“Johnny,” she said, stopping him dead with a tug on his hand.
“What’s the matter?”
He smiled, soft and sweet like the day they’d first met, like the time they’d first kissed, like the time they’d first woken together. In those days, she remembered, the smile had touched his ocean blue eyes.
“Come on,” she said, stroking his fingers like she always had, attempting to soothe the demons running rampage through his soul.
“You can tell me.”
She felt the rejection in broken eye-contact, watched barriers rise from the ground where his gaze landed. Her battered heart, long ago relegated behind his secret woes, slowed in her chest.
“It’s just the job,” he said, failing to paint truth across his care-worn stare.
“It’s just the job.”
Kelly laughed and pulled him close, tucked herself under his broad, muscular shoulder, wrapped an arm around his narrow waist.
“Come on,” she said, rubbing his side with a delicate hand.
“Let’s get a drink.”
Pulling his arm across her back, she tried not to dwell on the lost solace of her one-time sanctum.
“Okay,” he said, vision lost to a distant spot deep inside.
April rain cooled the silence of their walk, street trash danced a slow-waltz with the same limp connection of his body around hers.
“Hey,” she said, stopping short under the orange sun of a sodium lamp.
“Things will turn out right.”
She watched his eyes blossom, stroked rough, two-day growth along his jaw, felt the old-time-melt as his strong arms finally tightened at her waist.
“Yeah,” he said, his gaze searing holes in her soul.
“Everything will turn out right”.
Nicotine breath invaded her lungs, sharp bristles dug her full, soft lips. His mouth crashed like waves across the shore of her hers. Kelly’s aching heart withdrew like the tide.
“Johnny,” she whispered, hands tracing the plane of his still-firm stomach, sinking low to the line of his belt.
“Kell,” he said, hands roaming over long-forgotten trails.
“I love you, Kell.”
Passion-burnt, she danced her man to alley mouth, gripped his stiffened desire and guided him in. Amidst the grunts and tears of re-sworn vows, her heart glowed white-hot with satisfaction.
“Well, well,” a stranger leered.
She felt Johnny freeze, felt his hard muscles tense and flex, felt him push her one-handed behind his protective mass.
“What have we here?”
Her lover’s shoulders squared, fists clenched hard in darkness. His shaggy head jutted forward. The arrogance on his sneer-twisted mouth oozed tangibly from his body.
“Fuck off, mate.”
Johnny’s growl, deep and low, reverberated through her body. Her legs trembled. Adrenaline bit hard.
“Make a donation, mate, and I’ll do just that.” A click and rasp punctuated his words.
She side-stepped Johnny, peered past his bulk into the sodium glow. The other man, smaller and slight, peered through shadows of his hooded coat. A balisong jutted hungry from his fist.
“Johnny,” she said, eyes on the blade.
Bio-chemistry exploding, pulse hammering, she swallowed fear burning in her throat.
“Johnny?” She reached a trembling hand to her lover’s arm.
“Fuck him,” the big man growled, hands shifting, legs flexing.
“He doesn’t have…” The words died on his lips.
Silent, he dropped to his knees, fell face-first into rain-soaked trash. Black liquid stained the fabric of his lacerated shirt.
Kelly, calmer than she’d imagined, tossed her purse to the smaller man.
“You’ll get the rest,” she said, driving a toe into Johnny’s bloody ribs.
“When you bring me that slut’s head.”