So after things got settled again after the full moon I remembered that I had yet to ask Ben about that damn egg in my fireplace. So when he showed up this morning with breakfast and a squirrel sitting on his shoulder, I was upset at the thought of yet another disaster in my home.
“No. Absolutely not!” I said as I put my hand on Ben’s chest to keep him from coming inside with the squirrel.
“It’s just a squirrel!”
“No. I have dogs, Ben. They like to chase squirrels.”
“They won’t chase him as long as I’m here.”
“What about after you leave? You’ll end up leaving the squirrel here and I’ll have to take care of it, like the others.”
“But you love Winston and Gibbs!”
“I was actually thinking about the egg in my fireplace.” Ben paused when I said that, then flinched when I went on. “Unless you have a damn good reason for keeping that green egg here, Dragon-Boy.”
Ben sighed. “It’s not mine. Offspring-wise, I mean.”
“Then whose is it?”
Mark interrupted from behind. “It’s Max’s. He’s the other green dragon in town. Though, He’s emerald-green, not the pale green-yellow mix that makes Ben so pretty.” Mark paused in the doorway and sighed. “I mean was. Max was the other green dragon.”
I left Ben and his squirrel at the door and went to Mark. I hugged him hard. Ben stayed in the doorway, unsure what I’d do if he came in with that squirrel.
“Things will get better, Mark.”
“I know, Marlowe.”
“Wanna go shopping with Miles and I later?” I asked.
“No, I’m going to head home, I think. For a little while to see if I can take being there with his things.”
“Do you want someone to go with you?” I asked.
He shook his head. I didn’t try to push and I didn’t say anything when he pulled out of the hug and went back upstairs.
“He’ll be okay, Marlowe.” Ben said from where he stood in the doorway.
“I know. I worry though.”
“You’re allowed to worry. He’s a friend.”
“No, Ben. He’s family.”
“Family then. You’re still allowed to worry.” Ben said as he leaned against the doorway. “Now about the squirrel,”
“No. If you push me, You won’t get to see what I buy this afternoon.”
Ben pouted. Damn, I do love that pout, but I wasn’t giving in this time. I gave in to the dogs and that egg, but not a squirrel. I sent Ben off with the squirrel, back to his practice and got ready to go shopping with Miles. He showed up on time for once. I think he was excited to get me in a store to work my credit card over. Now that I had the cast off and was in a brace, it was only a matter of time before I went back to work. Another six weeks and I’d be working again.
I was lost in my own thoughts that I didn’t even notice when Miles pulled in to the Serene Harbor outlet mall. When I realized what he’d done, I let out a groan.
“Now Marlowe, You need winter clothing and I happen to know that your bank account is fat from the settlement. You trust fund baby.”
I glared at Miles. “You know, my parents had to die in order for me to get that fund. I use it for my shop.”
“So now you’re going to use it to make yourself warm for the winter and stop glaring at me like that, if they hadn’t died I would have been short a happy childhood. You accepted me when no one else would.”
I bleated at him and made him laugh. It was an old joke, the black sheep of the family bleating at each other. We walked arm-in-arm in to the mall and stopped in front of the map. I winced when I saw how many stores there were.
“I want to play in them all.” Miles said with awe in his voice. “I’ve been saving up for this.”
“Then let’s get going. You’ve only got till the mall closes and I’m not coming back tomorrow.”
“Then let’s get started!” Miles said as he dragged me into store number one.
I walked out of that store a half hour later, carrying just one bag to Mile’s three. It went like that for most of the day, until we hit the lingerie store. I wouldn’t let him come in with me, but I walked out a much happier person and certain that Ben was going to weep later.
“You’re wicked, Marlowe.”
“You love me for it though.”
“That man is going to cry.”
“For what I spent in there? He damn well better.”
Miles laughed and we ran off to the shoe stores. After buying nearly ever pair of shoes I tried on and drunk on shopping, I declared that I needed dresses. Miles squealed with delight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that man so happy.
“You don’t do girly.”
“But I’m in a town where I’m expected to go to things as a business owner. With Ben. Fancy things.” I said as I let him lead me back to the shops that had formal dress wear.
“True, I had to buy suits when I got here. I’d never owned one before.”
“Now you just show up in a bow tie, suspenders and a wild color shirt to go with your pants and shoes.” I said dryly.
“People expect it now, I can’t let my fans down!”
We were inside the first store at that point and I couldn’t make my remarks because they were crude and there were children in the store. Miles managed to talk me in to a black cocktail length dress at that store, then two more at another. By the time we got back to the car, my arms were full of bags and shoe boxes. I looked at it all, a little bewildered.
“Miles, what did I do? I can’t keep all of this!? I’m crippled and my shop is dark and -” I stopped and panted a little, I knew my eyes were wide. My heart raced and I bent over, leaning back on the car with my head buried in the dress bags that Miles hadn’t yet taken from me to put in the back seat. I was starting to go a little gray around the edges of my vision.
“Breathe, Marlowe.” Miles said as he rubbed my back. “You never spend this much money on anything unless it’s that shop or some new tool. You’ve been down for 6 weeks with that cast because of that jacksock and I’ll be damned if I let you mope around the house any longer.”
“But.. the money..” I panted.
“You’ll make more if it worries you that much. You deserve today, Marlowe.” He rubbed my back some more, the little enabler. “You never touched a penny of the inheritance until college, then for your shop. They’d be damn proud of how much you saved to supplement that money. It’s okay to go a little nuts every once in a while.”
I leaned back against the car and looked up at him. “You’re an enabler.”
The rat laughed. He laughed! “Yes, I am. I mean every word though. You do deserve it.”
I wasn’t too sure – I’m still not – that he was right, but I nodded anyway and let him help me in to the car. About halfway home I started to smile.
“I know that smile. That smile is evil.” He said.
I laughed. “Ben’s not going to believe his eyes when he sees me in that green dress at the party on Halloween.”
Miles snorted a laugh. “That’s if he lets you leave the house.”
I grinned at him and settled down in to my seat.
“I still can’t believe he’s not gay.” Miles whined.
I couldn’t help it, I dissolved in to giggles and hugged Miles at the first red light leading in to town.
“I love you, Miles. Thanks for going with me today.”
“You’re welcome, Sheep.”
It took us three trips in to my house to get all the bags up to my bedroom. As I looked over my haul, I saw headlights cutting through the dark and looked out the window. Ben was arriving back to his home from work. His timing was perfect.