“Can I ask you something? About Buddy?”
“Was he taking Viagra?”
She nodded. “He popped a pill as soon as he got here. You knew about it?”
He raked his fingers through his hair, causing a thick chunk to fall across his forehead. It took every ounce of self-control Judy possessed not to brush it away ala Barbra Streisand with Robert Redford’s golden locks in The Way We Were. She swallowed a big gulp of beer, instead.
“A few weeks ago, I heard Buddy and a couple of barflies discussing whether or not Viagra was safe. One guy said he used it all the time with no side effects. Another said he heard about a fellow who wound up with one of those infamous four-hour erections. Went to the emergency room, but he’s fine now.” He looked at a point over her shoulder as if picturing the exchange. “Buddy said–and I’m not making this up–that he’d die happy if his pecker made it into one last hottie.”
He got his wish. She’d never been hotter. She still got a little breathless remembering her orgasm. If she closed her eyes, she could almost–almost–recall the sensation. She flexed her labia, reveling in the residual dampness.
“I guess he got his wish, huh?”
The question held a husky, suggestive resonance. Sexy.
Reality check. He might not be a baby, but that didn’t mean he wanted to do the lust and thrust with her. “We made love, yes. He took the pill and it…um…worked really well.” Where’d that breathy rasp come from? “We both had a good time…right up to the moment I realized he was dead.”
“That must have been hard.”
“No pun intended, I’m sure.”
He leaned a bit closer. “Maybe a small one.”
Oh, crap. He had a sense of humor, too. In addition to her weakness for good hair, she was a sucker for men who made her laugh. His wicked smile looked good enough to eat–or put to use elsewhere on her body. But could she trust her man-woman radar or had residual high-resolution sexual reverberations altered her ability to distinguish between small talk and come-ons?
She fluffed her hair and let out the breath she’d been holding. “Death has a way of sucking the humor out of a room. I’m pretty sure I’ll never smile–let alone make love in my bedroom until the last trace of Buddy’s memory is wiped clean. If paint and a new floor doesn’t do it, I’m selling this place and moving away.”
Once the market improves.
His smile faded. “Sorry if that comment came across as inappropriate. But I think Buddy might have appreciated it.” He set his beer can on the counter. “I’ll email you a quote tonight. If you need a day or two to get a competing bid, let me know. I have a big remodel starting next week. It’ll eat up a month or so of my time, but I could do you…I mean, yours on a Saturday.”
His blush made her relax a little. Had she read too much into his suggestive tone? Was she being ridiculously hypersensitive? Either way, he was right. Buddy would have laughed his ass off at the whole damn situation.
“I trust you. Tomorrow works for me. Let me give you my email address.”
She walked to the wall phone where she kept a notepad and pen. She scribbled the information then returned to the counter to hand it to him. “I like the cherry wood, too. Could I keep this sample to take to the paint store?”
“Of course.” He stood, one hand still holding his beer can on the counter. “I apologize if I said something to upset you, Judy. It sucks the way Buddy died because you’re the one who has to deal with all the crap that comes next.”
I know, right? Except for Pru, nobody had shown her the least bit of sympathy. “Thank you,” she said, blinking back the extra moisture in her eyes. “This whole thing has been pretty aw…aw..ful, actually.”
Admitting the awfulness out loud removed the finger in her emotional dike. One sob slipped and another followed crashing on its heels. Tears came faster than one tissue could stem. A white cotton handkerchief just like the one her father used to carry appeared in her hand. They still make these? She blubbered noisily. Once the worst of the emotional tsunami had passed, two strong arms wrapped her in a hug, pulling her against a broad, masculine chest that smelled of fresh air, pine and working man. Her heart melted right along with her good intentions.
“Would you…? No, of course, you wouldn’t. We don’t even know each other.”
“We sorta do. We shared a bottle of champagne and a box of Girl Scout cookies after I finished your deck. Remember? We didn’t have long–you were picking up Buddy to treat him to a movie. I remember thinking what a kind person you are.”
She shook her head, suddenly mad at everything and nothing. “No. I’m not. I killed Buddy.”
His eyes narrowed. “Buddy made his own choices,” he said, his tone stern. “He knew the risks and decided being with you was worth what came next. That says a lot about you in my book.”
Judy liked his book. She wished she had a copy.
He tucked his thick, calloused knuckle under her chin and made her look at him. “Would I what?”
Kiss me? Fuck me? Make me forget my life is in the crapper? All of the above? But he couldn’t, of course. He might be able to handle one or two of the three, but if he had to ask… “Would you like another beer?”
“I’d rather kiss you.”
His lips caught hers partway open with surprise. Apparently his tongue took her lack of resistance as an invitation. It dipped, stroked and teased as if they’d been doing the lingual tango for years.
“Have we done this before?”
She shared his bemusement completely. “Only in my dreams.”
His mention of the champagne and cookies had triggered a memory. After a few minutes of friendly flirting with her sweaty, hunky contractor, she’d taken Buddy to see Magic Mike–a movie about sweaty, hunky male strippers. Later that night, her shower’s spray nozzle proved an acceptable substitute for a certain male body part Judy never expected to entertain in person. If that’s really what he was offering.
“You want to have sex with me?” she asked, hoping her incredulity wasn’t broadcast in her tone.
“Yes. Do you want to have sex with me?”
Um…yeah. Who wouldn’t? But what about Buddy?
A gruff voice she’d never hear again came through loud and clear in her mind chortling, “Go for it, Judy baby. He’s got a cock and he’s not afraid to use it. Makes him perfect for you.”
“I do. But Buddy isn’t even buried yet. Doesn’t this feel faintly sacrilegious?”
He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand–considerably smoother than the opposite side, her errant brain noted. “Like I said, I didn’t know Buddy well, but I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to say life doesn’t come with any guarantees. You only live once, so you damn well better go for it.”
🙂 That’s Judy for you. So much for good intentions, right?
Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest.