Thursday, January 19, 2017

Call Me Maybe - Hank, Judith and Connie

I'm going to do something a little different with this one. It does contain some adult content but I'm not going to put a warning at the top. I'll stick a warning in the middle,when it becomes significant. I know people all have different reading preferences so there's a point at which you'll know what's coming next and you can choose to read the details or just assume it all goes well. It's also a very long post so fair warning on that too.

To: Chief Hank
From: Judith B
Date: January 14, 2017

Dear Chief Hank,

Alright we've been writing for awhile now and I've considered your request to talk on the phone. You don't seem like an ax murderer, although I'm sure you know how to use one properly in your work. I'm not sure why I'm still talking about axes. I'm a little new at this:)

This is my phone number. It's a cell because I rarely answer my land line anymore. Damned solicitors.


Talk to you soon,
Judith B.

P.S. B is for Baldwin. Only fair since I know who you are:)

If he googles her name he will get her Facebook profile, the school in Theta Sigma webpage info on her as a cooking teacher, her name appearing as spouse in Eric Baldwin's obituary, also with her maiden named Bloom referred to as nee.

Sunday January 15th.

Hank woke feeling pretty good considering. He still had two days off and only had the one beer at Statutes the night before. It seemed rare to him that his days off fell on a weekend, and he always made himself enjoy them. But with the recent illness in town, he had not made plans, expecting to get sick. But that hadn't happened so he just decided to hang around town

Putting his coffee on to brew while he showered, he then dressed and poured himself a cup while he checked his email. He smiled when he saw the notification from the Table For Two website. Judith.

That smile widened when he read the message and he bit his lip, thinking it couldn't be the same Baldwin he was thinking of. He decided to do a little research first while he gathered his nerve to use the phone number. He got her Facebook page and other things telling him more about her while also telling him that she had been honest thus far.

Programming the number into his personal cell phone, he inhaled deeply, chiding himself. He wasn't a 15 year old boy calling up a girl he liked from school. Finally he took the plunge and tapped Send .. listening for the ringing of her cell phone.

Judith had sent her message late the night before and didn't expect a call that night or even the next day, but she also had a keen awareness of where her phone was the next morning - right beside her. She was sitting at her kitchen table doing one of her crosswords when it rang. Judith looked at the name and felt her face go a little warm and then picked up the phone and pressed talk with a smile in her "Hello?"

Hank smiled a bit when he finally heard her voice. "Hello? Judith?" he began, glad his voice hadn't cracked as if he were a teen nor did he try and make it sound deeper. "It's Hank." he for some nervous reason felt he needed to elaborate. "Hank Stanley?" and then gave his screen name so she could tell him apart from the 90 other Hank Stanleys that might have been invited to call her. "Chief Hank?"

Judith can't help but giggle a bit at his clarity "Yes Hank. How are you?" She put down her pencil and stared down at the words, not really focusing on them.

Hank hears her giggle, realizes what hes said and laughs. "I'm doing very well, thank you. I'm on my 48, so it's like a mini vacation for me." he pauses, looking into his coffee. "Thank you for trusting me with your number. I promise not to use my axe anywhere near you, I hope. And how are you?"

Judith finds herself grinning continually and almost wants to smack herself for it. Hank has a nice voice, a very nice voice. "Mmmm a mini vacation sounds nice. I cherish my weekends and holidays. One of the perks of teaching. I'm doing well. Had my widow's group over last night for supper and it was a lovely visit." She decides not to mention that it was those friends who nudged her to just up and give Hank her phone number already,

Hank grins. He loves her voice. "Well this is the first 72 I have had over an actual weekend in some time. And officially there wont be another." he admits. "Its the odd scheduling of the 24-hour firefighters shift. Small as Alexandra is we still have two fire captains ... although technically I am doubling as a captain getting a Chiefs salary. SO I go back in on Tuesday morning, have Wednesday and Thursday off, go in on Friday and..." he chuckles. "And turn myself into a liar about having weekends off right off the bat."

Judith listens to all this and thinks about it "Hmmm, could be an interesting schedule challenge when we decide to talk in person sometime. Although I do pop round your island about one weekend a month truth be aunt who lives there needs fairly regular checking on. But as long as you love your work it's not like work right?"

She's seen him, through the window of the fire hall. In fact it was last weekend and she was nervous he would look up at the wrong time and see her looking in. Martha was having a difficult day so it would not have been an ideal time to meet anyone. She had been to the pharmacy twice for a prescription that had already been delivered to her. A care worker had called Judith in concern and Judith came over to find Martha wandering the streets talking randomly about tarantulas.

Hank nods. "Well, I an sure if you needed me to, I could trade with one of the Captains for their shifts." he considers what she is saying, having not seen her when she saw him in the firehouse. "I wasn't stalking you. I swear." he qualifies. "But is your aunt Martha Bloom?"

Judith is so very glad he can't see her right now as she feels her face go hot when he says stalking, as she kinda bordered on it when she peeked in on him. After a moment she answers awkwardly "Mmmm yes. Bloom is my maiden name. Martha is my mother's youngest sister, the last one of them alive. I know she's a handful sometimes for the town, but very sweet."

Hank smiles. "Oh I wouldn't say so much a handful. We had some crazy old lady go swimming a couple of weeks ago. I guess she was alright, but we did get put on alert for it. But Martha ... yes she is a sweetie." he pauses and sounds devilish. "She was calling us about spiders, and we thought it was just her mind maybe getting strange ... but ... seems she might have been completely lucid on that one." he gets up and heads for his window, looking out at it. "I saw a couple of tarantulas last night at the bar ... and no, I was not drunk." he defends himself ahead of time.

Judith gasps "Oh my god...and here I was trying to redirect her, thinking it was a tangent! You really have tarantulas on the loose? She was sure she saw two of them as well. And I would never assume your drunkenness Hank, not unless I see you tip over. If you can still hold a drink and talk I'll believe you." She teases.

Hank chuckles. "Well the kids seem to be into having spiders as pets on the island. Or that was last years trend. They can cause hysteria and if one or two escaped ... we're bound to get calls. They aren't exactly cute little puppies." he points out. "And I don't get drunk much. I'm a cuddly sleepy drunk and I doubt very much that Peter O'Brian over at the bar would appreciate my trying to cuddle up to him to sleep it off." he grins. "But now that I know about Martha ... I don't know if you and I can continue." he pauses dramatically. "I think Martha has a crush on me. She said she'd marry me if I was only older and got this skin condition of mine under control." she smile in his voice can be heard, he hopes.

Judith cracks up "Well...she is a good cook. But she'll likely forget the stove is on so watch for that. If I have to give you up to anyone before even test driving the drunk cuddles, it may as well be someone I like." She's teasing back. She doesn't mention the skin condition as she figured out pretty quickly he had burns on his face, and hands she noticed. They didn't take away from how handsome he was but she was sure there was a story there.

Hank chuckles again. "Is she? Well, I don't know. Firemen are notoriously good chefs." pausing, he confesses. "We have been called once or twice to put out very small fires at her place." he confesses. Then he sighs. "But I don't know ... She also seems to find the police chief, his lieutenant, two of my firemen .... she likes a man in uniform, it seems to me. And they ALL have clearer skin than I do." he considers and decides .. he will tell her the story if she can stand his scarred face in person. Maybe over dinner someplace.

Judith seems very amused by the stories of her aunt "Notoriously? Hmm...and here I was worried Martha was lonely? She's got a whole collection of you all!" She thinks about how to address what he's saying about his skin and decides to offer both a compliment and truth "I find you quite handsome in your picture Hank. You have a wonderful kind face. I'm glad you're watching over Martha too in what you do. You'd never know it now but she was sharp as a whip when she was young."

Hank nods as he moves back to his kitchen counter. "Notoriously. I would put us up against any fire department in the country, but I am also biased." he laughs. "Well ... then I am surely on the bottom of the list. And Christophoros Zabat is quite taken with her, speaking of chefs. He owns that Greek restaurant you may have seen. Your aunt lives in his building." he pauses and blushes with the compliment. "Thank you." he replies. "Telling that after seeing the Academy picture my grandson put up is high praise indeed." he chuckles. "I think the women in her family are stunning. Not just her." he pauses, as if he were going to speak, but doesn't.

Judith chides him a bit "I did see the one you changed it to Hank and I'm referring to that one. I like Greek food and I have heard Martha talk about that one.....must be a charmer." She jokes. "And thank you."

Hank blushes, even if she can't see it. "Thank you, Judith. Please forgive me if I'm not very good at accepting compliments." he demurs. "These days I usually get them from my underlings or my grandkids. Both of who have a vested interest in keeping me happy.' he chuckles. "So you like Greek food. Noted. What about ... seafood or .. Italian or ... anything else?" he fishes, being good and not asking if she likes home cooking. That is not YET entirely on his mind.

Judith smiles but doesn't push on the compliments or anything to do with something she can tell he's self conscious about. But the topic of food is one that easily gets her talking "I haven't met a culture who's food I dislike yet. Sometimes you find something not prepared to your preferences but it's all worth trying. I don't think I had this on my profile but I was a chef for a few years myself. Nights didn't mesh well with the early years of motherhood so I went back to teaching. But now I get to combine both and I teach the cooking shops classes at the high school here on Theta Sigma. So yes, I like ALL foods, and cook them all too. I could go on more but I don't want to ramble at you."

Hank's stomach falls in love at the word 'chef'. The rest of him really likes Judith but his STOMACH has fallen in love. "I'm impressed." he nods to himself. "And you teach high school students? Not bad. The school here is a combination of normal and a music school. Good kids for the most part." he hesitates again. "You know, I could listen to you ramble all day."

Judith laughs "That's very kind. I actually teach some of yours. They come here for shops from Alexandra Academy. They are good kids. I have a new plan for them I'm hoping they like. We're doing world foods with a passport template workbook. I know the word workbook is often despised but they get a stamp after making 2 recipes for a country, one in class and one at home for their families. There's only one student from your town I'm a little worried about with that...Owen Reinhardt. He'll be fine if he FOLLOWS the recipe." She laughs "I should not tell you names but you're VERY easy to talk to. I've never wanted to call in parents for a conference before. We have the empty table for them as electives and usually just sneer at all the stuffy academic types."

Hank listens and nods. "Workbook is a scary word when you're a kid." he agrees and laughs when she mentions Owen Reinhardt. "Oh .... that's hardly a secret. I know his father who jokes that he has the station on speed dial when his son cooks dinner. The Fire department and the towns doctor .. and he is married to a NURSE. That kid has a lot of imagination ... and likes spicy foods, if his fathers rants are to be believed." he chuckles. "Then you probably know his sister." he makes a game in his mind. "And .. Fiona isn't often seen without Addison O'Brian and Fiona's boyfriend is Vincent DiAntoni." he stops himself and laughs a little bit. "Small towns, but nothing confidential."

Judith giggles at this "Too true Hank." There's a breathy quality in her voice and it comes out in full on words with an H so Hank's name is always softened by it in her voice. "Yes I do know Addison. I keep telling her to enroll in my class but so far she's just come in to consult. Her father has some heart concerns and she's adjusting their cooking for him. Nothing says love like cooking for your family's health. And it sounds like Owen's parents would be open to talking to me then if they're not in denial." She laughs again.

Hank gulps when she says his name and whispers "Jesus." at the very sound. That voice resounds with him, to be sure. Recovering he says. "Yea .. well ... Her father had a heart attack when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last year so ... changing his died would be a good thing. But Petey is a stubborn Irishman, so most likely Addy is trying to sneak the health onto him." he chuckles. "No .. they have too many kids to waste their time in denial. I bet they know their kids like the back of their hands, you know."

Judith is confused by his whisper but she's still enjoying his voice too and the whispered tone makes her inhale. How is he affecting her so much? They haven't even met? She grimaces about the heart attack and the cubs "Over the world series? She didn't mention that part. That's some interesting devotion there. And I understand about being close to your kids. My Erica and I are very close, even though she's all grown up. I really have a friend and a daughter. I just had the one though. You talk about grandchildren. I have two of those, both girls, Penelope and Maisy. How many kids do you have?"

