Emily

A likely yarn about two lonely people who find each other under the most remote circumstances, in a place they would least likely expect to meet each other and fall in love. What does love have to do with HO scale model railroading and off-roading? Let's find out.

I.

Emily was the essence of my dreams as I thought and dreamt about her. How I met her was a thousand to one that it would ever happen again. The way our meeting happened was chance on a Saturday.

Saturday. Saturday afternoon after payday is even better. I was at my favorite hangout, the local – one of four in the area, hobby shops stocking up on the essentials for my model railroad layout – some people like to think my layout is "huge": By whose standards? It's average size which fits well in to a basement area 1,792 sq. ft. custom built house.

Anyway there is the usual group which most Saturdays can be found hanging out at Mike's model railroad hobby shop, which is located on the north end of town in an older shopping center. Mike is holding court with the usual Saturday group of rail fans and model railroaders as I am checking out building kits when a young family enters, the old brass doorbell from an old steam engine clangs as they enter.

The father looks up at the bell in amazement. Says something to his wife about the bell then they walk in saying "`afternoon" to Mike. They crossed the store to the various displays.

The father shows the boy and his sister, the pair who appear no more than ten and twelve the display of HO scale items. The girl seemed to hang back with her mother until the boy calls the girl over to look over some HO scale kits. I'm at the end of the isle trying not to appear I'm watching, but I am. Finally I walk over to the items they're looking at when the father asks the two what they wanted. The boy looked at what I was carrying and said: "I want what he's got!" I have two diesel engines, a couple boxcars and covered hopper cars, a craftsman quality building kit not to mention an array of detail parts: roughly one hundred and thirty dollars alone for either engine, never mind the freight cars at fourteen plus a piece.

Dad looked at me, we exchanged astounded looks; he shook his head and said: "Um, we're still not quite there yet, son."

"Um, excuse me - here," I said fishing a rail pass card from my shirt pocket. "I'm Dan Emerson; I'll be having a model railroad open house display next weekend if you're not doing anything."

He checked the card out. "Oh, thank you."

I had posters in the hobby shops, ads in the newspaper, and on the public service segment of the local radio stations.

"Just show the card at the door. Free entry."

"Great," his wife said as she looked at the card past his shoulder.

"Plus, there will be several experts there from the local model railroad club who will

answer any questions you have on everything from start up to wiring to track."

"Thank you," he said stuffing the card in a shirt pocket. "Probably what we'll need."

They finally settled on a diesel engine of some type and a couple freight cars, paid for them and left. I shrugged and continued browsing the shelves picking up another new freight car, which I probably didn't need and walked over to the counter setting everything down until I was ready to check out.

As I set my arm load of things down on the far end of the counter the door opened

again with a clanging of the bell. A stunning young woman with a little boy entered. I about gave myself whiplash looking at her. She was elegantly dressed for a Saturday afternoon walking through stores; a beige dress stopping just a few inches above her knees, white button down sweater over her shoulders held in place at her neck by a gold clasp but loose about her shoulders, nice white heels, long blonde hair, all surmounted by clear frame glasses over sapphire blue eyes.

The rest of the group must have given themselves whiplash checking her out too – Mike included.

She looked around a minute then asked: "Um, excuse me, sir, but do you have Lionel

trains?"

Mike shook himself then replied: "Yes, there …" Pointing to shelves above him lined with the latest addition of Lionel trains, "and near the back are some freight cars on a shelf and a consignment table."

"Thank you."

I eased to the back as she guided the boy to the back of the store and the O scale and narrow gauge equipment and the consignment table.

She said to the boy: "Look, Timmy look at all this Lionel stuff."

The boy was quiet for a minute as he checked out the display on the table; he must have been eight or nine; blonde hair and glasses like his mother. I watched them for a moment checking her out as she showed the boy a selection of freight cars. I looked at the magazine rack to see a soft bound book on Lionel trains. Checking the price I took it and passed it to her.

"Here, ma'am this will help you in choosing the engines and freight cars," I said passing the book to her.

She looked at it then our eyes captured each other, she said: "Thank you."

In the meantime Timmy had two boxcars and a caboose in his hands.

I introduced myself: "Dan … Daniel Emerson."

The woman was shy for a moment before she finally said: "Emily … Emily Peters."

I took out another rail pass card passing it to her. "Open house train show next Saturday at my place – that is if you don't have anything to do please come."

We met steady gazes, something passed between us. Her eyes as did mine, checked left hands and fingers then she hesitantly nodded her head. "Thank you. Yes, we will. Timmy will enjoy that. He really enjoys trains."

As she started to the counter I got Mike's attention, pulled out a ten dollar bill waved it indicating I'd pay for the book for her. He nodded his head.

I watched as she led the boy to the counter to pay Mike for the book and three items the boy had selected, she indicated the book. Mike looked at the book and said: "Oh no ma'am that's okay the book is free. Goes with the Lionel trains you bought."

I heard her say timidly: "Thank you, sir."

All eyes in the store were on her as she left. Nice.

II.

Saturday of the next week did not come fast enough as the week passed, I had the basement and everything ready for my guests – almost the entire local model railroad club, local residences and people I'd passed out the rail passes to – Emily included were showing up.

I had visions of her and what she was like during the week.

I live in an area where the houses are custom built, meaning built to what you want not the developer's whims and spaced apart with better lots: the back yard is roughly an acre and a half. I have a good long driveway where people were able to park off the street. Both my truck, a K5 Blazer and car, a Chevrolet Impala set off to the side on the side lawn making room in the two and a half car bay garage for people to stand around if they wanted. All kinds of snacks and calorie rich foods had been provided, large jugs of ice tea, Kool aide, the works were provided by the club ladies.

The club members arrived an hour ahead, a reception table was set up inside the garage, the garage doors opened back to the train room as it's called. Tables were set up by the club members inside the garage for the white elephant sales of excess equipment. I usually am the first to pick through their stuff to buy what I am looking for. Much of it was already on the layout for the show by the time the first guests arrived.

By eleven the train room was packed with viewers, people talking, I was playing the host as usual posting myself at the train room door off the garage, greeting people as they entered saying good-bye to those as they were leaving – some an hour later.

By that time I began to wonder if Emily would come to the show. I was talking to the young husband and wife and their children when she showed up. The boy and girl were each holding extra freight cars they'd bought from the "white elephant" tables. The family was all enthused as they finally entered the train room to see long manifest freights, triple headed six-axle engine lash-ups on coal drags, and switching operations being performed. The boy and girl were all: "Wow's and cool," and words like that as they followed a manifest freight from the staging yard to the next town.

The essence of my day dreams and fantasies finally showed up.

Emily and I were standing almost eye to eye staring at each other for a moment – all else forgotten in that instant.

I finally said: "Welcome to the Scranton and Western Railroad."

"Thank you," Emily said then she finally looked past me to the layout which literally filled the one thousand plus square foot area. She threw her hands to her mouth as she gasped. "Oh my! This so big."

I must have cringed. "One thousand and seven hundred and ninety-two square feet –

the one hundred and ninety-two is my work area. It's an end-to-end meaning there's a staging yard at either end."

I guided her and the boy to the first area filled with tracks, switches and hundreds of freight cars and engines crowded the area; a rather long multi-track area called the classification yard which led back in to a hidden multi-track off-line staging area. I described what went on there and then led them along the layout describing towns and industry and a switching operation which was being performed by one of the club members.

We made the circuit, Timmy was wide eyed and asked more questions than the average person then I asked her about the Lionel setup. She said it was setup on the boy's bedroom floor. "Well, your husband should be able to help set it up on a table."

I knew as soon as I said it I hit a sore spot with her.

