This story is a sequel to my stories , Fast Break and Footsteps (Ghost Towning) . You may want to read the preceding stories before reading this one. Fast Break and Footsteps (Ghost Towning) can be found on my on my website – mickeyminner.com
It was well after midnight by the time Pat and Sherry arrived home from the airport.
Sherry trudged into their bedroom, dropping her bag onto the floor midway between the door and the bed where she collapsed face down on the mattress. “Ugh,” she grunted, her voice muffled by the thick blankets.
Pat dropped her bag next to Sherry’s before falling onto the bed beside her half-asleep lover. “Remind me to talk to Mac about our scheduling. Damn, I thought we had problems last year when Mandy was doing it.”
Sherry rolled her head to be able to look at the exhausted woman next to her. “I’d love to make some kind of snappy response, sweetheart, but I am too pooped to think right now.”
Pat managed a tired smile. “Let’s get some sleep.”
Sherry glanced at the clock on the night stand. “I’m going to be worthless tomorrow.”
“I’m sure you won’t be the only one,” Pat commented forcing herself to roll over and sit up. She kicked off her shoes then stood.
Sherry yawned. “Where you going?”
“Brush my teeth and get naked.”
“Good for you,” Sherry mumbled, her eyelids too heavy to keep open. “I’ll just sleep like this.”
Pat grinned observing Sherry’s awkward position. Her torso was slumped crosswise on the mattress while her legs stretched off the side of the bed to hang in the air. “Oh, no,” she said, “if you sleep like that, you’ll have so many kinks by morning you won’t be able to do anything for weeks.” She leaned down to roll Sherry onto her back then started undressing her.
Sherry forced one eye open to peer up at Pat. ““Naughty girl, are you planning to take advantage of me?” she asked after another yawn.
Pat smiled. “The thought did cross my mind,” she said pulling Sherry’s shirt off. “Too bad for you, I’m not capable of doing it tonight. Come on,” she urged pulling Sherry to her feet. “Let’s get to bed… we have to be at the arena in a few hours.”
“Ugh!” Sherry grunted being tugged toward the bathroom.
“I second that.”
Sherry and Kelley were standing on the arena floor watching the team run through drills.
“What’s up with Coach?” Kelley asked of the head coach’s obvious absence.
“She’s on the phone with Mac.”
“Complaining about last night’s flight home?”
Sherry nodded. “Come on, pick it up, ladies,” she shouted to the players. “I know we’re all tired but let’s at least try.”
“Now, Pat, it couldn’t be helped,” the team owner tried to mollify her head coach. “There was a problem with our regular charter and the airline needed that plane back in Missoula this morning.”
“I don’t care, Mac,” Pat snapped into the phone. “I have a team of zombies today. How much do you think we’re going to accomplish?”
“I know, I know,” Mac replied trying to calm her irate coach. “It was a one-time thing… I promise.”
“I’m going to hold you to that,” Pat told her employer.
Mac laughed. “Oh, I’m sure of that. Now, are we good?”
Pat yawned propping her head on her fist. “Yeah, we’re good.”
“What’s the scoop on Wendy?”
“Lizzie is taking her to see the surgeon this morning. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for Monday morning.”
“She’s done for the season?”
Pat frowned. “You know the drill… four to six months if everything goes well. We’ll need a new contract for Hudson.”
“Already typed up.”
“Okay, I’ll send her up to sign it.”
“All right… that takes care of the team,” Mac stated. “Now, how’s my head coach?”
“Tired,” Pat snapped then looked up when her office door opened. She waved Sherry into the room.
“I really am sorry for last night, Pat,” Mac said honestly. “But you know how hard it is sometimes to get flights in or out of this town.”
“Maybe you should spend some of the money you’re getting from ticket sells and buy us our own damn plane,” Pat suggested grinning as Sherry rolled her eyes. They both knew Mac enjoyed making money and spending it.
“Maybe I should,” Mac agreed thoughtfully. “Tell you what… you bring home that nice shiny trophy again this year and I’ll look into a plane.”
“I’m doing my best,” Pat said. She barely had the words out when the phone went dead.
“Still hasn’t learned to say good-bye, has she,” Sherry commented watching Pat set the receiver into its cradle.
“Think she’ll really let loose of some dollars and buy us our own plane?” Sherry asked hopefully.
“I guess anything is possible,” Pat replied standing up. “How’s practice going?”
“They’re on a five minute break.”
“Everyone is moving in slow-mo… I couldn’t stand it any longer.”
“Well, let’s go see what we can do to juice them up.”
Unable to watch the players’ relentless yawning and half-hearted efforts, Pat ended practice at noon. “Go home and get some sleep,” she ordered the players as they headed off the court.
“Are we done for the day, too?” Kelley asked the head coach.
