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The summer was turning into one to remember

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The summer was turning into one to remember. Everything was going perfect. With Ethan around, Iris's life didn't feel so bland anymore. He brought light to her lighthouse that was fading. He got along perfectly with Amy, she had declared him her new best friend. Still they kept their relationship a secret. Something Iris was beginning to suspect was bothering Ethan.

She looked at him as he played catch in the front yard with Amy. It was Sunday afternoon and they had all had supper together. Hannah had come down with a headache so she had excused herself to go take a nap.

Ethan looked back at her and she smiled at him. He returned her smile but it didn't quite meet his eyes like it usually would. She watched as Amy threw herself at his leg and declared she was way too tired to play anymore. Ethan picked her up walked back to the porch.

“Mommy I'm sleepy.”

“Do you want to go on up and take a nap?”

“Yes please.”

Iris reached for her daughter's hand but Amy held tighter to Ethan's neck. Their eyes met over Amy's head and this time the smile they shared was real.

They walked quietly up the stairs and into Amy's room. Her room wasn't the expected one that little girls would have. Instead it had planets hanging from the ceiling and astronauts and spaceships on the wall.

“Will you be here when I wake up?” Amy asked Ethan before he could leave the room.

Iris and Ethan shared a look before he responded.

“I don't know short stack but if you need me when you wake up and I'm not here just call me or come get me OK?”

“OK.”

Iris closed the door as they stepped into the hallway.

“You've been quiet.” she said breaking the silence.

“Just thinking.” he replied

She grabbed his hand and pulled his face to hers. He was clearly surprised but wasn't about to object. He feverishly kissed her back. Their hands romed greedily, exploring each others bodies. His lips left hers and attached to her neck and moved lower. Iris moaned and reached for his belt buckle. She pulled away just long enough to pull him into her bedroom where they spent the next hour soaring to new heights.

“Why are you so afraid to let people know we're together?” Ethan asked as they laid a tangled heap of sheets and legs.

“Can you imagine how people will react to me sleeping with someone so young? And your mother, she would probably kill us.” Iris replied

“How will you know if you don't at least try?”

“Ethan I know these people. They're like hungry reporters waiting for their next story. I told you how bad it was when I got pregnant for the pastor's son.”

“Yes but we're not having sex in the church balcony. We're in a bed, two consenting adults. We care about each other, don't we?”

“You know I care about you.”

“I think I know. Right now I'm not so sure though. You're treating me like a dirty little secret that must not ever see the light of day.”

“Ethan you know it's not like that.”

“It's been more than a month Iris. I come over when Amy is at school or my mom is in town and we have a quickie. If I'm too close to you while in the shop and someone comes in, you can't get away from me fast enough. How's that suppose to make me feel?”

“Well if I'm ruining your life so much maybe we shouldn't be doing this!”

She wanted to take the words back when she saw the hurt look in his face. But his look was quickly replaced by a stony expression. She watched as he climbed out of bed and pulled on his clothes.

“I don't just date casually or hookup with random females. If I wanted that I could have stayed on campus and found someone there. You're not the first older woman I've dated Iris, if we can even call this that. But you're the first to make me feel this insignificant.”

Iris watched him walk out, shoulders slumped and face blank of all expression. She felt awful because he really was a great man and he has gone above and beyond to get to know her and be there for her but she wasn't up for the wagging tongues in town that would once again take her limb from limb with their rumors.

She just wasn't sure this was worth that.

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