Ray Abernathy – Valentine's Day

Marianne was a smart young woman, but careless. You know, the kind of careless that makes you forget the zip code when you’re addressing a letter, and then the letter comes back and because it contains a bank deposit, causes checks to bounce. You know, careless, the gift that keeps on taking. But on this night, she was on her smart game, totally and altogether.

“You going out tonight?” Rafael asked, knowing even without asking that she was indeed going out, as she always did on Thursday evenings, going out to her book club, even though it was Valentine’s Day.

“Yup, going to my book club.  We’ll be at Kathryn’s, but don’t try to reach me because we have the unwritten rule: no cells, no blackberries, total blackout from seven-thirty until ten-thirty.  I’ll be home by eleven.”

Like I said, this is a smart girl.

“What are you guys reading this week?”

Marianne had her book tucked under her arm, but she didn’t pull it out.

“It’s called Bedtime, Bedtime, Jill McMillan.  Fun.”

“Then why are you taking that old Tom Davis piece of shit with you.”

Marianne pulled out the book and sure enough, it was Death on Wheels, a Tom Davis thriller, same size, same color.  She jogged back into the bedroom, but couldn’t find the McMillan book.

“I’m late, gotta run without it.”

“I’ll find it and bring it to you.”

“No, no, Don’t bother. I must have left it at work, reading a lot on my breaks.”

Yeah, yeah, Rafael thought to himself as she pulled out of the driveway,  just like you go to your fucking book club every Thursday night.

He slipped the McMillan book and the Beretta from beneath the sofa cushion, fondled one for a moment, then the other.  He’d give her thirty minutes to get there, then take her the book.

Bedtime, Bedtime.  Valentine’s Day. Sometimes things just work out, don’t they?

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