The Stillness Of You

By: Julie Bale

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was for me.

Set back among a stand of trees, it was Colonial brick with a detached four car garage and even though it had a general look of abandonment, I saw the potential.

Slowly I drove up the long, meandering driveway and parked the truck, my eyes on the house, already taking stock of what needed to be done. The roof and windows needed to be replaced immediately, that was a no brainer and as Georgia and I walked up the pathway that led to the front door, I realized the landscaping was going to be a major undertaking as well.

“Shit,” I murmured, already half in love. My palms itched and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as I stood back and surveyed the large house. I glanced at the listing in my hands. Six bedrooms, four fireplaces, five bathrooms, and two kitchens. It was a family home. A place to set down roots and I wanted it.

I was twenty-four, single and loaded. I’m sure a lot of my buddies expected me to look for a place similar to Matt’s, but that wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t me. In Los Angeles I’d shared an apartment with one of the other rookies for year and had spent my last two in a condo near the beach. The view was cool, but I hated being cooped up with no room to roam.

I guess it was because at heart I was my father’s boy. I’d grown up on a farm outside of Toronto. I was used to space and I was used to physical labor. I wasn’t bred for a life of clubs and getting my workout in a gym. When I wasn’t playing hockey on the pond out behind our barn, or playing the game indoors at the local arena, I was helping out with chores around our farm.

One of the best summers of my life had been spent helping my dad restore an old cottage on our property. We’d finished it for his mom—my grandmother—so she could come and live with us after my grandfather’s death.

We worked every day to get it finished in time and I learned a hell of a lot about carpentry. About drywall and tiling and using a hammer.

I liked to fix things.

“Wow,” Georgia said softly and I glanced down at her.

I liked her.

“Yeah,” I answered, grabbing her hand. “Let’s take a look out back.”

The feel of her small hand in mine kinda twisted my gut strangely. She was soft and pliant and totally feminine. She looked like winter but smelled like rain.

Okay, I knew I needed to stop with that poet fucking shit, but I couldn’t help it.

Where had this girl come from?

The property out back was just as bad as the front, but again, the potential was amazing. There was an interlocking patio that ran the length of the home but with weeds sprouting everywhere I was thinking the entire thing would have to be replaced. A long abandoned pool sat empty and it was old—concrete—and would have to be replaced. The pool house was hardly visible by the bushes that surrounded it. A black iron fence enclosed the space and beyond, overgrown grass that would have to be re-sodded, stretched for several hundred feet. The perimeter was lined with birch from the looks of it and oak, maybe?

“Look.” Georgia nodded toward an overgrown path that cut through the mess out back and disappeared between the trees.

We picked our way through the tall grass and though she’d taken her hand from mine, I swear I still felt the heat of her on my skin.

She was wearing a soft blue tank top and the thin pink straps underneath kept drawing my eyes. Cut off jean shorts showed off trim, runner’s legs, and even though they were respectable—at least an inch or two below her butt—on Georgia, they looked sexy as hell.

On her feet were plain blue flip flops but she could be wearing a big ass pair of high tops for all it mattered. Her ankles were incredibly feminine, delicate even, and I found myself wondering what it would feel like to run my fingers along the indents working my way up her calves and then….

I exhaled a shaky breath because once again, just thinking about the girl’s fucking ankles had me horny as hell, and that in and of itself was weird because I was an ass man through and through. What the hell was up with that?

“Oh, Ben, look.”

I was looking. I was looking at her.

She’d undone her hair from the loose knot thing at the back of her neck, and it spilled over her shoulders like wet ink. Her skin was creamy white, and unlike most of the girls I knew, it hadn’t been sprayed with that fake shit that half the time looked orange. She turned back to me and the smile on her face was nearly too much.

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