In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue... (7 page)

BOOK: In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue...
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“Because it
’s early afternoon and you came barging into my house right when I had planned to make love to my wife,” Ivor spat.

Gano tossed the last piece of bun down the back of his throat. “Make love to your wife? I don’t think there is enough WD-40 in the world. No wonder the woman is so frustrated. You probably can’t even satisfy her. Send your wife to me. I’ll put life back into her old body.”

Ivor exhaled deeply to suppress his rising anger. He’d known men like Gano his entire life: those that only did things to get a rise out of other people for their own benefit. He wouldn’t give the man the pleasure, even though he wanted to chop him up into little pieces for even letting any reference towards his wife come out of his mouth.

“Leave my house,” he demanded. “I was kind
enough to let you into my home, but I will not let you stand there and insult me or my wife. Get out.”

Gano shrugged, opened the fridge and grabbed himself a beer, then slowly walked back to the entryway where Eva was sitting in the front room with her hands clasped in her lap. She didn’t acknowledge him as he walked out,
slamming the door behind him. Once his headlights left the driveway, Ivor took a seat next to her, wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and tenderly kissed her temple.

“Don’t let him bother your head,” he reassured. “Go ahead and get the kids and I’ll watch to make sure he doesn’t come back.”

Eventually, a broad smile spread across her face. “I love you, you know?” She declared.

He kissed her temple again. “I love you too, darling.”

She retrieved Larke and Desmond from the closet, and Ivor appeared in the doorway a few moments later shaking his head to indicate that Gano did not come back. However, Desmond and Larke remained inside for the rest of the afternoon.

Larke helped Eva around the house and became a model for a sample of a bridesmaid’s dress she was making for one of the girls that lived nearby, and Desmond helped put a fresh coat of paint in one of the bathrooms while listening to stories about how things were in Jamaica when Ivor was a young boy “tying goats,” and “flinging stones.”

That evening, they had a dinner of curried goat, seasoned rice, fried plantain, and stewed cabbage. For dessert, Larke helped Eva prepare a platter of coconut tarts and herbal tea which they took to Desmond and Ivor sitting in the front room. Ivor was on the floor in front of the stereo looking through a pile of CDs with a pair of reading glasses perched low on his nose.

“Eva, do you know what I did with
my old calypso CDs?” He asked, reading the handwritten label on a white CD jacket. She set the food down on the coffee table and knelt next to him while Larke joined Desmond on the sofa.

“You mean this one?”
She held up a decorated CD cover.

Ivor squinted at
it, shook his head, and they continued their search.

They remind me of my parents,” Larke said, her voice barely above a whisper. “Not as animated, but just as much in love.”

A wave of sadness
rolled over her as she pictured her parents where the couple sat.

They were high school sweethearts, you know? My parents,” She went on. “Juniors in high school. My grandparents on my mother’s side were going through a pretty bitter divorce when they met and although my mother had always been a straight-A student, as the divorce proceedings got nastier, her grades tanked. Her science teacher noticed and encouraged her to pair up with another student, my Dad, to help get her grades back up. Initially she didn’t want to, but he convinced her to try at least one tutoring session. During that first session, she found out that my Dad’s parents had also gotten divorced when he was much younger, and he helped her through it.”

She closed her eyes as the images of her parents continued to flicker through her mind,
and she enjoyed even the brief moment of feeling like they were around. Desmond watched her, almost knowing exactly what she was feeling at that moment.

“What about you?”
He asked. “You never mention a boyfriend. Do you have anybody back home?”

,” she immediately came back. “Work was my husband and child eagerly waiting for me whenever I got home.”

Larke was surprised to
see a hint of disappointment glimmer behind his eyes.

“You?” She asked.

Desmond chuckled before responding, “That’s a long story.”

The sound of calypso mu
sic coming through the speakers interrupted Larke’s next question, and Ivor rhythmically clapped his hands as he got to his feet.

“I found it no
w, Eva,” he cheered, both hands in the air as he gyrated his waist. Eva shook her head in embarrassment and returned to the loveseat to take a sip of tea. One of Ivor’s hands went to his stomach as he began a mini salsa. He motioned for Eva to join him, but she held up her mug.

Let me finish my tea and dessert please,” she said with a gentle smile. Ivor sauntered over to Larke and took her hand.

“Then I’m goin
g to dance with you, Gorgeous. And don’t get jealous now though, Eva. You had your chance.”

Eva shook her head. “I’ll do my best.”

He pulled Larke to an open space in front of the stereo. “Come on now, girl, move your waist.”

Larke’s face turned crimson as she looked to Desmond for help, but he was leaned back in the chair with his arms folded,
his expression ripe with amusement.

“Don’t be shy now,” Ivor encouraged. “I’m sure you are not shy when you go to one of those fancy clubs in the States.”

Larke’s face burned even hotter. He was right. She’d never been shy when she went out with friends to bars or clubs. After a couple of drinks, she was usually the first one on the dance floor, pulling the rest of the women to dance with her.

She watched Ivor sway his waist and then
did the same. When he went into his mini salsa, so did she and soon, all of her apprehension disappeared as she became enchanted by the music. Ivor laughed and sang as they danced around the living room, and when Eva finished her tea and piece of coconut tart, she joined them. Desmond watched on in sheer delight and couldn’t help but wonder what life would have been like if he’d grown up with parents like Eva and Ivor. How safe it might have felt. How much happier he might have been.

