When the Past Bites
Thanks to Mitzi and Beth Baker for their beta reading skills and to Heather for allowing me to use the 'CDC' - Centre for Disease Control - for Buck and JD's apartment.
Story moved to Blackraptor in October 2009
capacity of his job, working for the ATF, flying was a given.
Not that he was always at the airport, but there were times
that it seemed that way. And because of the many hours he’d clocked
up as a passenger, Buck Wilmington had no hang-ups about flying.
That was until now. Although
flying home had to be a better option than driving.
God forbid! This flight
though, seemed to have lasted an eternity, and his kinks, bruises
and broken bones were screaming out for relief.
Wilmington stretched uncomfortably in the reclined seat of the plane.
Stiffness was a curse, but if he didn’t shift his position
every so often he’d be fastened to the seat with no hope of being
pried off it. Every
movement was a bleak reminder of how close he’d come to never moving
again. At least he
could feel the pain – if he was dead, he’d be feeling nothing. He lifted his backside gingerly from the padded seat and
groaned involuntarily. Buck
dropped back to the hollow of the chair and grimaced as the pain
sliced though his body. He
imagined his face paled marginally when the airhostess edged worriedly
towards him, but he waved off her concern, giving her a plastic smile.
The limited conversation he’d held with the attendants had
drawn heavily on his reserves, and he didn’t want her to think he
was encouraging her. He
was in no mood to flirt.
for the majority of the flight, but woken feeling cramped,
uncomfortable and decidedly irritable.
His only consolation was the allocation of the aisle seat, and
the fact that he hadn’t had to share his seat with another
passenger. At least
something was running smoothly - the flight was on schedule and he’d
arrive in Denver at 7pm.
The ATF agent
mentally examined his injuries. Every
muscle was strained beyond extreme, his body was a mass of purple and
yellow bruising, his left leg, broken in two places, no less, was
sheathed in a green fibreglass cast from his ankle to mid thigh and
three cracked ribs were slowly beginning the process of mending.
He had ten stitches above his right eyebrow and another twenty
or thirty hidden under the cast on his leg – he didn’t know for
certain and he’d forgotten to ask.
A portion of the cast was wrapped in a crepe bandage, holding
together a small window of fibreglass cast that had been cut out, once
the cast had been set, to give access for treating the wounded area.
Hence, when the stitches were removed in a week’s time,
he’d be up for a replacement cast.
Oh, the Joy!
His jaw was
stiff and swollen, and his eyes were hooded and held dark shadows of
exhaustion. If only he
could crawl into bed, take some painkillers and sleep until he
recovered. And it’d be even better when he awoke if everything was
back to normal. But
that was highly unlikely. His
carefree days were numbered and were disappearing as quickly as each
progressive mile was eaten up and brought the planeload of passengers
closer toward their destination.
me, sir?” The pretty blond air stewardess bent at the waist and
smiled sympathetically at the bruised and battered traveller.
“We’ve landed…if you’d like I can arrange for some
help…” She’d watched earlier when Buck boarded the plane, and
had wanted to help, but was politely refused; the difficulty he had
manoeuvring about on his crutches down the narrow aisle had brought
out a sympathetic response in the woman. She couldn’t help wondering how he’d come to be in this
wounded state. He seemed
devastated by something and terribly distracted; truly hurting and not
only from his injuries.
a warm smile, but shook his head.
If circumstances were different, he would have spent the entire
flight chatting up the young woman and would have successfully
departed with her phone number. This
time, it didn’t feel right and he’d been in no mood to do so at
any rate. There was
already too much on his mind that needed serious thought.
“I can manage. You mind if I sit here for a little while longer?
I don’t mind waiting ‘til last.”
knowing that going against his wishes would be seen as an affront.
“Okay, if you’re sure, but it will take several minutes.
I’ll let you know when everybody else has disembarked.
It’ll give you an easier run…” She chuckled at her use of
words. This man
wasn’t going to be running anywhere for quite awhile. When
the passenger ducked his head in equal humour she released a sigh,
thankful that she hadn’t inadvertently offended him.
“Do you have someone to meet you?’
“I’ll be fine…thanks.” Was anyone coming to pick him up from the airport? No, he hoped not, not if he was lucky. But he nodded his head just the same to alleviate the flight attendant of any falsely assumed responsibility she might be feeling. She drifted back down the aisle to assist the departure of her other passengers.
crutches tapped lightly as he swung though them and slowly, and
awkwardly, the agent shuffled his battered body from the terminal.
