Martin felt the sheet peeled back so someone could run their fingers over his naked hip. “Mo chuisle!” exclaimed a voice that literally throbbed with emotion and was deep enough to be a man’s…though something told Martin it was a woman.
He bolted out of bed. “Ma…cushla?” was the best he could do at repeating words that had obviously been in a foreign language.
But it had only been the girl from the plane with her fingers now frozen midair over where his hip had just been. Her face flushed a deep red before she turned away and mumbled, “You…must have been dreaming.”
Martin looked around, relaxing as he took inventory and checked everything off on his mental list: Same bed. Same bay window. Same blue sky, green grass, and sidewalk that wasn’t pink. Another airplane, not even remotely resembling a bloody dragon, roared overhead. Something strange in the room, like everything looked too new to be scattered about as if she’d lived there forever…but nothing was undulating.
No, again it had just been the trauma of turning the tables on Frank after Karen passed out and killing him. No, again his dad had been wrong, and he wasn’t doomed to chronic flashbacks of drug-induced hallucinations. Brilliant! He could feel his own smile. And smell…the coffee?
Martin all but snatched it out of her hand, only pausing to caress the Starbuck’s logo before upending it. “Perfect!”
“Glad you like it.” She stretched out naked beside him. Was it his imagination, or did she intentionally display herself such that the light from the bay window accentuated every curve. “You…seem to do a lot of dreaming…Randolph.”
Randolph? Oh, right. Randolph Barclay. Now he could feel his face fall. Getting laid was all well and good and had at least put a roof over his head temporarily. But for how long? And what was he supposed to do for money? Not to mention phony ID.
Soft fingers traced delicate patterns along his thigh. “Troubling dreams, Randolph? You might feel better if you talked about it. Then we can get back to having fun…”
His dick jumped, but then lay still. Talk about it? Tell someone else about the whole bloody mess, including killing Frank, and be able to explain how it was really self-defense? For a moment he felt a very different kind of yearning.
She must have seen it. She sat up and wrapped her arms around him. Her voice was velvet. “Can I tell you a story?”
“Tell…me a story? If you like…”
She snuggled up closer. “I once knew a guy who found himself in a position where he had to do something really bad.”
Martin had been fiddling with the bed sheets, but he stopped at that and sighed. “Poor chap.”
She snuggled up even closer. “Know what his mistake was? He kept it to himself.”
“If it was really bad…”
“I know what you’re thinking. And, yes, he could have faced Invol Manslaughter or even Murder 2. But not everyone would have ratted him out.”
“Better safe than bloody sorry.”
She ran her fingers over his shoulder. “Except that didn’t account for what doing something like that does to a person’s mind. Ever read Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Telltale Heart’?”
“But that chap deserved discovery! And he’d really lost the plot.”
“Justifiable or not, normally sane or not, doing certain things poses a well-documented threat to a person’s sanity. And what better way to go insane than to keep it to yourself?”
Martin’s head spun. He remembered his dreams, especially the one where he found himself frying up pieces of Karen to eat. He remembered pink sidewalks and dinosaurs sleeping in his garden. He knew with something akin to a thud in his heart that she was right. This girl…he didn’t even remember her name or if he’d ever been told it…obviously thought he was ace, positively blinding, the bee’s knees. How much more willing would she be to house him and keep him in vanilla lattes if she knew his story and what he was up against? Still, he had to be daft, a damp squib of the first water, to trust his life to a bloody one-night stand. But he couldn’t resist turning toward her, his face undoubtedly an open book to all the turmoil within, and staring deep into her eyes.
At first he thought he saw cold calculation in those eyes, but they seemed to melt as she stared back at him. Or was that just wishful thinking? Then there seemed to be a funny look on her face: could have been affection; could have been contempt. He thought he caught a hint of a wry smile as her voice deepened and she asked, “Ever see Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby?”
“No,” he answered slowly. But he’d seen plenty of violent Clint Eastwood movies. What the hell was she up to bringing up a brutal action-adventure movie when he was so obviously feeling vulnerable?