She said softly: "I – I don't have a husband."

Single Mom trying to make it on her own; either divorced or child born out of wedlock; anyway, single.

"Mm, I can help if you need someone to help properly set it up," I offered.

She quickly nodded her head. "Thank you. I – I don't have a very big place – an apartment."

"We'll see," I again gently offered.

"Your wife won't mind?"

I shook my head. "Widower – if that's the correct term?"

"Oh – I – I'm sorry."

III.

She reluctantly gave me her address which I knew right then what part of town she lived in. I had the week following the show to think of how best to set the table up for the boy and maybe check out Mom better.

The problem for the boy was no problem at all. Doing some research on-line on Lionel train layouts I had that figured out in short order. It was Mom whom I was interested in – being the single eligible bachelor, widower type and all that, I had set my sights on her.

I knew this would mean a visit to the lumber yard or home improvement store, either

one I'd need some lumber and a couple sheets of plywood. I had all the tools necessary to do the work.

Donning my Conrail railroad hat, I drove my truck over to Emily's place. I parked among the other residence's cars and whatever's. Notebook and engineer drawing pad in hand I found her apartment on the second floor.

On the way up I was wondering how it wasn't that she hadn't been snatched up by some Romeo type. To say the least, and that proved to be an understatement, she was beautiful. Maybe it was because she had a kid. That didn't bother me in the least. I already set that thought to the side. I rang the doorbell and waited a minute until the door opened. It stopped at the length of the security chain as she peeked out.

"Emily?"

"Oh." She said. "Dan."

"Hi." Rather weak beginning but I suppose I had to start somewhere.

"Yes. Thank you."

She closed the door a minute, took the chain off the door and opened it. I stepped into

an immaculate apartment – better than my house. We made the usual greetings; the boy was a bit shy until she led me back to his room to show me the arrangement. The train was set up on the floor as she said. I looked the room over a minute making some eye ball calculations and thinking of the best way to design it.

I had a clip on tape measure and my notebook, so I set to measuring the area she was thinking the layout could go. Then I measured for height, starting with the boy.

Then we sat down at the kitchen table with the pad of engineer paper. I sketched the layout out then turned the pad to let the boy do his thing. I corrected him on what worked and didn't with Lionel track. We must have hashed this over for a good half hour before I finally decided to head to the home improvement store for the lumber.

I am not sure what she thought I was driving but she looked at (what I call the "Beast") the K5 Jimmy, the tires and wheel height then looked at me and said: "Kinda' high isn't it?"

For me at over six foot plus it was no problem. I opened the door flipped the seat forward and Timmy scrambled in to the back. I said: "Here, Emily, allow me…" I put my hands about her slender waist to boost her up in to the truck. She gave me a surprised look as I set her onto the seat.

"Okay?"

For a mere minute Emily and I were eye to eye.

She said breathless: "I guess so."

I grinned at her; she smiled shyly as I helped her with the seat belt. Timmy had his buckled and wondering what was taking us so long to get going. Little did he yet know.

We looked like any other family out to buy something at the store. In that time I could see Emily was devoted to her son in every way. During all this I kept wondering what happened to Pop? He's not in the kid's life? Something is wrong here.

I got the lumber, screws and other hardware; Emily said she'd pay for it, I knew better than to argue the point, and we headed to my place to start the work.

IV.

Timmy was a busy kid as I cut the lumber to size. Emily sat to the side at my work table watching as I cut the lumber and pre- drilled the holes. Two hours later I loaded the pre-fabricated sections in to the truck, with tool box and headed back to her apartment; Timmy was excited as any kid could be at this point helping to carry in the layout sections.

It was near evening by the time we had the first part set up and track laid out for him; wired, tested, checked; an excited boy sat on a chair with the controller in hand to run the first train over the layout.

As we were working Emily offered me supper. Plan One-A in place. Timmy was too enthused with his new setup to eat with us; that gave me time to small talk with Emily.

Emily finally opened up to me:

"…Charles didn't want to be married anymore," she told me softly with a catch to her voice. "It lasted less than three years. My family was devastated. They thought he was great." She started to choke up: "He hardly pays any child support. Claims he's not getting in enough hours where he works. He hardly pays much attention to Timmy as it is. Says he's busy…"

I've heard that one before. Nice excuse.

I listened to her pour out her soul to me in a rush of words, her problems and trials. I know most guys especially where I work would hardly have time to listen to the woman as she opened up the way Emily did, six years of misery flowed from her.

She was drained of all the despair she had suffered over the years as a single Mom.

Yeah, I felt sorry for her; even beautiful women like Emily have their problems and don't know who to turn too just to talk their heart out. I slid my hand across the table to take hers and lift it to my lips to kiss her hand.

Emily placed her other hand on her chest in surprise then blushed. I lifted my eyes to hers to gauge her reaction.

I said in a low voice: "You have a friend here, Emily. Anytime…"

Emily blushed a pastel pink as I held her hand in mine.

I calculated three more trips to Emily's apartment and I would have a beautiful catch

– her ex-'s loss, my gain I mused that week.

It was nearly a month later and a few visits to the apartment that I finally had Timmy's trains set up and operating as they should. I was able to get to know Emily better; we would talk as I showed Timmy how to properly control the trains.

Ulterior motive Part B succeeded.

It was about my fourth visit to the apartment that I finally asked her out. She was

thrilled. She got herself nicely dressed up that evening: a blue and white print summer dress, white faux-pearl necklace, and white strappy heels.

After the dinner we walked along the Main Street after a few minutes she finally took my hand: "It's been a long time, Dan. Sometimes I keep wondering what it's like again. It's all strange to me again – like the first time."

She looked up at me.

"Umm, remember back to when you were in high school and the first time with a guy?"

"Romantic."

"Yeah, and sometimes a thrill, sometimes special, letting the world – or, school know you were together."

"I still wonder what went wrong – I mean my life."

"Still thinking about – what, six years ago?"

She nodded her head. "Hmm."

We stopped near a store that was closed for the night.

I turned her to face me. "Emily, I'm no Doctor Freud or Doctor Phil on this thing but I know from my own problems it'll haunt me and what you went through will haunt you for a long time." I paused then said letting the words come in a small flood: "Emily, I am here for you. Whatever you want us to be, I can be. You're helping me overcome my past – I can help you as best I can. Only thing I can't do is turn time back for you. I – I can be a Big Brother to Tim. He needs someone as his mentor and friend. I – I am here for you."

A tear was at the corner of her beautiful eyes. Emily gazed up at me the glasses gave her a look of pure innocence as she stood on tip-toes to give me a kiss. Then with more passion her tongue slipped in to my mouth surprising me for a moment until I met her tongue. For a mere moment our tongues seemed to do a tango of maturing love.

After that night on a few (weekends) we would go out alone and talk our problems out or just enjoy each other's company: we both had a lot of disclosure issues, but it helped us understand each other. I didn't rush her, didn't push her into anything she wasn't ready for. Nevertheless, after a few times together I was acting like a lover to her, Emily was feeling comfortable with me.

We just took our time getting to know each other. To most guys this must have seemed strange but we enjoyed each other's company, and Timmy and I were getting to know each other too. I didn't push it but occasionally they would come over to the house and Timmy would run the "trains" and Emily would enjoy sitting on the deck or patio in the sun, usually in a sun suit. Damn she was beautiful.

For the heck of it on a Friday evening I called from work to ask her: "Ever been to a biker bar?"

"Heavens no!" She was surprised I even thought of the idea. "Why?"

"Want to go to Johnny's?" It was the better of the two places in town frequented by the biker crowd and - most red necks, and tourist types.

