Disclaimer: The following fiction is loosely based on characters currently owned and operated by the producers and writers of NBC-TV's Days of Our Lives. I claim no affiliation. Gratuitous entertainment purposes only.

Isabella Smiled~Part 1 of 2 (PG)
by Fidomom

Brady was restless and bored. He looked at the clock and decided against calling Chloe. It was late. He was about to give up and go to bed despite not being in the least bit tired when there was a knock on his door. Puzzled he went to it and answered it. He pulled the sliding door open and found Chloe on the other side of it. He felt his face break out in a huge grin.
"What are you doing here at this hour, Chloe?"
Chloe smiled, gave him a one-armed hug and a quick kiss on the cheek as she squeezed past him with her bag. She turned to face him as he shrugged and closed the door.
"Spending the night!"
Brady's eyes widened,
"Oh, I see. Is that so? What if I already have plans for this evening?"
Chloe's smile disappeared,
"You're right Brady. I'm sorry I should have called first. Can we do something together tomorrow then?"
Brady frowned,
"What did your mother think of you spending the night here? Or does she even know?"
Chloe looked a little guilty.
"Well, I told her that I'm spending the night at my best friend's ... I just didn't specify I meant you and not Belle."
Brady gestured to the bag she was carrying.
"What's in there?"
Chloe shrugged dejectedly,
"Just some overnight stuff you know like pj's and toiletries. Oh, and I wasn't sure if you had any here or not so I even brought over some microwave popcorn. I had hoped we could watch the DVD I got you for your birthday. So what are your plans for tonight or is it none of my business?"
Brady grinned at her shaking his head,
"Apparently, I'm having a really cool pajama party with my best friend! Come on tell me what else you had in mind. If I know you then you have our entire evening mapped out!"
Chloe's face lit up and she beamed a breathtaking smile at him,
"So I can stay? Really?! Oh, Brady thank-you, I was so bored and so tired of my own four walls! I just thought that because we hardly ever see each other anymore since you moved out of the Penthouse that it would be so much fun to have a sleep-over here! I was hoping we could order pizza in, watch a movie and eat popcorn. Then after the movie we could listen to music and talk. I just really wanted us to spend some time together. Then when we get up in the morning we could have breakfast here. You know ... coffee, orange juice, turkey bacon and ... I'm hoping for pancakes a la Brady Black? I didn't want to tell you when I thought you were going to send me home, but yes I did bring turkey bacon. I'll go put it in the fridge now before I forget."
Brady stood in her path. She looked up at him questioningly,
"What? Have I gone overboard?"
He took the package of meat out of her hands and set it aside. He put his hands on her shoulders and smiled before giving her a hug.
"I didn't have any plans for this evening and I'm really glad you came over tonight, Chloe. I think this is one of the best ideas you've ever had. I was bored out of my tree until you showed up, so thank-you! There is just one amendment I'd like to make to your ideas. How about we make BLT's tonight instead of ordering pizza in? I also have a package of turkey bacon in the fridge and I was thinking we might as well use up that one too."

Unseen by either of them, Brady's mother watched from her seat on the sofa. Isabella smiled as her son held his eternal soulmate. She knew of the many obstacles and challenges they had already overcome in this realm together and that they were soon to face more. She knew her son regretted that she hadn't been physically present as he was growing up. Now she saw an opportunity to be the interfering mother he so desperately craved. Even though he wouldn't know she was behind it, she was going to help Brady and Chloe. They deserved a cornerstone of happiness to draw from during the hard times ahead. They deserved a foundation to build their dreams upon. Isabella smiled in anticipation of the gifts she was about to bestow on them ... the gifts of recognising and acknowledging truth.

Chloe stepped out of Brady's hug reluctantly and smiled at him.
"Yeah. I could handle eating BLT's tonight. I'd like to go get ready for bed first so I don't have to later when I'm too tired. Then I'll come help you make the sandwiches. You do remember what I taught you about making BLT's right?"
Brady rolled his eyes but smiled sheepishly,
"I know, I know, toast gets made last! Go get your jammies on, Diva! I'll start ... umm slicing the tomato? That is first right?"
She laughed with delight that he had to ask.
"Only if you want the bacon in your sandwich to still be warm when you bite into it!"
He softened the glare he gave her with a small half smile,
"Go, already!"
She smiled, grabbed her bag, and headed for the stairs.
"Chloe! Where are you going?"
Startled she looked at him strangely,
"I thought we just covered that ... I'm going to get my jammies on."
"What? In my room?"
"Oh. I'm sorry Brady. I could change in the bathroom down here if you'd rather."
Brady closed his eyes feeling foolish. He opened them and looked at her contritely,
"No, really, Chloe it's fine go upstairs to change. I don't know why I reacted like that."
Chloe looked uncertain,
"Well if you're sure you won't mind. The bathroom is kind of an uncomfortable place to change in."
He smiled reassuringly,
"I don't mind you changing into your jammies in my room. Okay?"
She nodded smiling again,
"Okay. I won't be long."
Chloe went upstairs and smiled at how much the room smelled of him. It was a very comforting, familiar smell to her. She felt a little dizzy and weak and had to sit on his bed to get into her jammies. She looked around his room and saw the globe she'd given him on his nightstand. Smiling she lay on her tummy to reach across the bed to pick it up and examine it properly. Her face was directly over his pillow. She abandonned examining the globe in favor of holding the pillow to her face and breathing deeply. She felt a gush between her legs that she associated with feeling happy. She sighed heavily and silently praised panty liners as she went to change hers. She'd brought a lot of them with her. She seemed to feel happiest around Brady, lately.
When Chloe went back downstairs she found that Brady had sliced the tomatoes and was already starting to fry the bacon.
"Well, you seem to have everything under control here! What is there for me to do?"
He looked up and had trouble breathing as he took in her attire. She was modestly covered from collarbones to wrists to ankles in a scarlet satin nightshirt and lounge pants ensemble. She may as well have been nude though for the havoc she was wreaking on his senses. He watched speechless as she lifted her arms to tie back her hair. The movement pulled the shiny material taut across her chest and the spaces between the buttons on her shirt gaped showing skin. He forced himself to look away.
"Actually if you could take over here I think I'll go get ready for bed as well. What kind of pajama party would this be if only one of us is wearing them, right?!"
She nodded her agreement and replaced him in front of the frying pan while he went upstairs to change into his pj's.
Brady was struck by the scent of her permeating his room. He muttered quietly to himself,
"Good grief she was only up here for what? Twenty minutes?" He went over to his dresser and opened his seldom used pajama drawer. He pulled out the first pair he found but was distracted by the ones underneath. Puzzled he pulled them out.
"Funny, I don't remember unpacking these and putting them in here. Huh. Maybe Marlena or Caprice did. Never would have remembered I even had these. Oh, well I suppose I could wear them tonight for the first time ever. Sure! Why not?"
He quickly stripped and tugged them on, leaving the shirt unbuttoned. He leaned down to pick up the clothes he'd just shed and noticed something white poking out from under the bed. He pulled it out and his face burned. He rubbed the material between his thumb and fingers with a smile of wonder on his face. He shook himself out of his reverie then searched for and found Chloe's overnight bag. He quickly stuffed her bra into it. He put his dirty clothes in the laundry hamper and headed for the kitchen.
Chloe heard Brady begin the descent down the spiral staircase and she looked up. She had a jug of juice poised over an empty glass. She watched mesmerised as Brady gradually came into view. Isabella quietly and slowly slid the empty glass out from under the jug's spout. Just as she began to pour the juice, Chloe saw Brady's feet, then black satin pajama bottoms, the back of a black satin pajama top, and a golden six pack of abs framed by the open sides of the shiny black shirt. She gasped softly. Suddenly, he was standing there at the bottom of the stairs and she realised her pajamas were soaked with the juice that was running off the edge of the counter and down the cupboard she was leaning her hip against. There wasn't so much as a drop of juice in the glass. Her face matched her pajama top.
"Oh, darn! I've made a huge mess and my pajamas are soaking wet! Could you get me some towels please? I don't want to track juice all over your floor. Gosh, Brady, I'm so sorry for the mess and the waste too! Ugh, I don't know how I could have been so clumsy!"
Brady quickly went and got the towels.
"Relax, Chloe it's okay. Accidents happen it's no biggie. Why don't you go change while I finish cleaning this up?"
Chloe looked at him worriedly,
"Into what? This is all I have with me for sleeping in."
Brady gave her the once-over.
