“All I gotta say to that is, life is shit, and it’s totally awesome, so if you can sort through your shit and think being with him through it is awesome, you best be pulling out the trifle bowl.”

This referred to making my famous chocolate pudding.

For Cap.

My trifle bowl saw a lot of action. Every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas at Luna’s folks’ house. Every Oasis Square get-together. And nearly every girls’ night in at my place.

I once showed at our Oasis Square Independence Day Extravaganza without it, and I was shunned. Until I dashed out to Fry’s and did my best with the time I had (I liked my pud to cure overnight, it was still good, because what made it couldn’t be bad, but it wasn’t my best effort).

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“Cheeseburger eggrolls,” she announced.
He looked down at her.
“Say again?” he asked.
“That’s what we’re having for dinner. Cheeseburger eggrolls. Made in the air fryer. And a quinoa salad. Brownies and ice cream for dessert.”
“Sounds awesome.”
“I use turkey meat, I shy away from beef. And we had steaks this week. I’ve met my quota.”
“Works for me.”
“First, the binder.”
He did a slow blink.
The binder?

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“You haven’t even seen my charcuterie board, babe. I got like, five kinds of cheeses and tons of different nuts and olives, and there’s some peppers, and I rolled up the meat myself. And I made cereal treats but with Fruity Pebbles and extra marshmallow, and they rock.”

That sounded amazing.

What was more amazing was the effort he put into it.

For me.

“Are you going to feed me with your fingers?” I asked.

He did a body shrug which was just a shrug, but since his body was flat out on mine, I felt it all along my length.

It felt nice.


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In the end, sitting with Chloe at a local bar, he drank pink ladies.
Because it made Chloe laugh.
And it would have made Marilyn smile.

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Jag then opened the door to his liquor cabinet.

Archie peered in and busted out laughing again.

And again, Jag grinned at her while she did it.

“Are you a mixologist?” she asked.

“No, I just never know what mood I’m gonna be in.”

She surveyed the contents of the very stocked cabinet then told it, “I’m an amateur, but I dabble in the mixological arts.” She looked up at him. “Prepared to be adventurous?”


She gave him a look that was both hot and approving before her eyes skidded through the cut potatoes he had on the baking sheets and came back to him.

“I’m on drinks,” she declared.

“Gotcha,” he replied, taking her hint, moving to the baking sheets and grabbing the olive oil. “You hungry? Or you wanna wait?” he asked to be certain.

“Hungry,” she answered.

“Cool, dinner in around twenty-five,” he muttered, and got to it with the olive oil, salt and pepper on the oven fries.

He was sliding them in when she was sliding a glass next to the stove.

“I went with a pear base,” she shared.

“Pointing out the obvious, since I had a can of juice, I dig pear,” he told her and picked up his drink.

She held hers out.

He grinned at her and clinked.

He tasted it.

She’d gone with spiced rum, some lime, a ginger ale float.

“Nice,” he said.

Her black eyes twinkled…

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They were in her kitchen.

He’d just finished pounding some pork chops into cutlets for the schnitzel Archie was making for dinner for him and his parents. She was at a bowl that was full of broccoli, cheese, red onion and bacon she was mixing with some dressing made of mayo, sugar and vinegar.

She hadn’t yet met him, and still, she was going to serve the perfect Hound Salad: mayo, bacon, cheese, sugar with a nod to something green.

“They’re really gonna like this food, baby,” he told her after she turned to the fridge to shove the salad in.

She shot him a smile. “Awesome.” She wandered the short way to him and leaned against the counter close by his side. “Now, can we talk about how cute it is you’re all in to plan this field trip?”

“Sure, but before you push me up on that pedestal, when I do good things for your kids, I get head, so it’s not entirely altruistic.”

She busted out laughing.

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