"But…but…"

"Nothing to be afraid of. It's pretty evenly divided between the red necks, the bikers and the tourist crowd."

"And us?"

"Never thought of that. Just like the food. For a biker Earl's a damned good cook."

"Well…" Emily hesitated at my remark as she drew out the 'well' part. "But I don't drink alcohol."

"They have sodas and ice tea."

"Okay, I guess…"

When I picked her up that evening she was dressed in a pair of beautiful form fitting designer jeans and near-form fitting pull over shirt that showed the outline of her bra, and boots. I got a nice hardon checking her out. My mind went to: What color her bra and panty was.

We left Timmy in the care of a baby sitter and Emily climbed in to my big K5 and off

to Johnny's we went. We arrived around seven which for some of Johnny's steady clientele that was still early. I parked in the side parking lot near a row of Harley's of various types; the other stuff was parked elsewhere. Emily was still apprehensive as I helped her out when we heard the roar of a dozen Harleys.

A group of HOGs pulled in I gave them the biker sign, they called to me: "Yoa, bro' what's happening?" one called. "Dan…!" a girl called waving. It was one of the Oreo sisters – Jennifer from the finance department, the other was Carol from another department.

"Goina' make a night of it," I called back.

Emily looked at them unsure of them as the guys and their women got off the bikes.

"You know them?" she asked, her voice quacking ready to jump back in the truck.

"Yeah, guys and a couple gals I work with –finance and software development, and computer hardware engineers. This is their way of blowing off steam on the weekend."

I put my arm around her and led her to the door as the group of bikers followed us. Johnny's was a converted old car shop built in the 1930's. Other parts were leased by a beauty shop and a lawyer and a finance company. Good combination of tenants.

We walked in to the blast of a combo-band that was competing with the battery of TV's all tuned to different sports events around the world, people talking and a few trying to dance on the small dance floor.

Emily hugged up to me as we waited for the hostess to return. When the girl returned, a young blonde in red short shorts, white top with Johnny's in blue script, and white rubber shoes.

"How many?" she had to shout over the noise.

"Two," and I spotted someone. "Hey, Scott and Jenny's here."

Jennifer – Jenny, was a girl at work that Scott Harrison and I knew. Jenny moved in with Scott some time ago – he can be so lucky. Those two proved to be an item around the facility.

The girl led us up to the upper tier of tables near Scott and Jenny. The two girls got to know each other as Scott and I swapped old stories and whatever else. By the time we left two hours later Emily was happy we went.

"I liked it," she said as we stepped on to the street running a finger around her ears to clear them. "Jenny's a great lady."

"Do it again?" I asked as we walked over to my truck.

"Mm, let me think about it," she said with a smile. "That's quite a place…"

I helped her in our eyes level with each other our lips mere inches apart. I leaned in to kiss her. "Tomorrow, my place?"

She nodded her head. "Timmy looks forward to it."

"And you?"

She nodded her head again. "Of course. I like your deck…"

It seemed that the –ex was quickly fading to the back of Emily's memory and she was showing me a side of her kept hidden since the divorce.

It was definitely funny their first visit since the train show one of the first weekends

they began coming over regularly that Emily opened the refrigerator and swore she heard an echo and thought she was looking in to the Grand Canyon.

I was downstairs in the garage, Timmy with me, I was working on his new bicycle that Emily bought him that he rode when they were at the house.

Emily came down to the garage she was standing in the door: "Um, Dan, mind if I ask a question?"

"Sure, hone…"

By this time I was having them come over to the house on the weekends: also, it got them out of that stuffy apartment.

"When was the last time you were to the grocery store?"

"Huh?"

"Thought so."

Shortly, with Timmy and me in tow, Emily leading the way with a grocery list, we looked like any other family there, me pushing the grocery cart, Emily was picking out what I – or we needed and Timmy looking bored.

Nevertheless, on these weekends I gave Tim the chance to operate the trains; of course Emily was nervous when I showed her the price of the average engine in one of my magazines. "One hundred and thirty …?" She gasped. She darn fainted.

And I suppose that's when Timmy got the idea to call me "Dad." And then slowly Emily and Timmy were spending more time at my place on the weekends, which I enjoyed; I liked having them around and gave me somebody to talk to besides the cats. Timmy had become my little buddy.

It was a weekend that I had prepared the meal to make up for the trip to the supermarket: a pot roast with all the vegetables; everything was ready by the time she pulled in the driveway. I don't know what she expected but she stopped in the door, sniffed and said breathless: "Pot roast."

I made a quick assessment of her: beautifully dressed in a green dress, faux-black

pearl necklace, black hose and heels. Timmy on the other hand didn't look too comfortable in a sports suit but he seemed to be humoring his mother for my sake. I said:

"And the vegetables and salad and dessert."

I think she about wanted to faint. A man who knows how to cook, what a concept.

We ate and I assured Timmy he'd get to see the train layout.

At this point I think Emily was testing the waters in our budding relationship. I know she wanted to be certain I was the "real-deal" and not just interested in her for other purposes. I'll admit that did make things a bit interesting between us. I alternated our dates and time alone with time for the boy.

I had to go in to work for a couple hours one Saturday and took Timmy with me;

Emily decided that was a good time to clean house – mine. Also it gave Timmy and me some time together to get to know each other.

He was full of questions as we went through security, got him badged in, which he was curious about as he tried to study the guest badge the guard issued him.

"Now you're part of the security system here," I said as we crossed the lobby to the first set of security doors.

"Then what?" he asked as we badged through to the back of the building.

"So if I bring you again then I just enter my social security number and your name and your information pops up on the guard's display screen."

"Wow."

Payday weekends I took them to a mall shopping. Emily answered the door one Saturday in what must have been new tight fitting designer jeans and a tight fitting short sleeve shirt that showed off her beautiful breasts; the top three buttons were left undone. This is what filled my eyes when she answered the door. I know a broad smile filled my face as we leaned toward each other to kiss.

Our routine payday weekend mornings started out with breakfast at either Denny's or Village Inn and by that time it was ten o'clock and a civilized time to hit the malls and stores, then I took them to the hobby shops I frequented. Not only did the usual crowd do double takes as we walked through the door, they knew I was single for the last couple years but Mike nearly lost his breakfast and about spit a cup of coffee across the counter when Timmy chimed up: "Hey, Dad look at this neat gondola…"

One of the two guys at the counter talking with Mike asked: "Did I hear the kid say what I thought he said?"

The other replied: "Yup. I didn't know he had a kid."

Mike was coughing and gagging said: "He doesn't."

Emily and I exchanged embarrassed looks, smiled at each other and continued around the shop – hand in hand. Timmy showing me his Lionel stuff, I picked up what I needed from the detail parts case which included a new freight car which I probably didn't need. But a layout is never finished, just like a city, there are always changes being made to the original design.

Timmy's ruse was working. He was referring to me more as "Dad" especially

when they visited me and he got to operate my big layout – now he wanted a layout like mine.

Oops. Not quite yet, kid.

Give it time.

V.

It was on a weekend before the Fourth of July I loaded them in to my trusty old K5 Blazer and we headed up to a lake and prominent fishing area for the day. She met me at the apartment door wearing very short white duck shorts, white sleeveless shirt tied up to her breasts showing a generous amount of her stomach, white sandals and white straw hat and white sun glasses.

Damned she looked good.

She skipped down the stairs to the truck which was our day outing ride. The car I had was reserved for those special occasions when I took Emily out on the town.

As I was carrying the cooler down to the truck Timmy nudged my elbow.

"Sssh, Mom's got a surprise for ya."

"Oh?"

"Yeah," he replied in a conspirator's tone. "I'm not supposed to tell ya, she said."