Hank's chuckle is a tad dry. "She is a little more circumspect than her father .... there's less to explain if you don't already know that is one rabid family when it comes to their sports teams." he smiles listening to her talk about her daughter. "Oh, just Ford. His mom had such a hard time with him, she ... well.. she cooled a bit. Wanted me in a safer job before she'd have another baby, she told me. So our first was our last. But hes made up for it with three of his own."

Judith realizes the gravity of his statement about his wife "I'm sorry if I hit on something personal Hank. How about those grandkids?" She asks trying to lift the conversation back up.

Hank shrugs, already forgetting she can't see him. "Well ... that was ... a long .. LONG time ago. And ... she dies so .. well .. you know." and he does indeed brighten. "Oh the twins .. well ... you saw how they are ... its hard to tell if they are Fords blessing or Parents Revenge." he laughs. "Always in trouble. Mabel likes climbing ... anything ... trees, buildings, Everest...."

Judith giggles and then breathes into "Hank, we have a lot in common. That's our Penny too. And I suspect my Maisy Mouse will be just the same. She already loves to take off on me every chance she gets."

The H makes Hank inhale a bit shakily. No woman had had this effect on him ... with her voice alone ... like ever. "Ha! I loved Maisy mouse. I sort of look forward to Robbie .. that's the baby ... being old enough to watch with me. He's still very attached to his mother. You know.' he pauses again and takes in a deep breath. "So ... Judith .... about that dinner ... or lunch ...."

Judith smiles "Yes she's Maisy mouse and I'm Gamma Mouse now. It is a sweet show...and the books...oh she loves the books...sometimes she eats the books..."She laughs and looks at her clock. It's still early in the morning "Are you asking me to lunch TODAY? We might be able to make that happen Hank." Is she crazy? Lunch today? Did her own mouth just form those words?

Hank nods. "She's too young to know you can't get Maisy Mouse through osmosis or digestion.' and then he gapes. He really hadn't meant TODAY, but ..... he looks at the clock on his stove and decides he had better take her up on the offer before she changes her mind. "Today works, sure." he smiles. "Where? When? I can leave anytime." meeting her face to face now seems as important as getting the wet stuff on the red stuff.

Judith thinks "I'm in a car co-op but it's not one of my days. But I could catch a ferry as a walk on. Do you want to meet on the 12:30 and just see where the afternoon takes us?" Who was speaking through her? She barely knows this man but she just needs to meet him... today.

Hank smiles. "My car is parked at the Ferry dock, I;ll drive it on and meet you. We'll go someplace .. have lunch .. talk some more. There's ... I want to tell you what happened to me .. but I won't do it on the phone or in an email. SO .... 12:30?"

Judith knows whatever the story is, it's hurts and haunts him somehow and she's honored to be in his confidence "Hank, I appreciate that. I'll see you shortly. You have this number now if for some reason you can't recognize me immediately from my one picture." She gives a little chuckle, knowings she can spot him with a slightly unfair advantage. "Bye for now." Just over an hour later,after way too much deliberation over clothing choices, Judith is on the outside deck of the ferry trying to scan the cars driving in. She's in an over-sized shall style sweater with a pair dark blue jeans and little ankle boots. She has a brightly patterned woven purse slung across her body. Her dyed burgundy hair is blowing in the wind. She can't spot Hank in any of the cars and sighs a little as the ferry pulls away, hoping this wasn't all a waste of her time. She drums her fingers on the railing as she contemplates if she'll speak to him if it is.

Hank smiles. "See you then." he smiles and hangs up, putting his phone on the charger while he changes clothes for no reason he can really figure out. He trades sweats for faded and comfortable blue jeans, and decides on a black Henley shirt with a off-white fisherman's sweater over it. He slides into his AFD jacket, to make it a little easier for her and gets his phone which is at 90%. Then he leaves his house and walks along water to the ferry landing and pulls his car out of its slip and gets in line as the ferry pulls in He drives onto it and parks. Then, taking a deep breath, he gets out of his car, closes the door and, as the ferry pulls out, begins to looks for her.

Judith turns around and faces the ferry, determined to at least give him a one walk around search. He sounded so earnest after all and she liked the voice that delivered it. She walks around the perimeter of the outer deck, trying to look casual about it and then steps in through one of the doors, checking the seating area and the coffee bar. She frowns slightly and then sees him walking towards the outer decks, recognizing his profile. They had passed like ships in their search for each other. With a silent little giggle she hangs back letting him exit and texts the number she has in her call display for him "Stand still you...or we'll be at this hunt all day." Judith gives it a few seconds to let him get the ding or buzz or whatever she has and then sneaks out behind him to be right there if he turns around and looks again after reading, with a very cheeky little grin.

Hank can hardly believe the crowd, but it IS Saturday. He can't find her. Did she change her mind? His phone indicates a text message and he looks at it, his heart sinking, afraid she had changed her mind and not even gotten on. Reading it he smiles and turns around and there she is. Just like her picture. He glances down at her and smiles and then opens his arms, giving her the option if she doesn't want a hug.

Judith is also the hugging type and is delighted by this greeting option. She steps into the hug and very lightly and politely pecks him on the cheek as her face passes his, the cheek with the obvious burn scar even. A second later the side of her head is at the side of his with her arms around his neck as she says in a breathy exhale, just like on the phone "Hi Hank." She gives a little squeeze and then lets him go, not wanting to overdo it, worried the little kiss already might have. She smells lightly flowery, like geranium with a hint of orange, not overpowering but pleasant to breathe in.

Hank smiles as she pecks him on the cheek. An when she speaks his name, he comes close to trying to kiss her .. totally on impulse ... but then she lets him go. He inhales of her scent and smiles. "Coffee?" he offers, touching her elbow and nodding towards the ferry boats coffee shop. "God, this is ... I'm so glad you came. I thought maybe you hadn't."

Judith laughs and nods "I was in the same boat....literally and figuratively. Yes to coffee and I'm glad you're here too." She moves forward from his hand on her elbow but it made her happy when he did it. She couldn't explain how she already felt connected to Hank but she did. They stepped into the coffee line and she asked the coffee question of all coffee questions "So, are you a Tim Horton's man or a Starbuck's man?"

Hank draws back and puts a hand on his chest, mock offended. "Tim Horton's." he replies. "Don't tell me you're a Starbucks gal? Oh ... it will take some getting used to but ... if its just that ONE character flaw .. we can make it work, Judith." he grins as they move up a bit.

Judith smiles at him "Glad you're keeping an open mind. I do kinda have a thing for Starbucks. Although I've enjoyed Tim's more since the dark roast. And they do make better sandwiches." She steps up to the counter. This particular ferry is of no brand affiliation and frowns, not knowing the coffee "Of course when it's neither....." She says to Hank before turning to the clerk and placing her order "Mmmm........ Earl Grey Tea please."

Hank grins and smiles at her order. "Dark chocolate roast." he orders and turns to her. "Tea, eh? A proper Englishwoman?" he teases as he takes out his card to pay for it.

Judith fumbles with her purse zipper, not thinking he's offering to pay for hers too and pulls a 5 out of her wallet for hers "Well it is in my heritage." She admits. Her wallet is literally bursting with pictures of Maisy and Penelope of course.

Hank shakes his head at the barista and gently covers the bill with his hand, covering Judith's as well. "On me, proud Englishwoman." he smiles. "Now come on. Lets go someplace and talk. I have a story to tell you, remember?" telling her that story somehow means a lot to him .. a more complete version than he usually gives people. One involving more of his life with his wife.

Judith smiles wryly "Ok, next round's on me. Thank you." Her enjoyment of the warmth of his hand on hers is not even remotely dulled by the scars she can see and feel. They're just part of Hank so so far he's simply wonderful. She slides her hand out and puts her money away, letting him pay. She zips the purse back up and takes her tea, thanking the barista and head jutting back to the outer deck with many benches and not as many people. If he's inclined to go there, she'll start walking with him to sit on one and listen to his story while she sips her tea.

Hank nods and heads for the benches. He sits with her and looks out at the water. "Alright ... how did I get here ....'" he begins and takes a tentative sip of his coffee. "Ten years ago, I lived in Toronto, working as a fireman. My son was in high school. My wife was ... upset. At first she loved being a fireman's wife, but ... my schedule and the dangers of the job .. she got tired of it by the time Ford was maybe three." he sips his coffee and licks his lips. "Anyway, One day I got that call no fireman wants to get. Ford's school was on fire. I did my job ... searching for kids that were missing. I didn't know it, but Ford was one of them. He and a friend of his got trapped trying to get up onto the roof. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes not, but it stemmed from too many movies with them, I think. I took a man ... went and found them. I took Ford and my partner too his friend. There was a flash." he pauses for another sip of his dark chocolate roast. "Ford and I got it the worst and I got it worse than he did. I He was in the hospital for three weeks and I was in it for two months." he tightens his jaw. "Alone." he pauses and clears his throat and drinks deeply. "When I got out, I came home and slept on the couch. And went back to work. Elizabeth and Ford were furious with me. In the end, I took the job in Alexandra as a compromise, because it was bound to be safer than Toronto. Plus I got a captaincy. More money. I think it saved my relationship with Ford. Well .. not saved .. but ... halted its deterioration." he blew out another breath, but doesn't sip from his coffee. "Elizabeth .. started drinking .. and that's how she died. A car crash. She didn't take anyone with her, thank God. But .. it was still .. rough and in some ways I think Ford blames me for it." he looks in her direction and feels ... lighter. It was a hell of a tale but it was true and it was HIS tale.

Judith listens to Hank's story, the defining of his life and who he is with rapt attention and several obvious gasps or expressions of anguish at the worst parts. After it's all out she reaches for his hand again, the one that had just covered hers and holds it. "I'm so sorry. Do you and Ford have any relationship at all? You seems to be connected with his children......But I can't even imagine surviving a disconnect like that with your own child. Oh Hank...." She lets out a long exhale and searches his face.

Hank holds her hand, glad she hadn't rejected him. "We're speaking again. Wendy .. his wife .. the kids mother .. helped us bridge quite a bit." he smiles as a child about to tell what he got for Christmas. "They came to stay with me for Christmas. All of them.' he grins. "And that is when Mason and his twin sister got their hands on my computer. And I met you." again acting on rare impulse, he lifts her hand to his lips and kisses it.

Judith's concern turns to a touched look when she sees him speak with such love about his family. She giggles when he talks about the kids getting a hold of his computer and then looks pleasantly surprised by his kiss on her hand, tilting her head a bit and watching him. "Well I guess you can thank Connie from my widow's group for convincing me to sign up with her. I was honestly about a week away from deleting my profile and giving up on it before I read your message. I got it before I saw the first ones. It's the only reasonable message I've gotten on that site...and you still seem just as reasonable."

Hank chuckles. "Thank you, Connie." he replies and laughs. "Yes, the ones Mason put up made me sound like Canada's most macho fireman." he grins. "Well, I am a pretty reasonable man. Patient and, I think, kind. I do some volunteer work at the hospitals in White Rock and Vancouver. Helping burn victims someday be able to look at themselves again." he shrugs. "Helping their families learn ... we're not all that different. Just have to find the humor, I guess is the trick." he hasn't let go of her hand. "Henry is a good example of my sense of humor. Or maybe of my crew's sense of humor."

Judith looks impressed by his dedication to helping others who've been though what he has and then asks casually "Henry?"

Hank laughs. "Henry is our mascot. I .. got it in my head to show them the old Emergency television show. Next thing I know ... we have Henry. In the series he was a basset hound." he shrugs and chuckles. "And of course ... Hank is short for Henry."

Judith laughs and without thinking says "Oh yes the beagle!" As soon as it's out of her mouth she looks horrified with herself and then purses her lips and closes her eyes and then contritely says "Ok...confession time......and please don't run screaming away. I may have been in Alexandra...last weekend and I may have looked in your Fire Hall window for you, too shy to say a proper hello then....and there you were, with that adorable beagle laughing and joking with your crew." She winces and closes one eye like she's bracing for a negative response to this."I'm sorry..."

