I awoke before Tom in the morning so I went to take my shower. He was up by the time I exited the bathroom.
"Good morning, Darling!" He greeted me cheerily and kissed me.
He then told me he wrote down what he wanted for breakfast if I wanted to place our room service order while he showered. I looked over the menu, made my own selection and called to place the order; it would take about half an hour. I got ready for my bookstore visit while I waited for breakfast. It arrived just as Tom finished up in the bathroom. I accepted the cart, brought it to the table and set the table. I started eating and Tom joined me. There was little conversation while we ate. I was due at the bookstore for ten and our flight to Orlando was scheduled to leave at three in the afternoon.
I was nearly finished eating when Tom asked if I was OK.
"I'm just a little tired, that's all. I am very ready for this tour to be over so I can go home and sleep in my own bed."
"I'd like to go home and sleep in your bed too," He said with a wink.
I giggled. He had a way of making of me feel better without doing much at all. We finished eating and I moved to sit on his lap and kiss for a while. After several minutes of deep, passionate kisses, Tom finally broke away from me. "If we keep this up, Darling, you're going to be late because I won't be able to control myself much longer."
I laughed again and moved off of his lap. I went to the bathroom and put on my makeup. Once I finished, I gathered all of my toiletries and packed them up. I made certain everything was repacked in my suitcase and carry-on bag. Tom promised he would get my bags and leave nothing of mine behind. He would be meeting me at the bookstore when I was finished so we could have lunch at another airport VIP lounge for the last time.
I kissed him lightly on the lips and then left. I arrived at the bookstore on time and my time there went by quickly. There were only a few questions about my relationship with Tom; most people either didn't know or didn't care. Once it was all over, I said goodbye to Joanne who wished me luck in the future, then I was on my way to the airport with Tom. We had lunch in the lounge and waited to board our flight.
This plane ride was only a little longer than going from Houston to New Orleans. We didn't really talk much; just sat there holding hands. I was feeling tired and distracted. I don't know if Tom was just respecting my silence or really that nervous about meeting my sons. Once we arrived, departed the plane, and retrieved our bags, I led Tom to the parking garage where I had left my mini-van. My ex had no need of it; he still had the one we'd had when we were married, so I drove myself and used the parking garage. I'd been gone two weeks so hopefully the parking fee wouldn't be too expensive.
We loaded our bags into the back of the van. I took a few minutes and dug a pair of shorts out of my suitcase. I unbuttoned my blouse and removed it since I was wearing a pale pink tank top underneath. I climbed into the back seat and closed the sliding door while Tom got into the front passenger seat. I tossed him the keys and asked him to start it and turn on the air since it was so hot in the vehicle. He did as I requested while I proceeded to change out of my pants and into the shorts. I then climbed over the seat into the driver's seat when I finished.
"That feels so much better!" I declared as I put on my sunglasses and fastened my seatbelt.
Tom just smiled as he fastened his own seatbelt. "You're not wearing any shoes my dear."
"That's perfectly all right. I drive better without them."
I then put the transmission in reverse and carefully backed out of the parking space. At the garage exit, I gave the attendant my ticket and my credit card; the bill wasn't too crazy. In a few minutes, I got my card and receipt, so I exited the garage. I followed the signs to get on the eastbound toll highway that would take us home. Once I had merged into traffic, I turned on the radio to one of the digital catalogs I had stored so I could listen to music I enjoyed. I started absentmindedly singing along while I watched traffic. When the song ended Tom complimented me on my voice. I felt embarrassed. "Singing isn't really that difficult. Any moron can do it."
"I beg to differ. Any moron can attempt it, but it takes natural talent and skill to do it well. You have a beautiful voice and hit all of the notes and do it correctly. Why are you always so quick to depreciate yourself when I give you a compliment?"
