." Dean said stepping to offer a kiss on the cheek to both female relatives.
Julie knew that in all honesty they were joking. An Italian boy would not just bring a casual date home to meet his mother and family. There was a serious commitment when introduced to the matriarch.
Being able to joke around with the women was one of Julie's favorite things about them. The Portman women laughed when they were happy, argued when they disagreed, and hugged when they made up. There was no pretense with them.
"Where's Pop?" Dean said looking around.
Mr. Portman was also large, but carried his weight better than his wife. He had salt and pepper colored hair and a matching mustache. Julie adored him the most, and whatever admiration she had for him was mutual. The middle aged man treated her as if she was already his daughter-in-law, always welcoming her with hugs and kind words.
"Julie!" He said taking the girl in his arms. "It's been ages! Has my son finally wised up and begged you to take him back?"
"No Phil, someone already beat him to it." Mrs. Portman answered before Julie could respond. "Look at that rock!"
"I see, and who is the lucky man?"
"His name is Jacob Jones, he's in Real Estate." Julie said speaking her first words to him in years.
She loved feeling so at ease with them. It was hard to make sure she said and did the right things around Jacob's family. Being with the Portmans was similar to being with her own upper-middle class family because there was no pressure to impress or feign interest in something.
"Ah well, I guess it is too late for Dean," He said putting an arm around the girl and leading her into the dinning-room while the others trailed behind.
"Am I invisible?" Dean said in wonder as his family flattered Julie with attention.
After a long dinner of home-made spaghetti sauce and meatballs, the females headed to the kitchen as the men helped clear the table. Julie offered to dry while Mrs. Portman washed and Carla put away the dishes.
"Your mother-in-law probably worships you."
"Actually, we're not that close, yet. We really haven't had time to bond, but we'll probably have Jacob's parents at the cottage this summer." She felt uneasy lying to the woman she idolized.
"Hey mom, did you ever get rid of my old Nintendo games?" Dean asked handing them the last plate from the dinning-room. Julie was thankful that he had interrupted so she wouldn't be forced to lie anymore further.
"No, I think they're still packed away in your closet." She said absentmindedly taking the dish from him.
"Great. Hey Jules, come with me, I want to show you these old photos I found of us from high school." He said taking the dish-towel out of her hands.
She followed him up the stairs and down the long hallway. Nostalgia took over and she felt like she was sixteen again, sneaking upstairs with her boyfriend.
Once she crossed the room, he shut the door behind them, forgetting to make sure the door clicked closed all the way. He watched as she looked around his room in awe.
"I can't believe you still have your old room here."
"You know how sentimental my family is." He said not taking his eyes off of her.
"So where are these pictures?" After she spoke she felt his big arms wrap around her waist and pull her against him.
"Forget about them." His lips met her bare neck. He knew he had agreed to take things slow and try to simply be friends, but watching her interact with his family always made him admire her even more. She had talked with ease, joked and listened to the same stories his family told. His grandmother commented on how much she had missed that 'Julie-girl' and wished she would come visit more often.
"We can't! You're parents are downstairs." She said trying to pull away from him but only pressing up against him even more in the process.
"Come on, this pathetic bed never saw any action." He said roguishly, pulling her into his lap as he sat on the bed.
"You dragged me all the way over here to fulfill some little high school fantasy?" She said raising her brow. Although they had never had any of their romantic trysts in that particular bed, Julie could remember their sturdy dorm-beds survived many passionate skirmishes.
"What if I did? You should be flattered." He hadn't thought about being alone with her until they had become more comfortable being around each other, but seeing her interact with his family changed everything. He had forgotten how much his entire family had cared about Julie.
She hit him playfully but her caught her hand and forced her onto the bed. This was becoming an all-too-familiar scenario for them.
"There's no way we're having sex in your parents' house!" She hissed up at him.
"What about just making out?" He suggested.
"No, this feels really wrong."
