Once again, mundane life ran away with my writing time. So, here is part 7.
Graydon wasn’t sure what woke him, but he looked over to the clock to see that it was 6:45am. Marty had let go of his hand sometime in the night, but was still curled up with her back to him. Very slowly, he got up off of the bed and put some of the pillows up against her back. It gave the illusion that they had been there all night. Graydon tipped toed downstairs and put his shoes on in the living room. He could either say he slept on the couch all night or sneak out the front door and then knock in an hour or so. He had already decided to call her in sick. The stables could just do without her for a day. Now to just decide how best to handle it.
After a moment, he quietly left her keys in her coat pocket and let himself out the door. The Saab rolled down the street quietly for a block before starting it. Graydon drove back to his apartment. He showered and changed his clothes and then headed out to the Dirty Spoon to pick up breakfast for the two of them. There had been nothing in her fridge besides ice and a couple of carrots. She really didn’t cook.
Vicky smiled when he came in the door. “Did you get her home alright last night?” she asked.
“Yes, got her tucked up in bed and then went home. I came by for breakfast for the two of us. Figured she could just take a day off of work for once,” he said. “I’d like two orders of biscuits and gravy to go please.”
Vicky smiled. “Sure dear. We’ll get it ready for you. “Two orders of covered slabs with porky on the side and a couple of raw cluckers!” she hollered into the kitchen. “And don’t forget the side of George!”
Graydon just blinked and tried to figure out what on earth she had just ordered for them. Even after all this time he wasn’t use to the eccentric slang they used for orders. He sat at the counter and Vicky plopped a cup of coffee in front of him.
“Hot joe’s on the house deary,” she said as she breezed off to seat some other customers.
Graydon wondered if Vicky just came with the diner when the Henry’s bought it or if they searched for her. He could just see the ad. Must be able to obscure the food choices on the menu into indescribable gibberish, walk 90 miles per hour in a twenty foot area and call everyone ‘dear’, ‘hon’ or ‘sweetie’ without rhyme or reason. Also must have eyes in the back of beehive hairdo and gracefully carry off a 1950’s uniform.
Before he could imagine anymore, two large Styrofoam cartons in a cardboard soda case tray were plopped on the counter. “That’ll be $8.50, and Ma Henry says don’t argue,” Vicky said.
Graydon put $16 on the counter and said his thanks as he went out the door. When he got to the car, he had to look to see just what it was they had ordered. In the first container were biscuits, gravy in a container, two eggs over easy, 8 sausage links and a piece of cherry pie. The other one was just the same. He smiled and made sure that they were safely seated on the passenger side. Now to see if he could wake Marty up by knocking on the door.
He pulled up in front of her house and got the breakfasts out. He knocked on the door three or four times before he heard Marty’s feet moving across the floor.
She opened the door and looked at him with a confused look on her face. “Graydon? Um… is it time to go get my car?” she asked standing there in her nightshirt. She looked sleepy and sexy at the same time.
“No, it’s time to let me in so we can eat breakfast. I’ve been down to the Dirty Spoon and Vicky as well as Ma Henry said to eat your raw cluckers or else,” he said with a smile.
For a moment she thought he was serious and then realized he was smiling. She stepped out of the doorway and closed it behind him as he headed to the kitchen table. He put the cartons on the table and got some silverware out. They sat down to eat.
“Thanks for bringing me home last night. I was so tired, I barely remember showering. Did you turn on the furnace? I woke up and it was so nice and warm, I thought I was dreaming.”
“Yes, I lit the furnace. You were so cold when you got out of the shower that I was afraid you’d catch a cold. Not that you wanted me to turn it on. I had to worm the information out of you. By the time I got it lit, you’d fallen asleep. I covered you up and then went home,” he said. Not a total lie, but he didn’t want to upset her too much. Not at this point.
“Okay. I dreamed I slept with a great big dog. He kept me warm all night,” she said as she yawned.
Graydon about choked on his cluckers. He covered it with a cough. “That’s some dream. Was it Kenny? He was worried about you last night.”
“No, it was a big furry dog, like a Shepherd or a wolfhound. He smelled really good too, sort of spicy like mocha which I thought was odd. Dogs don’t smell like that,” she said. Marty had finished her eggs and was working on the sausages and biscuits.
