The Saving of Robert Kinston
Robbie was still on the day bed but awake when Tessie came in. "Look at you, he laughed, my lady of the palace now?"
"Don’t laugh you can’t imagine how cold this is in that house." She was dressed in an 18th century dress and lace cap.
"I should come down just to walk around and listen to you."
"I wish you would, Robbie, you might even think about volunteering yourself."
"I don’t think the lace cap would suit me." He grinned.
"You’re in a good mood, I’m glad to see that."
"I went out to lunch today with Melody, I wanted you to know that. She took me to her grandmother’s house out in the country, she’s Italian and cooked a great meal for us."
"That’s all it was, Tess. It was good to get away and forget everything for a while. She’s a friend, Tess, that’s all."
Tessie smiled, "You need friends and you don’t have to explain yourself to me. I’m going to change clothes."
She meant that didn’t she about his not having to explain himself? Tessie thought it best if he didn’t tell her anything. She didn’t want to know he was out with another woman today and that she made him happy. She sat down on the end of her bed and pulled off her shoes and stockings. Wait a minute, Tessie, she said to herself, this is about Robbie about getting him well…you took that on yourself…its not about you.
Having straightened out her mind she pulled on velour track pants and a knit pullover and went back down stairs.
"Are you eating with me tonight?" she asked as she passed the den door.
"I will if you don’t mind."
"I don’t mind at all, I ate at the bistro today so I don’t want anything heavy tonight, omelet sound okay with you?"
"Yeah, that would be nice, Tess." He got up and followed her into the kitchen sitting in one of her chairs and propping his feet in another.
"Have you been over here all afternoon?"
"Since I got back from lunch, I took a nap."
"You’re spending a lot more time over here."
"The house is…morbid."
"Morbid hmmm, maybe you should rent it out or sell it and just stay here with me."
"I’ve thought about that." He looked up at her, "I don’t want to be a bother to you, Tess."
"A bother, you could never be a bother to me. I do have a guest room upstairs."
"Am I a guest? I should be a paying guest."
"I won’t hear of it and no you aren’t a guest. You might think of bringing some clothes over save you tip toeing through the garden gate in your jamies.
"I kind of like that, makes me think I’m doing something indiscrete. I keep hoping a neighbor will see me and start up a rumor." He had a teasing look in his eyes Tessie hadn’t seen in a long time.
"That would bring in some visitors to the palace to see the woman that was having Robert Kinston!"
"Having like an omelet?"
"Not what I was thinking of exactly." She placed the mushroom omelet in front of him and ran her hand over his head.
"I don’t think I want to sleep in your guest room since I’m not officially a guest."
"Oh well if you prefer the day bed, I just thought it might give you a little more room."
"It’s not the room I’m looking for," he looked up from his plate, "You haven’t asked me to sleep with you." He tilted his head.
"I…I didn’t think you wanted that."
"You never asked."
"Jesus Robbie, I have to ask…the invitation is on the table then…I would like to share my bed with you."
He smiled picking at his omelet, "I will warn you then…I steal covers."
"That’s okay, I’ll follow them," she winked at him.
"Should make for an interesting night then," he bit into his omelet and watched her face across the table.
Tessie loved him even more when he was like this. She used to watch this sort of thing between him and Josie…and she loved him then.
The next morning Tessie dressed in her eighteenth century costume complete with lace mop cap. "I guess the Reeboks kind of take away a little of this look."
"I think you look cute and that’s not a word I would normally use but it fits."
"Are you coming down today?"
"I think I might, what time are the tours?"
She told him, "Are you gearing up for one of those?"
"NOooo, I want to avoid them. I’ll come between times."
"No guarantee you won’t run into tourists even then. You’ll miss my witty talk and narratives."
"I’ll come down but I won’t tell you when." He rolled off the bed and kissed her before she left.
Robbie lay back in Tessie’s bed and looked around her room, it was Tessie. It felt good to have someone to cuddle with in the night. He loved Tessie but…it wasn’t right for him…he could feel it. It wasn’t that she wasn’t Josie, the fire wasn’t there with her. He turned over and grabbed her pillow, maybe the problem was the fire had gone out of him.
