February 2016 Newsletter
THE MANE SQUEEZE
Lock was still laughing when he opened his front door. “Hey!” he slapped Ric on the back and ushered him in.
“Should I assume the weekend went well with the lovely Gwen?”
“It went great. But remember when I told you about the van that had been following me?”
“Well, now I know why. It wasn’t me they were interested in.”
“Aw, little bear. I’m sure someone, somewhere is interested in you.”
“Very funny. Come on.” He motioned to the living room. “I want you to meet somebody.”
Ric stopped walking, head lifting, nostrils flaring. “You have another woman here.”
“Yeah. That’s who I want you to—”
“Why do you have another woman in your house?” Ric demanded, turning on him. “What if Gwen came back over? You know women do that all the time. What if she wanted to surprise you and you, imbecile, have another woman in your house? Did you not see how she reacted to Peggy?”
“You mean Judy?”
“Does it matter? Don’t be an idiot!”
Before Lock could ask Ric when he’d gone completely off the rails, Dee-Ann sauntered out of his living room. “I could eat. You hungry?”
“Yeah, uh…” Ric suddenly gripped Lock’s bicep, cutting off Lock’s words and the flow of blood. “Ow! Do you mind, Van Holtz? I’m rather attached to that arm!”
Dee-Ann smiled, sauntered a little closer. “Who’s your friend, MacRyrie?”
Lock pried Ric’s fingers off his arm. “This is Ulrich Van Holtz. Ric.”
“Oh, yeah. Lock talked about you all the time.”
“And Ric this is Dee-Ann Smith. My old Marine buddy. We were in the Unit together.”
“Nice to meet’cha,” Dee said, grasping Ric’s hand and shaking it.
Lock didn’t even realize he was waiting for Ric’s return greeting until it never came.
He watched his friend continue to shake Dee’s hand while he gawked at her, his mouth open a little.
“Huh?” Ric mumbled, his eyes still on Dee, his hand still holding hers.
“You’re embarrassing me.”
Dee laughed and pulled her hand back. “Leave him alone, MacRyrie. Now you boys want to go out and get some breakfast or not?”
“No!” Ric snapped and Lock, startled, growled.
Dee’s smile faded. “No one’s twistin’ your arm, hoss.”
“What I mean is,” Ric said quickly, staring directly into her eyes because they were both the same six-two height—in fact they could probably share each other’s clothes— “I’ll make you breakfast.”
Dee’s smile returned, bigger this time. “Now, darlin’, you don’t have to make me breakfast. A breakfast that don’t come out of a packet is like a dream to me.”
“But a fresh, hot breakfast is what you deserve.”
Dee shrugged. “Well, if you really want—”
“I want. Oh, God do I want.”
She laughed. “Have it your way. Lock, you don’t mind if I use your bathroom, do ya? Figure I’ll get showered and changed before I see the cousins and since I’m gettin’ my very own Van Holtz–made breakfast.”
“Sure. Down the hall and to the left.”
“Thanks, hoss.” She picked up the dufflebag she’d left by the door and ambled off to use Lock’s bathroom.
Once gone, Ric turned on him, gripping his shirt and yanking. But instead of yanking Lock toward him, he only managed to pull himself closer to Lock.
“Who. Is. She?”
“That’s Dee? Remember? I’ve told you about her.”
“No one told me she was a goddess.”
“A…” Ignoring the strange way Ric phrased that, Lock studied the hardwood hallway floor where Dee had stood, leaving scuff marks from those damn boots of hers. “Dee? A goddess? Really?”
It wasn’t that Lock didn’t find Dee attractive but…well…hhmmh.
“Yes. Really.” He pushed Lock away—or tried—and began to pace. “You’ll need to run down to the store for a few ingredients.”
“What for? I’m sure I’ve got everything you—”
“Don’t argue with me!” Ric dug cash out of his front pocket and shoved it into Lock’s hand. He stared at the amount for a moment, which had to be several hundred dollars, and then grabbed his wallet from his back pocket, pulling out a credit card and placing that on top. “I’ll give you a list. And everything must be of the freshest quality. I insist on that.”
The freshest quality for Dee-Ann Smith? Who’d been living the last ten years on whatever rations the Marines gave her and whatever she could take down on her own?
Lock watched as his best friend jotted a list in the small notepad Ric always kept in his back pocket.
The bear debated. Tell his friend now he didn’t stand a chance with Dee-Ann or let Ric learn it for himself? Lock flinched, remembering the ways Dee-Ann had of letting a guy down when she was done with him. Nope. Bad idea. Very bad idea.
“Hey, Ric…look, uh…”
Dee-Ann came back in the hallway and both men stopped and stared at her.
“Just came back to get some water out of the fridge.” When neither man said anything to her, she asked, “Somethin’ wrong?”
Ric stepped forward. “How many children do you want?”
Lock grabbed Ric by his hair and yanked him back, slamming him into the front door. “Ow!”
Dee-Ann smirked. “What’s going on, MacRyrie?”