A few days later, Kori was pulling out in Ruth’s minivan when Jack cruised up the driveway, forcing her to slam on the breaks to avoid a head-on collision. He stepped out of his car, an impish smile on his face, and walked over to the driver’s side. She looked beautiful.
“Better watch where you’re going,” Jack said. “You could hit somebody.”
“Better you than me.”
“Nice to see you, too.” Kori stared straight ahead, ignoring him.
“How come you haven’t returned my calls?”
“Very funny, Kori. What the hell’s going on?”
“Nothing. Why do you ask?”
“I’ve been calling you all week, is why I ask, and I know you haven’t been home because I’ve driven by a dozen times. Then last night one of my buddies says he saw you and some flunky out having dinner.”
“We’re just friends.”
“Oh yeah? When was the last time you lip-locked a friend?”
“Answer me, dammit.”
Kori stared at the woods to the side of the house. Jack yanked open the driver’s side door and pulled her out by the arm.
“Oh, now I have your attention….”
Kori shook loose from his grip and stalked off across the lawn. Jack ran ahead, hampering further progress.
“What in God’s name has gotten into you? Why are you so angry?”
“Because you’re a self-centered bastard. You waste your time watching sports when you could read a book. You prefer a night of drinking with your friends to the movies with me. You have no interest in my work. But most of all, because you wouldn’t go to the Goddamn public meeting with me!” She said the last with such venom that Jack thought she was going to strike him to hammer the point home, but she just turned on her heel and walked back toward the car. He stared after her, dumbfounded, before running to catch up.
“I’m sorry. If I’d have known it meant so much I would’ve gone with you.”
“You did know.”
“I didn’t. I swear. Come here.” Jack pulled Kori in and hugged her to his chest. “I miss you. Please don’t do this.”
Kori raised her face to him.
“Besides. Robbie told me to take care of you.”
Kori grimaced and shoved Jack as hard as she could. He lost his balance and fell backwards.
“And Robbie told me to watch out for you,” she said, “but not the way you think. Anyway, Robbie’s dead. Gone. Just like you. Just like everybody.”
Jack jumped up and grabbed the back of her neck. He pushed her chin up and kissed her gruffly. “It would be a shame to lose what we have.” He wound his arms around her and whispered in her ear. “To walk away just so you can be the first to leave is a horrible waste of time. Sometimes there are things bigger and more satisfying than an indulgence of your pride.”
Jack released his grip and took a step back, putting air between them. “Are you afraid to be happy with me?”
“I was happy with you until I saw what an egotistical prick you are.”
“C’mon, Kori. This is stupid.” He kissed her again and this time she responded with her mouth and her body. After a minute, she released him. He was electrified.
“Alright. You win.” She reached out and gave his dick a little squeeze. He shivered at the touch. “Call me, say, a hundred years from Monday. That should put us squarely in the next lifetime.” She strode to the van, slamming the door after her.
Jack watched as she put the transmission into all wheel drive and drove through the small forested grove to the side of the driveway, pulling out onto the road before he even registered what happened.
Jack walked around to the back of the house and, hearing music, followed it to the barn. He banged on the door, but Gil didn’t hear him over the bass. He peeked in the window and saw Gil holding Max up by his front paws and dancing to the Bacon Brothers, Philadelphia Chickens. Jack knocked on the window and when Gil saw him, he screamed and dropped Max to the ground.
Gil lowered the volume on the stereo and opened the door. “You can’t sneak up on a person.”
Jack laughed. “It’s not like it was hard.”
“Where’ve you been?” Gil demanded.
“Home. At work. Out. You want a list?”
“Why not here?”
“Your sister’s not talking to me.”
“So what? I’m talking to you.”
Jack tilted his head, shrugged his shoulders and gave Gil a lopsided smile. “Gilly.”
Gil looked askance at Jack, set his lips in a grim straight line, and closed the door.
“Gil, come on,” Jack said, knocking again.
Gil locked the door and turned up the music.
to be continued. . .