Friday, March 19, 2010

59.) More Than Enough

Okay, so, here's the deal. I wasn't quite sure how to get the plot where I wanted it, so I wrote, edited, deleted, rewrote, started over from scratch, and struggled to write Kris's character when I was bitterly faced with the fact that no guy will ever be like this. Which is probably why I find the need to write them this way. Long story short, I'd love your feedback on this one. It would have been up sooner, but every time I got close to what I thought was the end, it just kept going. And going. Etcetera.

Sound track Song - Manchester Orchestra, Shake It Off

I felt Jo’s body convulse once again as she let out what I could only describe as a whimper. “Okay, seriously,” she eked out breathlessly. “I’m tapping out. I really need a break.... I can’t even see straight.”

Collapsing beside her, I was just as drained and exhausted as she looked and sounded. We’d spent the past two hours in bed, nonstop groping and kissing, taking turns with each other’s bodies, and dragging out our reunion for as long as possible. Now I felt empty and sated and completed. She grabbed my arm and pulled it around her, rolling so she faced away from me. I took the not-so-subtle hint and spooned her loosely, closing my eyes and finally resting. All of my nerve endings were in hyper drive, so I kept a bit of space between us. “I told you I was going to kiss you blind.”

“Mmm, and you have clearly succeeded,” she giggled, wiggling against me to erase that gap of space and get as close as possible while she wrapped herself up in my arms. She wanted physical nearness, and even though my body was still humming, I couldn’t not accommodate that desire of hers. “If we’re going to do this every time you return from a road trip, when are you leaving again?”

Laughing, I joked back, “And I missed you, too, Jo.” I couldn’t help but think, though, that this would be a great feeling to come home to after road trips. Coming home and taking my girl to bed, making love until exhaustion set in... this was something I could definitely get used to.

“Not as much as I missed you,” she sighed. Then she sat up, disturbing the position we had just comfortably settled into. Jo grabbed the comforter from the end of the bed, where we had flung it to get it out of the way, and pulled it over our bodies. She nestled against me again, this time curling up and pressing her forehead against my sternum as we settled in to relax or sleep or whatever. I just needed to recuperate and gather my strength again for the afternoon.

“Yeah?” I asked, more to just say something than really questioning it. I knew she missed me; you’d really have to be blind not to see that we were a little caught up in each other. “And how could you possibly know how much I missed you?”

“Because I just know,” she grinned, fidgeting again and disrupting me.

“Will you just pick a spot and stick with it?” I didn’t ask it mean-spiritedly, but it was hard to relax when she was so moving around restlessly.

“I’m sorry,” she groaned. I could feel her breath on my skin as her lips moved. “But I spent five nights in this bed without you, and I got used to sleeping here alone. Now I’ve got to remember how to get comfy.”

“So, you stayed here? The whole time?” She hadn’t brought it up while I was on the road, so I took that to mean that she went home and just didn't know how to tell me that she didn’t want to stay at my place. But I was glad to be able to have a place to offer her, glad to have the means to help her out anyway I could.

“Mmhmm,” she hummed. Jo rambled a bit as fatigue set in. “It was a little weird, being here without you. But it’s gonna be even worse to go back home again.”

An inexplicable sense of satisfaction washed over me. Or maybe it was easily explained after all—of course it felt good to hear that she did in fact come here instead of her house. It made me feel like I had something she needed, like she needed me and what I had to give. What I could provide. It made me feel like more than just her boyfriend, but like a man.

A part of me wondered if she had meant to say that, or if maybe her guard was down as her mind prepared for sleep. People generally have a tendency to let things slip out like that at such a time; however, just because she potentially didn’t mean to say it didn’t mean she didn’t really mean it.

I wasn’t sure how to say what I was thinking, but my own tired brain let my mouth speak the words anyway. It was so nice coming home to her that I had to extend the invitation. “Well, you know, you don’t have to go back.” Jo immediately squirmed out of my arms and sat up, and my body instantly felt cooler. I groaned, disturbed again that she moved. I thought she was exhausted. “Can’t you just lie down and be still?”

Her voice was quiet but firm. “Kristopher Allen Letang.”

