From last time ...
And then ... softly ... "Oh, Jake."
And now ...
It was Midnight when she felt Jake getting out of bed and heard his belt buckle clinking.
"Where you going?"
"Go back to sleep, sleepyhead. I gotta get that stuff outta the truck and drop it off at the shop, remember?"
"Mmmm, yeah, I guess I do. Do ya have to go NOW?"
"I'll be back right after sunup. You just stay there and keep everything warm until I get back, okay?"
"Okay. You sure you wanna leave right now?"
She had thrown back the sheet which covered her.
"Don't make this difficult. I'll be back. I promise - I won't waste any time gettin' back here, okay?"
"Mmmm. Okay. I'll wait right here."
He had opened the door to the room, and as he stood in the doorway he turned to look back at her. The light from the hallway spilled into the room and across the bed as she pulled the sheet over her naked body.
"You won't need that when I get back."
"I hope not. Go. Close the door. I'm going back to sleep."
Jake closed the door and walked down the hallway toward the lobby, and the front door. Ma was sitting on a stool behind the front desk, pretending to be absorbed in an old National Geographic. Jake stopped and looked at her. Ma refused to look up from her magazine, but as he walked out the door she did look up, and she smiled.
The sun was just rising over the mountains to the East when Chico's car pulled up alongside Jake's in the lot outside Jake's gunshop, now closed. Jake was dozing, so Chico tapped his horn. Jake woke with a start and got out of his car.
"Hey, Chico, you shitbird. You tryn' to shorten my life or somethin'? You startled the crap outta me."
"Sorry, Senor. But Sully, he ees een a hurry for de stuff, no. Andale."
"Alright. Alright. Come back here and help me get this stuff into you car."
Jake walked to the back of his car and opened the trunk. Several medium sized boxes were in his trunk - all taped up.
"Look, Chico, give me a hand, will ya? These aren't too heavy, but you don't really want to drop anything. Comprende?"
"Si, Senor. I no drop notheeng."
Jake and Chico, working together, transferred the boxes to Chico's trunk.
"Okay, Chico. That's it. You got an envelope for me?"
"Si. Here. By the way, Senor, who ees the chica? She ees muy bonita."
"You don't know her, Chico. Her family ranches up north. Okay, I'm goin'. See ya later."
As Jake drove away, Chico stood there a minute, watching Jake's car recede into the distance. He wondered why Jake had been so quick to say he didn't know her. That wasn't the question. No, that wasn't the question, at all.
Chico knew he'd seen her before. He just didn't know where. Pero, Me acordaré. But I WILL remember.
Jake opened the door quietly and stepped quickly into the room, closing the door, softly, behind him. As he unbuttoned his shirt, he studied the form of the woman under the crumpled sheet. She was beautiful. She was amazing. And she didn't think he was ugly. He felt an urge growing in him, he felt desire rising inside him. As he undressed, some little noise he made must have been enough to wake her, because she stirred and turned over to look at him in the growing light of morning.
"Close the drape over that shade, will you? It's too bright in here."
"Sure. But now that you're up, get rid of that sheet. I told you, you weren't going to need it when I got back."
"Well, then, you'd better hurry up and get in this bed before I get cold."
And he thought to himself how he couldn't believe this. He thought how he'd been so wrong for so long.
And then he just stopped thinking and let instinct take over.