Nobody would be here to meet him, but that was of his own
doing. He’d called
Chris Larabee from the hospital in Baltimore, and informed his boss
and long time friend, that he would be catching a flight home to
Denver on the weekend. He had
neglected to tell Chris that he was in the hospital and that he’d
been hurt. Not that any
of his other friends were aware of the accident he’d been involved
in, or the mental anguish he’d suffered over the past week and a
half. He’d kept
it all to himself. He
grinned wryly. His
teammates would know soon enough of his physical injuries, and he
hadn’t wanted to worry them needlessly.
And he couldn’t bear to face them at the airport; he
needed the time and space to sort out his muddled thoughts before
answering a multitude of well-intentioned questions he expected from
them. He wanted to do it
on his turf and terms. Besides,
he was fine; after all, the doctors in Baltimore said so. Otherwise he
wouldn’t have been released from the hospital.
should probably make a call, sometime tomorrow, and let Chris know
that he was home. Maybe
he could put it off indefinitely.
Nope, no way around it, Chris would find out soon enough.
not relishing the thought of Larabee’s reaction.
Chris was going to be upset - understatement to the nth degree
- when he discovered the condition of his friend.
Especially since he was returning from vacation and not an
assignment. Nothing was
supposed to go wrong with holiday plans.
So how did this happen to him? His
head drooped between his shoulders, and his eyelids were suddenly too
heavy and they closed. He
sighed, weary beyond imagination.
So much for the high school reunion…not to mention Alison Lee
Jeffries…Ally…Lord, how had it gone so wrong? What was he going to
do? What could he
OH, Shit! What was he doing here? He snapped his head up and
twisted around awkwardly, wincing at the painful manoeuvre.
asked hesitantly, wondering if he wasn’t starting to hallucinate.
Perhaps not - even Buck wouldn’t have imagined the deep lines
of worry and scowling concern currently imbedded on the undercover
agent’s face. But
why was Standish at the airport?
He hadn’t told anyone he would be arriving on this flight!
you doing here?” It was a gruff query, almost angry in its
Standish swapped his carryon bag to his opposite hand and frowned at
the taller agent. His
sharp eyes travelled over Buck’s rumpled appearance and noted the
obvious injuries, and Ezra wondered what manner of wounds were hidden
beneath the casual attire.
What happened? Wasn’t Wilmington supposed to be on vacation?
How had the gregarious agent been hurt?
Why hadn’t Chris, or one of the others, informed him of
Buck’s accident? He had
been out of the state on assignment, but he could have managed a
message to Buck without too much suspicion.
Surely Wilmington hadn’t gone through this alone?
But where were the others?
Instead of asking, Ezra guided the wrung-out agent to a row of chairs
and assisted Buck while he settled into one. The crutches fell to the
floor. “Have you collected your baggage?”
Standish knew this was a dumb question, considering Wilmington
was carrying nothing but the crutches, but he needed to start
was Chris? Or Vin, JD, or
Nathan and Josiah? Why
weren’t the others here to greet the obviously wounded man and ferry
him home…or to the hospital? The undercover agent glanced furtively about the terminal, but none of
his teammates were anywhere in sight.
“Buck will you stay here, while I collect your things?”
stared, a puzzled frown gracing the Southerner. How did Ezra know when his plane
was landing? How did
Standish know he was on that particular flight?
his head and finger-combed his moustache while attempting to get his
mixed thoughts under control. “Ezra?”
Buck.” Ezra grinned slightly; concerned at the bewildering look Buck
was giving him.
got no luggage…”
don’t?” Standish frowned uncertainly.
chuckled softly. “They
lost it,” he explained.
I see to it?” Filling
out the multitude of forms required to find lost luggage was a
nightmare…they could be here for another few hours – more likely
the rest of the night, and they still, no doubt, would not have
just wanna go home.”
nodded in understanding and bent to pick up the crutches from the
carpeted floor. “Shall
took the crutches and slowly followed the Southerner to the taxi
ranks. It still bothered
him that he couldn’t figure out how Ezra was at the airport at the
same time as himself, but it was taking all his strength to work these
blasted crutches and keep straight the assortment of aches and pains
coming from his chest, leg, arms and face, he didn’t have any energy
left to interrogate Ezra on why he was there.
