Now that Megamax is finished and on the shelf at Amazon, I’m back to work on my main WIP, Winter of the Drill.
I decided to share a moment with Charlene, who is beginning to question her feelings for Rudy Valdez, who happens to be the partner of her lover, Decker.
This takes place in the early morning hours, after Decker and Rudy have returned from a “job” that did not go as planned.
I’ve always enjoyed this quiet, emotional little piece, and I hope you will, too.
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Charlene prowled through the house while the minutes ticked toward dawn, turning on a small lamp when she left the hallway and entered the living room. The lamp shone a faint light, just enough to avoid falling over the furniture, but Charlene could have navigated the room blindfolded.
She contemplated curling up on the sofa to watch the stars, which she often did when she needed to unwind, but decided on a quick detour through the kitchen first.
A cup of hot cocoa sounded wonderful but also seemed to be too much work. She settled on a bottle of peach flavored water and a bag of animal crackers, taking both into the living room and opening the drapes before getting comfortable on the couch.
The room was suddenly too quiet, and she reached for the stereo remote. Music flowed from the speakers, prompting her to sing along with Barry Manilow while he told the tragic tale of Mandy, who came and gave without taking.
Barry followed that song with another of her personal favorites, his voice lilting beautifully when he assured her that he would see her when the good times came again.
“Sing it, Barry,” she sighed, helping herself to another cookie. “Get me through the night.”
She knew that she might fall asleep where she sat, wrapped in music, across from the big picture window and the stars that sprinkled the sky overhead. The excellent soundproofing in the basement would prevent her from overhearing anything that went on beneath her feet, and if Decker happened to come upstairs, he would move through the house as silently as a wraith. Either way, she could pass the remaining predawn hours in undisturbed slumber before waking to a new day, rested and ready to handle whatever needed to be handled.
She could, but she knew that things would go differently.
A faint sound caught her attention, and she cocked her head, but it was not repeated. She started to stand, then changed her mind and leaned back against the cushions. Rudy was fine, there was no reason to check. He would call if he needed her.
Two minutes later, she stood next to his bed and watched his face while he slept. His dark hair lay against the white pillowcase in stark contrast, and she took a lock between her fingers, enjoying its silky feel. His brow furrowed and she rested her other hand on his shoulder, her fingers moving lightly over his skin until his features relaxed.
The CD had played through, so she restarted it, knowing that the music would be better for him than any pill. After adjusting the volume, she turned back to the sleeping man, her breathing unconsciously matching the steady rise and fall of his chest.
A sudden thrash of his leg kicked the blanket away, and she reached to cover him, hoping that he would not wake. He turned slightly, and her gaze fell upon a puckered line that started above his hip and disappeared beneath the waistband of his briefs. She could not stop her hand as it crept forward to touch the scar, nor could she avoid the remembrance of that horrible night.
Her attempt to push the memory away was unsuccessful, and she was forced to relive those long hours when their kitchen had served as a makeshift OR, and Rudy’s blood had spattered the floor.
One of these nights you won’t come back, she thought dispassionately. I know it, and I’m ready. But I pray every day that it won’t happen soon, and I’m sure as hell glad it didn’t happen tonight.
His face was beautiful in slumber, unlined and free of pain. On impulse, she leaned forward and touched her lips to his forehead.
“I love you,” she whispered, spreading the blanket over his body again. “Right or wrong, I do. I can’t help it, and I’m not sure I want to.”
Satisfied that all was well, she left the room and returned to her place on the sofa. She sat down just in time to hear Barry tell her that some good things never last.
No shit, she thought sarcastically. She was a realistic woman and under no delusions about the life that she lived, or the men who shared the living with her. Memories of picnics and holidays, of summer nights under the stars and light-hearted conversations around the kitchen table were momentarily pushed aside by Rudy’s scar, the blood on Decker’s face and the way that Hunter had favored his shoulder. Listening to the remainder of the song, she felt a chill ice her body that she knew no blanket could warm away.
“I know it won’t last,” she said aloud, toasting Barry’s voice with her bottle of water. “The good things never do. In this world, only the bad survives.”
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Thank you for stopping by my blog. I will be back soon with a book review of another awesome book.
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