Hank arches his brows when she mentions that Henry was a beagle, not a basset hound. But he doesn't look upset. He adjusts himself, turning more fully towards her watching her look at him with a single eye open, waiting for ... whatever she was waiting for. "Maybe we're even......." he bites his lip nervously. "I saw your bikini picture on Facebook...." he confesses. He leans forward a little bit. "But I am not sorry. And neither should you be."

Judith crumples into laughter, leaning into him and pressing her face into his shoulder "Oh my god you didn't. I keep meaning to untag that one. Erica was horrified.....her old mom scantily clad and smashed on the beach on spring break." She sits back looking at him "Also Aunt Martha was having an extra weird day, but it turns out it was all true, not just her. You didn't bring any tarantulas with you did you?" She teases.

Hank laughs with her. "Oh yes, I did." he confirms. "And you're beautiful. I'd have to push the men back with a fire hose." he chuckles. "Well .. no I did NOT bring any tarantulas with me. Maybe the next date?" he teases back.

Judith blushes at the compliment and smiles sweetly "Thank you. And yes, you should definitely bring one. Do I have to bring one too?" She jokes "They were everywhere in Mexico. I wasn't too freaked out but Connie was terrified of them. Came screaming out of the hotel bathroom right when we got there. Course the guide on the pyramid walk wasn't at all comforting when she asked how deadly the poison is in their venom. "Senora ju will not die...immediately. But if ju get bit at the top ju might, because eet's a long way back down to a hospital." She imitates his side of the conversation "I almost had to piggy back her after that. So I won't be bringing her along if you get a full blown infestation."

Hank seems to be paying attention. "Well if we both have one they might give us ... god knows how many grandspiderlings." he theorizes and then continues. "So, if I want you alone, without Connie, I just need a tarantula? Let me meet her first and we'll see." he grins.

Judith smirks "Well you have me alone right now." She tugs at his jacket pocket pretending to check for spiders "Should I be worried? Grandspiderlings? I think the children are venomous enough."

Hank grins and then snorts as she grabs his jacket. "That's true. Can't have them getting jealous, can we?" he puts his hand over the one holding his jacket. "Judith.' his voice slightly huskier than usual. "I know you just told me you thought I was a reasonable man." he looks up her face and into her eyes. "But .. even though I just met you .. I really want to kiss you." there. It was out of him. With some luck she would slap him in his facial scar where it might not hurt as bad.

Judith bites her lip, her eyes smiling as her cheek go pink. The tone of his voice just ...gets to her. Then she raises a brow and says "Well despite the timing I feel incredibly connected to you. And you have asked reasonably so...."She inhales and exhales in a breathy consent "Yes Hank..." She leans in moving her face towards his, her eyes closing as she waits for contact.

Hank grins a little, then leans in to give her a soft kiss on the lips, making himself slightly dizzy for reasons he cannot fathom. He IS a reasonable man, but this feels like some odd fictional love-at-first-sight bullshit.

Judith feels the softness of the kiss, the warmth of his mouth and breath on her and melts into it, making it a long sweet lingering peck. Her hand moves to his scarred cheek and she caresses it with her thumb, pulling back on the kiss for a moment to look at Hank intensely and then swoop in and kiss him again. She should probably hold back. She should probably behave, but she can't. Everything about it just feels ridiculously right

Hank immensely enjoys the kiss and the touch, and between them can only breathe "Jude ....." before the second kiss, which he deepens. Reasonable .... it felt reasonable but ... he brushing the nagging thought aside and enjoys the kiss.

Judith was about to make herself stop when Hank deepened the kiss. The feeling of his tongue on hers makes her glad they're sitting, because she's weak in the knees now. Her breath quickens and she kisses him back passionately, arms winding around him.

She would forget all time and space to this kiss but she suddenly hears a young voice say "Mrs. Baldwin?" as two teens walk past them. Oh god! One of her shops students is witnessing her making out like a teenager on the ferry.

Judith laughs nervously a bit as she back out of the kiss to see who it is. "Trinity.....hi there. Lovely day...." What the hell do you say in a situation like this?

Trinity is arm in arm with a girl Judith doesn't teach and they've both got the giggles "Sorry to interrupt your date Ma'am. I didn't realize I was talking that loud. Carry on." the two quickly walk away but Trinity can be heard saying "Ohmygod my teacher...and the fire chief!"

Judith clears her throat awkwardly "What were you saying about small towns Hank?"

Hank breaks the kiss at the sound of Judith's name being called. He says nothing, but he DOES pull Judith a little closer. When the teens move away, he looks at Judith with a deadpan expression. "Small towns ... yes .... I will have all 3 shifts and at least one of the police shifts at my door when I come home. Maybe even a commendation from the mayor, if he's in a good mood." he teases and looks at her. "You aren't sorry, are you?" he asks, still holding her. It's all public now. They can't really claim to be nothing but friends now .... it didn't mean they had to get married ... but ...

Judith leans into Hank sideways and grins broadly "Not sorry at all." She gestures to the girls walking away, now both looking at their phones "They'll live, and we'll survive the gossip....and commendations? " She gives a short laugh. "That was VERY nice Hank." She exhales and finds herself blushing again "You are not what I expected in a very good way."

Hank glances after the girls. "Probably putting pictures on Instagram .. is that the one the pictures go on?" he grins at her. "Good. I'm not sorry either." he half closes his eyes when she speaks his name, its almost like a caress all on its own. "You are too, Judith. Not a bit photochopped, which I adore. Incredible personality. I'm starting to think your profile may have been Mabels choice.' he grins cheekily.

Judith laughs again "Yes Instagram. Erica loves it. I ask for pictures of my grandbabies and I get links. I can't frame a link! And thank you Mabel. I feel a little strange about the kids looking at that site though. Some of those profile pictures are....ugh.." She shudders "The body shots......featuring boxers and thongs above the pants line. I sound like a cranky old woman I know...I'd just rather get to know a person before their crotch."

Hank actually had not thought of that, even though the younger women's photographs were ..... "Well I know you can print the pictures out. Paulina ... Jasmine Paulina, our chopper pilot and engineer ... her roommate Sharp .. oh Frank Sharp ... well she's a photographer and ... small town ... is the one who takes all the town employees identification photos, then she print them out and gives them to whoever it is that makes our badges.' he looks concerned. "Yes, I'd leave it to Mason to be perving women's pictures in my name ... the little devil was trying to watch horror movies on Halloween." he smiles at her. "I've seen you in a bikini, but that doesn't count. That's something ..." he actually blushes a little. "Very personal...'

Judith sighs "Oh I know I can print them. I just miss going to the shop and getting a package of pictures. I still do it occasionally myself. Of course then random people in the shop would get my bikini picture and not handsome charming men secretly perusing my Facebook photos. You can friend me now on there." She teases "Since you've already seen the goods." She shudders about the horror movies "Oh I do not like those types of movies at all. A good murder mystery is one thing but if they get too gory, no thank you. But kids go through that phase. Erica did, all the girls and the sleepovers and the slasher films. Oh I would hide in my room with a book. My husband would watch them with her......he was less squeamish." She laughs and then looks unsure if she should be talking about Eric on her first date with Hank.

Hank grins. "AN old fashioned girl. I like that.' he laughs a little. "I'm like Eric, I guess. Love the slasher pics. I promised Mason when his parents let me I'll watch them with him. Especially Nightmare On Elm Street. Just because of the burns.' he had spoken of Elizabeth, so he had no problems with her talking about Eric. He knows her relationship was probably much better than his was .. how could it not be?

Judith shudders again and then laughs "Yes I know who Freddy Kruger is. I saw the video covers. Your burns are nothing like that...well from what I can see." It dawns on her the damage to his body might be more extensive. He was still working though and seemed fully mobile. She dreaded to ask too much before he was ready to tell her....or show her. Judith's face went red as she let herself wonder, just for a second, if everything...worked....she gave herself an inward smack. Not appropriate! Connie would of course be delighted when she shared this thought later and roar with laughter. Judith fought a giggle and then cleared her throat "So just Mason likes the horror films or Mabel too? Did you say they're twins? That would be a handful."

Hank nods. "They did MUCH better with the remake or reboot or whatever, but Robert Englund still did it better." he proclaims. He hears her comment about what she has not seen. "I was very lucky. My scars are on both arms and hands, but my fingers didn't fuse together too much. They fixed that. About half of my chest and my face." he shrugs. "I've seen burn victims far worse off than I am ... noses burned off. Penises, too." he knows she may have thought of that. "I am ... intact .. as they say. Didn't matter to Elizabeth but ... well .. she demanded a vasectomy when Ford was five and ..." he suddenly stops himself. "I'm sorry Judith ... that was just totally inappropriate of me. Forgive me?"

Judith can't help but laugh "It's OK. You're very open. I like that. And I'll confess I did wonder and felt that MY thoughts were inappropriate. I'm glad you still function...I mean for your sake..." she stammers and blushes. "I'm sorry, I'm a little NEW at this..." She giggles and gestures between them "I had a few boyfriends before I met Eric but no one serious and he was...well...that way...he was the only person I completely shared myself with." She looks at him curiously "Did you wish you had more kids after Ford? We only had one child..." She hesitates and then says quietly "But I had three pregnancies. Sometimes it's just not meant to be..." She trails off, looking away.

Hank shrugs. "I .. well.. had to be, after a while." and he nods. "I sort of am also. New to this." he pauses. "That's nice. Elizabeth wan't my first. And I wasn't hers. I wanted a lot of kids ... she ... not after Ford. She said she didn't want to be raising a bunch of kids alone after I got killed. I'm sorry about your lost babies, Judith." he sighs and bites his lip and moves on, also looking away. "I had two affairs, Judith. I confess. One with a dispatcher before the school fire. That ended when this did." he motions to his face, indicating his burns. "She couldn't stand to look at me anymore. And the other after the fire, but before I got the job in Alexandra." he sighs. "That was a real fling. She was one of the nurses I met during the physical therapy for my hands. I think I needed that one just to make me feel I wasn't COMPLETELY unattractive.' he blows out a breath and kills his coffee.

Judith nods, still leaning into him so he's aware she's not horrified by his admissions "It sounds like you and Elizabeth had more challenges than just how she felt about your job? Not that I'm blaming her...but if you felt completely loved...well OK that does sound like I'm blaming her. Maybe that's out of line. I realize you made your choices too and I'm glad you can own them." She chuckles "And you're very attractive. Believe me, I didn't think I'd be kissing you in public on our first date, but I was quite literally compelled."

Hank shakes his head. "No, I'm pretty sure it was the job. She was a fireman groupie. That should have told me everything right there. But after Ford was born, my captain was burned. Worse than me. The fire got into his turnout and...." he shrugs. "Over 90% of his body. I went to see him and Elizabeth came with to show she was supportive, and she HAD liked Charlie, but ... he was a mess and he died the next day. That whole year was bad for firemen in Toronto." he takes her hand. "We both made our choices. I wasn't the only one unfaithful. But she never tried to make me think another mans baby was mine, at least. She stayed for the money and the insurance. She .. made that abundantly clear to me. And I stayed for Ford." he laughs at the compliment. "I understand, believe me." he tells her. "I wanted to kiss you the second I turned around and saw you. What are we? 16? But ... it's a connection. I've read about them but ... wow."

Judith listens patiently and sips the rest of her tea, looking pained about his captain who was so badly hurt and died and then sighs about his marriage "That must have been so hard. I was so lucky and I know it. Hearing your story, and so many of my friends who struggled with terrible marriages and stayed for the kids. And I might have let you kiss me that second too...I was afraid kissing you on the cheek would put you off. I can't explain if Hank. The second I heard your voice on the phone I needed to see you in person." She hears the little announcement come over the PA about the Tsawwassen terminal "Oh.....we're here. THAT flew by like a blink!"

Hank nods. "It was, but I dealt with it in therapy." he grins and nods again. "I ABSOLUTELY understand that." he resists voicing that he hopes maybe she can be lucky a second time. How could he even hope to compete with her late husband? But he also knew he shouldn't have to. He grins at the announcement. "Lets get in my car and I'll kiss you there for the kids before we drive off." he stands and offers her his hand to hold on the way back to his very utilitarian four door sedan.

Judith takes his hand "Well when you put it like THAT..." she teases and follows him, getting in the passenger door and then looking at him once he's seated like she's ready to kiss him again for as long as it takes the ferry to dock. "Hank..." She says breathily, tugging him to her by the collar of his jacket "You make me want to misbehave." She exhales just before her lips are on his, not even waiting for his response yet before she's kissing him deeply.

Hank gets in behind the wheel and can't say a word before she is kissing him and he is kissing her back. Then nothing matters ... until the horns start because he is blocking traffic. "OOPS ..." he says looking around as if he isn't sure where he is. "Judith you keep saying my name like you do and I'll be revisiting my teens again." he laughs and drives off the ferry. "Where did you want to eat?" he wonders. "I almost took a job here in Tsawwassen." he admits. "But I can barely pronounce it, never mind SPELL it."

Judith settles back into her spot with a clap and a laugh "Yes, I haven't lost it!" She jokes and then agrees about Tsawwassen "Oh god I know right? Sometimes I think the First Nations just made hard names to screw with the Europeans as a tiny payback. "You want this land? First you have to spell it in your language!" I'm sorry, that's more than slightly horrible..." She laughs at herself and then says "Do you like sushi? Neither of our islands have it...."

Hank laughs at her about not having lost it and silently hopes he might at some point get a little elaboration on that. "Only slightly horrible and completely true, probably." he chuckles and nods. "Sure .. I don't get it much. Don't get off the island much ...' he glances over at her. "Or didn't before." he is hoping to get off Alexandra a bit more often ... or to be visited more often. "We have a nice seafood restaurant, but they don't do sushi.'

Judith just nods and grins at him and says "Ok take this next exit to the right. There are a few places in Steveston that are very worth trying. Do you watch TV at all? There's a famous show this town is a setting for called Once upon a Time. It was an adorable place before that, a little like the place to the south, Cedar Point, bit slightly bigger so more restaurants."

Hank follows the directions and turns. "I watch some. Cooking shows, mostly for ideas. You'' have to share that show with me." he nods. "Ford lives in Cedar Point and I REALLY have to get there more often."

Judith smiles "I will. And Cedar Point is lovely. I do love their Sakura Sushi and there's this tiny little fish stand...just one guy but his halibut...Oh my god...A left at the lights and then a right at the four way stop in the next block after. Clearly I'm all about the fish..." She says laughing.

Hank grins, following directions. "I love seafood too. Maybe we can go together. Check out this halibut king." he grins.

"Oh his name is Yuki and he's a character. Hilarious. You'd have fun talking to him. OK so now, we park...either street or lot....because we're walking distance from the place I'm thinking of......oh look the minivan ahead is leaving on the right....sorry, backseat driver." She purses her lips and lets him decide where he'd like to park.

Hank nods and looks for a place, and he spots it just as Judith does. "I see it, dear. We can worry about the back seat later." he teases as he slides into the parking spot. Parking the car he turns to look at her with a grin. "We make a pretty good parking team." he leans over and kisses her quickly. "Lead me where you'd like."

Judith kisses him back and blushes and then blinks "Yes we do. Sorry, you're talking about food....just up the street." She clears her throat and undoes her belt and then gets out and slings her purse back across her body before waiting to take his hand on the sidewalk and walk.It's a short walk to a very authentic Japanese building design. Inside the front doors is a little indoor pond with floating candles and little tiny chimes that go off every once and awhile with a tinkle. A middle aged woman approaches them in a Kimono and bows, holding menus and a teapot "Table for two?" Judith has to laugh at the irony, considering where they met "Yes please." She squeezes Hank's hand as they're led to a very private table in a little alcove. The hostess pours them green teas as they're seated and Judith thanks her and then look across at Hank.

Hank grins and waits till he is out of the car and holding her hand. "Food now .... but after that I think you could lead me anywhere." the restaurant is totally charming and completely new to him. He chuckles at the hostesses wording, although he knows she can't possibly know the irony. He sits and looks across the table at Judith, then finds his hand creeping across the table searching for hers.

Judith sweetly slides her hand back into Hank's. His skin, burns included already feel familiar to her after just a day and she can't understand it yet. She muses over it "You know I've never felt an instant connection like this before, not even Eric. It's interesting. Wonderful and interesting."

Hank nods. "I know. I feel it too.' he admits. The feel of her hand in his is right ... just right. "Elizabeth took .. much longer than this. I'll have to adjust ..." he squirms in his seat. "There ... adjusted.' he winks at her. "It's not loneliness ... I'm not lonely. Not with Josh downstairs and the kids at the station. And Henry, of course. But no one ... resonated with me like you do. At least tell me you can stink up a bathroom, or will organize my ties by color or ... something."

Judith listens to him and then blushes at the adjustment joke and gives a little eyebrow wiggle "Why thank you Sir." She nods, conceding his points "I was positively rude to Eric the day we met. He was interrupting my work and asking me what seemed like stupid questions. Poor Eric, then we started talking plants and I became a nicer person." She laughs "Oh but he had to work for it. I had no idea." She sighs and then says "Well you've seen a glimpse of my backseat driving problem...and yes I'm human Hank. My shit stinks too." She jokes "And I procrastinate horribly. There are closets in my home that should NEVER be opened, piles of paper only I know the order of and the known universe WILL in fact collapse if they're moved or reordered. I'm always cold and I'm told I whine about it. I'm sure I'll come up with more or you'll just see them." She smiles and opens the menu now, glancing at it slightly but not ignoring him.

Hank breathes a sigh of relief. "I feel much better knowing your shit stinks too." he grins. "I'm no procrastinator, except for meetings with our mayor who is the quintessential piece of work. Other than that I get it out of the way. So maybe we can even each other out." he considers. "Well, I'm a fireman ... I think I can figure out how to keep you warm, although occupational hazard might just cause me to douse your flame." he takes the menu and studies it. "And .... I am bad if you give me too many options ...." he blows out a breath. "Suggestions? As long as its dead and I don't have to chase it around the room, I'll try anything once."

Judith smiles and points to some things with her free hand. She has nice hands but her nails are short and unpolished so she can cook freely and not have polish chipping off or worry about it. Judith is VERY decisive about food but will be patient with Hank "Let's get a selection and share. There should be something with spice. Do you like tuna or salmon? And definitely an avocado to cool off...douse the flame as you say. Something with batter because it's just about soft shelled crab.....oh and there's some sort of special on the front insert here....Red snapper with a mango sauce...and green onions....oh yes please. We should eat that after the spicy for our pallets to balance....."

Hank nods. "It all sounds incredible. Congratulations, you have just become the one who orders in this relationship." he squeezes his hand. "I freak out if a company goes out of business and I can't recognize their product on the shelves anymore." he laughs at himself.

Judith giggles at him "Challenge accepted. Oh dear....that bad eh? Well I'll help you through those." A waitress appears and Judith easily and comfortably orders and thanks her. She picks up her tea and sips and then asks "So before you joined the Table for Two...were there any ladies in your life...or dates gone wrong?"

Hank grins. He kind of likes being taken by the hand in the way she proposes because no one really ever has for him before. He watches her give the order as he sips his own tea. "Ladies yes. A couple I had dinner with and took home ... and LEFT home. Others I quickly identified ad groupies, so they were out of the pool pretty fast." he snorts. "Three things always get in the way. My scars, my refusal to retire and my schedule." he shrugs. "I get usual one day on the weekends off, two is a little more rare ... that and my work day is 24 hours. A lot of women don't like that." he considers. "And you?"

Judith considers everything he's saying and then answers "Well no ladies...because I like men." She jokes "There was a coworker I went for dinner with once or twice but I just wasn't feeling it. Sadly he was, so that's still mildly awkward sometimes. I should have known better than to date a colleague. I'm not going to count any of the gross men on Table for Two who sent me pornographic messages and dick pics. Two of them I reported and they got deleted." she laughs "Dating in the modern age...yikes. And then you. And for the record, I'm fine with the scars. I'm flexible with scheduling...might be easier when I have holidays too...perks of being a teacher and I definitely have no plans to retire either. What would I DO all day? And what do you mean by groupies? I mean I know there are jokes about firemen and the whole calendar thing you mean like that? Don't get me wrong i admire your work and service to the community but I would be attracted to you solely for that...."

Hank laughs. "That's helpful. I hate to think you are confusing me even for a mannish woman." he grins. "Well ... I didn't look at the men, but the women ... oh boy!' he nods. "Exactly. What would I do?" he pauses. "Well a fireman groupie finds fireman sexy, I guess. The uniform, the perceived danger of the job and our supposed bravery. So yea .. the calendar thing too. The reality can be very different." he smiles. "I hope you'd be attracted to me for other reasons too. I love what I do ... I'm also the towns arson inspector. Its fascinating, in a morbid kind of way."

Judith nods thoughtfully "That would be interesting. What kind of cases have intrigued you from inspections? And god...teachers don't get groupies...just angry parents and mouthy kids...." She laughs.

Hank considers. "Well one was at Town Hall. Someone angry with our mayor. He was fine and damn near caught the perp with his bare hands, and he was in his 70's at the time." he snorts, then gets serious. "There have been four suspicious fires at the Olin hotel in my years on Alexandra." he muses. "Apparently its a regular thing there.' he bites his bottom lip. "Your a teacher. A pretty logical woman so ...." he hesitates.

Judith leans on her hand looking at him curiously "So?" she clearly wants to hear the rest of that thought.

Hank looks at her. "The fires are almost always isolated in rooms 4 and 9." he says. "Of all the rooms in that hotel, I guess those are the two that suffer the most damage and crimes. I thought that was crazy when I first heard of it but ... in three of the four fires in that building there has been a death."

Judith looks truly fascinated "Hmmm......that's interesting. Yes I'm logical but I love a mystery too." It dawns on her to ask "Are you...superstitious? Religious? In any cults I should be concerned about?"

"Alexandra is a mystery, that's for sure." Hank chuckles. "Well, I was raised Catholic, but I got over that fast enough." he shakes his head. "Not usually I'm not but ... Alexandra is an interesting place to live. My brain tells me its illogical, but in October ... I don't want anyone I care about in the island. And I NEVER want anyone to stay at the Olin."

Judith laughs "Funny I've been there in October and only heard the warnings THIS year. But the Olin looked a little seedy to me so I never considered it. I sometimes stay with Martha but when she's really rambling I check into the Mariner's to get some peace and quiet. It was that bar, just down from it, that oddly has no wine.....Statutes" She laughs "Where I first heard about the Olin and the strange things. Oh and some guy assaulting women....did they catch him? I've been walking faster at night there since I heard about that one."

Hank grins. "That;s the bar I was talking about. Peter O'Brian's place. He's a sort of short stocky redhead? Looks like a fireman stereotype but is actually a cop stereotype" he laughs. "Yea. Peter isn't a wine man so ... he won't serve it. He says the restaurants can have it." he looks at her. "That might make you see Addison's potential problems a bit. But Petey doesn't drink his own stock. That's not his problem." he pauses. "Well, there's a warrant out on him, and I do believe he's left the island." he reports what he knows. Then he sighs. "Basically abandoned his son, but ... that might not be the worst thing the man could have done to the boy." his eyes narrow and darken in apparently anger.

Judith has a look of dawning "Oh that's right Addison's father. We did talk about that...and there was some other younger man...well a young father....with strange ears. I didn't really know what to say...." She looks upset about the horrible man and his son "I hate those stories. We see it sometimes as teachers and those are the worst people. Who could ever hurt or abandon their OWN child? There's a special place in hell for that..." Shaking her head around she changes the subject and says "Where do you live on the island?"

Just then the food arrives and it's glorious. The waitress goes through the rolls and points them out and then refills their teas. Judith thanks her, graciously pours soy sauce into both her and Hank's little dishes for it and then picks up chopsticks like a pro and takes some wasabi off the board, followed by a piece of the crab tempura roll.

