My Journey Is You
A/N: I never really pictured myself writing a sequel to The Cosmic Law of French Toast but as life changes I find myself leaning more towards it. There was so much realism in CLoFT, so much of myself, and there are so many things I'd like to explore for this universe.
My life has changed greatly since I published the last chapter of CLoFT and I can't promise frequent updates for this new story, but it's a continuing story. I'm not sure yet if I'll finish that winter prompt challenge or tie up any of those loose(r) threads because I don't know if I yet have the energy to dive back into it full swing. For now, I just want to go back to visit Jim and Melinda.
Happy reading. And, as always, this is for Mariah.
Jim rolled over in bed, seeing Melinda lying peacefully next to him. He shifted closer, reaching to slide an arm around her to spoon her sleeping body. She sighed and cuddled in closer to him, reaching to place her hand over his arm to keep him close, her hand gently massaging.
"You awake?" She wondered, voice barely above a whisper.
"Yeah," he said.
"Why?" She asked, turning to face him, but keeping close so his arm stayed around her.
He dropped a kiss on her forehead.
"I mean, did we wake up because Aiden is up?" She breathed. "Did we hear something?"
"I don't know," Jim said. "I can go check on him, though."
She nodded, sitting up in bed as he got up, going through the bedroom door and down the quiet hallway to their son's room.
He cracked the door, poking his head in. Their three year old was fast asleep, still cuddling with his teddy bear. Jim moved forward, tugging the blankets up just a little more to cover Aiden's shoulders and he kissed his son's forehead.
When he came back to the master bedroom, Melinda was still sitting upright in bed, wearing that white nightgown he liked so much, with the halter neckline.
He got back into bed, moving to fluff up his pillow and lay down, gently guiding his wife down with him. "He's fast asleep, still holding tight to Mr. Cocoa."
She moved to curl into him, molding her body into his and throwing her arm over him. "Thanks for checking," she breathed, pressing a kiss to his chest.
"Any time," he replied, and soon they had fallen back to sleep.
Melinda stirred awake, hearing the sounds of Jim in the bathroom. Soon the bed dipped and he joined her, fresh from the shower.
He'd just gotten in from his shift then.
"Hey, baby," she said.
"I didn't want to wake you up," he murmured, and quickly kissed her. "Go to sleep, baby. You have an early morning."
"I know," she sighed. "But I don't want to. How did your shift go?"
"It was fine," he said, not wanting to remember.
"Jim?" She wondered, brow creasing. "You okay?"
"It was rough," he admitted. "But I don't want to talk about it. Yet. It's too…"
He trailed off and Melinda nodded. "I'm here when you're ready," she murmured. "I get it."
He didn't reply, just tucked her closer. "I just need to sleep," he said.
She burrowed into his chest, wondering what had happened. Maybe a patient had died.
The thought made her want to go check on Aiden but she wanted to make sure that Jim fell asleep before she got up.
Tomorrow was Aiden's second birthday party. She had a lot to do.
But for tonight…
She trusted the peaceful feeling in her heart that her son was fine and moved closer to Jim, feeling his arms tighten around her. "Love you," she breathed.
"Love you too," he whispered back, and the pair drifted off.
Jim sat up in the middle of the night, wondering what had woken him. Next to him Melinda was sleeping peacefully, even though she was heavily pregnant.
They were getting so much closer to their baby being born.
He wondered if that was what it was. He was ready…but he wasn't.
How could anyone be ready to be a father? He wanted children. He'd wanted them for a long time now, but he was terrified he wouldn't be there enough. Right now med school was taking up everything he had, and coming home at night was exhausting.
And now he was going to be a doctor. On the fastest track possible. Would he be home enough?
"Why are you awake?" Melinda whispered and he sighed, since waking her up was the last thing she needed. She was due any day now and sleep was hard enough to get even when not pregnant.
"Sorry, babe," he said, lying back down. "I don't even know. Suddenly I was just awake."
"Did you dream something?" She wondered.
"No," he told her. "I don't know. I don't think so."
He shook his head. "Suddenly I just felt…scared. Like I wasn't ready for this."
"Ready for what?" Melinda yawned. "Speaking of ready, I have to pee."
He chuckled, helping her sit up, watching as she walked to the bathroom on swollen ankles and feet. She was so ready to be done with this.
And he'd been ready forever and now…
"Sorry," she apologized, walking back in. "That couldn't wait. What's worrying you?"
"Am I ready to be a dad?" he voiced the fear, and felt some of the anxiety dissipate.
Melinda smiled at him. "Of course you are. You've always been ready, a lot more ready than I'll ever be."
"But I'm already gone so much," he said. "And I'm in school to be a doctor. That's one of the busiest jobs there is, and I'll be on call and what if I'm never home? Never there for him or her?"
