CHAPTER ELEVEN 3RD FRIDAY Mike gets up at four and Nina wakes so he's pleasantly delayed getting away to pick up Trudy until five. It's twenty after six when he pulls up to her door. She comes bouncing out and says, "You want my help you've got to give up these morning pieces of tail with your wife." She laughs and he says, "It wasn't my wife, it was my neighbor's wife." At that they both laugh.
Mike guns the engine and they head for POCO. Trudy studies him before she says, "I'm thinking of moving to Chilliwack. A friend of mine called and she has a really nice place on Clark Drive but her girl friend got married and moved out.
She wants me to share the house with her. Can we stop by there on the way?" "Will she be up yet?" "She said she would." "You told her I'd bring you over this morning?" "I figured I could talk you into it. We'll only live thirty minutes apart instead of an hour and a half." "It'll be a long drive to work." "Not if I'm working for you." "Honey, I don't have enough work to hire you full time." "If I'm going to be your mistress, you better be ready to pay my rent, you cad." "Don't you think this mistress thing has gone far enough?" "You don't want me.
You just want to screw me and leave me. You're a brute. I don't know why you turn me on so much." She slides across the seat and slips her hand along the inside of his thigh.
Mike grins and says, "We'll see. How much is your share of the expenses?" "Three hundred a month and two hundred for me. For services rendered." she adds. "You can't live on that?" "Can't I. Well, you can give me more if you want to." "Trudy! Your impossible." "Don't you think I'm worth it?" "No comment." They swing off the freeway into Chilliwack at the airport then drive to the far side of town and Clarke Drive on the river.
Rolling lawns and rhododendrons mark the spacious lots and comfortable homes along the Drive. Mike parks in front of number 14. "I'm never going to be able to come down into this area with the truck." Mike says as he opens her door and they walk up the stones that provide a path to the door. Trudy rings the bell and a jolly heavyset woman of about thirty opens the door and folds her arms around her.
"Trudy, come in. I was afraid you might not make it or you might have changed your mind." Trudy takes Mike's hand and says, "Cookie, I want you to meet the man in my life. Mike, this is Carol, but just call her Cookie." "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Cookie." "Me too. You told me he was handsome. Wow! You weren't kidding and so mannerly." The two women chatter together as they enter the house.
It devolves that they worked together at Laidlaw and Cookie has a job lined up for her in Sardis if she'll move down with her. They'll split expenses fifty/fifty and her share won't work out to anywhere near five hundred a month. Cookie has inherited the house from her grandmother and is just looking for company.
She loves Crystal so thinks they would make excellent roommates. "Just think, Trudy, you would have a built in baby sitter whenever you wanted. Wouldn't your young man like that?" Mike grins and says, "No need trying to convince me, I'm sold.
It's up to the lady." Trudy says, "I'll call you tonight, but I think you've found a new star boarder. I'll have to see about Crystal's school and all, but I think we will come." "Good. Let me show you around." It turns out Cookie has her bedroom on the second floor and a second bedroom right next to her "For Crystal", she says. On the main floor is the master bedroom so Trudy would have the main floor to entertain her boyfriend in privacy, if she so wishes.
Mike likes it better and better. They have to get going so Trudy promises to call this evening and they leave. She chatters on and on about the place until they get to POCO around eight thirty. Mike calls Georgette and explains his role in the investigation. She says to come right over. They drive to an apartment block and go up to 808. A cheeky strawberry blonde with red cheeks of about twenty-five answers the bell.
"Do come in. I'm so upset over Flo and want to help in any way I can." "Thank you for seeing us so early in the morning. This is my associate, Trudy Garneau. We will try not to take too much of your time. Were you going out?" "No. I'm an early riser except when I'm working late." She smiles at Trudy as if to a kindred spirit. Mike takes a note pad from his pocket and a pen. He asks, "You were a friend of Flo's?" "Yes.