Once she used my full name, even my middle name—which I didn’t even know she knew—I was in trouble. Big trouble. She didn’t even let loose with that after my fight. I opened my eyes to see the vacant, scared, deer-in-headlights look on her face as she sat there, her left hip touching mine as she peered down at me. I playfully mocked her. “Joanna Rachelle Anderson—”

“Don’t you fucking do that,” Jo interrupted, crossing her arms. “Don’t play this off all cutesy. Did you just say what I think you just said?”

“It depends on what I think you think I said to you,” I retorted, wanting desperately to lighten the mood. I was exhausted and not sure if I could deal with these bitter repercussions. I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and gone to sleep.

She glared at me. “Then why don’t you rephrase that and be a little clearer?”

I sighed and looked her square in the eyes as I said, “If you don’t want to go home, you don’t have to. You could just... stay here.” Jo kept looking at me, begging with her eyes for the simplest version of my statement. So I finally declared, “Move in with me.”

Jo nodded, but not in acceptance. She nodded in understanding. “That’s what I thought you said.”

Waiting for her response, I wondered to myself if I had expected a yes or a no. I certainly hadn’t expected this: I watched her face change a thousand different times, revealing that she was thinking a thousand different thoughts. I wasn’t sure what any of them were. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. “So?”

“Why did you have to ask me that?”

“Wait, I didn’t have to ask you that.”

“That’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean to imply that you thought you had to,” she said, shaking her head. “You know that I didn’t say what I said about it being worse because I wanted you to say that, right?”

It took me a moment to figure out what the hell she had asked before I could answer her. Slowly, I nodded. “I know that when you want something, then you just outright ask for it. Because you always just say whatever you’re thinking. Except for right now. Say no if you don’t want to. You’re making this harder than it has to be.”

“This isn’t about turning you down. Don’t you get it, Kris?” Jo looked at me like I was a complete and utter idiot. She was starting to freak out. “Don’t you understand the weight of that question? It’s so fucking heavy. You need to appreciate the significance of this.”

I still didn’t quite get what the big deal was. Wasn’t it the natural progression? Moreso, wasn’t this what we wanted? “I know that this is a big step, Jo, but—”

“This isn’t a step. It’s a huge leap! A huge fucking colossal pole vault. There’s so much involved here, and you’re overlooking it. You’re taking this way too lightly.”

“I guess it’s really kind of soon, but that doesn’t bother me,” I started, thinking I finally figured out what her problem with the idea was. If she were okay with staying here while I was away, what was the big deal about making it permanent? It’s not like we never spent the night together before. Now it would be every night. I liked that idea.

“No, that’s not the issue I have with this. You’re missing it.”

“So enlighten me, then.” Jo silently shook her head in response to my plea. “You won’t give me an answer... you won’t say yes, you won’t say no... and you won’t explain why you’re not answering or even tell me whatever it is that’s holding you back from answering. Jo, you always just say what you’re thinking, to a fault. Why won’t you now?”

She rocked back and sat with her legs out in front of her, pulling her knees up to her chest. “I’m afraid to ask the question. I’m afraid of what you’ll say back. You don’t seem to understand how fucking epic this is, and just the fact that you don’t get it is enough to make me really hesitant to even have this discussion with you.”

“What could I possibly say to you that you’ve got to be worried about? I mean, if I like you enough to have asked you to move in, that says a lot, doesn’t it?” Jo snorted, and I felt irritated. “What is it?” She still didn’t respond, so I continued again, “How are we supposed to figure this out unless you talk to me? I can’t unask it, and I don’t want to either, just to pretend that it didn’t happen. Are you worried that we’ll get sick of each other?”

“No.”

“Is this about being independent, or feeling like a mooch?”

“No.”

I changed my tone. “Is it because you think we’ll fight constantly about me leaving the toilet seat up?”

That elicited a tiny giggle. She cupped my cheek gently. “No. For some reason, I have a feeling that you would be a complete gentleman in that regard.”

I smiled, a little relieved to see her lighten up the slightest bit. I took her hand in mine and rubbed my thumb over it, speaking quietly and coaxing her into opening up. “Then what is it? Tell me.”

“No, see, that’s just it. I don’t want to have to tell why it’s a big deal, if it hasn’t already occurred to you. Can we drop this?”

“No, we can’t drop it. If it hasn’t occurred to me, whatever ‘it’ is supposed to be, then maybe it isn’t even an issue! Maybe you’re looking for something that isn’t there. Besides, how can I convince you it’s right if you won’t tell me why it’s wrong?”

“Because! If I have to tell you why it’s wrong, it’ll be impossible for you to convince me that it’s not wrong. Oh God, the longer we keep this up, the worse it gets. Please, Kris, if you just take it back, then we don’t have to do this. Ask again when you understand all the implications, and I’ll gladly tell you yes. But if you make me talk about this now, and you give me the wrong answer, it’s out there, forever.” She looked at me desperately, pleading with her eyes for me to take back the words and not pose the question, but I can’t erase time and nor do I want to.

I stared at her for a second. “I already told you. I don’t want to take it back and pretend this never happened. Because it would just be like if you told me no without the closure of hearing you say it. Whatever question it is that’s such a big deal, just ask it so we can deal with this. You’re trying to cover up the problem instead of address it. And you’re right—the longer we do this, the more you freak out and the more frustrated I get. Just come out with it already!” I never really understood what people meant when they said that the tension was palpable. But now I did. The atmosphere was thick and suffocating, and you could cut it with a knife.

She shook her head in aggravation. “You’re so innocent about this that it would be absolutely endearing, if it didn’t piss me off. I can’t believe you’re making me do this. You wanna hear it? Fine. But then there’s no going back, ya hear?” I nodded, and finally she asked the big question that was causing her to freak out, “Why did you ask me to move in with you? Why do you want me to move in with you?”

It was a simple question; in fact, it was such a simple question that I didn’t know what to say. What kind of reply was she looking for? I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t want to give her the wrong response. Not when I could see water begin to pool in her eyes, most likely because I didn’t have an automatic answer on hand. This was a really big deal to her, and I still didn’t know why. “I mean, why not?”

“Ugh, Kris....”

“What? Seriously, Jo, why not? Is there a reason I shouldn’t have asked? Because I don’t know why you’re acting this way. This feels like a trick question. If I don’t get the riddle, then you’ll be like the Sphinx and kill me.”

“God, Kris, don’t you know me by now? I’m not trying to make you jump through hoops. I’m not like that. This isn’t a trick. And I’m not playing games with you. I just want you to be totally honest and tell me your reason for asking me to move in with you.”

She looked at me expectantly, and I thought about what sparked this whole thing. I was enjoying lying there with her, holding her, feeling satisfied that she was able to use something from me that I could provide her. And I didn’t want to take it away from her. I said, “Your home isn’t your home. I’m not going to make you go back there when you don’t want to. So I was just letting you know that you could stay here, tonight, tomorrow, however long you want. Forever, even, if you wanted. You could make this your home.” I thought I was being romantic, letting her know that I would indefinitely be here for her, whatever she wanted. I was opening my door to her and letting her make the ultimate decision to step through it or not. Opening up my home to her permanently. Opening my heart to her and letting her in irrevocably.

Jo nodded, subtly at first, but the gesture got bigger as her tears flooded over onto her cheeks. I interpreted the movement to mean she was accepting, and it made my heart swell that she had agreed. Reaching for her, I froze as she shrunk away from me and flat-out said, “Wrong answer.”

My mouth fell open. All I could do was sit there and watch as she scooted to the edge of the bed, pulling the sheet around her like it was protective shield. Wrong answer. She asked me to be honest, and I was—so how could it be wrong? It didn’t make sense.

The sound of a choked-out sob brought me out of my catatonic state. Fucking hell, I didn’t know why she was so upset; although I may not have been crying, I was hurt by all this, too. It was a seemingly innocent question, asked in order to bring us closer, and yet here she was, physically repulsed by me, turning me down. Turning down what I had, mere seconds ago, been so proud of being able to offer her. It was like a stab in the heart. I closed my hand around her arm, firmly but gently, in an effort to get her to stay. “How is that wrong?!”

Her back was still toward me. “Because that is not why people move in together. This was exactly what I was afraid of: you’re being your normal self, being all noble and merely doing the right thing. Which means treating me like a stray in need of shelter. Poor Jo once again needs pointed in the right direction—”

I felt blindsided, wondering where the hell she came up with this explanation out of everything I just said. I moved behind her and put my hands on her bare shoulders. “No. No, that’s not it at all, Jo—”

She spoke loudly. It was clear and loud, not shaky at all like I expected it to be considering she was crying. “Yes,” she hissed. “You don’t want to kick me out. I get it. But you won’t be. I’ll manage on my own, just like always.”

I couldn’t believe she said that. “You’re twisting my words around!”

“Isn’t that what you meant? You feel bad that my home sucks, so you’re letting me stay here. Like a fucking women’s shelter. It’s so demeaning.”

Wiping my hand over my face and through my hair, I digressed. “See? I was right. You’re actively trying to find a way to find something wrong with my invitation so you can turn it down. That’s not what I said, and you certainly know it’s not what I meant. If you didn’t want to, all you had to do was say no, and that would have been that. No need to blame me.”

“Did I blame you? Nope! I told you to be honest. I didn’t want to move in for the wrong reasons, Kris, or want you to want me to move in for the wrong reasons. That’s what this was about. I would have said yes if you had told me you wanted me to.”

Still clueless, I asked, “That’s what you were looking to hear? That I wanted you to move in with me because I wanted you to?”

She clutched the white sheet to her body and nodded. Her voice was low when she said, “Yeah, Kris. It’s that simple.”

“But of course I want you to!” I huffed, now completely exasperated. “If I didn’t want you to move in, I never would have asked in the first place! Wasn’t that inherent?”

“But that’s not what you said.”

“Well, it’s not what I meant,” I said, turning her and sitting beside her. “Jo...” I said softly, hoping to smooth this over. I thought it may have worked, because her eyes watered again. But this time, I didn’t jump to conclusions. She could have been crying for any number of reasons. I tried to cheer her up a bit with a little French, knowing how much she liked that. “Pourquoi dois-tu toujours ĂȘtre si difficile?

“Don’t do that,” she bit out. “Don’t try to be all sweet now. I told you once this all got out that we couldn’t go back. So you should learn to say what you mean, or mean what you say. Because you can’t tell a girl that you like her ‘enough’ and expect her to fall at your feet.”

I reached for her hand. She was reluctant to give it over, but she did; she still refused to look at me. Was that what she was really mad about? “You have to know that I like you more than enough, Jo. This is all a misunderstanding.”

“It’s not a little misunderstanding. This is why I didn’t want to do this,” she cried. “I don’t want to be the fuck-up that needs you to do the right thing for me, because I can’t do it for myself. I know I’ve made mistakes with my life, Kris, but I was trying to iron everything out because I wanted to be normal for you. Because I want to be the one that you can rely on, so you don’t always have to be the strong, reliable one. I wanted to be the one that you could more than just like.”

“What?” I was really fucking lost. “I, uh, I’m not even really sure what to say to that, except that I must have given you the wrong impression about me. I don’t mind if you have to rely on me. I like it, actually. I like that I can be that important to you. Because, yeah, Jo, I do more than just like you, more than enough. A lot more, actually. Joanna Rachelle, I love you.”

She cried some more and shook her head until she could speak clearly. “Don’t say that now. You’re just saying that, because you know it’s what I want to hear.”

She let me pull her onto my lap, the fight gone out of her and exhaustion setting back in. “No, I’m not. Listen to me. My mother raised me right, to treat girls with respect. Remember when you got all pissed off at me because I wanted to wait for our first time?” I cupped her cheek and made her face me, even though she wouldn’t meet my gaze. I could feel the motion of her nod through my hand. “It was such a big deal to me, and I wanted to make sure we did it right. That we didn’t jump into anything too soon. So I’m sure about this, and I’m sure as hell one hundred percent positive about how I feel about you. I do lo—”

“Don’t say it again. I can’t believe it when you say it under these circumstances. I’m sorry, Kris, Kristopher, I just can’t.”

It hurt that she wouldn’t accept it, but even more that I knew she wouldn’t be saying it back anytime soon. “I’ll wait. I’ll wait to say it again, when you can believe it, and I’ll wait patiently for the day when you feel the same.

“And Jo, if you still aren’t sure, of course I want you here. Do you know how nice it was to know I was coming home to you? How much I looked forward to it? How great it would be to know that the next time I leave and come back, you’ll be here again?” I brushed her cheek with the pad of my thumb. “I would never ask such a big question if I didn’t want it.”

“I just want you to do it for yourself and not because you’re trying again to fix me. I know I’m a work in progress, but you shouldn’t have to do that. This should be easy and simple, and not require any work. I should be good enough for you, as is. I want that for you,” she sniffed.

“Hey, you’re more than good enough. Sure, it’s partly for you, because I would do anything for you. Anything if it made you happy, which I would hope being here would make you happy. But yeah, it’s for me, too. And that’s what makes it so great, because it’s good for us both. So, what do you say?”

“I-I....”

“Do you want to think about it?” I asked her, tucking her hair behind her ears and holding her face in my hands.

Jo reluctantly lifted her eyes. “Yeah.”

“’Kay. I guess you have until tonight to make up your mind.” I gave her a small smile, and she mirrored it somberly. “I’m still going to be here for you, whatever you choose, you know that, right?”

She nodded, sniffing again. Then she wrapped her arms around my neck and nuzzled against my neck, never saying another word on the subject. I moved back on the bed, bringing her down to the mattress with me and pulling the blanket around us both. There wasn’t a whole heck of a lot for us to say on this matter anymore. Not yet, anyway.

A noise sounded, somewhere in the room, and Jo mumbled, “That’s your phone. You should get it.”

“We’re napping. It can wait,” I told her sleepily.

“It might be important.”

“I doubt it.” To appease her, though, I pushed off the bed with my screaming muscles and padded over to those disgustingly yellow pants and fished my phone out of my pocket. It was a simple message from Talbot, which I didn’t even bother to open and read. I just clicked ignore and climbed back into bed, crawling back under the covers with my girlfriend, and hopefully soon, my roommate.

12 comments:

  1. So that was amazing. I can't believe you were worried about it.

    I felt so bad for Kris. I had no idea what Jo wanted him to say either. He's such a sweetheart though.

    I went to the Bruins game last night and every time I saw Kris (which was a lot because he got a ton of ice time) all I could think of was him dressed like a firemen and handcuffed. At one point I made eye contact with him and I felt like such a perv for having such inappropriate thoughts. Thanks a lot! haha He's so adorable though....

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  2. Oh jeez. I am a puddle of good. A useless puddle of good. This chapter was amazing and I literally shouted "WHAT?" when he said I love you. Seriously, Kristopher. Stop it. So perfect.

    On another note, I really hope all is well with you! Your author's note sounded a bit cynical. Then again, don't we all write to escape the reality of what men are really like??

    Excellent chapter!!!

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  3. Excellent chapter! I agree with Anna. Sometimes those ones are so hard to write. Can't wait for chapter 60!
    Could you please check out my new story too? http://springbreakmexico-india.blogspot.com/

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  4. I have to say up front, I don't know anything about Kris Letang except what I've read in your story. So my impression from reading is that Jo and Kris were opposites, and as they fall in love they become more like each other. But even so I think that Kris would be a little cautious about the whole "moving in together" thing, he might float the idea out there, but then if Jo wasn't into it, he would retreat a bit. And Jo seems to be getting a lot more anxious than she used to be, not sure if this is because she's injured and housebound. I think any developments in their relationship would come out of a place of pleasure and happiness, rather than anxiety, if that makes sense. He certainly gave her a great time last chapter!

    Anyway,I hope this is helpful to you, your writing as usual is great!

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  5. This was AMAZING!
    I'm sure it was just as great the first time you wrote it too!

    I'm such an idiot though, when she was asking him why he wanted her to move in..I THOUGHT she wanted him to tell her he loved her.

    Great update though.
    Really, it was amazing!

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  6. A few favorite lines:

    "It made me feel like I had something she needed, like she needed me and what I had to give. What I could provide. It made me feel like more than just her boyfriend, but like a man."

    That is seriously the dreamiest line ever. He's such a man's man, the chivalrous provider. Sigh.

