Wishin’ and Hopin’ and ‘Splainin’

 

Wishin’ and Hopin’ and ‘Splainin’

Sunshine glares through the sheer curtains bright and early, but it didn’t wake me.

Instead I woke before it rose, as the robins chirped and the mockingbird performed its one-bird acapella choir. I sat there for a long time thinking. I know how I probably seem, maybe a little insouciant (thank you last Thursday’s word-a-day calendar entry) regarding Ry’s death…murder. And maybe you wonder how I can lust after Linc the way I do.

Let me unravel this little puzzle for you.

First off, I never stopped lusting after Linc…and hating him equally. We were besties up until we were ten years old and then something changed. Looking back maybe it was puberty, which would be as ironic as you could get…or not. Damn Alanis! And, maybe if you prodded me with a pointed stick, I might even admit that it’s always been more than lust and always had been, but without that stick, I’m admitting nothing.

Then there’s Ry. Ryland Cooper the crazy strawberry blonde with dirt for brains who made me laugh when I needed a laugh and I mistook those laughs and some sweaty romps for love. We married five weeks after meeting each other. Up until three months ago we still laughed and still had sweaty romps, but I knew we were done without putting a fork in it. I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was either or I would have realized that when he’d gone from wanting sweaty romps twice a day to once a week and then once a month that maybe he had found something on the side. But tell me, who wants to admit that and understand that their hasty as hell marriage without the influence of a shotgun (or alcohol and/or Vegas) was a huge mistake and that maybe this was the kind of mistake from which you learn nothing?

There’s a soft rap at the door and then Linc enters with a mug of what smells like rich French roast.

“You sleep okay?” he asks.

“Better here than in the hayloft.”

He grins. “I should have left you out there.”

“You’re not that kind of guy.”

“If anyone were going to test that, it would be you.”

“Good to know.” The coffee breaks down all of the tiny cobwebs that formed in my brain overnight and makes me feel alert, even though I thought I already had been.

“So what’s on the agenda for today?”

He glances at me. He’s moved a safe distance to lean against the doorframe. I always thought that was a romance writer thing to have the hero lean against the door jamb, but there he is, arms folded across his chest, eyeing me either like I’m a stalking leopard or ice cream on a stick. I know which I’d rather be.

“There’s no agenda for you. You lay low. I want to see what happens.”

I blow on the coffee before taking another sip. “You know I can’t just hide.”

“I don’t know any such thing. What I do know is that your wandering around could make a lot of matters worse.”

I don’t tell him what I’m thinking. Even I can keep my mouth shut…sometimes.

“Annie, please just for one day. That’s all I’m asking.”

And maybe I don’t need to tell him what I’m thinking because he’s a mind reader. I shrug. “Fine.” Maybe.

He nods, satisfied, and turns. “I have some flapjacks cooked up if you want breakfast. You might also keep the curtains drawn downstairs.”

“Linc?”

He glances back at me.

“Thanks. It means more than . . .”

He holds up his hand. “I’ll think hell is going to freeze over if you start getting sloppy on me.”

“Can’t have that.”

He grins. “No. We can’t.”

When I hear his footsteps on the stairs, I sigh and press my face into the t-shirt he loaned me to sleep in, wishing that it smelled like him and not crisp linen scented dryer sheets. Maybe if I’m really good, my wishing and hoping might get me into his arms. Yes, that’s from a song…sue me.

 

end 4/11/2017

S. Darlington

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