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Letting go is an art.
And I am not an artist.
I'm a killer.
Suds slipped down my body and gathered at my ankles before traveling in a flotilla to the drain. The white, iridescent bubbles jiggled as droplets of water crashed around them. They popped one by one, the mass sinking into the pipe as each bubble lost tension and let go.
I don’t kill for pleasure, though there is some. Lady Justice is tantamount to my god. I serve her single-mindedly, but there is no blindfold. I am prejudiced, human...so human.
Would the world be safer with me under lock and key? One less terrorist wreaking havoc. Or more dangerous? One less soldier fighting for justice.
Blue barked. I looked through the fogged glass seeing nothing but gray shapes in the mist. He barked again and I turned the water off and opened the shower door, a cloud of steam coming with me into the room.
Another bark, a "hello,” a "there is someone here," a "someone we trust" bark. Grabbing a towel I left the bathroom; making wet prints on the carpeting as I padded into the living room. Blue sat by the door, his large tail swishing back and forth.
He barked again, turning to look at me, his mismatched eyes bright with excitement. He pushed his large head against my hip, urging me toward the door with a soft whine.
Mulberry stood in the hallway, his broad shoulders taking up the width of the doorway. He wore a subdued yellow and green plaid shirt that brought out the same colors in his eyes. Silver and black stubble covered his jaw.
Blue pushed past me and wriggled his body against Mulberry's legs. The former New York detective broke his gaze from mine and looked down at my dog. He ruffled Blue's head. "Hey, boy."
"I wasn't expecting you."
Mulberry looked up at me, his hand still on Blue. "That's the first thing you say?"
"Hi." He smiled and gave off a little laugh. "I figured I'd stop by and see you. We left things a little …"
"I thought I was pretty clear."
"I'm not sure it's up to you to decide."
"I'm not sure about having this conversation in a towel."
Mulberry raised an eyebrow. "I don't think you need it."
"Come in; I'll get dressed."
He followed me into the living room, clicking the door into place.
I dressed in a pair of dark indigo jeans and a white T-shirt, one of the few without any stains. Blue's tail wagged and his tongue lolled. "Don't look so excited,” I told Blue before returning to the living room.
Mulberry waited on the couch. "You want a drink?"
"Sure." I crossed to the kitchenette and grabbed us each a sparkling water; cracking one open, it released a fizzing sound.
Mulberry came up behind me and placed his hand on my hip. I turned to him and opened my mouth to protest, but he shook his head.
He stepped closer so our bodies brushed. His face was right above mine, his chin angled down, as I stared at his collarbones.
He fisted the short locks at the base of my skull and pulled gently so my chin rose and our lips touched. His kiss was achingly familiar and electrifyingly new. His smell brought back memories I was afraid to face.
The pain of my brother's murder lanced through me; the paleness of his skin, the vivid red of his blood as he died—the gaping wound his loss left in me.
Everybody I love ends up dead. And not some gentle kiss into the night. They leave this world in violence and suffering; they end in misery.
I couldn't watch Mulberry die. But did loving him and denying it hurt more than the grief I feared?
P.S. The dog does not die.
**Beware: If you can’t handle a few f-bombs, you can’t handle this series.**