As well as working together, we met for coffee and such outside work hours. It was such a shock to me when I heard what happened. I couldn't attend the funeral. I've been a nervous wreck ever since." "You were both working at The Gardens the night she was attacked?" "Yes.
We chatted all evening and planned to get together the next day for coffee." "Did you have any idea she was planning to go out after work that night?" Georgette looks thoughtful for a moment and Trudy pipes up. "She told you she was meeting a trick, didn't she? Did you have a trick that night?" Mike turns to Trudy to say something but thinks better of it. Georgette looks shocked then breaks down and cries.
"She didn't tell me who she was meeting. I took my John to the park nearby. He just wanted a blowjob. How'd you know?" "We have to know these things in order to find out the truth. You didn't tell the cops she was meeting a John, did you?" Trudy's on a roll now and Mike let's her take over. "No. I didn't want them to find out about me. I don't think I'll ever be able to do it again.
That guy's out there waiting for me next. I know she was going out with a customer that was in the pub that evening. There were so many in during the evening. I've been with quite a few of them.
I'm so scared." "Any of the other girls turning tricks at the pub?" "I think one other girl is. I'm not sure. She only started a month ago. She may just be boy crazy." "What's her name?" "Caramel something.
I don't know if that's her real name or not. Everyone just calls her Caramel." "You got a pimp?" "Jay. He drives cab. He has some other girls. I think Flo worked for him, too. "That's Jay Scanlon. Does he ever stay here?" "He does sometimes. He's not here now.
I don't know where he's staying now. I'm scared he will come up and demand I go back to work on the streets." "Mike, give her one of our cards. If he comes back and hassles you, give us a call.
Did you have anything else you wanted to ask her, Mike?" "Yeah, I. uh, did Flo keep a black book of customers, do you know?" "We never keep a record of customers only.
It's a tip off to the police if they catch us. We keep an address book and use code to mark which ones are customers." "Do you know what code Flo used in hers?" "She once told me to mark them with a prefix.
If it says Mr. he's a John. Otherwise it's plain John Doe. I think that was the code she used." "I can't think of anything else. Use that number if you think of anything you might remember that might be useful or if you get hassled by Scanlon. I guess we'll be on our way. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and for being so candid." They leave and when they get to the car Mike says, "How'd you figure her for a pro so fast?" "It was in her eyes.
She's running scared of meeting the same fate as Flo and they were friends outside of work, meaning they had common interests outside work. You're a man so you wouldn't pick up the vibes.
Don't sweat it, most men don't." Mike starts the car shaking his head, "I don't understand what you mean." Trudy just laughs. They drive around to check on another address; one Trudy has come up with for Jay Scanlon. They knock and wait. No answer so Mike tries knocking again, but still no reply. They give up and drive off to a second address she has for Scanlon. This time the door opens just as soon as he knocks. "Hi there, I'm looking for Jay Scanlon. Is he home this morning?" "No, he's out." She rolls her eyes at him and says, "Maybe I can help you.
I work for Jay. Come in." Mike steps to the door and waves for Trudy to come and join him. He steps inside but stays in the doorway. He flips out his I.D. card then says, "I am private investigator, Mike Claymore and this young lady coming up the walk is my assistant, Trudy Garneau. We have a few questions for you in the Flo Hanson case. Did you know Flo?" "Maybe I did and maybe I didn't. I didn't invite you in to answer questions. Please leave." Trudy cuts in with, "Flo's dead and Georgie's scared she's next.
Maybe she's wrong. Maybe it's you." "Cut the dramatics. We all know it was that truck driver who did her in. He's a sex pervert!" "Then why have they let him go? That's right, he's walking the streets as free as you or me.
I think Jay did it, to keep you girls in line. Now what do you say?" "He couldn't have done it. He told me he was playing cards at the cab stand all night.
The other guys will vouch for him, I'm sure." "That's what he told you? Does he always tell you the truth?" "I can check." She picks up the phone, dials then talks for a minute. She starts arguing and finally slams the receiver down. "That lying bastard.
