Surprises Ahead

20190222_093818.jpg

Surprises Ahead

An Emery&Chris story

By avenger-nerd-mom

Word Count: 3137

Warnings: Language, Domestic Fluff, so cute it’s sickening

Summary: Emery is fed up with snowy Boston winters and misses her hard working husband.

Previous Chapter, Christmas Presents

February 2019

Tired from a long morning on set, and travel, actor Chris Evans really just wants to crawl in bed and sleep for a few hours. But there’s more work to be done before he can rest. Turning into a familiar spot, he places the car in park, just as his phone begins to ring. Pulling the phone from his pocket, he doesn’t even bother with hellos. “Hey, Kitten, I was just getting ready to call you. I-”

“Christopher Robert!” Emery’s voice shrills through the connection. “You called Dr. Puckett’s office?”

Removing his sunglasses, he rubs his hands over his face. “Shit, they told?” He rests his head against the plush headrest, not really surprised.

“Of course they did. They had strict orders not to give out any information, in case I was being followed to appointments by paparazzi, or whatever.” She huffs and the sound of metal clangs.

“What are you doing?” He asks, sitting up and shifting in the seat. He looks around his surroundings and frowns. “You’re not supposed to be moving around too much.”

“For your information, I had to pee. Baby E is pressing on my bladder. I went to the bathroom, is that okay with you?” Even her Southern drawl is unable to hide the irritation in her voice.

He bites back his chuckle, stretching his legs and pulling the key from the ignition. “I suppose, if you must.” He laughs when she calls him an ‘asshole’ under her breath, his favorite term of endearment. “What’s the other noise I hear?”

Emery sighs. “I’m doing laundry. I was sick, again, this morning, so the sheets needed to be washed. And I’m supposed to get some movement in during the day. I was going to finish this up, eat some lunch, and then take a nap. Hopefully dream about my favorite actor,” she giggles. “He’s kinda cute.”

“You are talkin’ about me, right? I’m still your favorite?” Chris reaches for the bag in the front seat next to him. Getting the conversation back on the original track, he says, “Okay, so I get the doctor’s office isn’t supposed to give out information, but I’m your husband. They even asked for the password, in case I was scamming them. That was good thinking, by the way.” He climbs down out of the rented SUV, and stretches his legs. “You seriously told them not to tell me anything without a written note and video approval?”

He shakes his head, remembering the phone call with the office staff yesterday. He’d made the secretary repeat herself. ‘Yes, Mr. Evans. Sorry, it says here in the chart you are, and I quote, ‘a sneaky liar and can charm anyone’ and we aren’t supposed to give you that information without a written note and video. And if you question it, we are supposed to tell you the video is required in case you might try to forge your wife’s signature.’

Downey had a good laugh over that one, knowing his young bride had his number pegged. ‘Man, she’s got you by the balls. I knew I liked her!’

He reaches for his bag from the back seat, and slings it over his shoulder.

The washer door clangs. “I knew you’d get itchy and want to know. I can’t believe you tried to go behind my back and ask MY doctor the sex of our baby.” He hears the plastic basket drop to the ground. “It’s the first time I’m ever gonna get a surprise and know I’m gonna love it, no matter what it is.”

“I was a surprise,” he says, balancing the paper sack in his arms and reaching for another key in his pocket. “You weren’t expecting me to answer your dating profile.”

“Evans, I’m still not sure I like you,” she sneers. “You know I hate surprises. Oh shit. Hang on. I’m gonna have to call you back. Someone’s ringing the doorbell.”

“It’s probably Joanna’s kid. Wasn’t he supposed to come by and shovel the driveway today?”

“Yeah, but he had three other jobs lined up too. How can I hang up if you’re still talking to me?” He can hear her patter towards the door and he can’t wipe the smile from his face.

The door flies open and a blast of cold Boston air pushes her hair back, loose tendrils swirling around her. “Chris!”

Wrapping his free hand around her waist, Chris gently picks her up off the ground and carries her back a step or two. He kicks the door closed with his solid boot and sets the food down on the stairs before wrapping his other hand under her tousled hair. “God, I’ve missed you. I hope you don’t mind this surprise.”

Placing her on the ground, he bends to kiss her lips tenderly, sucking in her breath. He laughs at the salty tears streaming down her face and kisses the tip of her nose. “I missed you too much, Kitten,” he whispers.

She grabs his sweater and buries her face in his chest, inhaling deeply. “Oh honey, this is the best surprise yet. I really wasn’t expecting you. I was getting too worried about flying to LA alone.” She steps closer and wraps her arms around him, digging her hands in his back pockets. “You smell so good. I need this. Need you.”

He sways on his feet, rocking her gently side to side, to a silent rhythm only he hears. His hands caress over her tangled hair, and he kisses the top of her head. Several moments pass, before a quiet ‘meow’ is heard on the stairs and a little paw scratching at the bag.

“I know you hate surprises. But are you up for another one?” He turns her slightly to see the bag in question. The cat turns and runs away.

“Tasty Burger?” She smiles, her nose sniffing the air. “What’s in the sack?”

Chris grabs her hand in his, and the bag with the other, leading her to the kitchen. “I didn’t know what you’d want, so I got a selection. Fries and onion rings, the chicken parm sandwich and some burgers. And a chocolate milkshake.” He reaches into the large bag, pulling out the peace offering and handing it to her.

She takes a sip, the thick, chocolatey nirvana slowly reaching her lips. She looks down into the large bag, pulling out a sack of fries. “All of it. I want all of it,” she says, grabbing an onion ring looped over some fries. Emery tucks her hand under her growing belly and pulls herself onto the bar stool at the counter bar. “I’m not kidding. I want some of the chicken parm and a burger.”

Chris taps her ass, turning around and taking a knife from the block by the stove. “Fine. We’ll share.” He hands her the utensil. “You cut and decide which part you want, I’ll eat the other half.”

“Which burger?” she asks, nibbling on a fry and unwrapping the chicken sandwich.

Walking to the fridge, Chris opens the matte silver doors and gets two water bottles. “The one with bacon? I think it has gorgonzola cheese on it.”

“What kinda weird Italian crap is that? We don’t have that down South. Kraft and Velveeta. That’s what goes on a burger.” She smiles, teasing him, licking the tomato sauce from the chicken sandwich from her thumb. Biting into the crispy chicken, a glob of the sauce dribbles from her lip. Chris reaches over and tenderly scoops it off, licking his own thumb.

“You’re adorable when you pretend to hate it up here. But Scott sent me pictures of you playing in the snow the other day with Carly and the kids. Admit it, you love it?” Chris asks, hopeful she does indeed love his hometown as much as he does.

“I just wasn’t expecting you to be gone so much this winter, while I’m pregnant. That’s all. I hate feeling like everyone has to take care of me.” Emery chows down another bite of the chicken sandwich, breaking off the stringy cheese with her finger. “I don’t know my way around yet, and Shanna and your mom watch me like a hawk. No one will let me drive in the snow… I don’t feel very independent.”

Chris nods, understanding. “I have a job down South, in a few weeks. Would you like to go home, stay in Savannah, see your family?” He takes a handful of fries, under her watchful eye, and shoves them in his mouth.

Her eyes light up as she bites into an onion ring, pulling the onion from the fried casing. “I’d love that, but we have to see what Dr. Puckett says.” She drops the onion on her plate, but eats the crispy coating. “She was already a little nervous about me flying in a few days.”

“So am I,” he admits. “That’s why I’m home early. I don’t want you flying alone. All of your flight details have been changed, Lucy took care of it.” He looks away from her glare. “I know you hate the idea of your own personal assistant, but it’s been a big help, as long as you keep her in the loop. She’s gotta know your speaking engagements at schools so you aren’t double booked like you were with that magazine interview.”

“I got along just fine handling everything, I still don’t see it’s necessary.” Her new PA annoys her, but she’ll admit, she hasn’t really given the younger woman a chance yet.

“You have pregnancy brain, and keep forgetting things, Em,” he says softly, caressing her arm. “After the baby comes, and the press tour and baby stuff is all over, we can let her go if you really don’t feel you need her. But it makes me feel better knowing you have someone else looking out for you.”

Emery purses her lips. “Okay. Fine.” Her voice is not fine. “She’s temporary. So what changes did you two make without telling me?”

Chris swallows hard, pulling his hand back. “Point heard. Ok? We’ll talk things out. I just wanted to come home, and surprise you. I thought it would be a nice surprise?” He looks at her with puppy dog eyes and smiles when she nods her head. “We can fly out Tuesday, after we see Dr. Puckett, or we can wait and go Wednesday like you originally planned, but we’ll go out to LA together. You still have fittings for your dress Thursday, but the rest of the week is just us, relaxing.” He picks bacon from his sandwich, savoring the smokey flavor. He keeps quiet, holding out another secret from her. He doesn’t want to ruin the surprise that the Downeys and Ruffalos are planning a baby shower for her Friday night when they’re all in LA together. He nibbles another piece of the bacon. “I don’t know when my rehearsals are scheduled yet. Fuck, I hate presenting.”

“Oh, but you look so damn good in a tux. So confident. The Oscars are kinda boring, but watching you makes it fun. It always has for me.”

“Well, at least one of us enjoys it.” Chris stands on the rung of the bar stool and reaches across the counter top. “What’s this?”

“More names, just scribbles really.” Taking a big bite of the burger, Emery moans appreciatively. “That’s good shit,” she whispers. “Gorgonzola. Who would have guessed?” Going in for another bite, she quickly drops it onto the wrapper, clapping her hands together excitedly. “Oh my, God. I know. I have her name! It came to me the other day.”

“I thought we already decided,” Chris says, dragging a fry through the tomato sauce on the chicken parmesan sandwich. Deciding on baby names has been a constant give and take between the pair, trying to come up with something ‘just right.’

“No, you liked it, and I said no combination with anything remotely similar to any ex’s name. That really rules out a lot of names, Babe.”

He playfully swats her shoulder. “So you’re thinking that bump is a girl now?” Chris rubs his hands over her belly, grinning when he feels a little kick.

“I think it’s a soccer team. Whatever it is, it kicks too damn much, makes me pee all the time,” she happily caresses the bump, “and I’m still not over morning sickness yet.”

“This will be a fun flight to LA.” He bemoans quietly, withering from her glaring look.

Emery rolls her eyes and pulls a pen from her hair, her coppery red curls cascading around her shoulders. “Here.” She scribbles something on the page, tearing off the corner and handing it to Chris. “We’re agreed on a middle name, right?” He nods. “Read that. Tell me what you think?”

Looking at the paper he says the name she’s written.

She shakes her head. “No, that’s not right. Read it with a Southern accent. The first syllable? Rhymes with ‘thai.’”

Chris hides his smirk. “If we give her a ‘southern accent name’ no one is ever going to say it right.” He tries again, following her advice.

She grins. “Say it again. With the middle name. The whole thing.” He does, adding the middle name they’ve agreed on and their surname Evans, and she beams with pride. “Don’t you love it?”

He holds back his thoughts, seeing her happiness. “Ok, I wanna hear you say it.” Coming from her lips, the name sounds so much better, with a distinct Southern charm. “Emery, I don’t know… It is, it is very pretty. But this spelling?” He holds up the scrap of paper. “I thought you wanted to make sure to have a ‘normal’ name, seeing how students with difficult names often struggle with it in school.”

“Anyone with language studies could figure out the phonetics, besides, her father is Captain America. Her name will have been heard in interviews, written in magazines, many times before she even starts school.” She takes another french fry. Midchew, she stops and yawns. “Will you at least think about it? I really love it.”

He nods, wrapping up the leftover food. Stealing the milkshake, he takes a long drag from the straw. He’s pretty sure they’ve just decided the name, if Baby E is a little girl. Lord help him, they’d both have him wrapped around his fingers!

He doesn’t really care, as long as the baby is healthy, but deciding a name is so daunting. So many factors involved, and ultimately the name becomes part of the child’s personality. He’s grown used to the name Emery’s presented for a son, based on her family’s traditions, since before they even talked about having children, but their discussion of girl names keeps going back and forth. The list of scribbled names on the pad in front of him is an indication of their indecisiveness.

Until this new name, this name that rhymes with ‘thai’ as the first syllable.

The name that easily rolled off his beautiful wife’s tongue, sounding so right to his ears.

“Have you screamed it yet?”

Emery smiles. “Echoes through the house perfectly. She’ll know when her little behind is in trouble.”

Chris laughs, remembering her mother’s advice. ‘Just make sure it’s a name that rolls easily when you scream it, when you’ve gotta let that kid know he’s in trouble and better come running.’

“Did you check the monogram?”

She swats his arm again, sticking out her tongue. She’d already turned down three names, knowing the monogram would be awful. She’s a Southern momma. Baby E is gonna be swaddled in monograms! She blushes. “It’s not great, but it was like this little voice was saying it to me, like she’s telling me her name.” She rubs her hands lovingly over her belly.

“You heard it, huh?” He asks, doodling the monogram on the pad of paper. He can’t control his gut busting laugh, slapping his hand to his chest for her benefit. “Oh, that’s rich, honey!” He laughs louder as she joins in. “Our brothers are gonna have a field day with that.” When his laughter dies down, he wipes his eyes. “And you swear you didn’t ask Puckett if it’s a boy or girl?”

She crosses her heart. “I swear. And based on old wives tales, I have no idea. It comes out 50/50 every time we swing my ring over my belly, or do the pencil thing.” She shrugs. “The pencil test shows the miscarriage, a boy and a girl.”

Chris rolls his eyes at the legends of the old ways. “Emery, please tell me you don’t believe all that.”

Her voice drops. “Your aunties sure make it seem real.”

“If it was real, Shanna would have five sons by now,” he reminds her, unable to hide his skepticism.

“Whatever.” She yawns, tugging her hands through her wild mane of hair, trying to settle it. “I like the name. It means you can’t tell your mom.” Emery looks at him pointedly. “I like this one. Don’t ruin this name. You know that’s why your number one choice is no longer on the table, right?”

He bows his head. “I know. I got too excited,” he confesses. “But when she starts asking me questions, sometimes I can’t help myself.”

Sneaking the last fry from his wrapper, she smiles. “Just do what I do. I’ve been telling my mom we’re naming the baby ‘Brady,’ regardless of the gender.” She wads up her napkin. “That went over well with her church group.” She giggles. “I think they’re praying for us now. One of the ladies, my old Sunday School teacher, sent a quilt she made, Patriots colors, and wished us luck on our Yankee baby.” She laughs, pointing to the pile of gifts on the table. “Some things from your family are there, too. Names I didn’t recognize, so we need to open them together.” Emery yawns again.

“Maybe later, after you nap.” Chris helps her down off the stool. “The couch, or upstairs?”

Emery pats his arm, reaching for the sack of remaining food, and puts it in the fridge. “I try not to go up and down the stairs any more than I have to.” She turns back around and drinks down the last of the milkshake. “The couch in the office,” she nods down the hallway, “is wide. I’ve been taking naps there. It’s big enough we can snuggle down together?”

Aiming his napkin for the trash can, he shoots. It bounces off the side and lands on the floor. Blushing, he rushes up to it, retrieving his trash and dropping it in. “A nap sounds like the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon.” Turning off the kitchen light, he places his hand on the small of her back. “Lead the way, little Momma.”

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE INFO AND LINK TO NEXT STORY!

In case I never get around to writing the baby shower the Downeys and Ruffalos had, this is Chris and Emery, getting ready for a date night. She had no idea he was taking her to a surprise party!

baby shower.jpg

And in case you wondered, this was how Chris announced to the world they were pregnant:

announcement.jpg

Click here to read A Fine Gentleman, part two of Oscars 2019

Copyright © 2019 avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Bun in the Oven

bun in oven cover nov 21

Bun in the Oven

An Emery&Chris story

A Chris Evans fan fiction

By avenger-nerd-mom

Chris and Emery spend Thanksgiving in Boston

Warnings: PURE fluff, language

Word Count: 1969

Get to know Emery and Chris in their novella Georgia on My Mind and their follow up collection of short stories

November 2018

Leaning her head against the cool porcelain, Emery wipes the back of her hand across her mouth and reaches up to flush the toilet. She sniffles quietly, too weak to stand.

“You gonna stay in here and puke all day?” Chris laughs, entering through the open doorway.

“Fuck you, you did this to me,” she laughs, closing her mouth quickly after a tiny burp. She holds her breath, praying she won’t be sick again. She sits back, resting against the side of the tub, and reaches for the cool glass of water he hands her. She drinks it down, hating the taste of Boston tap water, the old pipes in the house giving it a metallic taste.

He kneels beside her, wiping her face with a warm washcloth, discarding it in the tub behind them. He pushes her hair back from her face and rests a cooler cloth around her flushed neck. “You’re sure you’re not sick? You seem warm.” Worry and concern fills his voice.

“I’m warm because I tossed and turned all night, and your mother has this house hotter than Atlanta in August!” She snips, holding in another burp. She sighs. “Really, Chris, I’m fine. It’s not a fever. I just need to try to eat something, and maybe nap. But really, the house smells, and it’s making me sick.”

Everything makes her sick these days, but the smell of raw or cooking meat is the worst. “Honey, it’s Thanksgiving. Between the turkey and the sausage for the stuffing-” Chris stops himself, seeing her body convulse at just the spoken words about meat. “Ok, okay,” he chuckles. “I won’t talk about it, but you get the idea. Of course there’s gonna be food smells.”

She rests her head back against his strong, solid shoulder. “I’m hungry,” she pouts. “But that all sounds disgusting. And kill me now if my mother is down there, prepping for noodles and sauerkraut.” She burps again and drinks the last of the water in the glass before sitting it down on the floor next to her. “I want a steak.”

Chris laughs, kissing the top of her head. “A steak? And how am I supposed to do that, without adding to the smells of the house? Or divulging our little secret? Em, why don’t we just tell everybody you’re pregnant, since we have everyone together?”

She shrugs, curling into his chest and breathing in his scent. It’s the only smell that doesn’t make her sick these days. “You smell good,” she says. She tugs the collar of his ratty t-shirt. “Just a while longer. Everything we do is so public. I kinda like it being just us knowing for now. And yes, a steak. Surely there has to be a restaurant somewhere in Boston that’s open. You’re Chris fuckin’ Evans. Make a damn phone call.”

“You’re a grumpy pregnant lady,” he laughs. “What happen to the sweet, demure woman I married?”

“I puked it all out of me… Seriously. This is getting ridiculous. The doctor said the morning sickness should stop by the sixteenth week or so, now it’s nearly week 18 and I’m still puking all day.”

Chris rolls his head, popping his neck. “You can always put in a call to her service? Where’s your wrist bands?”

Her hands fly to her wrists. “Shit!” She looks around the room. “I don’t know. Maybe they’re tangled in the sheets?” One of her message boards for pregnancy had suggested motion sickness pressure point bands to curb some of the nausea, and for the most part, they had helped. Since they’d come home for the holiday, she’d been hiding them under long sweater sleeves.

Chris shifts his weight, his butt falling asleep on the hard tile floor. “You done for now? Wanna shower and I’ll drive around town till I can find you a steak, stop at CVS and buy some more bands?”

“Yeah, I think I’m okay for now.” Emery rolls over onto her knees, pressing her hands against his thighs. “Oh, and get some Captain Crunch.”

Steak and Captain Crunch cereal. The only two foods she can seem to keep in her system. He nods. “Stop it, silly Kitten. Let me help you up.” Chris rocks forward, grabbing the edge of the sink, pulling himself up. Reaching down, he tenderly grabs her elbow with one hand, and her hand with his other, gently lifting her to feet. The light from the bathroom window creates a halo effect around her curls. He sucks in his breath. “Oh, honey, you’re so beautiful.” He pulls her into his arms, holding her tight and kissing the top of her head. “Sorry little Baby E is making you so sick.”

“He’ll be worth it.” She smiles, brushing her cheek against his. Emery loves the clean shaved look for his newest project, Knives Out.

“So it’s a ‘he’ today, huh?” He smiles down at her, running his fingers through her long, hair, carefully tugging at the unruly curls.

She beams up at him. “Whenever I’m too sick, and it’s being a pain in the ass, it’s a he,” she laughs, the sound bouncing off the tiles and he joins in with her. “Don’t even ask. No gender reveal. I don’t wanna know.”

“I know, I know,” he sighs, kissing the tip of her nose. His laugh deepens when her tummy rumbles. “Okay, so I’ll go be your big, strong provider and find sustenance for you and our little one.”

He bends down and places his hand on her belly, his lips brushing against her pale pink tank top. “Hello, little baby. Happy Thanksgiving. Quit making Momma sick. She’s gotta go out and people today, and it’s hard to keep you a secret if you make her burp every five minutes.”

As if on cue, Emery burps again. “Uff,” she complains. “Yeah, please stop doing that,” she agrees, rubbing her belly. “Go, so you can get back. Your mom will want you to start the grease for the turkeys soon. God, you’re gonna smell like oil and turkey for the next three days,” she mumbles under her breath. “And the kids want you to watch the parade with them.”

He kisses her protruding belly, still hidden to the average observer, and rises to tenderly kiss her lips. She pulls back. ”Haven’t brushed, eww.” He kisses the side of her mouth and quietly exits the bathroom.

Hearing her start water for the shower, the handsome actor grabs his hat and keys from the dresser. Taking the back stairs, Chris enters directly into the heart of the house for the festive day. Both their mothers sit at the table, chopping vegetables and Emery’s father stands at the counter, kneading fresh dough for bread. “Morning everyone,” he greets. “Text me coffee orders. I’ve gotta go run an errand or two. Emery caught the flu from the students she worked with this week and isn’t feeling well. I don’t know if she’ll be down this morning or not. I’ll stop at Dunkin on the way home.”

Lisa nods, smiling up at her son when he kisses the top of her head. “Pick up two more cans of green beans, too?”

He nods, absconding with a blueberry muffin from the counter for his drive.

Hearing the front door close, Lisa bumps shoulders with Anita. “Told you she was pregnant.”

Anita laughs. “Fine, fine. You win the bet. I’ll clean out the turkey gizzards.”

***

The kids cheer when the front door flies open and they see Uncle Chris enter the house. “Sit by me,” one of them shouts, patting the couch cushions.

“I’ll back in a few minutes, Pal. Aunt ‘Em needs me to bring her stuff first. Come here.” Chris is hoping none of the adults lurking around the house catch him. He carefully hands the tray of coffees to his oldest nephew. “Take these into the kitchen and don’t spill them. Nonna will yell at us all day if you do.”

The young boy solemnly nods and Chris watches as he methodically and slowly steps towards the kitchen. Satisfied the journey will be successful, he bounds the stairs two at a time, entering his childhood bedroom. Emery is sound asleep. Knowing she’s had difficulty sleeping, he decides to let her rest, leaving the boxed dinner and gift box on the bed.

***

“There’s Sleeping Beauty,” Preston Thomas jokes, announcing the arrival of his oldest daughter to the family gathering. “Waited till all the clean up was done and desserts were on the table, I see.”

“Taught me well, Dad.” She bumps his shoulder, wiping the sleep from her eyes. “Why’d you guys let me sleep so long?”

“Chris said you’ve been sick, dear,” Lisa explains, reaching for an empty plate and offering it to her daughter in law.

“Yeah, and we wanted you rested so you could go out shopping, like our first Thanksgiving together,” says Shanna.

“Yeah, it’s always important to keep with Thanksgiving traditions,” Chris winks at her, hiding his smile behind his napkin. Their first time sharing a bed together had been upstairs, three years before, in the early morning hours on Black Friday. He smiles, seeing the collar of his present peeking from under her cardigan. He puckers his lips together and rises, pulling her close. “You look a little flushed, babe. Too warm? Maybe you should take off your sweater?”

Barely holding in her giggles and her excitement to share their good news, she nods. “Maybe I should. Can you help?”

He stands behind her, slowly pulling the sweater from her shoulders, revealing his gift to her, to the room as a collective gasp is released before the whole room explodes in joy.

bun in the oven

***

Wrapping her up in a scarf to venture out into the cold night air with his sisters for Black Friday sales, Chris smiles down at his beautiful bride, the mother of his future children. He stuffs some cash in her pocket as he did not long ago, on their first holiday together. “Ya know, I think we were standing right here when I first thought about having children with you.”

She smiles, rubbing her thumb over his smooth cheek. “I remember. I felt it too. You looked so cute sitting there with Miss Sassypants. Man, she gave you and Scott a time that night didn’t she?” Their boisterous shouts that night had woken their niece and Carly had left them in charge so she could go shopping.

He nods, smiling at the memory of the late night feast on turkey leftovers. “She’s always had me wrapped around her finger. I’ve had years of practice.” He taps her nose. “I’m ready for my own, Mrs. Evans.”

“Me too, Mr. Evans, a little one of our own…” She tilts her head. “Hey? How did you manage that, by the way? The steak was fresh, like on a real grill, and the t-shirt?”

He chuckles. “Pick up a little something for Tara, for her troubles. Her husband and I cooked, and she used her craft letter cutting thing like you have, and made that up and ironed it on.”

She shakes her head in dismay. “Really, Chris?” She laughs. “You went and bugged Tara today, of all days?”

He shrugged. “She was happy to do it, and their family eats later in the day. It gave us a chance to catch up. I want you to know, it was all my idea.”

Carly and Shanna appear at the door, ready to go. They motion for Emery to hurry up. Shanna teases, “Come on! We’ve got a baby we need to start spoiling!”

Emery giggles and waves her out to the car. She reaches up on her tiptoes, kissing his smooth cheek. “You have the best ideas, sometimes, Mr. Evans. I love you, you know that?”

For reference to their first Thanksgiving together, check out Something to be Thankful For and Late Night Visit

Next Chapter, Snow Fun

Read more about Emery and Chris in their novella, Georgia on My Mind, and their story collections

Copyright © 2018  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

Sunday with Grandad

1532899619528274987104116263235.jpg

Sunday with Grandad

By avenger-nerd-mom

Chris and Emery visit her ailing grandfather. The old man gives them marital advice.

Warnings: language, fluff

Word Count: 2292

Get to know Emery and Chris in their novella Georgia on My Mind

July 2018

20180729_162834.gif

Chris smiles down into the car, helping her get settled and handing her the tray of cupcakes to hold. She reaches up and pulls down on his tie. “This will make him happy.”

“I sure as hell hope so, cuz if Ilaria saw me now, she’d totally give up, thinking I’m a lost cause,” he says, smoothing down the striped tie from the mid-eighties.

Emery rolls her eyes, moving her feet into position on the floorboard. “She’s seen you in the track suits you still wear. Fratboy wanna-be. She gave up hope a long time ago. Why do you think Seb gets all the modeling gigs?”

“Because he’s a pretty boy,” he chuckles, slamming the door closed and tapping the hood as he walks around the front. Loosening the tie, he crawls into the driver’s seat, already sweating in the hot Georgia, early morning sun. “I’m sweatin’ like a sinner in church.”

“Oh honey, bless your heart! You’re pickin’ up some of these Southern phrases!” She praises, stretching out her own drawl.

Turning the car out of the the little drive, he angles onto the empty road. “Dear God, our children will have the most fucked up accents one day,” he laughs, clapping his hand to his chest.

She swats his arm. “Shut up. They’ll be adorable.” Watching in the rearview mirror, she shifts in her seat. “Did I ever tell you about the student I had that spoke with a British accent the first five weeks of school? When I met his parents, I was so shocked to find out they were American!”

Chris chuckles, turning left at the stop sign. “So what? He was just fakin’ it?”

“Yea, he thought it would be cool.” She explains, pointing out a pothole in the road. “He’d been to a study thing at the Harry Potter theme park for a week, and came back with a British accent.” Emery shrugs. “Girls at school fell for it.”

“Smart kid,” he mutters, “why didn’t I think of that?”

“You were a little shit in class, weren’t you?” She asks, peering at him over the top of her sunglasses.

He smirks. “You know those old pictures, with my long floppy hair? It hid my eyes. I slept in class. A lot. Tara would lend me her notes, and Carly helped me figure out stuff I didn’t get. I wasn’t what you’d call an ‘exemplary student.’” He wiggles his eyebrows at her, leaving just one up, in a high arch. “None of my teachers looked as hot as you.” He pats her thigh, squeezing above the knee, exposed in her summer sundress.

She purses her lip and raises her brow in return. “Turn left up here,” she says, with a tilt of her chin. She squints. “You’d have been a kid I would convince to stay after school. You’d avoid it for weeks, and then once you came, and saw the atmosphere, you’d stay. You’d come whenever you didn’t have play practice.” Emery rests her head back against the seat.

He squeezes her leg again, before returning both hands to the wheel to make the turn. “You miss it, don’t you?”

“They had teacher stuff in the dollar bins at Target yesterday,” she pouts. “I bought a few things, but lecturing at conferences and helping to set up after school programs isn’t the same as having my own class, my own kids.”

He cocks his head. “Kitten, if you really want back in the classroom, just say so. You don’t have to go to Toronto with me this fall. I’ll be back for Christmas. I don’t know how much Marvel needs me for the press tour next Spring.” He sighs, pulling into a parking space in front of the old Southern brick home. “I feel like for the first time, we can breathe. Make our own plans. Have a little freedom.”

She bites her lip, removing her seat belt. “I know. I feel it too. No, I love what I do, advocating for good teachers and consulting with districts to make things better.” She sits still when he motions her to stay. He dashes quickly around the front of the car, straightening his tie, and she picks up the conversation where it left off when he opens the door. “I’m always gonna miss the classroom.” She winks, handing him the tray of cupcakes. “Maybe I’ll go back someday, but for now, this is the right thing.”

He balances the treats in one hand, reaching for her purse as she swivels around in the seat, putting one sandaled foot and one braced foot down on the ground. Grabbing the door frame above the window, she pulls herself up. “Stupid boot,” she mutters, balancing and pushing away, stepping awkwardly around the door. She glares at the front steps.

“I can go inside and get a wheelchair?” Chris offers, jumping out of her reach when she swings out to hit him.

“Fuckin’ hate you,” she giggles. “This is your fault, you know? I wouldn’t be in this boot, have tendonitis if it wasn’t for you.”

He laughs, smiling at a nurse who comes out to to greet them. Emery makes small talk with the young woman, passing off the sugary treats to her. Chris takes his wife’s arm and gently guides her up the steps. “Tap dance lessons to impress me didn’t have to turn into some imaginary, wild audition for ‘Dancing with the Stars.’” He reminds her.

“But I was having so much fun,” she stops on the step, pouting. “That would be something, to be on that show.” She shrugs. “I was just having fun dancing for you, and the family talent show. Besides,” she runs her hands down over her waist, smoothing out her sundress. “I lost all that weight that had been bugging me. It was addicting!”

“It was an expensive emergency room visit.”

She hits his chest. “Cheapskate,” she teases.

screenshot_20180729-160417_google4244532569286918199.jpg

Pausing in front of the big, heavy wooden doors, she sighs. “I used to hate this place. When I was little, I had a great aunt here, and it always seemed so scary.” She scratches under her nose as Chris pulls up the door and a blast of air conditioning greets them. “It makes me sad he’s here.”

Chris squeezes her arm, “It’s better here for him, Em. He started a fire; someone could have been hurt.”

“I know, I know,” she whispers as he crosses to reception and announces they are there to visit Grant Thomas, her paternal grandfather. Chris and the nurse chat briefly, before he turns to her, pointing the way down the hall.

“They said he’s had his nap today, and should be awake, reading,” he explains quietly as they pass through the hallways. Some residents sit in their doorways, calling out as they pass by, or sit and play games in little alcoves. Before reaching the room, a nurse stops them, handing them a small plate with three of the cupcakes Emery made. She nods her thanks as Chris reaches his hand up to knock on the door.

“What? What’s that? Who’s there?” an old, tired voice calls out.

Emery caresses the side of Chris’s bearded cheek and pushes the door open. Loudly she announces, “It’s me, Emery, Grandad. I brought Chris today; we wanted to visit awhile.”

The couple step into the crowded space, smelling of tobacco, menthol and vanilla. Chris smiles at the plug-in in the outlet and fights the urge to loosen his tie in the heated room. The old man, weathered and tanned, his skin aged from the sun, is wrapped in a crocheted quilt with a sweatshirt resting around his shoulders.

“Who? Who is it? Turn up the light,” the man commands.

Emery steps forward, resting the cupcakes on the table beside the chair, turning on the lamp. “Grandad, it’s me, Emery. You’ve got it too dark in here.” She leans down and kisses the man on his cheek, feeling the slight stubble. “Can I open the shades? I wanna see you better.”

“The big bad wolf come to visit, eh?” He chuckles, crooking his finger and pointing at Chris. “You’re too damn tall.” He motions his hand for Chris to lower himself.

Chris squats by his chair, reaching out his hand for a shake. “Good to see you again, sir. Emery’s talked all week about coming out to see you!”

Mr. Thomas drops his hand, looking back at Emery, patting the arm of his chair. “Sit, sit.” He looks up at her, caressing back her long hair, running his aged and weak fingers through the ends. “Just like your grandmother’s,” he chokes. “Who’s the fella? It’s not that bloke from the bank is it?”

Emery blushes. “No, Grandaddy, it’s Chris. My husband. The actor? Captain America?”

“Captain, you say?” He points at the photos on the shelf, and Chris stands to retrieve one. “I was in World War II, son. You don’t look old enough to have been a Captain. What’s your unit?”

Chris sighs, having had this conversation with the old man before. He and Emery decided it was easiest for him to answer as Cap might, and the two trade war stories, real and fake, for a good part of the afternoon. After sharing the cupcakes, the man dozes off for a few minutes, jumping awake when he snores too loudly, scaring himself. Emery and Chris have a good laugh, and he joins in with them. “Son, what’s your last name again?”

“Evans, sir,” Chris offers.

“Grant Evans, has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” He kicks out his foot, tapping the side of Emery’s boot. “So when’s that gonna be? I wanna be alive to hold my great- grandson. And you aren’t getting any younger, peanut!” He guffaws.

“Granddad!” Emery scoffs, blushing again and smoothing down her dress.

screenshot_20180729-160708_google1361842237765849664.jpg

He turns his attention to Chris. “What’s wrong, soldier? Shooting blanks?” He glowers over his glasses. “Quit wasting your testosterone growing that damn beard and tell your swimmers to do their job, dammit.”

Chris bites back a laugh as Emery hides behind the photo album she was looking through. He salutes the older man. “Yes, sir. I’ll take her right home, and we’ll get right on that after we study scriptures tonight.”

“Good. Good Christian man. Nothing funny about that, no sir.” Mr. Thomas sits up proud. “All my babies been baptized. Raised by good Christian parents. You’ll be no different.” He points at both of them. “None of this nonsense about spoiling a child. You lead by example. Live the Golden Rule. Save your money. Visit Vegas once a year. Nothing too fancy,” he advises. “Simple. Like that tie. Good lookin’ tie, son.”

Emery smiles as Chris runs his hand proudly over the tie her grandfather had given him for his Broadway premiere.

“Sounds like a good life, Granddad,” Emery says wistfully, nodding at the nurse when she quietly enters the room. “It looks like it’s time for you to get down to dinner, so it’s time for us to go.”

He scowls at the nurse. “Trying to escape, are ya? Next time you come back, bring me something fried in lard. None of this food has flavor.” He pulls his walker around in front, rocking a few times in his seat, before pulling himself up to an upright position. He chuckles as Emery does the same, tottering in her boot and grabbing the front of the walker. “Looks like you need this thing more than me.” He smirks at Chris. “She get hurt chasin’ you around the bedroom?”

“All redheads. They’re all alike,” Chris laughs. “Can’t keep their hands to themselves.”

“Yep, boy, that’s right,” the old man chuckles, leading them down to the dining room before saying their goodbyes.

Emery kisses the old man on his cheek, whispering, “I’ll visit again soon.”

He pats her back, playing with the ends of her hair again. “Captain America, huh? You picked a good one, peanut. Don’t let him get away. You have pretty grandbabies to play at my feet, ya hear?”

“Yes, sir,” she smiles, holding the tears at bay.

Chris turns to salute the old man, wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist as the nurse leads Mr. Thomas to dinner.

screenshot_20180729-160907_google810797622121888782.jpg

“Come on, Mrs. Evans. Sounds like we’re trying to make a baby again tonight. Can’t disappoint the old man,” he laughs as Emery leans on his side, walking down the stairs and out to the car. “Don’t want him thinking I’ve got faulty swimmers.”

Emery lifts her long hair off her neck allowing a cool breeze to caress her skin. “Mr. Evans, I’m feeling adventurous. Instead of driving home, let’s just drive out to the campground!”

He stops in his tracks. “We don’t have any of our stuff with us.”

“So?” She taunts. “If we go now, we can have the place to ourselves for two whole days, before the reunion. We can get some stuff at Target, necessities, and you can come back later and get the rest of our stuff while I help Mom get things unpacked before everyone else arrives.”

Chris lifts her foot and boot, swinging them around and placing them in the car before closing the door. Walking around quickly, he climbs in the hot car, and starts the air and the ignition. “Emery Thomas Evans! I can’t figure out if this is a ploy for two days of uninterrupted baby making, or another trip to Target for teacher supplies?”

“Both,” she giggles as she rolls down her window, feeling the breeze in her hair as Chris heads for the highway leading out of town.

Watching the traffic in the rearview mirror, Chris asks point blank. “Emery, who’s the ‘bloke’ from the bank?”

click here to read the next Emery&Chris story, Grease Monkey

Read more about Emery and Chris in their novella, Georgia on My Mind, and their story collections

Copyright © 2018  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Late Night

Late Night april 25

Late Night

an Emery&Chris fan fic

By avenger-nerd-mom

Emery sits in with Chris during his promotional appearance on the Seth Meyers’ show

Warnings: None, fluff, language

Word Count: 1834

April 2018

“Chris, really? You should know this!’

He chuckles, even his laugh sounding like Boston, and she giggles, her feet bouncing nervously, watching him squirm in his seat.  He tosses his hand up in the air. “No. I try to forget some other guy before me had his tongue in your mouth.” He looks, around distressed, as she dissolves into more laughter. “Can I say that on national television? Did that sound dirty?’  He looks to the audience sheepishly.

“It wasn’t just one,” she mumbles under her breath. Louder, she turns to their host, “Seth, don’t give him my answer yet. Ask me. There’s a prize involved, right?”

“What? A prize? What kind of late night show do you think this is?!” He looks around his desk. “Um, you can have this cool mug?”

“Deal.” Emery nods emphatically. “Is it the same question? ‘Cause I know his first kiss was Maggie Sullivan.” She hits him in the arm. “Show your card.”

He rubs his arm. “Ow, you hit hard. Seth, tell her ‘no hitting.’” He turns his card over and taps it against his leg. “Poor Maggie Sullivan, if she’s watching this…”

Seth shakes his finger at the little red head. “Well done, and it doesn’t bother you to know that?”

She tilts her head, looking to Seth. “No,I won.  I’m the one married to Captain Frickin America. I mean look at him.  He’s so handsome- ‘ She swirls her hands around in front of Chris’s face. “Caterpillar and all…”

He leans back against the seat, “I can’t wait to shave it,” he laughs, rubbing his hand over the questionable facial hair.  “Shit! ” He covers his mouth, with a surprised expression, embarrassed he cursed on television. “Sorry- it was David, wasn’t it?  He was your first kiss?” She happily flips over her card, showing the name of her high school sweetheart. “You danced with him at our wedding! I knew I hated that guy!”

Emery chuckles and pats his leg. “It’s okay, honey. You know we’re just old family friends. You have nothing to worry about.”

Seth makes a funny face to the crowd and the audience laughs. “Yea…” he stretches the word out. “You are Captain Frickin’ America. I think you’re pretty safe, dude.”  

late night 6

Chris mumbles, “I hope, man, I hope.”

Seth laughs, “Ok, next question- Chris, what’s Emery’s favorite movie that’s not Marvel?”

The famous actor looks to his wife, raising an eyebrow. “Wait? Is this a trick question? Seth, are we talking all time favorite, science fiction or holiday?

Emery leans over and covers the microphone on the desk and consults privately with the host. After a brief moment, he turns to Chris and announces. “All time favorite…”

Screwing up his face in thought, his mustache wiggles on his lip.

late night 5

“Oh god, I know it’s an 80s movie,  with that redhead. Crap, what is it? Sixteen Candles!”

Emery’s cheeks turn a shade of red under the bright lights. She holds up the card, ‘Pretty in Pink.’  “That redhead? You worked with Molly once!” She reminds him. “Remember,  we cancelled brunch just the other day because it was on TV and I didn’t wanna leave till the end?”

Leaning in close to her, Chris chuckles. “I thought we stayed home because it was raining, and that’s why we ordered in Chinese?”

Emery hides her laughter behind her card, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Ok, Emery, this one is for you.  What is Chris’s favorite Disney movie?”

Her smile freezes on her face. Shit. It could be anything. The wheels begin to turn, and he jumps in. “This could be any number of- this was a tough,” he waves his hand, “it was a tough call.”

Emery tugs on the end of her pony tail and drops it to her chest when she settles on an answer. “Well, his favorite old-school Disney movie would have to be Robin Hood-”

“Show it to us, you don’t have to go on. That was amazing.” Turning to the audience, Seth teases, “Why do I feel like I’m causing marital discourse between them?” Turning to the couple, he leans in.  “Please don’t send me any therapy bills resulting from this…” He looks at the next question on his card. “What’s Emery’s favorite sweet indulgence?

His face lights up. “Besides me? Oh I got this. Milky Way, I bring them home from the corner shop all the time.”

“Man, do you even know me? You always end up eating those! My favorite candy bar is Heath.” She flips the card over and bops him on the head.

Intervening, Seth holds out his hand. “Chris, have you met this lovely woman sitting by your side? Her name is Emery. She likes 80s teen movies and toffee covered in chocolate.”

Chris shifts in his seat and reaches out for her hand. Shaking it, he introduces himself and says, “Hi. I’m Chris. I’m a dork. I’m in movies, but not porn, as the ‘stache might imply, and I like Starburst jelly beans, and long walks on the beach.”

emery NYC 3

She throws her head back in laughter. “You hate the beach.”

He turns to the audience, nodding. “She’s right. I do.” Turning to the host, he says, “This game is awful. I feel like a chimp could do better at this than I am!”

Seth looks at his watch, “Well, man, it’s only an hour show, so we don’t have time for a counseling session, but I think you need to talk to your wife more, and listen.”  He taps the cards on the table. “We’ve got time for one last question. Chris,” he nods to the actor. “What’s the one thing you do that annoys her the most?”

Chris rocks forward, laughing and shaking his head. Straightening out his pants leg, he says, “Seth, you obviously don’t know me very well. One thing? Listen here. This woman is perfect. She cooks, cleans, does craft projects, exercises, volunteers with kids and has a full time job. And she puts up with me, and deals with the fans, and press. There’s so many things about me that annoy her,” he chuckles. He quits fidgeting with the cards in his lap and reaches for her hand. Looking in her eyes, he says, “I’m just so thankful every day she puts up with me, and I have no frickin’ idea what is my most annoying habit to her.”

She squeezes his hand, silently encouraging him to remember their conversation just before leaving the apartment that morning. She purses her lips, willing him to remember.

“Oh, man!” He exclaims. “I know! She really hates it when I take things out of the dryer and just kinda dump them on the floor instead of folding them, or hanging them up.”

The look on his face is pure pride, when she turns her card over and throws her arm around his neck, kissing his check. “I hate that!” she whispers.

Seth applauds and says over the crowd’s laughter, “He does that? You do deserve some kind of prize for being married to him! If I did that, my wife would kick my-”

“Oh, she does, she does… then she yells at me to go clean it up.”

She nods. “He’s getting better. It’s a twelve step program,” she giggles. “A slow process.”

“Well, Chris, you have a lovely bride, and a wonderful movie coming out later this week, and congratulations on your Broadway debut.” Turning to the cameras, Seth turns it out to a commercial break.

In a rush, crew members come over to unhook their mikes and Seth stands to give Emery a kiss on the cheek. “Again, Seth, congratulations on the birth of your new baby! Thank you for showing me pictures!”

“Thank you for the lovely gift, you didn’t have to do that,” Seth says, reaching out to shake Chris’s hand. “Really, man, the play is great.” He nods. “Best of luck.”

A crew member begins to lead her away, and she waves to the audience as Chris and Seth chat for a few minutes. She watches from the sidelines as the configuration on the stage changes slightly, and one of the Marvel assistants comes to lead her away.

Back stage are a few fans, waiting to meet Chris, and she stops to talk to them. She kneels down next to a young girl dressed as Suri. “Miss Emery!” The young girl sighs. “You’re so beautiful. You came and taught at my school last week, and I got an A on my test.” She holds up the paper to show her achievement, and Emery gives her a high five.

“That’s amazing! Wow, you did great and used that fraction trick, didn’t you?” Emery smiles. When Chris comes up behind her, he places his hand on the small of her back. She turns to him and shows him the math paper. “Chris, this is my friend, Lashaya,” she says, reading from the test, “and she was in my class and got an A.”

He squats down next to the girl, and an assistant places a small bag at his feet. “Lashaya, that’s pretty amazing. I’m really proud of you.” He smiles up to Emery and winks. “She’s a great teacher, but what’s even better is, you remembered what she taught you and now you can help your friends, cause that’s important right?”

She nods and smiles at the photos her mother is taking. He reaches in the bag, and hands the girl a signed Funko Pop and poses for a selfie before moving on to talk to other people waiting for him. Emery stands back and watches, not a part of the limelight, when the girl’s mother asks for a photo of her as well. “Please, Miss Emery? My daughter has never done good in school before, but you really helped her. She works so hard now, and I thank you for that.”

Emery chokes on her tears, and catches Chris watching her. He winks as she bends down to take a photo with the child. “You tag me in that, alright? I wanna make sure I see it! You hang that test on the fridge and earn more like it, okay?”

“Okay,” Lashaya says before her mother leads her away.

Another Marvel handler comes to her, and suggests they go on down to the car. In the quiet hallway behind the stage, the young man says, “That was really cool. I’ve never thought about it, but you’re kind of a superhero, too, Mrs. Evans. Teaching kids all day, especially math, must be hard. That was pretty amazing!”

Chris’s voice echoes down the hall, rushing to join them. “Damn right, my wife’s a superhero! And I’m taking her to dinner!  Where you wanna go, baby? Seth’s right. It’s been a while since we’ve had time to just sit and talk.”

“Just you, me and the mustache? Ok,” she laughs, looping her arm through his as they walk out to the car.

Click here to read the next Emery&Chris story, Birthday Sweets

Read more about Emery and Chris in their novella, Georgia on My Mind, and their story collections

Copyright © 2018  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

Auntie Em

auntie em april 15 2018

Auntie Em

*an Emery & Chris drabble*

By avenger-nerd-mom

Emery pitches in to help her sister-in-law, Carly, when the kids are sick and Carly has plans. Her tutoring with his nephew goes slightly awry.

Warnings: None, Fluff

Word Count: 2141

To find out more about Emery and her life with Chris, begin with their novella, Georgia on My Mind, and follow up with their stories!

His voice is quiet, and she strains to hear him. “When are you coming home, baby? I miss you.”

Emery smiles. “I’ve only been gone two days; I’ll be home Monday.”

“I know, but it feels like it’s been fooor-eveeer.” He whines and stretches the word out.

She wraps her arm around the sleeping little one in her lap. “Good grief, listen to you, moaning like I’ve been gone for months.” She smiles at the other two boys, stretched out on the floor, coloring and playing with race cars.

Chris drops his voice and it vibrates through the phone. “I need you here to make me moan.”

“Oh stop,” she giggles. “Stella’s asleep in my lap.”

“Is she feeling any better?” Her heart flutters at the tender sound of his voice, so full of concern for his niece.

She nods, even though he can’t see her. She gently strokes the little girl’s hair back, checking for signs of a fever. “I think the fever broke a few hours ago. She was running around here with the boys just a bit a go, before she had another coughing fit. They felt so bad for her, they let her watch Frozen without whining.”

“It’s nice to have family close, when you have an emergency,” he hints. “Have you heard from Carly?”

“She’s been checking in every few hours. She can’t be enjoying their romantic get away if she’s worried about a sick kid.” Emery shifts on the love seat, her arm starting to fall asleep under the weight of the sleeping child. “I’ve got it under control. We went to Ethan’s piano lesson this morning, and Miles and I have been studying for his math test. We’ve had a good visit.”

“You sound tired,” he sighs. “Three will do that, but-”

“Which is why, Evans, we’re only having two-”

“I’m not stopping till we have a little girl, with fiery red hair like her mother,” he states.

“You really want two of us in the house?” She smiles. She sighs happily. More of their discussions have turned to family lately, with the Marvel end in sight. She’ll be sad when it’s time to see him hang up the shield, but with his success on Broadway, she looks forward to different opportunities.

“No, I want three of you. Two little girls, just like their mama, and a little boy?” He adds with a question.

At that moment, Miles lifts his head and turns to her and smiles. His boyish grin is so much like his uncle’s, she can’t help but giggle. “Okay, maybe you can twist my arm for three, but no more than that,” she acquiesces.

“It’s not about twisting your arm, kitten, you like it when I twist your-”

“Chris! Shh!” She blushes, quietting him as Miles crawls into her lap.

He holds out his little hand. “Auntie Em, can I talk to Uncle Chris?”

She hands him the phone, holding him close to her side and listening to him chatter with his uncle. Maybe three isn’t a bad number…

***

Standing at the sink, the two women pass the plates off to one another as they wash and dry, leaving things on the counter for the men to put away later.

“Really, Em, you didn’t have to have dinner waiting for us,” Carly repeats, running the cloth around the glass rim to dry it.

Emery feels around in the soapy water. Finding the sink empty, she looks to the counter behind her. “It was no trouble. I miss getting to cook for people. We’ve mostly been eating take out,” she explains. “I think that’s it. Anything else to wash?”

Carly looks around as well, and shakes her head. “Except for the plate with the cheesecake Scott took to the living room, and he can wash that himself.”

Emery nods and releases the plug from the sink, shaking the soap suds from her hands before rinsing them clean. She grabs a dry towel and wipes her hands before beginning to put the plates away in the cabinet.

Carly finishes with the last coffee cup and throws her towel on the counter. “Stop. The boys said they’d do it; leave it.”  She takes a step or two away and clicks the coffee pot on. “Another cup?”

Nodding, Emery continues to put away the plates, ignoring Carly’s glare. “I’m the oldest sister too. That look has no effect on me,” she announces.

With the Evans grin, Carly chuckles and reaches into the fridge for the creamer, setting out her coffee items on the counter. “Thanks again for coming down to watch the kids. I hope it didn’t change your plans.”

Emery waves it off. “Nothing more important than family. With Mom and Shanna both busy, I’m glad I could help out.”

“Not a lot of family close by if you’re in LA,” Carly suggests, taking the pot from it’s stand and pouring two cups.

“Gee, you’re not subtle or anything,” Emery giggles, reaching for her cup and adding a splash of the vanilla creamer.  She grabs two sugar packets and walks to the table. Knowing how the family grapevine works, she decides not to mention Tara is on the search for the perfect family home for them nearby.  After several long discussions, she’d made it clear she wanted them to have their own home in Boston, not one he’d previously shared with girlfriends. Chris had been open to her idea of finding something a little rough around the edges, so they could add their own touches to the home, and truly make it theirs.

Carrying over the plate of cookies, Carly sits in the chair across from her sister-in-law. “We’d love to have you both close. I know you like staying in Savannah, but home for him is here.”

“Carly,” Emery says sternly, “Home for us is wherever the other one is… It’s not a city or a dwelling. It’s here.” She rests her left hand over her heart, the kitchen lighting making her wedding ring gleam. “I know you want us here, but my family feels the same, Carly. Chris and I have to make decisions right for us.”

Carly passes her spoon to Emery, to stir the sugar into her cup. “I know, I didn’t mean… I was just making conversation,” she sheepishly says. “It’s fun you’ve been so close the last few months. It was nice to see you guys at Easter, and for us to have a good excuse to go to New York.”

Emery tilts her head. “It has been nice, and I look forward to coming back in a few weeks to do the training for your school district.”

“What’s his plan after the play ends? It’s been really strange to watch the promo tour stuff, and he’s not a part of it.”

Emery rests back in her seat. “Yea, I hate that too. It doesn’t seem right.” She shrugs. “After the play? I don’t think we have a lot of plans. I’ve only got three workshops scheduled for the summer. I’d like to spend time at the lake house with my family some, get to know Parker’s fiancee a bit better…”

The women chat well into the night, keeping clear of touchy subjects such as children and moving. Whenever Carly tries to push a topic Emery wants to avoid, she tactfully finds a way to shut her down. Eventually she realizes the time, and dismisses herself to bed, with the excuse of an early morning flight.

Carly wanders into the living room as Emery takes the stairs to the second level of the home. She drags her hands slowly over the photos that line the hall. At the top of the steps, she turns and looks down, smiling at the pile of shoes and backpacks by the front door. Scott steps into her line of sight, and waves goodbye, blowing her a kiss before quietly leaving the house. She turns and walks down the hallway, stopping to check in on the boys, fast asleep in their beds.

under the dome GIF-downsized_large.gif

In Stella’s room, the little girl clutches a bear to her chest, her thumb in her mouth.  Emery walks in quietly, the light from the closet adding a glow to the room. She pulls the little girls thumb out, tucking the little hand under the girl’s chin instead, pulling the blankets up higher to tuck her in. The tiny cherub sighs peacefully and Emery bends to kiss the top of her head.

Reaching the guest room, she yawns and pulls back the blankets before sitting down to take off her shoes. Pulling her phone from her pocket, she sends a quick message. “I miss you. I’m ready to come home. See you tomorrow.”

The red-head waits a few moments to see if a response will come. With no answer, she rises from the bed, and enters the bath to get ready for a fitful night’s sleep.

***

Wednesday afternoon, she waits on the small couch, still giggling from the text from Carly. She listens to the applause and waits for Chris to come back stage. An image of ‘Bill,’ his character in the play enters her mind.  The crisp blue uniform… The silly moustache… She gets the giggles again and can’t wait to show him the picture. He was crabby before the show, but she knows this will put him in better spirits. That and the box of pizza from John’s, sitting on the coffee table.

“Hey, Emery,” Brian calls out as he walks past the room, not stopping to talk.

“I got pizza!” She yells back.

She smiles when his head pops back in the door. “You’re a saint, a goddess among mere mortals.” He looks down the hall, and nods his head before looking back to her. “You have to be for putting up with this guy.” Brian Tyree Henry claps his large hand on Chris’s shoulder. “You found a good one, man.”

Chris smiles, dropping the officer hat from his costume into the chair and running his hands through his hair. “I’m just lucky she puts up with me,” Chris agrees.

“And I bring pizza,” she smiles, opening the box to the two men.

zooey deschanel hunt GIF-downsized_large.gif

“And she brings pizza,” Chris chuckles, leaning over the food to kiss his beautiful wife. He reaches down for a slice and takes a bite, chewing slowly. He sighs. “Pure heaven. If I could just have a beer, it would be damn near perfect.” He collapses on the couch next to her.

“No beer!” Someone calls out as they walk down the hall.

“Damn that promise I made,” he grumbles, taking another bite.

Bryan reaches for a slice and tilts it to Emery. “Thanks, Em, babe. But I really can’t stay. I’m meeting some friends for an actual dinner before we gotta be back for the night show.”

She nods, scratching her hands over Chris’s back absently as he scarfs down a second slice.  “Brunch Friday?”

He nods and mumbles his agreement behind his hand, chewing his food before excusing himself.

“Kitten, I gotta get changed. People are out on the sidewalk and-”

“Chris, I know. I know the routine by now. It’s good. I just knew you’d be hungry,” She shrugs. “Before you go, I want you to see the picture Carly sent me. It’s from Miles’ geometry test he took yesterday.”

Chris cocks his eyebrow, his expression curious as Emery opens her phone and turns the image to him.

“It’s his test paper? I don’t get it?”

“Chris! Look at what he drew!” Emery laughs, pushing the phone closer to him.

Chris begins to laugh. “What the hell?” His laughter is infectious and Emery loses it again. The more he looks at the test page, the more he laughs, to the point of wheezing and clapping his hand over his left pec.

carly text fake.PNG

“Oh, shit! That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. Text her back and tell her I have never been more proud of my nephew than I am right now! Please tell me he passed?” He laughs again and slaps his knee, rocking back to then wipe an actual tear from his eye.

She pushes on his back, shoving him off the couch. “Go, get changed. They’ll be here to take you out to sign any minute,” she giggles, glad she was able to cheer him up.

He rises, bending to kiss the top of her head. “You just made my day. That was better than the pizza, maybe even better than the sex this morning.”

“Watch it, Mister. Those are fighting words,” Emery laughs, slapping his ass as he walks away. She looks at her phone again and shakes her head in another fit of laughter.  She’ll have to make sure to include drawing lessons in her geometry tutorials next time, to ensure her younger students can draw a proper cylinder.

**Thanks to my IRL for sharing this actual test paper with me this week! As soon as I saw it, I knew it was an ‘Emery story!’

Images found on Pinterest

Text created using ifakemessage.com

Click here for the next Emery&Chris story, Late Night

Copyright © 2018  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

Vacation Time

Vacation Time december 23 2017

Vacation Time

An Emery&Chris story

By avenger-nerd-mom

Chris and Emery continue their weekend getaway weekend in the secluded cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains.  A competitive game reveals a little secret, and the couple receive a holiday surprise.

Warnings: real life, fluff, language

Word Count: 2321

Images found on Pinterest. Sources unknown.

Click here for part one of this story…

December 2017

Shyly, Emery turns from the hot stove, handing her sleepy-eyed husband a plate of Southwest eggs, hashbrowns, and a steaming cup of coffee.

“Bacon will be ready in a minute,” she appeases, nibbling a bite of her toast.

“What’s all this for?” he asks.  “You don’t usually fix all my favorites at once; you always say it’s a heart attack on a plate.”  Sprinkling pepper over the whole meal, he jokes, “Are you trying to kill me?”

She giggles, carrying her plate, with the served up bacon, to the table.  “It’s an apology,” she says, tucking her leg under her bottom as she sits in the wobbly chair.  “I was kind of a  bitch the last few days.”

Chris opens his mouth to replay and promptly snaps it shut, hiding his smile behind his large hand.  He clears his throat, holding back his laughter.  “Really?  I hadn’t noticed.”

She chuckles, mixing together her scrambled eggs with the potatoes, reaching for the tabasco sauce.  “It’s my hormones.  They’re still crazy, but getting better.”

He nods, reaching over to pat her hand.  Losing their baby last spring had been difficult on both of them, in more ways than one.  They had gone to therapy together to work through their pain.  As a couple, they had decided to be more careful, to wait till there was a more definitive end in sight for studio connections related to Cap.  Chris rubs his thumb over the back of her small hand, before pulling back and picking up his fork, his mind still wandering, not really knowing what to say.  He lifts the forkful of eggs to his mouth, chewing in silence.  Leaving for ten weeks to South Africa during the summer had been trying, to say the least.  In his absence, Emery had hid her sorrows in a buckets of ice cream and fast food, eating comfort foods as she traveled and gave school trainings, gaining a little extra weight.  She hates it, but he likes the added curves.

“Hey,” he blurts out, shocking them both from their contemplative morning.  His own look of surprise makes her giggle.  “Did you pack our hiking boots?  It’s nice out.  Why don’t we take that path we looked at the other day, before it gets too cold.”

He cringes inwardly, hoping she doesn’t take it as a slam against her weight, but her face brightens.  “I love that idea, jelly bean.  They’re in the back of the truck.”

The young couple finish their breakfast, making plans to pack for the hike and the easy comfort returns between the two.

***

Carrying the firewood in, Chris laughs as she loads everything into the new pressure cooker she’s been raving about for weeks.  “Don’t let my mother see you do that; it’s not real Italian if it doesn’t simmer for hours and splatter gravy on the cabinets.”

“She gave me the recipe,” Emery laughs, sticking her tongue out at him.  “It just makes everything easier.  Why do you think I brought it along for the weekend?”

Tightening the lid, she punches a code on the space age front and reaches for two beer from the fridge.  She nods to him, “Unless you want something warm?”

He arranges the logs carefully, stoking the burning embers to rebuild the blaze.  He shakes his head.  “Nah, that’s fine.  Bring over one of the Jiffypop pans.”

Emery opens the well-stocked pantry and grabs two pans.  She stiffles a laugh and tucks something under her arm, walking over to the coffee table.  Shoving the Potter book out of the way, she sets down the beers before placing the box on the table and handing him the pans.  

“What’s that?” he asks, peeling off the cardboard label on the foiled pan.

“Scrabble.  Sexy scrabble?” She laughs, opening the box and dumping the tiles on the table, many falling to the floor.

“You mean like in that story you were reading a few months ago?”

“Yea,” she blushes.  “I thought it was funny,” Emery giggles, taking a sip from her beer and creating a pile of pillows by the couch.

He shakes his head, reaching for a pillow, and resting it against the hearth, the fire at his back.  “Can’t believe you still read that crap…” he mumbles, looking over his shoulder to the flames, jostling the popping kernels.

“Actually, those two authors are published and-”

“Dammit, I knew something was up!” He pumps his fist in the air and his face lights up.  “I remember that story.”  He pulls the handle of the pan from the fire and drops it on the stones, letting it cool.  “That was the one with Tom… That’s it, you’ve got a Hiddleston crush now, don’t you?  That’s why you were so weird when he was on set, geezus, how did I not see it?”

She purses her lips and hides her smile.  “Well, hell, the way those two women write, how could I not see him a little differently? I know, I know, it’s weird.  It’s not like a crush, more like, ‘I know I’ve met him before but how did I not realize he was attractive?’ Does that make sense?”

He sighs, counting out his tiles for the game.  “No, but I’ll take your word for it.”  Sitting across the table from her, he enjoys teasing her, likes watching the firelight flicker over her ginger hair, bringing out flecks of gold.  He knocks his foot against her calf, before picking her leg up and resting her foot in his lap, massaging the ball of her foot.  “So you aren’t going to run away from me? Leave me for Tom?”

“Oh, no!  I could never do that to Anna!  She’s the sweetest!”

“What?” he barks out, his laughter barely contained.

Her blush is as red as her hair and she drops her face into her little hands, the light bouncing off the silver wedding band and large stone.  “Shit!  That’s not what I meant and you know it-”

“Cuz, ya know Anna is really cute too and-”

“Shut up, Christopher.  That’s not what I meant at all, and you know it.” She tosses a tile at him.  “Are we gonna play the game or what?”

“You know I’m very competitive.  All right, give me the rules again.”

He reaches behind him for the popcorn, placing the inflated silver mound on the table before breaking the seal open and popped kernels spilling out onto the table.  She explains the rules as she remembers from the fan fic story she’d read and told him about, and they begin their word game, using only words related to sex acts, providing entertainment as the sun set.  The pair banter back and forth, laughing over use of slang and foreign words.

Chris looks up from his phone waving it at Emery when she sets back down from checking the dinner.

“We can eat now or la- what? Why are you waving that at me?”

“Tom thinks you’re cute too. He sends his best for Christmas in case he and Anna don’t make it back for reshoots till after the holidays.”

Her jaw hangs open momentarily and he tosses a piece of popcorn inside.  “You did not.”

He raises his eyebrow, in what should be a trademarked move.  He laughs and shrugs his shoulders.  “He happened to text just now about some studio gossip he heard, and Anna invited us for New Year’s Eve.  I may have mentioned you have a new appreciation for his ‘good looks.’  Bastard wanted to know what size Loki pajamas you would want for Christmas.” He chuckles, his eyes turning dark.  “I forbid you to wear those in our bed.”

She pushes back her hair.  “Is that a tone of jealousy I hear, Mr. Evans?  Are you worried another superhero could steal my heart?”

“He’s the villain,” he growls.

“Oh, I see… So you can look at other women, while I stand back and watch quietly while fans drape themselves all over you, but if I happen to say one of your co-stars is good looking, after all this time, you’re gonna get bent out of shape?”

“Hell, yeah, Emery, ‘cuz you’re mine.  I don’t want you thinking about any other guy, the way you think about me.  I get why you read fan fics, still.” He scoffs and rolls his eyes.  “No different if I decide to watch porn while we’re apart,” at the look on her face, he adds, “Which is rare, which is rare,” he laughs.  “But I don’t want you having sexual fantasies about my friends. Our friends.  It’s weird.”

sexy scrabble.jpg

Rearranging her tiles, she can’t lift her eyes to his.  She says quietly, “I don’t have sexual fantasies about your friends.  Only you.”

He likes teasing her.  “Emery Thomas Evans, can you boldly tell me you didn’t marry me because I’m a Marvel man, and have famous friends.”

“Oh, yeah.  That’s not important to me.”  She lays out her next word on the board. ‘Spank.’ “I totally married you for your amazing cock.”

He coughs, holding back his laughter, watching her mouth twitch as she tries not to laugh as well.  “Is that all?  That’s the only reason?”

“Well, that and your money.  Being a poor, broke teacher was getting old… Thank god you don’t work for DC,” she throws out.

“My money? Really Miss ‘I Bought All My Christmas at Wal-Mart?’”

She slaps her thigh. “Oh!  Look who’s talking?!  You are still wearing the same Henley from 2006 and won’t wear the new ones I buy you.”

“Target. Quality stuff.  2006 was a good year,” Chris says, running his hands over the well worn fabric.  “And it’s comfortable.  The new ones are itchy and tight, and damn, Em, they just don’t make them like they used to.”

With a giggle and a smirk on her face, she rises, silently pausing the game.  She moves to the kitchen and he gets up to follow her, reaching for the plates as she opens the cook pot.  “Christopher Robert Evans, it’s not like you are eighty years old and they only made good shirts when you were young!  The new ones will stretch out if you just wear them.”  Emery rolls her eyes and serves out the pasta dish, smelling remarkably just like Mama Lisa’s kitchen.

***

Emery’s eyes flutter open when she realizes too much sunlight is pouring into the small cabin.  She blinks repeatedly trying to focus and make sense of what she sees.  Chris’s round bubble butt comes into view first.  “Evans, what the hell are you doing?” she laughs, throwing a pillow at him.

cabin chris

“Just enjoying the view.  The fresh air.”  He looks back over his shoulder with an impish grin.  “Bringing in the sun to wake you up, sleepyhead.  Come here, you’re not gonna believe this.”

Grumbling, she pulls the comforter from the bed, wrapping it around herself.  “You better close that door and bring your parts back inside.  You’re no good to me if your dick freezes and falls off.”  Her voice is tight and raspy, the cold air having taken its toll overnight. She tiptoes across the cold floor to stand behind him.  Holding tight to the corners of the blanket, she wraps her arms across his chest, cocooning them both in the warmth of the bedding.  “What time is it?” she asks sleepily.

“Vacation time.  Who gives a fuck? Anyway, we’re snowed in.”

“Hmmm…” she hums, nestling against his back.  The feel of his favorite faded flannel against her cheek is comforting and she’s so happy to be in his arms again.  “What?”  She blinks, really opening her eyes, surprised to see the truck and lane covered with snow.  He nudges her backwards and closes the door.  “Can you believe I hardly ever saw snow as a kid, and now it snows here at least once a year?  So weird.”

“Global warming,” he scoffs, spinning her around to the front of his body, laughing when she jumps back.  He pulls her close, whispering, “We get an early Christmas present.  Production is shut down for a few days.  Atlanta is at a stand still and the power is out.  It’s messing with filming.”

“Hard to look like Wakanda with snow on the ground,” she offers. “Do we have power?”

“I don’t know; I haven’t checked,” he admits. “I just woke up myself when the phone rang-”

“Were you about to… pee off the front porch?”

Laying back on the couch, he pulls her on top of him.  “Hey, we’re camping-”

“No.  No.  I don’t need to know anymore.  Thanks. God, men are so weird.” she giggles.

“So we’re stuck inside?  Might I suggest choosing another word on the board? Maybe make it a combo act?” He teases, pointing to their abandoned game.  “I think last night’s winner should choose the word.”

She slows her breathing to match his, lulling into a restful state, nestled in his arms as he combs his fingers through her hair.  “I wanna sleep more.  I never sleep well when you’re gone.  And it’s been so crazy.  But now it’s just us.  So let’s go back to bed.”

He chuckles and she vibrates against him.  “I don’t think you mean that the way I hope you mean that.”  Chris drops his head to kiss the top of her mass of wild red curls.

Emery’s fingertips graze over his chest and she delights in the goosebumps that form across the solid plane.  Her heart begins to beat faster and she pulls in all the details of the moment.  His warm skin.  The dark words etched into his flesh.  The small scar on his neck.  His freckled cheeks.  “Hey, Chris?” She lifts her head to look at him.  “This may be the best Christmas present ever.  More time with you.  Thank you.”

His lips turn into a smile.  “Mother Nature and I worked that out, together, just for you, kitten.  Merry Christmas, Emery.”

Click here for the next Emery&Chris story, Hero In-Laws

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Perfect Balance

perfect balance december 4 2017

Perfect Balance

an Emery&Chris story

by avenger-nerd-mom

Warnings: real life, Hollywood, fluff, language

Word Count: 1362

Image from weheartit.com

Thanks @moncun for the drabble prompt!

December 2017

Looking to the back window, Chris puffs up his chest.  She’s been giving him the cold shoulder all afternoon, and he didn’t do anything wrong!  Her strong Southern pride got riled again, and he opened his mouth, inserting his foot before he realized it was too late to backtrack. The spitfire redhead must really be angry. She didn’t even crack a smile when he announced he was going out to chop wood for the evening fire, and he had on his gray SHIELD shirt.  

