"I can feel this funny tingle all over me, and that song is playing in my head, but do I, can I ?" I still call Australia Home.
"Hey, Jamie, what's up?” Ben queried, giving me that ‘what’s-up-skip’ look.
We were having breakfast at mom and dad’s place. Adam was going into work for a few hours before coming out to see us off at the airport, so he volunteered to drop us off at the folks’ place. I was fidgeting around, couldn’t help it, a whole lot of nervous energy going on. I need to settle before we headed inside, but I just can’t.
“Umm…sorry, Ben. Just mixed feelings about heading out today, you know. I’m on this rollercoaster-like whenever I'm going there, you know!" Unconsciously, I was running my hand through my hair, even exhaling like I was blowing out a giant candle or something. 'That damn song is playing in my head on a loop - I still call Australia Home.'
“I find… I have… fuck it! It would help if my mouth and brain were on the same page here.”
“Hey,” Ben gently placed his hand on my shoulder, then slid his hand across to the middle of my shoulder blades. “It’s ok to be nervous.” He lowered his head a little. I caught sight of compassion coming from his eyes that were locked on me now.
“It’s just… Oh God!... All these mixed feeling: one minute I’m sad because I’m saying goodbye to someone people I deeply love. Until I met you, I wouldn’t have ever thought I would relocate to the other side of the country, let alone the planet.” The hot burning feeling in my eyes was starting up, my face and neck felt like they were on fire too.
“Ben, please don’t get me wrong - I’m not mad at you or anything. Fuck - you wanted us to move here and I said ‘no’. It’s just I don’t know which feeling is right.”
“How do you mean?”
“Ok, So one moment I’m sad, like the worst. Like I was when we…- “My mind spun back for a moment to that time. Great! Now I can add the feeling of self-loathing and wanting to puke as well. “…you know, when we broke up.”
"Hey, hey you." Ben reached over and pulled me into a hug. I have no idea how I wasn't crying by now, a miracle I'll call it. Ben started to gently kiss my head just above my ear.
“I understand what y’all mean, about flying out! You're all mixed up because your-our - friends and family are sad. They'll miss us; we'll miss them. But it's not like it's forever. It's not, ‘ok, we’re off, never gonna see y’all again’, right?”
Through all of this Adam had stayed silent, I only noticed he was still there when my old truck pulled to a stop outside mom and dads. Obviously right, we don't have self-drive cars.
"Hey Jamie, can I join in? Going to anyway. Look, you're upset that you're going back to Texas, but you're starting a whole new chapter in your life-lives together. Like what Ben said, we're not disappearing - it's not forever. We can see each other online, and travel too. It's just that time in our lives where things change, and some of the big parts of your life move over a little for new stuff to happen. Doesn't mean we love you any less, or you us, right?"
“Yep. Sorry guys. I don’t mean to be such a dick about all of this.” Although I was saying ‘sorry’, my heart was saying ‘WTF are you doing? You're turning your back on your mom, dad, sisters, friends since kinder, the job, everything!”
“It’s ok, James. I'm sure inside you’re hurting. If you’re not, well, that's not the guy I married."
“Ben,” I washed my hand down my face, “today is so … different! It feels very final. Like next time I come back, it won't be coming home as much. I’ll just be visiting!” I couldn’t help feeling a little empty, void by that thought.
Mom and dad asked if they could give Ben and me a ride to the airport, which expanded into ‘come for breakfast.’ I think they wanted the last few moments of private time with us before we fly out. As we walked in the side door, I saw the food laid out – shit, she’s gone over the top, cooked enough food for the entire block. Not the four of us!
“Umm, Mom I think you’ve over catered here.” Dad just gave me one of those all-knowing smiles and looked toward Ben who was still talking like he’d just found his tongue, right! So, I’ve learned that Ben is very chatty when get gets nervous. Damn, he’ll talk your ears off, which isn’t all bad, right. I still love his sweet accent - “I’m never going to grow tired of that sweet draw,.” I murmured, I’m sure no one heard that…Lol, when he’s getting into me over something I’ve done wrong - Okay, wait up, it doesn’t happen that often, but hearing him going off is the second-best part of getting into trouble. The best, of course is making up.
My comment wasn’t lost on him. I got an 'I heard you Jamie’ quick look out the corner of his beautiful eye, damn. Now I’ve got the loves up today - my emotions are all over the place.
“Hey Son, how are you going?”
“To be honest Dad, I’m being an emotional dick. You’d think I’ve got hormones running or something,” I chuckled at myself.
“It’s ok son. It’s a big day for you guys and your mom and me. But remember - together, there is nothing we can’t do. Now you come here.” And at that dad pulled me into a bone crusher of a hug. It felt good, reassuring.
We'd finally sat down at the kitchen counter and everyone was talking and stuffing their mouths with food - probably not the politest way of behaving, but we were relaxed being very informal. Anyways, I was listening to Ben and dad talking about drones – yes, their newest shared love. Those two could talk underwater about them. Me, I’m like, ‘Let’s watch drone fails on YouTube’. Ben gets a little pissy at that one.
