Read Hurricane Watch - DK2 Online

Authors: Melissa Good

Tags: #Lesbian, #Romance

Hurricane Watch - DK2 (5 page)

BOOK: Hurricane Watch - DK2
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she said. ”If he can prove we lost money because of something I did, he’s got a wedge to work with. Sales aren’t that great, and if he makes it look like he can pull a rabbit out of his ass someone in Houston might listen.”

“You think so? Really? They’d take his word so fast?” Kerry asked in an incredulous voice.

Dar shrugged. “New kid on the block,” she said. “Carries weight sometimes.”

Kerry blinked. ”But, how can he prove something happened because of you? You know nothing like that did, Dar. If there’s one department in the entire company that runs like clockwork it’s ours.”

Dar ducked her head to one side. ”No one’s perfect, Kerry. It’s possible he could dig up something where we could have done our jobs better, and we lost out because of it. We’ve got so many things going on at once, and so much of it involves making decisions based on the best information available. It can happen.”

“Wow.” Kerry frowned. “But nothing— You don’t mean little stuff, like having to reorder circuits or things like that, do you?” she asked.

“Dar, even I know that Sales messes up a heck of a lot more and for bigger dollars than we do.”

“True,” Dar said. “But if you stack up a bunch of little stuff, and put it on letterhead, and show you’ve got a better plan, businessmen listen.”

“Well...”

“I listened to you when you did it,” Dar interrupted mildly. “You pulled together a list of little annoyances in the integration and put a reasonable plan in front of my puss and I caved right away.”

“Dar.”

“I did.” She settled her hands on her knee. ”But I’ve got a pretty
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good batting average. He’d have to find something really major, and I’m not really worried about that.” She fell silent and watched the ripple of the water in the ferry’s wake, scattering the moonlight over its surface.

”So, what are you really worried about?” Kerry prodded gently. ”Is it because he’s made it so personal?”

Dar thought about that. ”Maybe,” she acknowledged. ”Or maybe it’s because he’s sniffing after you.” She let a rueful grin cross her face.

“And if he does find out about us, he will most certainly make an issue of it.””Mmph.” Kerry rolled her head to one side, waving at the deckhand as they docked on the island. ”Well, we just have to make sure that doesn’t happen. Right?”

“Right.” Dar drove off the ferry, and through the spray, and turned onto the access road that lead to the condo. She pulled in next to Kerry’s Mustang, and turned the car off.

Kerry regarded the other car. “I might have to start leaving that at my place,” she said. “Apparently one of Eleanor’s goons is hanging out with someone who lives near me and noticed I wasn’t around.”

Dar half turned in her seat, one hand playing with the car keys.

“Ah,” She exhaled. “Guess you haven’t been there a lot, huh?”

“No.” Kerry plucked a bit of lint from the seat. “I guess I could start going back there during the week again.”

A little silence fell between them.

“You want to do that?” Dar finally asked, a quiet note of resignation in her tone.

Kerry looked out the windshield at the wall of the condo. “No,” she said after a pause. “To hell with it. I’ll think of something if she starts asking questions again.” She glanced sideways. “Unless you think I should.”

“Nope. That sounds good to me,” Dar responded immediately.

”C’mon, let’s go get slurped.” She got out and took her bag, then waited for Kerry to join her before she trotted up the stairs and keyed the door open.They ducked inside and turned the lights on. Kerry dropped her bag on the couch and continued on into the kitchen towards the utility room, which was issuing shrill yelps. ”Okay...okay Chino. Take it easy.”

She unlatched the gate, and let the three month old Labrador puppy out. ”Did you miss us?”

The puppy scrambled up her leg, hopping up and down until she picked her up and cuddled her. ”Hey.” Kerry laughed as the pink tongue got her neck. ”Hey...no nibbling!” The sharp little teeth nipped her skin, as she glanced into the puppy’s area. ”You were a good girl, were’ntcha!”

Dar wandered over, and the puppy whined, wiggling towards her.

”Hey, puppy.”

24

Melissa Good

”All right, all right, here.” Kerry turned her over. ”Go. I know who your favorite is. Look, Dar, she was a good girl all day.”

Dar suffered a nose nibble, and peered into the room. ”Hey, look at that. Good girl,” she praised Chino. ”Getting resident services to come and let her out twice during the day was a good idea, huh?”