With a few days off from filming, he’s in tip top Steve Rogers mode.  Things have been so crazy this fall, he’d promised a few days in a secluded cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains.  Swinging the ax down, he takes out his frustrations.  Married life hasn’t been easy, especially dealing with her grandmother’s death and a miscarriage, all within the first six months of their marriage.  But things have been good lately.  It’s nice to work close to home, to be at the house in Savannah two or three nights a week.  

Celebrity gossip and politics are both topics they try to avoid.  News of another celebrity figure had splashed all over the TV that morning, starting another round of discussions… 

He knows and understands her fear; she’s nothing if she’s not vocal.  Even he has days when he wonders if some old story will come around about a flirtation taken the wrong way.  He can’t change his past, he shrugs. If something comes out, they’ll just have to deal with it.  He’s never crossed any lines, but everything is under scrutiny these days.  Even a playful tap on the ass to a cute waitress, can be —

The sound of the log splitting enters his spirits, grounding him, pulling him away from Hollywood thoughts.  It’s nice to feel like he could work with his hands if he ever needed to, if he ever decided to walk away.  He tosses the split pieces to the growing pile and balances another log on its end, bringing the ax down with a satisfying swish.  

Maybe that’s what he should do.  He wipes his arm across his brow, wiping away the building sweat.  Just walk away from it all for a while, let himself grow soft.  He sighs.  The play will be a challenge, and Emery is looking forward to a stint working with a select group of teachers in the NYC school system to better their math instruction.  Some promotional work next spring for Marvel, and then some much deserved time off.  Scripts are coming in, but he hasn’t had the time to devote to reading them like he’d hoped during down times on set.  There are just too many people around, friends to hang out with, making it seem more like play than work.  Emery finds a way to Atlanta at least two or three days a week if he can’t get home, depending on her speaking engagements.  But days like today make him feel like their careers are taking a toll on their marriage.  

Bringing the ax down again harshly, he leaves it stuck in the log, pissed at the thought.  How can a marriage be stale after barely a year?

“Easy, fucker,” he mumbles, scolding himself.  “You don’t work hard enough.  She makes it too easy for you to let everything slide.”

He reaches for his beer and takes a long draw, the cold liquid frosty, sliding down the back of his throat.  But that’s just her way.  She’s a goddess among women, the only one to tame his wild ways.  She’s sweet and gentle, with a hidden wild side only he sees.  The perfect balance of naughty and nice…

The door swings open.  “I made soup… if you eat that sort of thing,” she tersely jokes, the door closing behind her.

Wiping his hands on his pants, he picks up a few of the chopped wedges, placing them in the crook of his arm, and carrying in his beer.  Entering the toasty kitchen, the small one room cabin with a loft smells like heaven.  “Grilled cheese?” she offers, turning back to the stove as she flips the toast in the pan.  Chris walks over to the hearth to set the logs near the fireplace for later in the evening.

“Sure,” he replies, moving to wash up at the sink.  “Two slices, extra gooey like you make it?”

“Of course,” she says quietly, tilting her head to his when he tenderly kisses her temple.

The pair eat quietly, talking over holiday plans and sharing news from both sides of the family.  Nothing stressful.  Chris offers to clean up their mess so Emery can finish up some of her school work for the day.  Lost in her work, she doesn’t even hear him tell her he’s going to take shower.

After the shower, he pulls on an his plaid pajama bottoms and an old sweatshirt she packed.  He tugs it down, smiling at the metal knight warrior on the front, the mascot from her old school.  He rubs his hands over his face.  Although it’s still early, by the clock, the colder night air makes it feel later than it is.  He reaches in his travel bag, and pulls out a small present he’s hidden away, just for her.

Stepping from behind the room divide, the main room is empty.  He tilts his head, and listens.  The bathroom sink is running.  She’s getting ready for bed too.  Placing the small wrapped parcel on the couch, he takes a few steps to the fireplace, stoking the fire, trying to keep the cabin warm.  

His heart leaps when she steps from the room, his plaid pajama top reaching down to her knees.  Em smiles shyly.  “Want some hot chocolate?” she asks, stepping toward the kitchen.

He grabs her arm as she walks past, pulling her into his lap.  He wraps around her waist and pushes her curls back with his other hand.  “You look cute in my shirt.”  It swallows her up; way too big, and with the top button missing, he can see her pink bra covering the sloped curve over the top of her breast.  He leans forward, practically knocking her to the ground as he holds her tight, reaching over the coffee table for the small present.

Righting himself on the hearth, he bounces her in his lap and she rests her head against his shoulder.  “What’s this?  We said no presents, remember?”

She’s too beautiful, and if she doesn’t unwrap the gift soon, he’s going to want to unwrap her.  Which defeats the purpose of this gift.  He runs his thumb across her sweet freckles, and quietly says, “I saw it and knew you needed it.  Don’t think of it as a Christmas present.”

“Ok,” she giggles, untying the plaid ribbon and letting it fall to the ground.  The crisp paper has velvety flocking and she runs her hands over the beautifully wrapped gift.  “This is lovely.  Did you do this?”

“For you; I googled how to properly wrap a present,” he chuckles.  “No dollar store gift bag for my girl.”

She laughs, peeling back the tape.  Seeing just a glimpse, she lets out of a squeal of delight. “Oh, my god, Christopher!  You didn’t?”

“I did.”  He picks her up and carries her to the couch.  Snuggling her to his side, he reaches for the old quilt on the back of the couch and throws it over her legs, covering up her silly Christmas socks.  He takes the gift from her, and opens it.  In his rich, Boston accent, he reads aloud, ““Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.’”

As the wind begins to howl outside the cabin, the couple take turns reading from the book Emery has longed to share with him.  As the fire dies down, and her reactions grow further apart, her breathing changes and his voice lulls her to sleep, safe in the arms of the man she loves.  Intrigued by the story, Chris continues to read silently to himself, the story of the boy who lived.

Click here to Part Two of this story, Vacation Time

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

Online Shopping

online shopping august 9 2017.jpg

An Emery & Chris Drabble

By avenger-nerd-mom

Emery visits Chris in South Africa, spending the day in their hotel room while he works.

Warnings: Fluff, none

A special thanks to @mintmintdoodles for allowing me to make reference to her artwork and merchandise in this story.  See her shop at https://society6.com/mintmint/backpacks

Emery looks up from her computer with the key card slides through the hotel lock.  She bounds across the room and greets her handsome, scruffy husband at the door.  Sunburned and almost unrecognizable with his shaggy hair, she throws her arm around his neck, nearly knocking him over.  “Someone’s in a good mood,” he chuckles.

Chris closes the door behind him and wraps his strong arms around her waist, lifting her and carrying her to the bed.  He tosses her to the center and kisses down her tanned legs in her summer shorts before sitting on the end of the bed with a groan.  He pulls off his boots and massages the tops of his feet, achy from the tight laces. “How was your day?”

His lovely bride places her tiny feet on his back and walks them up and down his spine.  He sits there and takes the silly, loving gesture.  “Worked on some stuff for school, read a good book.  Did some shopping.”

Chris turns on the bed and takes her feet into his lap, pulling her closer to him, wanting her near.  “Shopping?  Em, I asked you not to leave the room.  It’s not really the safest around here and-”

“Honey, chill.  No, I was shopping on-line, getting some supplies, setting up some meal kit deliveries I want us to try out, and,” she announces with a dramatic flourish, “I got you a present.”  She moans quietly when he raises her foot to kiss under the arch.  “Damn,” she hisses.  “That’s nice.”

He sighs, “A present, Em.  You didn’t have to do that.  You’re all the gift I need.”

“Fuck that bullshit, I wanna get my man I gift, I’m getting him a gift.  I don’t care if you can go out and get whatever we want.  I saw this today, and I had to order it.  You need it.”

He lays down on the bed next to her, turning his face to look into her beautiful blue eyes.  “Fine, okay, I won’t be home for a few more weeks.  Do I have to wait that long?”

She playfully punches his arm.  “See?  I knew you secretly liked it when I buy you presents!”  She wiggles on the bed and pulls her phone from her back pocket.  Scrolling through a few images she hides the phone against her face.  “You ready?  Close your eyes!”

Chris sighs and pushes his longer hair back.  He closes his eyes, and his legs anxiously wiggle the bed in anticipation.  It’s one of the things she hates, but really misses when he’s gone.  In profile, relaxed on the bed, he looks so beautiful, but it’s not the face she knows.  She’ll be happy when he’s finished filming in Cape Town and he can get back home to her.  They’ve made a few plans for the Fall when he gets back, before he has to be in New York for rehearsals for his stage debut.  She holds the phone above him and whispers in his ear, “Open your eyes!”

His clear blue eyes slowly peek open and it takes him a moment to focus.  He laughs out loud.  “Oh, my God!  That’s wicked, kitten!  Is that a… a backpack with Dodger on it?”  He chuckles.  “In a Patriots jersey?  Fuck, Em.  That’s perfect.  How did you find it?”

He lays the phone down on the bed and reaches for her, rolling his petite wife on top of him.  He misses the weight of feeling her on him and he hates being apart so much.  It really is the perfect thing, so adorable, but he doesn’t really know what to do with a backpack.

She smiles down into his face, propped up on her elbow and using her other hand to massage his beard.  The longer it gets, the more it bothers him, but he can’t trim it now, not in the middle of filming.  He knows she hates it, but she doesn’t say a word.  “I still have some of my friends in the fandom, and Mint is an amazing artist. I just saw it when she posted it today, and knew you had to have it.  I know it’s a little childish, but Dodger?  In a jersey?”   She pauses and pushes her red curls back and out of their faces.  “Honestly, my first thought when I saw it was that it would make the perfect diaper bag.”

Chris rolls his wife to his side and rises up on his elbows.  Hopefully, he asks, “Are we- are we pregnant again?”

Her miscarriage last spring had been devastating to take, and they hadn’t really been trying for another child, but they hadn’t been not trying either.  She runs her hand down his chest, shaking her head.  “No.  No, but I can think about it now, and it doesn’t hurt…  I just saw the bag and thought it would be really sweet if that’s what you carried around baby supplies in.  You’ll make all the men at the ‘daddy and me’ classes jealous!”

She giggles and he leans over to kiss the tip of her nose. “That’s my girl, glad to see your smile back. Thank you, babe.  I love it; I’ll wear it everywhere.”  He tucks her up to his side and caresses his fingers through her hair, wanting to capture every moment before she returns back to the States at the end of the week.  “Love you till the end of the line, babe.”

He smiles, knowing she’s asleep in his arms before he even finishes the sentence.

Click here for the next Emery&Chris story, Perfect Balance

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Gala

et ch 35 Gala July 2 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 35

A collaboration involving Professor Hiddleston and Professor Evans- The two are rivals at a posh New England university and have no idea they both have taken interest in the lovely Thalia Bareo. She’s a grad student with interests in language and history; a sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago.  Story updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Word count: 2894

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, FLUFF, discussions of sex, dancing

Summary: Tom takes Thalia to the Alumni Gala and even manages to steal a dance.

A special thank you to @jennphoenix for the featured edit of Tom in his tux!

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Two days later, Thalia stands frozen in the entry to the Grand Ballroom.  The mirrors on the walls reflect back the prism effect of the chandeliers; the beautiful displays of flowers in large urns; the click of high heels on the marbled floors.  Tom watches as her eyes take it all in and he has a vision in his mind of Cinderella attending her first ball.  She silently clutches her purse tighter and wiggles her body in a way to suggest she’d like to scratch at a seam or a sequin somewhere.

“Darling,” he whispers to her, placing his hand on her lower back and then stepping away.  “Are you going to be alright?”

“Tom, I don’t want to sound cliche, but how will I know which fork to use?”  She giggles and her eyes look to his smokey blue eyes for guidance.  “I had no idea this was such a big deal.  Other than a few weddings for friends, this is the biggest event I’ve ever been to… It’s overwhelming.”

Tom chuckles, pleased once again to be delivering a new experience to her.  “Take a deep breath; you’ll be fine.  I’ll stay by your side until your beautiful wings are ready for you to fly this evening.  People will worship you the way I do; you’ll stun them all.”

Colleagues pass by and make their entrance, waving hello and calling out greetings.  Thalia still won’t budge from her spot.  In all honesty, he’s never seen her so nervous before.  “Hey, Warrior Princess?”  He guffaws when her head snaps to attention.  “The biggest event?  What, no prom for you?  I thought that was an American rite of passage?”

He can see her relax, her usual confident spirit returning.  She chuckles and her eyes dance.  Tilting her head she smiles wryly at a reminiscence dancing through her mind.  Her sultry voice shares her memory with him, although not quite willingly.  “His uncle owned the limo company.  He parked the car and left.  We never actually made it further than the parking lot.  I would have been a little too disheveled to go in and his tux was…”  She stops her walk down memory lane and shakes her head.  “I went to the prom parking lot.  This is much, much nicer.  Remind me to thank you properly later.”

Pushing his glasses up slightly, he pinches the bridge of his nose.  “That’s a visual I didn’t need.  That’s awful.  You were just a child… how terrible for you.  I’m adding limo sex to our list,” he teases.  “Now, Ms. Bareo, pull yourself up tall, shoulders back.  You’re going to go in and own that room.  Horribly, every man is going to want you, and I’ll be jealous all night long.  Every woman will envy your Rubenesque figure, wishing they were willing to enjoy themselves more and-”

She laughs and squeezes his bicep playfully.  Her touch sears through his suit and his cock gives a little twitch.  “That’s great, Tom.  Call me ‘fat.’” She pauses, winking at him.  With a tilt to her head, she continues. “Amazingly enough, that worked.  This little girl from Chicago who was always told ‘no’ is now gonna go in that room and kick some ass tonight.  How many fellowships and grants do we need?  I’ll charm them all out of their pocketbooks!”

“I most certainly did not call you ‘fat.’”  He offers his arm to her, and she links hers through his as they move towards the doorway to enter the ballroom.  “But if that’s what it takes to motivate you, well then, by all means, I’m glad you interpreted my compliment in such a horrible fashion.”

“Thank you.  Thank you for always believing in me.”  Smiling at him sweetly, they enter the room together and she quickly changes her facial expression to show one of just friendship between them and nothing more to their observers.

As the evening wears on, Tom is spellbound, watching her transform herself into a radiant creature he’s never seen before.  He was right, everyone wants to know her, meet her, talk about her.  Although other students are present for the event, none of them has the flair she does.  She truly is the belle of the ball and he’s honored to be with her.  He catches her eye from across the room and she raises her glass to him.  Reading her lips, he can see her request: ‘Save me.”

He saunters across the room, his long legs moving fluidly and when he arrives, he sees the trouble.  Professor Shreiv is a bit tipsy and becoming very handsy.  Although Tom knows Thalia can handle herself, he extricates her from the situation before she truly does start to kick some ass.  Although he must admit, seeing her tougher side in action would be a turn on. She usually hides that facet of her personality from him.

Fuck, Hiddleston.  Now is not the time to be thinking about sex.  This suit is tight enough as it is.

He’s saved by the first sounds of music, and his eyes light up.

“Ready to bedazzle the crowd once and for all, Warrior Princess?” he asks. When she turns her luminous eyes on him, he makes a somewhat awkward half bow and holds out a hand. “Would the most beautiful woman in the room care to dance with the dismally boring professor from England?”

Her brows shoot so high up it looks comical. “No way am I going to dance in this dress. Not in front of all these people and to music I’m not used to.”

His face falls. “But, Thalia…”

Taking a few steps back, she shakes her head adamantly. “No. I don’t fancy falling on my ass tonight. While it’s big enough to cushion the fall, I don’t want to make a fool out of myself and you.”

Tom bridges the short distance and speaks into her ear. “First, you should stop mentioning your delectable ass because my zip can only take so much pressure. Secondly, it is simply not done to come to an event like this and not dance. It’s a sacrilege, for heaven’s sake. Like…like not ordering dessert or not knowing who wrote Romeo and Juliet.”

Thalia rolls her eyes at him, and he lets it slide because he wants nothing more than to sway to the music with her tonight, even if she will give him only one dance.

“Please, darling. Be mine for at least one dance.” He stares into her eyes, giving her his best pleading look. “You don’t need to do anything, I’ll lead you and I most certainly won’t let you fall. Please? It would make me perfectly, incandescently happy.”

With a defeated sigh and some mumbled choice words in Spanish, she nods.

“You’re insufferable, Tom, do you know that?”

He gives her a happy grin. “Insult me all you want, so long as you let me twirl you for a bit and be in heaven.”

His hand on her elbow, he guides her gently to the dance floor.

Thalia is a bit stiff in his arms at first, although she returns his smile tentatively when he beams at her. He slides a hand lower down her spine across her bare skin until it rests on that oddly intimate spot at the small of her back.

“Relax, darling, I’ve got you. Don’t concentrate on the steps, just follow my lead.”

He can feel her soften somewhat in his hold, but she continues to worry a corner of her lower lip.

“Would you like me to distract you?” Bending his head, he whispers into her ear, “Do you want me to book a room here at the hotel? After all, I need to reward you for being such a good girl and giving me this one dance.”

He lets his voice go low and deep, knowing what effect that has on her. Her gaze finally leaves their feet to lock on his. Her tongue sneaks out to wet her lips, and he regrets it for the umpteenth time this evening that he’s opted for such tight pants.

“If you booked one, what would you do to me?” she asks, her voice soft and husky, heightening his arousal.

His grip on her tightens. “First, I’d kiss you so thoroughly that we’re breathing the same air and that you can feel your all-consuming desire for me in every cell of your body. Then I’d slowly peel you out of this sinfully gorgeous dress, kissing every inch of newly exposed skin.”

Thalia shivers in his arms, and he pulls her a fraction closer so she can feel what she does to him.

“Would my good girl like that?”

“Yes, sir.” Her answer is a breathy whisper.

“Tell me more.”

Fuck, that’s hot. Tom risks a glance around. Everyone is engrossed in dancing and not looking their way after the initial surprise of seeing them together. And the band is loud enough to make it impossible to overhear anything.

He begins stroking her soft, exposed skin where his hand is resting on the small of her back, moving only his thumb discreetly back and forth while guiding her through the dance.

“Because you’ve been so obedient, I’d reward you,” he murmurs, wishing he could lean in more and nuzzle her face or neck. “You’d get to choose, my beautiful queen of the night. Would you like to come on my mouth or my hands?”

He hears her breath hitch. She’s liquid in his arms by now, completely focused on his words and moving fluidly in his embrace.

“I…I’d want your mouth….on my breasts first.” She swallows and her voice is a bit more confident when she adds, “I want you to lick and suck my nipples until I’m writhing and begging for more, and then I need you to bite them.”

Tom suppresses a groan. It’s a miracle he can still dance, he’s so hard he’s putting the expensive material of his pants to a damn good test.

“Minx,” he growls. “Demanding tonight, aren’t we? But I’d be all too happy to oblige.”

The song moves seamlessly into another popular tune, and Thalia doesn’t even protest when he continues to move with her, subtly grinding against her.

“I’ll scrape my teeth over your chocolate-colored buds until you curse in your tantalizing accented voice, begging for more. And then I’ll get down on my knees and worship you like the queen you are tonight. I’ll seek out every single hidden corner of you with my tongue and make love to your luscious cunt until you think your body has liquified and burst into flame at the same time.”

Thalia makes the tiniest sound, and Tom loves how receptive she is. Quirking a brow at her, he tuts softly. “Breaking so easily? No, no, we can’t have that. I haven’t even gotten to the really good parts yet.”

He can feel her pull herself together. She looks at him from beneath her long lashes.

“Is the good part the one where I pay back the favor by kneeling in front of you? Or did you mean when I slide my mouth over your hard cock through your pants without taking them off? When I run my teeth ever so gently over the bulge and you can feel how hot and wet my mouth is, how amazing it will be to finally have it close around you and take you in deep?”

His breath hisses through his teeth, and he notices a triumphant gleam in her dark eyes.

“Like that, professor? Do you want me to elaborate? It’s only fair to make you suffer too.”

“Oh, believe me, I’m suffering enough already,” he grits out through clenched teeth. “If we don’t stop this now, I’ll have to think of horrible things like arithmetic and asparagus and listening to Professor Kent drone on about baseball.”

That makes her laugh, and the spell is somewhat broken, although he can see her pulse flutter in her neck.  The urge to press his mouth to it is so strong that he moves back slightly, waits for the right moment and dips Thalia backwards over his arm.

She gives a soft, startled yelp and digs her nails into his shoulder, but he’s got her. With a wide smile, he tucks her back into his embrace.

“That’s what you get for being naughty,” he whispers, ensuring that they aren’t attracting too many stares.

They dance for a few minutes, each unable to look away from the other.

“This is a truly magical evening for me, Thalia,” Tom confesses. “You can’t imagine how much joy it brings me to be here with you, like this.”

She returns his smile. Her hand moves from his shoulder to his throat and she adjusts his bow tie lovingly, lingering just a little.

“Maybe I can. I… This… You’ve made me very happy too, Tom.”

They beam at each other, and he feels a bit like the cat that got the cream. If this were a dream, he’d wish he would never wake up again. But he knows all too well that reality will have them back soon.

“Let’s not make each other too happy, or we’ll have a scandal on our hands,” he says with a goofy wink, and it sends her into another giggling tizzy.

Sobering up somewhat, Tom adds, “I wish I could really book us a room here and ravish you, darling. But that’s a bit too risky even for my liking.”

A shadow falls across her face and she nods.

To lighten the mood, he moves their conversation to the here and now again. “You’re a natural at dancing once you let down your guard. Who’d have thought, Miss Oh So Reluctant?”

Before she can deny it or become self-conscious again, he gives her a gentle push and lifts his arm to make her twirl.

As his hand grasps over hers, returning her to his home position after her charming twirl, he teases, “I saw you talking to Professor Kent.  I’m sure that was incredibly dull.  Do you think someone should tell her she looks like a bottle of that pink antacid medicine?”

Thalia tosses her head back in laughter, a curl coming loose from her beautiful coif.  His fingers literally itch from wanting to tuck it behind her ear.  He’s heard the whispers.  Some of their coworkers starting to buzz that possibly she’s the reason for his current state of happiness, his English gloom and doom dissipating.  He doesn’t want to give them any more fodder for their gossip, but he’d love to whisk her away to a dark hallway somewhere in this hotel and fuck her senseless.  Her hands on the lapel of his tux bring him back to the present.  “What’s so amusing, darling?”

“First, when this song is over, and you let me go, head to the darkest corner of the room for a few minutes.  Otherwise, everyone will see your hard on for me. You know, you really need to invest in suits that aren’t painted on if you’re intent on not busting a seam or two. And regarding Kent?  That was quite a chat.  It seems as though she doesn’t just have a thing for proper British men, but possibly chunky Latina girls too?  I’m not sure, but I think she fuckin’ asked me out!” Startled, she sucks in her breath and her mouth makes the cutest “oh” shape when she realizes she’s cursed so vulgarly in the elegant setting.  Tom can’t hide his grin.  “She wanted to know if my internship for the summer didn’t work out if I would be willing to help her plan some course guidelines for the new minor in Sapphic studies?  A combination of history and literature courses and-”

“Bloody hell!  If she’d talked about that on our date I might have been interested!  That’s a fascinating topic for discourse and with the right-”

“Tom… Tom?  We’re not planning course work tonight. That’s her project, not ours.  God, I think you missed the point…”  She playfully hits his arm and he delights in this public exchange, their first outing together since the night they walked from the library to the bar.  And here they are surrounded by friends, staff and alumni.  And he doesn’t have a fucking care in the world.

Totally flustered, having actually missed something while lost in his daydreams, Tom laughs, “Was there a point? I’m sorry; I’m too distracted by you in my arms.  You look so devastatingly beautiful.”

Murmuring her thanks, she finishes her story.  “Either the woman is bi, or she was just wanting you as a cover as much as you were needing one.  She kept trying to convince me to tell her my phone number.”  Thalia shudders slightly in his arms.  “I think if I ever entertained the idea of a relationship with a woman, I’d have better taste than that.”

“Oh, fuck,” he whispers, twirling her one last time as the music dies down.  “Now I’ve got a whole new series of images in my mind of you doing such sinful things, but quite frankly, darling, I don’t want to share you with anyone.  Only room for one woman in my bed.”

Blushing as the song ends, Thalia courtesies to him and excuses herself to freshen up before the dinner is served.

Click to read Chapter 36 Mine

Copyright © 2017 avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

 

 

Cabin Fever

etch 31 cabin fever june 18 2017

Chapter 31

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

A collaboration involving Professor Hiddleston and Professor Evans- The two are rivals at a posh New England university and have no idea they both have taken interest in the lovely Thalia Bareo. She’s a grad student with interests in language and history; a sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago.  Story updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Word count: 3766

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, real life discussions, fluff, angst, weight issues   

Summary:  Due to a cancelled weekend date, Thalia has time for a special weekend with Chris.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

She taps her phone against her chin, replaying their call in her mind.  Darling, I know this is very last minute, but I have to cancel our plans for the weekend.  My friend, Professor Harelson?  The one I took the teaching position from?  He’s decided to elope with his love and he’s asked me to attend the ceremony as his best man.  I’d love to take you to Canada with me, but other friends might be there, and we can’t risk our secret.

Shoving away from the counter, she walks to the fridge, looking over her calendar for the week. She can’t believe it’s already near the end of March and Spring Break is just around the corner. The only big thing on the agenda is the test Thursday. In her effort to comfort Tom, she’d promised they could go to dinner that evening and she’d drive him to the airport..  She totally understood the concept of keeping things secret, and she wasn’t at all upset about missing the wedding of a person she didn’t even know, although she would miss him. She sighs happily, thinking of Tom and how things have been more balanced these last few weeks.  Movie night has become more commonplace, and their get away two weeks ago to see a play in New York had been wonderful.

Continuing to look over her schedule, she smiles at the notation about work hours on Friday and makes a hasty decision.

Dialing Chris’s number quickly, she opens the door of the fridge and pulls out the juice bottle, taking a long gulp, nearly choking when he answers so quickly.

“Do you just sit around and wait for my call?” she giggles, screwing the lid back on and putting the bottle back on the shelf.

“Yes, oh great one, I have nothing better to do than to wait for you,” he teases, an infectious warmth in his voice.

“I like that.  Keep it that way,” Thalia jokes.  “So, uh?  Plans this weekend?  Mine changed, and I was thinking maybe I could convince my boss to let me skip work Friday afternoon?”

Waiting while he rustles some papers around, she assumes he’s looking at his calendar.  “But you work for me on Friday.”

She laughs, resting on the couch and pulling her book to her, settling in for a night of study.  “Yea… I’m telling you now, I won’t be in to work.  I’m gonna convince my boyfriend to go do something fun.”

“Oh really?  Hmmm… He’s a lucky guy,” Chris teases, playing along.   She hears him moving around other things and then a quiet groan as she presumes he drops to the couch.  “I miss you.  I hate that Avery and I were sick this weekend and we missed our Sunday.”

“I know, baby, me too.  I’ll see you at the history department breakfast tomorrow?”

He sighs.  “Not the same…  Alright, Niña, I’m gonna let you get to studying.  If Jim can let you have the whole week off to study for midterms, I need to respect your time.  Besides, I have planning to do.  I think I have the perfect idea for this weekend.”

#

The longer they are in the car, the quieter she gets until he realizes she’s fallen asleep.  Works herself too damn hard.  I can’t believe she even managed to get away for the weekend.  And it’s not just work, it’s that other guy too. Fucker, I sure would-

Stop.  That’s not conducive thinking to a romantic getaway, he laughs to himself, turning off on the exit and following onto the small two lane highway.  Watching her peacefully, he gently tugs back at her pink scarf, thinking it’s too warm in the car to have it on her neck.  Another bruise.  She swears up and down the bastard doesn’t hurt her, but he just can’t seem to let his worse nightmares escape even his waking thoughts.

Chris signals right, even though there probably isn’t even another car for miles.  He’s glad he drove up earlier in the week and got the cabin ready.  He’s not been out here in a few years.  He and Maura last came for their anniversary.  Right before he realized she was fucking their friend.  Kinda spoiled memories of the old family homestead.  He’d like to create new memories, with Thalia.  Find a reason to love the place again.  If not, it’s time to pass it over to his brother, let him get good out of it, and still keep it in the family.