I was silent. I didn't know how to respond. I didn't know why I did it. For years I always felt people's compliments weren't genuine; they were meant more to placate me. I didn't feel pleased with my accomplishments; I felt like a child who got a pat on the head while someone superior to me said, "nice try but I can do better." The only compliments I had ever taken to heart were people who didn't know me but loved my writing. They knew nothing else but my written word and the story I told and they enjoyed it. This was the only explanation I had and I offered it to Tom.
When I finished he reached over and placed his hand on my thigh, "Darling, I wouldn't compliment you if I didn't genuinely mean it. I'm not that kind of person. I don't think I'm perfect or superior to others. I'm just a man who lucked out in getting paid to do something I enjoy and others apparently enjoy my efforts as well. I often don't understand the big fuss a lot people make over me; it can all be rather embarrassing at times. I do like the opportunities it has given me to meet some wonderful people; you included. I was very fortunate the day I met you."
It didn't happen often, but he succeeded in making me blush. "Why were you a flight from Atlanta Georgia to New York City that day anyway?"
"I was going from LA to New York where I was supposed to catch a flight to London. Our plane was having some mechanical problems so we ended up landing in Atlanta. All of the passengers were being placed on whatever flights to New York had available seats and I just happened to end up on yours. It was such a strange coincidence really because I'd been reading your book since I got to the airport that morning. Someone at the meeting the day before had given it to me and told me I should read it. I hadn't really planned to do it when I saw the title, but I had accidentally packed my other book in my checked suitcase so I had nothing to do. Once I started reading it, I was hooked. I kept thinking that I really wanted to meet the person that wrote it because it was a wonderful story. Then I ended up on a flight sitting next to you. I'm convinced it was fate that brought us together. After we talked the whole flight, I just wanted to know you better; I also didn't like the fact that you were traveling alone to places you'd never been before. That was not wise of Joanne; she could have gone with you instead of taking separate flights and such."
I found his revelation a bit overwhelming. I couldn't believe I'd made such an impression on him. I'd never felt I was anything special. I'm not a great beauty and I was a still overweight, even though I had lost quite a bit in the last year. I never thought of myself as a genius because there was so much I didn't understand, but I was always willing to learn something new. The only thing I really had going for me was my writing skills. I am a pretty good storyteller; it had always come naturally to me. The writing ability was something I practiced over the years at every opportunity, so it improved over time. My Granny had told me when I was no older than seven that I had a natural storytelling gift that The Great Spirit had given me and I should never be ashamed to share it with the world. As I grew older, I realized what a wise woman my Granny really was.
We were both silent the rest of the ride home. I sang along to a couple more songs. Tom smiled at the sound of my voice, but didn't compliment me again. At last, I pulled the mini-van into the driveway of my house. I didn't go into the garage because clearly my ex was parking in it since his van was not in the driveway. We both got out and went around the front of the van and held hands. He looked appreciatively up at the house. It was two story, Spanish style complete with a red clay tiled roof and cream colored stucco siding. "Are you ready?" I asked him.
"As ready as I'll ever be I guess," he replied.
"Don't worry so much. They're just kids; they don't bite. Well, they usually don't; the little one will if you really make him mad enough and screaming doesn't work."
He laughed and then followed me as I moved forward to the front door. I opened it and went inside; he closed it behind us. No one was in the living room so I called out, "Anybody home?"
I heard four voices scream out in near unison, "MOM'S HOME!" As four boys came running from the back of the house for hugs and kisses.
The youngest, Jerrome, got to me first. Since he was only three, he got scooped up for his hugs and kisses. His six-year-old brother, Matthew, didn't want to be left out, so I had to put Jerrome down and pick up Matthew for hugs and kisses. Gabriel was thirteen and Michael was eleven; both were way too big to be picked up so they just got hugs and kisses on the cheeks.
"Did you bring us presents?" Matthew asked after I put him down.
I laughed. "As a matter of fact, I got you each a little souvenir from every city I visited."
He got excited. "Where are they?!"
"In my suitcase. I left it in the van for now."
Gabriel volunteered to go get it. I gave him the keys and the three older boys rushed out to get our luggage.
