This is the first of my writing to be created into a movie. The Death of Kevin Frye was filmed in 2009.
“Good morning. Beautiful day; isn’t it?” Jazz smiled.
Victor’s normally dark expression, accentuated by his dark eyes and short dark beard, brightened when he saw her smile. “It’s snowing.”
“Yeah, I know.” she shivered. He wanted to take her in his arms and warm her, but walked with her toward her office instead. They ignored the other personnel already busy at work.
“Got any plans this weekend?” she asked.
“No, not really, except to ask you out tonight.” Victor replied quietly, not intending for her to hear him.
“Okay, what time?” she asked as she pulled off her hat, revealing beautiful dark hair.
“Does seven sound good?”
“It sounds good to me. Do you know where I live?”
“No,” he lied.
“I live on 1716 Pinedale, apartment fourteen.”
“That’s not far from me!”
She reached up to pat his shoulder, smiling. As she walked away she shot one more glance at him. He watched her for a moment, and then turned toward his own office.
Back at his desk, he picked up a report, his mind far away from his work. He shook his head at himself. He should never have let himself fall for her. He stared out a nearby window at the snow. How could he express to her his feelings? He loved her, he’d loved her for a long time now, but she wasn’t aware of it. Or was she?
At five o’clock, Jazz gathered her things to leave the office, but before she could get to the elevator, Keri caught her.
“So, is all the buzz true?”
“Seriously, Jazz. It’s the biggest news since Chad pulled a full Monty at least year’s New Year’s party.”
“What is it you want to know, Keri?”
“You and Victor?”
“So it is true.”
“You’re acting like we’re in high school. Yes, Keri, I’m going out with Victor.”
“Well, it’s about time. The sexual tension in the office has been almost unbearable.”
“Oh, my gosh, Keri!”
“I’m just saying...” Keri caught a glimpse of Victor coming up behind Jazz. She walked away smiling mischievously, leaving her sentence trailing.
“See you tonight; right?”
“I’ll pick you up at seven.”
“Where are we going?”
“See you at seven.”
Jazz smiled as she watched him walk away, glad he was finally getting the message. She wondered why it seemed to take him so long to get up the nerve to ask her out. He didn’t seem the type to be shy, but he always seemed to hesitate around her. Still, she sensed something in him she’d not seen in any of the others she’d dated. A small voice told her that she probably shouldn’t encourage a relationship with him, but he intrigued her so much that she ignored the voice, deciding that it was probably because he was older. At the apartment, she began to prepare for their first date.
When Victor arrived at Jazz’s apartment and knocked, he felt nervous. He hoped she wasn’t like the others. After a few moments, Jazz opened the door.
“Hi. I’m almost ready. Would you like to come in? I just have to get my coat.”
“Sure,” he replied.
While Victor waited he assessed the room, habitually checking out possible escape routes. Her apartment was just big enough for a couple with no kids. On his right was a small kitchenette, to the left, her bedroom, a window by the door, and by the television, but no back door.
On his left beside the bedroom door, Victor noticed a small Christmas tree standing proudly beside a fireplace with a nativity on the mantle.
Something about the little Christmas decorations touched his heart. Thoughtfully he fingered a glass bottle with a tiny red Christmas ship sailing on a blue glass ocean. The ornament looked like an antique. The fresh, clean pine aroma from the tree accentuated a feeling he could not name, but liked. It gave him a sense of home that he’d not had for a very long time.
“I was just finished getting ready and was on my way to get my coat and gloves when you rang the doorbell. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“You look great.”
“Thank you,” she said reaching down to pet a longhaired Siamese cat curled up on the couch. Jazz scratched her head.
“She sure has huge paws.” Victor commented, while helping Jazz into her coat.
“Shhh… Owshegotme is sensitive.” Jazz laughed.
Victor gave Jazz a puzzled look, “‘Ow she’...what?”
“Ow-she-got-me.” Jazz repeated slowly, “I call her Owie for short. She has a bad habit of jumping on my shoulder from the ground, especially when I have food. My back is all scratched up.”
