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Dennis regrets booking a room with an East-facing window when the dawn sweeps the entire expanse of the room. He winces from the harsh brightness and sits up as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. He can't help but smile when he looks down at the woman laying beside him, her back to the window, her arms curled in close to her chest. He brushes her hair from her forehead and tucks it gently behind her ear. He picks his phone up from the nightstand beside him to check the time: 7:06.

"Mmm..." Abigail stirs. She yawns and rolls over onto her back, then groans when the sunlight hits her face.

Dennis chuckles softly.

Abigail smiles. "Mmm... Good morning," she murmurs, her eyes still closed.

"Morning, baby."

Abigail opens her eyes to smile up at Dennis. "I love your eyes," she says as she watches them glitter in the sunlight like water at the beach.

"Mm. I think you've mentioned that," Dennis says with a smile.

Abigail stretches, her spine cracking as she sits up. She brings one arm over Dennis's stomach and rests her head on his chest. "I can't believe I actually have a boyfriend now."

Dennis curls his arm around her back and holds her close. "Do you have class today?"

"It's Friday, right?"

"All day."

Abigail snickers. "You're such a dad," she teases. "Yeah, I have one class at two. What about you, what've you got going on today?"

"Hm. Let's see... Well, first we need to swing by the pharmacy, then maybe I'll ask Mandy if you can join us for lunch. Then, I guess you'll head to class. I'll pick up Brian from school, play with him for a bit, then head to work after dinner."

"Where do you work?"

"I'm a bartender."

"Oh, cool. Mandy, as well?"

"No. She stays home with Brian. I had suggested she get a job working during the day, but she pointed out that then we wouldn't have a lot of time together."

"Oh, I see. So, you guys are close, I take it?"

"Roommates and close friends. She's kind of like my new Mac," Dennis says with a smile, amused by his own observation.

"Oh, Mac was your roommate?"

"Yep. Nothing ever happened between us, but I think he was more into me than Mandy ever was. He got a custom sex doll made of me after I moved out here. Our friend Charlie sent me pictures of it. It was... really fucking weird. Not badly made, though."

Abigail laughs, her laughter refreshing to Dennis's ears, like wind chimes in summer. "That's ridiculous."

"Right?"

"So, your friend Mac is gay?"

"Oh, yeah."

"There's a boy on my dance team that everyone thought was gay, but he says he isn't."

"They think he's gay 'cause he's on the dance team?"

"I don't think it's just that. There's one other boy on the team, but everyone seems to believe he's straight. I actually asked him out last week."

"Wasn't last week the first week of school?"

"Second week if you count frosh week, which was when I met him."

"And? What'd he say?"

"He said yes, but I don't think he knew it was a date."

"What made you think that?"

"He spent the whole time talking about the girl he has a crush on."

Dennis laughs. "Oh, shit, that sucks."

"Yeah. I guess it all worked out, though."

"You know... I'd be okay with it if you wanted to see other guys, as well."

"What?"

"Well, I work most nights, and you've got school during the day, plus you're young, so your sex drive's probably higher than mine, especially now that you've had sex. My family keeps me pretty busy, too. So, as long as you use protection..." Dennis shrugs.

"Oh." Abigail is a bit taken aback. "But... I don't really want you sleeping with other people."

"That's fine."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I don't need to."

"Oh. Wow. Um... Should I tell you each time, or check with you first, or -?"

"No. Just be diligent about protection."

"Wow. Um, okay. Uh, thanks."

"No problem. I'm just trying to be practical. Of course, you don't HAVE to sleep with anyone else, but it won't bother me if you choose to."

"This is still a real relationship, though, right?"

"Of course."

"Because I only want to really date you."

Dennis caresses the side of Abigail's face as he leans down to kiss her. The kiss is soft and languid, but he still finds himself hardening beneath the covers. He takes Abigail's smooth, slender hand in his underneath the sheets and places it on his nearly fully hard cock. "You finally get to touch one directly," he teases.

Abigail giggles. "Hey, I thought you said not to talk about that."

"You're right. I felt so bad about it for so long."

"Aw. I'm sorry."

"No, don't be. You've already apologized, anyway. I really ought to be the one who's sorry."

"Well... I'm not sure I agree, but if it'll make you feel better, I accept your apology."

"Thanks. It does actually make me feel a little better." Dennis wraps his hand around Abigail's and begins to move it along his shaft. He lets go when she picks up the pace on her own. "Ohh... Yes. That's good, baby. So good."

Abigail smiles at Dennis's praise. She throws the covers off them with her other hand and crawls into the space between Dennis's knees. She bends down to replace her hand with her mouth, sheathing about half of Dennis's cock in the warm wetness, while she balances her weight on the bed with one hand and uses her other one to play with his balls.

Dennis gasps and rests his hand gently on Abigail's head. He whimpers when she sucks harder and sinks nearly all the way down on him as she squeezes his balls lightly. He tangles his fingers in her hair, but doesn't apply any pressure to her head, though he's extremely tempted. He moans loudly when Abigail places her hand on his and pushes down, signalling that he can. Dennis takes the permission and shoves her all the way down and holds her there, listening to the choked sputters in the back of her throat. "Fuck... Oh my god, Abby... How'd I get so fucking lucky, baby?"

Abigail basks in Dennis's praise as her eyes well and sting with tears. She breathes heavily through her nose as Dennis finally lets her up just to push her back down. He doesn't hold her there for as long, but Abigail struggles not to gag too much when he begins to thrust his hips in time with his hand.

"Oh, fuck. Oh, Abby, get ready, baby. I'm gonna come. Fuck. Fuck, fuck," Dennis pants as he holds Abigail still around the middle of his shaft and shoots down her throat.

Abigail swallows, more prepared for the taste than she had been yesterday, but still not thrilled by it. She smiles up at Dennis as she slowly pulls off of his waning cock.

Dennis grins. "Come up here, baby."

Abigail straddles Dennis's hips to sit in his lap. She smiles against Dennis's mouth when he wraps his arms around her and kisses her.

"Mm. I can barely taste it. You should've fed it to me like I did to you yesterday."

"You like the taste?" Abigail asks, extremely surprised.

Dennis laughs softly. "I'm guessing you don't?"

"It's so... salty. And goopy. What do you like about it?"

"More the idea; it's kind of hot, partly because it tastes bad. I thought you might be into it since you're a bit of a masochist."

"Oh. I guess I hadn't thought about it like that. Are you a masochist, too, then?"

"Sometimes. I generally prefer being in charge, but I have a few submissive tendencies, like that one. I guess I'm mostly into being degraded. I'm not big on pain, but I don't mind being called names or fed my own come or told when to come or not to come."

"Interesting..." Abigail mutters contemplatively.

"You thinking of making me your bitch?" Dennis asks with a playful grin.

Abigail bites her lip and wiggles on Dennis's lap.

Dennis's eyes widen. "Really? Oh, my god, Abby, I would love that."

Abigail grins. "Yeah? You think you can get it up again so soon?"

"Baby, I can already feel it stepping up for round two."

Abigail's demeanor shifts as she drops her voice to command in a surprisingly sultry tone, "Then you're gonna touch yourself for me. You're not going to look away for even a second. You're going to thank me the whole time - for making you jack off for me, for letting you fuck me - for everything. You're going to call yourself my cucky little bitch boy."

Dennis whimpers at that.

"And then, when you do come, you're going to come in your hand and eat every drop."

Dennis bites his lip and nods. "Can I... May I touch myself now, Mommy?"

Abigail's eyebrows shoot up. "Interesting," she says around a devious grin.

Dennis swallows and asks nervously, "Do you not like that?"

"Hmm... Say it again." She's genuinely not sure if she likes it or not; she's mainly surprised.

"Please may I touch myself, Mommy?"

"You somehow sound younger."

Dennis grins and says in his normal voice, "Yeah, I can do that."

Abigail laughs. "Wow. I don't know... It's honestly hard for me to tell if it's hot or creepy."

