Snowed – Part 53


snowed cover image for blogGabe is thrilled with the offer, since he just lost his job and had no idea what he was going to do. Cleo is delighted to hear that Gabe, Mike and Sarena all want to work for her and Drake. 

“He wants to know when you can start!” She called to us from the kitchen.

“How soon does he want us to start?” I shouted back.

“Yesterday,” she replied.

“I can do that!” I kissed Sarena on the nose. “Well, darling, it looks like we have a new job.”

“He’s flying up tomorrow to put things in motion. He’ll stay to meet Gabe.”

“Well, on that note, I believe it’s time to start some dinner. Fried chicken and all the fixin’s at my house,” Jesse invited casually.

“Are Ma and Chester coming?”

“Yes, sir. He’s agreed to break with tradition and try my food. I promised him down home cookin’ and that’s just what he’ll get. Cleo, we got our work cut out.”

“Can I help?” Sarena asked.

“Y’all come keep us company. I got my own way of doin’ and if I got too many people in my kitchen, I’ll trip over someone. But I’d love you to visit.”

“We can do that,” I agreed.

We spent the next couple of hours at Jesse’s while she and Cleo cooked. Sarena pitched in as needed and I made a beer and wine run in Cleo’s rented car. By the time I got back, Ma and Chester were there.

“You know what we could use, Mikey,” Ma said. “We could use a concert.”

“Beg pardon?”

“You still have your guitar, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“We need some live entertainment,” she repeated. “Go get tuned up and come play.”

Laughing, I trotted next door to get my guitar. Chester helped me move the rest of Sarena’s luggage over and I grabbed some more clothing from the bedroom. We were going to stay at Molly’s until my place could be assessed and repaired.

I tuned up my guitar, sitting on a chair in the living room. They looked at me expectantly.

I opened with a simple melody, making my mother smile. It was one of her favorite songs. By the time I got to the chorus, she was singing with me. “There were Seven Spanish Angels at the alter of the sun. . . .” I finished the song myself. Ma can’t sing the whole thing without crying.

I followed that with an instrumental piece I’d composed myself. It was much in the style of a classical Spanish guitar piece. I’d never finished it, but tonight I found an ending. Sarena’s eyes glittered happily as she listened to me play.

“I didn’t know you could do that! You play beautifully!”

“Michael, you’re a man of many hidden talents. Let’s see if you know this.” Chester went to Jesse’s piano. Flexing his fingers, he started to play. The tune was familiar, but something I hadn’t heard in awhile. Suddenly, I remembered and started to play with him.

“I don’t know the words,” I said as I followed his lead.

In a clear tenor, he started to sing Africa, but Toto. Surprising choice for a dentist from Manhattan, but a good one nonetheless. Each of us took a turn either playing or humming a tune until the others caught on. As the women set up dinner, Chester and I performed out own little concert with input from the audience.

“Do you know, His Eye is on the Sparrow?” Jesse asked.

We did, and all of us sang it together in harmony. After that was done, we had dinner. Jesse was an amazing cook. I was really impressed. I never had figured out how a woman who couldn’t see could do as much as she did.

While they cleaned up, Chester and I went back to our concert. Sarena whispered something in her father’s ear. He chuckled and started to play. She started to dance and sing a song from the 80s called Twilight Zone. I don’t mean the one used on the TV show, this one was by Golden Earring who also sang, Radar Love.

We finally broke up the party around 10:00. I had to get up early and wanted some time with Sarena before I finally went to sleep. Hugs and kisses all around, we went back to Molly’s. Ma and Chester were heading to the motel. We were standing on the porch saying our goodbyes in the freezing cold, when I heard a funny noise at my place. Well, not specifically my apartment, the one next to me that had been empty the last few months. It sounded like a loud poof.

“Did you hear that?” I asked the others. I started off the porch.

