There’s nothing so gorgeous as a Florida sunset and this Sunday night’s was no different. Sitting on the lanai, I was watching the brilliant glow from the setting sun against a pale blue sky in the west. Overhead, a dark cloud hung like a menacing presence, the hulking remnants of the cold front that had passed through the region earlier. The air around me was turning cooler, but enough that I needed to change to warmer clothing.The slider slide open, then closed, and I sensed Vicky’s presence behind me before her cool hand touched the back of my neck. Beside me, Patton, my goofy black Lab, lifted his head, then lay back down when he realized no attention was coming his way.“What are thinking about out here, sweetie?”
“Nothing really,” I replied. “Just a mental drifting.”
As she moved around to join me in the other chair, her cell phone rang. She glanced at the screen and frowned.
“It’s the club. I have to take this.”
She left me then, returning to the warmth inside. Patton raised his head, disturbed by the disruption to his sleepiness. Unusual for someone to be calling from the club at this hour. It wouldn’t open for another three hours or so. And given her duties these days, Vicky oftentimes didn’t need to be there when the real fun was going on.
Truth be told, I hadn’t lied to her just moments ago. But I hadn’t been forthcoming either.
I wasn’t mental drifting. My thoughts were laser focused.
It’d been four months since I’d made my promise to Vicky, the promise that had led me to call the director of SEOPs shortly after Vinnie, BB and I had returned from Arkansas, and Vicky and I returned from Virginia.
The director hadn’t been pleased when I told him I was quitting. I was one of his best agents, along with BB, he’d told me. When flattery didn’t work, he cajoled me, then resorted to the oath I’d taken and reminded me of my patriotic duty to God and country.
True, once a Marine, always a Marine, but my girl meant everything to me and I remained steadfast in my desire to leave the agency.
Was I happy about it.
Still, Vicky had been thrilled when I told her I’d made the call, and since then, we’d settled down to a peaceful life in sleepy Porto Cielo. She continued working for RJ as his executive assistant for the Smuggler’s Inn and his other enterprises.
Well, I went for long walks on the beach with Patton. I read the newspapers online, analysed the ongoing crises across the world, wondered what BB and other friends at SEOPS might be doing.
I was bored. I needed, no I craved, activity.
I shivered and realized how much cooler it had gotten now that the sun was below the horizon.
“C’mon Patton. Time to go inside.”
He rose and we headed inside.