Dennis laughs, as well. "Well, it's not really that different from the "Daddy" thing."

"I guess that's true... Are you into it?"

Dennis bites his lip and nods.

"Hmm."

"What?"

"... Nothing."

"No, what is it? You look like you wanna say something, or ask something."

"Well... I was just wondering if it was related to... Um, how you, uh... When you first..."

Dennis feels his face flush. "I... don't think it is. I mean, your kink isn't related to something like that, right?"

"Well, I mean... I kind of do find the intergenerational aspect a bit hot. I'd still be into you if I was old, as well, though."

Dennis laughs. "Wow. Thanks, Abby."

"Hey. That's "Mommy" to you, young man," she says with a grin.

"Sorry, Mommy," Dennis says in his young voice.

Abigail laughs. "Don't do the voice. I think that's what tips it over into creepy territory. I don't want to feel like I'm actually having sex with a child."

"Now you know how I felt," Dennis mutters. He clears his throat. "Sorry," he says at a normal volume. "Can I touch myself now, Mommy?" he asks at a regular pitch.

"You can, baby boy," Abigail says with a smile.

Dennis chuckles as he wraps his hand around his cock and slowly begins to touch himself, looking into Abigail's hazel eyes as they twinkle in the mid-morning sunlight.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing. I used to call Mac that sometimes."

"I thought you said nothing ever happened with him?"

"It didn't; I'm not really into guys. I'd get a bit of a kick out of flirting with him, though, on occasion."

Abigail laughs. "I don't know if that's sweet or a bit cruel."

Dennis grins and shrugs. "Bit of both."

Abigail snickers before resuming her role. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be saying something?" she asks as she arches one brow.

Dennis swallows and looks earnestly into her eyes, his cock stiffening fully to the shift in the atmosphere. "Thank you for making me do this... Thank you for making me jack off for you, Mommy..." Dennis picks up the pace on his cock. "Thank you for sucking me off this morning..." He begins to pant as he further quickens his pace. "Thank you for letting me fuck you last night... Both times... Thank you for letting me... eat my come out of you... the second time... Thank you for... swallowing it... Thank you... for letting me... bathe you... And spank you... Mmm, fuck..." Dennis whimpers. "I'm gonna come. Can I come, Mommy? Please?"

Abigail's so wet she can feel herself dripping onto Dennis's legs. "Soon; what are you?"

Dennis whimpers. "I'm your cucky little bitch boy," he says, his eyes shining with barely nascent tears as he gazes into Abigail's, which sparkle with smug, almost sadistic amusement.

"Goddamn right. Be a good little bitch boy and come for Mommy."

Dennis squeezes his eyes shut and groans loudly as he comes hard into his hand, his body twitching and jerking sporadically until he's finished. He opens his eyes to lock them with Abigail's as he raises his hand to his mouth and cleans it thoroughly with slow, deliberate licks. He opens his mouth to show her he's swallowed, awaiting her approval.

"My good boy," Abigail praises as she caresses Dennis's face, which is slightly rough with stubble before he's had a chance to shave. "You gonna get Mommy off?" she asks as she drifts her hand down his body to fondle his softening cock.

Dennis laughs. "I'm not actually a sex doll! I thought twice in that span of time was pretty impressive."

"But I'm so wet!" Abigail whines, her petulant tone immediately throwing her back into the submissive role, which she can tell Dennis recognizes from his sly grin and the look in his eyes.

Dennis grabs Abigail and flips her down onto her back with her head on the pillow, swapping their positions with fluid speed. He chuckles when she gasps sharply in surprise. He climbs over her to sit on his heels between her legs. "Mmm. You are really wet," he says as he slips two fingers into her, enjoying the way she moans with her head tossed back toward the ceiling. "I wanna do something to you that you probably won't like."

Abigail lets out a particularly loud moan and brings her thighs a little closer together at Dennis's words.

Dennis chuckles. "See, that's why I want to do it. I think you'll power through it because you'll get off on how it gets me off."

Abigail nods. "Do it," she says breathily.