When they were ready, he held the door open for her as they left the apartment, and as she got into his little black Intimidator convertible.
“Nice car,” she commented as she rubbed her hands along the leather interior.
Pleased with her compliments, he started the engine. Quiet, powerful vibrations set the car in motion.
“Something tells me you have a taste for the fast lane.”
“What gave you that idea?”
“The car mostly. It’s a go-fast car.”
“I’ll give you a drive in the summer with the top down. We’ll have to find a place way out in the country, and let it go. It’s got a lot of power, and I’m always in danger of getting a ticket.”
They drove out of town to the parking lot of the Romantic Knights restaurant and pub. It looked like a medieval castle, complete with a moat filled with rushing water.
“I’ve always wanted to come here,” Jazz laughed as they crossed the drawbridge pathway.
“I’m glad I get to be the one who takes you first.” Victor opened a huge, oak door with intricate carvings of knights, gargoyles, and dragons. When they got inside, he spoke to the hostess who led them to their table by a large window. A waitress handed them menus and took their drink order.
The restaurant was as medieval on the inside as on the outside. Dark tapestries were hanging on the walls by booths. On one wall, a huge fireplace with a roast suckling pig rotated on a skewer. Savory aromas came from the kitchen, along with the clatter of pots and pans. Through the speakers soft classical music played. Sconces in the walls, like the torches Jazz had seen in movies, gave the restaurant dim light, highlighting the medieval look. She almost expected Merlin to come stalking out of the kitchen wearing a druid robe, an ill-tempered scowl on his face and an owl perched on his shoulder.
“This is really nice,” Jazz scanned the menu, but almost lost a gasp when she saw the cost of the selections.
“What are you going to order?” Victor asked as he also searched the choices.
“I’m not sure, what are you going to have?”
“The steak and lobster is one of my favorite dinners here. The steak absolutely melts in your mouth.”
“I think I’ll have steak.”
Victor nodded as the waitress returned with their drinks and took their order.
From their window they could see the snow covered Oklahoma countryside beneath a clouded sky illuminated by the lights from town. “What a beautiful night,” Jazz exclaimed. “I love to come out this way at night in winter, especially on a crystal clear night. The stars are so sharp and bright it’s almost painful.”
“But tonight is cloudy.”
“Yes, but that’s wonderful, too. Look how heavy those clouds are! And it looks like we’re going to have another snow. I love this time of year.”
“Yeah. Sunshine is nice, but I love the rain and snow storms we sometimes have too. Gray cold days make everything seem so cozy in the house.”
“You’re the first person I’ve ever heard talk about winter that way.”
Jazz laughed, “So what brought you to Prairie Oak?”
“Yeah, from the moment I saw you I knew I was supposed to be here.”
“Seriously, Victor,” Jazz blushed, not realizing the truth he’d revealed.
“I needed a change. I’d been living in Houston, and decided to move. I wasn’t really sure where I should go, or what I ought to do. Passing through on my way to Tulsa, I decided I’d stay here. Got the job at the magazine, and… well you know the rest.”
“You look too young to be going through mid-life crisis.”
“There are a lot of crises besides mid-life,” he said as he took another sip from his wine.
“You’re much too serious. You’ve got to lighten up.”
“Okay. I’ll give it a shot, but you’ll have to be patient with me. I don’t do light very easily. What brought you here?”
“I worked at a bank, got tired of living in a big city. I got the job with the magazine and moved. Did you know I’m from Houston?”
“I think you mentioned it once,”
“Have you lived anywhere else besides Houston?”
“My job took me a lot of places. I got tired of traveling all the time, that’s why I decided on the magazine. It’s pretty steady. The money isn’t great, but it’s enough to live on for awhile, at least until I decide what I want to do.”
Their dinner arrived and it was as good as the aroma promised. The steak almost melted in their mouths, satisfying their delicate sensory organs. They ate, relishing the potatoes and grilled vegetable sides that came with the meal. After they ate, they chose a rich chocolate volcano dessert topped with vanilla ice cream and crystallized coffee. Each ordered a cup of coffee to go with the dessert.
“That was great, thanks Victor.” Jazz said as they drove out of the parking lot.
“What movie would you like to see?”
“Quite honestly, I really don’t want to go to a movie.”
“Okay, do you want to go home?”
“No, what I’d really like to do is take a walk. It’s hard to have a conversation in a movie. Besides, after that meal, I feel I really need to walk it off. Let’s make that another time.”
Victor was quick to pick up on the cues; yes, there would be another time. He would make sure of that.
“It’s cold outside.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Okay, how about the little park downtown?”
“That sounds good to me.”
The glittering snow reflecting the Christmas lights made the park more beautiful than usual. Victor wanted to put his arm around her or hold her hand, but still wasn’t quite sure whether she’d accept it, so he buried his hands deeper in his leather coat.
“One thing I have noticed,” Jazz commented, picking up the thread of conversation from dinner, “is that you don’t smile and laugh much.”
“I forget to.” He replied, momentarily taken off his guard.
“How could you forget?”
“Jazz, my life hasn’t been one where good clean laughter happens very easily.”
“You need to let more color in.”
“I’m working on that.”
The Christmas lights on her face hid her blush, but he knew she completely understood what he was saying. “Is your name short for Jasmine?”
“Actually my name is Jasmine Rose. People have shortened it to Jazz. Sometimes my dad calls me Jazzy-Rose. I like that, but I don’t tell every one.”
“Because it’s Dad’s name for me.”
“You’re close to your dad?”
“Yeah, we’re a lot alike, and we both enjoy Christmas”
“What’s so special about Christmas to you, Jazz?”
“I love the lights, the festivity and the warmth, even when the weather’s cold. Mostly, though, I like what Christmas stands for.”
Almost forgetting her as they walked, Victor wanted to ask why people care about a guy who was born over two thousand years ago. His mind wandered and then suddenly he realized he’d been quiet longer than he’d intended. “Jazz, I’m sorry. I sometimes forget when people are with me.”
“You must be alone a lot. Why?”
“It’s just the way my life has turned out,”
Jazz smiled, gently patting his shoulder.
“What makes you so different?” he asked quietly.
“I didn’t think I was all that different from any other girl.” She laughed.
“You’re different than the girls I’ve known. I like the difference.”
“Are you getting cold?” he asked as he noticed her shiver.
“A little, would you like to come to my apartment for coffee?”
“No, I’d better not drink coffee this late. We’ll make that another time.”
They got back to his car and drove back to her apartment. Victor walked Jazz to her door.
“I’ve really enjoyed tonight. I hope you weren’t disappointed about not going to a movie.”
“No, not at all. I enjoyed the company.”
“I’ve enjoyed the evening too.”
Not sure what she expected, he bent down to kiss her but she put her hand to his chest.
“Victor, I think you’re a neat guy and I’d like to go out again sometime, but I’m not ready for that yet.”
“Uh, yeah, I guess,” he stammered, embarrassed that he’d tried.
“Okay. Will I see you at the office Monday?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there… Jazz, I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t make you mad.”
She smiled, “No, I just don’t like to rush into any relationship.”
“Okay, I...uh...Jazz, since I’ve already made a fool of myself tonight, would you like to do something tomorrow?”
“Did you have something in mind?”
“Well, there’s the Prairie Oak Holiday Festival going on tomorrow. Would you like to go?”
“Sounds like fun. What time?”
“How ‘bout if I pick you up in the morning after breakfast? We can eat lunch at one of the vendors.”
“Okay. Thanks for the great evening.”
Victor walked to his car and waved; glad he’d asked.
Back in his sparse apartment he cleaned his favorite handgun methodically, unaware of the dark image an old mirror reflected back at him. He could have kicked himself for trying to kiss her. What made him think she wanted that now? Finally, he switched the light off and lay down, but the thoughts of their evening together brought a terrible weight on him. He was tired of sleeping alone, tired of being alone. He flicked the lamp back on and pulled the drawer open to fish out an old, wrinkled photograph of her. Dark thoughts floated through his brain until he finally drifted to sleep.
In the morning, as planned, they drove to the festival located in the Prairie Oak Veterans Memorial Park located outside town. A golden highway of clouds streamed from the nine o’clock sun to the glorious still visible full moon. Icy wind blew as the two walked through the parking lot to the entrance of the indoor park and waited in line to enter the huge building.
The warm summer-like air was a nice change from the freezing temperature outside. A plethora of carnival food and coffee aromas came drifting to Jazz and Victor as they took their coats to a locker beside the front door. Then they began their walk through the park, meandering through the craft and artisan booths set up on the grass.
Near the swimming pool, they stopped at a booth where a tall, thin man with long gray hair and beard sat talking to potential customers. A four-foot stained glass peacock hanging from a cherry wood frame caught Jazz’s eye. Victor could see she loved the glass that scattered jeweled light on the ground from the sun shining through the Plexiglas roof.
Catching the vendor’s attention while she was distracted, Victor whispered, “How much?” The vendor winked as he whispered the price. “Here,” Victor slipped the man a wad of bills, “I’ll be back later. Wrap it in paper; would you?” the man nodded. Victor and Jazz were soon on their way to another vendor.
“Are you getting hungry?” Jazz asked a little while later.
“I’m beginning to. What sounds good to you?”
“Soup sounds really good.”
“Let’s stop at that soup and salad restaurant we passed by the pool.”
They turned around and went back to the sidewalk café and ordered, then found a quiet place on the grass and sat down.
“I like sitting on the grass, but the only place to do it is here. There aren’t any bugs to bite.”
“You can in California. No chiggers.”
“You’ve lived in California?”
“No, but I had business to do there once. Nice place, but very crowded. I think I like Oklahoma better.”
“You’ve been a lot of places on business. What did you do?”
“I was head exterminator for a big company.” Victor replied vaguely, “I got tired of it.”
“I’ve never heard of an exterminator traveling like you did.”
“I specialized in rats.” he muttered, “They were big. It wasn’t pleasant.”
“Rats? I don’t like rats.”
“Neither do I. Is your soup good?”
“Yeah, it’s great. I love New England clam. I’d like to go there some day in the fall. I want to get some photos of the autumn trees and lighthouses.” Jazz sipped appreciatively at the soup.
“Maybe we could go together. I’ve been there, it’s very beautiful.”
“Maybe. We’ll just have to see. Are you done eating?”
“Just about,” Victor finished the last of his soup and stood up holding out his hand to help her up. Her touch made him feel strangely nervous. He picked up their trash and threw it away.
“Let’s go back to the vendor booths, there’s a restroom near the pool.” Jazz said as she pointed past the vendor selling the stained glass.
They walked back. While she was inside, Victor ducked back and picked up his treasure.
“Scoring some points?” the grinning vendor asked.
“No, it’s more along the lines of a thank you,” Victor replied.
“Well, it’s going to score you some points. He’ll be glad to be with her.”
Ignoring the odd comment, Victor turned quickly almost running into a young man of medium build, with a freckled face and reddish hair that was combed into a fan Mohawk. They glanced in each other’s face. Neither spoke. Victor committed his appearance to memory.
Acting on instinct, he began to walk the opposite way from the restrooms, where he’d left Jazz. He recognized something he knew well in the hard eyes, but he wanted to make sure he wasn’t imagining things. If he was correct, the man would follow him, and he’d have to find a way to lose him. He should have been more careful, especially with Jazz. He scowled at his mistake, hoping it wouldn’t bite him later.
When he thought it was safe, he glanced backwards nonchalantly to see if the man was behind him. Yes, he was still there, but not as close.
Now he had to find a way to lose the shadow, whoever he was. He wandered through the park awhile, trying to decide what to do. By now, Jazz was wondering where he was. Would she wait for him there, or would she start wandering around looking for him? What was he going to say to her when he finally rejoined her? As crowded and as big as this place was, he doubted if she’d find him, but he didn’t want her to find him. He had to keep this guy occupied and away from Jazz.