"Really."

I tried to imagine what it was. Emily waited beside the truck as Timmy, my ever present helper and I carried the cooler and other things Emily packed down to the truck. Now this secret bothered me the whole way up to the lake.

Emily was her young girl self as we headed up to the lake fishing poles and all.

Emily just wanted to relax under a shade tree on the chase lounge and watch the birds and clouds. She would leave the fishing to me and Timmy.

To get into the area I left the paved road behind and followed a rough track for three miles that only high centered vehicles could follow. Some fifteen minutes later we followed along the edge of the lake to a place where the track finally ran out. I left the track and drove down to the water's edge parked the truck under the trees, opened the back and set up a lawn chair for Emily. Timmy was anxious to get a hook in the water and see what he could catch beside an old boot. But he was watching me as I turned around toward the lake.

Just then Emily said in a sing song tone: "Ta da!"

I looked back at Emily then looked again.

She had shimmied out of the white duck shorts and matching white sleeveless shirt.

She was standing there dressed in a white bikini, the white straw hat and white rimmed sun glasses. The bikini shone off her golden hair and blue eyes, sans the eye glasses.

My mouth nearly fell open, my tongue was hanging on the ground, my eyes about fell out of the socks. The ensemble left just enough for me to imagine her in just bra and scanty little panty. She tormented me all day with that white bikini.

Timmy had a smirk on his little face that I got the reaction from his Mother she was expecting.

She said with a smile as she sat back in the chair: "You two get to clean the fish!"

"No problem," I said with a wave of my hand attempting to ignore her, which was impossible.

After that weekend I think we not only became closer but we filled an empty void in each other's lives. My relationship with Emily was progressing; we became an item at Mike's hobby shop on payday weekends and the other shop also. At other times I would take them to different areas train watching where we would set up for the day; Emily would treat this as a family excursion and pack along all the essentials.

Emily was having the fun that she denied herself in the past. She would wear short-shorts and a sleeveless tank top showing off her cute little breasts, the nipples poking at the material, and white sandals. She had not worn these outfits since she was in college and dating "what's-his-face". The first time she wore them out I must have gotten a helluva hard on checking her out. Cute figure and nice long legs, slender waist, and the glasses gave her a look of innocence; Emily was roughly five-seven with a body to kill for; at least in my mind.

As I stood inside the door of the apartment one morning to pick them up for a day out

she was all smiles, spinning around: "Like?"

What was I going to say? No? I'd have been nuts and somebody could have stuck me in the state looney bin for saying no to this little beauty.

"Um, yeah – yes. I mean it's – um, cute."

She laughed and slapped me on the shoulder as she passed me. I wanted to slap her cute little butt but Timmy was watching me.

I picked up the cooler of food and drinks. "Come on, Tim trains don't wait for us."

It was on these occasional outings we looked like any family out for the day: Lawn

chairs, coolers, cameras, and having a good time. It was a weekend like this is where Emily and I were falling in love with each other. We were already in love with each other.

I parked the truck under trees for shade for her. While we waited for the trains Tim would listen to the monitor in the truck we had time to talk and get to know each other.

That is probably where our relationship grew stronger. Occasionally at home, either her apartment or my place she would bump me with her hip; I'd look around to see if Timmy was watching and pat her on her butt: she'd giggle like a little girl. We'd exchange passionate kisses; God she was good. But the following weekend, that Friday she showed up at the house before I got home. That's when I finally realized she needed a key which I should have done sooner.

As I gave her the key with a passionate kiss, out of the corner of my eye I could see

Timmy peeking around the corner from the living room to see me kissing his Mom. There was a slight grin on his face as he ducked back into the living room.

VI.

Wednesday evening of the following week I looked at the calendar: "Oops, the second month operating session is this Saturday…"

About the time I was going to call Emily, she called me. After a cheery hello and the endearments, I asked her: "Got any plans for this weekend?"

She thought a moment then asked: "No, why?"

I explained the reason I was asking. "I don't know how exciting it's going to be for you, but maybe …?"

"Oh, I'll see. What do you want me to bring – besides me – and Timmy?"

What a loaded question.

"Just you and – Timmy."

"What, no munchies? What do you guys survive on?"

I wanted to say but I held back. I said: "Oh we do okay on the weekends. We have preferred customer status at the local bakery for donuts in the morning and a pizza delivery place in the afternoon."

"Nice. Real healthy food. Let me see what I can do."

"Huh?"

"See ya Friday, babe," she blew me a nice kiss over the phone and hung up.

Friday evening came and she was already at the house busy in the kitchen, Timmy was outside looking for something to occupy his time until I got home – Emily ran him out of the house, and considering he has the bicycle and I have a big yard, he has lots of room to play.

I tried to sneak up the back stairs from the garage but she was waiting for me with a passionate kiss. I darn near wanted to lay her right there in the kitchen.

She was wearing denim shorts, a white halter top and flip-flops. Damned she looked good.

"Supper in ten minutes," she said.

The kitchen had the distinct smell of pork chops, some vegetables and French fries. The cats were in the corner munching on their food, never mind the humans.

"Heck with supper, I'll have something else right now."

"Easy tiger. Later." Gave her another kiss and I headed to the bathroom to wash up.

That should have been, in my mind, a signal our relationship had passed that magic line of friends to lovers the first time the weekend of the meet at my place.

We had supper and lots of light table talk, she cleaned up and I took Timmy down to

the train room to help set things up for the next day. Good thing I did the yard work the evening before. Timmy was my constant companion on these weekends.

I think the sociologists types like to call that "bonding" – okay, if they say so.

It took us the better part of the evening to make the way bills that were needed, set up the staging yards, check the controls and do some quick housekeeping.

I thought at that point she would want to head home for the night. However, Emily decided I had all the fixings to make cinnamon rolls for Saturday.

"Too late," she said as the three of us collapsed on the sofa; some soft music played in the back ground on the stereo. I skipped TV, nothing on that was of interest anyway.

I took a chance suggesting what I was thinking: "Stay the night; it'll save on running all the way home and back tomorrow."

"Stay where?" she asked, cuddling up to me. Timmy was sound asleep on my other side. To a casual observer we looked like the average family on a Friday night.

"Well, hone there is one problem though."

"What's that?" she asked as she rested her head on my shoulder.

"I only have two bedrooms – the other one is my den or study."

She rubbed her head against my shoulder then looked up at me. "What do you suggest?"

It didn't take me long to make the decision. "You take the bed room, I'll sleep out here."

She looked up at me: "Oh I couldn't do that; I couldn't take your room."

She was playing along with me on my idea.

"I'm being prudish. Okay?"

We could have argued all night and it would have gotten us nowhere fast.

"Besides, you should have seen some of the places I had to sleep in the Army."

"You told me. Poor dear." She slid a hand across my face reaching up with her lips to kiss me. "And if you insist. Besides, you'll need a hostess tomorrow."

The girl had me on the ropes and she knew it too.

"Go. Let's put Timmy to bed."

It was nearly ten by the time I settled down in the living room; lights out, the neighborhood was quiet as a morgue. It was near two o'clock in the morning when I woke. In the waning moon light I could make out the silhouettes of the cats: one was asleep on the back of the sofa, the other was curled up on the sofa. Then, I briefly wondered what this was next to me?

Emily's head was on my shoulder and an arm across my middle. I managed to shift myself and lean over her to give her a kiss.

"`Morning, darling," she said not sound too sleepy.

I said as we settled next to each other: "`Morning, sweet heart. Now this is an unexpected surprise."

"I was wondering what it'd be like to sleep with a man after six years."

"I hope I didn't disappoint you?"