“I did,” Chester said, grabbing for my arm.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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I Love Dialogue! from Under the Western Sky Chapter 9



I love dialogue doodle bannerUnder the Western Sky is a retro-romantic suspense set in Western Nebraska in 1976. Though somewhat under the radar, there is a great deal of racial tension, partially due to the events that happened at Wounded Knee, South Dakota three years prior.

Bobby and his best friend, Danny, are on opposite sides of the racial barrier. Danny is white and his father has been approached by a white supremacist group. His initiation was to injure, possibly kill, Bobby because he’s dating a white girl. They have a terrible fight and Bobby takes his friend down. The police have arrested Danny and he spent the night in jail.

Bobby woke the next morning to the delicious odors of coffee and bacon. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was well after nine. He couldn’t remember a time when he had slept that late on a Sunday. In fact, he couldn’t remember a time he’d slept that late in the last six years.

His body ached from his encounter with Danny. When he examined himself in the mirror, he saw that his old friend had landed a few good punches on his ribs, leaving angry red welts on his back and chest. How could he have done that without Bobby noticing? He hurt all over and was glad he hadn’t spent the night on the lumpy old couch. His back hitched on him when he bent over to pull up his jeans.

Someone knocked on the door as he zipped his pants. Fumbling with his shirt, he invited them in. He was expecting his mother or maybe Maria, but it was Libby. She was dressed in Maria’s shorts, and a T-shirt with big pink rhinestone lips on the front. Her eyes widened when she saw the bruises on his chest.

“Your mom said to wake you for breakfast,” she said shyly, eyes downcast.

“Thanks.” He pulled her gently inside, closing the door. His lips connected with hers, leaving a spark in their wake. “I’m sorry about last night,” he sighed, holding her face in his hands. “I feel like such a bum.” His fingers traced the curve of her cheek and neck tenderly.

“No, it’s my fault. I should’ve known better.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I love you too much for that.”

They kissed a few more moments until Maria called to them from the hallway. “Rise and shine, Babu! Breakfast!” She tapped on the door, whispering. “Put it back in your pants and get out here before Mom has a piglet!”

Bobby jerked the door open in her face, leaning casually against the frame. “It’s where it belongs, Mia. Just getting a good morning kiss.” He smirked, pinching her cheek.

He still didn’t have his shirt on and Maria winced, sucking in a breath as he passed her.

“Did Danny do that?” She pressed her hand gently on his side.

“Yeah.” He flinched away from her fingers as they probed a particularly sensitive spot. “Fuck, Mia, don’t do that!” he said, more loudly than he intended.

“What’s that language I’m hearing in my house?” his mother called from the kitchen.

“Nothing, Mamá! It was a perfect stranger who said that,” Bobby called from the hallway.

“If he was perfect, he wouldn’t use that kind of…” His mother stood in the living room, a pancake turner in one hand, an oven mitt in the other. When she saw Bobby’s chest, she stopped talking. “Oh, Jesus, Maria!” She crossed herself as she approached him.

Babbling in Spanish, she examined him carefully before leading him back to the kitchen. “Jim, Toby, look! See what that brute did to my baby!”

Toby looked him over with a practiced eye. “I don’t think anything’s broken, but we better take you by the hospital to have x-rays.”

“I’m fine.” Bobby tried to pass off the pain. “Just bruised up.” Shrugging into his shirt, he winced as he pulled it down, gasping as the cloth rasped against his bruises.

“That settles it for me,” Toby said in a no-nonsense voice. “I’m taking you.”Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 500

“Can I at least eat first? I’m starving.”

Toby frowned, not wanting to agree, but not wanting the kid to be hungry.

“A man either needs food or sex after something like that,” Jim said, without thinking.

Bobby shot him an ugly look, which fortunately his mother missed. “Yeah, well, I’ll take that food now, Mom.”

Jim mouthed, “I’m sorry,” to him, winking at Maria as she stifled a giggle.

“Does it hurt as much as it looks?” Grace asked.

“Pretty much, yeah. Hurts to breathe deep. I don’t even remember him doing that to me. I didn’t feel anything at the time.”

“Yeah, you don’t,” Toby said calmly. “It’s an adrenaline thing. You get so pumped, you don’t realize you’re taking almost as much damage as you’re giving. Though in this case, I think you did more.” He winked at Bobby. “You’ll have to show me that trick. I know black belts who can’t do that.”

“I wish I could. I don’t have a clue. It was like I saw in my mind how it was done, but unless you pulled a gun on me, I don’t think I could repeat it.”

“We’ll figure it out.” Jim almost clapped him on the shoulder, but refrained. “Bruce Lee, ki ya!”

Bobby tried to laugh but it hurt. Instead, he held his ribs, groaning.

“That’s it,” Toby said, before they even sat down. “Link is on his way here. I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“I’ll take him, Toby,” Jim offered. “I think the ladies need you here more than me. As soon as Link arrives, we’ll go.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Snowed – Part 52


snowed cover image for blogJesse’s daughter, Cleo, has arrived. Mike greets her, having met her before. She doesn’t waste any time offering him a job. She also has offered a job to Sarena. Mike tells her his brother might be interested and goes outside to make the call in private.

I hated to admit, but she was probably right. Gabe was tied to a place he hated, trapped in a job because of a family, married way too young because he got a girl pregnant. He stepped up and took the responsibility, but maybe he hadn’t been ready for it.

“It’s worth a shot, babe,” Sarena said. “Want some gingerbread?”

“Love some. Got any coffee?” I called over my shoulder as she walked into the kitchen.

“Just tea.”

“Pfft. . . .”

She set a cup of tea and a plate of gingerbread in front of me. I ate the gingerbread, leaving the tea to get cold. After my snack, I went outside to give Gabe a call. It was dinner time at his house, I could tell because of the fussing and screaming I heard in the background.

“Catch you at a bad time, bro?” I asked.

He sighed heavily. “Livia’s got class tonight, so I’m on my own. This is killing me, Mike. Can I call you back?”

“Got a quick question first. Have you ever considered relocating, say to Cheyenne?”

“Is this for real? Or is this a sick joke at my expense?”

“No joke. Firm offer from a friend of mine. He’s opening a new office and needs someone with your talents. My recommendation alone, I can get you a job. You in?”

I heard something crash in the background. Screaming kids and wailing baby.

“Mary, no! Shit! I’m decidedly interested, but I have—oh, hell! Got to go!” He hung up.

Satisfied that I had planted the seed, I went back inside. Something in my face must have conveyed my pleasure.

“He’ll do it?”

“He couldn’t talk, but I asked. He’s interested.”

Cleo looked proud of herself. Jesse patted her daughter’s hand. “What did I tell you?”

“Mama, I have yet to find a time when you weren’t right about people.” She hugged her mother, kissing her cheek.

My phone rang about an hour later. It was Gabe.

“I’ll take it. When does he need me to start?”

“I’m gonna turn this over to the expert,” I told him. “Cleo, my brother Gabe. Gabe, this is Cleo, Drake’s personnel manager.”

She took the phone, turned on the charm and hired herself a head of I.T. in less than 20 minutes. She handed the phone back to me after she was done.

“He wants to talk to you.”

I took the phone, wondering what he wanted. I walked outside again, gasping at the cold.

“Mike?”

“Yeah.”

“You totally saved my life, bro. I got downsized. My last day is the first of next month. I didn’t know what I was gonna do. Livia hates it here, I do too. I’m flying out next weekend to scout a house. Can you give me a hand?”

“Sure. What about the place there?”

“Livia will stay until it’s sold. She thinks she can easily find us a buyer. I called her during her class break. She’s thrilled at the idea. Thanks, Mike. I owe you, dude.”

“What’s family for?”

I heard him sniffle and I knew my brother was in tears. I wanted to cry myself. I think this was the closest I’d ever felt to my brother. It was a good feeling.

“Livia’s home. I need to go. Thanks.” He hung up before I could say anything else.

“Everything okay?” Sarena asked when I walked back in.

“Yeah, everything’s great.” I sniffed, blinking hard. “Damn, it’s cold out there.”

Sarena put her arms around me, hugging me hard. I felt weak until my arms went around her too. I drew strength from her, knowing we were meant to be together.

“One down,” Cleo said with a smug tone. “Mike?”

“What the hell?” I said. “Why let the kid have all the fun?”

She hopped up and down excitedly. “Sarena?”

“Ditto. Can’t let the men overrun the place, can we? I’m in.”

“Yes! Wait until I tell Drake. He will be so thrilled!”

She flipped open her phone, making the call. She walked into the kitchen rather than outside, which was probably preferable to my choice. We could hear her talking excitedly to Drake.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 51


snowed cover image for blogAfter lunch, Mike lies down to sleep, but Sarena joins him, enticing him to make love instead. They make every effort to be quiet. Instead of yelling like she usually does, Sarena bites his shoulder, making him extra excited. For some reason, she finds it funny and laughs at him.

“Thanks,” I said, kissing her. “You know just how to make my ego shrivel right up and die.”

“If I’d realized the effect it would have on you, I’d have done it before.”

“Like hot, bunny love, huh?” I wiggled my hips against her.

“I like any love from you,” she said, kissing my nose. “Now go to sleep.”

“Yes, ma’am. Don’t have to tell me twice. . . .” I fell asleep almost instantly.

I woke with the late afternoon sun filtering through the drapes. Sarena wasn’t in the bed, and I could hear voices in the front room. The house smelled like gingerbread and I wondered who had been baking. I got dressed, ran my fingers through my hair, and went to the living room.

Jesse and her daughter, Cleo, were talking to Sarena over tea and gingerbread. Cleo is about Molly’s age, but in much better shape. She’s tall, curvy, mocha skinned and beautiful. She has a couple of kids a little younger than me, a boy and a girl.

“Hiya, sleepy,” Jesse said.

“How did you know I was up?”

“I heard the door open. And your cologne is distinctive. Feeling better?”

“Yeah, thanks.” I kissed Sarena and greeted Cleo with a hug.

“You look good,” I told her. “How’s life treating you?”

“Better than you, right now, I expect. I was just getting the rundown.” She raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t start.”

“Who’s starting? I was sitting her regretting that I didn’t get to you first.” She made a kiss face at me, her full lips dark red like berries.

“Don’t start,” I cautioned again.

She and Sarena laughed at me. I’d never had anything going with Cleo. She was divorced, and had been living with businessman, Drake Carter, for the last three years. Since he could break me in half with his pinky finger, I kept my distance from Cleo. He was a good guy and treated her well.

“How’s Drake?”

“He’s great. He’s starting his own business here in town. We’re tired of L.A.”

“No kidding? What’s he doing?”

“Software, mostly, but expanding.”

“My brother does computers,” I said with a grin. “He’s good. Very good, in fact.”

“Your brother interested in relocating? Drake couldn’t pay as much as a job in New York, but it would get him into the fresh air and sunshine.”

“I’ll ask him,” I said, thinking how coincidental life often was. Ma and I had just been talking about this very thing.

“He could use a man like you around too,” she added.

“I don’t know anything about computers.”

“He needs everything, Mike. Right now, what he needs most is a representative to go into offices and charm them into hiring us instead of our competitors. He needs someone to write up the brochure and do a presentation. I told him you could sell the Eiffel Tower to the French and make them ask you why you hadn’t done it before.”

“I’m not that good. I don’t do sales.”

“You are the most charming man I know. You’re warm, sincere and a gentleman. You could do this job and make substantially more than you are now. And I was just trying to convince your girlfriend to take the officer manager’s spot.”

I laughed, tossing my hair out of my face. “Damn, Cleo! You’re a persistent woman!”

“I’m scouting talent, Mike. That’s what I’m good at. I see things in people and I know what they can do. Give it serious consideration. And talk to your brother for me.”

“I will. I don’t know how well he’d take the offer from me. . . .”

“I think he’d surprise you,” Sarena said quietly, taking my hand. “He really looks up to you, Mike. He values your opinion.”

“Mine? Since when? He’d rather make snide comments about my life than ask my opinion on anything.”

“Sometimes,” Jesse said gently. “We belittle what someone else has because it’s what we want too. Didn’t you tell me he got married because he got that girl in the family way?”

I blushed, remembering that conversation well. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Well then, perhaps he envies your freedom.”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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I Love Dialogue! from Indian Summer


I love dialogue doodle bannerIndian Summer is my first published novel. An historical romantic suspense, Indian Summer is set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. Gabriella Deza is the youngest daughter of Spanish Governor, Ferdinand Deza. Headstrong and intrepid, Gabriella has just turned 15, the coming of age of a young Spanish woman. Manuel Enriques, her father’s aide de camp, has declared his love for her. He also asks if he may escort her to her birthday party. Overwhelmed by his declaration, Gabriella realizes she has feelings for him, too. In this excerpt, they are at her birthday party and he has just invited her to dance.

My knees melted as he held out his hand to me.

“This is my dance, I believe, Señorita Deza.”

Manuel locked eyes with the next candidate for treading on my toes, who cowered under his look. Nodding rapidly, the little rabbit of a man retreated to the corner behind Clara and seemed to take her as his shield of defense.

I graced him with my sincere smile and said, “I promise the next dance is yours, señor.”

He bobbed his head rapidly again, retreating even further. Manuel spoke from the corner of his mouth as we walked to the dance floor. “I don’t think you will have to honor that promise, my sweet.”

Chortling, I replied with a coquettish toss of my hair. “Why, Señor Enriques, do you intend to intimidate every man here?”

He chuckled secretively as he turned me in a circle under his arm. “If need be, my dear. If need be. I shall have you to myself.” He put special emphasis on “shall” as he spun me again and the music began.

Quiet at first, I listened with only half my attention. Suddenly, the orchestra erupted in a wave of the most exciting music I had ever heard! The guitars hammered loudly, the percussion began a beat I was familiar with. The music echoed the pounding of my heart. Manuel chuckled, seeing the surprised look upon my face.

“Do you like my choice? It’s a special request I gave them. A dance just for us!” He spun me again, three times in succession.

“I don’t know this dance!” I gasped. “I don’t know the steps!”

“Listen to the music, Bella. You know this. You feel it in your blood! Would I ever embarrass you? Follow my lead and you will be free!”

The music continued slowly, just a hint of notes on a single guitar. Manuel led me in a few gentle steps, ending in a deep dip. The tempo changed, accelerating into a fast, syncopated rhythm. He swept me into the most amazing dance! The music crashed into me in wave after wave of excitement. The power of it washed over us, setting my heart pounding in my chest with a beat at the same time unnatural, but as much a part of me as breathing.

We spun, stepped, dipped, clapped, stomped and when we got to the end I realized I had just danced my first Flamenco. I had seen this dance many times. The country folk in Spain danced this at their celebrations. The music and tradition had followed us to this new land, where they danced it at festivals.

Manuel led me off the dance floor, both of us a little breathless and perspiring. It was then I noticed no one else had joined us in the dance. I looked up at him with a question on my lips. He shrugged casually. “I asked for a dance alone with you. The gentlemen politely complied.”

I narrowed my eyes, feigning a glare. “How much did you threaten them?” I was teasing and he knew it.

He held his fingers about an inch apart. “Perhaps, this much?”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Snowed – Part 50


snowed cover image for blogAfter the police leave, Mike heads to Molly’s apartment for the night. Sarena is extremely upset and has already gone to bed.

I undressed and crawled in behind her in my boxers. I didn’t want sex, I just wanted to comfort her. She clung to me like a drowning woman, weeping and hiccuping. When that finally settled down, she kissed me and snuggled up in my arms again. We fell asleep holding one another once more.

The rest of the night passed quietly and my alarm went off way too damn early. I left Sarena in bed, the alarm didn’t even wake her up. I got dressed without bothering to shave. It was a freezing morning. Steve drove me to the bus depot so I could pick up my vehicle. I figured I would get a ride home with one of the other drivers.

“You be careful,” he said.

“I’m good,” I said, shivering. “Don’t worry about me. Keep an eye on Sarena for me.”

“I got your back, bro.” He slapped my shoulder. “Have fun.”

“Yeah. Regular run this morning, thank God. I don’t think I could take another field trip right now.”

But I was wrong about that. When I got to the office, my boss greeted me with a smile that usually meant I was in trouble.

“Special request again,” he said. “Popular guy. Elementary school is having vehicle day and they want you to come show the bus and talk about bus safety.”

“This an all day gig?”

“Couple hours. You get extra pay.”

Sighing, I agreed. I didn’t want to, especially when I saw it was Miss Parker’s school. I made my run and drove to the elementary school, parking with the other vehicles. This wasn’t my first time doing this, but I hadn’t just had one of the worst nights of my life the last time.

The kids came out by grade level and I ran through my spiel about how to behave on the bus. When Miss Parker’s class came out, she wouldn’t look at me. She was wearing dark glasses and looked like she’d been crying. When I tried to talk to her, she jerked herself away. I felt terrible, but I couldn’t figure out why she was overreacting so to the fact I had a girlfriend.

She thanked me for coming by in a cold and haughty tone, herding her children back to her classroom. Hers was the last class out, for which I was grateful.

The temperature had dropped a few degrees since morning. Even the noonday sun didn’t warm it up enough. I called Chester for a ride. He and Ma came to get me at the bus depot.

“Some night, huh?” Chester asked.

“Yeah. Sucked balls,” I said quietly, lying down in the backseat.

Normally, that remark would have earned me a sharp reprimand from my mother. She didn’t even purse her lips.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yeah. I didn’t eat breakfast. Then got this extra gig. I’m starving. Even the school cafeteria food was starting to smell good. I was parked right by it,” I explained. “I could go for a cheeseburger,” I mumbled. “Sorry, Chester.”

“I still crave one from time to time, Michael. Don’t be ashamed.”

“At least I didn’t say a ham and cheese. . . .” I dozed off and didn’t wake up until we pulled into Molly’s driveway.

The car was full of all kinds of good smells. Ma and Chester had stopped by a fast food place and bought lunch for everyone. I noticed I had a cheeseburger and my favorite chili cheese fries. Moms are sure good at remembering certain details, huh? I stuffed myself on junk food. Sarena hardly ate, so I ate hers too.

Conversation was minimal while we ate. I was beat, so after the meal, I helped clean up and went to lie down. A few minutes later, Sarena crawled in next to me.

“Mom and Dad are next door with Jesse. Jesse’s daughter is renting a car at the airport as we we speak. Steve and Angie headed home.”

“Mm,” I mumbled, already falling asleep.

She snuggled up, her body chilly. I flopped over, draping arms and legs around her to warm her up. Her cold hands went down the back of my boxers, effectively waking me up. Her smile was warmer than her hands, and quite seductive.

“Do I take this to mean you want something more than just warming up?”

“I am naked,” she replied, lifting the blankets to show me.

“I had figured that out already.”