”You bet,” Kerry agreed. ”Want to take her for a walk while I get dinner up?” She watched indulgently as Dar scratched Chino’s chin, the little tag on her collar which bore her name and their address jingled softly as she moved. ”Dar?”

”Hmm?” The executive glanced up. ”Oh, right, sorry.” She kissed the puppy on the head. ”C’mon, Chino, let’s go out, see if you’ll piddle for me, huh?” She slipped out the back door and down the patio steps into the moonlit grassy area.

Kerry had to laugh, as she rinsed her hands off. ”No one at work would believe hearing that.” She shook head wryly. Dar had proven to be an extremely soft touch when it came to their little addition, and Chino had learned all it took to get a puppy biscuit was a pair of soulful brown eyes, and a tiny paw.

She’d find Dar, and sit next to her, raising the paw up and patting Dar’s leg with it, and the well trained human would immediately produce an Iams biscuit which Chino would crunch contentedly.

It was cute in the extreme, and Kerry loved watching her intimidating lover turn into a blue eyed puddle over Chino’s admittedly adorable ways.

She put up the satay and some rice and added some fresh green beans to the steamer. ”That’ll do.” She dusted her hands off and retrieved her bag, glancing around the living room with a sense of quiet satisfaction.

At one time it had seemed very sterile to her, but since she’d moved in, she’d coaxed some personal items out of Dar, and added her own stuff to it resulting in a warmer and more cheerful atmosphere.

The room now included some prints they’d picked out at the Grove Art Festival, a colorful native woven blanket that was draped over the central table, and a brass sculpture of dolphins and waves sitting in the middle of it. On the entertainment center, once barren of anything but a little dust, there were pictures of her and of Dar at various ages, and one of them together that always made Kerry smile when she looked at it.

She walked over and picked it up, both of them staring back at her sprawled on the couch pretty much in each other’s laps. “What this picture didn’t kick off.” She shook her head. “Good thing I got it back before I left home.”

Kerry set the picture back down and trotted up the stairs, dropping her laptop off in her office and continuing on to her room.

She still had to run that through her head when she walked in, as the spacious vaulted ceiling and the wide glass doors that opened out onto the Atlantic Ocean hit her eyes. It was the master suite for the
Hurricane Watch

25

condo, and though she slept downstairs with Dar in the big waterbed, Kerry had taken pains to carve out her own little space here.

She’d moved most of her things up from her apartment. It still seemed a bit strange to see Pooh holding out his arms for a hug from the comfortable, overstuffed chair perfectly situated for reading as the sunlight came in the room.

She’d hung her pictures on the wall, and it was her quilt on the bed, and the dresser held her things in slight disarray.

Go spend time back in Kendall?
Kerry gave her head a faint shake.

No way. This was home now, even if she and Dar hadn’t quite made that
formal commitment to each other.

She put her bag down and went to the glass doors, sliding them open. She went out onto the wraparound balcony to just stand and gaze out over the black, rippling water for a long moment, watching the quarter moon send a tiny splash of light over the waves. It smelled of salt, and the rich scent of the freshly fertilized lawn below her, and the hint of hickory smoke from the beach club just down the way.

It was beautiful, and she loved it, even though she had to pinch herself sometimes just to prove it was real, and not just some outlandish dream. Not just the house, but her life. Sometimes she was a little afraid to go to sleep at night, fearing she’d wake up one day and it would all be gone as though it had never existed.

A sigh. ”C'mon, Kerry, get changed, and stop being goofy.” She went back inside, closing the doors. Kerry slipped out of her work clothes, exchanging them for her favorite sleep shirt and hanging her jacket and skirt up in the huge walk in closet.

A tiny whine alerted her, and she looked up as Chino pushed the door open with her nose, and came stumbling in, having laboriously negotiated the stairs. ”Hey, Chino. C'mere honey.” Kerry sat down and let the puppy scramble over her. She played with her for a minute then got to her feet and headed downstairs, with the animal trotting behind her. Dar was in her office, working on something, and she looked up as Kerry poked her head in. For a minute, they just looked at each other, and then Dar leaned back in her comfortable chair. ”That smells great.”

She put her hands behind her head and exhaled, pulling the thin fabric of her worn baseball shirt against her body. ”Ken sprang something on me tonight. He broached the subject of me going back into competition.”

Kerry came forward and perched on the arm of the couch.

