She fell asleep, curled in his embrace, dreaming of Pete. He walked beside her for a while, then kissing her hand, he walked away into a mist. His tall, lanky body receded like a shadow, into clouds of swirling white. His voice echoed in her head, “Goodbye, Kacy. I loved you.”
Tears of parting dried on her cheeks and she slept.
Deacon woke to the smell of coffee, and fresh muffins. It was a homey smell, something he associated with Leave It To Beaver and other Fifties shows. He’d never lived in an environment where Mom stayed home and kept house and baked fresh cookies for the children to have after school. His world had been rushing out the door, coming home to an empty apartment or house, being bullied or yelled at for being a burden, pushed around and blamed for anything that went wrong.
The Sanderson’s had been the closest to a real home, but that wasn’t until he was fifteen. Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson were a retired minister and his wife. They were good people, and taught him about self-esteem and self-worth. Fortunately he hadn’t been too old to learn those valuable lessons. A sensitive child, he had built up a wall around himself that it had taken nearly two years for them to work through. He wasn’t willful and defiant, just withdrawn into his own little world of creativity.
The event that broke the wall down was the death of the Sanderson’s son, Tobias. He had a car accident, hit by a drunk driver. The parents leaned on Deacon for support. He was there for them, just as he was now here for Kacy. He’d always been empathetic, able to comfort. He had fallen into the role easily, as if it had been made for him. He hoped it was a lasting one this time. It felt good, secure, eternal.
His leg twinged a little when he stood up to go to the bathroom, but he managed to walk without leaning too heavily on his cane. When he went to the kitchen, Kacy was lifting a pan of fresh muffins from the oven, closing it with her foot. Grinning happily, he hobbled to the counter, looking more feeble than he felt. She set the muffins down with a click and came around the counter to help him to a bar stool.
“Sit, I made something special!”
She fixed his coffee and then slathered butter onto a muffin. They were giant, steaming hot blueberry muffins, the like of which one got only in bakeries.
“You made these? Wow!”
“My mum said every girl should know how to cook and bake, even if she was liberated. You’ll starve to death for your principals, she told me more times than I can remember! I enjoy it really, just not a lot of time for it. Eat! You’ll hurt my feelings if you don’t eat at least three.”
“I think I can accommodate you, ma’am!” He pulled his sore leg onto the low footstool sitting conveniently near the bar. “You moved that, didn’t you? I don’t remember it being there.”
She winked, “You don’t miss much, do you? I’ve left my cell phone number on a pad by the phone and Dr. Cooper’s number, should you need it. Dino’s you have, I take it?”
“Yes, mum, I have Uncle Dino’s number. Honestly, Kacy, sit down! You’re making me nervous!”
“I’m anxious to get to work, so I can come home!”
“Bypass work, stay with me.” He tugged her hand so she came around, and stood between his legs.
“Mac is putting in the cheeks for me today. I really have to be there to show him where they need to go. I can’t leave that to him, he’s not the one lighting the stage! I promise I will be back as soon as possible, and I’ll bring food.”
“Screw the food. No, screw me, forget the food.”
Her kiss was full of promises. “I will do so, as soon as possible. I’d not miss it for the world. Now, I must dash. You be a good boy, finish those elevations for me, and keep off your leg. I want you in top form!” She kissed him playfully on the cheek while he nibbled her ear, letting his fingers do the walking. “Behave now!”
He snapped a saucy salute and watched as she walked out the door. She had an amazing walk. It was the thing that had first attracted him. He heard the car start up and her characteristic acceleration sounded like a jet taking off.
How can a VW make that sound?
Dexter wasn’t really looking forward to the day. That little redhead was kind of a bitch, but she knew her stuff. At least she had apologized when Mr. Stewart set her straight. He just didn’t really want to cross her again. Hell of an ass. Maybe the day wouldn’t be so bad if she was around, even if she was yelling.
He chuckled as he pulled into the parking lot, hopped out of his van, taking his tools with him, locking the truck carefully behind him. He’d learned a long time ago that things had a way of walking off on a job site. He didn’t feel like replacing his tools and equipment.
The old place was quiet at the moment, the painting crew was making good progress. They were having to strip and sand before they painted, the wood was in terrible shape. It wasn’t going to look bad when they were done. He sat on the porch waiting for someone to come with keys, having tried the doors, he found them locked. He lit a cigarette, smoking in the calm, chilly morning.
A yellow VW sped up, screeched into the lot next to his van, and slammed to a halt. It was the redhead. Damn, she’s hot! Too bad she hooked up with Mr. Stewart, passed sullenly through his mind. Word spread pretty fast that she was the boss’ lady. Any man who wanted to keep his job, would keep his hands to himself. Besides, she was quite a firebrand. Dexter, who fancied himself a lady’s man, preferred a more docile female. He stood when she approached.
©2021 Dellani Oakes