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A Beautiful Wish Chp. 6: Mother's Love

It's not too late.
A Beautiful Wish
by 800ibgorrila

Chapter 6:  Mother's Love

George ran to the house in a panic.  A million worst-case scenarios flashed through his mind, visions of blood, chalk-lines, his mother, dead.  He burst through the open threshold expecting to see a scene out of a bloody cop drama.  Instead he could hear is mother's distraught voice tearfully giving someone a description of George.  He followed the voice to the kitchen where she was listing off George's physical attributes to a young patrolman while another was examining the pile of smashed dishes on the floor next to the breakfast table.

As he came into view Jessica gasped, leapt from her chair, and smothered him in a motherly embrace.

Sobbing, she cried, “Thank God, oh thank God!”

George was relieved but confused.  A moment before he had been imaging the worst and now, while relieved, he wondered what could have happened to put his mother in such a state.  Had they been robbed?  Were his sisters alright?

In any case, his mother's tight hug was making him uncomfortable and he disengaged from her as gently as he could.  “What happened?” he asked.

She wiped her bleary eyes as she answered, “Someone... someone broke in.  I thought... I came home....” she visibly took hold of herself and with forced calm said, ”I walked in and saw all this and called for you.  When you didn't answer I feared the worst.”

Burglarized?  He had only been gone a couple of  hours, three tops.  He scanned his surroundings for signs that the house had been ransacked, but the only damage had come from his earlier romps with Dawn. 

Then it hit him.  That was what she was referring too, he and  Dawn had left the house to go shopping without cleaning up the disaster left behind after their last escapade in the kitchen.  The pantry had been almost completely emptied, the sink was filled with dirty pots, and even though the perishables had been put away, most of the food he bought was sitting around the kitchen in flimsy grocery bags.

“W-what did they steal?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

“Just a few of your father's clothes.  I don't understand what someone would want with them though.  They must be over ten years...” Jessica paused as she realized what George was wearing, “George, where did you get those clothes?”

“I, uh, borrowed them from your closet,” he replied sheepishly.  There was no use in being coy, she would put the two and two together on her own, but George couldn't help it.  He knew this wasn't going to end well.

Her expression began to change as she started to get a glimmer of what had really happened.  Her lips stiffened into a thin frown, her soft brown eyes narrowed, and her face went from hot anger to hurt to disappointment.  Despite her obvious disapproval she asked calmly, “George, please tell me why you would...” she stopped.

George felt Dawn's gentle hands wind their way around his arm.  She looked at Jessica square, not flinching or embarrassed, merely making her presence known.  She exuded a quiet bravery, at peace with the fact that this could not be avoided.  George was in trouble and she was putting herself in the line of fire.  George was sure that if she only knew how terrifying his mother could become when she was truly angry, she'd be shaking in her booty shorts.  However, he noticed that Dawn had traded in her much too short shorts for a pair of capris, along with a bra.  She was definitely the smarter of the two of them, he thought.

“I see.  Officers,” she said quietly, “you can go now.  I'm sorry to have wasted your time.”

“Ma'am, are you sure this is your son?” asked the officer who had been taking down George's description.  He stared at his notepad, then back up to George with a confused look on his face.

She merely scowled at him.

Not needing to be told twice, the two men headed for the door.  One of them put a hand on George's shoulder and whispered, “Good luck.”  The sentiment didn't make him feel any better.

Jessica moved to the stove, where a kettle of water was beginning to steam.  “Would you like some tea?” she asked quietly.

George was too petrified to answer, but Dawn immediately stepped forward.  He screamed in his head Don't take the tea!  She's going to tear us a new asshole!  Don't take the tea!

“Yes, thank you, I would love some,” said Dawn.  George cringed.

Jessica's hands were shaking as she reached for two mugs from a nearby cupboard.  “How do you take it?” she asked.

“Um, however you take it.  I have not had much tea.”

Jessica began to pour, but the heavy kettle slipped and splashed boiling water on her hand.  She dropped the mug and it smashed to the floor with a sharp ceramic shatter.  “Goddamnit!” cursed Jessica as she nursed her scalded hand.  She knelt down to pick up the pieces.

Dawn immediately threw her purse on the table and moved to help with the cleanup.  George was tempted to help as well, but he knew from experience that when his mother was this pissed he should keep his distance and wait for her to tell him what to do.  He noticed that some of the contents of Dawn's purse had spilled across the table.  There was a half-used Chapstick, a few dollars with some change, and a few crumpled gum wrappers.  There were all typical things George knew would be in a woman's purse.  But what truly surprised him was the book that Dawn had stashed inside earlier.  It was a collection of stories by H. P. Lovecraft.  He thought it was an odd selection for her first read, but figured she was probably mislead by the author's name.

The women finished cleaning up the mess in silence, until Jessica added a very curt, “Thank you.”  She went back to making the tea and Dawn quietly moved to the kitchen table and sat down.  George sat next to her as far from his mom as he could get.

“So, I'm George's mother, Jessica.  And you are?” she said as she finished making the tea and placed a mug in front of Dawn.  Her anger over the situation was barely hidden behind a thin veneer of civility.

“It is very nice to finally meet you Mrs. Everhart.  My name is Dawn,” she said as she noticed the contents of her purse spewed across the table.  She scrambled to cram everything back inside.

“Dawn, what?” asked Jessica as she sat down.

Dawn's face turned ghostly white as she struggled to come up with a satisfactory answer.  George's mind went into overdrive as his eye's darted around the room for a something to remind him of a name.  Suddenly, he caught sight of the book Dawn had been trying to push back into her purse.  He just blurted out, “Lovecraft!  Dawn Lovecraft.”  He regretted it as soon as he said it.  How cliché could you get?  But it was out there now, and there was no explainable way of taking it back.  Under the table, Dawn's hand crawled into his.  She didn't look directly at him, but he could tell that she approved.

“That's an... interesting name,” said Jessica as she sipped her tea.  “Well, George, I guess if I'm going to really understand why you decided to freak me out like this, you'd better start from the beginning.”

George sighed heavily as he searched his thoughts for a place to begin.  As he hesitated, Dawn started to explain, “Well, you see, I was...”

Jessica cut across her, “Thank you Miss Lovecraft, but if you don't mind I would like to hear his explanation first.”

Dawn deflated in her chair and squeezed George's hand tightly.  She was beginning to understand what George already knew, his mom was nobody to bullshit.  He entwined his fingers with hers and gave her a gentle squeeze.  You're worth even this, he thought.

“I was at work,” he started, “I was having a really shitty day.  I was late, Rocko punched me in the face, and Linda made me stay for the late shift.”

“Wait, Rocko punched you?  Why?” said Jessica, a look of concern momentarily breaking through her anger.

“Why does Rocko do anything?  Because he's a fucking jerk, that's why.”  The memories of that day aroused a fury inside of George that he had forgotten about since Dawn's emergence, but he hadn't meant to test the limits of his mother's understanding at the moment.  Jessica wasn't fazed by his harsh language.  Instead she cursed something under her breath. 

“Anyway, I was sitting by myself, just like I always do, thinking about how much I hated my life.  I thought about quiting.  I... I thought about... lots of things, when Dawn walked in.” 

Dawn stayed quiet as this was the first time she had heard George speak of the events leading up to the discovery of her vessel.  She hung her head low and locked her eyes on their joined hands.  She caressed his index finger with her own.

“She didn't work there or go to school there, but all she wanted was a swim, and I needed some company.  So, I let her in.  We talked for a while.  She told me about herself.  She's from Phoenix, she just graduated high school, she was looking into colleges, and... she liked me.”  Dawn's hand squeezed his like she would never let go.  Jessica listened intently and said nothing. 

“I like her,” he glanced over at Dawn and made a quick, meaningful, eye contact.  “She's new in town and needs a place to stay.  So I let her stay here.  And, I don't want her to leave.”

“I see,” said Jessica as she reached an understanding.  She turned to Dawn, “So is that your scam then?  You find someone vulnerable, then get a few nights under a roof, steal everything of value and move on?”

“N-no that is not...” cried Dawn.  George stopped her.  Now he was angry, and he didn't care if it was his mother who said it or Adolf Hitler.  She had no right.

“Mom, I know I fucked up.  And I'm sorry for that.  You can yell at me, punish me, ground me till the end of time, but don't talk to her that way.”  It was all he could do not to scream at her, but Dawn's touch kept him grounded and prevented him from saying something he would probably regret later.  “If you have any faith in me at all, you'll trust me that she isn't like that.”

“And you know this, how?” she asked incredulously.  “I love you, but we both know that you aren't very experienced when it comes to this.  For all you know she could be on the run, or worse!”

“So far, all she's done is be polite to you!  You're always telling me to see the good in people, to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Why is it any different when I finally bring a girl home?”

“Oh c'mon, George!  Who goes across the country, by themselves, without some plan as to where they are going to stay?  I suppose she doesn't have any money either.  I taught you to be smarter than that.”

“First of all, she has no family, she grew up in an orphanage.  Secondly, I don't have any money either.  Only what you gave me, and she hasn't so much as looked at it!”  He took a sharp breath to calm himself.  “I understand why you are upset with me, but why are you taking it out on her? 

Jessica looked away from him.  She looked ashamed and confused, but still very angry.  “Fine, in the interest of finding out why my kitchen looks like the aftermath of a natural disaster, let's assume you're right and move on. ” 

Don't say something you'll regret  he thought.  He found it impossible to hide his scowl.  “Fine.  She spent the night, the next day we hung out and got hungry.  We were looking for something to eat but there wasn't much, so we got a little creative.”  He paused as he struggled to keep his explanation strictly PG, “But we got carried away.  I had meant to clean it up before you got back.  I thought you weren't coming home until tomorrow, so I wasn't worried about it.  Why are you home so early anyway?”