"You will be," she assured him. "You'll make time. You always made time for me. I never felt like I was losing you to the job."
She kissed him then, long and deep, one small hand on his cheek to hold him close. "Now sleep," she told him.
And he did.
Melinda jerked awake, feeling the nightmare finally end. The ghosts left her side, and she was alone in bed.
But a new one began.
The bed beside her was empty. It would forever be empty because Jim was gone.
The funeral was tomorrow and Melinda flat out couldn't handle it. She couldn't face this life without him and she could barely breathe.
She wanted to sleep. Sleep forever and maybe then she'd be with him again. Maybe she'd dream of him, or better yet, slip from this life to join him.
She didn't want to live like this.
Her heart was jumping and her lungs started to pump unevenly.
Soon she was sobbing, burying her face in her pillow, desperately clutching the fabric to her, pretending that it's plushness could ever even be close to Jim.
She didn't want to live like this.
Jim woke up to Melinda straddling him, hair hanging over his face. She was dressed in a satin lace nighty, black, and it didn't cover her so much as it revealed her.
"Hey," she purred, leaning to press a hot kiss to his lips. "You woke up."
"Yeah," he gasped.
"I'm ovulating," she whispered. "Just checked."
He looked at the clock; it was just past five in the morning.
He wanted to ask her why it couldn't wait, but at the same time…why in heaven would he wait for this? His wife was on top of him, barely clothed, looking almost sexier than possible.
And he was already so hard. Very ready for her.
He pulled her down to him, passionately kissing those seductive lips, flipping them so he was on top and could slip one strap of her nighty down her shoulder, kissing a path there and then lower, sliding the fabric evermore south.
Soon her breasts were bared to him, and she was moaning, clutching at his head to keep him there, keep his mouth on her hard nipples. He moved to grab her arms, trapping them above her head, elevating her breasts and making her whimper and buck against him. "I want to touch you too," she purred, and the look in her eyes, and the smile on her face…
Oh god, he felt like he could come now.
She wiggled free, shoving him onto his back, so he was again underneath, reaching to untie the drawstring of his loose gray sweats.
Damn. She was really serious about this, easing the fabric down his hips, til he was revealed.
"I'm not wearing panties," she breathed, and his hands went immediately to her hips, sliding under the nighty, feeling the truth of her statement in how silky her ass was, and how unobstructed the area between her thighs was.
They took a moment to position, and then he plunged into her, feeling her moan, hands clenching his arms, and then she started to rock, up and down, sliding along his length.
Yes. This was good.
Making a baby was better than Jim had ever imagined it could be.
Melinda couldn't sleep for thinking of Professor Payne. Should she just bite the bullet and tell him? Tell him that she could speak to the dead?
He wouldn't even believe her.
Jim was on the graveyard shift, not getting off until 3 am, and she'd never intended to wait up for him, but she'd never fallen asleep, try though she might by taking a bath and listening to music.
At some point she just gave up, and here it was at 2:30. Jim would be home in about an hour.
She stifled a yawn, turning the page in her book. She couldn't wait.
The room starting to become fuzzy; Melinda rubbed her eyes, wondering why she was keeping herself awake, and put the book down.
She turned off the light, moving so that she was lying under the covers, snuggled up.
And instantly her mind was awake again. God in heaven, it had been like this all night. She couldn't sleep to save her life.
She kept lying there, feeling the time crawl by, almost wishing for a ghostly vision if only because it would speed up the process.
Jim would be home soon.
She flipped over, seeing the clock read 3. Any minute now.
He might come straight home instead of getting his truck; he'd pick it up in the morning, he did that sometimes when he got off really late and just wanted to go home.
She felt her eyes start to shut, and she let them.
And sleep somehow found her. She didn't wake until 8, to find Jim snug in the bed next to her, and the morning sunshine peeping through the window.
Morning had come.
This was their first week together, married. And though they'd been sleeping together forever now, Jim marveled at how good it felt to have this nighttime routine.
They'd only just moved to Grandview and bought the house, and even though they'd been spending nearly every night together, they'd still been living separately. Both had roommates and leases they didn't want to break, and were just waiting out, and it hadn't made sense to move in together.
Til now. Til they were married.
The house was still in shambles practically, Jim reflected. He had so much more to go.
But as Melinda slept peacefully beside him, finally done with that ghost, finally able to rest again…
He knew they had plenty of time. This house would stand for another fifty years, and if they were lucky, they would still be living there.
Melinda rolled over, and he pulled her closer; she drifted awake with the knowledge that he was.
"Hey, Mr. Clancy," she whispered.
He responded by kissing her, deep and long, and they snuggled into each other, getting comfortable again.
And soon they slept again, and Jim couldn't imagine life being better than getting to wake up next to Melinda every night and morning.