We made love quietly, because Jesse’s living room is right next to Molly’s guest room. Luckily, the bed didn’t squeak and the headboard didn’t hit the wall. Instead of yelling like she usually did, Sarena bit down on my shoulder when she hit her climax. It hurt like hell, but damn it was sexy. It was gonna leave a mark, but that was okay. I totally lost control, though, and just about bounced us through the wall. She was laughing at me by the time we finished.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 49


snowed cover image for blogThe police come over, yet again, to investigate the rock through the window and the damage to Mikes’ Jeep. The female police officer isn’t sure whether to lecture and condemn him for his behavior or not. Mike does his best to convince her that he’s not as big a jerk as he seems.

I was suddenly very glad I hadn’t let my baser instincts take over with Deidre. I could look this woman in the face and not have to lie to her.

“You got that thing under control?” She stared at my pants like I had a lethal weapon in there.

“I’m working on it,” I said with a cocky smirk.

“But you still got another woman? This is woman number three?”

“Yes. But if things work out, she’s my one and only.”

“Mm hm.” She looked skeptical.

“Look, I made some mistakes over the last week. I just had a birthday, I was drunk, lonely. . . . horny,” I added in a whisper. “Haven’t you done something a little bit stupid under those circumstances?”

I could see by the subtle shift of her body that she had.

“In the meantime, I have to work tomorrow and I’ve got a huge hole in my window that I have to patch up and glass to clear off the carpet. As well as a girlfriend who’s probably hysterical next door. So, are we done?”

“We’re done,” she said. “I’ll have someone call you tomorrow about that note. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”

“Thanks.” I held out my hand to shake hers.

She glanced at my hand rather suspiciously, then took it in a firm grip.

“You behave yourself, you hear?”

“Scout’s honor.” I saluted her like a Boyscout.

“You weren’t ever a Boyscout,” she teased, walking to her squad car.

“Was too,” I called after her. “Eagle Scout.”

She smiled at me, got in her car and left.

I cleaned up the mess in my living room and found a piece of cardboard to tape over the hole. It would be sufficient until tomorrow. In the meantime, we’d make due. As for my Jeep, I had to quit looking at it or I was going to cry. That was my pride and joy and now it looked like it had been in a wreck.

I picked up Molly’s camera, not wanting to leave it in my place. Locking the door behind me, I walked over to Molly’s. Sarena was on the couch with Angie and Jesse. Steve was on the phone, with my mother as it turned out. Now why in hell would anyone call her? I didn’t ask.

“The cops will call tomorrow with an update. Meanwhile, I need some sleep if I’m gonna get to work in the morning.”

“Go get some stuff from your place,” Angie said. “You’re staying here the rest of the night. Sarena’s upset. She can’t go back over there.”

I could see by Sarena’s face that Angie was right. I couldn’t ask her to go under those circumstances. Steve and I got some things from my place and moved into Molly’s guest room.

“If this keeps up, I’ll move her back to the motel,” I said with conviction. “I can’t stay in Molly’s guest room forever.”

“If you take her to the motel, you stay with her. I don’t like this, Mike. The paint was bad enough. It’s almost kind of funny. But a brick in the window and the damage to your Jeep? That’s getting personal.”

“And painting DICK on the side of my home wasn’t?”

He started to laugh. “Not as much. I know it’s not funny, but it is all the same.”

“You might not think so if it was you,” I replied, tossing my shaving things into a Ziploc bag.

“No. You’re right.”

“Why were you talking to Ma?”

“Jesse’s idea. She thought Chester should know.”

“Oh. They coming over?”

“No. I talked them out of it. I figured we have enough of a crowd.”

“Thanks. I hate dragging you into this mess. I’m sorry I didn’t have better self-control.”

“In your defense, bro, in the same circumstances, I’d have done the same thing. Let’s get back so you can get some sleep.”

Sarena was already in bed when I got back. Jesse was home and Angie was cleaning up when we came in. I bid them goodnight and went to join Sarena. She was curled up in a ball, crying piteously.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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