Part 8

"Hanson! Jude! Man, am I glad you guys are here. Dorothy’s about to drive me crazy. I could really use your help Jude. Would you go in there and talk to her so I can catch a breather here?" he said while loosening his tie.

"Sure Doug," she said as she turned to Tom and then silently walked a way.

"Hey man. What’s up with that? Why is Judy acting like that? She’s only that quiet when she’s mad."

"Can we get a beer and go out back for a few minutes?"

"Yeah, sure," Doug said as they walked to the kitchen not quite sure what was going on with his friends.

"Tommy!" Dorothy turned from talking with Judy.

"Hiya Dorothy."

"So does this big guy clean up nice or what?" She ruffled his hair with her hand and ran the back of her fingers down his nose.

"Yeah, he does," he said with a small laugh.

"Hey Dodo, we’re going to grab some beers and head out back so you and Judy can talk girl stuff."

"Ok, but don’t you even think about taking off and not coming back."

"We’d never!" Tom raised both his hands and wore a shocked expression on his face.

"If I hear that motorcycle…"

"I promise I’ll be sure Hanson doesn’t decide to become irresponsible for once and want us to take off without tellin’ ya."

"Yeah, ok," Dorothy said as she looked at Judy and smiled.

Tom reached out and briefly grabbed Judy’s hand, but not without notice from Doug.

As they reached the back patio and closed the door, Doug said, "Hey man, what’s going on. Has Judy been like that since you picked her up?"

"Well, actually, we were together before we came over." He ran his hand through his hair.

"Oh I get it. You didn’t trust Dorothy’s cooking, so you guys got something beforehand. Good idea. I’m not sure what she’s making in there, but…"

"Doug, we need to talk and it’s important," he said with a serious look.

"Shoot. I’m all ears." He crossed his legs as he leaned against the railing with is arms across his chest.

"I’m telling you this for both of us, but it can’t go any further than right here, right now, and until we decide is the right time."

"Who’s we?" Doug said with a confused look on his face.

"Me and Judy," Tom said in a softer than usual voice.

"Huh?! What do you mean You and Judy?"

"Ok look, there’s no easy to do this. Judy and I are seeing each other. We have been all summer…."

"You what?" he asked with shock and disbelief.

"Let me finish. Actually, let me start with she told me what happened between you two a while back and…"

"Hey man, it was nothing…."

"I know. I know. She told me everything. It bothered me at first, but I’m over it now. I can’t stop thinking about it, but I’m over…. Anyway," he said in a frustrated tone. "Look, you’re my best friend and partner Doug. We may not be working together now, but because of that, I consider us brothers, as much as we could be if we were related. So, I wanted to be the one to talk to you about this. Judy was planning on keeping all of this to herself, but we’ve really come to care about each other. Actually, to tell you the truth, I love her, and I’ve told her as much."

"You…and Hoffs?!" he said again with shock and disbelief. "Well, I guess if I’m going to lose her, better to you than anybody else."

Tom laughed and felt more relaxed with the situation.

"Ok, so I guess I see the problem here."

"Yeah, BIG problem."

"So, wait. When I called you and you were asleep in the middle of the day…." Doug said with a big grin on his face. "Man, if I was ever jealous of you, its now," he said still smiling widely. "I’m just kidding."

"Now be serious Doug, we’ve got a big problem here."

"Ok, ok, ok. I promise its safe with me. What about Ioki and Fuller?"

"Well, I think Judy’s going to handle telling Iok and we’ll approach Fuller together, but AFTER the party."

"Hey man, I’m here for ya. You know that, right? And I love Judy. Not like that!" He noticed Tom getting tense. "I just mean, she’s always meant a lot to me and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for her. She’s always seen the best in me, even when I was being a big annoying kid. She’s special ya know." He shrugged his shoulders.

"Yeah, I know. And I plan on making her very happy."

"Well, let’s go back inside before Dorothy gets too worked up that we’ve been out here too long." He put his arm around Hanson’s shoulders.

"Thanks man."

"Don’t mention it. That’s what brothers are for right? Helping each other and sharing women."

Tom punched Doug in the stomach as they walked through the door. Judy looked in to his large brown eyes and knew that everything was ok between two of her favorite men.