My mind flicked back to this morning. I'd forgotten about when I woke up, there was an email notification on my cell. In all the rush of getting showered, dressed, and packing the last of our things, I forgot all about it.
“What you looking at, Skip?”
Nodding my head sideways, I responded, “I got an email this morning - forgot to check what it was. No matter.” Smiling as I put the cell down, I continued, “I can check it later. I’d prefer to talk to you and dad anyway, mommy,” I gave her a ‘big kid smile’.
“It could be important. You should check,” she gestured at my cell.
“It’s probably just spam, mom - you know, trying to sell me Viagra, lol, as if I need Viagra. Just a good change of wind direction and I’m on.” OMG, did I just say that out-aloud around my mom!?”
I could tell I had. She had a slightly shocked look on her face, but just grimaced at me, then laughed. “That’s a family thing, honey. Your dad’s still the same.”
Stunned - I'm sure my jaw just dropped and hit the countertop. Like, fuck me silent stunned! For a full 20 seconds I was speechless. “Yuck, mom. Don’t want to know that stuff about you and dad. Thoughts of you and dad, you know… Oh, I’m gonna be sick if I keep thinking about that.”
She just smiled and turned back to the waffle maker. “From the look on your face, Jamie, I’m guessing you don’t want waffles now, hmm.” Mom was talking the piss, you know stirring me up. She doesn't do that all that often, but when she does, it's good.
“Oka-ay … think I’ll just check my emails.” I clicked on the mail notification. Yeah there were a few spam emails: today I was going to be the beneficiary of USD 5,000,000.00. All I had to do was reply to the Nigerian prince, give them my bank account details, mother’s maiden name, and date of birth. Yeah right!
One was from Josh Nicols. He was coming to Texas for two weeks and wanted to catch up. "Hey, Ben," I called casually over my shoulder.
"Excuse me, sir. Sorry… yeah, Skip?”
“Josh is coming to town from Cali for two weeks and wants to catch up.”
“Oh great! Let him know, if we wants to stay a few days, he’s welcome.”
Hmm sure, I’ll reply to Josh in a bit.
“Jamie would you like a coffee, sweetheart?”
“Thanks, Mom. No, wait - I’ll make it you’re busy cooking. Can I get you one mom? Dad? Ben?”
I stood up from the barstool. Mom waved her hand at me to sit down - she was in her element fussing about.
I just ignored her, making sure not to make eye contact, and headed to the espresso machine. A few buttons pressed and we’re on the way to coffee time!
When something is troubling her, she fusses, to a ridiculous level. I did what most of us do pretty much most of the time - keep going, don’t make eye contact, and if you do, pray she doesn’t give you one of those ‘you didn’t hear me looks.’ You know the ones… they can freeze the sun.
I was mindlessly operating the espresso machine, churning out two lattes for dad and me, a flat white for Ben and Macchiato for mom. Man, my parents worked me after the barista course I took a few years back.
Sitting back down at the counter everyone was quiet for a moment, enjoying the coffee goodness, hmmm. I started scrolling through my mail. Then I saw it - US Forest Service. “US Forest Service?” I looked between Mom, Dad, and Ben. I'm sure my surprised and somewhat confused state was evident on my face. Then it hit me: “Oh yeah, I forgot! I sent my resume and cover letter to them back while I was in Phoenix. One of the shift commanders was good friends with a guy in US Forestry and suggested I send it to their region head offices in Atlanta, Georgia.”
I couldn’t help but feel pangs of fear, disappointment brewing: this whole finding a permanent job near to Ben was becoming a challenge, and shit, Texas is a pretty big state. “Probably another ‘thanks, but no thanks something,’ blah blah.”
Taking a deep steadying breath, I clicked on the email, ‘US Forest Service. Subject-Offer.’ At some point I had subconsciously held up my right hand almost at shoulder level like I was asking someone, everyone, to stop… stop what, I do not know… but stop anyways. I was trying to read and process in a very condensed timeframe. Don’t know, I was just… drawn in.
“What is it about? What’s it say, son?” dad asked.
My voice, full of purpose, started to read out loud. "Dear Mr. Spence,. Thank you for your interest in the US Forest Service Unfortunately - yeah there we go! -all of our positions in the Western and North Western regions are currently filled, although a seconded position is open in region 8 with the Texas A&M Forest Service.”
I looked up at the three stunned faces looking back at me. “Skip, read!” he gestured with his hand.
“We have had an opportunity to verify your suitability for employment with the US Forest Service (Fire Crews). I must say, the feedback provided, time, and time again, was that you were an outstanding firefighter, possessing extensive frontline experience and leadership. To our surprise, a number of the services stated they were disappointed that they had not been successful in retaining your services due to personal-distance commitments.” Blinking for a moment, I re-read the bit again. “Opportunity to verify your suitability for employment with the US Forest Service (Fire Crews).”
“Our service has over time…” blah blah blah, “increased our baseline crew…” blah blah blah. Then it jumps off the page: “Your extensive background in wildfire (Brush) firefighting, Helitak, and systems-based NIMS incident management (we call ours AIIMS management), make you a standout candidate for the US Forest Service. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and discuss this opportunity at our Region 8 Headquarters in Atlanta, GA, upon your return from Australia.”
I kinda dropped my cell onto the counter in disbelief.
“Oh my,” mom was standing there with her hand over her open mouth in total surprise – shit, mom, not as surprised as I was.
I read on, my heart was pounding. “This is a permanent position with the US Forest Service, initially on secondment to the Texas A&M Forest Service Air Crew for 6-months, co-managing the air desk at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, then placement into our Firefighter Crews. We feel it would be an opportunity for you and the Service.”
By now everything had stopped. Ben’s hand was resting on my shoulder, his body pressed against mine. He must have moved up behind me while I was reading - I didn’t even notice. "Oh my god! Jamie, you've done it!" Kissing the side of my head, he pleaded, “Please, read on.”
“If you could, at your earliest convenience, contact the Director of Services, Region 8, via the enclosed, so that we can arrange to meet with you upon your return from Australia. Regards, Deputy Chief, Region 8, USFS.”
I sat there silent for 30 seconds. “They’ve offered me a job?” Confused completely. “So, I’m heading back to the US with a job offer! This - it’s so left field.” I’d forgotten about the letter I’d sent in.
“Wow - the air desk isn’t far from home either! Shit, I could ride a bike or run to work some days.”
I kept re-reading the email, just to make sure I hadn’t stuffed up and was getting it all wrong, “Hey Ben, can you please…?” gesturing for him to read the screen.
“Congratulations, son,” Mom and Dad both hugged me, and Ben was squished in there too, busily reading.
“Yep, Oh wow - so proud of you, Skip.”
“Hmm, ‘Tex’ today. How many nicknames do you have for each other?" Mom asked.
“A few Ma’am.”
“Ben, there’s no need for ma’am. Mom or Kate will do, please.”
"Sure, ma'am." His face went bright red.
“It’s not going to work, mom. He’s too polite.”
"Ok, my boys, let's eat!" As mom placed the last platter of food on the counter, Ben handed my cell back.
"I hope I wasn’t … I’m not dreaming, right?”
We’d finished eating and it was time to pile into the car and head to the airport. Ben and I climbed in back, I was sitting behind the dads. As we started to weave our way out of the suburb, I just stared out the window, taking morning in.
What a rollercoaster of emotions… at some point, I just started to stare out front. Every so often Dad’s and my eyes would meet in the rear view mirror. He’d just smile, give me a wink - that’s his thing. I couldn’t help but smile and think about when we were kids. It was his little thing to do to us kids, so simple, but warmed my heart in seconds. Of the many things that our parents were good at, making you feel loved by doing something small was their superpower. To the rest of the world, I’m sure it would seem so insignificant, but meant so much to us.
The calm of the ride to the airport was welcomed. The cabin was filled with a mix of electric energy about my job opportunity, us leaving, busy conversations. Soon enough it was over. In what seemed to be only a matter of moments, I was unloading our bags plus the extra I was taking back with me. The rest of my stuff was in a half-shipping container that would arrive in Austin in about 3 months.
As we were walking toward the terminal, I heard a squeal. Jet and Daisy appeared with delight plastered over their beaming little faces. They grabbed grammy and poppy first, then Ben and me - so many questions, so little time - hey kids.
After checking in at the airline counter, confirming the gate and time, we should head to customs we headed for the public lounge where we’d arranged to meet up with anyone that wanted to before our flight. “I’m sure there won’t be a huge gathering - it's only like 5 hours since we finished up at the golf club.”
Dad just looked back at me with a sly smile on his face. “If they were smart, they’d still be in bed. Shit… I would be, not!”
As we walked into the lounge, my eyes were filled with the sight of people everywhere: the lounge was reasonably sized, but the forty-odd people made it look small. “Did some of you guys come direct from the golf club or what by the looks of you?" Few had been home for a nap and change of clothes. Even a few guys from the fire service that were on shift last night were there. It was a fantastic feeling, to be so well supported and loved - it is very-very humbling, to say the least.
While doing the rounds saying hi, plus some general chit chat, word had spread about the job offer I’d received. It made the place buzz even more. I didn’t think it was possible, but yep, it was.
The time came for us to head to the customs area and the boarding gates. There were plenty of hugs plus a few tears. I grabbed my mom and held her close. "Love you, mom. I'm going to miss you and dad. Please come and visit, please." I felt a tear slip loose.
Studying Mom's face, it was a little red with silent tears rolling down. She was nodding. “Of course we’ll come and visit.” She stopped to take a steadying breath. “Jamie, your dad’s retired now, so we’ve promised each other to travel, see the world. Plus, you know, in a year or two, I could come see my grandbabies…”
I knew that look: Stephanie was getting it on a three-monthly basis, as was Mason. Katie, thankfully, had taken two for the team. Shit, imagine if there were no grandkids yet - she’d go nuts.
"Mom, we haven't even spoken about kids. ”I looked at her face with compassion and a mix of ‘okay, not yet mom.’ "I don't even know if Ben wants kids. I do, but not just yet…" I kissed her on the forehead "…but love that you're trying that on with us already."
“I’ve spoken to Ben, honey. He wants kids,…just after you guys get settled at work and home." I was stunned. Of course, my mom has cornered Ben. Shit, I hope he's okay. Must have been recent - he’s not said anything.
Next moment, I was snapped out of my mind by Dad grabbing me, pulling me into a full-on bear hug. I kissed his cheek. “I’m gonna miss you, dad, really am. You’re my dad and best friend too.”
“So will I son, but we’ll come see you real soon, ok?” His voice was cracking. I could feel a tremble throughout him. “Let me know how you go in Atlanta, ok?”
“Dad, I’m … I haven’t said this enough." He held up his hand to stop me. "No Dad! I haven’t told you often enough how much I love you and mom. It’s not enough… it doesn’t feel enough… just to say thank you for being my dad, for being so much of my life, but thank you, dad, for everything - for being my hero, role model - but most of all, my friend!”
I felt a few tears slip out. I couldn’t help it: this was so different to going on secondment. This was relocating. We were both crying now. I Iooked at Ben - he was too.
“I love you too, son. So does your mom. We both do. And couldn’t be prouder. So now, you can thank us by giving us a few grandkids, ok? Soon! Love you, son. Go on - continue to make me proud.”
My dad is proud of me? Sure he is, but I've never felt it or acknowledged it.
After doing the rounds of goodbyes – man, this is like the goodbye at a Greek wedding - Ben and I finally broke free. Adam, Jules, Gav, Dave, Jet, Daisy Kate, Todd, Sam, and Ty walked with us over to the departure gate where we said the last of our goodbyes.
As we were walking through the gateway, I turned around. Mom and dad were standing a little back from our friends, not wanting to interfere as they do… god, that drives me nuts when they think that, but anyway… I signed ‘I-love-you-with-all-my-heart’ - they signed back, ‘love you’.
I dropped my bag and sprinted the short distance back to mom and dad. I swept them up in my arms, hugging them for a few more moments. We were all almost silent crying. Then I felt another pair of hands - they were Ben’s, I could tell by the feel - but also he was wearing my cologne – Nautica Voyage.
Then moments later, everyone else joined in.
Those times where I doubted myself if I was loved or supported - those dark moments - this was the bright light to drive that away forever.
The flights back were pretty uneventful. I found out that Mom had cornered Ben about kids when dad and I headed out to the car, just before we left their place to the airport, go figure.
“Hey, don’t worry, Jamie - I expected it earlier. Thought I was going to get away with it, ha-ha. My mom started weeks ago.”
I just shook my head and smiled. “Good to see that they treat us equally – married, now kids – please! - and your mom got the jump on mine! Too good.”
When we landed at SFO, we had a few hours to kill. We’d gotten in at 0530 PT, so had a few hours to still call the Director of Services at the US Forest. So, I went off looking for a quiet spot to make the call.
“How’d it go, Jamie?"
“He’s nice. I’ve arranged to meet them in Atlanta this coming Thursday. I have a couple of days to prepare, etc.”
“Great! Come here - let me kiss you, Skip.” Ok, we’re in an airport – we’re not going to go all ‘Discovery Planet,’ but mind you, I wouldn’t mind.
The following few days back in Texas flew by. In what seemed hours I was heading off to Atlanta. In the end, it was one of the simplest interviews I've ever done. Yeah, I was sweating my ass off.
My hands felt like they’d been sprayed constantly with water. But a few deep breaths as I walked into the office and I found my grove. The deputy Chief made the offer and handed it to me for review and signature. The standard employment conditions were the same that they’d sent over yesterday - as an example, no scary surprises.
I signed on the dotted line and gave it back. Then it was off to have the normal psych evaluation, drug test, financial questionnaires to complete, nothing more than what I'd filled out with Phoenix, Arizona, and Boston Fire Services. The boss said that if it all came through okay, a letter of offer confirmed would come out in 48hrs time. It arrived the next afternoon.
My first week with the Forest Service was pretty much induction and procedure familiarization, different themes on a similar backbone of service that we have in Australia. The only issue that popped up a few times was my accent - it confused a few of the guys during some of the drill. In the end, all I needed to do was slow-down a little.
Felt for Ben though: I wasn’t much company for the first few weeks - reading manuals and reports each night from the get-go. Then, he had night shift starting also, so for the first few weeks back in the States we were together, in the same house, but crossing paths in bed, bathroom, or kitchen. One heading in, the other heading out. It was a challenge, but manageable. If we both didn’t have that emergency background, it would have been a huge issue.