”Really?” She watched Dar’s face. ”You think you want to?”

Dar nibbled the inside of her lip. ”I don’t know. When he first mentioned it, I came up with all the reasons why I couldn’t, and they seemed like good ones.” She shrugged. ”I mean, it takes time, a lot of effort and training,” She sighed. ”It's been a long, long time. I don’t know if I could still do it.”

26

Melissa Good

”But?” Kerry saw the indecision in her expression. “You’re thinking about it.”

Both hands lifted, then fell to the arms of the chair. ”Maybe the stuff I’ve been doing with him triggered some stupid adolescent urge or something. I don’t know. I’ve been getting quite a kick out of trying to see how much I could get back.” She looked up. ”What do you think?”

Kerry studied her in silence. ”I think you should go for it.” She grinned. ”I love the classes, but watching you and Ken go at it afterward has been such a blast. You get this incredible look on your face when you get past him.”

Dar scratched her jaw, looking a touch embarrassed. ”I do?”

”Yes, you do.” Kerry held out a hand, as she checked her watch.

”Come on...we’ll talk about it over dinner. It should be ready.”

They settled in front of the large screen television, Dar flipping it on after she set her gently steaming plate down. ”Oh, look, it’s the Crocodile Fanatic,” She peered. ”What’s he after now?”

Kerry observed the screen. ”Snakes.” She took a bite of chicken and then a mouthful of the steamed rice, which she’d put a touch of ginger and spices into. ”Hmm...rattlesnakes.” She shook her head. ”Jesus. He’s picking them up by the...Dar, he’s crawling into a cave of those things.

Isn’t the Discovery Channel afraid they’re going to have a lawsuit on their hands when he gets eaten alive?”

Dar pulled her plate over and took a bite. ”They probably had him sign a document in quintuplet that absolves them of any responsibility for him.” The spicy peanut sauce on the chicken contrasted with the gentle, gingery taste of the rice, and she sighed contentedly. ”Kerry, this is great.”

”Thank you.” Kerry took a sip of ice tea. ”We have strawberries for dessert, you know.”

”I know,” Dar chuckled softly, as she settled an arm over Kerry’s shoulders, eating one handed. ”What’s he doing now? Oh...hey...is his wife pregnant?”

Kerry peered. ”Either that, or she's been munching on the crocodile crackers overtime.” She watched. ”And he drags her up into mountains, and hands her the tail of a rattlesnake to hold onto...Jesus!” The man on the screen cooed at the angry female rattlesnake. ”You gotta love them?

No Steve. I don’t!”

She chewed. ”He’s got such a cute accent, though.” She reached over and picked up a green bean from Dar’s plate, and offered it to her.

”Here, I sautéed them in a little garlic butter. Just pretend it’s a French fry.”Dar obligingly took the bean, chewing it speculatively. ”I think I’m being condescended to,” She blinked. ”Look at him. There must be a dozen snakes under that rock. Can’t he just leave it alone? Wait, did he just say ‘shit’?”

Kerry's brow creased. ”Yeah, he just said ‘shit’. What's...oh man,
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27

did you see how pale he just got?” She turned up the sound a little. ”Oh Jesus. He’s got a snake between his legs.”

Her lover burst out laughing. “Typical guy.”

”Tch, Dar. No. He’s got a rattlesnake between his legs! Look, they’re going nuts. He doesn’t know what to do!” They watched as the man on the screen eased out of the way, and scooted out of range.

”Wow. That was outrageous. I wonder if they’d show it if he actually got nailed in the nuts by a poisonous snake.”

”Well,” Dar laughed helplessly. ”At least he could get a tourniquet in place, unlike if he got bit on the face,” She sighed, and chewed a mouthful of rice. ”I think he’s an adrenaline junkie.”

She quieted for a moment.
Looking

for

that

fix,

that

excitement...was that what was tugging her towards resuming the
aggressiveness of competition? Otherwise, what was the attraction of
going back ten years, and trying to recapture that particular bit of
glory? Or was this a reaction to her turning thirty, a reassurance to her
ego that she still had ‘it’?

Now, that was a depressing thought.

Conceit or a challenge it would just be fun to attempt
Hmm.
She took another bite of her rice, pausing as Kerry shifted and snuggled up next to her, letting her head rest on Dar’s shoulder.

BOOK: Hurricane Watch - DK2
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