He wasn't even at work that night.
Okay, what you want to know?" "Jay ever get violent with you?" "He's slapped me around. One time he said he'd cut me if he ever caught me holding out on him. That's all." "He into drugs?" This was Mike's question. "No way, he's death on them and says he better not catch any of his girls using.
You think he actually did that girl in?" "I don't know. It looks like his alibi might be full of holes. I suppose the guys told the cops that he was with them all night playing cards. They wouldn't lie to you, though." Trudy comes in again, "Jay into Fantasy Sex?" "If it's called for.
Why?" "We think the killer used Fantasy Sex to get her away out there by the tracks, tied up and all." "It does sound like something kinky alright. Otherwise why would she go? But Jay! I don't know." "He staying here now?" "Not now.
He comes and goes." "Look, uh, what's your name?" It's Mike again. "Peaches. They call me Peaches. That's enough." "Look, uh Peaches, I'm going to leave you my card. If Jay comes by and threatens you or you think of something that might help us in our investigation, call our number." A voice comes from the other room, "Peaches, tell him about the cat." Mike and Trudy stare at the doorway where a lady in her forties is standing in leather pants and a bright yellow see through blouse.
Peaches says, "This is Sheri, my room mate." "I'm the reason Jay won't mess with her. He's scared of me. Peaches got a kitten given to her by a John. Jay thought she was holding so he strangled her cat with one hand and watched it die in front of her.
He said it was to teach her not to hold back money from him. When I came in she was a basket case. That's the night I carved my initials into his chest with a broken beer bottle. He hasn't bothered her again." Mike shudders but Trudy says, "How'd you hold him still?" Sheri smiles and says, "If someone holds a broken beer bottle that close to your heart, you hold still, baby." Trudy laughs and says, "I like your style." After leaving Sheri and Peaches they go for a bite of lunch.
Trudy chuckles and says, "I like working with you. I meet the most interesting people." "Well I've got a bouncer you'll just love to meet. We see him at two at The Gardens. "Mike, do you think Scanlon's our killer. I don't get a strong feeling he's our man." "I don't know. It still could be her ex. I have to reserve judgment on Scanlon till I meet him.
What say we meet the Harrison's after lunch?" "He's a Realtor, but I bet his wife's at home. When do I get a chance to meet Tony and Ray?" "Tony sometimes comes in here for lunch. I hoped he might drop in today but no luck, so far." "That's why we're eating in a trucker's hangout." "You got it." "The foods quite good." "I know." They finish lunch and drive over to Larkin Ave. Rolling lawns and large spacious homes near the mall and park are what they find.
They drive through the gates at 361 and pull into a courtyard. A new Mercedes is parked in the garage.
The garage door is open and in the court behind the Mercedes is a Lincoln Towne car, also very new.
Mike parks his Mustang convertible and they ring the bell. A maid answers their ring and says the Harrison's are not receiving company at this time.
Mike flashes his I.D. and says its business. From an ascending staircase behind the maid a woman's voice comes, "Show them in, dear." Rita Harrison comes forward to meet them. She's tall even without her dark hair piled high on her head and her makeup is perfect for going out although she's dressed in a revealing robe. It's fairly obvious she doesn't have anything under the robe as she directs them to a library.
"And what business have you to discuss with us, handsome." She disregards Trudy's presence, speaking directly to Mike.
"Oh, there you are, love.
I didn't know you were busy." It's an older gentleman in a robe who voices these words as he enters the room. Mike glances at him and says, "Mr. Ron Harrison? I was hoping to find you at h." Rita laughs a brittle laugh cutting him off, "This is not my husband." Trudy speaks up and says, "Of course not. Everyone knows Judge Forester. Good day sir." The judge looks disconcerted and says, "Oh dear!" and leaves the room. Mike says he's sorry for any embarrassment they might have caused and explains who they are.
"How was it that you and your husband became acquainted with the deceased, Mrs. Harrison?" She takes his arm and fondles it as she says, "Rita.