Finally, after three-and-a-half long weeks, my workload calmed down. Ben was on days off. Yesss! 4 days to do what we pleased, and man the last 3 weeks had been a very dry spell.
I promised Ben that I wouldn’t wake him up early on our first day off, but I tell you, I was like being a kid again on Christmas morning. I woke at 0530. He was sound asleep. I tried sighing a few times to wake him, no luck. I forced myself back to sleep, repeated the same again and again at 0620, 0705. By 0730, which felt like three in the afternoon. I was laying there being quiet. My body felt all twitchy like I was covered with ants - with all this going on, I was having trouble staying quiet and still.
I couldn’t do it any longer. Finally, I grabbed the side of the mattress to gently lift myself off without waking Ben and head out to the kitchen. Just as I pushed off, there was a quiet voice from the other side of the bed.
“You’ve done well, Jamie," smirked Ben, rolling over and smiling at me with all that bed hair going on, plus a cute half-asleep look. "How many times did you wake up, hey?” Goddam - he looks hot as fuck in the morning.
“A few times from 0530 onwards, but I promised, right. Shit, it half killed me though.”
“Ah-ha - we were just out of sync because I woke about every 15 minutes from 0630.” With that, we both started to laugh. “You look so peaceful, so quiet, while you’re asleep, Jamie. I didn’t want to disturb you, wake you.”
“Ahhh, that’s too cute. You mean the calm before the storm, hey.” I wiggled my eyebrows at him. “Come on - let’s take this to the shower.” I wasn’t waiting for him to reply. With one quick movement, I threw the bedding off us both, leaping over Ben, backing toward the edge of the mattress on his side, the look of surprise ...
“What are you doing?”
“Taking you to the bathroom!” I scooped him up off the bed. We crossed the floor, heading to the bathroom, his arms snaked up and around my neck, gently holding onto me.
“Love you, Skip.”
“Love you too, buckaroo.”
After making sure that I’d scrubbed every part of his body at least three times, we finally made it out of the shower.
"Hey, can we lay down for a moment? It's a lazy day, Jamie."
"You asking me if I want to lay down in bed with you? You gotta ask?” I slapped his ass, chasing him from the bathroom, jumping onto the bed like a pair of 12-year-olds.
Well, that was a mistake costing us 2hrs - can’t complain - not complaining; I awoke with a naked Ben laying half on top of me, his head was on my chest, left leg over mine, the toes of his left foot resting in the arch of my right foot.
If I ever doubted if I'd done the right thing in marrying this guy and moving here, this relaxed intimate moment disproved it. Thank god for truck accidents, right... actually no … but us coming together - absolutely.
We finally got our lazy asses out of bed and dressed, heading out for late breakfast – well I call it brunch. “Man. I’m starving, Ben! I think my stomach woke me up.”
“You’re always hungry Jamie.”
“For you, always,” I replied, pulling a sickly-sweet face.
“You’re a horndog.”
“Yep, freely admit it too!”
“Sooo… after we get done eating, I was thinking we could head over to the Ford Dealership - let you look at some trucks, Skip.”
Excited? Oh yeah! Who doesn’t love going car shopping? “Yeah, sure!” My eyes were glowing with excitement. “Adam said he was transferring the funds from the settlement of my Aussie truck, and also there’s a few grand in rental money too." I swallowed down the last of my latte. "But I'm not in a rush to spend up yet."
“Ok, I get most of the weird English y’all use, but what the heck is a grand? Money, right?”
I looked up momentarily in fake disgust. “A grand is one-thousand d-o-l-l-a-r-s, buckaroo!”
He just poked his tongue out at me. “Are you still looking at the traded ones - pre-owned?”
“Yeah. Still, I’d like to take a new one for a drive so we both can see what it’s like, right. Josh said he had a few pre-owned on the books, so I can save a few thousand,” I replied, deciding not to use ‘grand’ this time - he says we talk strangely… you heard yourself. ‘Oh, bless your heart.’ “It’s not like the cash is burning a hole in my pocket.”
"Ok what the heck is that, burning a hole in your pocket?" Ben had a truly bewildered look on his face.
“Oh, do pardon my poor English your royal Texan-ness.” I made a faux bow. “It means like in a rush to spend the money.” I laughed. “Made a dad joke, ha-ha - Rush! Get it? In a rush to spend it…” He just ignored me and finished off his breakfast tacos.
We headed over to the dealership, taking an F150 Raptor and a Super duty Tremor for a drive. I’d pretty much settled on the Raptor before Ben almost begged me to get one. He loved it. Guess I’ll lose the keys when I’m not looking.
On the way back from the dealership, I send Josh a text: Blue, Raptor, with the double sunroof, please. We spent the rest of the day driving around looking at a few houses that were on the market. There were a few on the outer edge of town which I liked - space around us, plus the lots were bigger. But hey, I haven’t found a house in the suburbs around Austin that wasn’t big, not like further north - like Boston and even the burbs of Philly - small lots or row homes.
