Gil Donigan is a man with a reputation for fooling around and no stranger to the strategic employment of a certain three word phrase to get him laid. However, for the first time in his life, he has fallen hard and fast for Devon. So when Gil’s shocked when Devon cuts and runs after he drops the “L” bomb.
Devon’s abrupt departure leaves Gil feeling betrayed. But then Devon turns up on his doorstep with an enigmatic box, begging for a chance to explain. Will Gil hear him out? Has Devon returned to say goodbye or take me back?
Gil snapped his keys out of the ignition and bailed out of the truck, giving the door a ferocious parting slam. He grumbled up the walk, fumbling with his key ring for the one he needed to get into the house he didn’t even want to own right now, never mind enter.
He really needed to thin out this thing some. He had no idea what doors half the keys hanging around his overcrowded ring like tiny little tinkly metal albatrosses opened. Oh this was nice. The key for the Camaro.
For crying out loud.
Why did every train of thought he’d got on today bring him back to that car, that night, and that man? If he were a deeper soul, he would stop and give that some thought. Maybe even find him an answer or two.
Nah, beer sounded much better. He would get him one, probably to be closely followed by at least a half-a-dozen others, as soon as he got inside. And while he was at it, he was gonna take all these stupid keys he didn’t want or need off his key ring and toss ’em, starting with the one for the dear, dead, departed Camaro. Definitely time to let that old wreck go.
Yep, that’s exactly what he was gonna do. As soon as he got inside.
If he ever got inside.
Where the fucking hell was the front door key!
Stupid key. Stupid house. Stupid car stupid --
Gil came to an abrupt halt when he switched his focus from his keys to his stoop. Toes butting up against the bottom concrete step, he stood and stared, blinking stupidly at a small, battered black box squatting square in the middle of his welcome mat.
The box was in rough shape, as if previous to mysteriously appearing on his doorstep it had been on the receiving end of some serious Tom Petty action. It definitely looked like it had been kicked around some.
Just like someone he knew.
It couldn’t be. Could it?
Gil’s heart lurched, picking up speed while he squatted down to investigate. He reached out, almost hating himself for hoping, especially when he couldn’t help it. Upon picking up the box, he discovered it wasn’t the only unexplained item occupying space on his mat. The box had company. Something beneath it, something small, white, and oblong.
Square piece of plain white card stock with writing on it.
Black ink. Three little words.
I can explain.
Gil knew he’d said the words aloud, yet they made no sound. The air around him had gone all spongy, swallowing them up. He couldn’t hear anything. Felt suspended in a pocket of thick, silent, almost suffocating time. Couldn’t move, couldn’t think, in this moment expanding rapidly outward to encompass all of eternity like some kind of weird temporal flypaper all he could manage was hunkering over the mat hunching around the box squashed against his solar plexus.
Staring at the card.
How long he squatted and stared while the world went on without him, he hadn’t a clue, only suddenly, strangely, the box, the card, the writing fuzzed and blurred together. His chest got tight like someone had wrapped him in a body-sized tourniquet and squeezed. Crap, now his hands were shaking! You’d think he was falling to pieces or something stupid like that, going all gushy and girlie.
All because of a stupid box.
A stupid box from Devon.
He had to get off this damned stoop and into the house before he did something really stupid. Like have a total weep-athon crybaby breakdown on his front lawn. Wouldn’t the neighbors just love to have a front seat to that one? Nosy Mrs. Naismith next door? That broad-assed bitch would sell tickets.
Not today, you old bat.
Gil sniffed and hauled himself up, prizes duly claimed and tightly clutched. He didn’t know what either of them meant, but anybody wanting to take them away from him would have to bludgeon him to death and then pry them out of his cold, dead fingers. He had hold of them and himself once more, so now there was no immediate danger of him losing it all over the lawn, maybe he should see what it was he had here.
Devon could explain, huh? How? Maybe there was more on the ...
He flipped the card over. Blankety-blank blank. So much for that idea.
The box, the box, what’s in the box?
Seeing as how he wasn’t Superman, maybe he should open it and see.