He made his way to the park entrance, and saw the man slink behind him toward the front door. After leaving the entrance, Victor made his way to the far side of the parking lot. When he felt he was a safe distance he began to wander as if he’d forgotten where he’d parked. He expertly walked by each car, feeling in wheel wells, looking in windows, moving on to the next car.
As he walked an idea came to him. Casually Victor stopped, rested the package against his knees and pulled his cell phone out of its holster. He dialed, and then began to walk again.
“Jazz?” he asked.
“Victor? Where are you?”
“Listen, something’s come up, and I have to leave, I’ll explain it later.”
“I can’t talk now. Go to our locker, and you’ll find my car keys with your coat. Take my car home.”
“What’s going on? How are you going to get back?”
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll come by later. Okay?”
“Victor you sound like you’re in trouble. What can I do?”
“Nothing, just take my car home.” He hung up. The temptation to add, “I love you,” was too overwhelming for him to linger on the phone any longer. She wasn’t ready for that, he wasn’t sure if he was either.
He pocketed his cell phone and continued his search. He stopped at a white jeep, looked in the window and found the keys sitting in the console, almost blending in with the dark interior. He opened the door, slid into the driver’s seat and started the jeep, driving quickly out of the parking lot. As Victor pulled out on the highway, he noticed a red sports car pull out behind him. He could just make out the guy’s head with the unusual Mohawk.
Jazz clicked her cell phone off, confused. What was going on? He acted so strange sometimes.
She went back to the front desk to retrieve the keys and her coat. Her active imagination started on several paths, none of which made sense. She hoped he would be back soon.
As she sat in her apartment, Jazz desperately tried to keep the tears and her anger from overwhelming her. Picking up her cell phone, she started to dial his number. “No. If he’s going to dump me because I didn’t let him kiss me last night, good riddance... but if he didn’t like it, why did he ask me out today? It just doesn’t make sense.”
At a loss of what to do, Jazz stayed home. She didn’t want to miss Victor when he came, she had too many questions she wanted to ask, and as time went on her anger built. In the evening, she took her shower and slipped into her favorite green silk pajamas and slippers, but she didn’t go to bed. She plugged a movie into the DVD player and lay on the couch. Owie jumped up purring as if she knew Jazz needed some comfort. The animal curled into a ball and fell asleep as Jazz scratched her ears.
She yawned. The movie was just into the introduction when she closed her eyes, lost in the vague voices of a storyline she almost knew by heart. Suddenly she flinched, a soft knock at her door startled her into wakefulness. She glanced at the clock, and saw that it was only 8:30. Hoping she didn’t look the wreck she felt, she looked out the fisheye peephole. Victor was standing there, waiting for her to open the door. Quickly she brushed the stray hair away from her face and opened for him.
Victor noticed her strained voice as she invited him in and felt rotten. He came in and leaned his gift on a wall. Jazz, ignoring the brown wrapped package, went back to the kitchen and poured a cup of tea. “Do you want some?” she asked, trying to act normal.
“Yeah, it sounds really good.” Victor answered, angered by his clumsy response. How was he going to get past this without telling her the truth? The disgust he felt at himself deepened.
Jazz poured his tea, and picked up his keys from her counter. “Here are your keys. Victor, I’m not going to beat around the bush. What happened today?”
“Can we sit down?”
“Sure.” She wasn’t exactly warm, but he sensed she wasn’t ready to toss him out either. He sat down with her on the couch. He picked up her hand, “I’m sorry for today. That’s not the way I intended the day to go.”
“I’m still pretty angry,” she responded, “but I’m trying to let you give the explanation.”
“An old colleague of mine called from the emergency room here in town. Since he’s just here on business, he didn’t know who else to call. I stayed with him until a doctor could see him, then the doctor gave him some powerful pain medicine, and I needed to take him back to his hotel. I just got back from there.”
Is he going to be okay?” doubt apparent in her voice.
“Yeah, he was on the roof of a two story building. Squirrels had been getting in the attic and were chewing the wires. He slipped and fell into bushes. He’s bruised, but okay.”
