She put her hand on his lips, stilling his protests. “Do you think it was wrong?”
“Not for the reasons you might think.”
“What reasons would those be, then?” She reclined on her side, supporting herself on her elbow.
“Kacy, I took advantage of your sorrow, and that was wrong.”
“Did I seem to mind?”
He shook his head. “No, but….”
“Then why do you?” Her hands continued moving as she spoke.
“I’m not Pete.”
“I know. Although I still love him, he’s gone, and I know that. Singing that song last night showed me he’s never coming back.”
“Do you think it’s healthy, this relationship?”
“Because you look like him?” She sat up next to him, her naked body a pale shadow against the sheets. “I don’t know. Do you feel it’s wrong?”
“I don’t even begin to know. My mind got so worked in that hospital, I hardly know who I am, or what motivates me from one minute to the next. I know one thing….”
“What’s that, Deacon?”
“I wanted you, Kacy, not a dream of the dead. If you can say the same about me, then this relationship isn’t wrong. If you can’t….”
He left the rest unsaid. Her tears showed him he’d struck home. He knew he was right, because as they had made love last night, she had called out a name, but it wasn’t his. He wondered if she remembered.
“Deacon,” her voice was pleading.
He stumbled away from the bed, his boxers across a chair by the door where he had thrown them. Stopping, he waited, muscles tense.
“Deacon,” her voice caught in her throat. She didn’t know what to say.
He spoke the truth, at least as far as he knew it. He didn’t know how much he had touched her heart, not the shadow of a dead man, but him. He was so like Pete in some respects, in others completely different. He looked like her dead husband, he sounded and smelled and smiled like Pete. But his kisses and the way he made love to her, that was him alone. She realized that Pete had died nine months before they pulled the plug. The hurt and the shock and pain had been when that explosion took him away. She wanted to start over again, rebuild her life into something which wasn’t hollow, an habitual repetition of the small things that made life possible—sleeping, eating, working. She couldn’t explain this to him, that by making love to Deacon, she had said goodbye to Pete.
“It’s bloody complicated in’it?”
“Yeah,” he said, unconsciously imitating her accent. Pete had never gotten it right, no matter how often he tried. “It’s bloody complicated.”
“Do you fancy sorting it out?”
Deacon looked at her, the question he couldn’t voice expressed in his eyes. His smile was warm and tender, not quite so much like Pete’s as she’d thought.
“Yeah, I fancy sorting it out.” He limped over to the bed, sitting beside her, taking her in his strong arms once more.
“Promise me something, Kacy.”
“What’s that?” But she knew before he said it.
“Say my name?” His kiss was a plaintive request, urgent, compelling.
“I promise, Deacon.”
After breakfast, he walked her out to the car, shutting her door carefully after kissing her again, savoring her lips.
“I’ll see you later. I want to get a bit of shopping done, and pop by the theater and see how the auditions are going. I guess it’s vulgar curiosity.”
“I expect a full report when you get back. I’ll be working on those set plans. From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t really like them. I’ll see if I can slip a few variations past Dino.”
“We’ll tag team him,” she said smiling. “He won’t know what hit him.”
He kissed her through the window and took a few steps back as she took off. Hobbling into the house, he settled himself at the drafting table, the original set plans in front of him. He saw in a glance what Kacy said about the lighting difficulties. He began making slight changes unconsciously, his hand moving of its own accord across a fresh sheet of paper. It was a rough drawing, hardly to scale, but it gave him the bare bones of his design.
Pulling open drawers, he found all the mechanical pencils, rulers, angles and French curves he needed to complete the plot. There was a fancy pencil sharpener and a dozen different pencil leads. Attached to the top of the desk was an expensive drafting tool, a movable T-square. He arranged it to compensate for his left handedness and dragged out the blueprints to the stage. He could have done all this by computer, in fact, he often did so at the shop in New York. In many ways, Deacon was old fashioned, and did his most creative thinking with a pencil and T-square.
Working almost without thinking, he drew lines, arrow points, wrote numbers and descriptions. He finished the basic plan, and had started on the exploded details, when the phone rang. Looking at the clock, he realized it had been nearly four hours since Kacy had left. He answered, hardly expecting the voice on the other end.
©2021 Dellani Oakes
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