“That investment I had been tracking turned out to be a bunch of bullshit.  Run by two college kids who were trying to run a scam, so I came home early.  I figured you would be lonely here by yourself, so I was going to surprise you.  I didn't realize you had found ways to... entertain yourself.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” he asked pointedly.

“Nothing,” she said with a dismissive wave.  She took another big sip of her tea.

George continued, “As I was saying, I remembered that you asked me to go food shopping, so we went this afternoon.  But I didn't have any clean clothes that would fit me.  I found these in your closet.  I'm sorry, I didn't know... that you still kept his things.  I should have asked.”

Jessica looked away in an attempt to hide the sudden swell of emotions that made her begin to tear up, “Yeah, well, if you would do your part and keep your room cleaned up, and put your dirty clothes in the laundry room, you wouldn't need to go through my closet.”

“You know, you're right,” he admitted.  She was trying to change the subject away from what was really bothering her, George could tell, but she echoed what George had only recently come to realize.  “I need to take better care of myself, and my things.  I will, from now on.”

“So, thats it,” said George, ”after we finished shopping we dropped off the food and went to Walt's for lunch.  Then we stopped at a store on the way back.  When I saw the police car, and your car, I thought something really terrible happened.  I bet I was just as freaked out as you were.”

“Well, I didn't think about it that way.”  She took a deep breath along with another sip of her tea.  “Maybe I overreacted a little.  I just... when I saw the house like this... and you weren't around... I suppose I should have noticed that your car wasn't here, but I just panicked.” she wiped a tear forming at the corner of her eye.

“I'm sorry mom, I didn't mean to scare you.  Things have happened kinda fast around here.  I wasn't thinking.”

“Alright,” said Jessica, her anger dissipating, “you are going to clean up this mess though, right?”

George nodded.

“Okay.  I'm sorry I scared you and I'm sorry I overreacted.  I should have had a little more faith in you.”  She reached for Georges hand from across the table and gave it a reassuring pat, before finishing her tea.  “Now, George, will you leave the room please?  Miss Lovecraft and I need to have a chat.”

George and Dawn cast quick nervous looks to one another.  “Um, why?” asked George.

“If I'm going to let a stranger stay in my house, I'll need to interview them first.  I think thats fair, isn't it?”

Dawn squeezed George's hand so tightly he thought his fingers might pop off.  He had faith that Dawn would be okay, but he hadn't planned on throwing her to the wolf so soon.  He stroked her hand reassuringly, “I'll be upstairs then.” 

He leaned over and kissed Dawn on her temple, then he stood and headed for the stairs.  He made a lot of noise as he pounded his way up, and shut his bedroom door, but it was only so that his mother would believe he was out of earshot.  He moved back down the stairs very slowly and quietly, until he was sitting on the bottom step.  With his new body, moving silently was much easier.  He couldn't see them, but he could hear them perfectly.

He could hear his mother getting herself another cup of tea.  “How's your tea?” asked Jessica.

“Oh!”  She sipped fast, “Wow, this is delicious!  What did you put in it?”

“Just some milk and a little honey.  I have a cup or two every night.  It helps me unwind.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, save for the sound of tea cups rattling on saucers.  It seemed neither knew how to begin.  In one corner was the reigning female champion in George's life, and in the other was the challenger threatening to disrupt the status quo.  His mother had always tried to encourage him to be better, to get out in the world and mix it up, to chase his dreams.  But to have the fruits of her encouragement sitting across the table from her must have been quite a shock.  George wasn't sure for whom he felt more sympathy: Dawn and her inexperience, or his mother with her own.

“Well then, I'll just come out and ask it.  Are you two sexually active?”

George would have spit out his tea if he were drinking it.  Dawn however, seemed unaffected, “Yes, we are.”

“Are you using protection?”

“Yes.”  George forgave her for telling a half-truth.  The protection she was speaking of came from no normal means of prophylactics.  “And there is no worry of disease, George was my first.”

“You'll pardon me if I find that hard to believe.”

Another uncalled for remark.  Why was she acting so cruel?  There was silence for a few moments, George could hear Dawn sipping her tea again.  “There is nothing that I can say that will make you believe me at this point.  But I think that you will find, in time, that I am trustworthy.”

Another pause.  He heard Jessica stand up, along with a frustrated sigh.  He could hear her fumbling with some dishes in the sink.  Then she stopped, “You know, I really thought this would be easier.  I've always wanted George to find a nice girl.  It's just, George has been through a lot.  Not just with the teasing and the whole embittered geek thing he has going on.  I mean real trauma.”

“And you think, that I am going to build him up with false affection, and then leave him?”

“It isn't fair to assume that.  But that's how I feel.  I can see how he looks at you.  I haven't seen him act like that... well, ever.  If you take that away from him I'm afraid I'll lose him forever.

I'm not foolish enough to think that I can stop you two from going down whatever road you've already chosen.  But please, if you aren't a hundred percent serious about this, leave now.  I'll blame it on me, that I drove you away.  I'd rather that he hate me then have whatever is left of his soul be crushed by a passing fling.”

Dawn paused to sip some more tea before answering, “Mrs. Everhart, I appreciate your caution and your obvious concern for George's well-being.  I wish... I wish I had a mother who cared for me like that.  But George isn't some scam to me, or a fling, nor is he a guy I can change if I work hard at it.”  Her voice began to crack as she became more impassioned.  “I love your son.  I will always love him,”  George could tell that she was trying very hard not to cry.  “P-please believe me.”

Hang in there, thought George.  His heart ached to be with her.

“Have you told George, that you love him?”

“Yes,” whispered Dawn.

The dishes Jessica was washing made louder clinking noises, like they were being pushed around forcefully.  “Then there's no turning back now.  What did he say?” said Jessica, defeat evident in her voice.

“He didn't say anything, but, he cried.”

“Wow,” she sounded genuinely astonished, “that's way more than I've ever got out of him.”

“What do you mean?”

“I must have told him that I loved him a thousand times, but he always waves me off.  No 'thanks', or 'I know', or 'I love you too'.  It's like he thinks I'm just kidding.  But you actually made him cry?”

“Yes.  He wouldn't let me say it at first, but I felt like I had to.  He needed to know.  And then I said it and he broke down.  I may not understand why George feels the way he does, but I do understand what he is feeling.  I know how much it means to him to hear that we love him.  I would never say it unless I really meant it.”

Jessica was moving around the kitchen now, opening and closing cupboards as she put food away.  “You know, I can't remember the last time I saw George cry, or laugh, or smile. ”

“Mrs. Everhart, why does George have such a hard time telling someone he loves them?”

 George panicked.  Please don't tell her, mom!  She'll never look at me the same way again!  Please don't tell her about dad!

Jessica stopped roaming around the kitchen and sat down.  There was a pregnant pause as she searched for a way to explain.  “George's father, Henry...,” she said sadly, “he died a while back.  Let's just say, it had a profound impact on George.  He was only eight at the time.”

Dawn started to ask something presumably, but Jessica stopped her, “It really isn't for me to say.  It should be him who tells you, not me.”

George, on the verge crashing the conversation, felt a sudden wave of relief.

“Anyway, after that he changed.  He used to be so happy, he was a handful let me tell you.  He and his father were so close, more like best friends than anything.  And when Henry died, much of George died with him.  I tried everything I could think of to help him: therapy, drugs, I even remarried... nothing worked.”

George remembered all of her attempts to bring him out of his depression after the death of his father.  The therapy sessions didn't help because he didn't want them too.  The various psychologists and “spiritual healers” wanted him to accept his father's death as something that had to happen, something that made sense, something that would all go away if he let it.  The drugs only made him stop feeling, and that hurt even more.  And his step-father stopped showing an interest in him when it was clear that George would never accept him as even a poor substitute for his real father.

“Haley and Corina would freak out if they knew the George of old.  Haley has a big mouth, but her little jabs are nothing next to George's nuggets of wisdom.”  He heard her sip her tea and balk, “Would you like some more tea, hon?  Mine is cold.”  Jessica got up and fumbled with the kettle some more.  “You know, it's really sad, I don't think George has ever told his sister's that he loves them.”

“But, I can tell that he wants to say it.  It is on the tip of his tongue.  But then he gets this pained look on his face, like...like...”

“Like someone died.”

“Yeah.”

Jessica sat back down with fresh tea.  “I've seen that too.  I think, I'm not sure but I think, that he associates love with loss.  If he admits that he loves someone, even for a second, they'll leave him.  I'm his mother so I know he loves me, even if he never says it.  I can only imagine what its like for you, to put yourself out there and not have it returned.”

“He will say it when he is ready.  I have only known him for a few days, but one thing that I know for certain is that he feels more deeply than either of us can imagine.  All he lacks is the courage to show it.”

Another pause .  “I think you're right,” said Jessica.  She chuckled lightly.  “I have to admit, I think I might have been wrong about you.  When you walked in my first thought was of all those girls I grew up around, who got any guy they wanted just by turning off their brains and hiking up their skirts.  But I should have more faith in George.  He would never settle for a girl like that.”

“Thank you Mrs. Everhart,” the sincerity evident in her trembling voice.  “Do you think, we could start over?”

“I think we should.  I'm Jessica Everhart, George's mother.  It's very nice to meet you.”

“I am Dawn... Dawn Lovecraft, I am George's girlfriend.  It is an honor to finally meet the woman who raised such a wonderful son.”

That's my girl, he thought.

The topic strayed away from George after that, focusing on Dawn's fictional background.  Believing they would be finished soon, he headed back up the stairs quietly to wait in his room.  The last thing he heard before he closed his door was, “So, why don't you use contractions?”

“Um, I do not know, I just...”

George quietly closed the door to his room and paced back and forth as he waited for them to finish their chat.  Dawn had passed the test of his mother's wrath with flying colors, though he wasn't surprised.  He believed Dawn could do anything, and not just because of her powers.  She had a way about her that disarmed everyone.  You couldn't hate her, even if you wanted too.  She wasn't shallow or petty, or self-centered or rude.  Even in the face of outright hostility she never stopped being thoughtful and genuine.

He was more surprised by the way his mother had acted.  Sure, the kitchen was post-apocalyptic, and maybe he should have thought twice about going through her closet.  But to freak out at Dawn for just being there, his mother had always been much more rational than that.  He had always thought that, for a mother, she was pretty cool.  She kept her music tastes current, played video games; she even cussed in front of George without so much as an apology.  So why had she lost it so completely when she found out that he had gone into her closet?  Maybe there was something there that she didn't want him to find, something other than his father's clothing.

Bah!  What am I thinking?  This is my mom, not some Columbian drug trafficker he thought.  She's probably upset that I got into Dad's old clothes.  It probably reminded her of how much she misses him.  But the idea that his mother was hiding things from him was intriguing, and alarming.  He had always been too preoccupied by his own drama to worry much about her.  She always seemed so poised and strong.  But maybe there was more going on that he had been too self-absorbed to notice.  Maybe she was also in pain.  Lonely, just like he had been.

In any case, it was an odd thing for George to hear them talking about him that way.  He always believed that his mother had his best interests at heart, but he could have never imagined the depth of her concern.   Had he really been so callous as to disregard his mother's love?  He realized that he had made the same mistake with his mother that he had with his father.  He had taken her for granted.  But this time it was worse.  Not only had he assumed that she would always be there, he had downplayed her affection for him in an effort to shield himself from more pain.  The only upside was that she was still alive.  There was time to make things right.

He ruminated over the situation for an agonizing hour before plopping down on the bed.  He hadn't been tired up to that point, but the new bed's heavenly comfort lulled him into a dreamy haze.  He closed his eyes and imagined what it would be like to spend the night with Dawn in the cloud-like wonderland he had wished into being.  He could almost see her lightly tanned skin glistening with sweat, hear her melodious voice crying out in ecstasy, smell the tea-like scent of her hair as it fell around him, feel her entire body shiver out of post-orgasmic euphoria.  Just thinking about being close to her was enough to make him hard.  He rubbed his member casually as he dreamed of Dawn lying next to him, kissing him like he needed to be kissed, loving him just because he was him, and nobody else.  He was asleep before he even realized it, drifting off into a dream involving Dawn, a sandy beach, a hammock, the sunset, and gently lapping waves.

----------------------------------------------------------

The wind, the salty mist, the cold, they bit his face and eyes as he shot at breakneck speed across the water.  Exhilaration... invincibility... freedom.  They were all that mattered.  Speed, more speed.  The waves couldn't stop him.  Hit them harder, go faster, don't stop.

Too fast... too hard... the sea always wins.

A wave... too large.  No control.  A dull thud, a loud crack.  Where is he?  Where is dad?

There... face down.  The sky is gray, the sea is gray.  So why is the water red?

Save him.  You can do it.  Grab his hand, pull him up.  Swim, goddammit, swim.

Too heavy... too rough... too cold.  Can't do it.  Going under, water everywhere, can't breath.

Get to the boat.  Almost there.  Just a little farther.

Arms, legs, cramping.  Lungs heaving, choking.  Let go... he's dead... you can't help him.

Never give up... never stop... invincible... free...

You'll die... let go... you tried... it's over...

Hand slipping. 

Wake up... help me... I need you...

Too heavy... too cold... need air... I'm sorry...

Fingers slide free... he's gone... into the black.

Get to the surface... and breathe... but not live.

George broke the water's surface, sat up straight, and choked violently on air.  He was awake, back in his room, his old room. 

No.  Was it a dream?  Where is Dawn?  It couldn't have been a dream.  Please tell me it wasn't a dream!

His mother opened the door just a crack, and whispered, “George?  Are you awake?  You can come back down now.”

George was soggy and cold.  “Wei-what?” he asked shaking.

“I said, you can come back now.  Dawn and I are finished.  Are you OK?  You're sweating.”

Dawn wasn't a dream, he had awoken from a nightmare.  George fell back as relief once again washed over him.  “I...I'm OK.  I'll be right down.”

Jessica opened the door all the way and entered.  She sat on the edge of the bed.  “Honey, did you have the dream again?”

He didn't answer.  But his mother knew.  “You haven't had that dream for long time.” 

He was embarrassed.  He was a grown man, and was fiercely loved by the most amazing creature in all the universe, yet he just had an old nightmare.  “I get it every once in a while, when dad comes up in conversation.  It sneaks up on me.  I was feeling alright when I dozed off but, for some reason...”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

He sat up straight, “Not really.  There isn't much to say.  Same old stupid dream, I woke up just as I broke the surface just like last time.”

Jessica looked like she wanted to say so many things, but they had all been said.  “You know that... I don't blame you?  Right?”

George said nothing.  He knew she didn't.  She never had.  But sometimes he wished she would.  He wanted her to hate him for letting go, for being stupid, for being weak.  For so long he had felt like it was no more than he deserved.  She was the one person in the world who had every right to give up on him.  But she didn't.  While others feared him, loathed him, and took pleasure from his pain, she remained loyal, true, and hopeful.  It would have been so much easier to give in to grief long ago, but she wouldn't let him.

After a long silence in which it was clear George was finished talking about the subject, Jessica cleared her throat.  “Anyway, I got the chance to get to know Dawn a bit while you were sleeping.  She's a lovely girl.  I'm glad you were so picky and waited for a girl like her.”

“It wasn't a matter of being picky.  Girls just don't like me.”

Jessica put her hand up to stop him, “I don't want to hear it.  It's obvious now that that's a cop-out.  Dawn's living proof.  If you would have only shown some initiative and actually asked a few of them out, you wouldn't have been such a downer all these years.”

“Wow, mom, thanks.”

She brought her finger to her head like she was playing the dumb blond, “Oh, did I say that out loud?”

He pushed her playfully, almost shoving her off of his bed. 

“I'm sorry, I'm sorry!  Sheesh!” she cried as she batted away his attempts at de-bedding her.  “But really, you know what I mean.  There's no law that says you have to be alone all the time, George.  I don't care what you believe in that regard.  You deserve to be happy.  I just wish I could have taught you that sooner.”

“Actually, we went and saw Lindsey today.  It turns out that she's had a crush on me for years without me realizing it.”

She gasped, “My Lindsey!?  She told you!?”

“Well, no, Dawn kinda pointed it out to me.  Apparently, it was extremely obvious.”

“Oh, of course not,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “you'd have to be Dr. Phil to poke through that cloak of deception.”

“Wait. you knew?”

“Of course I knew!  She made me swear not to tell you a long time ago.”

“W-why didn't anyone let me know!?  Why did she tell you and not me?”

Jessica turned somber, “George, cut her some slack.  She's young, she is just as nervous about putting her feelings out there as you are.  And she didn't exactly tell me, either.  You have to understand, she has never had a mother, so she compensates by being one herself.  But she only does it to people she really cares about: her father and you.  That's how I knew.  Do you remember the last time we went to the beach?”

“Vaguely,” he said dryly.  He remembered all too well.  He had been tricked into going by his mom and Lindsey was there waiting for him.  He spent most of the time trying to avoid having to go into the water for fear of taking his shirt off.  While the rest of his family played in the surf, he and Lindsey sat on the beach.  George was busy sulking and waiting for them to go home, but Lindsey was badgering him constantly about sunscreen and drinking water.

“Well, I could see what she was doing.  She was so nervous about you seeing her in a bathing suit that she had reverted to caregiver mode.  Afterwards I confronted her about it and she just blurted it out, made me swear not to tell.”

George sighed heavily as he leaned back against the headboard.

“Are you mad?”

“No, I'm not mad.  Actually, I'm a little mad at myself.  Ever since Dawn came around I've been noticing all the parts of my life that I've been neglecting.  There's Lindsey, you, Hayley and Corina, college, myself.  So much of my life has been a waste.  I have to be better.  I can't keep going on like this.”

Jessica patted his knee, “I'm glad all it took was a hot girl showing you the good things in life for you to finally wake up.  And George, don't beat yourself up anymore.  Can't we let the past go?”

George caught her meaning and turned towards the window to avoid her gaze.  “I'm trying, mom,” he said finally.

Jessica stood up and headed for the door.  She stopped as she reached the knob, “Thanks for cleaning your room up by the way.  Another one of Dawn's good influences on you, I gather?”

He looked around.  Though it was his old room, it looked like the best possible version of that room.  He was confused at first but then he remembered that Dawn had said she was going to make a few minor changes.  He found himself missing this version of the room.  Even though it was from a difficult time, the place had been his sanctuary, his escape from the pain and disappointment that was his daily existence.    It was like growing out of a favorite pair of shorts.  You can't wear them anymore but you hate to throw them away because of all the times you put them on knowing that they were the perfect fit. George was struck by how thoughtfully Dawn had treated it in her alterations, even if she didn't fully understand why it was important to him.