Hank nods. "I met the kid before ... well both him AND the father and ... No excuses but I think it was a shotgun wedding when he got the boys mother pregnant." he sighs and nods. "You know where the pharmacy is, right? I live behind it ... on a two level apartment houseboat me and Josh Green refurbished like a year after I came to the island. By the time we finished it, I was widowed and he was divorced so ..." the sushi comes and he smiles at the presentation, places his chopsticks in an approximate imitation of hers, grips a piece of tuna roll. "We wound up living on our money maker together." and accidentally launches it like a bullet at Judith. "Ho Jesus Christ! I'm sorry Judith." he looks mortified as his ignorance in chopsticks is laid bare.

Judith beams "I've seen your boat! I was scoping out the playground for the girls...and I've picked up prescriptions for Martha." She's about to ask about his roommate when a tuna roll comes flying towards her. She catches it with her non chopstick hand and laughs "20 points Chief Hank, 20 points....and I'm going to eat this one." She leans towards him and sweetly asks "Do you want a chopstick lesson or for me to just tell you I don't mind at all if you use your hands?" She feels her face go hot suddenly at her choice of words "On the....sushi." She qualifies. Judith hears a little voice in her head say she wouldn't mind in other ways either but tries to ignore that voice.

Hank laughs as she doesn't freak out that he tries to take her out with a sushi. Then she leans over, speaks to him and, even after her qualifier his mouth opens and closes like the very same fish he tossed and she caught. "I .... uh ... yes .. please...." he replies meekly. "I guess that is something you just cant bullshit your way through, eh?" he blushes. So ... you've .. seen my boat? I'm on the top." he isn't thinking ... he is trying but its not really happening.

Judith gets the giggles now "Just how I like it...yep traditional......all the right angles......and warm.....You know I'm just going to have to get blunt with you if you keep doing that." She clears her throat now and holds up the chopsticks to show the position in her hand "Almost like holding a pencil....but then snap snap..." She opens and closes them in her fingers and then demonstrates by picking up a piece from her plate and putting it in her mouth.

Hank blushes but replies. "Yes ma'am. You tell me what to do and I will do it ... even with chopsticks." he copies her movement, looking like he is taking a PHD exam. Then he slowly tries but drops it. Then he tries again and succeeds. "I hate to sound like a racist, but this is why Asians are thin ... hmm ... except sumo wrestlers .... how does that work." he tries again and doesn't launch anything.

Judith looks like she's amused the idea of telling Hank what to do. She laughs awkwardly at his joke with a little wince and then puts a finger over her mouth "'ve got it now. You won't have to starve or wrestle anyone." She looks at him and sighs "I haven't had this much fun in far too long Hank. Thank you."

Hank carefully moves another morsel into his mouth and, after chewing and swallowing, looks across the table at her and chuckles. "Me too, to be honest. I never thought I'd have to learn to eat a THIRD time in my life.' he grins. "Good thing I know a kick ass teacher. Congratulations. It's a groupie!' and he winks at her.

Judith laughs "Oh finally! I thought I might have to go back to being a chef to get groupies. So how does the groupie thing work? I just get to tell you what to do?" She jokes. and then she looks compassionate about the learning to eat again "That must have been really hard...the rehabilitation."

Hank laughs. "Let me see .. when I had groupies ... I should hang around you all the time ... and of course throw myself at you sexually.' he winks and then sits back, eating another morsel. "My face and chest ... that was nothing. I really just had to get used to it. I loved your kiss, because I don't have as much feeling there but your the only one to ever kiss me there. Most people avoid it like its not there." that was a pleasant surprise for him. he sighs and goes for another morsel, working his way around the table. "But my hands .... three fingers on my left hand and four on my right fused together." he sets the chopsticks down and presses the index, middle and ring finger of his left hand together and then does a sort of live long and prosper motion with his right hand ... index and middle finger on one side and ring and pinky fused. "They HAD to separate the ones on my left hand because my wedding ring was trapped. And I guess Elizabeth or someone told them to do my right. I was out for the count for DAYS." he picks up the chopsticks again. But it saved my career. I had to learn to use my hands again. Not a lot of nerve damage so much as ... scar tissue .. is very thick. I can still feel when a door is hot .. that was the .. acid test I guess you'd say."

Judith smiles and blushes at the groupie description "That sounds doable. Pun absolutely intended. Sorry, getting way too comfortable with you now I can see...and no wine even......" She listens again as he talks about the rehab and then just exhales into "Holy shit..." looking at his hands and thinking about all he's gone through. "I feel bad for making you use chopsticks now but you're obviously a natural."

Hank looks at her and shakes his head. "No ... don't ever feel bad for teaching me anything." he is more serious than not. "And I am concentrating because I don't want to make you dodge food anymore." he chuckles. But back to me being uncomfortable...' he drinks his tea and clears his throat and might surprise her with a damn good singing voice. "Well I'm gonna spread the news. That if it feels this good being used. Ya just keep on using me." his eyes connect with hers. "Until you use me up."

Judith looks completely taken aback by the singing and then comments when Hank is done "And HE sings! Sometimes you have to make comfort with the discomfort right?" she grins "It's how we got here." she takes a piece of the sweet red snapper right after she's finished a spicy tuna piece and motions for Hank to do the same. As she eats the snapper she closes her eyes looking totally blissed out "That was a good pairing.....mmmm..."

Hank sees her look and sighs. "I'm sorry. I have a .. very low .. sensitivity meter. I want you to just out with it is all. Just .. please .. don't ever coddle me .. unless I'm sick .. then just hit me in the heat and force the medicine down my throat." he nods. "And he sings and yea. I don't do very uncomfortable anymore .. not after what I've been through." he follows her example and he also closes his eyes. "All hail my food teacher." he moans, happily. He is still using the chopsticks very slowly .. still getting confident with them.

Judith tilts her head and smiles at him "Good to know I'm dating an adult. I don't coddle adults. I am an affectionate person though, which you've already figured out and frightfully good at caring for the sick...." She thinks about how to word it "By comfort with discomfort, I meant more mentally and emotionally. Signing up for a dating sight was UNCOMFORTABLE. It exposed all my insecurities to me as I filled in that stupid profile. But now I'm glad I did. Does that make sense? And I'm clearly not filtering myself with you at all anymore so I'm getting VERY comfortable."

Hank looks over at her with another mouthful, chewing. He nods, obviously understanding, as he had to REfill out the same profile. Inhaling and exhaling he winds up saying. "God .... I am not 16 ... why do I want to keep kissing you ... besides your fantastic at it and more attractive to me than any woman I've ever know. What the fuck? No offence."

Judith almost chokes on her bites at his words, blushing madly "How could I possibly be offended by that? I feel the same way about you Hank Stanley." She reaches out and squeezes his hand and then looks down at the sushi board "We're almost though this obstacle to our continual kissing needs. Sustenance...the inconvenience of it all." She takes another bite and looks at him, like she's trying to work out how to say something else.

Hank looks at the nearly finished plate. Had they eaten it all ... and he had missed it. Then he looks up at her with his clam, plain, rational blue eyes. "Dessert?" he almost whispers. Oh .. now here's the shy as a blushing groom stage, Henry?

Judith blows out a big breath and bites her lip looking at him "Let me come back to that topic...remember I was getting the next round? So I'm going to go deal with the bill and use the ladies. Don't run off..." She teases as she grabs her purse. Now her nerves kick in as she stands up. He was very in her head with his teasing little question. Dessert? Yes please!! Here and now...on the table...Oh dear lord Hank Stanley.... She composes herself as she walks to pay and is flawless with that and then pulls out her phone in the bathroom and looks up Connie's contact and dials. She needed dating advice and NOW...before her hormones made the choices for her.

Hank smiles and nods. "I won't." he promises and sits back, his heart beating like a 10 alarm klaxon.

Constance Reader is at a coffee house, watching the people pass by on the street. The ringtone she has reserved for Judith goes off and she pulls her phone from her purse. "If you haven't called him yet, I'm hanging up on you." her voice is a smidge nasal and she always teases that the Jewish heritage in her comes out in her voice.

Judith walks into one of the stalls an locks herself in and proceeds to have a complete panic attack on her unsuspecting friend "I called....we're out. We've kissed. He's god damned amazing. Connie I want to have sex with right now. Is that a terrible idea? I mean maybe not RIGHT now because we're in a sushi restaurant in Steveston but you know...within the hour would be lovely. He should be naked in no less than 45 minutes actually. What's the protocol here? What about condoms? Oh my god Connie...I've NEVER even bought condoms in my life.........should HE have condoms? I'm losing my mind. He's so wonderful I want to cry......"

Connie arches her brows as she listens, and just to mess with her friend, she asks, calm as you please and as if she hadn't heard a single word. "Are you in a public bathroom locked in a stall??" she makes herself sound as amazed as she is. "Because yes, that's completely soundproofed, Judith." then she stops teasing "Sounds like you need half an hour. Where are you? Can you go back to his place? Your place?" she taps at her table. "Condoms? Is he that big a slut like those little boys I love to play with? Never mind .. he probably has them. That expiration date shit is just that." she smiles to herself. "Sounds like you might want to get married before you look for a hotel. I know a nice rabbi could hook you right up."

Judith immediately starts defending herself "No....I..." she sighs "Yes, I'm in a public bathroom locked in a stall. And I know this is ridiculous. I suspect we can make it to my place without me getting us arrested for indecent exposure. And no I don't want to get married....didn't you sleep with that rabbi?" She teases "Maybe I'm just having a hot flash. I just needed some moral support....OK...I can do this...I can have this conversation. God Eric made this all so easy...he just took care of these details and let me be completely ignorant....Hank is probably wondering why I'm taking so long...."

Connie smiles. "I did , but that's not what we're talking about." she replies. "You need to shutup your fireman and you need to do it NOW. And I am going to help you, since I have a date tonight and don't expect to be home before Tuesday." she smiles. "The answer to your problem is on your keyring. My apartment, if your panicked brain can't figure it out. Has a lovely view, not that you should be looking at the view when you have a nice big goy to shutup. It's on the coast not 10 minutes from Stevenson." she pauses. "Why are you and I still connected?" She laughs as if by now she should be in the car.

Judith gasps "Are you sure? Where do you keep your clean sheets? I'll put the the others in to launder.."

Connie laughs again. She doesn't have a sexually repressed bone in her body, not to be confused with her sister in New York. "The clean sheets are in the hall closet, where the washing machine is. You can also use the guest bedroom, if you want. My nephew uses that one sometimes when he's been clubbing." she pauses. "But maybe you SHOULD go back to your little island. I can see the headlines now." she is talking with her hand as if Judith is at the table with her. "Sexy Chef Bones Hot Fire Chief." she hums. "That could make your students cringe."

Judith almost trips and falls into the toilet "Oh fuck off! I'm doing it on ALL your sheets now... provided he says yes. Jesus I've just gotten my hopes really high... wish me luck. I suppose if he rejects me I can just come drink that bottle of tequila you're still saving....I really should go...and just in case.....I really should pee...I'll talk to you on Wednesday and thank you Connie." She disconnects and uses the toilet as fast as she can and then washes up and heads back to Hank looking apprehensive.

Connie simply laughs until she realizes the connection has been cut. Then she sends a text message. "Lube and condoms is in the bedside cabinet. Viagra is in the bathroom cabinet. Snacks in the fridge. MAZEL TOV!" and goes back to her coffee.

Hank checks his watch and wonders if she has decided to take a bird bath, reapply her make up and change clothes she's been gone so long. But finally she returns looking just as she had, but now nervous on top of it. He watches her with slightly raised eyebrows, clearly curious.

Judith opens her mouth to speak and then gets Connie's text and politely says "Pardon me." And reads it and blushes more than she has in the entire date. Afterward she exhales "Come on let's go to the car....I need to ask you something.." It's clear she does not want to ask it here.

Hank sees the blush and is very curious about it. "Sure ...." he stands and takes her hand. As they walk, he keeps contact. "It's been an incredible day and its not even 3pm." he smiles. In the best ways it feels hes been with her 3 years.

Judith holds his hand and all she can manage to reply with is "Yes..." She squeezes his hand and then lets go at the car, feeling a total pit in her gut as she waits for him to unlock it.