Graydon was doing his best not to choke or turn purple. Oh gods. She had seen him somehow. He didn’t remember shifting in the night, but that really wasn’t abnormal. All he has to do is be tired enough and he’d shift. Last night he was concerned enough for Marty that he might have shifted in the night and missed it.
“This is a good breakfast. I’ve only eaten dinner there. And I certainly couldn’t figure out what it was she was giving us. I had to look in the boxes,” he admitted. “The side of George threw me for a loop.”
“I know. Vicky enjoys using obscure descriptions for menu items. Pa Henry encourages her too,” Marty said. “If I hadn’t ordered the tuna melt one day with French fries I’d never have figured out what it was by Vicky’s order.”
Graydon shuddered. “What did she call it?”
Marty took a deep breath. “One chunk of Flipper with hot cow cooked twice and greasy Frenchmen on the side.”
Graydon just groaned. “That is just so bad. Do they sit back there when its slow and think these things up?”
“I never dared ask. They probably do.” Marty took her nearly empty container over to the trash and put her fork in the sink. “Are you done yet?”
“Yes, I’ve eaten plenty. Can I save my pie on a plate though? I just can’t finish it,” he said.
“Of course.” She turned and got a plate out of the cupboard. He slid the pie onto it and then Marty got some saran wrap out of the drawer. After she wrapped it up, she put it in the fridge.
“I’d better get ready for work. I’m already late,” she said.
“Marty, don’t go into work today. You are still worn out and I think that the place can do without you for a day. I’ll even call you in if you want me to,” he offered.
Marty shook her head. “No, I’ve gotta go in. There’s Max to see to and the fence and…”
“No, you don’t need to go. In fact, if you try to get dressed, I’ll… I’ll…” He thought for a second. “I’ll just take your clothes and not take you back over pick up your car.” He figured that would be enough to make her stop and think. He was wrong. Instead, she got pissed.
“Graydon! You will take me over to my car or…” she said, and then ran out of breath. Graydon had picked her up and was kissing her. It dawned on him that the best way to stop her yelling was to kiss her. It worked. She felt wonderful in his arms.
A moment later, he put her down and stepped back. “Are you going to listen to reason? Or, do I have to carry you back up to bed so that you rest?” he asked in a quiet voice.
Marty just blinked again and looked up at him with a puzzled look on her face. “I, umm…. I’ll call Nick and let him know I won’t be in today,” she said as she walked over to her coat and pulled out her cell phone. She was giving Graydon an odd look that he couldn’t puzzle out. He hoped he hadn’t scared her in some way.
“Nick, this is Marty. Yeah, I’m worn out. If you don’t need me, I want to take the day off. I’ll be in on Sunday to deal with the stuff if that’s okay,” she was saying as Graydon took the phone out of her hand.
“Hi Nick, this is Graydon. Marty was so tired that she couldn’t even drive home last night. I brought her home and checked on her this morning. She is still worn out. How about she comes in on Monday? Good. If you need help with the fences or such, I can come by and give a hand, but she needs to stay in bed for a day or so. Sure. No problem. Call me at 655-9737 if you need me. Bye for now.” Graydon closed the phone which ended the call and handed it back to Marty.
“What were you doing? You’ll get me fired!” Marty was getting upset again.
“No, you aren’t. In fact, he whole-heartedly agreed that you should have the whole weekend off. He said they have things under control and the other stable hands are pitching in because they all recognized just how much you did yesterday. If he needs me, he’ll call. He has my number,” Graydon finished and realized that she was still trying to be upset. He uncrossed his arms and put his hands on her shoulders.
“Come on, either curl up on the couch or head back to bed. It’s barely 9am.”
Marty realized that he wasn’t going to relent. She was also still trying to puzzle out something that was nudging the back of her brain. “Okay, Bed sounds good. My room is warmer than the kitchen,” she finished. “Oh, and you can go home now. I’ll call Dirk to come get me and pick up my car.”
“Oh no. You aren’t getting rid of me that easy. Besides, Jessie and Dirk are out of town. I ought to know, as I processed his day off paperwork,” Graydon said.
Marty visibly shrank. Dammit! She wasn’t used to anyone outmaneuvering her. Or better yet, having anyone even try to take care of her. Once she moved out at eighteen, it had been her and only her. Now there was Graydon to deal with and she wasn’t sure if she liked this or not. She just shook her head and started upstairs.