Just thinking about Dawn was enough to break him out of his funk.  He felt alive again.  “She  threatened to put her clothes back on if I didn't.  Its amazing how fast you can clean when a hot naked girl needs a place to lay down.”

Jessica smiled as she playfully wretched, “Ugh, too much information!  Make it stop!”  George laughed and threw a pillow at her.  “OK, I'm done.  Come downstairs now.  I need to talk to both of you.”

As soon as she closed the door behind her the room reverted back into George and Dawn's love-nest.  The difference was all-together shocking, and a bit empty without Dawn there with him.  Maybe he had been too hasty in his wishes.  The huge bed and the stripper pole were lot of fun but they weren't really him.  Why should his room look like something out of a bad soft-core porn flick when that wasn't the person he really was?  Dawn certainly didn't mind.  Maybe he could get her to leave his old room intact (albeit the cleaner version he had now), and just pull out the “harem” room for special occasions.

He got up and went to the bathroom.  After splashing some water in his face and rubbing his neck with a towel he was feeling much better.  He took the opportunity to check his reflection in the mirror to make sure his new body had been maintained.  For some reason, he had become worried that Dawn was just a dream again, but his reflection told him otherwise.  Or at least, he was still in the dream.  Either way was fine by him, as long as it didn't end.

He followed the voices of Dawn and his mom down the stairs and into the living room.  They were sitting next to each other on the couch, pouring through old photo albums.

“Oh look!” cried Jessica.  “This is my favorite.” 

Dawn's mouth fell open.  “Is he...”

“Such a cute little tooshie.  To this day I can't remember why he was wearing a shirt but no pants.  Either I forgot to dress him properly, or he decided he didn't need them.  I suspect it was the latter.”

George knew which photo they were talking about.  It was from when he was only two or three years old.  He was watching his dad ride around on a quad behind their old house from behind a sliding glass door.  He was naked from the waste down with his face pressed against the glass.  His little behind dominated the photo.

As soon as Dawn caught sight of George she pulled the photo out and showed him as she laughed.  “You were hot stuff even then!”

George laughed in embarrassment as he sat down next to his dream girl.  Dawn and Jessica continued to ooh and ah at the various photos.  Some were from George's various Cub scouting trips with his dad, some were from the vacations the young family had made together, a few from family outings with other relatives.  The last photo in the album was of Henry and George side by side next to a large pool.  George had just taken the gold in a regional swim meet, and Henry was hugging him tightly.  His smile was huge and bright.  It was so infectious that people had actually told him to stop, that it was making them smile too much.

When they were finished Jessica closed the album and stashed it away.  Dawn pouted, “Aww, are their any more?”

“Unfortunately, no, not of George anyway,” said Jessica as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

“Why not?  He is so photogenic,” whined Dawn.

“Well, uh, he just got camera shy after that.”

“Mom, was their something you wanted to talk to us about?” said George in an attempt to come to her rescue.  It was foolish to keep things from Dawn, she would find out eventually.  But a part of George still wanted to spare her his drama.  Everything was going so well between them.  He hoped he could just forget the past entirely and focus on her.

“Yes, but I need more tea first.”  She got up and headed for the kitchen.  “Would you two like some?”

“None for me, thanks,” called George.

“I would love some more tea!” sang Dawn excitedly.

Jessica disappeared into the kitchen.  When she was far enough out of ear shot Dawn pulled herself into George as tightly as she could.  “Are you alright, Master?” she whispered.

George was again alarmed at the honorific.  “Y-yeah.  Why?”

“I sensed that you were in distress when you were in your room.  I wanted to go to you, but I could not think of an adequate excuse.  So I had to suggest to your mother that you join us again.  Is there anything I can do?”

“I'm OK, Dawn, really.  I just dozed off and had a bad dream.”

“Really?” she pleaded.

“Well, I'm definitely feeling much better now,” he said as he squeezed her.

Dawn looked even more concerned, “George, one of the reasons why I love you so much is that you are a terrible liar.”

“Dawn, it was just a bad dream.  You're acting like I was about to fall off a cliff.”

“Master, I am your Genie.  Would I not know the difference?”

Jessica reappeared with two mugs of steaming tea and placed one in front of Dawn, “There you go, sweetheart.”

“Thanks, mom,” Dawn said quite nonchalantly.

George couldn't believe what he had just heard.  “Mom?  She's calling you mom?  How long was I gone?”

“Just a couple of hours.  But we decided that since she has no mother, and since she is going to be staying here for a while, that I would do for now.”

“So, you're not going to kick her out?”

“No.  She may stay.”  George was about to jump for joy around the living room.  “However,” his jubilation halted, “there are conditions.”

Uh-oh he thought.  “What kind of conditions?”

“OK, rule number one: Dawn sleeps in the spare bedroom.”  George and Dawn visibly sank along with their hearts. 

“Rule number two: she pays a monthly rent of two-hundred dollars.”

“Wait, mom, she doesn't have a job.  How is she supposed to pay rent?”

“That isn't my problem.  And if I catch you paying her rent, I'm kicking you both out.”

“Aww, mom,”

“Don't you 'aww mom' me.  I think that's more than fair.  Finding a place to stay for cheaper than that is almost impossible in this town, especially for use of an entire house.”

George looked over at Dawn, who appeared to be a little uneasy.  He was sure she was capable of holding down a job, but he remembered how nervous he was when he went looking for a job the first time.  And he didn't need to worry about paying rent.

“Rule number three,” she continued as she began keeping track on her fingers, “no hanky panky or excessive PDAs in the house while your sisters are here.” 

George was about to protest when she stopped him, “I don't want to hear it.  This is important George.  Your sisters are still very young and whether you like it or not you are the dominant male influence in their lives.  The way you and Dawn interact is going to set the tone for their attitudes towards relationships forever.  If you two are making out all day long, touching each other, laying around like a bunch of horny logs, then the girls are going to think that that is what is acceptable for them to do too.  You have to set a good example, like you would if you were their father.  Lord knows, their father isn't putting any decent ideas in their heads with all his little girlfriends running around,”  She scowled.

George was crestfallen, but he knew she was right.  Still, keeping his hands off of Dawn was already proving to be a herculean feat.  He wasn't sure how he was going to last two entire weeks without at least sneaking a little something.

“Rule number five, er, four: Dawn, you have to do your part around the house.  You aren't going to be a maid or anything like that.  But if this house is going to be your home then you will have to treat it as such.  If I find that you are disrespecting the house or anything inside it, I'll have to ask you to leave.”

“My home?” she asked in wide-eyed wonderment.

“Yes.  This is your home now.  At least until you find out what you are going to do about your schooling.  But you can stay here for as long as you follow my rules.  Is that acceptable?”

Dawn had adopted a faraway look.  She mouthed the word “home” to herself and her eyes became misty.

“Dawn, honey?” Jessica asked as she tilted her head to make eye contact with her.

“Y-yes?”

“Is that OK with you?”

She looked towards George.  “My home?” she asked.

George had assumed she knew that any home he had would be hers as well, but then he remembered that due to their master/slave connection, this wasn't necessarily the case.  He could easily make her sleep outside if he wished and she would comply with a smile on her face.  He nodded.  She flashed him her heavenly, heart-softening smile.

She turned back to Jessica, “That will be very acceptable, thank you.”

“Great!” beamed Jessica. 

She moved over to Dawn and gave her a hug that would not have been out of place if Dawn had been her daughter.  George looked on in silence.  He was immensely pleased that the two most important women in his life had become close.  But as the hug lingered, he began to long to feel what they were feeling, and debated getting in on the hug himself.  He let them have their moment, though.  He had never been much of a hugger anyway.  It only made him feel inadequate.  It usually wasn't a big deal though, because most of his extended family hadn't extended him any hugs for quite a while.

“OK,” said Jessica as she pulled away from Dawn, “I've had a long day and I'm going to bed.  George, try not to stay up too late.  You have work tomorrow.”

“OK, mom.”

“Goodnight, all.”

“Goodnight,” they chorused.

After George was confident she was out of earshot, he sank into the couch, “Phew!  That was intense.  Sorry to have to throw you in the deep end like that, babe.”

Dawn laid down on the couch and rested her head on George's lap so that she was looking up at him.  “I admit, I was worried there for a second.  When you went rushing off towards the house I was confused.  I couldn't sense any danger in the house, but you were obviously upset about something.  I am glad it was just you're mother.  It could have been much worse.”

“Fuck yeah,” he said with a  heavy breath, “I thought someone was dead.  Are you alright?”

“I am fine, thank you.  I was very nervous, but your mother is not an unreasonable woman.  In fact, she is quite funny.  You should have heard all the things she told me about you when you finally went back upstairs.”

“Like what,” he said.  George became a little worried.  He had been a precocious youngster, and had many embarrassing adventures before he stopped feeling adventurous.

“Well, I have now pinpointed the exact moment in time when you discovered girls.”

George put his hands over his face.  “Oh no,” he groaned.

She giggled impishly.  “Now I have something to black mail you with when you become famous.”

“Hey, she came on to me, I swear!”

“Maybe, but that did not mean you needed to run around the playground screaming...”

“Please don't say it.  It's too embarrassing to think about, let alone hear out loud.”

“Very well.  But George, she still remembers.”

“Arrrgg,” he dramatized.  His face flushed a deep scarlet.

They both laughed.  But as the laughter died away, Dawn's face adopted a more concerned look.

“So, about the dream...”

“It was just a dream,” he said tiredly.

“Forgive me George, I do not think you completely understand how my protection powers work.  I am constantly monitoring you for any threat to your well-being, whether from an outside source, or from within.  These powers are always on, even if I am away from you, or otherwise occupied.  I do not even need to be conscious.  What I observed threw your body and mind into a state of near death.  Something inside you was trying to kill you.”

