Harley and the Mole
The boys were in bed, exhausted, and she and Jason had the entire night to themselves, but Elizabeth had no idea how he would be able to give her anything near as wonderful as the day they had just spent with their children. It was rare when you worked full time, when your husband lived such a complicated and demanding lifestyle, and when your children had commitments and activities of their own to spend an entire day without interruptions with just the four of them together, but Jason had managed to give that to her for Valentine's Day, and, as she collapsed into a warm bath, complete with soft lighting, comforting music, and the solitude of a quiet house, the mother of two, in that moment, believed that nothing, not even an original Van Gogh or an extended trip to Italy, would be a better gift.
And it certainly wouldn't beat her gift for Jason either... which she was going to give to him after they were snuggled down together in bed that night, perfectly alone with just the two of them while their kids dreamed on in their own bedrooms, obvious to the special moments their parents were sharing. It was going to be perfect, and nothing, she was determined, was going to ruin her surprise, especially since, after the wonderful day Jason had given her, he deserved only the best she could offer.
The morning had started without the alarm clock waking her. Blissfully, ignorantly, she had slept through her wake up call. Because her schedule had been conveniently changed so she had the holiday off, Elizabeth had not been required to get up at the crack of dawn. Epiphany had denied and then got annoyed with her when she had continued to ask about why she had gotten Valentine's Day off. Instead of answering, the curmudgeonly head nurse had griped about ungrateful young women not being satisfied or even thankful for life's small favors, walking away in a fit of mock indignation while ranting the entire time. Though Elizabeth had not received an answer or the confirmation she had wanted, she was still convinced that Jason had something to do with her rather fortuitous schedule, but, after encountering her supervisor's wrath by asking questions, she had let the topic drop.
So that was why at ten fifteen in the morning, she had woken up to a still home. Jason had gotten up early for her... not that he wasn't usually up early anyway... and had made sure the boys were washed, dressed, fed, and packed for school. After taking them there himself, he had returned home with breakfast from Kelly's, simply tinkering around the house, fixing odds and ends for her while he waited for her to get up on her own. He reattached a loose porch rail that been bothering her for a couple of days, cleaned the lighting fixtures for her because she couldn't reach them, and unclogged the boys' bathroom sink because she just hated doing that, and, by the time she woke up, all of his attention was placed upon her, and they spent the rest of the morning together.
While she ate her breakfast, holding herself back from asking for seconds and tipping her hand even more, he sat beside her in bed and drank coffee, smirking to himself the entire time. About what, she didn't know, and, when the mother of two, soon-to-be three, asked, he kept mum and simply averted his gaze away from her questioning one. It was frustrating, annoying even, but the sneaky man had distracted her with a nice, long motorcycle ride. She wanted to be mad at him for knowing he could get away with just about anything if his apology included a helmet, the wind, and going nowhere, but it was Valentine's Day, she knew something that he didn't, and she was about to become the original gift giver. Nothing could keep her mood down.
After their ride, they had returned home, switched vehicles, and gone to pick up Jake from the play school he attended three days a week at Daycare. With Francis being given the day off much to the chagrin of anti-romantic guard, the three of them returned home to just spend the afternoon together. Lunch was a pleasant affair, another meal of takeout so she didn't have to cook at all that day, and, following it, the three of them retreated to her studio where she and Jake painted and Jason worked on some part that went to his bike. Elizabeth didn't know what it was, and, frankly, she didn't want to. As long as it worked okay when he put it back on the motorcycle, that's all she cared about.
The hours passed quickly, and, before they knew it, it was time for Cameron to be picked up from school. Because the boys actually attempted to get along and managed to only have a few snits, she knew they had made a bargain with each other to not fight, but, instead of questioning it, Elizabeth had simply enjoyed it. After all, why fix something if it wasn't already broken, right? Then, dinner came and went, her third meal of takeout that day, and she savored not having to do anything. While she opened the card the boys had made her together, her three big, strong, apron wearing men, something they only did to appease her, cleaned up the kitchen, glaring at her whenever she tried to get up to help, and she had been forced to obey... even when they loaded the dishwasher wrong, even when they gave Harley some table scraps, even when they threw away the leftovers instead of simply packing them up in a tupperware container.
But biting her tongue had been worth it. Seeing the joy it brought her family to take care of her only reinforced her own fondness for being the one to do things for them on a daily basis. Once the kitchen was cleaned up according to their standards, the family retreated to the living room and played games together, keeping the television turned off and the conversation flowing much to her delight. Yes, sometimes it was nice not to have to think or do anything, to just collapse onto the couch and enjoy some mindless entertainment, but, at other times, it was even better to spend quality time with her husband and kids, especially when said quality time made the boys tired, and they went to bed earlier than normal. An early bedtime meant private couple time for her and Jason, it meant long talks in bed and hot chocolate, and it meant doing other things in bed besides talking.