His expression changed. "I know he hasn't been with you for days." He hissed into her ear. "Babe, you're dying to be touched by a real man."
Julie was taken aback by his perception. Jacob had been working overtime all week, leaving her in an empty bed. Things had never been this bad and now she was itching for fun.
"This can just be about two friends helping each other out." He offered, hoping she would catch on that he had also seen little action in weeks.
Twenty minutes later the two came bounding down the stairs with boxes tucked under their arms. Julie's was full of assorted polariods and negatives while Dean's had old Super Mario Brothers game cartridges.
"I see you found them." Mrs. Portman said eyeing the bundle in Dean's arms. Although she loved to spoil her only son, she hated seeing him play those pointless videogames when he was a child.
"Yes Mama." He approached her and gave a peck on the cheek. "We're heading out, Julie needs to get on the road now, if she's going to make it back home."
"Oh alright." Mrs. Portman said mournfully. She stretched her arms out to the girl and embraced her again. "You come visit anytime you want, even without Dean. Bring that husband of yours too, I don't want another seven years to go by before another visit."
"I will." Julie felt guilty lying again.
"Where's Carla?" Dean said waiting to say good-bye to his younger sister.
"Who knows where she's run off to. She'll have to catch you guys next time." Mrs. Portman said ushering them towards the front door.
After about forty-five minutes Carla decided it was safe to return up from the rec-room in the basement. She had long heard voices exchanging farewells, the front door shut, and the sound of Dean's SUV start-up and drive away.
"Carla, where have you been, your brother and Julie left and wanted to say good-bye."
"Oh, I fell asleep watching television downstairs." She was surprised at how calm her voice sounded as she lied. She had heard them calling her name, she had heard it all.
"What's wrong sweetie? You look a little flushed." Mrs. Portman observed.
"Oh, uh...I think it's my allergies. I heard the pollen count was very high this year." She said shrugging her shoulders, failing to mention she had accidentally saw her brother dry-humping his married ex upstairs. Well maybe not accidentally, but when she heard muffled voices down the hallway she decided to investigate. They had neglected to completely shut the door and the when the air conditioning kicked on it had blown the door open a crack.
Carla heard Julie agree to something and then silence. She quietly peered through the crack and was able to make out the two adults in the room. Julie lying subdued on the bed, Dean on top. Their lips feverishly assaulting the other, already inflamed. She was blind to just how customary this territory was for the couple, knowing every freckle and curve of the other's body. Both were unaware that there was an audience.
Dean started to drive his hips into Julie's, leaving his pants on. Carla was most surprised at this. Although she was seventeen, she had experienced several boys who attempted to try the same maneuver on her. Somehow she always came up with a good excuse to stop or her ringing cell phone would thankfully interrupt. She never understood why this seemed like the next step until she saw it performed.
Dean stopped, lifted his hips and unbuttoned his jeans with one hand. Julie helped him ease them down to his thighs and they resumed activity. This time he was delivering prods with more ease, leaving his boxers on. Julie seemed to have no trouble being comfortable, as he had hoisted her skirt up past her waist before Carla had even came upon the pair. Now she had her legs clamped around his torso to help propel him against her and her hands were clutching the fabric of his shirt.
She watched Dean's face, eyes closed as he lifted his face towards the ceiling close to orgasm. A moan escaped Julie's mouth which shook Carla back to reality. It was enough to scare her off to the other side of the house for the rest of the afternoon.
When she heard her mother called for her to say good-bye she knew she couldn't face them.
"So how did you know?"
"What?" He said glancing at her while trying to focus on the road.
"That seeing them would make me remember how much fun we used to have."
"It was the only thing I could think of." He confessed.
She smiled and folded her arms, sitting back in her seat. After a few moments of silence she concluded, "You did good."
He grinned back.
"What's so funny?"
"You looooove me." He said in a sing-song voice.
So much for trying to be friends.
Next chapter will have more Dean/Julie interaction with the rest of the ducks during different social occasions. Carla catching her brother will come into play later.