“I still think you're overreacting.  I've been having dreams like it for years now, and obviously I'm not dead.”

“It may have been a dream, but it is only a symptom, not the cause of your pain.  You are being consumed by something, little by little, from the inside.  I cannot put my finger on what, but it is there.  My powers do not lie...”

“Well, can't your powers protect me from whatever 'it' is?”

“My powers can protect you from anything, unless you prevent me from doing so.”

“Wait, do you mean that, I'm not letting you protect me?”

“Yes.  Consciously, and for reasons unknown to me, you are blocking me from affecting this corner of your mind.  While I do not actively read your mind or delve into your memories unless it is pertinent to your wishes, or would otherwise help me to blend more seamlessly into your world, this one, fairly large construction is completely off limits.  When my powers kicked in and attempted to spare you from whatever was hurting you, your mind decided that it would rather die than let me in.  The only thing that could have stopped me, was you.”

George didn't know what to say.  He leaned his back against the couch and let out a frustrated sigh.

“I do not mean to badger you, George.  I am just worried about you, that is all.  I will drop the subject if you wish.”  Her voice sounded wounded and crestfallen.

George thought hard about all she had said, and was reminded of Dawn and his mother's conversation.  They both loved him dearly.  Why couldn't he just accept that and move on?

“Look, Dawn, I trust you.  And I know what you are saying is true.  I just, want to forget the past, that's all.  I don't want think about all I did wrong, or what might have been.  I just want to be with you and leave all that stuff behind.”

“George, I want to be with you too, for as long as you'll have me.  But you know, just as I do, that it is impossible to forget.  You can cover anything up with all the happy memories in the world, but the darkness will still be there, and the longer you let this go, the more damage it will do.  I am not demanding you get help from me, but please, please take care of this.  You cannot ignore it forever, and my powers have the potential to keep you alive for a very, very long time.”

He knew she was right, about everything.  He had been trying to forget what had happened for eleven years and things had only gotten worse.  But confronting the past was even more terrifying.  “OK,” was all he could finally say.

“Thank you, George.  That is all I wish for you.”  She took hold of his hand and kissed one his large knuckles.

“By the way, shame on you for eavesdropping,” she said as she lightly bit his index finger.

“Hey, I was just looking out for you.”

“Nuh uh!  You were being sneaky.”  She scrunched up her face in mock anger and shook her finger at him, like he was a naughty dog.

He melted before her unfathomable cuteness.  His hand drifted to the curve of her belly, while his finger tips crept underneath her shirt.  She looked down at the gentle intruder, then looked up to meet George's gaze.  She bit her lip in a coy smile.

“And just where do you think you're going right now, mister?”

“Shh, I'm being sneaky.  You're not suppose to know.”

She giggled,  and whispered, “Oh, right.  What was I was thinking?”

Her hand moved to his, but didn't stop it.  As he moved higher, her fingers rested just on the top, enjoying the ride.  With his other hand George caressed her forehead with the back of his fingers.

He reached the bottom of her ribcage, and traced it upwards to the bottom of her breasts.  Her eyes closed, and he felt her shiver as she purred.  “I think I like it when you are sneaky.”

He could feel the soft flesh of her breasts clad in a lacy bra give way to his touch.  He dragged his fingertips all along their generous proportions, reveling in the forbiddeness of it.  He felt her nipples stiffen against his palms while her hand pushed him to touch harder.  Just a few days before, he had done nothing but wonder what a woman's breasts felt like, why they were so alluring, why he couldn't help but daydream about being close enough for a woman to give him their approval.  Dawn's ample mounds fulfilled all his expectations, and then some.  In the back of his mind he knew they were only breasts.  Every woman had them.  But it was special.  It was akin to going to an amusement park for the first time, an amusement park built to his specifications.  Everything was made for exploration and thrills and fun.  Her breasts were only the first ride.  The main attractions had yet to be visited.

But what it meant to be that intimate was something he could never have expected.  Genie or no, below him was a woman who's trust and affection allowed that she never keep from him.  Body, mind, and soul belonged to him.  She had accepted him as someone worthy of taking advantage of her if he wanted.  But she knew that he wouldn't.  The pleasure wrought from such intimacy was more than anything he could have ever imagined.

Dawn alternated between craning her neck to see what he was doing to her and looking up into his eyes.  She had the loveliest mixture of arousal, innocent curiosity, and reverent affection.  As she gazed up at him with her vibrant dawn colored eyes, she looked to be completely content.  She was exactly where the universe intended her to be.  There, in George's lap, she was home.  It made him feel really good to believe that.

He bent low to kiss her quickly on her inviting lips before switching his hand for hers.  She understood, and began to fondle herself as George followed her fingers inside the cups of her bra.  She bit her lip once more as she roughly tweaked her hard nipples.

His hand traveled back down over her stomach, his favorite part of her body, though he didn't know why, and reached the button of her capris.  He unfastened it.  She giggled as his fingers danced at the edge of her panties.

“You may be sneaky, George, but you are also predictable.”

“You're right, this is boring.  Lets go play some video games,” he smirked as he pulled his hand away.

“No-no-no!” she laughed as she pushed his hand back down, “I did not mean that I wish you to stop.”

Their fingers entwined and rested atop her belly.  “What do you wish, Dawn?”

She smiled heavenly once more and the grip on his hand tightened.  “I wish, so many things.  But,” she took his hand and guided it back under her pants to the edge of her panties, “for now, I wish for you to touch me, here.”

If she had wished that he jump off a cliff, he would have.  He slid underneath the elastic and felt the  hairs at the top of her mound.  She closed her eyes as he pushed down, deeper, through the silky hairs of her short bush, to the velvety skin of her folds.  He brushed his fingertip across her clit, eliciting a loud moan from Dawn.

“Shhh, babe, my mom's upstairs,” he said quickly.

“S-sorry,” she whispered, “please don't stop.  I will be quiet.”

He continued his ministrations.  He was very nervous, as he had never attempted to get her off in this manner.  He still didn't even completely understand her anatomy.  All he knew was that she liked what he was doing, so he continued as best he could.  He used two fingers and moved them in small circles around her clit.  Dawn guided his fingers into her slick vagina, covering them in her lubricating juices.  He understood, and let her guide him to where he needed to go.

As he stroked her sex, Dawn heroically held in her loudest moans, but a few muffled squeals still escaped.  George enjoyed watching her writhe below him.  One hand held his, the other kneaded her heavy breasts.  All the while she looked up at him with her heavenly smile, biting her lower lip whenever she felt the urge to make too much noise.

“Hey, babe, can I wish that my mom stay upstairs and not notice what we are doing until we are done, now matter how loud we get?”

“Y-yes,” she managed.

“Make it so.”

He felt the pleasant tingle in his mind once more that signified that she was reading the true meaning of his wish.  Her eyes flashed gold as the wish was accepted.  She let out the sharp yelp she had been holding in.  Unhindered by sound, Dawn let George hear her.

“Oh George, I have been waiting for this all day,” she cried.  “W-wait!  S-stop, please!”

George let up abruptly, worried that he had done something wrong.

Dawn sat up and swung her leg over to straddle him.  She placed her hands on his shoulders and leaned in to kiss him passionately.  “I was about to cum.  But I want to cum with you inside me,” she said breathlessly.

He kissed her back and said, “Strip for me.”

She giggled and smiled shyly, “Yes, master.”

She stood up, and kicked her shoes off.  Her hands moved gracefully along the sensual lines of her body, like they weren't her own hands but someone else's, who knew of places she had yet to discover.  Her pants were the first to go.  They were tight, and clung to her as if they were reluctant to let go.  She swayed enticingly as she peeled them off her mile-long legs.  Her light blue panties came into view.  She turned to show George how they hugged the curve of her butt.

George had seen her naked almost as much as he had seen her clothed, but watching her disrobe was blowing his mind.  Dawn noticed and blushed, even as her capris finally dropped to the floor.

“Are you pleased, master?” she asked knowingly.

George was slightly panting as the body he had been sneaking touches of all day long was finally being revealed.  But the anticipation was driving him wild.  The long lines indicating her athletic and feminine stems made her look healthy and strong, yet built for only one thing.

“You are the most...beautiful...” he stumbled, though he meant it sincerely.

She approached slowly, and lifted her foot to place it next to George's hip on the sofa.  He adopted tunnel vision up the length of her inner thigh, towards her wet pussy.  Instinctively, he reached for her calf, made easy by her knee pressing into his shoulder.  He massaged the smooth muscle in his large hands, and kissed her where the knee met the inside of her creamy thigh.  He looked up to see Dawn watching him enjoy her. 

“Would you like me to continue?” she asked, almost in a whispered.

He leaned his temple against the inside of her knee and nodded, her display evaporating words from his brain.

She brought both her knees down around his waist so that she was straddling him.  His hardened shaft nestled against her panty-clad mound.  Without another word, she began unbuttoning his shirt from the top.  He brought his hands up to stop her, a knee-jerk reaction from his days of feeling unattractive, but he was able to stop himself.  He instead rested his hands on her thighs.  Dawn quickly graced him with an understanding look before returning to her task.  It was so quick that he might have missed it had he not adored her eyes so much.  But that was where he felt most enthralled by her.  In her eyes was a promise of unending love that filled him with untold hope.  Without thinking, he leaned in to kiss her cheek, in thanks for letting him feel something he had only read about.

