Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jake takes control

And away we go. I'm pretty sure this moment will be in the middle of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor", just as it's about to careen into chaos.

I reached the door and found it open, but before I could start down the road to, What the fuck, I smelled something that reminded me of last winter. I slipped the key in the latch and pushed inside. I saw a pair of shoes on the floor in front of the sofa and a jacket dropped on top the coffee table. A laptop was open and on, papers scattered around it, and Enigma quietly drifted from its speakers. And, finally, there was Tone in the kitchen, looking at me as he poured hot chocolate into a soup mug. He didn’t even try to speak, just gazed at me with smiling eyes as he plopped in a few marshmallows.

Suddenly, my shoulders felt straight, again, and my heart was close to bursting. I couldn’t take my eyes off him as I wandered over to the counter separating the kitchen from the dining room. He offered me the cup. I took it, and it was hot. He loved to boil this shit, but oh dear God how safe and warm and perfect it smelled. I sipped at it, carefully so I wouldn’t ruin the taste by burning my lips or tongue, but it being near scalding made the marshmallows melt so much more quickly, building that sticky white foam over the top, and on a cold day just holding the cup'd warm you to your toes.

As usual, he’d used a mix. Not Swiss Miss but good enough for him to add a Hershey’s dark chocolate bar, giving the flavor a bit of a bite. I lowered the cup, letting the aroma fill my soul. He smiled, reached over, wiped the cocoa and marshmallow from my moustache, and licked it off his fingers. And I’d have died for him, right then.

It must have shown in my face, because his eyes flickered with concern and he came around the counter and wrapped his arms around me and I set the cup down and held him close, and any need for tears vanished in the strength he let me draw from him. Yeah, maybe I’m the one who’s sure of himself, the one who’s in control, the one who’s capable of fighting back as hard as he needs to...but Tone, he’s steel. He’s granite still locked in the ground. He don’t move unless he wants to. And sometimes you just need to know there’s somebody there who won’t wash away like the sand.

I don’t know how long we stood like that before I gave his neck a gentle kiss to let him know it was all okay, again. So he brushed his cheek against mine and tipped his nose to mine and said, “Your cocoa’s cold.”

No, it was just warm enough, now. So I sipped more of it. I didn’t have words, right then, and he understood.

“I checked the fridge,” he said, his voice still soft and powerful. “So I made a trip to that rip-off of a mom and pop place on the 184 and we’re having Tilapia baked with Piccadillo Relish, saffron rice, steamed carrots, a green salad with oil and vinegar, and a nice cold Chardonnay. And I know you don’t drink wine, but you’re having some. Okay?”

I nodded. When Tone gets that tone in his voice, you don’t argue with him.

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