She did. Keesha covered Jason's hand with her other one and carefully slid her trapped hand from underneath his. She glanced back over her shoulder towards the dimly lit hallway. "What's wrong with you? Robin is finally asleep in her room and Dawn is in my room getting dressed. We can talk later."
"Later when?" he asked, watching her as she rose from her chair and began to pace. "You've been pulling away from me and I want to know why."
"Jason, stop it!" she said in an agitated whisper. Her eyes avoided him as she looked at the cabinet just behind his shining golden hair. "I don't even understand what you're talking about. We're together tonight...studying just like always. Maybe I'm a little distant but it has nothing to do with you. I have a lot of things on my mind."
"Like what?" he demanded. He abruptly stood and nearly knocked over his chair in his determination. He quickly righted it before he went to her. He reached out his hand to touch her again, but thought better of it when she took a small step back. He folded his arms instead. Hurt and confusion was in his voice as he spoke to her again. "We're studying, but we're engaged, Keesha. There are better things we could be doing."
"Come on! My roommates are here. Have a little respect, please."
"That's not what I meant and you know it!" She shook her head and brushed past him to go into the kitchen. He was on her heels right behind her. "You're wearing my ring!" he blurted out.
"So?" she asked. Her temper was an inch away from the surface. She glared at him as she prepared the sink to wash the dishes.
"So," he said, turning off the rushing water so that it wouldn't drown out his words, "I expect us to talk if something is bothering the other person. We're gonna be married, for God's sake! And, you won't even talk to me! That's not like you, Keesha. I wanna know what's wrong and I wanna know now!"
"Talk, talk, talk!" she muttered, dumping dirty dishes into the sudsy water. The water splashed on her, wetting her T-shirt and hair, but she was too irritated to notice. "We are talking. I told you before I have things on my mind-"
"Dammit, what things?" he cried in frustration. "What's bothering you so much that you can't even talk to me about it? Is it Stone?"
Keesha's hand grew still on the last dirty plate. Her fingers trembled slightly as she asked, "What about Stone?"
"Sweetheart," he said gently, responding to her sudden quietness, "the other day you cried in my arms about him. Baby, what happened to him is not your fault. How many times do I have to tell you that for you to believe me?" Confident that she was finally listening to him, Jason moved closer to her. Taking a chance, he pulled her into his arms and breathed a silent sigh of relief when she leaned against him. "I don't know what his calling out for you meant, but I'm sure-"
She stiffened involuntarily. "How did you know about that?" she questioned him. "Who told you?" she asked quietly.
Jason smoothed her dark brown tresses with the palm of his strong, tan hands. He murmured against her forehead, "It doesn't matter, baby. I heard about it and now, I know exactly what's been bothering you."
A deep frown creased Keesha's brown. She was worried and surprised by the feeling of anxiety that had gripped her at Jason's words. Slowly, she raised her eyes to his. Cautiously, she asked, "You do?"
He nodded and smiled gently at her. "I do." He planted a soft kiss upon her forehead as he arms tightened around her, pulling her closer against his rock hard body. "You think he remembers the accident and blames you, but sweetheart, you're worrying needlessly. Stone doesn't remember the accident."
"Then how does he remember my name?" The words came out muffled against his sweatshirt.
Shrugging, he replied, "I doubt if he does remember it, love. I'll say it's a fluke or maybe he overheard someone talking about you while he was in a coma and your name stuck. You have to admit that your name is rather unique, memorable and beautiful...just like you."
"So, it was just a fluke?" she slowly repeated, hoping that if she said the words she would believe them.
Yeah...that simple word should have reassured her, but it didn't. If Stone's remembering her name was a fluke did that mean the pull she felt to him was a fluke as well? She didn't have the answer and for a change, her ignorance didn't bother her. It simply gave her the encouragement to discover the answer.
"I promise you Francis Scanlon, if you open that oven one more time, it will be the last time you do!" Mary Scanlon-Collins warned her eldest son with a keen eye and a wooden spoon. She watched him as he sighed and slammed the oven door shut. "What has gotten into you tonight? I swear if I known you were this fidgety I wouldn't have invited you over tonight!"
"I'm not fidgety," he grumbled.
"No, more like jittery," Victor, Mary's husband replied with a smile.
Frank responded to his step-father with a dark scowl on his face.
Joe laughed at his older brother and kicked his foot. "He's not fidgety or jittery, are you, Frank? No, I'd say he's hurting because he's finally been put in his place."
"Shut up, Joe."
Intrigued, Mary stopped stirring her famous plum pudding and looked at younger son. She saw a teasing grin spread across his face and she began to smile, too. The dark crimson that was slowly creeping up Frank's neck made her smile even more. "Who, Joe? Who put him in his place?"
"Shut up, Joe!" Frank ground out. He moved away from his mother and sibling to go to the refrigerator. He opened his door and stuck his head inside.
"Aw, don't be such a spoilsport!" Joe laughed. He gave his brother a hard smack on the back and quickly sidestepped Frank's returning blow. He grinned as he moved around the large kitchen and sat at the table beside Victor. "Our little Dawn finally told him where to go and what he could do when he got there!"
"Joseph!" Mary said in surprise. "Tell the truth. Our little angel wouldn't talk like that to Frank, now would she? Carrie wouldn't like knowing that her youngest has a foul mouth."
"No, Ma, of course, she didn't!" Frank said after he closed the fridge door. He set glowering eyes on Joe and shook his head. "I didn't say she said that."
"Well, it was close!" Joe defended. "And, if she didn't say it, she should have! Man, you gotta learn when to let go. She's not our little girl any more. She's a woman now!"
"She's not a woman!" Frank declared, taking a step toward his brother.
Joe rose from the table. "She's a woman! Where have you been, man? You haven't looked at her? The cute dimple-cheek baby is now a babe! Everyone else has noticed. You'd be surprised by how many guys hit on her-"
"Have you?" Frank demanded. Subconsciously, his hands had closed into fists at his side. The room suddenly became quiet as Frank and Joe's eyes locked. Suddenly, understanding dawned in Joe's eyes and he said, "Frank, I-"
"Enough," the other man interrupted. Frank looked at Victor and then his mother. "Thanks for the invitation, but I won't be staying for dinner. I've lost my appetite."
Frank slammed out of the backdoor as three pairs of eyes stared after him. Silence echoed in the kitchen until the sound of Frank's truck screeched off into the night. Mary frowned at looked her youngest for clarification. "Is he...?"
Joe nodded. "Yeah, I think so."
"Is he...what?" Victor asked, lost and confusion by the Scanlon-speak. "You think so...what? I thought Frank cared about Dawn. She's like a sister to you two boys, right?"
"Wrong," Joe replied. "She's like a sister to me, but I think she may be more than that to Frank. Much more than that."
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