He probably
would have had a normal social life. Maybe even a wife and a few children by now.

is eyes flicked to Larke.

As the song chan
ged and the selection slowed, Ivor and Eva gravitated towards each other. Ivor’s hand went to his wife’s waist and he pulled her close until they were cheek to cheek. Desmond was so captivated by the exchange that he didn’t notice when Larke sat down again.

Although i
t had been an extremely tense couple of days, and he was sure that even more tension would be coming their way once they left the next morning, at that moment, he was grateful for the chance to soak in a moment of calmness. His shoulders fell, his eyelids drooped, and he stretched and clasped his hands behind his head. Seconds later, he was asleep. Next to him, Larke smiled and eased into his side, falling asleep as well.

“Bedtime,” Eva whispered when she noticed
them cuddled on the sofa. Ivor glanced over and chuckled softly.

“Can you imagine what kind of day these two had?”

“I can’t even begin to try,” she answered.

They helped them to the room with the
flowing lace curtain and Desmond, barely awake, climbed into the bed while Eva helped Larke get in on the opposite side. Covering them both with a crocheted blanket, Eva turned out the light and they left the room. In the hallway, Ivor stopped his wife.

“Eva, I don’t mean to bring up any bad memories f
or you or anything, but you would have been a very good mother.”

She blushed, grabbed his hand
, and led him back to the living room. Turning the music down a little lower, Ivor pulled her back into his arms.

“And you would have made the best father.”

He sweetly placed his cheek against hers, and they continued to sway together well into the night.



It was still dark outside when Desmond finally woke up. A white candle burned on an end table in the far corner of the room, and he rubbed his eyes and searched until he spotted an old clock hung up on the wall. Squinting, he made out that it
was about five in the morning.

He stretched his arms above his head and next to him, Larke stirred closer into his side, placed
her head on his chest, and extended her leg across his waist. He pulled her closer until her head rested right below his chin, and a hint of sweet coconut emanated from her hair.

“You two up?”

The bedroom door slowly opened and Ivor poked his head in. “Eva has some breakfast for you all and lunch for when you leave. Whenever you’re ready, you can come. Take your time.”

He then backed his way out
of the room and Larke’s eyes fluttered open at the sound of the closing door.

“Good morning,”
Desmond greeted. “Sleep okay?”

She str
etched her arms above her head but didn’t try to pull away, much to his enjoyment.

usually well. What time is it?”

“About five in the morning.”

Unabashedly, she draped an arm across his chest. “I’ve been meaning to ask you. Who’s your contact down at the port? Someone you work with?”

“Yes. An old friend.”

She nestled even closer. “And how it is that he’s going to help us?”

Desmond paused, and his hesitation answe
red her question before he did. “Before we took the trip down here, I had him secure an emergency package, just in case. It’s basically extra funds, fake passports, and anything else we’d might need to travel back to the US if things got convoluted while here.”

Now that he knew who Gano truly was, he was glad that he’d had the mind to request
the package in the first place.

“Wait,” Larke began, easing onto her elbow. “Is this the friend yo
u named your dog after? Gizmo?”

He couldn’t stop the grin that spread across his face. “Yeah, but his real name is Doug.
We used to call him Gizmo back in the day, but then he bet us that if he could break through a reinforced government firewall in less than ninety-six hours, we’d have to start calling him Doug. So now, we call him Doug. You can give him any piece of technology and he can figure it out and manipulate it in record time. And, according to him, he’s been that way ever since he was a kid. Back in our early Navy days, it was me, Doug, and another friend of ours, Curtis Wallace.”

“The t
hree musketeers,” Larke chimed.

“I guess you could say that,” he agreed.
“Doug is like a brother to me and Curtis was the same way.”

Her ears perked up. “Was?”

“Yeah, he died in combat.”

cringed and Desmond lazily stroked her arm.

“The three of us, our connection was kind of dark. Doug
is a product of the foster-care system and Curtis witnessed his father’s murder during a home invasion when he was eight. We all sought out the military to deal with the things we’d lost, or in Doug’s case, never had, and ended up building a pretty tight friendship.”

Although she was afraid of
the answer, she still decided to ask, “So, what happened when you found out that Curtis was killed?”

He looked down at her and toyed with the idea of lying. There were certain things that swi
rled around in his head, memories he’d tried hard to push out, that he didn’t want to burden her with. She’d already had enough on her own plate to deal with as it was.

“It was hard,” he star
ted, easing her into the story. “It was one of the lowest points of my life. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t deal with my mother’s death and Curtis’ added to the grief, but,” he nervously glanced down at her, “I tried to put a bullet in my head.”

He heard her breath ca
tch and felt her body tense, but she didn’t move. Instead, she kept her eyes locked on his and listened. Although it was the simplest of gestures, he was moved by her willingness to stay.

“A couple
weeks after I found out about Curtis, we were granted seventy-two hours leave, so I flew out to New York and back to my old apartment. I stood at the end of the street and played the day I lost my mother over and over in my head, and all of the different ways I should have stopped my father. In my head, I was a coward, a loser, useless, and that place stirred up one of the worst bouts of depression that I’d ever experienced. But, that wasn’t the hardest part. It was when I went back to my hotel room and realized that there wasn’t anyone I could call. I’d spent my entire life keeping people at arm’s length and in one of my darkest moments, I had no one to turn to.”

Larke swallowed a lump in her throat and prepared herself for what was coming

BOOK: In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue...
2.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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