Vision of the Spirit Ch. 18

bywilderness©

She added, "I'd bet he's got a few illegal drugs in his possession, if he's true to form."

The Chief looked from Hannah to Tom, and said, "Is she the assault victim?"

"Yes. Why should that matter? I saw it myself. He grabbed her, slapped her and pushed her down."

The Chief did not look impressed, as he scribbled in the notebook.

"Listen Chief, this guy may be from around here. His name is Jeffery Dewey. Hannah says he's a rapist. Do you have any unsolved cases? The guy told me himself that he was here at the motel 20 years ago. He wanted to stay in cabin 10, because he... had his first virgin in there."

"What?" The Chief's head snapped up. "What kind of car was he driving?" Suddenly, he had a sense of urgency in his voice.

Tom grabbed the guest book and showed him the page. "That's his license number. The car was a black Mercedes two-door convertible."

"Chief?"

The two men looked at Hannah.

She wiggled her fingers vertically, like she was showing off a ring. "I scratched him."

Chief Morris pulled the police radio from his belt and called in an A.P.B. on the car and driver. Then added, "Send Eugene out to the Midway Motel to collect a DNA sample from under..." he stopped and politely asked, "What is your name Ma'am?"

"Hannah Roundtree."

"... from under Ms. Hannah Roundtree's fingernails." He signed off the radio and then jogged out the door, yelling, "I'll be in touch."

Once the technician arrived and collected the evidence, Hannah and Tom were free to bring in the rest of her bags from the truck. The enchantment of her arrival had been ruined, and Hannah's uneasiness was palpable. The lighthearted woman Tom loved had been pushed behind a wall of apprehensive silence. But he was determined to draw out her cheerful side.

Lugging the bags down the hall, Tom asked, "Hannah, what room do you want?"

"What do you mean?"

"What do you mean, what do I mean?" He stopped and looked back, and with all seriousness said, "There are three bedrooms. Pick one."

She stared at him with a furrowed brow. "Don't you want me to sleep with you?"

"Absolutely. I'm just sayin' I'll sleep with you in any room you want."

After rolling her eyes, she walked past and punched him playfully in the stomach. "You're a goof. I'm not Goldie Locks, ya know."

Hannah looked in each room, but entered the one that was obviously Tom's. She began to unpack, and hang up clothes in the closet. "This feels weird. I've never shared a place with a guy for more than one night." Her eyes flashed to Tom, when she realized how bad that sounded. "Sorry."

Tom smiled. "Relax. I know what you mean. I've never lived with a woman before, either. It's a first for both of us."

"I guess so." She gave him an apologetic grin, and then turned to study the room. "Do you mind if I go shopping for a few things to put on the walls, do some decorating?"

"Well... the place is pretty barren. But I don't have a lot of money to spend... right now."

"That's okay. I've got money."

"Are you sure you want to spend it on decorating this place?"

Hannah met his gaze, and gave him a crooked smile. "This is our home now. Why wouldn't I?"

His throat constricted with emotion, and he could only nod agreement. Her nervousness seemed to be infectious.

By the time everything was unpacked and put away, the sun had set. The tension between them had not lessened. Hannah still behaved like a guest, rather than a partner. Tom was at a loss how to bring back the fun they'd always shared in the past. He knew it was still possible, but now buried under the formality of commitment. "Are you hungry?"

Hannah sat down on the bed and began to unbraid her hair. "Not really. I'm kind of exhausted."

Climbing onto the bed behind her, Tom said, "Let me do that." Unweaving her hair seemed to loosen the day's tension. "I bought some groceries. How about a tossed salad?" He fluffed out the clumped strands and massaged her scalp.

"Mmm, that feels fantastic." Her chin fell to her chest and her head moved freely under his fingers. "A salad sounds great. What kind of dressing do you have?"

"Italian."

"Okay, but no onions."

Tom kissed the top of her head, and said, "You got it," and left for the kitchen.

A few minutes later, Hannah walked in wearing only the John Denver tee shirt and a pair of white ankle socks.

Tom did a double take, while slicing a tomato. Grinning with manly appreciation, he asked, "Are you warm enough?"

"Yes." She stepped behind him and unbraided his hair. "Be careful. Don't cut off a finger."

When Hannah was done, she moved beside him, put an arm around his waist and watched him slice a cucumber. "You're good in the kitchen."

"Do you cook?"

She wrinkled her nose and shook her head, 'no'. "I don't eat that much." Placing her head on his shoulder, she added, "But I do clean. I like a clean house."

"Well, I'll try not to be a slob."

She squeezed him sideways. "From what I've seen so far, you're very neat. I'm impressed."

"So, I've given you a good first impression?"

"Well, you saved my life the first time we met. That was a good start."

Dumping the ingredients into bowls, he said, "I'm talking about now. How do you like me now?"

"Honestly?" Hannah kissed his cheek, and said, "I think you're fabulous... and deserve better than me." Then she picked up the two bowls and two forks, walked over to the table and sat down.

"Well, I think you're fabulous, and deserve better than me," said Tom. "What do you want to drink?"

"Choices?"

"Water or beer?"

"H2O on the rocks. I'll get it. What'll you have?"

"Same, please."

The phone rang. Tom left to find the cordless and talked briefly in the other room. He returned to his chair and sprinkled dressing on his salad. "That was Chief Morris. They caught Dewey. He was going 90 in a 45. Somehow they had probable cause to search the car and found a handgun. So, he's violated his parole and is locked up indefinitely."

Hannah raked her fork through the salad greens. "To bad they didn't just shoot him."

The room was quiet for a while. They shared glances and random smiles, trying to adjust to their new peaceful co-existence.

"So, what do couples do for fun around here?"

Tom shrugged, "How would I know. They don't spend the weekends at the motel, I know that."

"Yeah? Things are slow?"

"Dead. I'm hoping the ski season will bring in some business." Tom picked up their empty bowls and put them in the sink. This line of conversation was not improving his mood. "This motel sits on 150 acres of pristine woodland. If we had the money, we could build a spa or at least a place for people to have a fun weekend away."

"I like they way you say 'we'," said Hannah, as she stood up and pushed in their chairs.

Standing there in the tee shirt, she was a vision that inspired. "I know something fun we can do. Let's take some pictures to remember our first night together."

Hannah smiled. "Hey, that's a great idea!"

Tom gave her scantily clad body an admiring once over for effect. "Do you want to get dressed first?"

"I am dressed," said Hannah, pulling up the tee shirt as proof and revealing a lack of underwear.

His eyes grew round and he felt movement in his crotch. "I will admit... you look marvelous."

She dropped the shirt, placed her hands behind her back and gazed shyly at the floor. "I do?"

"Since we just ate dinner, maybe 'delicious' would be a more appropriate adjective. Let me warn you, I love dessert."

Hannah came over and pressed against him. "Let me warn you! I like my desserts creamy and filling."

"Let me get my camera."

"All right. I'll be in the bedroom." As she walked down the hall, Hannah looked back and raised the shirt hem up to her waist.

Tom watched the sensual sway, until the perfect bottom disappeared through the door. "Damn! This is going to be a fun winter."

The End

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