Dawn turned slightly so that she could meet his lips.  They kissed just like they had the first time, slow and sweet, like if they pressed further they would chase it away.  George felt himself melting away once more.  He gripped her thighs tightly as his soul became a little less broken, one step closer to the healing that his mother so desperately wished for, thanks to Dawn.

Finally, Dawn finished with the buttons of his white dress shirt.  She reached inside and caressed his naked chest, her nails tickling his pecks and abs, before deftly unfastening his belt.  His cock was only a quick tug away from being unrestrained.

George gripped her thighs even tighter in anticipation.  Suddenly, he felt Dawn's light touch pulling his hands northward, across her hips, to the bottom of her top.  She pulled away from their passionate kiss and smiled impishly as she lifted her graceful arms above her head.  She said not a word, but her intention was clear.  George slid his fingers under the top and peeled it up.  His hands lingered as they passed over the swell of her tits.  She looked down and arched her back, pushing her full breasts into his hands then smiled again as she watched him squeeze them lightly.

He continued, and pulled it off her arms, leaving her clad in her light blue panties and matching lacy bra.  She kissed him quickly once more and said, “Get this thing off of me, George.  It feels so tight.  I like to be free.”

George reached around, and after fumbling with the clasp for a very funny thirty seconds, he finally figured out how it worked.  Dawn tried to help by pushing herself forward to give him better access, but all that did was push her glorious mounds into his face.  The fact that it only took thirty seconds was a marvel.  She giggled the entire time.

Once the clasp was released, Dawn stood up and made a show of removing the straps one at a time.  She turned away, but looked back as the straps fell from her shoulders.  George had never really admired the back before.  Sure, he had spent much of his focus on her perky bottom, but her back had only ever been felt.  He could clearly see the muscles in her back recede as they curved in towards her trim waist, and then curve out as they met her butt.  Her long braided pony-tail hung loose down her spine.  She wasn't overly toned like a fitness queen, nor was she super skinny like a runway model.  She was a healthy mix of soft sensuality and raw sexiness.

Dawn let the bra fall away and posed with her arms curled above her head.  George could see the outline of her breasts even when her back was turned.  George examined every bit of her that he could see and secretly thanked the major Genie who created her.

Dawn turned around.  George was hoping he'd finally be able to see her topless as he had been thinking about it all day.  But she kept herself covered with her arms folded across her chest.  Her breasts mashed up and out, her arms giving her a support no bra was capable of matching.  She sashayed over to him and thrust her right hip towards him.  He suddenly noticed that her panties were now tied in two small bows where before they had been held up by elastic.  He didn't mind the change.

“Would you, George?  I have my hands full at the moment,” she said with a smirk.

He dragged his fingers up her thigh to the bow keeping her panties on and slowly pulled the knot loose.  The two halves fell away and she turned so that he could repeat on the left side.  He pulled the flimsy garment away from her and tossed it over his shoulder.  She quickly dropped to her knees, keeping her nakedness out of view.

Nervous and unsure of what do next, George watched in wonder as she positioned herself between his legs.  Once she was ready she beckoned him with one finger and come hither smile.  He leaned forward and their lips trembled against each other's as their passions become more inflamed.  She lifted her hands away from her chest and lightly caressed his face from his temples to his chin.

Suddenly, she pushed him back against the couch.  She winked, and moved in towards his dick still bound in his trousers.  She started by massaging its length from his balls to the tip, and wrapping her delicate hands around it.  George could feel the thin cottony material slide against him.  He enjoyed it tremendously, but longed to get his pants off so that Dawn could have full access.

“Oh, George.  I can feel you again.  I can feel what I am doing to you.”  Her eyes began to glaze over as their pleasures mingled within her.  “Do you want me to stroke your dick?  You want me to suck it?  Please let me suck it!”

George nodded dumbly.

“Please say it, George.  Tell me.  Order me.  Command me,” she pleaded.

George could have cummed in his pants right there.  “D-do it.”

“Do what?”

“S-suck my dick.  I order you to suck it!”

Dawn ripped his pants down and sucked his throbbing cock into her wet mouth.  She bobbed up and down rapidly, twisting her entire head around his pole.  She pulled in ragged breaths through her nose and made labored moans, sending vibrations up his shaft.  She was sucking his cock like she was on a mission, like she was possessed. 

George strained with all his might to stave off his orgasm.  He wasn't sure if it was due to his new body, or the fact that he had been having a lot of sex lately, or maybe Dawn was keeping him from going over the edge right away, but he was able to stay just out of reach long enough to really enjoy the sight of Dawn's luscious lips enveloping his cock.  Her big beautiful eyes were shut tight as she concentrated all her effort on giving him the perfect blowjob.  She braced herself against him with her forearms. 

George pushed a few heavy strands of her golden brown hair out of her face that had unwoven themselves from her braid and held them back.  Dawn shot him an appreciative look and even managed a smile around the long cock fucking her mouth.  Her eyes glistened as she worked.  George marveled at how much enthusiasm she applied to him.  She not only looked like she was getting off, but also like she was having fun.

As he felt himself approaching the point of no return he cried out, “OK, stop!  Wait, wait...”

Dawn took a long slow suck and his dick popped free from her vacuum-like grip.

Relieved, he took a huge breath.  “Okay, get up here.”

Dawn raised herself from the floor, but seemed unsure of what to do next.  “What is it, babe?”

“Well, um, do you want me facing you, or away from you?” she asked with an apologetic expression.

George held his arms out in as much of an invitation for a hug that he knew how.  She smiled heavenly, and crawled into his arms.  She straddled him like she had before, only this time his naked cock nestled itself against her bush.  She wrapped her arms around his neck, squashing her breasts into his chest in the process.  She just looked at him for a moment.  He didn't feel the tingle, but he got the impression that she was searching for something.

He chuckled nervously as he asked, “Are you okay, babe?”

She nodded happily as she suddenly came to her senses.  “I am very okay, George.  Are you ready for me?”

It occurred to him that he had been ready for her for a long time, before he even met her.  All he managed was, “Oh, I am so ready.”

She reached down between them and positioned him at her entrance.  She took him in, her eyes never leaving his even as they fluttered.  She paused once all of him was inside her.  She breathed a sweet euphoric sigh.  George had waited to hear it all day.

“George?” asked Dawn, as she basked in the feeling of finally being joined.

“Yes, Dawn?”

She leaned her forehead against his and whispered, “Thank you.”

George was confused.  She had just given him a blowjob.  Why was she thanking him?

As if reading his thoughts, Dawn answered.  “Thank you for taking me out today.  Thank you for standing up to your mother for me.  Thank you for being a kind master.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you.”

She kissed him.

She began to slide up and down his shaft slowly, still locked in their kiss.  It was so slow that George almost didn't realize she was doing it at first, so concentrated he was on her lips.  But the sensations in his cock radiating up into the pit of his stomach were too powerful to ignore.  George hugged her as tight as he could.

Dawn began to fuck him faster, being careful not to move her upper body so much as to break their kiss.  She breathed her pleasure into him.  Her muffled cries echoed through him and cast away all worry and self-doubt.  Faster and faster she went, bucking on his cock while George held on to her for dear life.

She leaned forward to get a new deeper angle into her sopping pussy.  Instead of bouncing, she rolled her hips like the wheels of an out of control freight train.  George's cock felt like it was being given a blowjob from ten Dawn's at once where one would have been too much.  His cock went from warm to cold and back again in rapid succession as her ass rolled off of him and slammed back down.  Her pony-tail dangled helplessly as her back curled and knocked it senseless. 

Finally, it was too much, and Dawn flung her head back to let out a cry George didn't know girls could make.  Her voice was broken and ragged.  “Oh yes, George!  Fuck me!  Fuck me!”

She came hard.  Her pussy clenched even more tightly around his engorged cock.  Then it quivered, even as she continued to ride him.  “Cum in me, George!  I want to feel it inside me!  I want to feel your hot cum fill me up!  Oh, Master!”

With a guttural moan he erupted up into her.  His cock pulsed as long ropes of his seed splashed against the walls of her pussy.  She felt his orgasm too and it triggered her own.  She leaned her head on his shoulder and was nearly crying as the pleasure emanating from George's cock overtook them both.

After a few minutes of wheezing, their breathing started returning to normal.  Though they were loath to move and break the physical connection that reflected the emotional one that had formed so powerfully over the course of just a few days.  George's cock softened slightly, though not completely, but just enough to let some of his cum dribble out and down his shaft.  Dawn's head still rested on his shoulder, but she wrapped her arms around his neck in a loving hug.  She whimpered as she planted tender kisses on his cheek.

“T-thank you,” she whispered softly too him.

“George!”

It took a moment to register that his mother was calling him from upstairs.  He was tempted to ignore it, but then he heard footsteps.  He suddenly realized that she would see them in a matter of seconds.  George panicked, but couldn't bring himself to move with Dawn so wonderfully intertwined with him.  All he could do was cringe as the footsteps fell closer.  In the few seconds he had before his mother found them, all he could think about was how terrible it was going to be when she reconsidered her decision about Dawn.

“George,” said Dawn. 

He had been expecting a violent outburst from Jessica, not Dawn's sweet whisper.  “Yeah, Dawn,”

“I have slowed time for a moment.  We should have enough time to make ourselves presentable before mom sees us.”

“Can you do that?  I mean, can you stop time without me wishing for it?”

“I have only slowed it; I cannot stop it all together.  And I can use my powers for you if it involves sex to a great enough degree and I am sure you would want me too, even if you are too preoccupied with...” she looked down at their coupling, “...other things.”

“I'm not going to argue with that.  Let's get dressed.  And, thanks for looking out for me, babe.”

