“You’re very chipper for a man in your condition,” she giggled and wriggled away from him on the bed.
“Not half so chipper as I’d like to be. Good God I hurt!” He hissed through his teeth as he grabbed his chest.
“I assure you, Mr. Stevens feels a damn sight worse. Thelma, the old lady with the golf cart, broke his leg, and he cracked his skull when he fell. Not to mention the fractured hip you gave him when you knocked the bastard down. He’ll be laid up for quite a while before he’s well enough to stand trial.”
“I hope he has a good lawyer.”
“I hope the bastard ends up having to defend himself. I’d laugh my ass off.”
“Please don’t. I happen to like your ass where it is.”
“Oh, you’ve got some company coming up in a bit. Once everyone heard how heroic you were, they insisted upon seeing you. Dino managed to convince them that you’d far rather have family right now, and promised a big party when you’re better.”
“If Dino was a woman, I’d marry him,” he sighed contentedly, laying a hand on her abdomen.
Chuckling happily, she wiggled around so she could lie next to him on the bed. He patted her belly, rubbing gently.
“Are you going to do that for the next few months?”
“Probably. Does it bother you?”
“Not at all. Just checking.” She smiled, kissing him on the only half inch of his chin that wasn’t bruised.
“You know what? I fell in love with you when I saw you naked and screaming over that spider.”
“Oh, did you? You didn’t show it.”
He laughed quietly, his ribs hurting if he laughed too hard. “You lost your head and let down your guard. You were totally vulnerable. For that flash of time, you needed me to protect you. I’m a sucker for the damsel in distress.”
Her kiss was gentle, but compelling. “Oh, Deacon! I do love you so. Promise me you won’t do anything silly and dangerous like this ever again! I don’t think I can stand it.”
“As long as we aren’t being threatened by a money grubbing lawyer, I won’t do anything this stupid again. I make no promises for other circumstances.”
“Any word on Obi?”
“He’ll live. He’s also agreed to testify against Stevens for clemency.”
There was a light tap on the door and Dino looked around into the room. “Feel like company? I’ve got Ev, Nancy and Cindy with me.”
“Come on in,” Deacon mumbled, feeling drowsy from the pain meds.
Nancy had a basket of goodies, and Ev had a collection of graphic novels for him to read. He’d chosen them because of the variety of artwork. He thought they’d appeal to Deacon’s artistic eye. Cindy fussed around fluffing pillows and checking his vital signs, before settling on the end of the bed opposite Kacy.
Deacon politely tried to nibble on the treats, but even the peanut butter fudge couldn’t keep his attention for long. One thing had him concerned, and he wanted an answer. Somehow all the pain would be worth it if he knew.
“So,” he paused, exhaling slowly before continuing. “What are the plans for the land? Rebuilding?”
“Actually, no.” Dino reddened slightly and rubbed his hands on the back of his jeans. “Madame will repair her business and retire, leaving her children to run it.”
“Park?” Deacon couldn’t put together a sentence.
“No, I’m going to put in a seaside recreational facility. It will have aerobics, basketball, an indoor track and a pool. Low cost for residents, but available to tourists for a daily, weekly or monthly fee. Still working on a name for it. I kind of wanted to name it after Pete.” He glanced at Everett and Nancy.
“That’s flattering, Dino, but Pete wouldn’t have wanted that. He wasn’t that kind of guy,” Everett told him with tears in his eyes.
“You could name it after Uncle Charlie,” Kacy suggested.
“There will be a plaque commemorating it to him and my aunt, but he wouldn’t have wanted that either.”
“I think,” Deacon said slowly, “that you should name it after yourself.”
“Yeah,” Kacy agreed. “The Dino Sawyer Recreation Facility. That has a nice ring to it.”
“It doesn’t sound pretentious?”
“It sounds just right to me,” Cindy smiled, taking his hand. “And it’s something you can point to and say, Look, son, Daddy built that. Wouldn’t that be great?”
“Daddy?” Dino looked so puzzled, everyone started to laugh.
“I had a doctor’s appointment today, right after Kacy and I went to Madame’s. It looks like we’ll be back in the hospital about the same time as Deacon and Kacy. I’m pregnant!”
“A baby?” Dino’s eyes lit up and he took Cindy in his arms. “Really? That’s fantastic!”
“So,” Kacy glanced at Deacon and then Dino. “We’ve decided to have a double wedding. Cindy and I will get it all planned out, and tell you gents when to show up.” She winked.
“Congratulations, you two!” Nancy hugged and kissed them both.
Everett’s greeting was less flamboyant, but he was equally as happy. “When’s the big day?”
“Well, we’ve not settled on the day yet, but we were thinking New Year’s Eve. That way the reception can be a big, blow out party. What do you think?”
“I think we’ve got a lot of planning to do before then,” Nancy took the hands of both women. “Girl talk,” she said to the men as she led the younger women from the room, chattering happily.
“Wow,” Deacon’s eyes drifted shut. He fought to open them, but was fading fast. “Dino, it looks like our ladies have hooked us and reeled us in for sure!”
“I know,” Dino grinned happily. “Ain’t it great?”
“Yep,” Deacon replied as he drifted to sleep. “It sure is.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes