Kendle found him–alone and drinking again.
Sometimes he was with Kyle, but mostly he wanted only to be left alone in his misery and while she understood his needs, she couldn't do it this time. She needed him.
Marc didn't frown when he saw her come in the door nor when she locked it behind her.
"You hidin too?"
His slur had her scowling. "Sort of. Can we talk?"
He shook his head, pouring another shot with a hand that shook. "Not if it's about them."
She moved slowly closer, got herself a glass. "It's about me. Can I have one of those?"
He filled it a bit over half without a comment, but Kendle could see that she had some of his attention now.
She drained the glass and held it out. "Another."
Her voice was raspy and he grinned at her. "Sure?"
She nodded and downed it. She tossed the cup along the counter, toward the dishpan and smiled when it slid into place with the others he'd clearly been throwing that way.
She giggled nervously and the tremor broke through Marc's haze. She wasn't pissed or hurting. She was nervous. Of him? Then why was she here?
"Do you remember what we talked about the day the sail snapped?"
It took his foggy mind a full minute and then he shrugged. "Lots of stuff. Them."
She drew in a breath. "And me."
His eyes widened and some of his drunk vanished. "I'm not in any shape right now, baby. Come see me tomorrow night."
Her face flamed and Marc realized she wasn't joking.
Her shoulders hunched, and when she headed for the door without another word, he stumbled after her, grabbed her arm. "What's up? You meant that?"
Face scarlet, she didn't realize she that hadn’t flinched at his touch. “Maybe...”
She turned, heading for the bottle. "Maybe."
Marc watched her down a third shot with narrowed eyes. She was kidding, right?
"Why? They're together. You can't get him that way."
"No, but I can get me."
She looked at him with liquid eyes full of confusion. "I don't know who I am. I want.. need that to go away, if I'm to recover."
She refilled her glass, voice gentle. "You did it for her."
Marc was stunned. Sure, he'd thought about their little joke later, when her eyes would linger on him during a meal or a gathering, but he hadn't ever thought she'd come to him and ask.
"Guess it's carrying friendship a little too far, huh?"
Marc shrugged, mind flying over her request. He hadn't had a woman in a while, so that wouldn't be the problem. The issue was… What? They were both free and lonely.
"You sure? Maybe you're not ready."
She shook her head in fast denial, face still flushed. "I'll see there's nothing to be afraid of and be free of Ethan’s memory… The way his tongue hung out, How he liked me to cry."
Marc was helpless to resist and he went to her, surrounded her with his arms.
She held onto him, surprising them both. Please?”
He nodded against her hair, thinking she smelled like roses, and felt her stiffen in his arms.
He shook his head, voice compassionate. “No, not for a while. We'll start slow."
She relaxed a bit and he stepped out of her warm embrace, suddenly a bit self conscious.
"And when I'm not drunk."
He gestured at the bottle. "Let's drink and play darts, talk. We'll start tomorrow if you like."
He could see she liked his words and surprised himself by falling into planning how far he should push her tonight.
This is not from book 7, but more like #9 or #10, and there's always the chance that things will rewrite themselves once we get that far. I often think that this story controls it's own fate, and I'm just the delivery method.
Hope you enjoyed the quick look. Have a Happy New Year, World!