Victor let her take her time with his story. He felt that if he said anything else at this moment, he would tell her the whole truth. He wasn’t ready for that, and knew she wasn’t ready for it either.
She sat silent a moment, staring at his hand holding hers. She’d wanted him to ask her out for a long time. She enjoyed being with him but what was she supposed to think with this? If it had been anyone else but Victor she’d probably not want to see him again, but somehow she couldn’t just blow him off. For this few minutes they were silent, the only words that came to her mind were, “second chance.”
“Okay Victor,” she said aloud, “just don’t do that again. Does your friend need any more help?”
“No, the doctor said he’d be able to drive himself to the airport tomorrow. He’s going back to Houston in the morning. Does this mean I’m forgiven?”
Jazz gave him a half smile, “Are you hungry?”
“I’m famished. But first I want you to come here for a minute.”
He pulled Jazz to the package.
“What’s going on with this?” Jazz looked at him a moment, not sure what to say or to expect.
Victor smiled, “Open it.” He placed her hand on the paper. Gingerly she tore the wrapper and gasped, admiring the colors as she balanced the peacock glass on the floor with her hand.
“Victor, this is so extravagant, I saw the price. I can’t accept this.”
Victor’s face dropped, he hadn’t expected her to not want it. “I thought you liked it, have I done something wrong again?”
“No, you haven’t done anything wrong, but you didn’t have to buy this to make up for today.”
“But I didn’t. Remember when you first saw it? I could tell you liked it, and I wanted to make up to you after I tried to kiss you last night. You never made me feel like you thought I was the idiot I felt myself to be.”
“Stop it Victor. You’re a lot of fun to be with.”
“I wasn’t much fun today.”
“Never mind, I love it”
“So what do you think? Will it go in the front window?”
“Let’s see what we need to put this thing up. Do you have tools?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know what kind of hangers to use.”
“Don’t worry about that. Let’s see what you have.”
Jazz pulled out her toolbox and various hooks she had on hand to display her photographs. It didn’t take long before the peacock was hanging in the window. They stood back admiring it for a moment, and then went to the counter.
Jazz took left over chicken pot pie out of the fridge and put some on a plate, then microwaved it. When she opened the door and put it in front of him, the aroma made his stomach growl.
“Did you make this?” Victor asked between mouthfuls.
“Yeah, it’s an old recipe of my mom’s. It’s great on a cold night.”
Victor nodded his head, then when his mouth was clear said, “The glass will look a lot nicer with the sun shining through it. Are you doing anything tomorrow?”
“I go to church in the morning. Would you like to come? We could have dinner here.”
“To church? I’m not sure, Jazz. I’ve only been to church once. That was a very long time ago.”
“They’re really friendly,” she told him, “but if you’d rather not, you can come over after I get back.”
Victor was quiet a moment, then asked, “Why do you go to church? It seems like more trouble than its worth.”
Jazz’s eyes expressed unusual surprise. “I’m the only one that’s asked me that before.”
Victor laughed, “What do you mean?”
“A couple of years ago, I asked myself why I go to church. I was trying to decide if I wanted to go because I wanted to, or because it made Mom and Dad happy.”
“What did you decide?”
“I decided I was going because I like being a Christian. It’s hard to explain, I don’t expect you to understand if you aren’t one.”
“Why? What’s so special about a guy who was killed a couple of thousands of years ago?”
“You’re asking a tough question. I can’t really tell you why I believe. I think a lot of it has to do with the way I was raised. I guess if I was reading my Bible the way I’m supposed to, I could answer your questions better.”
“If you believe the Bible, why don’t you read it?”
“I don’t know. I can’t even say I don’t have time. I just don’t take the time. I guess I figure I can learn all I need at church.”
An insistent voice told Victor he’d be sorry if he went to church, but he hated to tell her no, especially after the fiasco of today. Maybe going to church wouldn’t be so bad. Christians were like anyone else. There would be the good and the bad, but he wished she’d not asked.
