Chapter 6 - The garage

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He went outside to where they were taking pictures by the lake. He watched from a slight distance and again witnessed the closeness of the family. Their teasing and laughing and touching was so natural. The whole family quite obviously loved the bride. She was no taller than Ella although she lacked Ella's curves and ample bust. Don't be a pig, he thought as he found himself looking at the way Ella's dress made a vee between her gorgeous breasts. Embarrassed he had to discreetly adjust his pants and turned his focus away from Ella which was difficult to do as her voice was like a homing beacon for him.

Thankfully she didn't seem affected by his stupid comment in the car and once the family photographs were over, she never left his side. The only thing that would make being with her perfect was if he could take her hand as they casually socialized with the guests. He wondered if this was what it was like to be a couple. Joe had never really been a couple except when he was in high school and that didn't count. He had gone out with girls, but he always kept them at arm's length. Embarrassed of his house, he never brought a girl home. If he did his mother would tell them about Whitney. Even still his mother was convinced that he was going to return home and marry Whitney, but there was nothing that Joe wanted less, except perhaps to see Garrett again.

If Joe had to choose the perfect moment of the entire day, it would be hard but even more than Ella's singing it would be when they danced. They only danced together once and as he held her and took in her unique scent, he realized that the vanilla was coming from her hair while the musk was on her skin. Again he was having trouble in his pants as he imagined tasting that musky scent right down to her toes. He had become Owen for Christ's sake! A close third to her singing and their dancing alone was when they spent a good deal of the night dancing with Bridget. He wanted to whisper to Ella and ask if she was jealous, but he had already put his foot in his mouth once.

Joe drove Ella and Ava home and arriving at their house at the same time as their parents, Tim insisted that Joe come in. He had seen houses like the Burkes but had never been inside one. He was surprised when Ella pointed to the house next door and told him that it was Nick's house.

"Living next door was a good thing because my mother took care of those babies after their mother died."

"I'm sorry," he said and without thinking added, "My father died when I was just a little older than Bridget is now."

She looked at him with sympathetic eyes and whispered, "I'm sorry."

He nodded but didn't elaborate mostly because he didn't want her to know about his dark past. Inside the house was warm and inviting, not stuffy and uncomfortable. Tim had decided that Joe was his new best friend and kept Joe laughing as he insisted that they have a beer. Joe had only had the champagne for the wedding toast, because he didn't want to let his guard down with alcohol so he could use a beer.

The family each disappeared and returned in comfortable clothes. He had taken off his suit coat and tie. He felt so comfortable that he wanted to ask to be adopted, but even if he said it as a joke he would have to tell about his past. He didn't want to do that, as they were laughing together and talking about the wedding.

"Joe helped with the little ones," Mrs. Turner said.

"It was nothing, Mrs. Turner. They are something."

"Julie, please Joe... Save the Mrs. Turner for Granny. Just Tim too. Right dear?"

Ella had been distracted on her phone. He knew that she was probably texting the boyfriend. He watched as she got up and left the room.

Tim nodded and affirmed by raising his beer bottle. "I'm just glad all that kissing is over. You'd think my brother was in love," he complained as he emphasized the 'in love'.

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