Later, he’d find out later.
Hell, he must look like a mess!
What did Ezra see when he looked at him?
Did Standish know how confused and bewildered he was and how
much he hurt inside? Could the agent see through to his soul?
Could he survive the questions he’d anticipated, and hence
attempted to avoid by catching an earlier flight?
Where did he start? And what would, or could he say? Talking
was not going to change a thing!
struggling to get Buck in the back of the cab, Ezra joined him on the
seat intent on getting some answers.
He relaxed against the upholstery, a tight smile on his face,
and he sighed. Buck had
slipped sideways onto the wall of the car and fallen into a dead
get some answers when they reached his abode.
Ezra had given his own address to the cabdriver, as Wilmington couldn’t come up with house keys for his apartment, and after calling to check if JD was going to be home to let them in and only getting the answering machine, Ezra thought it imperative to have Buck settled in short order. He didn’t need to be waiting on the doorstep in his condition for his roommate to arrive home to let him in. Ezra made a note to call JD as soon as he got Buck settled and let the younger man know where he was staying for the night. Standish thought about taking him out to Larabee’s ranch, but the drive would be much longer than directly to Ezra’s townhouse. And he had a spare room that Buck could use for a few days, if necessary.
Ezra gently shook the dozing agent.
He’d paid the cab fare and the driver was waiting impatiently
for the two agents to get out. “Buck,” he hissed with a little more force and impatience
of his own.
here. Let’s get you up
and inside.” Standish
opened his door and ushered Buck inside his home.
“Take a seat on the couch, while I get the guest room in
order,” Ezra called out as he disappeared down the corridor to find
sheets and clean towels. He heard no reply, and accepted this as an agreement.
“I’ll make you some dinner, when I’ve finished here,”
he shouted from the second bedroom. It might only be scrounge since
he’d been on assignment for the past two months and hadn’t had the
time to replenish his food supplies, but he was certain Buck
wouldn’t hold it against him.
When the undercover agent returned to the living area he stopped dead in his tracks, finding Buck sprawled, more off than on, the couch and peacefully asleep. “You must have a hell of a story to impart,” Ezra whispered softly. He returned to the hall cupboard and pulled out another blanket. He’d leave Buck on the couch for now; maybe get him to move later. Ezra draped the woollen blanket over Buck’s shoulders and gently lifted his legs onto the end of the sofa. It wouldn’t do to leave him there for the remainder of the night. It would become awfully uncomfortable, especially with his assortment of injuries.
The curt reply came loud and clear through the receiver.
you calling from?”
my abode…I arrived…”
home? Back in Denver? Why didn’t you let someone know?
One of us could have picked you up from the airport,” he
would Standish learn to trust them?
was fortunate enough to get on an earlier flight, but didn’t get the
opportunity to call before I departed New York.
I had planned on calling when we landed, but as it turned out,
I ran into Buck.”
tone held a note of censure and Chris wondered what the hell Standish
was getting at. “Buck’s
back too? You guys come
in on the same flight?” Wasn’t
he returning Saturday? That’s
what Buck had told him on Thursday when they’d caught up.
But yes, Mr. Wilmington has indeed returned to Denver.
Might I assume you were unaware of his arrival time?”
was Standish grilling him over Buck getting home from vacation a day
“He was supposed to be coming in on tomorrow’s flight.”
He heard Standish sigh and wondered at the cause.
shook his head. Chris
knew Buck was coming home, but why hadn’t he been with the agent?
Surely his injuries required some time as a patient in the
“He apparently obtained an earlier flight also,” Ezra
I guess I’ll see you guys at the ranch as planned on Sunday?”
frown increased. The idea
only now forming that Chris and the others were not aware of Buck’s
would Buck keep it a secret?
You still there? Is something wrong? Are
fine, Mr. Larabee. But
quickly pulled the cell phone away from his ear. Larabee shouting down the line was not welcome to his
don’t do that again,” he reprimanded.
up, Ezra! Tell me about
doesn’t know after all. “Buck’s been hurt. I
don’t know how badly or when, but the evidence suggests that it was
not a mere tug-of-war.”
be there in forty minutes!” He
was about to slam the handle into the cradle and cut off the
connection when he realised he didn’t know where Buck was.
“Is Buck at the CDC or your place?”
wasn’t home and Buck couldn’t find his keys…he is presently
languishing on my couch.”
