He went into some detail, knowing Bernie’s meticulous mind would help him find the solutions he needed. By the end of the conversation, he had ideas written out and a rough design on paper.
“I gotta get into the shop, Deac. Some shit going on out there and I hear arguing.”
“Probably Lily and Steve. Tell them I said go shag each other, and mellow out. I always wanted to tell them that. Call me tomorrow, give Maxi my love.”
He hung up, amazed that he didn’t miss the shop, the arguments, or the suppressed anger permeating all their actions.
He heard the jingle of keys and the front door opened and shut followed by the click of heels on the tile floor. Kacy stood in the living room with a handful of bags she dropped on the couch. Her face lit up when she saw him hobble out of the office.
“Hiya!” He grinned, limping over to kiss her. She met him halfway, arms wide open.
“You look terrific,” he said honestly.
Her face was all smiles, her eyes glowing with happiness. He liked to hope he was at least partially responsible for the changes in her.
“Come see what I bought for you!”
He allowed her to lead him to the couch where she made him comfortable before opening her bags. The first was small, and inside was a jewelry box.
“You got me an engagement ring?” he pretended to be giggly and excited.
She bopped him on the head with a throw pillow. “No, silly. Open it! I went to the flea market and found this precious little kiosk in the middle of the aisle. They had all kinds of stuff like that. Open it!”
She was ready to grab the box away and open it herself, so he quit teasing and flipped back the lid. Inside were ear plugs, the same color as his eyes.
“These are fantastic! What are they made out of?”
“The guy said some sort of poly-resin crap, who cares? They don’t chip, break, flake or crack. Guaranteed for life.”
He popped the enameled ones out of his ears and put hers in.
“They’re great, Kacy. Thank you. Makes me wish I had something to give you.”
She kissed him passionately. “You have already given me the best gift in the world. You gave me my life back, Deacon Phineas Stewart.”
He drew her into a powerful embrace, pulling her onto the couch with him. She stayed a few minutes then stood, leading him to her room again and he tugged her the other way to the master suite.
They were half undressed when the phone rang. “Dammit!” He limped to the night stand and picked up. “Yeah?”
“Is that any way to talk to me?”
“Frieda? I told you not to call back.”
“This is a courtesy call, Deacon, to let you know I’ve consulted a lawyer, and I am taking you to court for palimony.”
He looked at the phone in disbelief. “Pali- what? Frieda, you left me. If anything, I should charge you for my hospital stay.” He hung up, hurling the phone across the room. “I’m going to kill Bernie for giving her this number!”
“That’s the ex?” her tone was chilly.
“Not ex enough! She wants to sue me for palimony, like I’ve got anything to split!”
“I thought you said she was out of your life. Didn’t she leave you?”
“She called a few hours ago, my dumbass partner gave her the number. She wanted me to move out there, which really means she wants money to live on. I don’t want her back, Kacy.” He saw the look of sorrow on her face once more.
“Never been more sure of anything in my entire life.”
She moved into his arms, kissing him with abandon. The phone rang again. He tried to ignore it, but the caller didn’t hang up.
“What?” he bellowed into the phone. “Bernie, I’m a little busy!” His friend spoke rapidly for a few minutes and Deacon’s frown deepened to a glower. “Thanks for letting me know.” He hung up without a goodbye.
“More good news?”
“Frieda froze all my assets. How the hell can she do that? She’s hiring a private firm to audit me to see what I’m worth, can you beat that?”
“She’s successfully killed the mood, hasn’t she?” Kacy didn’t look angry, just disappointed.
“Killed it good and dead, dammit!”
“Why did you ever take up with a vindictive bitch like that?”
“Sex,” he answered absently. “She was the rebound girl, and I was the rebound guy. We’d both ended really bad relationships, and got together at a party. The sex was fantastic, so we stayed together.”
She opened her mouth to protest and he held up a hand.
“I know. Bad idea. I wasn’t thinking with my brain in those days.” He looked down at his boxer shorts. “Not the first mess he’s gotten me into.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes