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Dan looked at me like I was some kind of hero, someone he would die for.
We circled the runway, a strip of black in a field of green...Dan was down there. There was a time, I thought I was in love with him. A founding member of Joyful Justice and a computer genius with broad shoulders and a tapered waist, I imagine I could’ve been happy with him if I wasn't so screwed up.
But I doubted all that now. I suspected he'd betrayed me. That he'd been telling my secrets for years to the one person I'd tried to hide them from, Robert Maxim. Bobby to his friends. And now, weirdly enough, I could count myself as his friend. After years of hating him, of blaming him for taking my revenge from me. After knowing, for sure, for absolute sure, that Robert Maxim was the worst kind of man, I had now let him join Joyful Justice. I'd decided to trust him.
So Dan had betrayed me to Robert Maxim, but I'd found out after I'd decided to trust Robert Maxim. So how angry should I be? I laughed out loud. Blue, my dog, raised his head and checked my face, letting his tail tap against the floor. I smiled down at him and scratched under his chin. He tapped louder. "What do you think?" I asked him. "What should I do about this betrayal?"
As usual Blue did not have a response.
Wind battered the plane, whistling around the small vessel. The pilot's forearms strained to hold the plane steady. As we neared the ground one wing dipped for a moment before touching down with a jolt that knocked all anxiety out of my mind, sharpening my vision and pumping me full of adrenaline. The wind continued to push against the plane but we were down. We were safe.
When the plane came to a stop, I stood, grabbed my small bag from the seat next to me, and waited as the co-pilot opened the door. The stairs unfolded and met the tarmac as an open-topped Jeep Wrangler pulled alongside the plane. Dan was at the wheel. His hair was longer than the last time I'd seen him. It covered his ears and brushed the neckline of his worn cotton green T-shirt. His beard was shaggy, bleached from the sun and wild-looking. Dan smiled as he looked up at me. I couldn't help but return the grin.
Blue and I made our way down the steps. Dan embraced me; he smelled like sunscreen, salty sea, and a whiff of coconut. Blue tapped his feet next to us, waiting impatiently for his own greeting. I wrapped my arms around Dan's neck and pushed my face into his chest, breathing in his intoxicating scents.
Closing my eyes, I reveled in the final moment before I exploded our relationship.
P.S. The dog does not die.
**Beware: If you can’t handle a few f-bombs, you can’t handle this series.**