See ya soon.” Larabee hung up and the phone signal died.
fumbled with the cell phone in a daze and eventually disconnected the
didn’t know! That more
than likely also accounted for the others being unaware of Buck’s
earlier arrival home and his physical injuries. But
what the hell had Wilmington been thinking?
Why hadn’t he informed anyone?
If it had been anyone else on the team who’d been injured and
withheld that information, Buck would have gone ballistic.
knew this as a certainty, having been on the receiving end of Buck’s
tantrum more than once. What
Ezra couldn’t fathom was why Buck would resort to such subterfuge.
He’d never done so before…Buck was always upfront with the
others, especially Chris. What
had the ladies’ man running scared?
slowly wandered back to the living area, his mind running full
throttle with Buck’s unfamiliar behaviour.
He didn’t realise Wilmington had woken and was studying him
with equal disquiet.
sat down on the arm of the couch.
“It was indeed. He’s
on his way.”
groaned, and unconsciously picked at the blanket.
you want to tell me why Chris and the others don’t know about your
injuries? Or perhaps
you’d prefer to speak with Mr. Larabee when he arrives?”
mind something ta eat and a shower…”
considered Buck’s request for a moment, then nodded with agreement.
He couldn’t prevent the sad sigh of disappointment.
Why would Buck want to discuss his
problems with himself? Chris
was his best friend. Buck
wanted to talk with Chris. In the back of his mind, Ezra wondered why Buck hadn’t already
explained the situation to Larabee.
“I’ll see what I can rummage up.
There’s probably something useful in the pantry.”
go to too much trouble, Ezra,” Buck pleaded, not wanting to put the
agent to any unnecessary bother.
“I ain’t all that hungry…some toast and coffee will be
wasn’t surprised to find Buck sleeping crossways on the bed, instead
of in the shower as he’d requested.
The undercover agent quietly set the tray on the night table
and turned softly on his heels to leave the bedroom.
back to sleep, Buck.”
Ya got a moment?”
leaned against the doorjamb. “There
wasn’t a large selection to pick from, I’m afraid.”
glanced at the tray the Southerner had left, noticing the plate of dry
crackers, a bowl of soup, and black coffee, a glass of water and some
tablets – he reached for them and downed the painkillers with a gulp
of water. And for the first time in an age, the ladies’ man finally
recalled something. Standish
had been on assignment before Buck had gone on vacation. And if he weren’t mistaken, Ezra’s arrival at the airport
at the same time as himself would have been purely coincidental.
Ezra had only just made it home to Denver this very evening.
“That’s fine, Ezra,” he dismissed easily.
He wasn’t hungry any more. But the
painkillers were more than welcome.
the mattress and Standish sat on the edge.
“When’s Chris comin’?”
rubbed the back of his neck and sighed checking his wristwatch for the
time. “He should be
here in about twenty minutes.”
Ezra got to his feet and started for the door.
ever have a holiday when everything that could possibly go wrong,
agent hesitated and speculatively arched an eyebrow.
He smiled for the first time that night, and his dimples showed
in his cheeks. “You do
realise who you’re talking too, don’t you, Buck?”
As Larabee was fond of saying, Ezra seemed to have a natural
affinity for attracting trouble.
grinned and nodded his head. “Yeah…I
forgot for a moment.”
you encountered more trouble than just your bags vanishing and your
injuries.” Ezra wanted
so much for Buck to confide in him.
But he wouldn’t push him; it had to be Buck’s choice.
It was usually Wilmington who offered his broad shoulders to
lean on and to be truthful, Ezra really couldn’t explain why he felt
it necessary to offer his support, but it was about time someone did.
Buck was his friend, and closer in fact than any member of an
ordinary family would be. They
were brothers, all seven of them.
And if Standish had to choose whom he was closest to, then it
would have to be Buck.
could say that,” he drawled sarcastically.
There was a long awkward gap of silence where neither man knew
what to say. “You
knew I was going home for my high school reunion?”
Ezra didn’t say a word, he simply nodded.
“Well, figured I’d take a couple of weeks leave…make a
real vacation of it. Had
to be the worse mistake of my life,” he mumbled.
“Then again,” he shook his head and rubbed his hand over
his eyes, “reckon I might have already made the biggest one
seventeen years ago.”
Lord! What had he walked into?
Waiting for Chris to arrive was looking better by the minute.
