Culture Shock, (pt4;end)

Sky is pushed to her breaking point and briefly does. Fortunately her friends and new family are there for her.

This was a fun fish-out-of-water tale to get to know a secondary character from “Obligations of Rank” better. Many of my short stories are like that. I’ll reread part of a book, recall something, or have someone ask “what ever happened to…?” and off I go.

Speaking of, onto my next project!

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer! 

“I think, Señorita,” the diplomat said, standing, “that you owe me an apology and us free drinks.”

“I think,” the legionary from the bar appeared next to her, still holding his pint, “that grabbing a pregnant married woman calls for a greater apology, Island Beaner.”

The other five stood, angry.  Sky knew there was a shotgun behind the bar and Mace always had his revolver…

“It… it’s okay,” she tried but without a smile.  “He just startled me.  It’s fine.”

“Yes,” the Cuban replied.  “A misunderstanding.”

“Nope.” The legionary would not let it go.  “Apologize.”

Leave it alone!

“And,” he went on, seeing the diplomat look about, “everyone here is armed.  Don’t be stupid.”

After a few moments, their leader inclined his head a tiny fraction.  “So sorry for you, Señorita.”

The legionary took her elbow and led her to Old Bill who took her into the back and sat Sky down on a case of mixers.

“You okay?” he asked.  From the commotion outside it sounded as if the foreigners were taking their leave.

“I’m fine, Bill,” she looked up at him.  “Not my first rodeo.  If that legionary guy hadn’t stepped in, ev’rythang would’ve been fine.”

“You recognize his patch?” Bill asked, getting her some water.  “No?  Intelligence.  No doubt assigned to the Cubans.  That guarantees he knew who you are.  Those guys are very, very sensitive about the imperial family, Sky.”

“Oh.” Now her hand shook a little.  Mixed up in thangs I just don’t get, again.

“Here,” he said, putting his hand out to help her up before guiding her back out front.  “I’ll have Mace walk you home.  Can’t stress the little prince, can we?”

“Bill, don’t start…” she began.

“That’s fine,” Roland said as the bell over the door rang.  “I’ll take her from here.”

The legionary from the end of the bar and Mace, from habit, snapped to attention.  The prince made a dismissive gesture with his left hand while reaching out his right.  “Come, dear wife.”

For a reason she knew not, when she touched her left hand to his, something let go in her mind.

“I wanna go home!” she wailed, burying her face in his chest.  Roland glanced about at the startled looks from everyone in the tavern.  “Home!”

Old Bill gave him a wink and a nod toward the door.  Roland gently guided her out.

“You… you people!” she was still crying.  “You sees ev’rythang!  Hears ev’rythang!  Knows ev’rythang!  That legionary.  You showing up… Why can’t it just be us, like back in Frankfort!  Just us?”

She knew he didn’t like outbursts like this but today was just too much.  Skylar let him put her into his little car.  He went around to the driver’s side and pushed a button to let the CNG motor purr to life.  Away from the tavern, he turned right.

“Roland?” she sniffled.  “Home’s the other…”

“That is my parent’s home.  Let’s go look for our own,” he replied.  A mile on he drove them over the river, turning east past the hospital where he and his father did much of their work.  A small, wooded road led them to something similar to the townhomes where Henge and Gary lived.  He parked and they got out.  A woman was waiting with some papers and a few keys.  Roland thanked her saying they’d look on their own.

“Tennis courts that way, outdoor pool over there,” he said, never letting go of her left hand.  “Ah.  1865, an end unit.  You’ll be less likely to bother the neighbors during sex.”

“Roland!” But I do like lettin’ my voice out…

He unlocked the door and led her into the empty condominium, taking her past the kitchen and dining room up the stairs to the bedrooms.  Did he want too…?

“Here,” he said, pulling the curtain aside and opening the sliding glass door to the deck.  They stepped out to see the five-hundred-foot-wide river sliding past below them.  “Is this your home, Mrs. Hartmann?”

“No.” Skylar had to smile, getting one over her special husband.  “This is our home!”

“In that case,” he said with the ghost of a smile, quite the display for him, lifting her apron off and unbuttoning her blouse, “we’ll christen it and go sign the paperwork.  We move tomorrow.”

“I love you!” she cried, tearing at his belt and trousers.

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