“You're welcome,” she said happily.

After a couple of wishes to get them looking presentable again, George had her resume normal time.  All Jessica wanted was her glasses, which she had left on the coffee table in the living room.  She was a bit perplexed as to why she didn't think to check there earlier, but dismissed the notion quickly and went back to her room.

“So, what are we going to do tomorrow?” asked Dawn cheerfully.  Her post orgasmic glow was hard to ignore.

“Well, I have to go to work and you need to find a job.  I suppose I could ask Chip tomorrow if the camp has any positions open.”

“Who is Chip?”

“Oh, he's the camp director.  Nice guy, really fat, you'd love him.”

She punched him playfully in the shoulder.

“So how would you like to try your hand at being a camp counselor?”

She sank slightly in trepidation, “Is it hard?”

“Nah, not for you.  It's going to suck though because I won't get to see you most of the day.”

“Aww,” she said with a quick kiss.  “Remember, George, I am always only one wish away.”

“I know.  Man, this is going to be fun.  I'll finally work with someone I actually like.  Well, I mean, except for Karen.  She's pretty cool.”

She pulled out her now trademarked playful gasp, “Who is this Karen?”

He laughed nervously, “She's just a girl I was infatuated with.  Hey, hey, don't get any ideas.  She's dating someone already.”

Dawn became excited when George mentioned he liked Karen.  “I did not say anything,” she said defensively.

“It's a moot point anyway.  She's going out with Rock...” George's face went white.

“What is it, George?” she asked worried.

“Dawn, can you use your powers to check on someone?”

“For sexual purposes, yes?”

“Could I... prevent a rape?”

Dawn's eyes went wide with alarm.  “Yes, of course.  But, how...”

“Let's go upstairs.  I had better tell you everything.”

--------------------------

Karen switch on the lights in her bathroom and took a moment to check her appearance.  She had spent the last two hours primping and preening in preparation for her date with Rocko.  Now that he was late she found herself pacing around her apartment, sneaking nervous glances at her reflection whenever the opportunity presented itself.  All the waiting was forcing her to constantly reevaluate her decision to go out with Rocko for a second time.  She knew it had to be done, but why couldn't he be different?  Why did he have to be such an immature jerk?  Why couldn't he be more like George?

Her long shiny chestnut hair had been curled and it framed her exotic looking face.  She wore a pair of her favorite skin-tight blue jeans and a pink t-shirt.  While the shirt was not unflattering, it was nothing compared to the plunging neckline she would have normally worn.  She spent a lot of time on her appearance.  She liked being pretty.  But lately, she wondered who she was being pretty for.  It wasn't for herself.  And if it was only so she could be attractive to guys like Rocko, then what was the point? 

A combination of French and Italian heritage, Karen had always been admired for her beauty.  It opened many doors for her and earned her sympathy when she desperately needed it.  But it was also her curse, attracting many unsavory men interested in nothing but sex.  Deep down, she knew Rocko was one of those unsavory types.  But that seemed to be the only type of guy she could attract. 

Rocko had acted gentlemanly throughout their time at the water park and dinner afterwards.  She had been fairly excited when he brought her to see the view from the oceanside bluffs.  She knew what he was doing, and she was planning on letting him have a little fun.  But she couldn't believe that he had gone as far as he had.  Karen was no virgin, but she wasn't one to give it up on the first date, or even the third date.  But Rocko had other ideas. 

They had started with some light touching and kissing in the backseat of his car, which turned into a tonguey smooch.  He wasted no time before grabbing handfuls of her breasts and groping them vigorously.  While she didn't appreciate Rocko's rough treatment of her body, it wasn't beyond any lines she had promised herself she wouldn't cross.  It was when he began to slide his hands down to the button of her jeans that she put on the brakes.

“Not yet, Rock,” she had whispered as sweetly as she could, “let's save that for another day.”

He didn't respond, but pulled the button loose and dove into her panties.  Karen began to panic and grabbed hold of his wrist to stop him, but Rocko was too strong.

“Rocko, stop.  Stop!” she yelled.

“Oh c'mon, girl.  Don't be like that,” said Rocko.  He had turned on his tender voice to try and melt her defenses, which flew in opposition to the unwanted treatment of her body.  He continued to press further down, into the curls leading to her sex.

Angry and terrified, Karen bucked and squirmed as powerfully as she could to break free.  It was no use.  With one arm wrapped around her and grasping her breast, the other moving closer to it's prize, there was no way for her to break free.  She began to tear up as the inevitability of the situation dawned on her.

“Please, Rock!  Please stop!  I don't want it like this!” she pleaded.

Rocko cooed, “Didn't we have a good time?  All I want is a little bit in return.  So stop playin' hard to get already.”

Karen started sobbing as Rocko's pushed his large fingers into her pussy.  “N-no!  I wanna go home!  Please take me home!”

“I'll take you home.  Let's just leave this night off right.” He pulled his fingers out of her and reached for the zipper of his shorts.  After a few moments of fumbling with his underwear he took out his cock.  Once again, he returned to his tender voice, “C'mon, all I want is a little bit.  It'll be fun.”

Karen considered her options.  If she continued to resist, Rocko would just take her against her will.  But maybe she could get out of this without having to go all the way.  “O-okay.  What if I jerk you off?  After that, will you take me home?” she asked as she wiped her eyes.

He gave a broad, predatory smile, “Girl, If that's what you want to do, I won't stop ya.”

Karen leaned over his lap and took hold of his cock.  It was bigger than any she had touched before.  If she hadn't already been forced into this position, she would have been intimidated by it's proportions.  She wondered briefly, how much of it she would be able to take.  If only he weren't forcing her, she might have enjoyed finding out.

She was good at stroking a cock.  It was something she enjoyed doing.  With her ex, she loved to idly stroke him during a movie, or in the car, or anytime she could get him to herself.  It was easy and fun, and he had loved her for it.  But now it was a task that if not completed would mean dire consequences.  She used every physical trick she had learned.  The mental ones were more intense, and hid the real pleasure, but they required a more patient partner.

Even so, it hadn't taken very long.  Rocko was simple, and liked it as fast as she could go.  Karen's only warning was when he leaned his head back and groaned loudly.  The first stream shot straight up to her nose.  The rest in a gooey mess around her hands.  When he was finished he stuffed his cock back into his shorts, and thanked her.

“You see?  I told you that would be awesome!”

“Yeah, that was... great,” she said hopefully.  “C-can you take me home now?  I have to go to work tomorrow.”

“Yeah, me too.  Lets get out of here.”  He climbed into the driver's seat and sped away from the oceanside bluff.  Karen stayed in the back, with Rocko's spunk leaving a mark on her that she would have trouble letting go of.  Since he hadn't given her anything to clean herself with she wiped it underneath the seat.

The entire way home Karen fought the urge to cry.  She had been less upset about Rocko's assault than her own foolishness for putting herself in that situation.  She had moved to this town to get away from her stalker ex-boyfriend and her family's condescending attitude.  She liked her classes and teachers at Stafford, her friends at the day camp she worked at, and she loved the children she was charged with looking after.  But she had fallen into her old routine of dating guys who were completely wrong for her.  She had held out hope that she could find a nice guy who would treat her like a lady instead of some fuck-toy.  After two years of one bad boyfriend after another, Karen was about ready to give up.  Was this to be her destiny, to pass from one poor relationship to another?

The next day at work she had found herself in a sour mood as she ruminated over her situation.  It didn't help that she had to see Rocko at least twice a day when she brought her kids into the pool for their swimming lessons.  Rocko had been so cute to her once.  He had short sandy colored hair, a fresh looking face like a member of a boy-band, and a beautiful chiseled body.  He had a look not unlike Tom Cruise in Risky Business: boyish and charming with a huge smile, but in a man's body.  But now, he had the face of the boys who had wronged her in the past.

There had been one other boy at work that she was interested in.  The advanced swimming coach at the pool.  George was his name.  They didn't talk much, but she could tell there was something different about him.  He was about as tall as Rocko without the model quality body, but still cute.  He kept to himself mostly, but turned into a gentle giant whenever he was with children.  He had such a way with them.  He was firm, but fair and kind, and there was a protective big brother like affection he held for them.  The children trusted him almost automatically.  She had heard rumors from some of the other guards that he was a loser and a nerd, and once did something gross in the shower with cheese or a cat, or something like that.  She never understood why the others belittled him so much, but she payed these rumors no mind.  She could tell that George was one of the good guys. 

She made it a point to help him with his swimming lessons, for which he was always thankful. She started wearing swimsuits around him that weren't completely appropriate for work with children, and George took notice.  Out of the corner of her eye she could see that George was sneaking glances.  It excited her to know that she could attract a good guy too.  But he never made a move.  The most she could get from him was a kind word here and there.  It was frustrating, but she supposed that was what made good guys good.  They didn't just walk up to someone and ask.  They thought about it.  They agonized over it.  To be both desired and revered  was something new to her, and she liked it much more than she thought she would.

He had been the only person that day to show concern for her.  It had gotten around that she had given Rocko a handjob, and she could only guess that rumor had started, though there was no mention of the fact that Rocko forced her into it.  But George seemed oblivious to the gossip when he finally approached and asked if she was alright. 

She panicked.  She made an excuse and blew him off.  But that wasn't what she wanted to do.  She wanted to pour her heart out to him, to tell him all her problems.  She knew he would listen and maybe even help her.  But she was afraid of what would happen if he knew how messed up she was.  She tried to walk away, but stopped, and asked a question that had been haunting her for years.

“Why can't more guys be like you?”  She could hardly believe she said it.