He didn’t know if he knew how to handle the confession that
seemed to be looming. “Um…Buck…Do
you really want to tell me
need to tell someone…do you mind listening?”
all means.” He casually
stepped inside the room and sat down on the corner of the mattress. He would keep an ear open for Larabee’s arrival and the
other on Buck’s story.
don’t know where to begin…”
could explain how you broke your leg,” Standish prompted.
a week back,” he shrugged his shoulders and grimaced. “Car accident.”
did you withhold informing, Chris?”
it would have led to a whole heap of other questions,” Wilmington
he wasn’t prepared to discuss with anyone at the time, not even
Chris – he’d needed the time to accept it and analyse it himself.
Even now he found it hard to talk.
weren’t driving under the influence, were you?”
Nothin’ like that. But I guess I probably shouldn’t have been driving at the
time.” Seeing he’d
captured the Southerner’s interest, Buck decided he might as well
continue. “Back when I
was in high school, there was this real pretty little filly, and
we…well, let’s just say, we were a serious item back then.
Her name was Alison Lee Jeffries, and every stud in school had
their eye on her, but she didn’t want any of them…”
Buck sighed, and shifted his broken leg to a more comfortable
position. “She was
smart, a hard ass thinker, but not one of those science nerds.
She got top grades in most classes, and was also on the track
and field team. It didn’t hurt that she was a good looking babe either.”
He laughed, a bitter hollow reflection of his inner turmoil.
you reunite with her at your school reunion?” Ezra asked after Buck
had fallen silent.
threw back his head and laughed.
been really looking forward to catching up with her…guess some
people don’t always turn out the way ya expect ‘em to.
We had a bit of a falling out just before graduation and we
didn’t keep in touch. She’d
been planning on getting a medical degree back then, and she would
have been good working with those patients, but ya know what she’s
been doin’ for the past decade and a half, Ezra?
She’s been waitin’ tables at the local bar,” he snarled
in disgust. “She looks
like an old woman of fifty instead of thirty-four, chain-smokes three
packs a day and she’s livin’ in an old shoebox in a trailer park.
Her life has been one disaster after another.”
as though she made those choices, Buck.”
EZRA, SHE DIDN’T! She
had no choice and it was all my fault.”
now, Buck. You are no more responsible for her predicament, than you are
THAT RIGHT?” he yelled. “WHAT
THE HELL DO YOU KNOW! I
was the bastard that left her to provide for a kid on her own.
Ally didn’t have the support of good decent folks to take her
in, and she couldn’t give the baby up for adoption.
She did it though, and on her own.”
He heard the slight inhalation of Ezra’s breath and angrily
flipped the tray off the bedside table sending the contents flying.
He would have got up and strode out of the room if he wasn’t
dependant on those damned crutches.
got a sixteen-year-old daughter who I’ve never known and had no say
in raising.” He snorted, the tears brimming in his eyes and the
mixed emotions that he been holding under straits since Alison had
blithely informed him of his fatherhood status was now bubbling over.
And that brought him to the crux of the matter.
The young girl who came to visit him in the hospital, under
threat from her mother, was not a lovable little toddler, but an
almost grown woman with raging hormones.
She was a hoodlum on drugs, and according to her mother, she
lived on the street and was out of control.
He hated to think about how she supported her addiction for
drugs and alcohol. Her appearance alone would have rattled Buck on a normal day,
but coupled with the wild hairdo, various peircings in her nose,
eyebrows, lip, navel and far too many to count in her lobes, and her
vibrant speech, the girl was certainly a radical.
And she couldn’t, and didn’t bother to hide her contempt of
her father, or Ally for that matter.
In fact, she was quite explicit about not wanting to become
acquainted with Buck or having anything to do with him.
“Her name is Becky…”
you know…that Alison was carrying your child?”
think I would have left her behind if I had?” Buck retorted
would never have done that. Not
the Buck he had come to know in the past few years.
know for certain that the child is yours?”
the hell are you implying? Ally
told me I was Becky’s father; I have no reason to doubt her!” He slammed his fist onto the mattress and took in a deep
breath; he needed to get himself under control.
“I don’t know what to do, Ezra.
She’s a junkie and roaming the streets, her mother wants
nothing more to do with her and wants me to take over her
responsibility, but I don’t even know her, she doesn’t like me and
we don’t even live in the same state!
What am I going to do, Ezra?”
He felt so guilty.
How had so many years past without him knowing about his little
Maybe he should have remained in Baltimore.
It would be much easier to work things out if they were living
in the same place. How
was he going to communicate with Ally and Becky from Denver?
Ally was as stubborn as her daughter and also wanted no part of
Buck Wilmington or his life. And he had no idea where to find Becky.
I can’t answer that question for you, Buck.
How did all of this result in your car accident?”
it was right after the reunion, I was talking to Ally.” Actually she was yelling at me at
the top of her lungs. Made
quite a scene! There was no two-way conversation going on between the former lovers. “When
she told me the truth, I guess I freaked out.
I took off like a maniac and wound up hugging a tree.
No one else was hurt,” he was quick to claim.
didn’t Alison come to you before now for help?
Or at least inform you of your paternity?”
don’t know, Ezra.”
she’s not exactly being honest with you.
Did she show you the birth certificate?” It wouldn’t prove a lot, but they
would have a better understanding of the then teenager at the time
when she gave birth.
glared at the Southerner. What
the hell was he insinuating? “No,
I didn’t see one,” he admitted.
how can you be certain of any relationship between you both?”
can’t, Ezra! But I
can’t prove that she isn’t mine either.”
are blood tests that would prove…”
jaw dropped, and he sat that way for a full minute, stunned.
He hadn’t even considered broaching the subject with Ally or
Becky. He’d believed
Ally, because she’d said so. He’d
never considered that she could be mistaken or that she’d lie.
“I don’t need tests to prove somethin’ that has been the
accepted norm for more than a decade. That little girl grew up thinkin’ her father didn’t give
a shit about her! Hell, I
only just found out about her. If
I insisted on those tests that only proves she’s right.
Not that Becky would be willing ta take part, cuz she
wouldn’t, but how would I go about telling her that she has to prove
herself to be part of my life.”
if you’re not her biological father, Buck?
Have you considered that at all?”
if I am!” Buck countered flatly.
sighed tiredly. What
could he say to Buck? How
did he make this easier for the gregarious agent? “Do you want to get to know your daughter?” If she was indeed a blood relation?
“It’s never to late to start.”
How do I start, Ezra?”
shrugged. “You could
send her a plane ticket…get her to come to Denver… Everyone
deserves a second chance…perhaps she’ll accept the offer.
It would be a starting point.”
silently processed this information.
Her mother didn’t want Becky around
and he didn’t really want to leave his job in Denver, but he would
if it became necessary. If
he could separate the teenager from her crowd, maybe he could help her
start a new life…and maybe he could be part of it.
reckon she’d come?”
she could answer that. Just
a minor point, Buck…if you’re serious about getting her
here…don’t send her any money…not even when she comes, as every
last dime will be spent on her habit.
You’re going to be in for a rough ride, if you decide to
nodded in understanding. Yeah.
Once he joined the roller-coaster ride there’d be no getting
off. He’d be in it for
the long haul.
slowly retreated from the room, only remembering at the last moment
that he hadn’t addressed Buck’s neglect of informing the others
about his accident. He
turned back, hovering in the doorway.
Wilmington rolled awkwardly over onto his back.
should have told, Chris…or one of the guys.
They wouldn’t have minded flying to Baltimore.”
sighed. “It weren’t
never is,” Ezra replied. “But
the guys are going to be upset, and rightly so, that you didn’t feel
it necessary to involve them. I
could repeat, word for word, your last speech directed at myself when
I came home similarly wounded, but I’m certain that you know that
one and will do a much better job rehashing over the finer points
while we await Mr. Larabee’s arrival,” Standish grinned smugly.
Buck groaned and his shoulders slumped.
“I’m suspecting that you’ve already begun the journey
down that trail?”
everything going on...it was just too hard to tell it over the
can identify with that.” He
hoped the others would too.
Chris arrives, ya mind not tellin’ him about Ally and Becky.”
Seeing the agent’s eyebrows arch he smiled wryly.
“I’m gonna take a nap now, but I’d like to be the one to
tell Chris…he deserves ta hear it from me.”
understand perfectly and shall abide by your wishes.”
Ezra glanced at the upturned tray and spilt dinner.
“Is there anything else I can get you?”
grimaced guiltily at the mess he’d created.
“Coffee and eggs for breakfast?” he asked glibly.
returned the grin and nodded at the silent apology being sent his way.
“Thanks for listening, Ezra.”
the end...or not?
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