He turned up for the last tour of the day hanging back from the group. He listened to Tessie’s narrative and smiled. She was very good and almost had him believing her. She couldn’t look at him and talk so she ignored him until the group was ushered out the door and she grabbed his arm pulling him back.
"You can stay."
"Kind of like herding cattle isn’t it?" he commented, "I came to walk you home, a lady like you shouldn’t go about unescorted." He grinned.
"You should really volunteer,r Robbie, you’d be so good at it."
"Now I told you about the little lace cap. Can you leave now?"
"I thought you’d never ask."
They walked in silence for a while and then Robbie told her what he had been doing all day.
"All the personal stuff is gone from the downstairs rooms packed in moving boxes I found in the attic. I started on the upstairs bedrooms, the only thing left is my bedroom."
"What are you going to do with it all, Robbie?"
"Call a storage company to come and get it. I brought my computer over to your place. Tess, this is only temporary until I decide what I want to do."
Temporary the word hung in the air between them. So she was only a temporary stopping off point now. Tessie wasn’t sure she liked the sound of that word…temporary. As they came to their street she saw more trash bags on the curb.
"You really cleaned house didn’t you."
"Yeah, its amazing the things you think you have to have. There’s a stack of books I thought you might want to go through…they were Josie’s. Let’s go in." He opened the gate to his house. "Milford is all upset he’s been on his own too much lately and the boxes have freaked him out."
"I should think so, poor cat. Do you want to bring him over to my place?"
"I’m not sure, he’d probably try and come back here."
Tessie looked around the living room and through to the dinning room. He’s going to leave. That’s what he’s trying to tell me. She turned and tried to catch his eye and he walked through the hallway to his office.
She caught up with him, "When and where are you going Robbie?"
"I can’t answer either of those questions, not now anyway. I’m sorry but that’s the best I can come up with."
"That’s not good enough."
"Tess…I just know I can’t live in this house any longer. I don’t want to live in yours, it’s your place. I appreciate your letting me stay with you. I need to be with you right now but eventually you know as well as I do that I have to go back to work, I have to write or teach or something. I have to have a place of my own."
Tessie walked back to the kitchen and stopped to remind herself he didn’t belong to her. He was his own man and she was…temporary. It still hurt and stung her eyes. She heard him come up behind her and draw her to his chest holding her around her waist.
"Don’t be angry with me, I can’t stand for you to be upset. Let’s feed Milford and go next door."
"Did you bring any clothes over?"
"Good…don’t." she pulled away from him and went out the back door.
Robbie stared at the back door long after she was gone. He fed Milford and walked upstairs to his bedroom and turned on the TV anything to keep his thoughts at bay. Milford eventually joined him on the bed.
"I’ve fucked it up, Milford. I’ve lost a friend, probably the only one I had worth keeping. Let this be a lesson to you, don’t sleep with your friends." Hadn’t he tried to warn her? He fell back on his pillow and stared at the ceiling. His doorbell rang and he sat up wrinkling his brow and went down stairs turning on the front porch light. It was Tessie.
"I couldn’t stand the thought of you staying over here in this house tonight. Come home with me."
"Are you sure?"
He went home with her and over the next couple of days moved some of his clothes over. He still went back twice a day and fed Milford and spent some time talking and petting him. It wasn’t his fault after all. Thursday came and he was over picking up his mail and coming down the front steps when Melody pulled her car up to the curb.
"Hey I don’t usually go around picking up guys, but you look pretty good; wanna go for a ride little boy?"
A smile played his lips and he walked over to her car, "Depends on where you’re going."
"Anywhere you want."
"Anywhere sounds good, let me get my jacket and some shoes." He walked over to Tessie’s house and was back out in a few minutes.
"Have you moved next door?" she asked pulling out onto the street.
"Sort of, I’m staying with a friend. I’ve packed up my house and I think I’m going to try and sell it."
"Where are you going?"
"I don’t know…have no idea."
"Nice to have friends next door."
"Her name is Tess."
"So where are you taking me today?" he asked buckling his seat belt
"Something special, you do know what today is don’t you?"
"Its your birthday…did you forget?"
"Yeah I did…guess I wasn’t going to have one this year."
"Yes you are, we’re having an old fashioned date in the daytime. Lunch and a movie. I would have moved it to night but somehow I think you would have bolted."
"You think so?"
"I know so, you’re afraid."
He turned, "How old are you Melody?"
"Yeah okay that’s why I’m afraid, I’m twice your age."
"Do you think that matters in this day and time?"
"I don’t want to find out. Where are we going?"
"Wilmington is that far enough away?"
"Lunch and a movie that’s what I said are you listening?"
He turned to her again, "Why am I not trusting you today?"
Melody smiled he was sharp. "Just relax enjoy the ride, Robbie."
"That’s what they say when they’re about to inject you with a lethal dose."
Forty-five minutes later they were in the outskirts of Wilmington, "There’s a Chinese place I know that has great food, it’s takeaway."
"Takeaway to where?"
"You’re scared to death aren’t you?"
"Damn right I am."
Robbie’s lap was full of Chinese food, which was fast filling the car. He rolled the window down half way.
"Are you ready, will you just go with the flow today?"
"I don’t seem to have a choice."
"You said you didn’t like choices, so I made one for you. If you want to run we’ll just eat in the car and go back to New Bern okay?"
He just looked at her as she turned into the Sheraton parking lot. She parked and looked at him meeting his eyes and unbuckled her seat belt, "Last chance…okay." She got out and went inside to check in.
Melody closed the curtains and turned on a lamp taking the bag of food from him. Take your jacket off, Robbie, you’re in now no going back.
"Melody this is crazy."
"What’s wrong with being a little crazy once in awhile. Hey I said lunch and a movie, I got three movies that will play on that DVD player and later if you want to take a nap there’s the bed. Nothing else has to happen if you don’t want it to."
"That sounds like something a guy would say on his first date."
"Somebody had to take the lead here, I jumped in." she raised her brows. "This stuff is not good cold please sit and eat."
Robbie sat down and took the chopsticks she handed him and ate his lunch. "I didn’t think I could eat, my stomach was upside down."
"Has it settled now?"
"I picked your favorite Chinese takeaway dishes and I have here in my bag your favorite liquor."
He smiled, "This from your research?"
"Yes, did I get it right?"
"You did. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble."
"It’s your birthday…all day and all night if you want."
"I don’t know about all night, Melody."
"Will she worry about you…your friend."
"Yes, I think she would."
"Are you sleeping with her?"
"Do you love her?" She saw the pained look in his eyes, "You don’t have to answer that."
"I don’t want to know, besides we left New Bern. I’ll fix a drink if you want to choose a movie."
Melody pulled the movies out of her backpack and handed them to him. "Where ever did you find this?"
"I had to send away for it, the original version of Dracula, is that it a scary movie?"
"Yeah fits me today." He placed it in the player and found the remote kicked off his shoes and climbed up on the bed pushing the pillows behind his back.
Melody joined him and handed him his drink, "Happy Birthday, Robbie," she clinked his glass
"Thank you, Melody."
They found themselves laughing at the scary parts and were soon in each other’s arms the remote hit the floor followed by various pieces of clothing.
She was still lying beneath him, "Its your birthday but I think I gave myself a present…you"
He brushed her lips with his, "I’m not yours."
"I know…you’re not hers either…you belong to you, but right now I’ve got you and right where I want you." She ran her hands through his hair and pulled his lips to hers. He was all she had imagined and more.
Melody dropped him off in front of Tessie’s house just after five o’clock. "Will she be home?"
"Soon, Melody I don’t know what to say but thank you for today, best birthday I could have hoped for."
Melody leaned over and kissed him on the mouth, "It was for me too. Tuesday?"
"Pick up on Tuesday? I don’t have classes on Tuesday and Thursday’s."
"Okay, bye." He was out of the car and walking to the gate.
Robbie went inside and made a pot of coffee, maybe it would rid him of the lassitude left over from his day. He would have spent the night in Wilmington had it not been for Tessie. Melody had been exciting and fun…and young. Too young he decided but he had enjoyed her. She took him away from himself that self he was still trying to locate. He took his coffee with him next door to feed Milford and see to his needs.
Tessie came in and smelled the coffee, "Oh you’ve made coffee that’s a welcoming smell." The house was quiet. He wasn’t there she looked out her back door peering over the hedge and saw a light in his kitchen. "Ah must be Milford he’s looking after." She went upstairs and changed her clothes hanging the costume up on the closet door. The bed was made she noticed and smiled…he was handy. Back downstairs she pulled a cup from the cupboard, no dirty dishes in the sink. Tidy man.
Robbie fed Milford and told him about his birthday. "I hate to leave you in this house by yourself, Milford but I don’t know what else to do right now. Soon buddy, we’re going to do something." Milford ate his cat food without comment.
"There you are," greeted Tessie, "Get Milford taken care of?"
"Yeah, I feel bad about him he’s a good cat. I wondered why you don’t have a pet, living alone."
"Never felt the need for one. Maybe I’m selfish but I don’t want to have to look after anything, and then there’s the hair and the litter pans, stinky cat food."
"Um..good thing I didn’t bring him over then." Robbie sat down at the table turning his empty cup.
"Want some more coffee? I would have made an exception for Milford, I know he’s important to you."
Robbie looked at her and smiled, his eyes distant.
"What did you do today?"
"Went to lunch and a movie."
"Oh what did you see?"
"Where is that playing I don’t recall…"
She turned, "You went to Wilmington?"
"Yeah, Melody took me…it’s my birthday."
"Oh, Robbie…I forgot all about it. There was always a big to do…I’m sorry."
"No problem, I had forgotten too."
"Yes…I think I’ll go read for awhile."
"Dinner in about an hour?"
"That sounds right…thanks."
Robbie went upstairs and changed in to comfortable clothes and took a book to the day bed. He stared at the pages and felt trapped. He had to get out of there. Tess was good to him…too good she smothered him.
After a while be began to see words and started to read.
Tessie felt really bad about forgetting his birthday. Josie had always made a party out of it and invited her and others. There would be cake. She didn’t even have a cake for him…she wondered what Melody had done. Wilmington, why go to Wilmington?
Robbie ate his dinner and then went back to the day bed, he was into the book now and just wanted to read. Tessie came in and sat in her recliner and read the paper and worked the crossword. "I think I’ll go up and watch TV for awhile."
"Anything you’d like to watch?"
"No thanks, I’m reading."
Tessie watched him read for a minute and got up and went upstairs. He was different tonight and she couldn’t put her finger on it; distant, quiet, very much apart and into himself. He clearly wanted to be left alone.
Robbie woke on the daybed and looked at the clock on the mantel. It was only five o’clock and still dark out, he had a blanket and thought Tess must have come down to check on him and covered him up. He could make a pot of coffee and wake up or go upstairs and cuddle Tess for a while. He went upstairs.
After Tess left for work he went next door and fed Milford and walked through the house. He no longer felt the thick smothering thing he felt before, only emptiness. He went upstairs and packed up his bedroom. His clothes he put in a suitcase and carried that downstairs. There was nothing left now but Milford. "I’m not going to leave you behind buddy." He patted him on the head and took his suitcase to Tessie’s.
He sat at her kitchen table and wrote phone numbers down from the phone book. He was looking for a storage company that would come and pick up his boxes. Having found one he made a date to meet them at his house. Tuesday…he would wait until Tuesday and get Melody to take him…he had to buy a car. He and Josie had shared a car and she died in it. He hadn’t wanted another car…until now.
He chewed on the end of the pen, where would he go? Where do writers go when they can’t write anymore? He made squiggles on the notepad…he could go anywhere he wanted to…he and Milford.
After eating a sandwich for lunch he walked down to the main street and walked along absently looking in shop windows. He wasn’t recognized anymore since he’d grown the beard and let his hair grow. He liked being anonymous. He wore his sunglasses to hide behind; he still found it hard to make eye contact with people he didn’t know. He didn’t want people to see inside.
Tessie had a minute between tours and walked outside pulling her shawl around her shoulders she went around back of the palace and looked out toward the river. She saw him sitting on the bench they had shared in the rain and smiled. Robbie was going to be all right. It might take some time but he was working toward it. The panic seemed to have left him. She would like to go to him but didn’t. He needed space and it was hard for her to give it she wanted him close.
Robbie walked back to the house and got out his laptop. He’d had an idea and surfed for real estate. He could feel an excitement building inside. This might be the answer for him.
"I saw you today," said Tessie pouring his coffee.
"You did where?"
"On the bench by the river, I had a minute and walked outside."
"Why didn’t you join me?"
"I don’t know, I thought maybe you wanted to be alone with your thoughts."
"I’m probably alone too much with my thoughts. I should be writing."
"Write...what do you have to do?"
"I can’t write here," he shrugged.
"I see," but she didn’t.
"I want to thank you for saving my life."
"I believe you’ve already thanked me for that, Robbie." She spooned sugar in her cup.
"No…there aren’t enough words or enough of anything to let you know what you mean to me."
"Oh Robbie…" she turned
"Now I’m not declaring my undying love for you don’t…don’t go there…it’s a love of a different kind. You’ve fed my soul Tess, pulled it out of the fire and kept me alive."
"I’m your friend…"
"Yes you are…more than that."
"I love you, Robbie," she sat down.
"I know you do and I treasure that it makes me feel warm and safe and good inside."
"I’m happy for you…you’ve come through a storm."
"I think so." He smiled.
"Well here’s to you," she lifted her cup
"Here’s to you, Tess."
Tessie smiled and drank her coffee firmly tamping down the lid on the emotional storm brewing inside her breast. She knew what was coming and would wait until after he was gone.
He helped her in her garden on Saturday, raking and bagging up debris from her yard. She cooked hamburgers and fries for their late lunch and they settled on the day bed for the afternoon both reading and helping each other with crosswords. Dinner was forgotten…Robbie made love to her instead.
Tessie was living in a pretend world with Robbie, he was her lover today and would be forever. She put out of her mind the thought that things would ever change and so she made it through the next day. Monday she went to the palace and Robbie met the storage people at his house. He cleaned up after they left and packed up Milford’s things and brought them over to Tessie’s. It would only be for a night and he thought it would be acceptable. Milford was not happy about staying at Tessie’s, nothing was familiar and he cried all morning. Robbie shut him up in the den with his bowls and bedding.
He walked down to the real estate office Monday afternoon and put his house up for sale. Having no phone number they could contact him with he walked down the street and bought a cell phone and went back to the real estate office and gave them the number.
The sign was on his front gate when Tessie came home.
"You’re selling your house?"
"Yes. Milford is here in the den."
"Oh…then you’re going."
"When are you leaving?"
"Tomorrow, I won’t be here when you get home."
"How…how will you go, Robbie?"
"Melody is coming by tomorrow to pick me up I’m going to get a car from somewhere."
"You’re leaving with Melody?" she was surprised she was talking so normally things were cracking up inside.
"No not with, Tess, she’ll give me a ride."
"She knows…that you’re going tomorrow…you’ve planned it together?"
"No, no Tess, I’ve not planned anything with her. She’ll give me a ride or if not I’ll call a taxi."
"You’re that determined to leave aren’t you?"
"It’s time and I’m ready."
Tessie turned and walked over to her stove the cracks were becoming wider. "Um should I make some coffee?"
He was beside her, "Let me, you sit down."
"W…Where are you going?"
"I’ll let you know when I get there. I promise I will."
Tessie couldn’t talk anymore the knot in her throat was threatening to burst. Robbie kept his eye on her to make sure she was alright. He knew she was going to take it hard. He reached up in her cabinet and pulled a bottle out giving her a good shot of whiskey in her coffee.
"Here drink this, Tess," he touched her hair.
Tessie put the cup to her lips and took a good swallow finding her voice, "I needed that."
"I know." He said softly.
"You know what this is doing to me?"
"Yes. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier."
"There’s only one thing…"
"I can’t do that."
"I’m going to tell you because it doesn’t matter now…I’ve loved you for years, four to be exact, no one ever knew but me. "
"You didn’t. I never did anything, I was very careful. I would have died if anyone ever thought I felt that way about you."
"I knew, Tess."