You simply must call me Rita. Ronald found Florence through a cab driver friend of his. We needed another female guest for a party. I simply was aghast when I heard what happened to her. Such a waste of such a talented girl. Would you like something to drink? How about you, my dear? Trudy, was it? You're French?
You don't look French." "My ex husband was French. I still use his name. Did you know Florence well?" "Hardly. Her life style didn't fit into our circle of friends at all. She lived a very pedestrian life with nobodies, but she was very good at what she did, if you know what I mean?" "No.
What was it she did?" "Oh, she entertained men, you know." "She was an entertainer?" "She was a hooker!" "And you hired her in that capacity?" "Sometimes one must overlook the background of those one hires to feed the appetites of one's social associates. It's very irritable business to have to tend to, but one does what one must.
Of course it's better to tend to business oneself as with the judge there." She smiles as she inclines her head towards the door. "He appreciates the personal touch." Mike speaks up, "So it was your husband who hired Flo for any engagements.
He contacted her how?" "I think he had her number after her first visit." "Did she often work for you folks? In particular, did she do any work for you during the week before her death?" "She was here two nights before she died.
It was a very lucrative night for her. She entertained two gentlemen during the course of the evening and I don't think either of them were aware of the other. She was very talented. We will miss her." When Trudy and Mike are back in the car and leaving the grounds, Trudy says, "I wonder if she told Jay she was here two nights before her death?
Maybe she was holding out on him and he did kill her." "My own thoughts exactly." "Are you going to take her up on her offer? I heard her invite you back as soon as you get rid of me." "She didn't put it in those terms, but that's essentially what she meant. No, I don't think so." They arrive at The Gardens at five after two. Mike raps on the side door and Meloney lets them in. "Your just in time. Caramel and Stacy have just come in ahead of you. Manuel and his son should be here any minute." She leads them to an area the other side of the bar where there is a changing room.
"Which one do you want to see first?" "I'll speak with Stacy and my associate, Trudy Garneau, will go in with you and speak with Caramel." He turns to Trudy and says, "Check for lockers and look around, got it?" She winks and says, "Leave it to me, boss." The ladies go into the change room and Mike looks around the pub.
In a moment Meloney reappears with a young dark skinned girl. Mike judges her to be Arabic or Egyptian. She appears to still be in her teens. Mike looks questioningly at Meloney and she smiles as she says, "She's legal. Stacy is twenty-one, although I know she doesn't look it. Stacy, This is Mike. He's the private investigator I was telling you about.
Help him if you can, eh?" "I want to help catch the animal who did that bad thing. What can I do?" "Just answer some questions for me. How well did you know Flo?" "I liked Florence. She always had time to listen to my problems, even though she had so many of her own.
We were friends." "You knew she was a prostitute?" "She never told me, but I guessed. It didn't matter. She was a lonely person a long way from her home in southern Ontario and needed friends.
She also cared for others." "Did you ever see her using drugs?" "Definitely not! She was death on drugs. She said that they were the worst part of today's society. Part of what drove her husband to beat her was alcohol.
She would have nothing to do with drugs." "Did she tell you who she was planning to meet on that fatal night?" "No. She seemed to be happy that she had a date but was very quiet about who it was with. I don't think it was a customer.
a paying customer, a Johnny. You know what I mean?" "Yes. Why don't you think it was?" "She was too happy. It was like she was going to meet an old boy friend or someone like that." "Do you think she could have been happy because she was going to try something new that night?" "What do you mean?" "It's been said that she was likely participating in an activity called Fantasy Sex.
That's why she would go to that remote location and allow herself to be tied willingly. Do you think she could have been looking forward to that in a happy way?" "I know about Fantasy Sex. If she had never tried it and someone offered her the chance that might have exited her. Maybe that was why she was so happy.