Pat nodded. “It won’t do any good to stick around just to fall asleep at your desk.”
Kelley laughed. “And that’s probably just what would happen,” she admitted. “See you in the morning ladies,” she said following the team to the locker room.
“See ya,” Sherry called after Kelley then turned to face the head coach. “Any word from Lizzie?”
“We headed home?”
“You go and get some sleep,” Pat told her. “I have some work to do.”
Pat smiled at Sherry, her fatigue clearly evident on her face. “It’s okay. I’m used to long days. Go ahead and get some rest.”
“Boy, a nice long nap does sound good. How long do you think you’ll be?”
“A few hours.”
Sherry thought for a moment. “Okay, short nap then I’ll do some shopping and come get you.”
“Shopping? What’s so important you have to go shopping today?”
“Food. Remember that long list we have in the kitchen that we keep putting off doing anything about?”
“It can wait another day.”
“I’ll take care of it then I’ll come and pick you up.”
Pat sighed. “I’d rather you got some rest.”
“I will. I’m going to go home and take a nap. Then I’ll go to the market. Besides, you know it takes a lot less time to get it done if you’re not along.”
Pat grinned. “It’s not my fault I like to wander down every aisle… you never know what goodies you’ll see that aren’t on the list.”
Sherry chuckled. “Yeah, like the chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies you bought last time.”
“Hey, you ate them too.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“Okay, go home and take a nap… a long nap.”
“I’ll give you a call when I’m ready.”
It took several moments for the ringing of the alarm to register in Sherry’s sleep muddled mind. Yawning, she stretched out an arm to turn off the annoying sound. “Boy, that time sure passed fast,” she muttered throwing off the blanket and dropping her legs over the edge of the couch. Yawning again, she blinked the sleep out of her eyes. “Maybe insisting on going to the market wasn’t the best of ideas,” she told herself shuffling into the kitchen. “On the other hand,” she countered after opening the refrigerator to find mostly empty shelves. She shut the fridge door, snatched the list off the counter, and headed for the bedroom for a quick shower.
Less than a half hour later, Sherry backed her new Subaru out of the driveway and drove to the grocery store.
Whistling softly, Jackson pushed a cart down the market’s aisle. She paused to pull a box of cereal off a shelf and looked at it for a moment. Then she replaced it and selected a cheaper brand. “It’s not like I get paid the big bucks,” she told herself dropping the box into the cart then continued to the end of the aisle.
“Well, well, well,” Jackson exclaimed turning into the next aisle. “Looky who we have here.” She quickened her steps. “Hey, Sherry,” she called to the shopper at the far end of the aisle.
Sherry had been considering flavors of soup when she heard her name. “Oh, shit,” she muttered spotting the rookie walking toward her.
Jackson pulled her cart to a stop right next to the coach’s. “I guess we had the same idea.”
“You’re supposed to be using this time to get some rest,” Sherry said returning her focus to the multitude of soup varieties.
“I got plenty of sleep on the plane,” Jackson informed her. “I’m good to go.”
Sherry chose a few cans and placed them into her cart. “You didn’t look it at practice.”
Jackson shrugged. “Didn’t see any reason to give more than the rest were.”
Sherry started pushing her cart down the aisle. “That attitude won’t get you very far.”
Jackson swung her cart around and hurried to catch up. “Ah, come on, Sherry, cut me some slack, will you?”
Sherry stopped her cart then turned to glare at the rookie. “What’s your game?” she demanded angrily.
Smiling innocently, Jackson responded, “Whatever do you mean?”
“Why are you trying to make people think we have a past?”
Jackson shrugged. “I don’t care about your past. I’m much more interested in your future,” she said wrapping her hands around the handle of her cart. “And the part I’m going to play in it,” she added walking toward the front of the store and leaving a very perplexed woman behind.
“What the hell?” Sherry whispered after several seconds.
Driving across the parking lot, Sherry guided the Subaru to the figure waiting at the back of the arena.
Pat pulled open the passenger door as soon as the car stopped. “What a day,” she muttered settled on the seat and reaching for the seat belt strap.
Sherry lifted her foot from the brake allowing the car to ease forward. “Did you get anything done?”
“Amazingly, yes,” Pat answered. “How about you?”
“The back end is loaded with groceries. I think I maxed out our credit card limit.”
“Boy, you aren’t kidding,” Pat teased glancing over her seat back at the pile of bags behind her. “What smells so damn good?” she asking sniffing.
“Freshly roasted chicken.”
“Damn, I didn’t think I was hungry but that is making my stomach rumble.” Pat twisted in the seat reaching a long arm over the back of it. “Where is it?”
“Pat,” Sherry barked, “don’t even think about it.”
“You are not going to get chicken grease all over the seat of my new car.”
Pat shifted again so she could reach further. “I’ll be careful.”
Sherry slammed on the brake. “Patricia Calvin!”
Pat’s eyes swiveled to look at the stern woman in the driver’s seat glaring at her.
Sherry placed a hand on Pat’s shoulder, her fingers digging into the skin. “Turn around. You can wait until we get home.”
Pat smirked. “Honey, you know I wouldn’t mess up your new car,” she said adjusting about to sit properly in the seat as soon as Sherry released her shoulder. “Don’t you trust me?”
“Yeah, right,” Sherry grumbled then smiled. “Just protecting my investment,” she stated as the car moved toward the lot’s exit.
“You would choose your car over me?” Pat asked in mock horror.
Sherry emptied another bag of groceries, placing its contents onto the pantry shelves. “I think I may have gone overboard today,” she said after being forced to rearrange several cans to make room for the recent purchases. “But we probably won’t have to go shopping again for a month or two.”
“Good,” Pat mumbled as she chewed. She had barely waited for them to unpack the car and carry the groceries into the kitchen before she popped off the plastic cover of the container holding the roasted chicken. Grabbing a fork, she set to work on the still warm bird. “This is really good,” she said after swallowing.
“Plan to leave any for me?” Sherry asked opening the fridge door to place items inside.
“Gee, thanks, sweetie.”
“Open up,” Pat instructed after carrying a forkful of chicken across the room. When Sherry complied, she placed the food in her mouth. “Pretty tasty, huh?”
“Very good,” Sherry agreed closing the fridge door. She set to work gathering up the empty bags scattered about the kitchen floor. Bending over for the fourth time to retrieve a bag, she suddenly became lightheaded. “Whoa,” she gasped reaching out for something to hold onto. Her hand came into contact with the edge of the counter, her fingers instinctively gripping onto it.
Pat dropped her forkful of chicken to grab hold of Sherry. “Hey, are you okay?” she asked fretfully.
Sherry blew out a ragged breath. “Yeah… I think so,” she said shakily but remained bent over.
Pat placed her arm around her lover’s waist then eased her over to the kitchen table. “Here, sit down,” she said gently pushing Sherry down onto one of the chairs. “What happened?”
“Everything started spinning,” Sherry explained folding her arms on the table and resting her head on them. “Could you get me some water?”
Pat moved to the sink, pulled a glass from the cupboard then filled it with tap water. “Here you go,” she said placing the glass on the table next to Sherry’s elbow.
“Thanks.” Sherry slowly lifted her head.
Pat watched her lover nervously. “Still dizzy?”
“Little bit. Not as much as before,” Sherry said sitting back in the chair. She waited a moment before lifting the glass to her lips and taking a sip. “That was weird,” she said placing the glass back onto the table.
Pat pulled out another chair and sat down as close to Sherry as possible. Chewing on her lip, she anxiously waited.
“Honey, you look like you’re going to pass out,” Sherry observed after several minutes.
“Feel like it, too. You gave me a fright. Maybe we should call—”
Sherry reached for Pat’s hand. “I’m okay,” she insisted in twining their fingers.
“Guess it’s that bending over thing Jillian warned me about.”
“You sure you’re okay?”
Sherry rotated her head from side to side then nodded. “Yes. I’m not dizzy any more.” She picked up the glass and took a mouthful of water.
Pat sucked in a deep breath then released it. “You scared the pooters out of me,” she declared.
“I think I scared the pooters of me, too,” Sherry said with a nervous laugh.
“Maybe we need a new rule— you don’t bend over… ever.”
“Honey, what if I need to pick something up?”
“You call me and I’ll do it,” Pat said as she stood then proceeded about the kitchen to retrieve all the remaining bags. “From now on, I’ll be this family’s official bender over,” she added placing the bags into the recycle bin in the pantry.
Sherry drained the glass of water. “Pat, you know that isn’t very practical.”
“Practical or not,” Pat said returning to her chair then leaning to rest her forehead against Sherry’s. “That is now the rule. Okay?”
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“Shall we get back to the chicken?”
Sherry laughed. “Sure… but I want my own fork.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” Pat asked frowning.
Sherry was wrapped in Pat’s arms. She had managed to help finish off the chicken and finish putting away the groceries with no further incidents. Now they were laying on the couch watching a show on the Animal Network. “In all the excitement, I forgot to tell you that I ran into Jackson at the market.” She felt the body behind her stiffen. “Or to be more factual, I was shopping and she appeared… like she always does.”
“What did she say?” Pat asked through clinched teeth.
“Same shit… something about playing a part in my future.”
“What does that mean?”
Sherry sighed. “I wish I knew,” she murmured snuggling closer.
To Be Continued...
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