"Well you must think I’m a silly woman then carrying that thing around with me hidden."
"I never thought you silly, never. I was flattered."
"I flattered you…oh my god."
"I’m sorry." There didn’t seem anything for him to say; nothing was going to make anything better for her.
"Do you want some more coffee and whiskey or just whiskey."
She handed him her cup, "Hold the coffee."
After he fed her scrambled eggs and toast sandwiches he took her to bed and just held her until she slept.
Tessie woke first and lay looking at him asleep beside her. She would never see this again she told herself and imprinted the picture in her mind before gently waking him.
It was a quiet kitchen at breakfast and Robbie kept watching for signs of seepage. Tessie held herself together and kissed him goodbye.
"I’ll always remember you in your lace cap," he said smiling.
"I’ll remember you naked in my bed."
Robbie rolled his eyes, "You take care of yourself Tess, you’ll hear from me soon."
He watched her walk down the street and went back inside to feed Milford. He took a shower and packed up his things. Two suitcases and a laptop were by the front door. Milford’s traveling cage sat along side.
He waited for Melody.
Melody arrived at a quarter past eleven and pulled up to the curb. Robbie was sitting on Tessie’s front porch and walked over to her car leaning in through the open window.
"Hi," he smiled, "I need to ask you a favor."
"Sure what can I do for you?" she asked smiling back.
"I need to go somewhere I can lease a car."
"Like from a dealership?"
"Yes, can you do that for me?"
He looked down the street and back meeting her eyes, "I’m leaving New Bern, have you got room for a couple of bags…and Milford?"
She turned off the motor. "You want me to take you to get a car and then you’re just going to leave…leave me standing in the parking lot. I don’t think so Robbie."
"Okay," he said and stood up backing away from the window.
"Robbie…get your things…and Milford."
Melody waited while he went back inside and her eyes fell on the for sale sign on his gate. He was seriously going to leave. She thought something must have happened with Tess. She popped the trunk while he loaded his suitcases and laptop. He made one more trip in and brought out Milford and his bag of belongings.
"I know it’s none of my business what goes on between you and Tess, I’m sorry."
He looked at her and buckled his seat belt, "This has nothing to do with Tess."
A black cloud began forming on the horizon, "I can drive you wherever you want to go."
"I don’t think so, Melody."
She started the motor and pulled out, "I bought my car in Havelock is that too far?"
"That will be fine."
"Robbie…why are you leaving?"
"I have too, Melody, it’s time I moved on and got my life together. I need to write, you can understand that, I can’t do it here any longer. This is a dead place for me now."
"Too many memories."
"Maybe…I don’t know."
"Where are you going?"
"I’ll contact you when I get there," he turned and smiled.
"I live in Havelock."
"I’m taking you home with me."
"Melody…please that’s not what I…"
"Just for a while, then I’ll take you to find a vehicle, " she turned and glanced at him, "Surely you can spare an hour or so."
He lay his arm over the back of the seat and picked up a lock of her hair, "I’ve got time for you…always."
She pulled up in front of a townhouse apartment, "You can bring Milford in but don’t let him out of his box, I have a dog."
"He’ll be okay in the car, he’s had enough traumas this week. You never said you had a dog."
"We’ve hardly had time to say anything Robbie." She unbuckled her seatbelt and fished out her door key.
Robbie followed her inside and looked around smiling, " Futons, reminds me of my college years."
"Basic requirement, would you like something to drink, tea, coffee, beer, soda?"
"Beer is good." She had a large oil painting over her futon sofa and he walked over to examine it.
"That was painted by a friend," she said coming up behind him with his beer.
"I like it, your friend is very talented."
"Yes he was," she said dropping her eyes, "he’s dead now died from a blow to the head over at Cherry Point."
He turned to her, "I’m sorry, Melody."
"Yeah, well you haven’t met Oscar." She ran up the stairs and opened a door. A large German Sheppard bounded down the stairs and ran up to Robbie and started giving him the once over.
"When you said dog you meant it, hiya boy."
"He’s tame…probably smells Milford on you."
Melody watched him with her dog and the black cloud moved closer, "You’re moving out of my life aren’t you?"
"I’m moving," he walked over and put his hands on her shoulders, "I won’t ever forget what you’ve done for me. The day you walked up and rang my bell woke me up. I was on a downward spiral, Melody really deep bad shit was going on with me. You brought me back to life, made me want to live again."
"This is the thanks I get for that huh? Oh Robbie…" her arms went around his neck and he pulled her close and kissed her.
She backed away and looked into his eyes, smiled and took his hand leading him up the stairs, "Don’t be surprised when you see my room…just…don’t say anything."
Robbie gave her a puzzled look and followed her in. He stopped inside the door and looked around at her walls, besides being painted a shocking shade of purple they were covered with enlarged photos and promo shots of him. His books were lined up on her chest against the wall. He looked at her a smile teasing his lips and didn’t comment.
"I told you," she grinned.
"Yeah it is, oh god I love you, Robbie," she pulled his shirt from his waistband and ran her hands up his back.
"I love you too, Melody," he said against her lips and grabbed her bottom.
"I don’t guess any of this makes any difference does it?" she said her hand moving over his belly.
"No…I have to go…for me I have to do this."
She raised her self on an elbow, "I should be mad at you but I can’t. Do you think sometime we might meet again?"
"We might Melody I need to see where life is going to take me for awhile. See if I still have it in me to write and I need to be by myself for that to happen."
"Do you know why you never got paid for tutoring me?"
He blinked, "I never thought about it. was I supposed to get paid?"
"If I had really signed up for it you would have been paid. I lied, Robbie it was all a way to get to you."
He burst out laughing and hugged her, "Oh my god, did you really?"
"I did," she grinned, " and it worked, so you be careful wherever you go, and ask to see some proof if some other girl shows up at your door."
"You’re something else, Melody," he looked around at the walls, "I’m not sure I could sleep in here, I don’t like that guy looking at me from all directions."
"I do. I like him a lot, but I like the real thing better." She kissed his cheek.
"You didn’t find his feet of clay?"
"No, and I looked. I’m going to miss you, we hardly got started."
He turned his head to her, "Where did you think it would go?"
She lay back on the pillow on his arm, "In reality probably just more of what we’ve had but I can dream."
"You hold on to your dreams, Melody just recognize the reality when it comes."
"It’s coming up fast isn’t it?" The storm clouds were about to break.
"Yes, would you like to go to lunch?"
"I don’t think I could eat, Robbie but thanks anyway."
"As nice as this is, Melody, I need to go."
"I’ll take you, it’s not far and if they don’t have anything you want we can go someplace else."
"I’m not hard to please." He said quietly.
Melody sat up and straightened her shoulders and went to the bathroom.
Robbie found a vehicle he liked and went in to take care of the paper work. Melody sat in the car talking to Milford.
"You look out for him, Milford it’s all up to you now. He’s the most special man I have ever known."
Robbie came out shaking keys and she started her motor following him down the line of cars to the dark blue Explorer and stopped. He began transferring his bags and Milford to the new car. Melody got out and walked over to the door with him.
"Thanks again, Melody for saving me, in more ways than one."
She stuck a piece of paper in his jean’s pocket, "That’s my email. I expect to hear from you."
"You will, I promise." He grabbed her around the shoulders and kissed her good bye.
Melody pulled out of the dealership and drove down the road to the bridge and crossed back over towards New Bern.
Robbie pulled the map out he’d gotten from the salesman and studied it for a minute, he knew where he was going just not how to get there. Finally he pulled out of the dealership and headed south.
"We’re off, Milford, sorry about the long car ride but I think you’ll like where we’re going. Just hang with me a little longer."
Milford voiced his opinion loudly.
Melody drove by Robbie’s house and stopped at the curb and got out. She was leaning against the side of her car crying when the woman in strange dress and lace cap walked up the sidewalk.
Tessie stopped when she saw the car, she’d seen it before. She walked over to the girl, "Are you Melody?"
Melody lifted her head, "Tess?"
"I couldn’t work today…I had to come home." Tessie bit her lip.
"I know…I’m lost."
Tessie felt the tears gathering in her eyes, "Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?"
"Thanks I think I would."
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