Saige has finally made up her mind about Stan and Brodie. Deciding that their friendship is more important than whether any of them get laid, she reluctantly declines to get involved with either of them. Though disappointed, both men accept her decision. Saige leaves the bar and heads home.
Saige’s mother was a little chilly when she walked in. She didn’t want to talk, but couldn’t ignore her only child for long.
“Any calls while I was out?”
“Some nice sounding British boy,” she said. “Ronny?”
“Romy. My neighbor’s grandson. I ran into him when I was in town, but he was working. Hmm, he said he’d call, but I assumed he’d call my cell.”
“He said it was turned off, he couldn’t get through.”
“I’m an idiot,” she laughed at herself as she turned her phone back on. “Hm, twenty-seven voice messages. I wonder who they’re all from?”
She looked at the list with a resigned sigh. Surprisingly, they weren’t all from Ben. Seven were from Brodie, three from Romy, one from Stan, two from Joni and Tracy wondering where she had gotten off to, two from her mother and the rest from Ben.
Ignoring Ben’s, she listened to the ones from Brodie, Stan and Romy. Stan thanked her for the fun time on the deck and hoped one day to get beyond talking dirty to her voice mail, which he then proceeded to do. She kept that message.
Brodie’s messages were mostly work related, although he thanked her for joining him for breakfast. Romy’s messages were a bit odd. One was light and upbeat, but the others sounded a little more ominous.
“Call me as soon as you get this,” he said with some urgency. “I called your mum, but you weren’t there. Where are you? Dammit, turn on your bloody phone. Manky poxed bollocks! Call me!”
Without hesitating, she called him. He answered distractedly.
“Yeah, hi there. You got your messages, finally.”
“What’s wrong, Romy?”
“Look, love. I can’t talk at the mome. Can we meet?”
“Yeah, name a spot. I’m there.”
“I’ll come to you. Where are you?”
“My mom’s up at the lake.” She gave the address.
“Stay put and shove the car in the garage or round back.”
“What’s wrong, Romy?”
“Don’t ask questions, do it. Please?” He added the last as if he thought he should be more polite.
“Yeah. I’ll do it right now.”
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” He hung up.
“Mom, is there room for my car in the garage?”
“Nothing really. I think I have a small leak around the front window. I’ll see if I can get it fixed this week.”
“There’s plenty of room.”
“Thanks. Be right back.”
She put her car in the garage and closed the door. Not long after, Romy drove up, pulling around the side of the house with his car well away from the road and out of sight in the trees.
“Can we talk somewhere alone?”
“Yes. Would you like to meet my mother?”
“In a minute, maybe. Listen, someone saw me get in and out of your car. These are not nice people, Saige. They do bad things to nice people. If they think they can use you as leverage against me, they could hurt you.”
“What are you in the middle of, Romy?”
He closed his eyes, licking his lips slowly. “I shouldn’t say anything, but I’ll square it with the boss later. I know I can trust you. Okay.” He led her to the deck on the roof. “I’m ATF. Actually, I’m an independent agent and I work some with them. We’ve been working a gun smuggling ring that operates out of the city.”
“And they saw me with you?”
“One of them did, yeah. He’s a bugger under me who wants to make a name for himself. This is a very cut throat business, love. He’d kill his own mum to get my job.”
“Oh, God! Romy, you weren’t followed here were you?”
“No. I made sure. I’ve got friends keeping an eye on us. It’s okay, you don’t need to worry.”
“You’re not in danger are you?”
“No more than usual, love. I’m great. But I am worried about you. Be very careful where you go and what you do, all right? I shouldn’t have come up to you, but I didn’t know if there would be shooting and I didn’t want you hurt.”
“Should you be telling me any of this?”
He flashed a wicked smile, giving her a quick kiss. “Not a bit of it. Some pals of mine will be keeping an eye on you.”
“Do I get to meet these mystery men?”
“Better you don’t. If you get in trouble, call me at this number.” He handed her a slip of paper with a number scribbled on it. “If you can, say ’911′. If you can’t say anything, leave the line open and we’ll find you.”
“This isn’t some sort of bullshit scam to get in my pants, is it?” Saige didn’t want to believe it could be true.
“I promise you, Saige, I’d rather just ask you. This isn’t bullshit, but I do want in your pants.” Winking, he kissed her quickly, trotting down the stairs two at a time. “I’ll meet your mum later,” he promised. “I have to run right now and talk to my boss. Remember, be careful.”
“What about my mom? What do I tell her?”
“Tell her Gran’s not well, I’m worried about her and asked you to look in on her periodically. Really, Saige, this can’t go further.”
“All right. No further, I promise.”
“I really do need to go,” he said reluctantly.
“Hey, Romy. If you see Ben, do me a favor?”
“Kick the fooker in his ass, huh?” She imitated his accent.
He laughed abruptly, his eyes twinkling merrily. “Yeah, be happy to. Does this mean you’re a free agent?”
She shrugged. “That’s still pending. Call me, even when it’s not urgent.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes