I'm so far beyond schedule that it ain't funny anymore...
- currently spending the big bucks on an editor (nothing but the best for the reader)
- reshuffling some chapters
- reconsidering the titles and covers for books 2 and 3 (may have to add some stuff)
As compensation I'll give you the naked truth, above as well as below... I have a little snack for you, but first a warning:
This is a bit of a spoiler for the romanticists amongst us, so you might want to skip it!
(And I'll delete it later, this is only a temporary peace offering 😅)
Still wanna' read? Here's your bonus chapter.
The Naked Truth
We made it back home, spread over the rear seats of the Hellhole county police cars, two ambulances, and one paramedic Ford Bronco. I'm not sure what made the sheriff drive his fiancee's car to these boondocks, but he did, and McKinnon is the one driving us back. Us, as in Camelia and me, with the sheriff riding shotgun.
Surprisingly few questions were asked.
We've returned to Hellhole, and all's well that ends well. There are things that start well, but you can't tell yet how or where they will end. There are things that start badly, and still work out. I'm not sure what category today will fall into. I wonder how the others are doing.
"You've got lots of explaining to do," I tell myself, and slip into my bathrobe.
A real lady needs a bathrobe, mom told me. So I bought one myself, two years ago. It's nice and soft and black, and there's a white pirate's skull on the back. We had quite the fight that day, but it's mine, it suits me.. I've always been secretly proud of the tattooed skull on my back. Deadly afraid as well, scared shitless that other people would find out, knowing they always would. Now I'm no longer afraid. It's funny how my greatest nemesis, a little blond girl with a preference for red dresses, changed all that by zipping me up in a swimming pool.
I watch her blonde hair spread out over my pillow. She's pretty. And dangerous.
"Coffee?" I ask.
She grunts, which I take for a 'yes'. I'm moody in the morning, but she's worse. Still… I smile at her, and wonder what the hell I got myself into this time. If Mom finds out I'm going to be grounded for life. This isn't the first time I've sinned, but it is the first time I brought someone home. And a girl at that.
A girl who doesn't mind. Who doesn't ask. Who just accepts the skull on my back as part of me. I give her a light kiss on her hair, then tiptoe out of the room and quietly close the door behind me.
I've put on fresh coffee when the doorbell rings, and for a second my heart tries to break free of my chest, half expecting it to be my mother. Before I die from cardiac arrest I remember Mom said she would be gone the whole weekend. I sigh in deep relief and glance at the clock. That late, huh? Could be anyone.
I make absolutely sure I'm properly covered and all decent when I step up to the front door, and look through the spyhole, not sure I actually want to open it, even with my bathrobe on. I've had my fair share of clipboard wearing gun toting visitors lately. I'm sure I don't want to open when I see Lug's face, but as he steps away from the door I can see him and Suey holding up David. A David that's not looking well.
Shit. I sigh and take off the chain, then unlock and open the door. Letting David hang just doesn't feel right.
"Ellen," Suey asks, "can we come in?"
"Are you decent?" Lug asks when he spots the bathrobe.
"Would I open up the door otherwise?" I reply. "Just don't stare."
"Pity," Lug grins. "Now, where should we put him?"
He and Suey just push past me, dragging David with them.
"I… What's going on?"
"Hell if I know. It's David," Lug replies, as if that explains it all.
"We found him like this," Suey adds. Together they put David on the couch.
"Hey Ellen," David says weakly. His eyes can't focus, he looks like he's drunk or on drugs. "Need some more painkillers," he says.
"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Sue tells him, then turns to me. "We found these in the car, and they're all empty." She holds up two strips of some no-brand painkiller, all pockets empty. "We've also found a bottle of booze on the ground, mostly empty."
"I dropped it," David breathes, his voice barely a whisper.
"You found him in the car? Shouldn't we take him to the medical center? Call his dad?" I ask.
"No," David whispers. "No hospital. Don't tell… my father. Did this to me. Don't tell..."
"You should have taken him to a doctor," I tell Suey and Lug. "There's no telling what he did, he might suffer an overdose, or alcohol poisoning. He's been drinking and eating pills."
"Just paracetamol," Lug shrugs.
I kneel next to the couch and move my hand in front of David's eyes. "Which also affects the liver, just like alcohol does. Guys, I don't want to be the one responsible for--"
"What's going on?" a voice asks from behind.
I look up. It's Camelia, dressed in nothing but her hair.
Lug stares, then he starts coughing, and his face turns a deep scarlet.
Camelia walks over to the couch, and bends over to study David. She sniffs, then nods. "He's going to be okay." She straightens up and stretches. "I smell coffee," she says.
"You're aware you're not wearing any clothes?" Suey points out.
Camelia tilts her head, and smiles. "I never wear anything when I sleep," she says, "and neither does Ellen. But, if it makes you feel more comfortable…" She shrugs, then walks back to my sleeping room, a little swing in her hips that I never noticed before.
"That's not true…" I stammer, desperately trying not to stare.
"Need sleep… and… painkillers," David mutters and then starts snoring.
Lug can't help himself. He's watching Camelia's shapely behind. And so do I.
"She's mine," I growl.