Hank goes around to her car door and opens it for her. Once she is inside, he moves around the car to get in behind the wheel. He puts the keys in the ignition, but doesn't start the engine. "Judith ... is ... everything alright?" despite is touch exterior, he begins to back through the afternoon looking for how he may have alienated her.

Judith sighs and settles into her seat "I'm sorry I'm just nervous. You asked me not to coddle you and just say things straight up so I'm just going to take a risk and say it. I had an epiphany when you said the word dessert and then a panic attack in the bathroom... but I called Connie and she was very helpful. Ok clearly my just saying it is... Hank, I want to go to bed with you. Our homes are hours away in small gossiping towns. Connie's away until Tuesday and just offered us her apartment. It's 10 minutes away... you can tell me if this is all too much too fast..." She closes her eyes like she's afraid to watch him answer her.

Hank listens to her, but by the time she closes her eyes she cannot see him smiling. "Just let me stop at the drugstore first, please." he looks at her. "I want the same thing and sent off a couple of text messages of my own ...." he admits.

Judith relaxes visibly and smiles at him "Yes of course. I'm sorry I'm so nervous."

Hank chuckles to himself as he starts the engine. "So am I ...:" he admits, reversing out of the parking slot. "It's .... well Judith ... its been a while ...." he pulls into traffic and at the next corner he pulls into a drugstore parking lot and parks taking a deep breath. "Alright ... you stay here .. don't move ... I'm going in and I'm coming out and .. it'll be .. done." he nods like a nervous teen about to go on a shoplifting heist.

Judith feels immense relief that he's just taking care of it but also a bit embarrassed. Connie was so fearless. She could barely even ask the question. She watched him go in and sank down in the seat a bit.

Hank gathers his strength and walks in the the violently brightly lit store. It seems like the pharmacy part is somewhere in Niagara Falls and he's walking. But 6 months .. or 30 seconds . one of those .. is all it takes. He pulls out his phone, loitering near the thirty-something pharmacist and sends a text message to Caito. A couple of minutes later, he sees the pharmacist check his phone, glance at Hank and then go back into the back. A moment later he comes back out and goes to the cash register. "Mr. Stanley? That will be 130.99." Hank nods and considers, then moves to the left and the ATM within the pharmacy, taking out his daily limit. He pays in cash, gets his plain white bag with receipt and heads back to the car. He gets in, putting the bag between he and Judith. He blows out a breath and sends a simple message of thanks, then leans back with a chuckle. "Alright ..... where to now, m'lady?"

Judith smiles but then looks confused by the size of the bag "Um many boxes of condoms did you buy? I do... work tomorrow..." She teases.

Hank looks at her for a moment and then laughs, almost relieved. "I forgot to buy condoms. Christ I am an idiot." he sighs. "May as well look in the bag, Judith. One of my crew suggested I do this .. on his account ... I swear my boys at least are just ... ugh ... Anyway he says he does this with girls he thinks he will be with more than once so he doesn't have to use a condom and I am rambling and please don't be angry or insulted please."

Judith looks baffled but not offended "Look if you're into something weird I might disappoint you...but Connie does have condoms and lube if we want.." She pulls out the box and holds it in her lap, looking at it "Oh.." It's an HIV test kit.

Hank gives her a look that is amazed. "I did NOT buy the last pair of pink lined handcuffs, no ...." then she opens the bag and he sort of shrugs. "Call it the EMT in me. I figured we could take HIV tests and if we're both negative we can consider not using .. um .. Connie's condoms ..." he doesn't say not having sex at all. He knows how to have safe sex with someone with HIV, even if he never has.

Judith runs her hands over the box and says "You know I've never done this test...Eric was my only sexual partner but he had blood transfusions after the chemo... it honestly never crossed my mind until now. But I should chip in. How much was this kit Hank?" She looks worried now that it might reveal something damning about her.

Hank takes his hand away from the keys in the ignition and moves it to Judith's face. "I had a physical two years ago and my doctor damn near drained me like a vampire to screen for everything known to man, so I know I am clean. I bought the double kit for both of is. He cups her chin and strokes her cheek with his thumb. I've had four lovers in my life. The high school sweetheart I didn't marry. My wife and the two women I had affairs with. You will be number 5, Judith." he leans over and kisses her softly. "I like you and i want you. If you test positive, we'll talk about it and I'll be your buddy and your support and then when you're ready, well have safe sex." he looks at her intently his calm blue eyes boring into her. "But if you test NEGATIVE...." he smiles. "But nope. No chipping in. I bought coffee. You bought dinner. I buy the HIV test. It's our arrangement." he hopes he is comforting her. He isn't afraid, although he doesn't know why.

Judith leans into the hand on her face and responds to Hank's kiss before saying "I'm probably worrying for nothing. I know they screen blood donors....I just know there have been scares too. And it was in the era where Eric and I weren't able to very often so the risk is low....then he just couldn't at all. I think he was more upset than I was. He wanted the intimacy...I just wanted him well again. Neither of us got our way." She sighs "I like you and I want you too...let's see how this goes." She takes out her phone "I'll just put it into google maps and let it navigate us." She sets it up and it's a short drive to Connie's. They're in the suite in no time looking out at the ocean, Judith still holding the test box like a security blanket and looking a little scared.

Hank agrees and drives to the apartment. The view is absolutely stunning. He turns to her and takes the box out of her hand, moving it to the counter and opening it .. setting up the test. He reads the instructions. "Pretty simple. We swab and in 20 minutes we know.' he moves to her and pulls him to her by the hips. "Do you want to swab each other?" he makes it sound like something intimate they can do together.

Judith looks a little hesitant "What are we swabbing exactly?" She lets herself be pulled though and slides her arms around his neck.

Hank chuckles. "It's a cheek swab." he nods to a small gym bag; the kit he always had in his car. "I have gloves .. the whole 9 ... a real romantic. That's me." he jokes.

Judith grins "Alright Mr. Medical Romance. I'll play Doctor with you..." She's trying to get back into or stay in the spirit of why they're there despite her concerns "Do you want me to wear the paper gown that's drafty on the backside?" She jokes and then confesses "I've been a little lax on my own medical stuff since Eric died....just didn't want anything to do with clinics or hospitals anymore.I should probably find a regular doctor again though. I've pretty much been coasting through menopause with the internet as my guide....." She chuckles.

Hank chuckles. "Now which of us is kinky?" he jokes with her. "You should. I agree." he opens one of the swabs that is at her side. "Open wide." and if she does he will swipe, and prepare her test and set it well on her side of the counter. Then he hands her his test. "Swab here, like I did." and he bends at the knees to move his mouth to a move accessible position. Not his most romantic date but there is something about it that tells him it may be his most important date.

Judith winks and then complies, opening her mouth and making a slightly discomforted face at the process. She carefully does his and then watches the tests like a watched pot "How long?" She sets the timer on her phone. "I know I've been a freak about this and I really appreciate your level of calm Hank."

Taking her hand, Hank pulls her away from the tests and to the window where they can watch the ocean. Taking out his own phone he sets some nice music including the song he'd sung a little or over dinner. "Now ... twenty minutes set and counting." he pulls her close and side by side sways with her a bit. "You haven't been a freak and I am glad my professional calm can help." he kisses her forehead. "Someday it may aggravate you when you think I should be jumping up and down and I am standing slouched with my hands in my pockets."

Judith giggles and turns to face him in his arms " it. Hopefully not understated in EVERY scenario." She jokes and then sways with him, casually and spontaneously sort of moving them towards slow dancing. "Do you do the old fashioned hand grasp and leading thing when you dance or the hug and sway like the kids these days?" She asks curiously.

Hank chuckles. "No ... I do NOT fuck like a coma patient." he winks at her, answering her bluntly. "If you want to dance, dance we can do that too. You lead and I will follow." he offers.

Judith mock gasps at his bluntness and then smiles "That's a relief. You're remarkably agreeable Hank. I'm not complaining...but we can share the decision making. I won't make you order sushi or try new brands of toothpaste at random...I promise..." She takes his hand and raising it up with hers for a more traditional dance. She looks him in the eyes and sways, turning slightly, a little fumbling like she's not at all used to leading but trying it anyway.

Hank lifts his hand, but as he notices that she is fumbling, he very firmly begins to lead them in their dance. "I'm sorry.' he chuckles. "I give orders every 3 days. No one says no to me unless that really is the answer. In some situations .. I outrank everyone on that island, INCLUDING the mayor." he shrugs. He's the fire chief. "So sometimes I just let other people do the leading." he looks down at her as he leads her across the living room. "So if you want we can do it 50/50 or you can say things like Hank make the salad, Hank change the light bulb, or even Hank make love to me. I'll do them all happily."

Judith looks more comfortable with him leading and smiles "I will definitely be saying all those things..." She replies back with a blush "And you're a good dancer. I get it though. I've never wanted to offer classes for anything outside the ones I get done being in a role and need to take it off at the door."

Hank is firmly in control now and realizes she'd be more comfortable if he stayed there, so he does. "Yes. I'm the fire chief so ... technically I am always on duty, just like the police chief." he caresses her face. "Is that going to be a problem, Judith?" he is getting more comfortable with her by the second.

Judith leans into his hand and kisses at it "No. I knew what I was getting into when I suggested we meet. Course I didn't know we'd be HERE, unexpected bonus...or I hope so..." She peers around him at the tests like she's getting impatient.

Hank turns them and Judith's head and eyes around so she is looking at the window again. "Good." he smiles. "We are where we are and I am VERY happy we are together." he grins. "But I get two days in a row technically off. So you have a handyman or whatever if you need one." he knows the timer is still going and its probably worse for her than wondering if she might be pregnant at her age.

Judith knows what he's doing and concedes and then beams "Handyman hey? Have you seen my ramshackle house? You may regret that offer. It was a fixer upper but we never fixer uppered." She jokes. "Will you wear a tool belt and butt crack jeans...or just the tool belt....I'm not fussy..."

Hank chuckles. "I'll let you decide once you see my ass." he teases. "But I might do some of that aggravating stuff .. if those piles of paper are like you told me they were ... we might have to talk organization so its not a fire hazard ..." he kisses her forehead. "Occupational hazard." he reminds her.

Judith closes her eyes at the forehead kiss and smiles "I'm not like a hoarder, just a few piles...none blocking exits so far Inspector..." He's glad they're not at her place now. Her bedroom is a tornado of clothes from her decision woes before meeting him, 6 dresses, many skirts and tops at least 4 matching bra and panty sets. Judith had a slight addiction to lingerie, whether anyone else might see it or not. Her mother always said to wear nice underwear in case you get into an accident after all.

Hank laughs softly. "We'll see." he teases, but his voice and its tone suggests that, no matter the results of the test, he will see that with his own eyes. Then the alarm on her phone goes off. He stops danging and looks over at the counter, still holding her.

Judith stays in his arms but looks like she might literally climb him to look if he doesn't let her see it "Well?"

Hank looks at the tests from his superior height and walks with her even closer. "Mine is negative ...." he lets his eyes move along the counter to hers. "Yours is negative." only then does he let go of her hand half suspecting her to snatch hers up and look at the results for herself. He smiles. "Congratulations ... you're fine."

Judith does and gasps and then sets it down and runs back to Hank, hugging him tightly. She pulls back from the hug a bit so her mouth is at his ear and says breathily "Hank....make love to me...."

Hank smiles, always glad to bring good news, an in this case, even happier. "Yes, ma'am." he rumbles and leans down, kissing her deeply and slowly.

*****WARNING*****The rest of this blog post contains graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Judith loses herself in the kiss. Her hands running up and down his back and into the back of his hair. She presses her body against his, still in her big bulky sweater from outside. Her hands move back down his back and she unabashedly grabs his ass, pulling him even tighter to her with a little "Mmmmm."

Hank can feel her hands on him moving up his back and into his hair. Then she pulls him to her by grabbing his ass and he chuckles and breaks the kiss. "Judith." he rumbles and, literally, sweeps her off of her feet, heading towards the bedrooms, looking left and right, guessing which the guest bedroom was, and entering it. Setting her on the bed, he hovers over her and again begins kissing her, already working to get her bulky sweater off of her.

His voice is driving her as wild as his kisses. When he sweeps her up she squeals a bit and giggles. When he hovers she breaths out his name again "Hank....oh Hank..." She lifts her arms helping the sweater come off. She's got a thin black t shirt under it now with just the dark blue jeans and very thick fuzzy socks. Her feet are the coldest of the cold, always. She kisses Hank back hungrily.

Working next on her t-shirt, he kisses her deeply until he absolutely HAS to break it to get her shirt off. He looks at her bra and smiles, already working on her jeans. "Mmm I like this." he murmurs about the slightly see through bra, chuckling. If he can get her jeans off he'll look down at her body for a long time.

Judith tosses her shirt to the floor and grins "It's a set...I've got a bit of a thing about lingerie....." Her bra is a forest green soft lace and very see through while still being well fitting and supportive. The panties match and are very flattering. She wiggles out of her jeans and then watches him as he looks at her and teases him "How much time DID you spend looking at my bikini picture?" She's always been on the slim side but it's obvious she does do a bit to keep fit too because she has some wiry muscle tone in her arms, legs and abs..

Hank look impressed and then laughs when she asks how long he looked at her picture. "Thirty seconds, I swear!" but his blue eyes twinkle. "But I'm pretty much trained to access a complicated situation on 15 seconds so ...." he laughs again. He runs his hand down her sell shaped leg to her socks and begins to remove them and then snatches his hand away. "God your feet are FREEZING!" he proclaims and actually straightens the socks on her feet. No matter how much he wanted her .. he didn't want the ice cubes she called feet touching him, even though the heat in the apartment kept it quite warm. He straightens and bites his lip. "Alright .... fair is fair ...." he proclaims and, grabbing his fisherman's sweater yanks both is AND his polo off, exposing his bare chest and arms to the well bright afternoon light filtering into the slanted window blinds.

Judith watches him and smiles running her fingers over his arms and then up and down his chest on both sides, scars and no scars and then coaxes "Mmmm I like your chest....And the jeans please.....sorry about the feet..." she giggles "Best not to uncover them until at least May..."

Hank smiles. "Thank you." He keeps in excellent shape. His body is like a man 20 years younger than he actually is, almost all hard muscle. "Oh, you like my jeans too. Thank you." he teases but already he is off of the bed, working the button and zipper and letting them fall to the floor before stepping out of them. He has on plain white boxers, partly tented with a partial erection. he lays back on the bed, centering them both. This is going to be a long afternoon, if I have anything to say about it. You'll have to thank Connie for me." and he kisses her and begins to run his hands along her body.

Judith sticks out her tongue at him when he teases and then sees his body in almost full, the muscles, the tenting erection starting, and feels a twinge of anticipation deep inside, wanting to help it grow. When he lays back down on her she lets out a little gasp and says "I'm already thanking her...your're amazing Hank...." she moves with him, caressing him back all along his body up and down and melting into his kisses.

Hank enjoys her caresses of his body while he works on getting her bra off. Long out of practice, it takes him almost a solid minute of attempting, but he soon gets it free and tosses it blindly away. He cups one of her breasts while he nuzzles her neck Part of him is very happy that she is caressing his back, where he has more feeling. The burn scars were light and almost invisible. On his chest where the worst of the damage was it was hard for him to feel touch. He could be solidly tapped there and hardly feel it. In time he expected that might become an issue, or certainly need to be explained. But for now ... he was happy with her under his hands and lips. Kissing from her neck to her collarbone, he massages her breast and, when his lips catch up with his hand, he gently sucks the nipple into his mouth to see how sensitive her breasts actually were.

Judith loves the feeling of Hank on top of her, covering her, warming her, touching her. His hands and his mouth are magic. When she feels his hand on her breast she smiles and gives a little exhale and as the nipple goes into his mouth she happily gasps. Her hands moves back up his back,one caressing the back of his neck where it meets his hair. God what a beautiful man. Her other hand traces over his arm and moves to his chest where he has bad burn scars. She really wants Hank to know she's appreciating him whole since he's told her about feeling like women are repulsed by his scars. She's not at all. They're just part of him and she wants every bit of him for the taking right now.

Hank experiments with the other breast for a while, moving from one to the other. He is well aware of her touch, which is incredible in his mind, but when the sensation of her hand moves from his back to his front, he can tell because the sensation fades. But the way his mind has worked since he was burned, this is more or a turn-on than he ever thought it would be and his head almost snaps up in surprise. "God, you're like a dream." he rasps and kisses her hard while his hand trails down her belly and into the front of her very pretty panties to cup her womanhood. He knows there is lube in the apartment someplace and will get it if he needs it, even though he has no desire to be more than a few inches away from this woman.

Judith gives happy gasps and little grunts at his attention to her breasts. Her nipples harden. His words make her soar and she kisses him back just as hard. When his hand slides to her panties she shivers in anticipation. She's been almost dripping wet since he said the word dessert and at the touch of his hand the wetness meets his fingers through the fabric. "Oh god Hank..." She breathes out. Her hand slides from his chest down, right into his shorts. She's not even going to be remotely vague about wanting to explore what's in there and she shifts her shoulder to reach and wrap her fingers around his cock.

Hank immediately realizes he can forget about the lube. The sound of her voice is that last spark he needs to become fully hard. Hr hand around him makes him groan and arch forward a bit. "Jesus." his hands move from outside her panties to INside and he finds her already beautifully wet. Finding her clit isn't difficult and he begins a soft slow circle. The hand on him makes his glad that he is such a dedicated masturbater.

Judith squirms happily and lets out a little moan when he starts on her clit. It feels so good she can barely remember she has her hand around him but then does and works to shift them a bit to side lying so they can both reach. She runs her fingers over the length of him lightly, letting it bounce against her hand a bit as she moves her fingers lower and caresses under his balls, just to see what he likes. Eventually she wraps the fingers around again and starts gently jerking him up and down. She loves the feel of his hardness in her hand and she wants it everywhere else too.

Hank breaks the kiss as they shift positions and kisses her again as he plays with her, moving a bit faster on her clit. When she touches his balls he has next to no reaction. They weren't his most sensitive part at any point in his life. But when she passes the head of his cock he sighs and grumbles a moan. "You're beautiful.' he manages, sliding his finger inside of her, keeping contact with her clit.

Judith smiles at his words as she kisses him back, still loving his kisses so very much. She's way too worked up to even form words herself aside from maybe his name which is flashing in her head like a neon sign. She takes his cue and moves her hand up focusing her jerking on the head and upper part of him, tightening her grip a bit and speeding up when he does on her. She's panting now and moaning regularly into their kisses. When his finger slides in her she has to break the kiss and let her head snap back, crying out softly but audibly and looking almost pained from the pleasure. Her hand movements on him stay consistent like she's anchoring at his cock, wanting to steer his ship into happy places.

Hank rumbles at her attentions, but also sees her look and even more important, hears her moans. "Judith ...." he manages to keep his contact with her clit, circling it faster. "If you're not careful, I'm going to cum." an odd warning, but a necessary one.

Judith hears him but it takes her a moment to reply as she shudders again at his circles "Oh...oh Hank..."She struggles out "You say that like it's a bad thing." she smiles at him and then as much as it pains her to do it, she takes his hand off her and flips him on his back "But if you're that close...let me have some fun with it." Before he can argue she's on top of him semi straddling his thigh as her mouth covering the tip of him, joining the movements of her hand, sucking and jerking now, wanting the taste of him, wanting to make him lose control.

Hank tries to get the breath in his lungs to explain to her his strange little objections to cumming first when he suddenly finds himself on his back, his boxers down, cock up and engulfed in her beautiful warm mouth In all his years he has never experienced a blow job like this ... or a hand job ... never mind this stunning combination of the two. "Judith ...." he tries to sit up but only manages to get on his elbows watching her. And in seconds they collapse. "Judith ... oh god ... Jude ...." and he completely loses his battle not to cum against her. He falls onto his back and bucks his his once, feeling himself release in her mouth.

Judith keeps her mouth on him until it's all out and then makes eye contact with him as she swallows. She crawls up his body seductively and lies on top of him "That wasn't so bad, was it?" she teases and then nuzzles into his neck absorbing the wonderful energy of his afterglow.

Hank hears her question, but cannot answer immediately. He covers that by caressing her face and tilting it up when she nuzzles his neck. He moves in for a deep kiss, not caring that he can taste himself on it. During that time, he can recover, and enjoy kissing her while he is at it.

Judith kisses him back eagerly and sweetly. She's so happy he's as hooked on kissing as she is. His body under hers is lovely and warm, even the leathery areas of the burn on his chest which are starting to feel just normal against her skin.

At long last Hank breaks the kiss and can finally answer the question. "No ... that was not at all bad." he understates and chuckles pulling her close, the spark of an idea flashing in his brain. "I thought women who swallowed were a plot device." he tells her. "And you know what else? I haven't been the one to cum first since my high school sweetheart, which I knew next to nothing about sex. I couldn't even make myself look it up in the library. Kids these days are probably incredible lovers before they touch their first boob.' he caresses herself. "But it gives me an idea ......." he kisses her softly. "Thank you very much beautiful Judith."

Judith giggles "Plot device? Haven't you heard the old adage...what's the difference between like and love? Maybe that was just what they said in Saskatchewan....long cold winters....too many jocks. Don't get me wrong, I love giving blow jobs now but they were my get out of sex free card when I was trying to preserve my virginity and keep a few of my more clueless boyfriends. Course it never dawned on them to reciprocate...and seriously, no pressure. I know it's not something men are always in the mood to do. And I was brave enough to look up dirty words in the encyclopedia....very technical explanations...." She laughs. "And you're very welcome. Dare I ask about your idea?"

Hank listens and laughs, especially at her insistence that he need not reciprocate. "Well, first of all, I am glad that you MORE than like me...." he strokes her shoulders. "Starting with my wife it I was taught to be a gentleman ... ladies first .... always." he pulls her closer and rests his forehead. "As you are a teacher and I am a fledgling teacher groupie ... my idea is that, since a man my age needs a little bit of recovery time, I would spend that time making you cum as many times as I can before I am ready to make love to you." he cants her head at her, curiously. "Would that be alright? I think I can get in three ... maybe more if your multi-orgasmatic." he speculates. Clearly this man loves eating pussy.

Judith lifts her head up to look at him in almost shock "I've NEVER had an offer like my life. Don't get me wrong...Eric was very kind...but it just wasn't always his thing. Kind of a special treat now and then or a means when it was taking me awhile to be "ready". Where DID you come from?" She exhales "My god..." She looks befuddled by all the things coming into her mind as her body starts to tingle for literally whatever he wants to do to her. She has to work to articulate "I'm not multiorgasmic but I can get there both ways...inside and out. Um.....Hank.......I don't even know what to say..." She starts laughing nervously about the whole idea.

Hank listens to her, completely flaccid now but feeling incredible with this woman beside him. "You said you learned to be good at blow jobs. I was sort of ... trained .. to get good at eating a woman out and came to love it." he is starting to see interesting similarities to their sexual histories. He again seems to consider. "Well, if your only going to give me ONE ... then I had better take my time getting you there then, hadn't I?" he takes her by her shoulders and rolls her on her back. Reaching for the pillows on the bed, he pulls out all four, interested that there are so many there. Hr puts two behind her head. "Get comfy, Judith." he tells her, putting another under her back and tossing the last one towards the foot of the bed. He kisses her deeply and then begins to kiss his way down her body. Minutes later, having taken her panties off and tossed them in a random direction, he is settled at the foot of the bed, his knees bent looking like a studious young man reading a book on the bed ... but Judith is the book, as he bends her knees and spreads her legs. He looks at her womanhood, stroking her hair gently. "You really ARE beautiful." he murmurs and he kisses her nether lips before he takes that first long, slow taste of her, closing his eyes in bliss at her taste.

Judith nods ruefully and then her pupils dilate as he keeps talking and moves her. She looks curious and amused by the pillows. God Hank's not kidding around at all.... she's soon just shaking as he spreads her legs and moves in. Her head snaps back again and she pants and gasps, gripping the sheets, feeling amazing and totally adored like she never had been before by this amazing man between her legs.

Hank takes his time, as he has made himself quite comfortable. Moving his tongue around her clit, then up and down it, he shows no signs of actively TRYING to make her cum. He is teasing and pleasing and enjoying. He crosses his ankles and at one point turns his head and inserts his tongue into her as deeply as he can.

Judith writhes and rolls her head side to side moaning softly. God he was good at this. It dawns on her she may have just lied to him when she said she wouldn't pressure him....she had no idea..When his tongue pushes into her she breathes out his name "Oh Hank...."

Hank pulls his head back, closing his lips around her clit as he lifts it up. His eyes travel up her body. But he speaks into her beautiful folds. "I love it when you speak my name." he murmurs and goes back to his circling and licking taking long minutes in lazily pleasuring her. Being on his stomach, she does not know what her moans do to him.

Judith is almost incoherent in her pleasure at what he's doing to her. It's beautiful torture. She does hear him though and as she inhales and exhales again she moans out "Hank." in a low primal tone and then just to please him does it again in her breathy voice "Hank...."

Looking up her body, he grins, even as his tongue stops moving up and down and begins moving side to side. "Yes, Judith?" he croons, as if she wanted to ask him something. He grips the hairs of her labia gently and separates them exposing her clit to himself. His head moves side to side a little as his tongue flicks at her.

Judith had a moment of trying to think up a cheeky answer and then forgot the entire English language as his tongue began to flick. She watched his head moving in amazement that he was still down there, not tiring or sliding back up her yet. She shivers and runs her hand through his hair, appreciating his work and his devotion to it.

Hank smiles up at her when she runs her fingers through his gray hair. It is a sort of praise for him - pet the puppy - but from her it is not factious but true praise. He pauses only to roll his shoulders and rotate his neck. "Love, love, love this." he murmurs, his lips on her folds as he speaks. Then he pulls his head back and again flicks at her nub before he presses against it with the flat of his tongue, his head still moving quickly back and forth.

Judith looks him in the eyes when he smiles at her and smiles back. His words make her laugh and shake her head "God you're amazing...." the flat of his tongue causes a noticeable shift in her, elevating her pleasure like suddenly pressing on the gas peddle and revving a car as it speeds up. She calls his name again and directs him "Hank....oh god Hank...just like that....oh.....oh......" she's moaning now in a pattern and it's going somewhere very intense for her. Judith has also been relative still up until now, just letting him do things to her. The shift causes her to start moving against him, pressing up against his face and meeting his rhythm with her body.

Listening to her, he considers pulling back, but it has been a while ... he can't tell exactly but perhaps fifteen or 20 minutes he has played with her clit ... so he continues exactly as he is, keeping up with the movements of her body and taking them as a very good sign. Not breaking the contact a bit, allowing her moans to wash over him .. to caress him. He is getting much from this, even if she doesn't realize it.

Judith is panting hard between moans and the moans are on every movement that hits her the right way as she gently rides his face. Her legs star shaking and her back arches as the moans grow to cries "Oh...oh oh oh...oh god....oh oh Hank!" Her eyes had been closed but they pop open at his name as she cums and shudders, unable to keep her rhythm as she ebbs back from the climax of a lifetime. She grabs at the back of his head and start trying to tug him upwards but she's still in a the zone and a little clumsy with her movements.

Hank feels her clit heave under his tongue as she cums and at the first tug he climbs back up her body and kisses her, deeper than deep. When he breaks it, he looks into her eyes. "You're amazing.' he breathes. She may be able to feel him hard and ready on her thigh. Clear indication of the effect of her moans on him. But he doesn't enter her yet, in case she is too sensitive for him.

Judith, kisses him back still softly moaning into it at the taste of the both of them now mingling. She finally breaks it and catches her breath and laughs "Me? Oh god Hank....I think I may have lied to you about not planning to ask for that a lot....god damn..." She feels his hard cock waiting on her leg and swivels her body to meet it "Mmm and here you are at the door for more....I'm done but you're more than welcome to come in...." She slides down so the tip of him is just inside her still streaming opening.

Hank chuckles. " ... Judith. Ask for it and I will give it to you.' he smiles and nods, almost shyly and, amazed that she is guiding him on her own, he slides in slowly. "Oh ... Judith ..." he moans, not stopping until he is as far into her as he can be. He pauses to enjoy the sensation and to kiss her. Only then does he begin to move inside of her. The only thing he is not certain of is her declaration that she is done, but for this moment, he basks in rare selfishness of his body's unquestionable need for her.

Judith is done but it still feels incredible when he fills her up and then kisses her, not just going for it. She moves with him, wanting to make it happen for Hank again. She lets him set his pace and will rock with him when he finds it.

Hank finds his pace after a minute. Initially it is slow and savoring. But in time she feels so good, he cannot help but speed himself up. He adjust them so he can get in a bit deeper, his moans at her response to him deepening. Nuzzling into her neck, he is clearly loving their time together. But too soon, his speed increases even more and he groans. "Oh .... oh god ... Jude ....' he begins to tremble and grunts, pumping deeply into her twice and releasing powerfully into her. Stilling, he remains deep inside of her, resting on his elbows and caressing her hair as he nuzzles her neck, panting.

Judith enjoyed every second and inch of him in her, tilting her hips and raising her legs with knees bent when he was seeking more depth, matching his speed and just watching him with abject adoration. When he came she grinned and wrapped both arms and legs around him as it slowed and then relaxed her legs, still embracing with her arms and letting him catch his breath.

Hank rests, breathing heavily into her shoulder. Then he lifts his head to look at her. "You're just ... incredible." he chuckles. Caressing her face, he looks into her eyes. "This has turned out the be the best day off I've had .... ever." he smiles and kisses her. "Thank you."

Judith laughs "So are you.. and likewise Hank. I figure if you don't get that many days off.... might as well not be shy. Although I've never even imagined a day like this." She kisses him back and then says back "No. Thank YOU."

Hank holds her close. "This won't be our last, will it?" he asks, softly. Suddenly his mind goes to the nights he could have free to be with her. When he has a day off, but she has to work. He'd hate to have to wait. But if he had to wait ... he would have to wait.

Judith snuggles into him and protests "Hell no! I am not a one night...afternoon... stand kinda woman!" She laughs "And you haven't even modeled that tool belt yet."

Hank kisses her forehead. "Neither am I. And I want more afternoons and nights ... and even mornings with you." he laughs. "I haven't. Plus I owe you a fire inspection AND, what kind of groupie would I be if I didn't beg you to cook for me or beg to cook for you?" he grins. "You know ... I think I could even stand the town of Alexandra seeing you with me and knowing we are ... together."

Judith smiles "We already got busted for kissing on the ferry. But it is easier than sneaking around or wearing a paper bag over my head with eye holes. Do you work in the morning Hank? I do.. but if you don't you're welcome to come home without me if you promise I can sleep by around midnight. And no fire inspections tonight, just close your eyes while I tidy up anything glaring."

Hank nods. "I do, I'm afraid. Seven am Monday to 7am on Tuesday then I am off until Thursday and on again Next Sunday." he tells her. "My schedule. I have it in my head a week or so in advance but then have to use a calendar program to make anything further than that."

Judith runs her fingers over his chest where the scars are "Mmm ok. Well we don't have to run away now. I'll figure out how to work with your schedule. You know I get a bunch of personal leave days as a teacher that I never take... might be the year to start. Hold that thought...I need the ladies....which means I need to kick you out dear."  Judith gently eases back until their bodies have separated and carefully slides out of the bed, feeling a little shaky in her walking from the excitement. She pads down the hall, naked as a jaybird with her thick socks still on.

Hank nods, but does not reply as she separates from him and heads for the bathroom. This day was only going to be a phone call and turned into ... something the likes of which he could never imagine. He lays naked in the bed and makes as much of it fit as he can, and he likes the way the pieces are connecting.

Judith uses the toilet and washes her hands, looking at her own naked form in the mirror. She had just gone to bed with Hank on their first date. But it doesn't feel like a first date. It feels like she's known him all her life and his body and entire being, is just intertwining with hers like they've both been waiting for. She has a tinge of guilt. It wasn't like this with Eric. She grew to love him and still does, but it felt like work. Hank feels immediately right to her. She looks firmly at her reflection and says "Judith, it's time to be happy again." in a confident whisper. Then she marches herself back down the hallway into Hank's waiting arms and simply says "Sorry, cetera."

Hank smiles. "I have one of those public calendars. I can probably figure out how to share it with you. And I can always take my own personal days. We'll figure something out. We can't always use your friends place for trysts." he sighs and strokes her hair. "Judith. I didn't realize how selfish my lovers had been before you." he tells her. "So I'm not letting you get away from me anytime soon."

Judith look taken aback "Really? I mean I agree with the second part. Do you think it was just because you and Elizabeth had ....problems? I mean ... oh I hate speaking against anything to do with let's stay on you..." She laughs awkwardly.

Hank nods. "Not just Elizabeth but yes. She only gave me blow jobs to get hard enough to .. screw her. Then of course that didn't matter. But she not only always came first, but usually at least twice, usually more like three or four times." he shrugs. "I came once .... if that." he strokes her hair.

Judith frowns "I'm trying not to draw parallels to some of that and failing, but I think mine was nicer about it. After seeing and feeling you have an orgasm I can't imagine why any woman wouldn't want EVERY damn day..." She says blushing. "Maybe she ...and Eric had their own hangups we'll never know about. I think I'm more surprised by your past dynamic than mine. I mean I'm not going to get all angry feminist about it but women of our generation were socialized to believe they HAD to please a man to keep him interested. I definitely was affected by that when I was a young married woman...the fear...stories from friends..."

Hank nods and caresses her hair. "I love how you cum. I can't deny that. And you saw my reaction to it." he sighs. "Maybe they did. They're both gone now, but we aren't." he hears the rest. "Judith. I didn't have affairs because my wife wasn't giving me enough or good enough sex. She shut me out. Never mind not fucking me, or .. or making sure I made her cum ... using me like some kind of human vibrator." he shakes his head. "It was because I didn't feel like ... not a man ... just a human. She didn't talk to me, or with me ... wouldn't cook. I have no idea exactly why she had her affair. I only know why I had mine. I wanted human touch, but then I felt like shit. Like if I was going to be a good husband I had to stay faithful no matter what." he looks at her. "If you decide to be with me, there will be no other women for me. Because so far we're compatible on ... more levels than any other woman I've ever known." he shrugs. "You'll see. I'll prove it to you. Over time."

Judith hugs him tightly "I'm not afraid with you Hank. I had a lot more insecurities as a younger woman. I've grown. And I'm sorry you were so hurt by someone. I'm pretty upfront....I talk too much over shutting people out. I drive my daughter crazy with it. I call people from bathroom stalls and tell them every weird thought in my head.....and we're very compatible. I have to keep reminding myself this isn't a dream."

Hank laughs and swallows hard. "I'd rather you talk too much than not at all." he arches his brow. "Oh ... Connie. I could live with that, too. As long as I didn't have to come running if I'm at work and you didn't get mad when the klaxons go off and I have to say goodbye in two seconds." he shrugs. "Whenever you think it's a dream, I'll prove to you it isn't." he winks at her. "There's only one thing I wish you were that you aren't."

Judith laughs and then looks worried "What's that? Do you mean the distance between our homes?"

Hank shakes his head. "Cum more than once ..." he ponders. "But .... " he caresses her face. "What about an hour or two after sex? Maybe you just need some recovery time." he smiles. "I ... really REALLY love how you call my name when I am pleasing you ... and how you cum. I think if you'd held out another ten minutes I would have cum anyway, still licking you."

Judith shudders against him "Ok all distracting ideas.....honestly, no one's ever tried to make that happen. and no one's spent that much time on me. Hank, you're amazing. Give me time and we'll see. I'll remember the name thing. And if you're really sad about it..." she starts kissing his neck "I am recovered NOW....and you're turning me on just talking like that..."

Hank smiles. "Well, I plan to try." he hugs her as she kisses his neck. "A little experimentation can't be a bad thing...." he rolls her onto her back, determined to give it another try before they absolutely MUST be back in reality.

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