She shook her head a bit pushing the locks of hair from her face. "Me. How am I in the morning?"

I glanced up at the DVD player and clock on the entertainment center. The red digital numerals showed: "Two-fifteen? Let me see," and I found her mouth in the dark and gave her another deep passionate kiss releasing hers with a smack: "Just perfect."

Emily giggled as I kissed her again and she kissed me back just as passionately. You would think we were a couple of love-sick teenagers. We loved and made love that morning.

"I – I haven't done anything like that in – years."

I started to lay back to get my composure back. I was hot and sweaty and feeling good for the first time in a couple years. My head hit the floor. "Ouch…"

"Oh, sorry. Here's your pillow."

I lifted myself up as she slid the pillow behind me then I lay back. "No problem."

Then I said: "We do have another problem though. Let's head for the showers. Who wants to go first?"

She rolled on top of me to kiss me. Lifting her head, pushing her hair out of her face

she said: "Why not both of us?"

At this point she was feeling good about our relationship and was willing to see what I'd do with her.

I looked up at her hovering over me. I tweaked her nose. "You don't know what you're asking, girl."

She giggled again. "I know. Do you?"

She stood to scamper to the bath room. I followed and within minutes we had the

water running over our bodies. I was beginning to find out there was an unfulfilled side to Emily that I was just beginning to discover. She could be a little tease at times and I think that is what she was missing in her life.

I had to admit; naked she had a helluva cute body that could easily make a fashion model jealous.

We rinsed ourselves down, got out grabbed towels and headed to the bed room. Emily looked just as beautiful naked as she did in her best dress or slacks. We dried each other, she gave me a great massage and in turn, I gave her one and soon we were lying together on the bed. We dozed off for another hour before we got up, dressed and I started my famous lead weight motor oil coffee.

Emily started the rolls which did not take too long. I decided I just saved ten dollars as she popped the first pan of rolls in the oven.

It was nearly six-thirty when Timmy finally got up and had a bowl of adult variety cereal. He was anxious to get started on the trains but I told him nobody shows up until ten a.m.

I moved the car and truck out of the garage and opened the doors, set up the tables that would be used to assign the positions that day. I figured this would be a four hour session – in other words, we would run a forty-eight hour operation using a 1 to 87 scale clock start to finish.

The first ones arrived and I passed out the assignments, Emily was the perfect hostess. Suddenly I was getting knowing looks from the guys. Most of them had not seen Emily before. Those whose wives who came with their husbands were used to me not having a woman for the past couple years until now and were surprised to meet Emily. They had pies, cakes and donuts. A nutritionist couldn't accuse this bunch of eating healthy.

I know it was bugging some of them, especially those who hung out at the hobby shops I frequented and Emily would accompany me. They were wondering about how far we were going in our relationship. To say the least, I was enjoying myself.

She became the hostess at our second of the month operating sessions on Saturday.

None of the guys could argue that point.

VII.

However, it was not all about trains and things that go with trains. Emily and I would go out every so often which I soon learned she had not been out on the town since she got married and then this guy Charles she had been married to would leave her home with Timmy when he was a baby and going out by himself. "Guy's night out," he claimed. Almost every weekend? All I did then was add in the rest of the picture in my mind: he had a "significant other" on the side as they say.

I wanted to do things she wanted to do but it seemed she found my life style more invigorating and unusual. Seems once they were married her life turned in to a routine of stale do-nothing.

I asked her one Friday as we sat at a nice supper which we took Timmy with us: "What do you want to do tomorrow?"

Emily thought a minute: "Trains?"

"I think we photographed every train on the Santa Fe and Burlington's roster; and what's left of Rio Grande." I thought a minute then said: "I know – been up in the mountains?"

She shook her head. Her golden tresses swishing back and forth, something I always enjoyed with her. "No."

Timmy stopped working on his ice cream dessert. "Where we going, Dad?"

I smiled as Emily watched my expression.

"Way up in the mountains and back where there are no roads – thirty-five to forty miles of nothing. In other words we make our own road."

Timmy didn't know what to make of my explanation.

Emily shrugged and said: "We're game. Okay."

"Rules of the road," I went on, "when off-roading: no shorts, long jeans or good heavy slacks, shirts; bring along long sleeved shirts or wind breakers, the temperature drops five degrees up there by late noon; hard shoes, not those rubber things, hats, your favorite sun block, and besides sandwiches, I'll have plenty of water."

I suppose she already knew she was in for an adventure.

Early the next morning I arrived at the apartment, Emily answered the door on my second ring of the doorbell. She looked me up and down then her gaze went back to my black Stetson then down to the plaid cotton shirt, the levis then to the modified western boots and back to the hardware on my hips. She wasn't sure if I looked like Roy Rogers' cousin or a stand in for Batman's alter-ego.

"`Morning, sweetheart."

She held her arms out as I kissed her, I looked her over, she asked: "Well do I pass inspection?"

I gave her the once over for the record. "Yup."

She had on one of those cute women's baseball hats. Timmy looked at me for my approval. "Great. Let's go."

I picked up the cooler of sandwiches and drinks; I had folding chairs, blankets and two jugs of water in the truck.

We stopped for breakfast and I showed Emily on a map (the old fashion paper type) where we were going: "And civilian GPS's don't work back here."

"Where are we going?" Emily asked as she tried to make sense out of the map.

Neither of them knew what they were looking at. I had an updated topography map I'd gotten from the State Wildlife Service last summer that showed all the trails, roads, and creeks in the area: especially contour lines showing elevations and terrain features.

I traced the main trail from its beginning to the point I wanted to leave the road; marked it with a red pen, then started across country: "There."

We left out from the flat lands; Emily had her digital camera ready to take pictures of everything in sight. Timmy, if it weren't for the seat belt would have been sitting in the front seat with us.

I had the truck in four wheel drive shortly after we left the county road and started up the trail in to the State Park.

Emily gasped as we left the trail and I plunged the truck in to the overgrowth; Timmy cheered, he was enjoying himself. And this was her first off-roading excursion.

We started upgrade the engine growling in compound low gear, the tires grabbing for traction on the loose dirt and rock until the front of the truck left the ground continuing in an upward attitude. Emily found herself looking at an acre of truck hood that seemed to go on forever. The truck seemed to hang there for a few seconds. After a second the front end dropped back to the ground with a bang. The stand-off front end shoved the overgrowth aside as I followed some tire tracks toward the crest of the hill.

"Oh my god…!" she cried, the front end seemed to stand in mid-air for a moment. She screamed as the front end dropped, bounced, and we were looking at the other side of the hill. As we descended through the trees, I was sawing the steering wheel back and forth as I wound through the trees into to a valley; I estimated on the map the valley was at least five miles across to the other side.

I followed the tracks for a while, passing a long abandoned cabin with a couple out buildings. We stopped for a few minutes to take pictures, look the old cabin and buildings over then continue on. Emily was now happily clicking away with her digital camera. The open valley was studded with dry underbrush and rough grass and weeds; I climbed the opposite slope which was a bit easier to handle. I finally reached the crest of the next hill and stopped under some pines. We sat for a few minutes looking out over the vast expanse of forest that seemed a shade of black in contrast to patches of brown that were the forest floor; the forest seemed to go on forever: only the birds knew where the forest began and ended.

Emily's breath was taken away as she gazed at the scene before us. I reached over to take her hand.

She said in a near breathless tone: "It – it's so quiet and peaceful up here."

"No noise, no traffic, no pollution…"

"Only the birds."

Our fingers intertwined as we held on to each other.

Timmy leaned over the seats; I could tell that he noticed his mother and me holding hands. We looked back at him; he was quiet but there was that knowing look in his eye. I was in love with his mother and I would become "Dad" someday.

I let the engine cool down for a while as I checked the map and took out an old Army Lensatic compass from the consol. Emily dug out a thermos of water to get her and Timmy a drink: I took a small amount more to moisten my mouth than for thirst.

I got out opened the cover of the compass, took a back azimuth reading then to where I wanted to go. Checking the map I made a mark with a red pen. "Yup, right on course," I said laying the map aside. I shot an azimuth to the opposite hill.

I got back in and said: "The opposite hill," let out the parking brake, put it in second then started down the other side holding the compass in my left hand checking the needle every so often.

We reached the other hill a half hour later; I stopped so Emily could admire the view then asked: "Notice anything different here?"

She looked around a moment then shook her head. I looked back at Timmy, he shrugged:

"I don't know."

I pointed down the slope: "Old narrow gauge rail line used to go through here to the gold mines on the other side of this mountain. Only way in and out was by train – before that it was horses and wagons which took two days to get in and out. By the years of the First War a few cars and trucks were used but not many. Even by the old wagon road it was slow and tedious and could still take two to three days just to get to the trail head."

Emily looked at me as she said, with a cute smile: "Oh you and trains – in separable."

I merely smiled at her. Timmy was leaning over the seats to see what was left of the rail line's road bed. I put the truck in gear and started down the rutted slope until I could get on to the old rail line's road bed. I spun the wheels to the left and followed the rail line for another ten miles crossing a dry creek bed where the remains of an old trestle still stood. Another couple miles I came to the end and the abandoned town that used to be an active boom town in the 1890's to the 1900's. Now only some of the wildlife live here in the abandoned buildings and occasionally visited by one of the forest rangers.

"The last people finally left somewhere around the 1930's," I told them. "Believe it or not, the town was called Commonwealth."

I showed her the dot on the map.

"There's nothing around here," she declared looking up at me surprised.

"That's right, nothing. That's why it died so quickly once the gold veins which were not as thick as one would think. The veins started to run out by the 1910 – 1914 period."

I showed them what was left of the old rail road station, the round house and small freight yard, abandoned freight cars, the hulk of an engine; all rusted and weed grown now. There were the usual abandoned cars and trucks from the pre-First War years and a few from the 1930's.

"A period enthusiasts dream."

We slowly followed the weed infested main street through the town and out the other side to an area where I parked under trees. We finally got out stretching; Emily and Timmy got another drink of water as I checked the map again then tossed it in the back of the truck. We walked around looking in the old buildings took pictures and tried to read a couple of the ancient advertising on the sides of buildings.

"Anyone else come back here?" Emily asked then said: "And Timmy you stay close to us."

Typical kid: "Yes, Mom…"

"Just the forest rangers on occasion. As for the tourist minded person, it's too far up in the mountains and a helluva drive even with a good four-by-four to get in here. Parts of the old wagon road are washed out but still can be used."

"I'll say just across country was enough."

We walked along the main street past boarded up stores, a couple old saloons, and houses avoiding the old board walk that was rotting and falling apart. Emily took more pictures then we went back to the truck and set up our day camp to eat our sandwiches and have some ice tea. We chatted and just relaxed in the shade of the trees on the edge of the abandoned town. If you listened you could hear the noise of the town, the player pianos, the trains; it was as if the ghosts from the turn of the century were checking us out; it seemed no one other than the forest service had ever bothered to come in this far until now.

It was dark when we arrived back at the apartment.

"Come in for a while?" she asked – but it was more a statement then question.

A while ended up Sunday morning.

Before I sat down I took all my equipment off the belt. We washed up and Timmy went to bed early. He was too tired to want anything else. Emily had changed in to a robe and sandal slippers. She sat beside me on the sofa her head on my shoulder as we talked then our mouths met: "Stay?" she asked.

"Of course," I replied with a whisper.

Our lips met in a lingering kiss and soon my hands were gliding over her slender back and sides. My hand came around to her front slipping under the folds of the robe.

A minute later and lights out we were in bed.

Emily merely nodded her head in reply. "Yes. Yes … please, make me yours tonight, Dan. I want you to be my real first; I'm willing to be yours tonight. Do whatever you want with me…"

Laying her on her back I slowly pulled the covers down I nuzzled her neck and face and back to her mouth as I slid the hand up to the gentle swell of her breast. Fingering the nipple through the chemise I pulled the bodice aside to kiss the hard erect nipple and areola.

A kiss at a time I moved my mouth lower, over the swell of her breasts and onto the ruche skin at the base of her nipples. Emily arched her neck and moaned softly as I flicked the tip of my tongue against the tender flesh, tasting the saltiness of her sweat. My hand slid lower, the tip of my forefinger snaking through the soft hair, damp from the sweat and other juices that seeped slowly from Emily's nice tight young pussy. Emily reached out to touch me, brushing her cool fingers over the shaft of my erection, gasping as she felt the heat of my excitement. Gently, I pulled the flimsy material of Emily's panty down, past her hips as she lifted the taut, globe of her ass from the bed. Now her downy covered pussy was bare and I could gently play my fingers over her sensitive mound, tracing the swollen puffy lips and teasing them apart.

Emily gasped as my fingertip brushed against her clit and I slid the length of my forefinger along the moist slit of her pussy. Emily moaned into my mouth as I kissed her and pressed my finger gently into the opening of her throbbing pussy, feeling the hot moisture making my finger slick and slippery. Her hand tightened, reflexively around the base of my erection, feeling the firmness and moving the velvety skin against the hardness of my shaft beneath it. A clear gem of pre-cum formed in the slit at the head of my manhood and she caught the moisture on her fingertip and, instinctively, spread it over the velvety skin of my glans. I pulled the panties down the silky smoothness of Emily's thighs, to her knees and, as she bent her legs to slip the wisp of silk off, I pressed my hand against the inside of her thigh, spreading her knees wider, so that I could slide my fingers along the inside of her thigh and use the tips to spread the lips of her now virgin pussy.

Emily whimpered a little in delight as I slid my middle finger into her pussy, slowly penetrating her and plumbing the bubbling depths of her tight passage that only I came to know. Even though my finger was much slenderer than my cock, Emily could feel it stretching her, filling her just enough to excite her; I touched her womanhood feeling the tightness. Her nipples stood upright, like miniature towers on the shallow hillocks of her breasts, and her chest heaved as she gasped and panted lustfully. I slid my knee between her thighs to keep them spread wide and with a dexterous roll of my hips, swiveled myself on top of her. For a moment, a spark of fear flashed at the back of her eyes as I pinned her to the bed and then the hot flame of her desire quickly consumed her.

Reaching down between her thighs, Emily pulled her pussy lips apart with the tips of her fingers, opening the pinkly wet passage to the tip of my cock.

Emily was small, nice and tight, her pussy grasping the thickness of my engorged cock. It seemed to take forever and Emily was sobbing, almost ready to beg me to take her but soon the head of my engorged cock was touching the tenderness of her pussy.

Trembling, I paused, my weight supported on my outstretched arms, her wrists caught in my hands and my mouth at her ear.

"Are you ready, sweet heart?" I asked.

"Oh yes, Dan," she whispered back. "Take me - take me now … darling please!"

Emily was ready and willing.

Gently, slowly, I guided the swollen head between her pussy lips and eased it into her. Emily groaned deep within her throat as I pressed my cock into her stretching her hot lubricious pussy over the tip. My cock slid a little way into her and I stopped, panting as though I had just finished a sprint, waiting for her body to become used to this intrusion despite her first time, I nearly lost it, close to raping the girl. Rocking back and forth, I thrust gently, tenderly into Emily's willing body, each movement dipping a little deeper into the well of pleasure that was her nice tight young pussy.

I pushed, feeling her tightness, knowing that I was about to take her, Emily bucked once, violently beneath me and cried out in pain and triumph as she felt something inside her followed by a burning, deep inside her, as I pressed the length of my cock to the very depths of her pussy. Exquisitely slowly, I eased my cock back and then slid it back, deep into her pussy. It seemed to burn for a few heartbeats but, with every tiny movement of my cock inside her, it became easier and, within the space of three deep breaths, I was sliding the length of my cock easily in and out of her hot, young pussy.

Emily's nice and tight pussy enveloped my hard thick cock like a glove; she was so nice and tight, her pussy pulsed with my thick malehood lodged inside her.

I didn't move for a moment, giving Emily a chance to get used to the feel of me inside

her. Then, kissing her gently, I rocked my hips in and out, building a smooth rhythm and taking care to give my sweet, beautiful Emily an orgasm she could never, ever forget.

"Do it, Dan! Do it to me!" Emily cried, and, as her face tightened with pending release I finally abandoned all control, driving my cock in and out of her with all the force I could muster, making Emily's every nerve ending crackle.

"Ah! Ah!" she cried. "Dan - Dan! I – I'm coming…!"

This time Emily's entire body thrashed underneath mine and I could hold back no

longer: Jet after jet of my male juices erupted through my pistoning prick, and we moaned each other's names as passion washed over us like the winds of early autumn.

Gradually, our passion subsided and we kissed and caressed each other softly as our

bodies, glistening now with sweat and each other's juices, disengaged, and we lay in one another's arms, gazing with love and adoration.

"I love you, Emily," I said in a near whisper as I took her back in my arms.

"I love you, Dan, I'm yours."

VIII.

Our relationship between us was more than being just friends, we were intimate lovers. We would sneak kisses or hold each other for a moment; the touching each other when Timmy wasn't looking showed we were serious.

We called each other during the week and made weekend plans on Thursday evening; it usually ended that she would come over to the house to get away from that stuffy apartment. Timmy enjoyed it – he had a big yard to run around on, my trains; and Emily could kick back in the back yard or on the balcony to relax; the house was fast becoming hers.

"See ya tomorrow, babe…" she'd say before hanging up.

Saturday morning I was in my study, the cats had taken over their places, one watching out the window the other sprawled across the desk; naturally the mail and whatever else hit the floor. I glanced at the clock: Emily was running late which was unusual for her. I started to reach for the phone when it rang. "Who now on a Saturday?" I wondered aloud.

I checked the built in caller ID to see it was Emily. I grabbed up the phone before the third ring.

"Dan …" I answered, and before I could get the rest of my words out, Emily said in a rush of words: "Dan, my car – something's wrong. Won't start!"

"Be there, babe."

A short time later I pulled in to an empty parking place beside her car. I started to get out when I noticed water on the ground. I got out kneeling to look under the car. She had one of those foreign things that I absolutely hate.

That was not good. Emily was rushing down the stairs from the apartment to see what I thought. Timmy in the meantime was with a few of his buddies at the playground.

"What is it?" she asked nervous.

"I hate to tell ya, hone but you blew the water pump." I had the hood open and one look confirmed that point. I looked at her a second. She was near tears. "And I hate to tell you but it ain't goina' be cheap; not one of these engines – and at least two days in the shop."

"What do I do now?" She leaned against me to cry. "And I need it Monday…"

I thought a moment as I wrapped my arms about her waist then asked, almost knowing the answer before she spoke: "Is it paid off?"

"Yeah."

"Did you get it new?"

"No, Charles got for me from a friend of his."

I made a noise in my throat. That means she's had it for at least six years then said: "Okay, tell ya what – I hate to say this, but I can tell you putting a new water pump in this will not be the long term answer. You'll end up with a domino effect of things going wrong over the next couple years. In other words, it'll become a money pit on wheels ."

She instinctively knew what my next comment would be: "Get a new one."

"Up to you." I turned leaning against the fender pulling her close to me. "A used one may not be the answer either but there's that new outfit in town which has top of the line used cars."

"The Car Lot?"

"Them. Want to take a look?"

But…"

We picked up Timmy and a few minutes later and a quick stop at a friend's house; a lady, April Trousdale a single mother with two daughters, I got some information from her on the dealership and which dealer to ask for: "Frank" and headed over there to make Frank's day complete.

We walked in looking like another family looking for a good buy. A salesman separated himself from a knot of other salesmen posted near the door. If they were stationed any closer to the door you would never get in.

He introduced himself as Frank: "Just who we're looking for" I told him and said: "April Trousdale sent us." "Oh, good," had no idea who I was talking about but quickly launched in to a five minute spiel about the cars and SUV's they sell and a one minute video presentation on the cars and why they don't sell certain ones. April, my lady friend warned me about this: "Watch it, Dan, they love giving you a five minute spiel on their cars which to me, they could do without. Good cars, lousy presentation. I almost walked out on them." And April would have too.

Emily was impressed, I wasn't.

I looked at Emily and asked: "What do you want, hone American or foreign again?"

She hesitated then said: "Um, what do you suggest?"

That was my cue. I said to Frank: "Show us only your American cars: Fords,

Chevy's, Chryslers, and Dodges, and anything in between but nothing foreign."

"This way." Frank didn't bat an eye. He led us out a side door in to the holding yard.

Hey, guy catches on quick.

Aside from the presentation, the guy was good. He led us out to a fenced in holding yard with over one thousand cars, SUV's, and trucks. We must have spent a good thirty minutes looking over the cars. Timmy was playing the man of the family checking the cars over as I did, all but stripping the engines to check them out. In the meantime I explained Emily's predicament about the water pump going on her car that day.

"Oo, not good. I can have a truck pick it up later and bring it in. The trade in goes without exception."

In the meantime he popped another wad of gum in his mouth which was irritating me. I just shook my head. I swear the guy had an IQ smaller than my shoe size and that's eleven and a half.

In the meantime Emily was Ooo and Aaahing over the different cars.

"Red is a traffic cop magnet, dear," I told her as she was checking out a red Dodge Charger. "Try white or black, or even blue – a neutral color."

She took my advice and that's what she bought; a black Chevrolet Impala.

On the short end, two hours later we were wrapping up the sale. Emily was getting, to her, a new and better car – the Chevy Impala, like mine: four-door, black with all the accessories. The guy all but wanted me to sign for her. I don't know what he was thinking but we weren't married yet; that would come later. Emily was shaking her head: No as I was saying: "No."

"Oh – I thought you two were …"

I held Emily's left hand up to show him no ring, at least yet. He was embarrassed. I had plans for that item later.

We had matching cars.

Of course when we left the showroom late that afternoon, she was the proud owner of her "new" car. I took her over to show April the new car.

April and her boyfriend were standing in the garage of her home when Emily pulled in the drive, I parked on the street.

"Oo, nnnice," April sighed as she looked it over. "Mind if I'm the first one to drool on the fender?"

Emily laughed: "Go ahead, you can be the first to christen it."

Love these girls. Emily was happy with her new car, I was relieved she had something more reliable than that thing which I hated seeing her drive.

Consequently, the next weekend following one of our Friday nights out I was working on my trusty K5 Blazer when she pulled up the drive in her new car, Timmy leaning out the window waving. She stopped to the side, Timmy jumped out to see what I was doing on the truck, Emily jumped out as Timmy gave me a hug – I was grease and oil as Emily and I hugged and kissed, but I grasped her about the sides with my arms assuring I didn't get her dirty.

I looked her over: she was wearing white shorts and sheer print top. I could make out the white bikini bra. I liked what I was seeing.

"Whatcha doin'?" Timmy asked as he climbed up on the front bumper to look at the

engine he looked back at his mother and me a minute as we kissed. "Oh."

One thing the kid could say: I was in love with his mother.

Emily stood back a bit clear of the mess I was making. She said sadly: "Timmy is

curious about cars and engines ever since I got the new car. Of course I don't know anything outside of where the gas and oil and key goes, that's it."

I wanted to say: Typical woman, but then I knew a few women who were smarter about cars then most men!

"After the problems with the last car, babe, maybe I should show you what to do in an emergency." I turned to Timmy wiping my hands on a rag already dirty: "Grease, oil, filter change, and radiator change."

Timmy quickly asked: "Can I help?"

"Sure – but…"

Emily laughed, knowing what I was about to say; she was on to me already, and we weren't married yet. "He's washable."

After that she carried a change of clothes for him – and herself.

Timmy cheered as Emily walked in to the house through the garage. She paused by the door to the upper level to watch as Timmy and I discussed what I was doing on the truck.

I caught the slight smile as she blew me another kiss and a wink.

A few minutes later I looked up to the balcony to see Emily watching us as Timmy excitably brought me tools and asked me what I was doing as I slid under the truck to begin lubricating the bearings. It was nearly an hour later when I declared the truck finished. The kid was grease and oil from head to foot. He washed off in the garage with me, his hands full of goop which seemed to be smeared all over himself.

"Have fun?" she asked standing in the door smiling at us.

I wasn't sure who she was asking, me or him.

"Dan taught me about engines," said Timmy showing his mother his hands, still

greasy, his clothes – forget it, they were a loss.

Emily watched us for a minute then asked: "Ready for lunch?"

That nearly echoed of my late wife. I leaned over to give her a kiss. "Betcha…"

During the week we'd call each other and before she hung up, a half hour later,

Timmy would give me all the details of what he was doing with his layout. I had to do a balancing act between time with Timmy, who definitely needed a father figure in his life and time alone with Emily. It was a Friday evening a few weeks later, near the end of August and neither of us was up to going out somewhere. I had her come over to my place: "Bring Timmy and we'll just spend the evening at my place."

"I'll bring supper," she said with a giggle and light hearted tone to her voice, then said in a more serious tone: "honey…"

She brought along the groceries and other fixings for the meal. When she arrived and we had carried the groceries inside Emily chased me out of the kitchen as she began preparing supper.

Timmy and I watched some railroad flicks on the television while Emily fixed the dinner. I seldom watch the flicks I'd picked up at the hobby shop but tonight seemed to be different. I finally felt antsy and went back to the kitchen. Emily was busy on the meal as I slipped up behind her to give her a big kiss on the neck; she turned around, our lips met for a lingering kiss. There were more giggles and chuckles between Emily and I then fixing, but Emily enjoyed the time fixing the supper for me and soon realized we were like one in the kitchen. Now in itself, for some guys that should have been a scary thought.

She was all smiles; the kid was all smiles. The kid was getting his wish.

It was near ten o'clock when Emily and I put Timmy to bed in the other room, the kid

hardly stirred as we undressed him and tucked him under the blankets; Emily knew without a doubt that it was her turn.

We crossed the hall to the main bed room where Emily willingly stepped in to the room, I stepped in behind her as she set her glasses on the dresser. I quietly turned the bed side lamps on at the wall switch, closed the door locking it. Emily turned facing me slowly unbuttoning the shimmering green shirt until I was able to see her black lace bra. She let the shirt slide from her shoulders to the floor; the skirt was a dark pleated satin gray.

This was my cue.

We started across the room toward each other, breathing becoming heavier as we took hold of each other; I kissed her lips savoring the sweetness of her mouth as our tongues played a lover's tango. She pressed herself against me, her youthful body touching every part of my body. I soon returned to her face and neck, cherishing her. The feel of her young body pressed against me was better than any aphrodisiac there is. I returned to her face as she sighed with the hunger of a woman starved for love.

"Take me, Dan," she breathed as I kissed her neck down to her chest. "I want you to take me tonight. And don't worry, darling I am on the pill…"

My hands slide over her sylvan body, I could nearly touch my fingers around her slim

waist; she clung to me fervently kissing me. God the feel turned me on even more as I slid my hands back up her sides savoring the feel of her lithe young body in my grasp.

The love we felt suddenly let pour from our souls was like an act of the desire we felt for each other that night. I backed her to the bed lowering her to the bed.

She said in a quaking shuddering voice: "Be gentle, Dan – don't hurt me …"

For the moment I hesitated. Despite the fact we'd already made love before even that night was like the first time for us.

After a moment Emily began to become more excited and aroused, the feel of this sexy girl – my Emily in my arms.

Slowly I laid her back on to the bed resting her head on the pillows. Taking my free hand I slipped it behind her head to carefully pull her long hair out fanning it out in a golden halo about her head in sensual angelic innocence. Her face shone in innocent virtuousness.

Gradually, our passion subsided and we kissed and caressed each other softly as our bodies, glistening now with sweat and each other's juices, disengaged, and we lay in one another's arms, gazing with love and adoration.

After a moment we sat up, Emily pulled off the rumpled skirt. I said as I finished undressing: "Let's take a shower."

Emily smiled. She already knew what was going to happen. She knew I'd make love to her again in the shower. And she was right.

Soaping each other down and rinsing off, we stepped out of the shower; I lifted her in my arms to carry her back to the bed. Stepping out of the bath room I grabbed several large over-sized towels from the hall closet. Laying her on the bed I knelt on it beside her to towel her down; we towelled and rubbed each other down. Emily giggled and laughed like a little girl as I dried her off then took a blow drier to dry her hair. Emily thoroughly enjoying herself as I gave her a massage then she gave me one.

Emily seemed to be making up for all the years of being alone and no man in her life after what's-his-name left. His problem, not mine.

It was near eleven-thirty that night before we finally got under the covers and fell asleep. It was nearly six am when I awoke. Normally I am up much earlier than six in the morning. I am not one to sleep in even on weekends.

Sun light had peeked through the curtains spilling across the bed. I lay with Emily in my arms, her golden hair spread over the pillows. I looked at her studying this gorgeous young girl beside me. This too is what was missing from my life, having a woman beside me as I woke in the morning.

It was near six-thirty there was a slight knock at the bed room door. Emily opened her eyes, she said softly in to my ear: "Timmy." Then so he could hear her: "Just a minute, Timmy."

I got up as he knocked again: "Mommy?"

"Coming," I said as I pulled my pants on then opened the door.

"I'm hungry," he said. He was standing by the door in just his briefs.

"Come on," I said stepping out of the room, glancing back at Emily tucked down under the bedding smiling at us. "Get dressed; I got some cereal you can have, okay?"

Timmy and I sat at the breakfast table, me sucking down my lead weight coffee with a roll; he was contented with his bowl of adult type cereal.

After a few moments he said: "Dad – um, Dan can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

He looked up at me with his baleful eyes: "Y – You going, and Mom going to get married?"

I could not help but smile at the boy's question, and the way he was asking it. "Let me ask you something: Would you like to have me as your father?"

He eagerly nodded his head. "Yeah, you're cool."

"Do you think your mother would accept me to be her husband?"

There was an immediate "Yes" from behind me.

I turned; Emily was standing just inside the kitchen door in her pink satin robe, a smile that was brighter than the morning sun light.

From that point on Emily and Timmy moved in with me that week and Emily was the

Queen of the house; we were a family.

Oh yeah, and the next trip to the hobby shop Mike darned near climbed over the counter checking out the ring on Emily's hand.

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