    "I changed my tone. “Is it because you think we’ll fight constantly about me leaving the toilet seat up?”"

    Again, rediculously cute, I got a good chuckle out of this line.

    Great update. I feel like it may be kind of fast, and I sort of get where Jo is coming from. While she doesn't get that Kris LIKES taking care of her it would suck to feel like a charity case.

    Well done, I wait anxiously for more!

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  7. "We’d spent the past two hours in bed, nonstop groping and kissing, taking turns with each other’s bodies, and dragging out our reunion for as long as possible."
    ^^ Ok that's it, I need a man that goes on roadtrips for some reason... seriously, damn.

    "I couldn’t help but think, though, that this would be a great feeling to come home to after road trips. Coming home and taking my girl to bed, making love until exhaustion set in... this was something I could definitely get used to."
    ^^ This whole part... heart! I love that he used the term 'my girl', it's just so cute... like... ughhh everything about Kris is causing me to melt in bliss, he's so perfect.

    As irrational as the whole thing sounded as it was happening, I totally get both sides. Kris just knows what he wants, and he's figured out that he wants Jo to move in with him (yay!). From Jo's point of view this all happened really suddenly, and then for Kris to give some diplomatic answer, when all she needed was a 'I really want you to because it would make me happy'...
    Well, it makes sense, but I'm happy that they're not fighting anymore... and I really hope that Jo does decide to move in with him because that would make ME happy =)

    ALSO... allow me to look back on when Kris brought his mother into this. It was a total 'my momma didn't raise no fool!' part, and I loved it!
    Oh Kris... you never fail to make me swoon... Jo... if you don't move in with him, I'll shake you silly... seriously... do it!

    FAAAAAAAAAAANTASIC, as always... but now I'm sad.
    I enjoyed being able to read none stop for a while... and now I have to wait for the next one =(

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  8. Kris Letang really, really needs to stop being all kinds of perfect. Unless he's aiming to melt my heart right out of my chest. If that's the case, then he can proceed with being the perfect, epitome of a man.

    Jay, I loved this so so so so much! When Kris told Jo that he loved her, SWOON WORTHY! It's so apparent that he loves her more than anything and it was so genuine and ugh! I died<3

    Jo needs, NEEDS, to move in with him. He's perfect. I'd be super clingy if I was her and jump at the first hint that he wanted me to move in. He IS Kris Letang after all :P

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  9. I can see how it would be hard to write a character as perfect as Kris since there are no real life examples to use :)But the update was wonderful as always.

    I can't decide which part I loved the most.

    "We’d spent the past two hours in bed, nonstop groping and kissing, taking turns with each other’s bodies, and dragging out our reunion for as long as possible." Well that's just hot!

    "Coming home and taking my girl to bed, making love until exhaustion set in... this was something I could definitely get used to." More yumminess!

    "Once she used my full name, even my middle name—which I didn’t even know she knew—I was in trouble. Big trouble." Well he is a smart man!

    "I was opening my door to her and letting her make the ultimate decision to step through it or not. Opening up my home to her permanently. Opening my heart to her and letting her in irrevocably." Heart melting!

    "It hurt that she wouldn’t accept it, but even more that I knew she wouldn’t be saying it back anytime soon. “I’ll wait. I’ll wait to say it again, when you can believe it, and I’ll wait patiently for the day when you feel the same." Jo for God's sake just say it now!!!

    "I’m still going to be here for you, whatever you choose, you know that, right?” LeSigh!

    I do think Jo is being a little irrational. I mean she knows Kris does not jump into anything. So he would not ask if he didn't want to. I hope she figures it out soon.

    **Thank you for sharing your time and talent.***

    Now I'm a little worried about Max's message...

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  10. I found your story last week, and I've been reading it on and off like crazy! Your writing would put Stephanie Meyer to shame, seriously.

    I love the way you wrote Kris, it totally sounds like him - not that I would know - but Jo is the kinda girl he needs to break him out of his shell. She's doing a damn good job of it.

    Love this chapter, keep going!

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  11. I can't say enough about the dialogue in this chapter other than it was awesome, and so very true. I love that you get it right, the whole male/female stuff, the misinterpretations that happen between them, etc. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!

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