She Still Tastes the Same
Toni left Nonnie’s shop with a bag of candles. She was in town on her own, not something she got to do very often. She’d been to Barrett’s, into Ceri’s gallery and now she took a breath and walked across the street. A bit of news she wanted to pass on.
"Toni," Miss Peeg stood up to give her a hug. She and Toni were now on a first name basis since Winnie and her father had begun living together. "How nice to see you out. How is Cole?"
"Walking, yes, he’s mobile now. Is, um, Richie in?"
"Mr. Roberts, yes he’s in."
"I don’t want to disturb him but if he has a minute I want to tell him something."
Richie wasn’t doing anything except playing games on his computer. He was awaiting a phone call from Coffs. "Toni," it was a surprise, his feet came off his desk and he stood up.
"Hi, I was, um, in town and I thought I’d let you know. The house has sold. Terry Thorne now owns our old house. He’s made some changes."
"Has he…well. Sold."
"Yeah. He rented for a short time but we always knew he was going to buy it. Kind of like a chapter closing."
"Yeah. I still think about it sometimes. I always liked the den and my weight room, the way they joined and…yeah."
"We changed that on the original plans for you."
"How are things with you?" She set her bag on his desk and a flashback of him taking her on the top of that desk . She was wearing a new sundress. "Sorry?"
He smiled a little, "I said, okay."
"Umm. Just okay?"
"Not sure what else there is? How’s the family?"
"Cole is walking. Travis is…Travis." She smiled and looked away.
"Everything all right with Travis?"
"Yes. Why would you ask?"
"Just…I don’t know." He shrugged.
"I hear Libby has left with the bounty hunter."
"Yeah, she did."
"So it’s you and Nonnie, now."
"Mostly," he grinned and moved a stack of papers on his desk and sat down on the edge.
"She keeps me on a carrot-stick thing."
Toni laughed a little. Good for her, she thought. She reached for her bag and his hand caught her wrist.
"What?" she looked quickly into his eyes.
Toni looked down at her hand in his, "You know, Richie, when two people divorce they either become enemies or friends. We’re not enemies."
"I’m not sure I can just be a friend after what we’ve had, Toni."
"Well that’s what it has to be and if you can’t then we can’t be alone together. I’m not going to…"
What she was going to say was caught up on her tongue. Richie kissed her.
"Don’t…don’t do that to me." She pulled away from him and picked up her bag." I loved you," she shook her head slightly.
"I still do."
"No…no we’re beyond that now. I’m happy…I love Travis and our baby and nothing you can do will ever change that. We had something once but you destroyed it. I’m sorry if you can’t move on. I think it just looks good to you because you can’t have it. It wasn’t so special when you did."
He bit his lip and she opened the door. "Bye." She said closing the door behind her.
He licked his lips, she still wore the same lip gloss.