There was only one problem to her plan. She was in the bathtub alone, and Jason was off doing who knows what, who knows where, and who knows why, and they weren't any closer to going to bed. After a whole day of being practically the perfect husband... despite his rather lackluster cleaning skills, Jason was really falling down on the job, but she was determined to get what she wanted, even if that meant getting out of the bathtub, putting on her ridiculously skimpy pajamas bought purposely for that evening, and going in search of him. So, that's what she did, and, during her whole trip down the stairs, she cursed her M.I.A. husband, because, with every step she took out of the steam warmed bathroom, she felt another dozen or so goosebumps springing up on her freshly shaven legs. Talk about a mood killer, and she sure as hell wasn't going to shave her legs again. If she ended up with prickly thighs, Jason was just going to have to deal with it. After all, it was his fault anyway.
Grumbling further as she stomped, albeit quietly so as not to wake up the kids, down the stairs, she added, "stupid man," under her breath, rolling her eyes at the sheer fact that she sounded just like her boys. Still, she wasn't going to admit that to Jason. He didn't need to know that she had perpetually gotten into trouble when she was in elementary school, and he sure as hell didn't need to know that she was the queen of picking on her older siblings when she was growing up. In fact, she was so much like Jake that she knew she allowed him to get away with more than she should, but she just couldn't help it. When she saw her three and half year old, she remembered pulling some of the same tricks he did and how it felt to both be ignored by her brother and sister and what it was like to be the only one punished by their parents. Luckily, Jason picked up her slack in the disciplining department.
"You really shouldn't talk to yourself."
Jumping and almost falling down the stairs, Elizabeth reached up and clutched at her chest, looking out and finding her husband's grinning features just so she could glare at him. "Don't do that," she whispered harshly, taking the rest of the risers rapidly to reach the living room and the spot where he was standing, waiting for her, by the front door as quickly as possible. "I could have fallen down the steps."
"Well, maybe you should try being more aware of your surroundings," Jason suggested. Crossing his arms over his t-shirt clad chest, he demanded to know, "and what did I do to warrant being called a... what was it... a stupid man?"
And, just like that, he went from being a perfect husband to an irritatingly smug one. Why did he have to have such great hearing, and why did he always have to know when she wasn't paying attention? Was it fun for him to sneak up on her and scare her half to death? He should know better than to do that to a pregnant woman, and, even though she hadn't told him yet that she was, indeed, pregnant, Elizabeth still wanted him to realize that she shouldn't be startled.
Finally answering his question, the nurse replied flippantly, "you're a stupid man because you just talked yourself out of getting sex tonight." Seeing the crestfallen look upon her spouse's face made her want to grin in achievement, but she bit back the amusement, prepared to torture him further. "I even shaved my legs while I was upstairs taking a bath, and I put on this," she pointed to herself, pivoting around in her short, midnight blue nightie to model it properly for him, "on for you, but, then, you decided to be a typical man. You made me wait for you which you know I hate doing, so I had to come down here to find you, making goosebumps break out on my legs, and, as the cherry topper on a giant ice cream sundae, you scared me. So, as punishment, as soon as I give you your Valentine's Day present, we're going to bed... to sleep and not with each other."
"I bet I can get you to change your mind."
Elizabeth snorted. "Highly doubtful, Jason."
"What if I make you one of those giant ice cream sundaes you just mentioned?"
"Well, to do that," she informed him, "you'd have to go to the grocery store, and I know how much you hate doing that, because, yesterday, I finished all the ice cream, and the chocolate syrup, and the whipped cream, and the cherries, and the caramel, and the butterscotch, and the chocolate chips, and the strawberry sauce, and the horse radish sauce, too."
Disgusted, her husband asked, "you put horse radish sauce on your ice cream?"
Realizing what she just admitted, Elizabeth's eyes became wide, but, to avoid him, she simply changed the subject. "That doesn't matter. What matters is that you can't make me a sundae which means you can't get what you want either."
"So are you saying you don't want to have sex," Jason challenged her, catching her off guard by wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her close to him. Although she pretended to struggle, secretly, she was glad he was holding her so tightly. Not only was he helping her warm up, but she did like being in his arms. "You know, it's been a few days..."
"Not my fault," the mother of two defended herself. "You were the one who decided it was a good idea to taunt me about my candy."
"Speaking of which," Jason announced, releasing her much to her chagrin. "I haven't given you your present yet."
"But I thought today was my present, having the day off, you staying home from work and turning your cell phone off, all the family time we had with the boys and them going to bed early."
"Well, that was a part of your gift," he admitted, "but we should do that kind of stuff for you more often just because..."
"Just because," Elizabeth prompted him, wanting her husband to fill in the end of his statement. When she noticed him avert his face and scrub the side of it, she knew he was embarrassed, and all she wanted to do was chuckle because, even after being together for several years, Jason was still slightly uncomfortable with overly romantic declarations of his feelings. She found it endearing, cute even, but, if she would tell him that, it would only make matters worse, make him even more embarrassed, so she withheld from teasing him.