But you have to trust someone completely to do that, you know." She regards him steadily and says, "Have you ever tried it?" Mike feels his neck getting warm and says, "No. Not yet." She smiles the slightest mysterious smile and says, "I think you soon will. Is there any more questions?" "Uh. .No. Please take my card and call if you think of anything that might help us, no matter how small." He's relieved to see Trudy coming out of the change room with a rangy girl.
She has golden brown eyes and radiant honey colored hair. Mike goes to meet her and Stacy joins Caramel. Mike asks, "All done?" "Yep. Let's find this bouncer. Caramel tells me he's a softy for the women but doesn't answer well for cops or other men.
You want me to take him?" "We'll both talk to him but I'll let you carry the ball in the interrogation. Let's see if he's here yet." Mike pokes his head in the kitchen and sees Pedro. He nods and asks, "Seen your Dad around?" "He's outside fixing the car." "Thanks." They go out the side door and spot Manuel in the lot working on his aerial. He sees them and scowls.
Mike says, "Manuel, this is my associate, Trudy Garneau. Can you answer some questions now?" "I'm fixin my radio. Damn kids broke off the aerial so I got a new one. New one don't work." Trudy says, "Your pretty good with your hands, aren't you? Couldn't you fix the old one?" "Maybe. Might be better'n this damn thing. Scuse my language, Miss." "Manuel, you walked Flo to her car so she wouldn't get hurt, didn't you?" "Yes, I did.
She should have taken my advice. I told her to go home and go to bed. But she wouldn't listen." "You liked Flo." "Yes. She was a nice girl who's life was messed up by a cruel man. I told her to go home to Ontario, but she wanted to try and make things work here.
She should have gone home. It's so sad." "But she knew she was living a dangerous life style. Why would she do that, do you think?" "To take her mind off her ex and maybe to get even with him. Show him she could have almost any man she wanted.
That's what I think." "Did he come around the pub to bother her?" "No. I wouldn't have let him in. She knew that she was safe here." "Did she say who she was meeting later that night?" "No.
I wish she had. I would find the son of a bitch before the police and castrate him. slowly, before I killed him." "You don't think the truck driver they arrested did it?" "No.
Ray comes in all the time. He's all right. It wasn't him." Trudy touches his arm and says, "Thanks, Manuel. We'll find whoever did it. Mike knows what he's doing. I'm sorry about Flo." Manuel looks down and says, "Me, too." They go back to the car and Trudy tells Mike, "He was sweet on her." Mike nods as he starts the car. "Guess I'll have to hurry to get you home for work. It's just after three twenty." "Damn! We won't have time for a quickie, will we?" As they head out of POCO Mike says, "So, what did you learn from Caramel?" "I made notes for you.
Basically, she's new in town. Jay has been to see her and explain the lay of the land. She hasn't agreed to work for him yet, so she's curbed her activities the last while.
She doesn't have any idea who Flo was meeting and didn't even know Flo that well." "She's a hooker, though?" "Yep. I checked Flo's locker but it was bare. The cops got there first. I guess that's where they got the address book." "Figures." They drive in silence for a while.
Trudy passes him her notes. "Just slip them in my briefcase, honey." "Mike, do you think it's possible we're overlooking the obvious. We're pretty sure it was a phony rape so could Flo have been offed by a female?" "I know.
I've been wondering the same thing." They follow the Lougheed out to Agassiz then the Haig Connection to Hope. Mike drops her off after a long kiss and promises to keep in touch. As he drives home he thinks about the possibility of a murderess and tries to screen out the suspects from the women they have met so far. He puzzles at it until he approaches Chilliwack then starts thinking about Trudy being so close if she moves there. Close, but not too close.
He arrives home in half an hour. As he comes in he spots Nina at the sink. "Hi. Supper won't be long.
How was your day?" "Where's Marlene?" "Don't I get a kiss first?" Mike takes her in his arms and kisses her soundly. "Jeff came over and took her with the kids out to supper. It's just you and I for now." "What's the occasion?" "You forgot! It's Richard's birthday. Marlene said you had forgotten but I didn't believe her.
How could you?" "Oh Hell! I better nip out and get him something." "Marlene got him a gift from you. She said she has had to do that for all the kids for the last few years." "I remembered Shelly's birthday last year." "She told me you brought her home something from Calgary two days after her birthday." "But I remembered!" "Mike, your impossible.
Don't get into something in the office.
Supper will be ready in half an hour." "Right. Call me when it's ready." Mike puts his briefcase away and returns to the living room. He has decided to take a nap.
Nina wakes him for supper. He catches her hand and pulls her to him on the couch. "Give me a little kiss." She smiles and bends to meet his lips. As he kisses her he pulls her down beside himself on the couch and proceeds to work a breast with one hand. She starts back and says, "Just a minute. Supper's ready." He grins and says, "It'll wait." He pulls her against his chest and seeks her lips again. "I worked to make that supper and we are going to eat it now.
Come on, Mike, let me up." He looks at her and sees she means it. "Why not turn it down and take care of more important things first?" "It will be ruined. Don't you value the hard work I did to make it for you? Jeff would never do this." "That's because you wear the pants in your family.
Now I'm going to take them off." He proceeds to do so. As he rubs her sex she presses hard against his hand in response but she has tears in her eyes. Mike quits and she moans. "I want you so bad but I wanted you to like my cooking, too." Mike shrugs and says, "Okay. Let's try your cooking first then." He lets her up and they go to the kitchen. As she sits near him to eat she whispers, "I'm sorry I can't just drop everything for you when you come in. I'd like to but that's not the way I was raised.
Please don't hate me for it?" "Everyone has their own priorities. Some differ from others. I can accept that." "Did you get any information that was useful today?" "I haven't sorted it all out in my mind yet. I talked with Mrs. Harrison, all the staff that was on site at The Gardens the night of the murder and a few of Jay Scanlon's girls.
He's a pimp, by the way. He was Flo's pimp. I haven't been able to talk to him yet. He may be our perp. I need a lot more proof. His alibi to the police doesn't wash. I think that about covers it." "Wow!
It sounds like you were busy. What did they all say?" Mike goes through each interview almost word for word, leaving Trudy out of it. Nina hangs on to every word as she chews her food. She is visibly agitated by the time he's finished. "Three of the girls at The Gardens were hookers? I wish I could go with you when you meet with these people.
It sounds so thrilling." "Your supper is delicious. How about your day? The Staff Sgt. giving you a rough time, yet?" "No, they haven't changed my duties at all. Everything is normal. No one has mentioned the search. I'm sure they know you had the file but they also know it's long gone, now. It is, isn't it?" "You don't want to know." "Mike! You still have it?" "Not on me." "Mike, you're taking an awful risk.
Not just for you, but for me as well. I hope you know what you're doing." "You'll have to trust me." "I do!
I truly do. But I worry about you. Oh God, how I worried about you today." She gets up and sits in his lap to kiss him. "Now your home and safe. I just want to hold on to you." "Let's go back to the couch." He slips an arm under her legs and picks her up. He carries her into the living room.
She melts against him as he gently lays her on the couch and lies down beside her. He plays with her breasts through her bra then removes it so her nipples press little bumps in her blouse.
He lowers his lips to blow hot breath through the material onto them as his hands seek her sex and open the way. She moans and quivers in anticipation, reaching to open his pants.
He teases and excites her for quite a while until she suddenly gasps and writhes against him. She's long passed ready to accept him but he fondles and teases her more. She cries out his name, begging for his entry and that's when he gives her what she craves. He paces himself so she climaxes repeatedly then reaches his zenith so they collapse together. Weakly they lay recovering, breathing, hearts thudding loudly in their ears, when they hear the sound of children talking and they quickly move to appear to be talking on the couch.
The kids rush in and tell them all about supper, but it does not escape Marlene's eyes what was going on. Mike's shirttail is out and Nina without a bra under her blouse. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what was what. Mike wishes his son a happy birthday then Marlene sends them out to play.
"You want some more privacy, or are you done?" Nina turns beet red and Mike says, "Marlene, show a little respect. You've embarrassed Nina almost to tears. We're done for now, thank you. Did you have a nice party for the kids?" "Jeff took us to The Castle and they all had a ball.
It was real fun for all of us. Sorry you weren't home to go with us, but I guess it's just as well. Nina would have been left here all by herself. It looks like you had fun, too. Tuck in your shirt, Mike. And you really should put on your bra and panties, Nina." Nina pulls her legs back and crosses them under her while Mike laughs, "Why dear, I think you're jealous." Marlene goes stamping out of the room.
"Just make sure you clean up the mess on the couch, that's all." Nina gathers up her panties from under the edge of the couch and her bra from under her.
She opens her legs and checks. She whispers to Mike, "It's Okay. The mess is all on the inside of the back of my skirt. There isn't any on the couch. I tried to make sure it'd be like that." She wipes at it with her panties then gingerly gets up and heads for the stairs.
Mike fumes for a bit over her embarrassment then quiets down as Nina comes back downstairs in a fresh skirt. He thinks, "Who the hell wears the pants in this household?" He goes to the kitchen where Marlene is making coffee. "I think you owe Nina an apology. You messed up her life with her husband and now your punishing her by embarrassing her.
You're still sleeping with him, for God's sakes. Why does she deserve your wrath?" "She's too thin skinned, that's all. She's like her nicey husband. They belong together. I want her out of here." "Fine. I'll get my things." Nina leaves the room.
"Where's she going to go? Home?" "I don't care. As long as she goes." "Good. You'll be able to reach us at the Downsider Motel." Mike leaves the room and heads upstairs. He goes into the bedroom and starts packing his travel bag.
Nina looks at him and says. "What are you doing?" "Going with you." "To my place?" "You don't have to go home and take Jeff's abuse. I'll find us a place." "Us?" Mike nods as he finishes packing. "Hurry up and get your things together." Marlene comes into the room and stands looking at them.
"Mike, I'm sorry I embarrassed Nina. I'm just out of sorts and I don't want her to leave." "Tell her." She does and adds, "I made this mess with your husband months ago and I want to help you get him back. Please stay." Mike looks at the women and waits for Nina to say something. Tears drip from the end of her nose onto her suitcase and she looks down at the bed. "I just want Jeff. Why did he have to go and run around on me?
We had such a good life together until about a year ago." She looks up at Mike and says, "Your kind to me and you excite me, but you're not Jeff." She turns to Marlene, "Can you understand?" "Yeah kid, I think so." "I can't go back and change things now.
Jeff and I will never have the same relationship we had. I may agree to his request for a divorce. Will you tell him that tonight?" "If you're sure that's what you want." "Tell him I'm not sure.
We'll have to talk about it." "Okay, Nina. I'll tell him." Nina begins unpacking then looks at Mike with a weak smile. "Aren't you going to unpack, too?" "Naw, I'm going to move down to the office and sleep on the couch. You get some rest." She looks imploringly at him. "Please don't do that." She hesitates, glancing at Marlene then, "I need you tonight to hold me and comfort me.
Please don't leave me alone." Mike tosses his bag back on the bed and slides an arm around her waist. "I'll try to be there for you." He looks at Marlene, "And I'll try to be patient with you until your home to stay." He pats her behind.
They all three go down for coffee and Marlene starts the kids on baths for bed. When she and Mike have them all tucked in, Marlene says goodnight and leaves for Jeff's place. Mike takes Nina's hand and leads her upstairs. Gently he undresses her and places her under the covers then kisses her before he undresses himself. He enters the bed and moves to her, gathering her in his arms. No flannel separates them tonight.
He holds her close and caresses her hair, ears and throat, as his lips caress hers. He is so gentle as to make her feel adored. There is no rush tonight. Slowly, so slowly she arouses at his touch. Tonight they truly make love, each yearning to please the other.