Dennis laughs. "You don't even know what it is yet."

"I don't care. I'll let you do anything."

If it could, Dennis's cock would be hardening again at her words. "Oh, baby..." he moans. "I hope at some point to take you up on that." Images of her bound with zip ties, crying and begging him to stop as they reenact his darker fantasies play in Dennis's mind. Maybe in a few months he'll broach the subject; he doesn't want to scare her off. Dennis slides his ring finger inside her, watching her face scrunch in mild discomfort.

"Fuck!" Abigail cries out when Dennis's pinky just barely manages to make it inside her, filling her completely. "Ow!" she cries when Dennis begins to spread his fingers, forcing her to stretch further than she naturally can. She feels tears begin to form in her eyes as he continues to stretch her, overpowering her resistant muscles. She begins to sob outright when Dennis finally manages to fit his thumb inside, his hand shaped like a bill.

Dennis clamps his other hand tightly over Abigail's mouth to muffle her loud sobbing as he slowly submerges his hand past the knuckles. "Tap me on the arm if you really need me to stop," he instructs.

Abigail looks into Dennis's eyes, her own blurry with tears, and nods. She squeezes her eyes shut against the pain when she feels Dennis curl his fully submerged hand into a fist inside her, his knuckles brushing excruciatingly against her cervix.

"Look at me," Dennis commands.

Abigail whines against Dennis's hand as she opens her eyes to look into his, which shine with his sadistic grin.

"Do you think you can get off on this?"

Abigail shakes her head as tears roll down her temples onto the pillow.

Dennis chuckles. "Do you want me to stop?"

Abigail nods.

"Okay, baby," Dennis says as he slowly uncurls his fist to slide it out of her, the exit of his four lower knuckles causing her to wail against the muzzle of his palm. "Shhh, shhh," he says as he rests his wet hand on the sharp jut of her hipbone, stroking his thumb over her skin. "You did so well," Dennis praises softly as he takes his other hand off her mouth and uses his thumb to wipe some errant tears from her flushed face. "Do you feel okay?"

Abigail sniffles as Dennis caresses the side of her face. "Yeah. That was... intense."

"It was okay, though?"

"I mean, I am still kind of sore..."

"What about... emotionally? You don't feel, like... violated?"

"No."

Dennis nods. "Good. I hope to never make you feel like that."

Abigail smiles at Dennis. "I don't think you can."

"You might be right, considering... what I've already done to you."

"Are you talking about when we first met?"

Dennis casts his eyes down in shame and nods.

"I... kind of feel like I violated you."

"What?" Dennis asks, looking sharply up at her in confusion. "How?"

"Well... clearly, it's still haunting you. I was just a little sad that I probably wouldn't see you again. I used to dream about you a lot."

"... Good dreams or, like... PTSD nightmares?"

"Good dreams... Mostly."

Dennis feels a pang of guilt hit him bluntly in the chest. "Mostly?" he asks brokenly.

"... Yeah. There were only, like, one or two bad ones."

Dennis chokes on a sob that catches in his throat. He feels like he might cry. He slides his hands under Abigail's back to sit her up with him and pull her close to his chest, his arms wrapped tightly around her. "I'm sorry," he whispers as he rests his forehead on her shoulder. He begins to cry almost silently. "I'm so sorry," he says as he shakes lightly with the manifestation of his guilt.

Abigail brings her arms around Dennis and holds him just as tightly. "It's okay. I'm sorry I mentioned it. Hey," she says, pulling away to tilt his chin up with her hand. "Dennis, look at me."

Tears fall from Dennis's face as he meets Abigail's stern stare with eyes that swim in sadness and remorse.

"You're not a bad person. I know you didn't really want to do it."

"... I should be in jail," he says quietly.

"... Maybe, technically. But I wouldn't want that. Dennis, I... I love you."

"Abby... you barely know me."

"I don't care. We have a connection. Don't you feel it, too?"

Dennis sniffles and smiles as he nods. "Yeah. I felt it almost as soon as I met you. I didn't think it was sexual or romantic or anything, but... it was definitely there, like a deep... kinship, I guess."

Abigail smiles. "Okay. So... we'll forget it ever happened?"

"I think we've said that before..."

"Okay. Well... I guess we can't deny that it happened. But promise me you won't beat yourself up over it. Then I'll feel guilty, and it'll be a never-ending cycle of us drying each other's tears, and then we won't have any fluid left in us for sex," she says, trying to lighten the mood.

Dennis laughs quietly. "Okay," he agrees. "Oh, shit," he says when he catches sight of the clock on the nightstand. "We better get ready to check out. I don't think there's enough time to shower." Dennis gets out of bed and hastily dresses himself in his clothes from last night. He opens the drawer in the nightstand, which contains a Bible, a notepad embossed with the hotel's logo, and a fountain pen. Dennis tears off the top sheet of the notepad and writes as Abigail dresses, "Sorry about the blood. And the noise, if there were any complaints. Nobody was murdered." Dennis is startled by the sound of Abigail's laughter directly behind him. "Oh, Jesus!" he says as he turns around, clutching a hand to his chest.

Abigail giggles at Dennis's reaction to her reaction to his note. "Are you sure they'll get your humour?"

"What humour?"

"... You're kidding."

"... No?"

Abigail laughs. "Dennis, that sounds so incriminating! It's like labelling something that everyone would presume to be innocuous "harmless," like... I don't know, "harmless coconut water" or something."

Dennis laughs at Abigail's analogy. "I mean, not really, though. The blood is kind of incriminating."

"Well, I guess, but would most people assume murder?"

"Well, best to rule it out," Dennis says as they make their way to the door.

Abigail just shakes her head fondly as they make their way down to the lobby to check out. They get into her car to drive to the pharmacy. She waits in the parking lot as Dennis goes inside.

Dennis walks up to the pharmacist to request a box of morning after pills. He decides to buy a couple boxes of condoms, too, just in case Abigail does decide to sleep with anyone else. Dennis would almost feel bad depriving her of that aspect of the college experience. He pays for the items and makes his way back to Abigail's car. "Here," he says, opening the box of pills and handing her one. "Do you need water or can you dry swallow it?"

"Thanks," she says, taking the pill from Dennis's hand and washing it down with a few sips from an open, nearly empty bottle of water in the cup holder.

"You should book an appointment soon to get some birth control, too. You have to take it every day at the same time. And here are some condoms just in case. Even if a guy tells you he isn't sleeping with anyone else, always insist he wear one. If he fights you on it, he's not worth it. Or I guess you could tell him you're not monogamous; that might persuade him. If you sleep with anyone else without using protection, please tell me. Then we'll just start using these."

"Okay. Thanks, Dennis. You can just toss everything in the back. What's your address?"

Dennis directs Abigail to his and Mandy's modest house. The drive is a little long, but it's quite scenic, especially in the beautiful late summer weather.

"So, you mentioned you and Mandy share a bed?"

"Yep."

"When did you guys stop dating?"

"It went pretty well for about three years, then it started to get a little rocky a couple years ago. About a year and a half ago we decided to take a bit of pressure off ourselves by breaking up as a couple but staying together as parents. We pretty much stopped having sex, then, except on rare occasions when we both came to bed pretty drunk. Obviously, that didn't happen often, since we need to have our wits about us for Brian."

"I see. Do you only have two bedrooms?"

"Yeah. It's a pretty small house. We're only on my income, as I mentioned."

"I'm guessing you didn't go to college, then?"

"I graduated from Penn, actually."

"Really? What made you decide to become a bartender?"

"I owned a bar with my friends back in Philly. It was the easiest job for me to get on short notice, especially with how much experience I had."

"Do you ever think about using your degree?"

"I don't know. I really like bartending, actually. I'm pretty sociable, so it's great for conversing with strangers. I even scored a few dates last year. Just one-night stands. I think the first one thought I was a bit of a piece of shit before I learned not to say that I had to get home to my kid and his mom. I learned pretty quickly not to even allude to Mandy. Even if they understood the situation, believing that it actually is platonic probably wouldn't be their first instinct. Turn left here."

"Yeah... I'll admit I wasn't really sure if I believed you at first. She'll be okay with you having a girlfriend now?"

"She'll probably be a bit surprised. Especially at how young you are. I'll admit I am a little nervous about this."

"Why?"

Dennis shrugs. "New territory. Pull in here."

Abigail pulls into a dirt driveway in front of a cute little house. There's a bright red mailbox with chipped paint out front and a large forest of evergreens out back. She kills the engine and locks her car as she and Dennis walk up to the porch.

Dennis pulls open the storm door and unlocks the front door to let them in. "Hey, Mandy!" he calls.

"Daddy!" Brian exclaims as he runs towards Dennis and jumps into his arms.

"Whoa, hey!" Dennis laughs as he picks up his son. "What're you doing home, buddy?"

"It's a PD Day," Mandy says as she descends the creaky wooden stairs to enter the kitchen.

"Oh, shoot, I totally forgot." Dennis actually isn't sure if he ever knew in the first place.

"Who's this?" Mandy asks, smiling kindly at Abigail.

"I'm Abigail," she answers with a smile, holding her hand out to Mandy.

Dennis clears his throat and says as they shake hands, "Uh, yeah, Mandy, this is Abby; Abby, this is Mandy. Abby's my, um..."

"Your friend from yesterday, I take it?" Mandy asks as she looks at Dennis.

"Yes. We, um... We're a little more than friends, though."

"Oh?"

Dennis scratches the back of his neck with his free hand. "Ah, yeah, it's a pretty recent development. We've decided to embark on a relationship together."

Mandy's eyebrows jump up in surprise. "Oh. So, this is your... girlfriend?"

"Yep. As of yesterday."

"Isn't Mommy your girlfriend?" Brian asks Dennis as he looks at his dad with confusion.

"No, buddy. Mommy's more like my best friend."

"I thought Uncle Mac's your best friend?"

"I have two best friends."

"What about Uncle Charlie?"

"Okay, three."

"That's no fair," Brian pouts. "I only have two best friends."

"I could be your third best friend," Abigail offers with a smile.

Brian focuses his attention on Abigail for the first time. He stares at her for a few moments before asking, "Can you be my girlfriend instead?"

Abigail laughs. "Sorry, Brian. I'm already dating your dad."

"Well, if I can have two best friends, then can't you have two boyfriends?"

"Well, I mean... I could, but... I'm not really into younger guys," she says with a smile.

"Clearly," Mandy mutters wryly.

Dennis blushes. He clears his throat. "Hey, um, is it alright if Abby joins us for lunch? Sorry for not really giving you any notice."

"Of course," Mandy smiles. "We're just having leftovers, though. I hope that's alright."

"Sounds great," Abigail smiles.

Mandy reheats the food while Dennis sets Brian down onto floor to set the small, round wooden table in the nook. "So, Abby," Mandy says as she brings the food to the table and the four take their seats, "you must have a stellar skin care routine; you look like you could be in high school."

"I just started college, actually."

"Is that so?" Mandy asks, grinning at Dennis.

Dennis shifts uncomfortably. "The food's good, Mandy," he says, trying to change the subject.

"It is," Abigail agrees.

"Aw, I'm glad you like it."

"Who's your boyfriend, Mommy?" Brian pipes up.

"I don't have one. Haven't had a chance to check out the local college." She smirks teasingly at Dennis.

Dennis laughs politely at the joke, but he can feel the colour in his face. "Like I said, it was a coincidence -"

"Oh, Dennis, I'm just teasing. You seem lovely," Mandy says, turning to Abigail.

"Thanks," Abby giggles.

The four finish their lunch and Dennis takes the dishes to the sink and begins washing them.

"Well, I better head to school. I can probably get some studying in before class. It was really nice to meet you, Mandy," Abigail says with a bright, genuine smile. "And it was lovely to meet you, Brian. Can I have a hug?"

Brian giggles as he jumps into the air to wrap all four of his limbs around Abigail's legs, causing her to stumble and nearly fall over.

"Whoa!" she giggles as she leans her hand on the wall for balance. She smooths her other hand over Brian's light, downy hair. "Alright, you little koala," she chuckles, "I gotta head to class."

"Brian, climb down, buddy," Dennis says with a smile.

Brian finally lets go. "When can I see you again?" he asks, looking up at Abigail.

"Hopefully soon."

"Oh, that reminds me," Dennis says as he dries his hands on the dish towel and pulls out his phone, "I don't have your number."

"Oh, that's right!" They exchange phone numbers before Abigail waves goodbye to Dennis and his family as she gets back into her car to head to campus.

"How did you two meet, again?" Mandy asks as Dennis finishes drying the dishes.

"At a water park."

"How long ago?"

"... Five years. I never expected to be dating her one day."

Mandy grimaces. "I know there's technically nothing wrong with it, but if anyone asks... maybe just say that you met her this year."

Dennis nods. "I totally get what you're saying. I agree."

"You should let Abby know, as well."

"I will. I'm glad that you seem to like her."

"She seems really sweet."

"She is."

"I liked seeing her interact with Brian," Mandy says as she turns to smile towards her son, who's back at the kitchen table with a colouring book and a pack of crayons. "You know," she says, turning to Dennis with a teasing grin, "she's much closer to his age than she is to yours."

"Does that bother you?"

"No," Mandy says with a shrug.

"Alright, well, then maybe stop mentioning it."

"Does it bother YOU?"

Dennis sighs. "I'm not thrilled about it. I really like her, though, despite her age. Or... lack thereof."

"Well, I hope everything works out. When do you meet her family?"

Dennis scoffs. "Hopefully never. I doubt they'd be as accepting of our age difference. They live in Philly, anyway."

Mandy nods. "What time are you working tonight?"

"Not 'til pretty late, actually. My shift starts at eleven, so I'll have some time to nap after Brian goes to bed."

After playing Ninja Turtles with Brian, finishing dinner, washing the dishes while Mandy gives Brian a shower, and then taking a shower himself after reading Brian a bedtime story and putting him to bed, Dennis lays in his comfortable clothes atop the covers next to Mandy, who's tucked into the covers for the night in her pale pink nightgown. In the still silence of the warm summer twilight, Dennis's conscience begins to weigh on him again. "Hey, Mandy?"

Mandy rolls onto her back and turns to face Dennis's profile. "Yeah, Den?"

"There's... something I need to get out. I, um... I..." fingered Abigail when I first met her; should be in jail; might have traumatized Abigail; wonder if Abigail's only with me because of some form of Stockholm Syndrome; am a horrible person; don't deserve her; don't deserve you and Brian; don't deserve to be alive; wish I wasn't alive.

"Dennis!" Mandy exclaims quietly in surprise, mindful not to wake Brian. "Are you crying?"

Dennis wipes the traitorous tears from his face.

"What's wrong?" she asks, placing her hand gently on Dennis's arm.

Dennis sniffles and brings his hand across his chest to place it over Mandy's. "Nothing." He squeezes her hand. "Just... promise me I'll always have you and Brian."

"Oh, Dennis... Are you worried Abby's gonna leave you for a younger guy?"

"... Something like that."

"You really like her, huh?"

Dennis nods as more tears blur his vision. He takes his hand off of Mandy's to retrieve his phone from the nightstand. He opens a new memo and writes, "Go to confession this weekend." Dennis clicks his phone off and places it back on the nightstand, then rolls towards Mandy to embrace her. Dennis isn't at all religious, but, unlike therapy, it's free and, more importantly, anonymous.

Mandy gently cards her fingers through Dennis's hair as she lets him stain the satin of her nightgown with his tears. She knows this isn't just shallow insecurity; clearly, there's something deeper bothering him. Mandy decides not to ask about the memo she saw him enter into his phone. She's not sure she wants to know. She's not sure she'd be able to truthfully say, "I promise."

"Thank you," Dennis whispers into her shoulder.