ec556-moonthumbIt was almost 6:00 and there had been no burglary stories on the news except for random car jackings. There’d been nothing in the papers either. Max was due to pick me up any time now and I hadn’t even thought to fluff myself up. I glanced down at my holey jeans and spaghetti strap shirt; maybe I could talk him into delivery. I wasn’t in the mood to go out tonight.

This was the one of the problems I had with dating, I thought to myself as I turned off the TV and got comfortable in the chair on the back porch. I was too selfish to date. I’d probably been single for far too long. I liked to do what I wanted when I wanted, and tonight I wanted to concentrate on where the jewelry came from.

I’d been debating on calling Max and canceling when I felt him drive up, literally, the air vibrated around me, it sounded like he was on a Harley. Like I’ve said before, my kind of guy.

I didn’t bother opening the door for him this time. I kicked my feet up and let him come to me.

Max stepped out onto the back porch, pulled over a chair next to me and kicked up his feet next to mine. He looked tired, but still great in just jeans and black T-shirt, with his hair pulled back.

It felt so natural to watch him, almost like we had been together forever. His steel gray eyes scanned the ocean. I shook the strange feeling off and glanced at the waves breaking onto the beach.

“So what are you riding tonight?”

He smiled. “A 2011 Cross Bones Softail, Denim black, duel exhaust.” He looked at me with a wolfish grin on his face. “I felt the need to splurge, the weathers nice down here. Besides I can load it into my truck when I head back up to the mountains. Care to go for a ride?”

Yeah, I really wanted to go for a ride.

“When are you heading back up into the mountains?”

He shrugged. “Do you need to go change?”

“I don’t know. Do I?”

“Only if you don’t want to show off your scars.”

I laughed, “My war wounds. I’m good with them.”

“Great. Let’s get out of here.”

“I wouldn’t be able to talk you into delivery tonight would I?”

“Not on your life, but we’re not going far.”

We arrived at the Crab Shack a few minutes later.

The Crab Shack was a neat little two story restaurant/bar. The bottom story was the actual restaurant. I haven’t been in there yet. The top story was an open bar.

We took the stairs to the bar, which reminded me of a deck with a roof and no windows. The bartender had her own little nook in the back right hand side of the deck with barstools surrounding her.

The remainder of the floor was covered with tall tables and chairs, so the ocean was visible from where you sat. The shutters were open. I could immediately feel the cool breeze from the water blowing in.

We wound our way to the nearest empty table. I was surprised we actually found one because the upstairs area was always packed.

After some rearranging and giving up our empty chairs to people that needed them we were finally able to sit down.

If you wanted to work up here you had to be skinny as a rail, we were all packed in like sardines. It was worth it, this place served fabulous food. We ordered the Cajun shrimp and sweet potato fries, with some tea. We sat in silence the whole meal, enjoying the night, the view of the white beaches, and the clear blue ocean. I was really starting to love Florida in the spring.

I sat, gazing out on the horizon lost in my own thoughts, seriously considering buying the house I was staying in when Max folded his hand over mine and pointed towards the stairs. He left money on the table and we slid through the crowd headed toward the exit. Once we were out of the mayhem we hopped on his Harley and rode up the coast until we found a deserted alcove off the ocean.

“Race you down to the ocean.” Max grinned, climbing off the bike.

“You’re on.” I set down my helmet and took off running. What can I say; he has longer legs than I do and caught up to me in no time.

We’d just made it to the water line when I stopped short. My scars flared up and were on fire, it felt like they’d grown two times their regular size.

Max picked me up and twirled me around. I gritted my teeth. His arms wrapped tight around me made the pain sear through my left side. He set me down and gave me a deep, fierce kiss before letting me go.

I rearranged my jacket, happy it was covering my scars, while frowning up at him, at the same time trying not to whimper. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep this secret from him.

“I know, no invasion of space.” He smiled. “I’m happy to have you back. I really missed you.”

I smiled back at him with gritted teeth, I missed him too.

“Let’s go for a walk.”

I had to get away from this area before I got lock jaw. I felt like I was going to be sick from the pain ripping through my side and arm. I couldn’t be sick around him.

I wasn’t ready to explain what was going on, even though a small part of me wanted to tell Max so he could contact the Doc for me. Oh how I wished the Doc left me a way to get in touch with him so I wouldn’t have to go through Max.

He took my hand and we started walking up the beach.

“You haven’t asked me about the job I have down here.”

I laughed. “That’s because it’s probably classified.”

I could be a great actress if I absolutely had to. The pain wasn’t even starting to subside as we walked.

“It probably is, but I would tell you if you wanted to know.”

I stopped and glanced at him. “If it doesn’t involve me then I don’t want to know.”

He gently glided his thumb down my cheek and held my gaze with his.

“I want it to involve you. I want us to be partners. You have a wonderful gift Montana. I would like you to work with me.” He frowned. “I know you haven’t been working lately. This would give you something good to do again. I know how much you like helping others.”

I sighed and started walking again.

“I’ll have to think about it Max.”

“What’s to think about? We would make an excellent team.”

“That’s not how you felt last winter.”

He linked his arms around me, drawing me close, and whispered in my ear.

“I’ve had a lot of time to put things into perspective. Had I teamed up with you last winter things might have turned out better. I care for you Montana. I want you by my side.”

“I need to think on it Max. Take me home please.”

I knew he was right; we would make an excellent team. I also knew it would be fun to work with him, but right now I couldn’t think, my scars were so painful it was fogging up my mind.

We climbed back up to the Harley without saying another word and arrived back at my house shortly after. I gave him a light kiss on the lips, he promised to stop by sometime the next evening.

The wind in my face helped clear my head, but I booked it upstairs and threw up anyway. Once I was done I found a pain killer, applied some salve, and sat down on the back porch for a smoke.

Either he was cursed or I was. It had to be him though because I hadn’t had this many problems with my scars when he wasn’t around, and I hadn’t been stealing.

I watched the sun disappear behind the horizon while scratching Killers ears. I knew what I had to do. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I lit another smoke and patiently waited until the pain killer kicked in.

“I’m going to leave you outside for the night Killer just in case I’m not back in a few hours.”

I gave him a hug and refilled his bowl with dog food before grabbing my scuba gear, helmet, and jacket.

Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel Chapt.4:2

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