"Hmmm. That's odd your shirt seems to be dry. Your pants are definitely wet though. Your shirt doubles as a nightgown right? The pants are just for lounging in anyway aren't they?"
Chloe examined her outfit and agreed with him distractedly~How is it possible that my shirt isnt wet but my pants are wet under the edges of my shirt?~
"Yeah. I guess I could take the pants off and just wear the nightshirt. As long as it wouldn't make you uncomfortable."
Brady smiled reassuringly,
"I think I could manage- I have seen your legs before."
She blushed.
"You're right of course. I think I'm just feeling extra self-conscious because of my clumsiness, is all."
"Like I said don't worry about it. We'll get this cleaned up, build our BLT's, eat and then we'll watch the really cool DVD my best friend gave me for my birthday. Sound like a plan?"
She smiled gratefully, nodding and stripped her wet bottoms off right there. He had to look away quickly so she wouldn't see the effect she was having on him. He recovered his faculties by the time he had the mess cleaned up. He told her to hang her wet pants over the railing to dry. They built their BLT's and sat at the coffee table to eat them. As Chloe's mouth chomped down for a second bite of her sandwich, Isabella gave the middle of it an extra hard squeeze. Tomato and Miracle whip spurted down the front of her shirt. Brady couldn't help it- he bust up laughing,
"Oh my poor Diva! Grace just seems to be eluding you tonight, huh? Hang on I'll get you something to wipe it off with."
Scowling in disgust with herself she stopped him,
"Don't bother, Brady! I'm not sleeping in a soiled shirt. At this rate I may as well get dressed and just go home now that my pajamas are completely unwearable!"
Brady felt bad for laughing as he saw how forlorn she looked. Then his face brightened. He took off his own pajama shirt and handed it to her.
"Here, Chloe. You can wear my pajama shirt. It should be long enough on you to cover all the same area as your current soiled one does. We'll be nauseatingly cute wearing matching jammies- what do you say?"
Chloe's jaw had dropped open when he removed his shirt so she had to close it quickly as she was in danger of literally drooling. She took a steadying breath.
"I say I'm lucky to have such a sweet best friend and I do accept your generous offer. Thank-you Brady. I've never had anyone so literally offer me the shirt off of their back before! However, I'm gonna keep this one on at least until I finish my BLT! As you said grace does seem to be eluding me tonight so I'm not taking any chances!"
He grinned,
"Okay, then I'll just leave it on the arm of the sofa here for when you're ready to go change. No more threats to end our pajama party okay? This is my first one ever and I'm rather enjoying myself!"
She smirked through the glare she cast his way,
"Enjoying laughing at my clumsiness you mean!"
He readily nodded grinning,
"Of course!"
She looked for something to throw at him. He handed her the napkin he'd been about to offer her earlier to wipe the mess off her shirt. She smiled her thanks and promptly balled it up and threw it at him. He laughed good-naturedly and didn't even duck.
"Why did you enable me to do that, Brady?"
He shrugged,
"Figured you needed an outlet for your obvious frustration at being so clumsy tonight!"
Her eyes widened indignantly and she stood up to come after him,
"It's one thing for me to call myself clumsy it's another thing entirely for you to do so Brady Black! You are so going to pay for that remark!"
He kept out of her reach laughing,
"Just out of curiosity Diva exactly what do you plan to do if you catch me?"
"I'm going to hug you and share with you the mess on the front of this shirt. Then I'm going to tickle you until you apologise for calling me clumsy!"
"Okay, can I avoid being tickled and soiled if I just go ahead and apologise now?"
He opened his mouth, closed it and smiled mischieviously,
"I think you are too clumsy to catch me! Plus you'll tire out before I will! If you actually catch me I will accept my sentencing- gracefully! Catch me if you can!"
She gave chase for almost ten minutes. Brady looked over his shoulder to see if she was gaining on him and was surprised to find that she wasn't there. He stopped and looked around the living room bewildered,
"Chloe? Where'd you go? Chloe? Come out, come out wherever you are!"
He felt the tap on his shoulder and knew she'd successfully tricked him. He stood there rolling his eyes in defeat as she hugged him. He made a yuck face at first but she was really trying to rub the mess into his skin and he was suddenly aware of the body under the soiled shirt. Chloe realised at that same moment that rubbing herself up against Brady's hot bod was probably not a good idea for her afterall. She stopped and tried to distract them both by tickling that apology out of him. As he dodged the tickle they both tumbled to the floor and she landed on top of him. He was worried his body was going to betray him so he said what she wanted to hear immediately.
"I'm sorry for calling you clumsy, okay? Now let me up, please."
She smiled triumphantly.
She let him up and they managed to regain their composures. Chloe stood up and grabbed his black pajama shirt from the arm of the sofa.
"I'm going upstairs to change. You should probably do something about the mess on your chest."
As she ascended the stairs Brady looked up and smiled,
"I see London I see France I see Chloe's underpants!"
She stopped in the middle of the stairs and glared at him,
"And you have the nerve to call me a kid?! You are as juvenile as they come Brady Black!" She continued up the stairs. Brady used the downstairs washroom to clean himself up and then he set up the DVD player with the Sound of Music. He dimmed the lights and grabbed the throw from the back of the sofa. He settled himself on the sofa to wait for Chloe.
Chloe was a little concerned because Brady's pajama top was considerably shorter on her than anticipated- they hadn't taken into account how much material would be taken up by her ample bosom. She shrugged~Oh well it will just have to do. I suppose it isn't so bad . It does cover everything just not as much of everything as I'd like it to.~ She sighed heavily and slowly made her way down the stairs. Brady looked up and was glad for the dim lighting as his cheeks flushed at the sight of her wearing not much more than his pajama shirt and it just barely covered the not much more. Chloe assessed Brady's position on the sofa and remarked,
"Well, don't you look cozy? Where do I get to sit?"
Brady feigned calmness as he patted a very small space between him and the arm of the sofa,
"I saved you a spot right here beside me!"
Chloe looked at the spot skeptically,
"Brady I'm not petite enough to fit there you'll have to move over or maybe I'll just sit on your other side."
Brady reached out for her and pulled her towards him nestling her cozily into the spot he'd saved for her. He put his arm around her,
"There see? I knew you could fit there. You are comfy aren't you?"
Chloe looked up at him still in shock but smiling,
"Surprisingly so!"
Her arms crept around his middle and she snuggled against him. They both sighed contentedly. Brady settled the throw over them and pressed play on the remote. When their gazebo songs came on they looked at each other and smiled. Half way through the movie Brady pressed pause.
"I'd like some of that microwave popcorn now. Is it upstairs in your bag still or did you bring it down here?"
Chloe stood and stretched,
"I left it upstairs. I'll go up and get it."
Brady halted her gently,
"Let me go up and grab it Diva. You're my house guest. I don't want you to run yourself ragged traipsing up and down my stairs."
Chloe accepted his offer,
"Okay thanks Brady it's in the outside zippered pocket."
Chloe lay down on the sofa while Brady went to get the popcorn. When Brady came back Chloe was already napping. He stood there for several long moments just looking at her~You are so beautiful, Chloe.~ He forced his eyes away from her and put the popcorn in the microwave. When it was ready he poured the contents into a big bowl and set it on the coffee table. Then he went to get them each a drink. He set those on the coffee table as well and turned to Chloe. He kneeled down beside her, stroking her hair back from her face.
"Hey Diva. Our snack is ready. You wanna wake up and finish watching the movie with me or is this pj party over?"
Chloe stretched lazily, grinning before she even opened her eyes,
"No way is this pj party over Brady! Of course I want to finish watching the movie with you- this was my idea afterall! I was just resting my eyes!"
Brady nodded grinning back at her,
"Somehow that's what I thought you'd say! Come on you, sit up."
Chloe obliged and they went back to snuggling as though they had never stopped. They watched the rest of the movie munching on popcorn, completely content and at ease with one another. Brady turned off the TV and DVD at movie's end and turned to Chloe.
"It's interesting to me that I got more out of watching that just now with you than I did as a child- For instance Gaorg and Maria. I used to think of them as ancient and their relationship didn't mean much to me. This time around, I noticed things between them that surprised me a little. I mean Maria was pretty gutsy standing up to him despite his gruffness."
Chloe nodded,
"Yeah, I know what you mean. It was different this time around for me too. I noticed him softening towards her very early on, whereas when I was younger, his change of heart seemed almost implausible in it's suddenness, I guess because it was so subtle and gradual. I mean he so stubbornly kept his feelings a secret from her. They could have gotten together a lot sooner if he had just told her."
Brady tilted his head and raised an eyebrow,
"Maybe so but then again, maybe he just had to be sure. Maybe if he had admitted it too soon she would have turned tail and run and not ever come back. I think they got together exactly when it was right for them to."
Chloe studied Brady's face thoughtfully,
"Yeah, maybe."
They sat in silence looking into each other's eyes for several moments. Finally, Brady gave her a half smile,
"So I'm a newbie at this- what else is supposed to happen at this pajama party of ours, hmmm?"
Chloe laughed lightly,
"Actually I'm not exactly an expert myself but it seems to me Belle and I invariable end up talking about guys past present and future at our sleepovers. Now since you are one I don't expect you'll do that with me! We could talk about whatever you'd like to talk about."
Brady looked pensive for a moment.
"Actually, I'm curious about your past. Did you ever have any crushes before you and Philip met?"
Chloe shrugged,
"Well, I don't know if it was a crush exactly but there was an older boy at the orphanage who I really looked up to. I'm pretty sure though that he didn't even know I was alive. He was book smart and street smart. He'd had a really violent childhood and yet he was very kind and protective over the littler kids and would go to bat for them as needed. He was really mean though to anyone who crossed him. I didn't really have any interactions with him or anything but I did notice him."
Brady gazed at her intently,
"I bet you're wrong. I bet he not only knew you were alive but knew you were noticing him. Wouldn't surprise me if he was trying to impress you."
Chloe returned his gaze then looked away flustered. She glanced back at him,
"What about you Brady? You've mentioned an ex-girlfriend before. How did the two of you hook up and why did you break up?"
Brady's eyes widened as he sighed loudly,
"So I mentioned her huh? Hmmm. We met in a class we were both taking. She was very direct with me said she wanted to get to know me better so we went out for coffee. She was a little quirky but it was cute. We talked for hours about nothing and everything that first time. It was dark by the time we realised how much time had passed so I walked her back to her dorm. She kissed me goodnight. As I said she was always very direct with me. We were pretty much inseparable for almost four months, then out of the blue she told me she wanted to end our relationship. Direct to the bitter end. I asked her why and she told me she had developed feelings for someone else in one of her other classes. So we broke up. I haven't seen her or spoken to her since."
Chloe tried to gauge how Brady was feeling.
"Do you miss her?"
He looked into Chloe's eyes,
"For about a month yeah I did, but not anymore. I haven't actually even thought about her much since we m- umm since we broke up."
"Were you in love with her?"
He shrugged,
"No, but I thought if I stuck it out I would eventually fall in love with her. Obviously that never happened. Guess she knew it wouldn't and she decided to move on. It worked out for the best I think. Okay so that takes care of the past and I think you and I both know about one another's current situation so now what about the future? Tell me about the guy in your future."
She raised her eyebrows and shook her head,
"I don't think so Brady! I talked about the past first so you have to be first to talk about the future. You tell me about the woman in your future."
He smiled narrowing his eyes at her,
"Okay, fine, you're right it's only fair that I should go first this time. Ummm okay, she has to be perfect for me inside and out. There, all done. Your turn. Oh. Hmmm, you don't look pleased with my description. What? You mean you want details? Is this really a regular part of pajama parties? It is huh? Okay, fine. The woman in my future is intelligent. Articulate. Witty. Gutsy. Confident. Strong. Sensitive. She has to laugh at my jokes. She is loyal. Trustworthy. Ambitious. Unpretentious. Reliable. Wild. Affectionate. Honest. Loving. Mischievious. Fun bordering on goofy but deep. She is compassionate. Adventurous. Athletic and a good sport. She is emotional. Thoughtful. Considerate. Spontaneous. Organised. Passionate. Vulnerable ... well, at least with me, anyway. She's my soulmate. She has endless curves in all the right places, strikingly beautiful eyes and a smile as brilliant as her mind. Oh, and I am the love of her life."
Chloe gave Brady a strange look,
"Don't want much, huh? Brady, with those kind of high standards you're destined to remain single all your life. No woman could meet all your criteria. A woman like that just doesn't exist."
Brady gazed into her eyes in all seriousness,
"Oh, but I believe she does exist. She and I will be together not only in this life but in the next, as well. Guaranteed. So it's your turn now."
Chloe looked uncomfortable,
"Brady, I don't have nearly the kind of list you have. I just want to love and be loved by someone who I feel safe with. Someone who'll never give me cause to doubt him. Someone I can believe in and trust without reserve or fear. Someone who will know that when I give him my heart that it isn't something I do easily. Someone who knows I'm flawed and loves me anyway. Oh, God that sounds so sappy and pathetic, even to my own ears! On a lighter note I will admit that a handsome face and nice physique wouldn't hurt either! Brady? It's late and I'm feeling kind of tired. Can we go to bed now?"
Brady grinned,
"Sure Diva. I'll just grab a pillow and an extra blanket."
Chloe frowned,
"An extra blanket? Why? Is it cold in your room?"
He looked at her bemusedly,
"No. I'll need the extra blanket for sleeping on the sofa."
"You're not sleeping in your room tonight?"
"No. Of course not. I'd never relegate you to my sofa."
"I don't understand Brady ... you have a double bed ... why would either of us have to sleep on the sofa?"
His jaw dropped open slightly,
"You think we should both sleep in my room? In my bed? At the same time? As in together?"
Chloe laughed,
"Yes, of course! I trust you. Besides the best talks at pajama parties happen in the dark just before falling asleep. Be kind of hard to have a pillow talk if we had to shout up and down the stairs at each other!"
Brady laughed though still feeling a little uncertain about her suggestion.
"Umm yeah sure you're right of course. We trust each other. Why don't you go on up while I tidy up down here and such?"
She nodded,
"Okay. Don't be too long though or I may fall asleep without you. Oh, Brady? What side of the bed do you usually- oops nevermind I already know! The right side. I noticed earlier when I went up to change into my red jammies. Okay so see you upstairs!"
Brady watched her ascend the stairs. As soon as she disappeared at the top, he let out the breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding and sat back down on the sofa. He ran a shaky hand through his hair~How the hell am I gonna deal with sleeping with her beside me all night? Oh man this is promising to be one hell of a long night. Well on the other hand I get to fall asleep beside her and wake up with her still beside me that sounds good to me! Maybe a little too good. Please don't let me blow this ... she's one of the best things in my life right now. I better tidy up and get up there.~
Chloe let out a long breath at the top of the stairs~What was I thinking? How can I sleep beside him all night? Oh wow this is going to be a difficult night I can tell. Still I guess it will feel kind of nice to fall asleep beside him and wake up with him still there. I just hope I don't do or say anything embarassing. I can't lose Brady. He's one of the best things in my life right now. I wonder what's taking him so long? I guess I should get into bed or he'll wonder what I've been doing this whole time. Oh I can just picture that conversation oh well you see Brady I was picturing sleeping beside your hot bod and got a case of nerves even though this was my idea yeah right no way am I telling him that! Keep it together Chloe you snuggled on the sofa with him for almost 3 hours and nothing embarassing happened you can do this! It's really no big deal. You'll just be sleeping.~
She heard him on the stairs and scrambled to her side of the bed. When Brady crested the top of the stairs and stepped into his room he was met with a sight that set his heart thumping loudly in his chest. He wondered if she could hear it. She was on the left side of the bed sitting up with a pillow propped behind her. The bedclothes covered her to her waist. She was sitting up in his bed reading something, looking for all intents and purposes like she belonged there. His heart started to regulate as his eyes and brain became accustomed to her presence in his room, in his bed. He fought the urge to go to her and hold her. He smiled through his inner turmoil,
"Hey, whatcha reading?"
Chloe looked up and realised she didn't even know which book she had in her hands. She looked at it again briefly to reassure herself it wasn't upside down. She put the book away as Brady climbed into bed beside her. She turned back to him and shrugged,
"Nothing very interesting, just some fluff I borrowed from Nancy. Everything tidied up down stairs?"
He nodded turning onto his side facing her. He slid down in the bed and propped himself up on one elbow.
"You planning on sleeping sitting up?"
Chloe blushed and shook her head. She rearranged the pillow behind her and slid down in the bed, laying on her side. Her head was on the pillow and her hand was curled under the pillow. They lay face to face just looking into pools of blue not their own.
"Do you sleep with the light on, Brady?"
Brady looked momentarily confused being pulled out of the depths of her eyes with the question.
"What? Oh the light right no of course I don't sleep with the light on. I'll go turn it off."
She watched him get out of bed and turn out the light. She could still see him in the dark as he made his way back to the bed and climbed in again.
"Brady? Have you ever played the game 'guess what I'm drawing on you?'?"
She couldn't quite read his features but she heard his quiet answer,
"It doesn't sound familiar. Describe it to me."
"Well we take turns drawing pictures or words on each other's backs and the person being drawn on has to try to figure out what's being drawn by sense of touch alone. The drawing can be repeated as many times as requested but the person doing the drawing can only verbally answer questions with yes or no."
"Should I go get a pen?"
Startled Chloe didn't know what he meant at first.
"What? Oh! No no no you just use your fingertip like a pen! Sorry I should have clarified. It's just imaginary drawings. So do you mind if we play that right now? I'll draw first."
She could hear the smile in his voice,
"Sure it sounds like an interesting game. Is this a pajama party game?"
"Sort of but not really. I used to play it with one of my foster siblings. He was younger than me and he'd lost his family more recently than I had. This game kept him from crying at night. Kept his mind off of them if only for a few minutes. I used to lay down with him until he'd fall asleep then I'd go back to my own bed. I don't know what made me think of it tonight. I haven't played it since."
"Well you were definitely right about one thing, Diva- talking in the dark like this does seem to free inhibitions. You rarely talk about your life before you came to live here in Salem; before we found each other. I'm glad you shared that memory with me, thank-you."
Chloe struggled against an overwhelming urge to curl up against his back and just hold him close. She cleared her throat.
"Okay Brady I'm getting ready to draw the first item so pay attention!"
Her first tentative touch startled him and made gooseflesh on his skin. Her drawing kind of tickled. For him it was nearly erotic. He tried to focus his attention on the shapes she was drawing. She stopped.
"Okay, Diva could you draw it again?"
She repeated her earlier touches. She drew a circle with lines radiating out all around it. She heard him chuckle.
"Is it a sun?"
She laughed lightly herself,
"Yes. You are good at this! You get to keep your turn as long as you aren't stumped despite repeated drawings and hints or until you want a turn drawing."
He rolled over to face her.
"Well in that case, roll over I want a turn to draw."
"Okay but I like being the one who guesses. I'm not likely to give up my turn as readily as you have if I keep guessing correctly. Are you sure you want to forfeit your turn?"
"Yeah. I'm sure. Turn over."
Chloe complied and felt him move her hair out of the way. She felt his finger through the fabric of the pajama shirt but couldn't determine what he was drawing because the fabric moved against her skin with his finger. She craned her neck to look over her shoulder at him,
"Brady, I need you to draw it directly on my skin. The pajama shirt is dulling the sensation. Just reach under it to draw on me."
Brady felt his heart start to slam in his chest. He gulped and reached for the hem of the top. He winced as he reached down a little too far and his fingers grazed her buttocks. He heard her gasp softly. He finally found the edge of the hem and slid his hand up under it. He rested his palm flat against her bare back to let her know he'd done as requested.
"Are you ready now, Diva? I'll draw it again."
She felt him run his finger in a straight line slowly up her spine then he curved right crossed the first line curved down and to the left crossed the first line again curved up on the right and back across her spine in what felt like a circle. She smiled.
"Too easy Brady! Was that by any chance a treble clef?"
Brady frowned,
"Yes. You are better at this than I anticipated. I'll have to come up with a more detailed item. Hmmm. A-ha! Got it!"
He drew a gazebo on her back and after three repeated drawings she still could not figure it out.
"Okay, Brady just one more time and if I still don't get it I'll forf- AHHHH! Oh my God Brady please I've an itch oh my God right between my shoulder blades oh please help I can't reach it!"
Brady startled at first began to chuckle,
"Right there?"
"A little to the left, oh yes, oh God Brady thank-you oh that feels so good!"
"What would you have done if I hadn't been here to scratch your back for you?"
"I would have become very friendly with the nearest doorframe!"
Brady laughed out loud.
"That would be quite the sight to see! Maybe next time I won't scratch your back just so I can witness that for myself!"
"You'd really do that too wouldn't you? You are the biggest brat ever I swear!"
"As per usual takes one to know one!"
She rolled over onto her back pinning his hand under her.
"I forfeit my turn. What did you draw?"
"I'm not telling you! I need to keep it in my repertoire for the next time we play this!"
Chloe was pleased about his assumption that they would play this again sometime.
"Brady, that's no fair! I would tell you! Come on please? The curiosity will drive me nuts! Please tell me please please please?"
Brady grinned,
"Think I could have my hand back? Thank-you. Okay I will tell you but not outright- you'll have to ask questions until you figure it out."
Chloe's back felt bereft where his hand had been.
"Okay that's fair. Living or inanimate?"
"Indoor item or outdoor?"
"Huh? How could it be both? Hmmm. Random item or of special significance?"
Chloe replayed the drawing on her back with the new clues.
"Naturally occuring item or man-made?"
"Man made."
"Does it have anything to do with music?"
"Indirectly yes."
"Is it here in Salem or elsewhere?"
"Here in Salem."
"Stationary or mobile?"
"You ask excellent questions by the way. Stationary."
"Yes well I'm a very smart cookie. Is it a building?"
"Yes, and yes you are a very smart cookie just look at who your best friend is!"
"Yeah, you're right- Belle is pretty terrific! Have you and I been to this building together?"
Brady tickled her waist,
"Take that back! Who's your best friend, Chloe? Come on say it! Who's your best friend me or Belle? I won't stop until you tell me the truth!"
"Okay okay you are Brady you are my very best and most merciful friend! Whew! Now answer my question please."
"Yes, you and I have been to this building together."
"Were we there in the daytime or at night?"
"Aww come on Brady I'm so close to figuring it out don't say goodnight yet!"
"Huh? I didn't ... ohhhhh ... umm Chloe the answer to your last question was night as in the opposite of day- I wasn't saying goodnight!"
"Oh. Okay maybe I'm more tired than I thought. I feel like I just lost my smart cookie status. A-ha, but I may be about to redeem myself! Do the letters S and M have anything to do with it?"
He chuckled,
"Capital or lower case?"
"Okay now you're just being cheeky! You know what I drew don't you?"
"Did you draw our gazebo on my back?"
"Ours, huh? Yeah. I did. I drew our gazebo on your back. You have hereby fully regained your smart cookie status!"
"Why thank-you! Now seeing as I forfeited my turn would you like another turn?"
"I absolutely would! Get busy drawing, Diva!"
Brady rolled over and offered his bare back to her. Chloe placed her hand on it.
"Gimme a sec to think of what to draw. A-ha! Perfect!"
Brady could feel her draw two circles not touching but parallel to eachother. Then he felt her draw what he thought was going to be a square or rectangle directly above the circles but it had some irregularities to it. He racked his brain but came up blank.
"Again please?"
She repeated the drawing. Brady had a suspicion of what it was.
"Is it a vehicle?"
"Is it my jeep?"
"Yes. You really are very good at this Brady!"
"Yeah, well, not only am I a smart cookie like you but I'm also very sensitive to touch. I could visualise what you were drawing. Okay my turn isn't over, keep drawing, Diva!"
"Okay Brady just one more. If you guess right again you'll have to accept a raincheck because I'm feeling really drowsy already, okay?"
"I could take a raincheck now if you're too tired."
"Are you sure? You haven't had much of a turn."
Brady turned to face her. He reached out to caress her cheek.
"That's okay. I've decided I like pajama parties with you. There'll be plenty of other times for me to cash in my raincheck. Don't even worry about it okay?"
Brady felt her face smile under his palm and felt her place her hand over his.
"I'm really glad you agreed to let me spend the night here. I've really enjoyed tonight too. I definitely feel Mr. Sandman tugging on my eyelids though. Goodnight Brady. Sleep well. Sweet dreams. See you in the morning."
"Goodnight Chloe. Sweet dreams to you too. Sleep well and we'll do breakfast together first thing tomorrow okay?"
Her hand slowly dropped away from his as sleep took her. He let his hand drop from her cheek but kept his arm extended towards her. He lay awake a while just listening to her breathe and studying the outline of her features in the dark and then he also succumbed to slumber. Isabella lifted Chloe's hand and placed it on Brady's outstretched one. In sleep, the soulmates clasped hands, entwining their fingers together. Isabella smiled.~So they ARE ready. Well, I guess they just need a little extra push. That I can do.~

Story continues in part 2 ...