Chapter 40: Avalon, S.C.

I hadn’t expected Sabrina to be apologetic, and I wasn’t disappointed.  “Your voodoo lady friend didn’t have to run off before the game started.  Was it something I said?”

“Don’t worry about it.  It is what it is.”  I shrugged before changing the subject.  “So where’d you learn all of that stuff about the tarot?”

Sabrina hooted.  “I was purely winging it, darlin’.  She mimicked her earlier pose with her finger in the middle of her forehead.  “Everybody gets something.  Some gals get beautiful faces or big boobs, some gals are born into money, some are smart enough to go to school and become doctors or lawyers.  What I got is a quick wit and a double helping of brash.  Up until now all it’s gotten me is 15% more tips than the average waitress and an occasional bruise when I’m not careful how I use it.  But lordy, lordy, just when you least expect it, who rides into town but a man who appreciates wit?”  She ruffled my hair and headed off to another table.

It was a little too early to hang around for the game, so I drifted down to the spot by the water where Sabrina and I had been with the intention of sitting and relaxing and letting my subconscious take it all in.  I was so successful that I feel asleep, propped up against a big oak tree.

I made it back to Peckerwoods’ just in time for kickoff, but I might as well not have bothered.  Carolina ran it back all the way for a touchdown and the game just went to shit from there.  I guess the boys had been too busy reading their own press clippings to mentally prepare for the game.  Ellie did her best to pump them up, including getting the whole place up for a dance routine.  But even that didn’t help.  24-10 final score, not even that close.  About the only good news on the football front was that the Saints lost to New England in OT.  So we were set up for a head-to-head, winner-take-all finale the last game of the season.

“Have time for a stroll today?  After that ass-kicking, I need something to cheer me up.”  I raised one eyebrow, put on my best conspiratorial leer, and whispered, “Besides, I’ve got mysteries to tell.”

A fleeting look of concern crossed Sabrina’s face, but she quickly banished it.  “I do love mysteries.  I guess I have time.  I probably owe you that much anyway, running your lady friend off and all.”

Uncertain what her look meant, I added, “Are you sure you can manage to be away?”

“Why, shore, pod’ner.  But thanks for asking.”

So back to “our spot,” where I brought Sabrina up to date on all that had happened in the last month.  Wow, had it been that long since I’d first told her about Avalon?  About spending the night out there and my sleepwalking dream-vision where the golden-haired woman told me that I had everything I needed to figure it out.  And then maybe figuring it out after coming across the person of Nyneve-Nimue in a novel.  Taking Adeline to the island and her adverse reaction, similar to Lucas’.  And my frequent trips to just feel whatever it is about the place that communicates with my spirit.

A nice, orderly narrative, topped off with seeing the ghosts.

“You saw real live ghosts?  Oh, man.  I’ve always wanted to experience something like that.  Even spent the night in haunted houses, hung out in graveyards, anything I could think of.  Nada.”

“You too?  I did all that as well.  And now—I’ve actually seen one.  Several, actually.”

“Luck, that’s another of the gifts that other gals get.  I might trade in my wit for luck if somebody made me the offer.  Oh, well.  At least being unlucky means you always have something to crack jokes about.  Yourself.”

There was a hard edge in her banter that hadn’t been there before.  “You’re not just talking about being lucky and getting to see ghosts, are you?”

She shook her head fiercely, and suddenly her eyes were wet with tears that spilled over onto her cheeks.  “Dammit.”  She jerked her hand across her eyes but the tears didn’t stop.

“Sabrina . . .”  I started to say something comforting, but she jerked her head angrily and stared into my eyes, not bothering to hide the tears.

“Something’s going to happen.  Any time now, I just know it.  I feel like I’m bent right to the breaking point, and any minute, something going to snap.”  She laughed through the tears.  “When the dust settles, I just hope it’s not me that’s broke.”

And then all of a sudden her arms were around my neck like she was holding on for dear life, and her lips were locked onto mine.  Perhaps there was a sense of desperation there, but that was quickly buried beneath weeks of built up affection and passion.  Our tongues danced, our teeth tugged at each others’ lips as if we were starved.

There might not ever be another moment like this for us, so I savored every sensation.  Held her face in my hands and kissed her wet eyelids and cheeks before devouring her hungry mouth again.  I could feel her heart pounding in her temples and on the sides of her neck.

Finally she pulled away, chest heaving like she’d been running.

“You, sir, are a dangerous man,” she warned me, once her breath and wit recovered a little.  “Way too much for that voodoo lady.”

“You, ma’am, are a rare and precious treasure.  Way too precious for a guy who treats you like shit.”

“Yeah.  I know.  Just keep telling me that about twenty times a day, maybe in a year or two my heart will believe it.”  She reached up and brushed my lips with her finger.  “Come on, I gotta go.”

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