After shuffling his feet for several silent moments, the father of her children finally replied, "because we love you," underneath his breath. Just as quickly as the admission was out, he changed the topic, striding towards the dining room table where there were more than a dozen boxes, all wrapped rather haphazardly, she assumed, by the children, of various sizes. "Here," he motioned towards the presents. "Open them."
So she did, a bright, wide, excited smile lighting up her makeup free yet glowing face the entire time. As each gift was revealed, her already rapidly beating heart sped up some more. Each box held a candy dish made of rich, authentic, Italian glass, the shades varied so there would be at least one for each room.
"I shouldn't have yelled at you about the candy," Jason stated apologetically. "I know sometimes you don't even realize that you leave it laying around in odd places, but, this way, there's a place for it to belong now."
"They're beautiful," she whispered, in awe, as her long, artistically inclined fingers slid over and memorized each graceful line of the dishes. "But the mole was in the house just a few days ago. How did you get these made and here on time?"
Grinning mischievously, her husband bragged, "I have my ways."
"I'm sure you do." Looking back at the red and blue, green and purple, pink and clear dishes, Elizabeth continued, "and they're already filled with candy - Valentine's Day hearts, my favorite." Reaching for a piece to eat it, she missed Jason's eyes rolling at her favorite comment, but, even if she would have seen it, in that moment, she was too distracted, too full of love for the father of her children to care. Placing the tiny, mint morsel into her mouth, she was prepared to savor the sweet until she realized that it wasn't what she thought it was.
"Jason?" Questioning the man beside her, she turned to face him, a screwed up, confused expression marring her otherwise content features. "Where the hell did you buy these things? I think they're bad."
"No, they're not."
"Then what the hell are they, because they definitely don't taste like they're supposed to?"
"I had them specially made," he confided, glancing back at the candy before meeting her inquiring gaze again. "Why, don't you like them?"
"They're... interesting," Elizabeth hedged, not wanting to hurt her husband's feelings. "But they don't exactly taste like candy."
"Well, that's probably because they're not; they're antacids, Tums to be exact, made into the shape of hearts."
In that moment, the giant, almost boyish smile she so rarely saw on Jason's face came out and illuminated the entire room... at least it did in her opinion. "Tums," he explained. "You know, the things you inhaled constantly when you were pregnant with Jake. I noticed even though you didn't realize that I did, and, since you're going to be giving me another child here in a few months, I figured you'd want to be stocked up for the rest of your pregnancy."
He knew. The stupid, slimy, incorrigible, overly confident, sneaky, mocking, annoyingly always right, STUPID man KNEW!
There went her surprise.
There went her gift to him.
And there went her first and probably only chance to be the original gift giver in their family.
With no other option because she didn't want to wake up the sleeping boys upstairs, Elizabeth was left with glaring at her husband, pinning him down with a glower, she hoped, would rival his own enforcer glare, the glare he had, though he denied doing so, passed down to their youngest son.
"Ugh," she moaned, forming her small hands into fists and barely managing to restrain herself from using them on her husband's face as he rocked back and forth on his feet in a self-satisfied manner. Abruptly turning around, she marched her way to the steps only to be lifted off her feet and carried up the long flight of stairs in the very capable arms of the father of her three children.
"Thank you," he murmured into her ear, kissing the smooth, sensitive flesh beneath it, his hot breath warming her entire, previously chilled, body with that one, simple, erotic movement. "I love my gift," Jason continued, making her toes curl in anticipation as they reached their bedroom door and he kicked it open only to return it to its former position by the same means. "A baby for Valentine's Day is the best, most original present anyone has ever given me."
Further words weren't shared as they celebrated the rest of the holiday and the news of their unborn child together, and it was the perfect ending to the perfect day that her suddenly perfect again husband had given her for the only perfect Valentine's Day Elizabeth had ever experienced. But that still didn't mean she didn't want that ice cream sundae. Gasping as the delicious sensations her husband was causing inside of her wrecked havoc upon her already vulnerable and sexually tender form, the soon-to-be mother of three melted into the luxurious bed beneath her, enjoying her final and most stimulating gift that evening.
For the moment, she would forget about the craving their flippant words from earlier had inspired within her, but, after they were both completely finished, their sweaty forms sated and properly exhausted, she couldn't promise anything. Jason had gotten off easy the last time she was pregnant; maybe it was time for him to learn just howwonderfulthe experience of impending motherhood could truly be. With that thought in mind, she spiraled out of control, diving under the waves of orgasmic bliss only her husband could grant her, staying there with him, drowning there, under the water for as long as she could, savoring not only the release their love had granted one another but the fact that, once they resurfaced, Jason was going to go to the grocery store for her, and she was going to get both that proverbial cherry to her perfect day and the literal one for her ice cream sundae.
Life with Jason and their kids was good; it was beautiful, it was right, and it was pretty damn tasty, too. But, now, she had to figure out a way for St. Patrick's Day to top Valentine's Day. Beating the father of her children in the original gift giving department... among other things... was addicting, and, if nothing else, being pregnant made her feel even more competitive.
It was definitely going to be an interesting next six months.