But he answered, as thoughtfully as a good guy should, “Because if they were, you wouldn't date them.”

How right he had been.  For her entire life she had been bounced from one damaging male to the next.  First her father, then every boy she ever dated.  It was almost like she needed to be abused to feel loved.  But George was wrong too.  If he would have only asked her, she'd have gone anywhere with him.

But they parted, and Karen felt terrible.  She didn't deserve a guy like George.  When putting herself in his shoes she realized it must have taken a lot of courage to do what he did.  But she pushed him away.  She made him feel bad for wanting to help her.  She sunk even lower as the day wore on.  When she went back to the pool for her second swim period her first inclination was to find George and apologize.  But upon seeing him sulking by himself at the far end of the pool, Karen lost her nerve. 

“Damnit,” she thought, “why can't you just ask me?  Why can't you stop being a good guy for just a few minutes?”

As the day ended and the children gathered in the courtyard to be picked up by their parents, Karen learned that one of her campers had forgotten their towel in the pool area.  Seeing this as her last opportunity before the weekend to talk to George, she almost sprinted back to the pool under the guise of finding the towel before the camper's parents arrived.

As she reached the entrance to the locker rooms she froze as she noticed Rocko with his friends Eric and Russell leaving the boy's entrance.  Rocko and Eric were high-fiving each other.  Russell followed close behind, but looked particularly glum in comparison to his friends.  Karen and Rocko's eyes met and he flashed her his dazzling smile.  For her part, she managed to fake a nervous grin.  She hoped he would pass her by.  Instead, Rocko dismissed his friends and strode over to her with his broad chest pushed out and his arms flexed.

“Hey there, pretty girl.”  Rocko's gaze scanned her form from head to toe.  It made Karen even more uncomfortable.

“Um, hi,” she said nervously.  She folded her arms across her chest and rubbed them like she was cold.

“So, I was thinkin', there is this really cool movie comin' out today.  Me and the boys was gonna go, but I blew them off to go with you.  How does eight o'clock sound?”

“Is he serious?” she thought.  “Is he really so clueless that he doesn't even know how upset I am?  No.  Not this time.  I'm going to be strong.”

“Sorry, Rock, I have plans tonight.  I'll call you this weekend if I'm able.”

“Aww c'mon, girl.  I already told my friends I was gonna... gonna take you out instead of hangin' with them.  Don't leave me hangin', girl.”

Rocko looked so pitiful to her all of a sudden, like a child who wasn't getting his way, on the verge of throwing a temper-tantrum.  “Don't call me girl.  My name is Karen and I said I couldn't tonight.”

“Okay, Okay, I'm sorry g... Karen.  How about tomorrow then?”

“I... I don't know.  I'll call you.”  Out loud she faltered, but inwardly her resolve was iron-clad.  She swore she wouldn't let herself be the victim again.

Karen walked briskly through the girls locker room.  She'd show Rocko, she'd show her father, she'd show herself that she deserved better.  She was almost giddy as she approached the stairs leading up to the pool.

Karen almost knocked into George as he left the boys locker room at the same time.  Startled, she broke into a hurried explanation as to why she was there, when she noticed that George's left eye was swollen and black.  He looked like he had been in a fight.

Instinctively, she brought her hand up to touch his face.  She wanted to heal him, to take care of him, but George pushed her away.  He turned in shame, saying something about falling on a bench.  But George looked like he had been gut-punched.  Nobody became that emotionally damaged over a simple fall.

As he walked away, he said something that would haunt her for the rest of the weekend. 

“You can do whatever, I don't care.”

Her heart felt like it had been ripped from her chest.  Destroyed, all she could manage was a meek, “Okay...”

As George disappeared all of her hopes and dreams vanished into nothingness.  She walked to her car in a daze, forgetting all about her campers.  The entire time, she attempted to unravel how her world had changed so suddenly.  She had gone from marching up to the gates of Heaven without a doubt in her mind to falling end over end into the deepest pit.  It wasn't until she reached her old second-hand SUV that she began to make sense out of what had just happened.

“Had George heard that I gave Rocko a handjob?  Does he think I'm some kind of whore?”  Karen knew he hadn't really fallen, George was easily the worst liar she had ever encountered.  Then she remembered Rocko and his crew leaving the locker room just before she entered.  Rocko must have done it.  The question that baffled her was why.

But all of those thoughts were second to George's words.  She replayed them over and over again in her head, and each time she did it felt like she was being stabbed.  “...I don't care.  ...I don't care,” over, and over. 

Her hands shook as she fumbled with her keys and started up the car.  When she began to pull out of the parking lot, she found herself unable to concentrate on the road.  Her vision blurred with tears as she pulled over into a gas station less then a mile from the college.  She buried her face in her arms, leaned against the steering wheel, and surrendered to despair. 

She knew then that she had been a fool.  No man would ever love her, especially not a man like George.  She wasn't pure enough, she wasn't innocent.  She was a miserable little slut, just like her father had called her.  She deserved to be used, to be abused.  She was a victim, it was all she'd ever be.  She felt like nothing.

Karen spent that night and most of Saturday alone in the darkness of her bedroom.  She curled herself into a ball in an attempt to become as tiny as possible.  If she could have disappeared, she would have. 

Her only contact with the outside world came from her roommates knocking on her door to see if she was okay, and the solace crushing phone calls from Rocko.  He must have left ten messages on her machine before she finally picked up.  She didn't even know what he was saying, but it didn't matter to her.  She knew what he wanted.  There was no use resisting.  Whether it be Rocko, or some other guy, they would take it from her eventually.  She thought about running again, but no matter where she went there would always be guys like Rocko who would take advantage of her.

She heard something about being ready for Sunday night.  “Might as well get it over with,” she thought.  She agreed. 

That night, Karen fell into a restless daze in which she only caught fleeting glimpses of sleep.  In the hours between her naps she lay there staring at the clock, thinking.  She wondered what her father would say about this.  She could imagine nothing constructive.  But she found, in spite of herself, that she missed him.  But that was part of the problem: seeking shelter in the jaws of a monster.  She flirted with the idea of going home, but it felt so far away.  Not that she ever really had a home with her family to begin with.  But what she thought about most was George.  She wanted to know what he was doing.  She wanted to imagine that he was thinking about her. 

Sunday morning came and went.  It wasn't until some time around noon that she climbed out of bed.  She prepared herself for her date with enthusiasm reserved for a dog going to the vet.

Eight o'clock finally rolled around and still no Rocko.  If he was going to rape her, he could at least be punctual.

Eight forty-five, and Karen's nervous wanderings were finally broken by the sound of Rocko's supped up Trans-Am pulling in front of her apartment window.  He honked the horn impatiently, the bass from his stereo shook the neighborhood.  Karen took one last look at herself in the mirror, breathed deep, and headed downstairs to meet him.

---------------------------------

“I'm such an asshole,” said George.

“Oh George,” sighed Dawn, “there was no way you could have known.  And besides, you had just been punched in the face.  She will forgive you.”

He and Dawn lounged on his old bed.  George laid on his back with his head near the edge while Dawn  propped herself up with her elbows as she lay on her stomach beside him.  She was playing a video game on George's small TV while she allowed him to observe Karen and Rocko's date as it unfolded.  The two were dressed for bed, with George in an old pair of now very baggy sweatpants and a white undershirt, and Dawn in a set of traditional looking sky blue pajamas, but made of the finest silk imaginable.  George made it a point to keep at least a finger touching her at all times.

“Maybe.  I feel like shit anyway.  I mean, I could have really helped her and I blew it.  I don't even deserve to be her friend.”

Dawn's on-screen avatar lost a life as she sighed once more in frustration.  “I really do not understand all this nonsense about people not deserving one another.  If you do not at least believe it is possible then how would you ever find anyone.  Rocko certainly believes he deserves her.  And as despicable as he is, he still gets the girl.”

“Wow.  I never really thought about it like that.”

Dawn quickly apologized, “Sorry, I did not mean for it to come out so strongly.  But I would hate to see someone hurt but for a simple lack of confidence.  You do deserve her.  And she deserves you.”  She giggled unexpectedly, “And I deserve to watch.”

George smirked, “There you go again.”

“It is literally a one track mind.”  She raised her rump off the bed and wiggled it for George.

“So what do you think I should do?”

Dawn placed her controller on the floor and moved closer to George so she could rest her chin on his chest.  “I think you should do what you know to be right.  You said before that with great power comes great responsibility.  If you truly believe this then we must help Karen now.”

“But what if she finds out about you?  What if Rocko found out?”

“They will not, unless you want them to.  But you know this.”  She crawled upwards so that she could gaze upon him.  “What is really bothering you?”

Dawn's heavenly piercing eyes bore right through his defenses.  He cringed as he admitted, “What if I make things worse?  What if I screw up again?”

Dawn placed her finger on his lips and gently quieted him, “George, things have become this way because you did not act.  You know, much better than I, that it is time for you to stop running and start acting.  And if things become worse we will deal with it, together.  The rewards for inaction are that things stay the same.  But the rewards for being a hero are... vast.”

George pulled her closer and embraced her.  “Be the hero?” he asked.

She nodded.

“Okay, maybe this one time, I'll make a wish.  But only to make sure she isn't raped.  I don't think I could stand it if something like that happened to her again.”

Dawn sat up straight and clapped her hands together.  “Very well.  Hmm...” she looked as though she had come to some conclusion.

“What is it?”

“I was just thinking, this is the first time that I will use my abilities to save somebody.  I feel like a character in a video game!”

George laughed, but he had to admit that he did as well.

“Okay, I wish...”
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