“Could I pick you up for breakfast?”
“That would be nice. I’d like that. Hey, let’s just go to the service. It starts at 11:00. If you like it, we can go to Sunday school another time. Would that make you feel a little better about going?”
“Will you miss it if you skip?”
“It doesn’t hurt to skip once in awhile.”
“Okay. We’ll have breakfast and I’ll try your church, but now I think I need to go home. I’m really exhausted.” Victor put on his coat, and together they walked out the door. An icy wind whipped around the corner. I’ll see you tomorrow, and I promise I won’t try to kiss you this time.”
“Thanks, Victor. Attempted kisses can be expensive.” Jazz laughed, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning around 8:45?”
Victor hesitated in the frozen wind. “Jazz, I know you don’t want a kiss, but I’d really like to thank you for forgiving me for today. Is a hug safe?”
“Sure, why not.”
For the first time in their friendship, Victor gathered her up in his arms, as he’d wanted to for months. She slid her arms around his waist. His arms enfolded her to himself, warming her in the cold air. Closing his eyes his imagination took him places Jazz would not have wanted him to go if she’d known.
The longer he held her the more difficult he found keeping his desire for her under control. It would be much easier to apologize later than ask permission now. He could take her back into her apartment. No one would be able to stop him, not even Jazz. They would call it rape... but he didn’t want it to be rape. It could wait until tomorrow, they’d have all day together and he’d have plenty of time to make it their idea, not just his. But tomorrow was too far away. He wanted her now. He held her more tightly to himself. “Now” pounded in his ears.
Jazz had never experienced a man holding her as Victor held her at that moment, perfectly communicating urgent desire. With a thrill of intimacy, she could feel the short stubble of his beard through her hair and for the first time in her life she saw a glimpse of what married life would be like as she enjoyed the security his arms gave her. Caught up in the thrill of his embrace, the feelings aroused by the nearness of his body called her to give him what they both wanted.
Victor kissed her neck momentarily sending ecstasy through her, and then he moved his lips close to her ear, “I almost ruined our friendship today. Thanks.” A moment longer in his arms, then he released her.
“Maybe I should have let you kiss me, Victor,” Jazz laughed a little breathlessly, “that was some hug.”
He turned and walked down the stairs toward his car, waving to her before he got in.
She waved back as he drove away. As soon as she saw his tail lights disappear around the corner, she went back into her warm apartment. Preparing for bed, a million thoughts swirled in her mind, all centering on one subject.
Part of her brain told her she should end it right here and never let him take her out again, but her heart whispered that she’d already fallen for him and it was too late for both of them. If she didn’t know he wanted more than friendship before that embrace, she certainly knew it now.
Owie jumped on the bed meowing. She snuggled her nose in Jazz’s cheek, Jazz lifted the covers and the cat crawled in and lay down purring next to Jazz’s warm body.
Victor glanced in the rear view mirror as he drove away, watching her door shut as he turned the corner from her apartment. He drove around two blocks. No one could be observed following him, he did not see headlights behind him or the red sports car beneath the passing streetlights.
Back on her street he turned his lights off and pulled to a stop beneath a tree near her apartment. In spite of the cold he turned his engine off.
Patiently he sat for an hour forcing his brain to put everything out except the details of the day. Who was the shadow? Why was he tailing them? Whom did he work for? Was he an amateur? He seemed to be.
He glanced at Jazz’s window just in time to see the lights go off. He kept wondering if she was thinking about him. Obviously she knew what he was feeling, what his desire was. How could she not know? He wanted her to know, but how would she feel about him when he told her the truth?
He yawned and shivered wishing for her in his arms. He had to get some sleep. He left the apartment and returned to his own dreary place. He dragged himself to his room, stripped to his T-shirt and boxers and crawled into bed, but found he could not relax enough to fall asleep.
Now that he didn’t have to focus, his mind became a jumbled mass of thoughts, one crowding into the other. The feel of her warm body in his arms brought healing and pain to his body and soul. In spite of the cold he began to sweat. He turned on his side, staring out the window.
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