I turned to Tom. "I'll introduce you properly after they've gotten their trinkets. When those kids hear you got them souvenirs, you better fork them over or they'll pester you to until you do."
He chuckled. "So is that what you were doing every time you left me in the lounge after we ate?"
"Yes I just got them something small and cheap with the city names on them. The younger two have toys and the older boys got figures or magnets of landmarks. I got them all postcard pictures too."
Before Tom could respond, my ex came out from the back of the house with his bag over his shoulder.
"Glad to see you made it home safe. I need to get going, I have some place to be later," my ex said as he headed for the door.
"Thank you for staying with the boys while I did the book tour."
"No problem. They're still my kids. You've waited your whole life to finally get published so I know how important this is to you."
He stopped at the door as the boys were coming back in with all the bags in tow. I told them their bags were right on top in my red suitcase with their names on them. I also told them to give their father a hug before they dug into the bags. They stopped and obediently lined up to give quick hugs before going back to their goody bags.
"I'll see you boys in a couple of weeks," he said, standing in the open doorway.
He then finally turned and acknowledged Tom standing behind me, "You're Tom Hiddleston right?"
"Yes I am," Tom replied awkwardly.
Instead of shaking hands and being polite, my ex just shook his head and said, "So watching all of his movies and writing about him wasn't enough. You had to bring him home with you."
Before I could reply, he turned and walked out the door, closing it behind him. I heard him go into the garage from the outside door and open the main door to back out his van. I saw him pull out of the driveway from the side window. I asked Gabriel to go into the garage and push the button to close the door. He begrudgingly obeyed.
Once he returned, I got their attention for a few minutes. "I would like you boys to meet Tom. He's going to be staying with us for a couple of weeks."
I then pointed to each one of them in turn and said, "That's Gabriel, Michael, Matthew and Jerrome."
He greeted them and they briefly said hello. Michael eyed him for a few moments before asking, "Are you our Mom's boyfriend?"
Tom looked to me with a slightly panicked expression; I just shrugged and said, "Well answer the boy. Are you Mom's boyfriend?"
He chuckled and replied, "Well yes, I guess that's what you'd call me. Your Mum and I definitely have a relationship."
Michael looked confused, "Mum? What does that mean?"
I laughed and said, "That's the British way of saying Mom."
Matthew then took an interest in the conversation and looked up at Tom intensely before saying, "You look like the guy on Mommy's computer wallpaper."
It was my turn to be embarrassed. I forgot all about my collection of Loki computer wallpaper. Tom moved to sit on the sofa and Matthew got up to sit next to him. "Whatever would he be talking about Mum?"
"I have a collection of Loki backgrounds on my computer and phone."
"Oh so you have photos of my character."
Gabriel finally pulled his nose out of the California fact book I'd bought for him and said, "You played Loki in those movies?"
"Yes that was me."
"COOL!!" He loudly exclaimed.
Before they could get crazy, I told them to go put their things away and I'd order pizza for dinner. Matthew continued to stare at Tom thoughtfully before saying, "Are you going to live with us now?"
"I'm going to stay with your family for a couple of weeks and then I have to go back to London for a week, maybe two. After that I'm going to come back until September. Is that OK with you?"
"Yes it is. London is where the Mary Poppins stories take place. Where is London?"
"It's in a country that's an island across the Atlantic ocean, called England. Would you like to learn about England?"
His little blue eyes sparkled at the thought of learning about a new place. He loved learning new things; he was the only one of my children that really got excited about learning. "I'd love to," he replied.
"When I come back from London, I'll bring you books about England so you can learn all about it. Then when your Mum says it's OK and you're ready for it, I'll take your whole family to see it. Would you like that?"
He squealed delightedly and hugged Tom. He then hopped down and ran up the stairs with his toys in his arms to tell his brothers that Tom wanted to take us to England someday. Jerrome still sat in the floor playing with his cars and planes. Tom moved to stretch out on the rug, lying on his stomach to play with him. Jerrome didn't seem to mind at all. I went off to the kitchen to place a pizza order with some place that delivered. I definitely didn't feel like going back out today.
Half an hour later, we were all seated around the kitchen table eating and laughing. The boys were questioning me about the places I'd been to.
"I didn't really have time to play tourist and explore fellas, sorry."
"Did you at least get to see the Pacific Ocean?" Michael asked.
"Yes I did that. My hotel in Southern California was on the beach. My morning bookstore thing got canceled so we spent the morning on the beach."
His face lit up. "Are the waves really bigger than the Atlantic?"
"Yes they are. Someday I will take you out there and teach you to surf. Is that a deal?"
He gave me an enormous smile and squealed, "YES!"
We all laughed. Then Tom interrupted and said, "It's my understanding that a certain little boy turns four on Friday. Did Mum already make birthday plans?"
"No I haven't had time. My kids would rather go do something fun than have a party anyway."
"How about a weekend at Disney World to celebrate?" he asked.
I stared at him. "You're joking?"
"Not at all. We can stay at one of the resorts and spend the whole weekend there. You boys like Disney right?"
They all squealed with delight. "Then I guess we're going to Disney this weekend," I said.
Gabriel then asked if they could go outside until it started getting dark. I told them it was fine as long as they played in the backyard and stayed away from the pool. They all ran outside to play. I put away leftover pizza and loaded the dishwasher. Tom offered to help, but I declined. I was a little annoyed with him. I knew I needed to catch up on laundry and other chores this weekend, but he goes and promises my kids Disney World. He watched me quietly. I started the dishwasher and turned to go to the laundry room.
"You're mad at me, aren't you?" He called as I disappeared down the short hallway to the laundry room.
I remained quiet I assessed the laundry situation. I took the full basket out from under the second floor laundry chute, replaced it with an empty one and took it to the washer to load it in. I was surprised there wasn't more dirty laundry in need of washing. When I turned around to leave, I found him leaning against the door frame completely blocking the doorway. I stopped and gave him a dirty look but he refused to budge. "You're not leaving until you answer me."
"Yes I'm mad. Can I leave now?"
"Why? It's your son's birthday and they want to have fun. You said they love Disney, so I thought they'd love to spend a whole weekend there and would get a real thrill out of staying at a resort. I have to confess that I kind of already made the arrangements last week when you told me about his birthday. I honestly thought you'd be happier about it."
I sighed. I was being an idiot and I knew it. I just hated admitting it. Tom finally stepped aside and I walked past to get my suitcase and go my room to unpack. "They're only young for a short time; might as well enjoy it," he called after me.
I stopped at the foot of the stairs and glared at him, "Mr. Hiddleston, you have an annoying way of often being right!"
He laughed as I went on my room; the master suite was on the first floor. I had just reached the door, when I heard Matthew run in and beg him to join in their Nerf gun war. Tom took his hand and followed him outside. I opened my bedroom door, put my suitcase on my bed and removed all of my dirty laundry. I took it the laundry hamper in the walk-in closet, then went back and unloaded the rest of it, putting everything away quickly. I then stuck the suitcase in the closet before going outside to join my kids and my new boyfriend in their fun.
We came back inside when it was too dark to see. Everyone was hot and sweaty, but full of laughter. The boys got cold drinks while they took turns taking showers. Once they were all bathed and in bed, Matthew came to Tom with one of his Mary Poppins books and asked if he would read to him. I thought Tom was going to melt on the spot. A six year old boy he just met today wanted a bedtime story from him. Tom gave him an enormous smile, took his book in one hand and Matthew's hand in the other while he followed him down the second floor hallway to his bedroom.
After I got Jerrome settled in bed, I stopped in the doorway to check on them. Tom was perched on the edge of Matthew's bed reading Mary Poppins. Matthew was under his blanket with his eyes closed. I asked if he was asleep. "No Mom! Keep reading please."
Tom chuckled and reminded him he was stopping at the end of the chapter. Matthew agreed on the condition Tom promised to read a couple more chapters tomorrow night. He agreed and continued reading. I laughed softly and went downstairs so I could shower. I had gotten quite hot and sweaty while we were running outside and playing with the boys.
I stripped down to my panties, grabbed
a clean pair and went into the bathroom. I took my hair out of a ponytail and began brushing out my hair. By the time I finished, Tom entered the bathroom completely naked. He came up behind me, wrapped his arms around me and kissed my neck. He then looked around the room and said, "Wow! Nice bathroom."
"Yeah, great master bath, big kitchen and a pool; I was sold on this house instantly."
"When I decided to come take a shower with you I was hoping you'd have a free standing shower stall that would be big enough for both of us...I didn't expect anything like this. That shower is big enough for both of us and a few more."
I laughed and went over to it and turned on the water. I took off my panties while I gave the water a few minutes to get warm. He followed me. The tile on the floor and walls of the shower stall were Travertine and the traditional pale brown. The shower head was in the middle and there were water handles on each side; you could enter either side as it was open on both ends. In the center was a large window like opening with columns on each side framing the garden tub on the outside of the shower stall. There was even a chandelier in the shower area itself.
I stood under the hot water and got drenched. Tom wasted no time joining me under the water and began kissing me while the water soaked him. His lips soon wandered down onto my neck and he pushed me over to the opening. He stopped and sized it up. "Damn, if only it was a little lower. It'd be the perfect sex perch."
I laughed as he turned me around the other way and pushed me against the shower wall. "I guess we'll just have to do it this way."
He began kissing me again while he pinned me firmly against the wall and raised my left leg to put it around his waist. I felt him slide inside of me and I moaned into his kiss. He pumped into me for several minutes before he began pulling me down; he ended up sitting with me on his lap, resting on my shins. We kept going at it; never breaking our rhythm. After several minutes I came closer to orgasm and Tom held me tighter against his body and pumped furiously. We finally came together, moaning in unison.
He let go of me and I got up. I said nothing, just quickly washed myself. He got up and washed himself too. When we finished, I turned off the water and got towels out of the cabinet. I handed him one as I dried off. I put on my panties and fixed my hair. He wrapped his towel around his waist and followed me out of the bathroom. I went to the closet to find pajamas; my walk-in closet was large enough that it had big dresser-like storage drawers on a couple of walls inside. It was plenty of room for the things that I didn't hang up. I passed on the short sets I usually slept in and went for a short red satin thin strapped babydoll. When I exited the closet, Tom was perched on the edge of my bed in nothing but his underwear. He looked up as I exited. Judging by the look in his eyes, he approved of my pajama choice. I walked around to the other side of the bed and got in. I still hadn't spoken to him since we had sex in the shower.
"Are you mad at me again?" He asked.
I leaned over and kissed him tenderly. "Not at all. Why did you think I was mad?"
"Well we just had some incredibly good sex and you haven't said a word to me since."
I could feel myself blushing. "It was a little awkward. I've never had sex in a shower before."
"Neither have I," he replied.
I lay down and stared up at him, contemplating his sexiness. Finally I said, "Turn out the light and lie down. I'm tired and need some sleep. Those kids hardly ever sleep past eight."
"So it's OK if I sleep here?"
"Of course it is. Why wouldn't it be?"
"I just thought...with the kids...you might want me in a guest room."
"Only the older two even know about sex and believe me, it doesn't occur to either of them that their Mother does it. Besides, if you want to stay around, they might as well get used to it. They typically don't come in here in the mornings anyway. They just make enough noise to wake the dead so it's not necessary."
He laughed and turned off the lamp, then lay down next to me. I pulled the blanket up and moved closer to cuddle. He put his arms around me and held me close. He kissed me gently and said he loved me. I was so tired that I was already dozing off to the sound of his steady heartbeat.