Shelly woke to find Travis propped up on one elbow, watching her. She stretched and smiled. "Hi".
"Good mornin'," he whispered, running a finger down her arm. She shivered. "Watch out now," she laughed. "You don't want to start something you can't finish."
"Oh, I don't think I could do any better than I did last night," he teased. "Thank God Mabel next door is gone to Port St. Lucie for the winter, or she'da thought I was killin' you the way you carried on."
"What can I say," she rubbed his bristly cheek. "I'm a screamer. Sorry."
"No need to apologize, Darlin'. It's a real ego boost. I'm glad my apartment's over an abandoned sub shop, though. You'd get me kicked out of a duplex for sure!"
His apartment. "I forgot you were moving! We need to finish that up."
"No hurry. I've signed the lease and paid the deposit; they don't care how long it takes me to move in. I need to get through the funeral first, and decide what I'm gonna do with this house."
Shelly looked around. "Have you thought about staying here? It's a cute place."
"I don't think so. I want to start fresh. Besides, I've gotta work on the sub shop."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I leased both floors. I want to open the shop downstairs. I'm retired; I have to do something.," he patted her hip. "I can't just be your boy toy for the rest of my life."
She stared at his curls, those blue eyes, that stubble and meaty chest, pulling him to her. "Maybe for the next twenty minutes?"
He jumped up and sprinted across the room. "Let me close the window first! We don't wanna scare the paper boy." He tossed Pretty Boy out into the hall and closed the bedroom door before parading back to her. Shelly cracked up.
"Not the reaction I was hoping for," he pretended to frown before diving in beside her. She palmed his cold butt and kissed his delicious neck.
"There. Is that better?" She wrapped one leg around him, warming her foot behind his knee.
"I guess so," he grinned, rubbing her back.
Had she felt this good, ever? Not that she could recall. She didn't even mind Pretty Boy scratching to get in.
Forty-five minutes later and half an hour late for work, Shelly hopped across the bedroom floor, pulling on her socks. Travis grabbed a ballcap and his jean jacket from the closet. "I'll take you to work, Hon. I need to get to Gordy's and see how he and Sean made out last night."
She buttoned her shirt, talking around her toothbrush, "So what time do you want me there tonight?"
"The visiting hours are from six to eight, but I don't expect you to hang around the whole time."
Coming out of the bathroom, Shelly met his eyes in the dresser mirror. "I want to be there."
"We have to meet Jarvis at five thirty," he sighed, picking up his keys. "That's so we can have a 'private viewing' with Von before everybody else comes. Poor Sean, he hasn't seen her since last summer..."
"It's hard as hell, I'm not gonna lie to you," she said sadly.
Travis put their coffee cups in the sink and shut off the pot. "Let's hit the bricks, Chumley."
They were backing down the driveway when he suddenly stopped the car. There was a man on the front stoop with the screendoor open, knocking on Von's front door.
Travis rolled down his window, "Can I help you? There's nobody home."
Startled, the man turned and looked over the top of his glasses toward the car before hurrying down the steps.
"Christ Almighty," Travis swore. "You have got to be shittin' me."
"I came as soon as I heard," the visitor stopped to catch his breath.
It was then that Shelly saw. The steel-gray curly hair. The crystal green eyes.
Travis threw a tired wave.