“Hey, what time does Josh fly in? Have you heard from him? Are you picking him up from the airport? Do you want me to when I finish my shift?”
“What time are you off, 1700h?”
“Nah 1830h today.”
“Yeah, the regional deputy chief is calling in just after lunch. Paul at Region HQ asked me to stay back an hour or so, just-in-case.” I was momentarily checking myself out in the wardrobe mirror. I’d run to work a few times over the weeks and the results were starting to show - just a little tightening up in a few places. “Hmm … not bad, Jamie.”
“What’s not bad, Jamie?” A nicely tanned Texan, wearing only a bath towel with a toothbrush in hand, appeared at the bedroom door. "Thought I'd come closer, you know, to save all the yelling. What do you call it, Jamie, like a fishmonger’s wife?”
“Baha-ha, bang on! Haha. That’s what mom yelled at us kids, didn’t work though. We still talk to each other walking from room to room.”
“What was the ‘not bad’ thing?”
“Just looking at myself in the mirror - the running to work’s going ok, hey?”
“Yeah it’s working. Pretty much everyone is asking me when you’re going to do one of those charity calendars. Mom thinks I’m not feeding you enough, though… go figure.”
"Lol, a charity calendar … only missing the 8 -pack and the whole Adonis look, right.” Ben walked over, gently rubbing his hand up and down my abs. “I’m not sharing this with anyone.” He smiled and gave me a gentle seductive kiss. I swear, my legs went a little jello-like.
“Ok, you keep that up and I’m gonna be late for work…” He held his hands up in fake surrender. “Ok-ok.”
“Hey, have you spoken to Josh? I’ve tried to get hold of him, no luck.”
“Yes, he messaged me yesterday, said his flight was pushed back a day. I’m sure he’ll message you today.”
“Did he say how the truck was going? Has it arrived for shipping yet, has he got-”
Ben held his hand up to stop me. “Whoa there, Skip. Rapid-fire or what. He said there was a shipping delay of a week, but the truck should be here Friday of next week. He's got a buddy at the local dealership that is going to check it over before you go pick it up.”
“Awesome! Damn!” Josh had connections everywhere - such a lucky thing bumping into him back in Cali, right. “Sooo anyway,” I turned to Ben, gently tugged on his towel., “so, I’m ready for work but don’t have to leave for 30 minutes, 40 if you drive me and not like Miss Daisy, how about we… you know…”
Ben looked me in the eyes. “Horndog, I swear…”
I leaned forward a little, just making contact with the side of his neck with my lips.
“I-promise-that…” moving my mouth further up his neck with each word, “…it-will-be-fun.”
My hands slipped down his back, grabbing his butt … oh that firm butt!
Instantly, I felt the warmth of his hands slip under my tee. I never tuck it into my pants till I put my uniform shirt on. His fingers traced my sides, rolled across my ribs toward my nipples. “Ok, Jamie you’ve convinced me. I’ll drive like you.”
I pulled back looking at my husband's eyes. I wasn’t doing anything - well ok, only a little bit. Ben was making all the moves. I just made a suggestion, right. Our mouths made contact. Hmm… I could taste the minty freshness of his toothpaste. It just made him more intoxicating. We were both quietly moaning into each other’s mouth, our tongues dancing their familiar battle for supremacy.
“Oh fuck, Ben. I’m so up for this.” I ground my hardness against him, causing his towel to drop. His hands slipped down to my pants - he was an expert on them now, getting my belt undone, me unzipped in what seemed to one swift movement. “Oh yes…” I rolled my head back in pleasure.
The fingers on my right hand were running through his hair. “Oh god, Jamie… yes!” My left hand was now holding our hard cocks together. I started to stroke, gently rocking into him with each movement.
“Yeah…” he replied breathlessly
“Will you…” I was so turned on, my speech was interrupted by my almost panting “I want you to top me. I need it. I need to feel you in me.”
“Ok, are you sure?”
I took him by the hand and walked the few steps to our bed, pulling open the nightstand, fumble searching for the lube. “Oh yes, found it!” I took great pleasure in lubing his throbbing cock up then myself. “Please, Ben, now.” I lay down, side on.
I felt his fingers tracing their way down my sides, crossing my butt cheek. I took in a short breath. I was so hot for it, my god. Ben slowly worked me open. We’d been versing a bit lately and I was enjoying it. We’d become very fluid, kind ‘a organic. Sometimes we’d swap in the middle of it. Ben’s preference was to bottom, fuck me he was good at it. I’ve said it before, will to the end: Nothing beats someone that knows their body and uses every last bit of it for combined pleasure.
I took a short breath as he pushed into me.
“Are you ok Jamie?” His voice was a mix of sexual tension and concern.
“Hmm … yes … you feel so … good, Ben … ohaa.” My voice even sounded deep and guttural to me. Shit, how did it sound to him.
“Whoa, that is such a turn on. I love it when you growl like that!” Well, that turned him on, his hand rubbing up and down my body, his other supporting my leg that was being held aloft. The one hand was almost gently stroking me till then. Now his grip grew stronger. Fuck! It was a turn on and a half.
“Yes … oh my god, yes! Please keep going,” I moaned over and over as his thrusts were pushing deeper and deeper into me. He was being gentle and strong at the same time, if that makes sense? It was all so intoxicating.
“Oh my god, Jamie. I love it when you push back into me … oh yes.” I was watching his face: the look of sheer pleasure was clear for all to see. Then our eyes locked on each other and it went to a whole different level.
I started to push against him. I want it all, “I want you deep in me.” The room was filled with the sweaty sounds of our bodies coming together, mixed with the almost primal sounds we were both making.
Edging closer and closer … “love it when you do this to me.” His hand slipped off my side where he’d been steadying himself. He reached around … now stoking me … matching his every movement.
“Ahhh, you like my little trick, huh? Fuck, it feels good. Oh, Christ!"
“I love it when you do it to me, so good … Fuckkk … We gotta swap… I need you to fuck me, now!”
My mind was lost in the moment - the multiple points of pleasure that I was receiving at once. "Wait-what?” I felt him slip out of me. He almost threw my leg down, causing me to flip onto my back in an instant.
“I gotta have it.” His eyes looked deep into my soul as he climbed on top of me. His hand quickly swiped up some of the rivers of my precum that were flowing, giving himself enough lube not to hurt either of us. I felt the tip of my cock pressing against him, slowly he gave way, feeling his body yield to me. Oh god, it felt good.
“Oh god yeah!” His hands were grasping my pecs. It felt like with one fluid movement, I was balls deep in him. “Oh, fuck me, Jamie, fuck me.” He rocked back and forth, using every part of me to hit those pleasure points that only he knew. It was amazing to feel, to watch his body twist and writhe.
Soon, I started to match his movements. He looked at me with gently signalling “No … let me.” My hands were grasping at the bed covers, grabbing handfuls at a time. With every movement his cock was leaking landing on my abdomen. “Oh god, Jamie I’m gonna cum … oh god, yes.” He threw his head back, oblivious to the world around us. I was almost there too.
Seeing Ben like this was a huge turn on but hearing him also was just… omfg.
“YES, oh god!” A few ribbons flew out of his cock, landing from my neck to my belly button. Breathlessly he asked, “You close, Jamie?” not losing his rhythm. All I could do was nod, not sure if I could even say anything intelligible if I tried.
Ben picked up speed and started to long dick me, lifting enough for me to almost pull out just the tip of my cock in contact with him. Then, sliding down till I was buried deep within him, over and over. I only lasted a dozen or so strokes. “Oh god, I’m cumming!!”
Like some sort of sex god, he just kept going, riding me as I unloaded deep into him over and over. Finally, we stopped. Ben had collapsed, breathing heavily while laying on my chest. I was still pretty hard, still inside him. Our bodies covered in sweat and cum. It was amazing. We’ve always had great sex, but in the last month or so, we've found our groove. Goddamn, amazing.
Finally, the blur that kept the rest of the world out started to fade. “Yep I’m gonna be late for work, and with the boss coming too, oops.” But I didn’t care - that was amazing - wouldn’t swap it for the world.
“Come on you, we’d better get you showered so one of us can go to work, hey.”
“Hey you, what’s good how’d your shift go?”
The smells when I walked in the front door - OMG amazing! - were the first thing to greet me, followed by my husband who was smiling while whirring around the in the kitchen.
“What was the boss like, Skip?”
As I got closer to the source of that smell, I could see that he’d made chicken and vegetable enchiladas. They are always amazing.
“Yeah, was all good. Back in a sec - I’ll just clean up.” As was the Spence custom, I continued the conversation from the bathroom - it drove Ben nuts at first, well still does.
As he does, following me “Why d’y’all start talking and walk off? I’ll never understand. Y’all do it - the entire family does – damn, even Lucas does.”
Soon enough I was cleaned up, kissed him, and said ‘sorry’. Then, via the refrigerator - pulling out a couple of light beers for us, coz we were about to get busy stuffing our faces.
Opening Ben's beer, I kissed him on the cheek, placing it next to his plate. "Here you go, sir," I said with a smile.
“The boss came down to sign off some stuff with Texas A & M. They're putting together an alternate pathways program for people interested in a career in the fire services.”
With a half mouthful of enchilada, sounding so cute, he replied, “Sounds great- more diverse workforce.”
“Yeah apparently, it’s been on the cards for a few years. The State was able to contribute funds to match the federal government, so away we go.”
My mouth was full-on watering as I rolled up another parcel of delicious food. "My god, Ben, these are amazing,” I managed to get out before stuffing another in my mouth.
“Did you hear from Josh today?”
“Nope.” I washed down the food with a mouthful of ice-cold beer.
“Hmm … I made extra just in case he turns up.”
“Ohh-yes - looks like I’ve got enchiladas for lunch tomorrow at work.” My stomach was almost bursting: two enchiladas down and half of the side salad – ok, plus three-quarters of the beer. “Maybe I should run to work tomorrow burn… off this feast, hey?”
“Or maybe we can do other cardo?” Instantly, I looked up at Ben. “When? Now? Yes, please. Don’t you be teasing me. Maybe give me a little bit of time to digest this.” I made a sweeping gesture at the remains of dinner.
Our conversation turned to the normal stuff we chat about, - how his mom was going, some gossip about his work, you know - the regular stuff - when it was interrupted by knocking at the front door.
"You go, Ben. I'll clean up."
“You sure? I don’t mind…”
“Nah, all good.” With that, he headed for the front door while I started to clear the table.
Ben came back thirty seconds or so later. “Who was it?”
“Not sure. Nobody there when I opened the door. Weird.”
“Probably kids. Knick knocking.”
“The-what, you say?”
“Kids - Knick knocking! You know, running up to the front door, ring’n’ the bell, then hiding, Don’t tell me y’all didn’t do that when y’all were kids?”
“Nope. You might end up getting shot.”
“Shit - are you joking or serious?”
“Maybe a little of both, haha. Let me help you with that. I’ll grab the storage containers.”
A few moments later, another knock at the front door. We both looked at each other.
“You go this time, Skip. I did the last one.”
“Ok.” I headed to the front door and pulled it open. “Hi!” No one there. “What the fuck?” I looked at the door, making sure I hadn't missed a note, or booby trap – again, like what we did as kids to the neighbors … until dad found out then tanned our butts.
“No one there,” I called out to Ben.
I could hear him coming toward me. “What’s going on?”
“I’ma going to have a look outside,” I replied, while grabbing my cell off the hall stand. “Would have been searching for that later.”
Walking out the front door, I was busily stuffing my cell into my pocket when I saw it. “Oh wow! Someone got a new set of wheels! Look what’s parked outside our neighbors – Steve and Jess' place. Ben - lucky guys! It’s my dream truck.”
“No need to yell, Jamie I’m right here.”
Yeah, I was halfway through taking a deep breath to yell back to Ben. “Oh right, yeah.” I let out the extra air I’d just sucked in to yell out. “Look - Steve got a new truck.”
Can’t say I wasn’t feeling a whole load of jealously right there. There was the exact truck I was buying: Ford, racing blue with the sunroof. It looked amazing.
“Man, it must have been home-delivered. It’s got a huge-ass red bow on the hood.”
I could feel movement behind me as I was mindlessly talking away to Ben when I heard another voice. Stunned into silence when I saw who the other voice belonged to, I yelled, “Josh! Hey, mate!"
“Hey, you, Jamie. You like?” he asked, pointing toward the truck.
"It's beautiful! Steve and me - we’ll be able to go off-roading - even the same color and all.”
Both of them gave a short laugh. “He can be so clueless at times, Ben.” Josh pulled something from his pocket and yelled out. “Catch!”
A key fob came flying through the air at me. Then I suddenly realized, "IT’S MINE?" as I caught it.
“Yep, all yours. I picked it up at the local dealership after detailing and predelivery for you. Enjoy." Stunned for a few seconds, I just looked between Josh, Ben, and my new truck. It shouldn't have been such a surprise - I knew it was coming soon, but wow - what a way to … make it special, right.
I grabbed Josh and gave him a huge hug. “Thank you. Man, that’s … it’s, fantastic!”
Reaching over, I grabbed Ben too, pulling him in. “You knew all about this, didn’t you, hmm?”
“Who me? Nooo..” he remarked, smiling back at me.
"Yeah, I call bullshit. Thank you."
“You deserve it, really do.”
I was so excited, I was like a four-week-old puppy without the wetting, well so far! "Ok, so who's coming for a ride?”
"Let's go. Head toward the lake, Jamie. There's a trail along the creek bed we can try out. My brothers and I used to ride our bikes there as kids. There’s always off-roaders there."
We all jumped in. I pressed the button and it roared to life. “Ohhh yeah! I like."
I'd just synced my cell to the truck when a message came in. 'How’s the new truck, son?’
Of course, my parents were in the loop too. Shit - where are Lucas and Hailey? Thought they'd be here too if mom and dad know."
“Hailey was held up at work. The original plan included those guys dropping in by chance too, ha-ha. Lucas said they'd be here in about 90 minutes. Come on, Skip. Let's go."
And yes, the following morning, Ben 'borrowed' it to go the store, via Tulsa I think…
Fun Fact. This story was, in my original plan going to be 8 chapters long... well that didn't work out hey!
Thanks again y'all for following, commenting but above all enjoying the story. Thanks to my awesome editor who always-always has the best advice and damn he has some skills; and to my wingman too just awesome.
The song referenced "I still call Australia home," is by Peter Alan and is featured in the boy from OZ and QANTAS ad's over the years, its kinda our unofficial anthem alongside Waltzing Matilda, most of us can't help but feel a little choked up when were away from this big brown land and hear that song.