Pulling the car up to the front porch, he gently eases the car into park.  He turns down the music and removes his seat belt.  He leans over the console and gently pulls Thalia’s arm free from around her waist.  “Hey, babe.  We’re here.  Wake up Niña.”

She is the most difficult person to wake.  He chuckles, wondering if she’d ever just respond back with a punch in her sleep.  He tugs the scarf and says a bit louder, “Sleeping Beauty, wake up, come on.  You can sleep when I get you inside.”

Her eyelids flutter open and she yawns, quickly clamping her hand over her mouth.  “Onion ring breath. Disgusting.”  Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she rolls her head across the back of the seat to face him.  “Why’d you let me eat those?”

“I believe your exact words were, ‘These are all mine; if you touch them, I’ll stab you with my fork.’”  He chuckles when she covers her face in shame and giggles.  “Besides, those are the best onion rings in the state; we couldn’t turn them down.  Stay here; I’ll get the door.”

She rests her hand on his arm, holding him in place.  “You do realize I’m in my boots, not heels this time.  I’m perfectly capable of opening a door for myself.”

He chuckles, “Damn independent woman.  I know you are.  Doesn’t change the way my mama raised me.  Keep your stubborn ass in the seat.”

Chris climbs out the car before he can hear her smart remark.  He jogs around the front of the car, the fresh powdered snow kicking up around his ankles.  Snowball fight. Definitely.  Hot chocolate.  Warm fire.  The whole nine, like some frickin’ chick flick.  He wants the weekend to be all about her, her needs.  When he reaches her door, she’s making funny faces at him through the glass.  Opening the door, he laughs, “One beer too many at dinner; you’re goofy.”

“Yeah, I’m not a beer girl,” she shrugs her shoulders.  “I was raised on the hard stuff.  I can handle it like nothing.  Three beers and I’m toast.”

“Good to know,” he teases, pulling her from the warm car seat.

Thalia steps aside, wrapping the scarf back around her neck while he closes the car door.  “Where are we?” she asks.  “It felt like we were driving for ever.”

“Well, Miss, in a sense, I’ve kidnapped you.  I’ve taken you across state lines without your permission.  But I figured that was the only way to get you out of the bar and away from your books.  Welcome, my sweet, to the Evans’ cabin home.”

Sweeping his arm in a grand gesture, her eyes take in the little home behind him.  The cedar shakes covering  the front porch are partially hidden by snow, icicles hanging from the edges.  She takes in the small windows, and notices smoke from the chimney.  “This isn’t a resort?” she asks, a bit confused from her stressful week and classes.  “There’s a fire going?”

Chris takes her hand, and guides her up the steps, careful for any patches of ice.  “The groundskeeper came up earlier.  He knew I was coming and started a fire for us.  The house should be warm and toasty.”

Thalia sucks in her breath, sinking in the history before her.  She smiles at Chris warmly.  “It belongs to your family?  How long has it been here?”

“Since the early 1900s.”

“So these logs were hand hewn by one of your ancestors, painstakingly put together for his family, to protect them; to keep them safe?”  Her hands brush over the worn wood, aged with time.  She steps closer, pulling her phone from her pocket and turning on the flashlight to admire the work.  “You can still see the ax marks.  That’s amazing!”  She runs to the end of the porch, checking to see the style used for placing the logs together.  “Notched?  That took a lot of extra effort;  and the brush marks in the chinking?”  Turning to Chris with her eyes wide, she grins.  “God, I can’t wait to see it in daylight.”

His grin equals hers.  He just knew she would love the old place.  When he pulls the keys from his coat pocket, she takes them from his hand and he eyes her questioningly.  She turns them over in her hand, admiring the heavy brass key from days gone by, being used now as the key ring to hold the modern ones together.  She cocks her head and smiles, taking a deep breath and sighing.  Blushing, she hands it back to him.  “Kinda nice to get away someplace that doesn’t open with the swipe of a plastic card, ya know?”

Raising his eyebrow, he’s not really sure, but he can see her brain spinning, absorbing the history.  “Whatdya mean?”  he asks.

“It means something.  It’s real; there’s a history and an importance to it.”  She pauses, biting her lip as he ushers her into the warmth of the little cabin.  Blushing a bit, she continues, “I mean I’m not knocking fancy hotels, but this…  It’s something that lasts…. What did it go to?”

“One of the ancestors to originally live in the cabin worked in the local bank during the depression.  The key was to one of the vaults.  Story tells he brought it home every night and placed it under the mattress for safe keeping, along with the cash that was supposed to be in the vault.  He didn’t trust the bank system himself and wanted to keep his friends with money there safe and secure.  So he kept it at home instead.”

He watches her expression as he flips on the lights.  His parents did renovations on the home while he was still a toddler, to allow for plumbing and electricity, and he’d spent many summers visiting as a child.  Liking the cabin, the lake, the woods, had always been a deal breaker for him, and he’d dumped a few girlfriends back in his youth for not feeling the same…  Her eyes are wide and she smiles at him.  He nods his approval and she moves forward, tenderly fingering the quilt over the back of the couch.  “My great, great, great grandmother stitched that,” he tells her, a quiet awe in his voice.

She walks around the room, taking in the little details.  “So much history…”  She runs her hands along the mantle, looking at the pictures, some dating back to the early 1900s, with small descriptions placed in the frames to identify the family members.  “Genealogy…  Wow.”  Bending down, she pokes at the fire a bit and then admires the masonry of the fireplace, swinging out the arm for the old fashioned kettle.  “We could pop corn in this!”  Her grin is huge and Chris releases the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

“That’s the plan, there’s some in the kitchen.  You wanna do that now?”  He asks, shrugging out of his heavy coat and laying it over his grandfather’s rocking chair.  Her appreciation of the small details has him bouncing on his heels in veiled excitement.

“No.  No; come here.  Sit with me.”  She removes her coat, wrapping up the scarf around her hand and placing it into the pocket.  “I wanna hear all the history of this place.  Is that where your fascination with the past started?”

Chris pulls an album and family bible from a shelf and brings it to the hearth to join her.  She snuggles next to him as he tells her all he knows about the home and shows sketches passed down for generations, hidden in the pages of the leatherbound book.   At her prodding, he shares tales of his childhood, the mischievous troubles he caused with his siblings, and the time their father actually chased after them with a switch from the willow tree off the edge of the back porch.  Tossing her head back in laughter at their antics, her eyes light upon the loft above.  “Is that where we’re sleeping?  I’m not real balanced on ladders,” she shares, biting her lip, squeezing his knee.

“No, I thought we’d stay in the larger room, an addition on the back.  It’s not original to the cabin.  Dad, Pappo and Scott and I built it when I was about sixteen.  Cut the logs down ourselves and everything.  Following the notes left in the bible and the trees we used were-”

“Wait, wait,” her hands fly to his chest and he instinctively flexes under her touch.  “I need to picture this.  You.  With an ax.  Chopping logs and splitting them to build a house with your damn bare hands…  That’s just… Shit, I need a cold shower.”

Throwing his head back in full body laughter, he pats his chest, feeling the soft plaid flannel under his fingertips.  “Oh, Niña, believe me, at sixteen I was not the fine specimen of the man you see before you now.  I was a theater geek.  I took dance lessons at Mom’s studio.  I played lacrosse but was the worst player on the team; girls weren’t exactly beating down the door to date me.”

Flipping a few pages in the album, she finds a picture of him in his youth.  Tracing her finger over the image, she says lowly, “They were idiots.  Sounds like you were just the kind of guy I dreamed of.”

He tilts her chin up to meet his eyes.  “What about you, Thalia?  Tell me about you, what kind of boys did you date, what was your childhood like?”

“Chris, I don’t… Ah, you know, you’re gonna bug me all weekend if I don’t answer, aren’t you?”

“I can be very persistent,”  Chris smiles.  “I could maybe even withhold some things you’re needing.”

Needing?  You think very highly of yourself, don’t you?”  Her hand graces down his chest and pushes against the bulge in his jeans.  “Fine, put some more wood on the fire.  Let me get something from my bag.”

Seeing the hurt in her eyes, he holds her close, kissing the top of her head.  “Oh, Thalia, I didn’t mean to make you sad.  I just wanna know you; all of it, the good and the bad.”

“It’s okay, really.  Isn’t that why we’re here?  Getting to know each other more?  You mean a lot to me; I think… I think I want you to know.  But it’s not stuff I really talk about, you know?”  She shrugs her shoulders, tenderly kissing his cheek, her lips grazing his, but not a fully planted kiss on the lips.  “There will be tears… I’m tough, but you’re too big of a softie.  You won’t be able to handle it.”  Winking at him, she pulls from his grasp and stands up.

“Oh is that right?”  His stomach coils, wishing he hadn’t even started this line of conversation.  She’s probably right.

#

The pause in the conversation lasts longer than he anticipated as she took time out to make coffee on the stove, an addition to the cabin in the late ‘30s.  The wrought iron metal beast was no trouble to her, something Maura never mastered in twelve years.  The kettle whistles and she pours two mugs over the instant brand he’d brought earlier in the week.

“Real caffeine.  None of that tea shit you’re always making at work,” he teases as she hands the steaming cup over the back of the couch to him and then a package of cookies.

“Real caffeine,” she laughs, a blush rising over her cheeks, taking one of the cookies he offers before she rests between his legs.  “But I happen to like tea also, so don’t knock it.  It’s a talent in how you make it.”  She sets her coffee on the little table behind the couch and leans back against his chest, pulling the quilt over their feet.

In the dark, the room lit only by the warm fire, she shares details of her past.  Her mom leaving one day when she was barely six years old and never coming back; how her father retreated into himself, not really knowing how to raise a little girl.  With more nephews in the family at the time, she was just raised like ‘one of the boys,’ and could hook a worm and change a flat tire faster than any of them.  Her father always dreamed of sharing his shop with her one day, but she knew her dreams were bigger.  Chris hears her story and it tugs at his heart, wanting to make sure to always remember Avery needs to be a girl.  But a side of tomboy isn’t so bad either, if it leads her to have the confidence Thalia has, an inner sense of self.

“No one ever talked to me about it, it’s just always what it was.  When Dad married Stacey, when I was nine, things changed.  She took me to therapy, but by then the physical damage was already done,” she tells quietly, pulling a photo from the back of her wallet.  “This was me, at eleven.  Food was my solace, and it was the one thing I could have control over.  My mother reappeared when I was ten and for awhile I was shuffled around between the two homes.   She always had boyfriends, and some of them gave me the creeps, so I ate more.  If I was fat, no one would pay attention to me.”

Chris’s hands stroke her arms tenderly and hold her close, resting his lips against the top of her head.  The more she talks, he can feel her relax in his stronghold, like all the years of therapy and all she needed was this.  She continues her story, how books and intelligence was her way out.  “Stacey really saw something in me no one else did; she encouraged Dad to send me to camps and her parents were my surrogate grandparents and they footed the bill for a lot of things Dad couldn’t afford.  I worked hard for scholarships, but I took a year off college.  I came out East to establish residency to cut down on school tuition.  I stayed with Big Jim and his wife and worked at the hotel in town.  I met a woman there who hired me as a nanny for her son.  I later overheard her talking at a luncheon with some of her friends, saying that at least her husband wouldn’t stray with the ‘fat nanny.’  She should have been more worried about what her step-son was up to under her own roof, sanctimonious bitch…”  She pauses and shakes her head.  “Anyway, my aunts all thought that it was a wonderful job, that I’d finally tap into the ‘mother gene.’  No such luck.  That child was the devil’s spawn.”  Turning in his arms, she looks over her shoulder.  “He was like eight, or something.  One day, he was supposed to clean his room and I went to do laundry?  The kid climbed out the second story window, jumped on top of the pool house and ran away and hid for hours.” She pauses in her storytelling and takes a deep breath.  “My job was already on the line, but the final straw was the day she found me in bed with the step-son.  But by that time, I’d taken free use of their home gym, the pool and the nutritionist.  I was just the help.  She never paid attention to me.  She hadn’t realized while I was running after her brat every day I’d lost over fifty pounds.”

Chris lets her words flow, fighting the urge to clench and fight against the rich bitch, and her step-son.   Her tone drops.  “I’m not necessarily proud of it, but that job helped me get ahead.  I knew I wouldn’t survive in the heat of archaeological digs at my weight, so I got in better shape.  Round?  It’s a shape, right?”  She giggles.   “A lot of her pals are alumni at school.  They knew some secrets might not be safe, as I had been in their circle.  After that, getting scholarships and fellowships wasn’t as difficult as it had been before.  My first year of school was practically paid for by that group.  Since then, I’ve rejected their money, and worked to attain other connections.  Now, my education is what I can control, and my food choices are just for pleasure.  All things in moderation…”

She quiets and the silence hangs between them for a bit.  Her head lulls against his chest as she watches the fire, still fingering the edges of the photo of the heartbroken chubby little girl she once was.

His ears and heart take it all in, wanting to patch up her pain.  Breaking the silence, Chris speaks.  “Fuck.  That’s quite an origin tale, Thalia.  Ya know, you’re an amazing woman.  What a bunch of assholes!  I don’t know who I wanna hit first… Ok, yea, I do… the fuckin’ step-son…”  She chuckles, and he wraps his arms tighter around her holding her to his own pounding chest.  “What do you think pushed you the most, to be who you are now?”

When she doesn’t answer, he shifts her against his side, so he can see her face in the light of the flickering flames.  Tears wash over her freckled cheeks and his stomach drops; his heart hurts with hers and he quickly wonders if there’s more pain to her tale she’s keeping to herself.  He finds tears stinging at his eyes. She said I’d cry; she knows me too well.

“Always feeling like no one wanted me, or knew what to do with me” she whispers into the night.  “That’s my origin.  I had to be strong for me because no one else was.”

Gently pushing her forward, Chris wiggles out from behind her and stands up.  “I want you,” he tells her boldly, sweeping her up in his arms and carrying her to their room.  “And I definitely know what to do with you.  Thalia, let me be strong for you.”

Click here to read Chapter 32 Prize

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando