1947 Noir 06

Chapter 06

That evening Dee and Ed arrive at Angelica’s Restaurant to see the 3 men who used to distribute the now late Charles Pearson’s pornography, seated at a table at a rear corner.

After Dee introduced Edward, he laid out his plans. Each man would be paid $75 for each body and related evidence removal. The three men will split any cash the newly deceased may have on their possession.

Absolutely no personal positions like rings, watches, money clips and so on of the deceased can be kept because it may link them to the departed. Those things will be given to Dee and she will destroy them. The three men agreed.

Larry is the only somewhat dissenting voice. He faces Dee; “Are you really okay with all this?”

“What do you mean?”

“I didn’t mind selling those movies for Chuck, it put some extra money in my pocket. But this is some serious shit.”

Pointing a finger at Edward; “You know how his people treat us. I’ll bet he kept the sign on the back studio bathroom that says Whites only.”

Dee looks like she’s about to explode. Edward places his hand on her shoulder; “I’ll take care of this.”

“Mister Williams, this is a business discussion. We are not here to listen how you think I’m a racist and out to screw people of color. If you feel I’ve done or said anything to give you that impression, you may leave right now. It was a pleasure meeting you. Goodbye.”

Dee is almost vibrating; “You are one of the reasons why white people treat us the way they do. Your hatred shows like a flashing billboard. And their ain’t no whites only sign anywhere.

Edward removed it the first time he seen it. That was when we got back from lunch. There’s none in the studio or in our apartment.”

“I’m sorry Ed. I’ve been beat down so many times, called so many names, I thought you were like most white people.”

Dee is still angry; “You’re goddamn sorry, that’s for sure. This man is offering you more money for a little work than you make in two weeks. Then you call him a racist? Get your sorry ass outta here.”

“Larry, like you, I’m my own man. Like you, I want to make lots of money, live a comfortable life and hope not too many people fu** with me.”

Larry smiles; “No, your not like me. You and I are different in one huge respect. I wouldn’t have that haircut if you paid me. Other than that, I think you’re an alright guy.”

Relief came over everyone. Even Dee starts chuckling with everyone else because of Larry’s comment.

“If I ever see any of you with a haircut like Ed’s, your fired.”

Everyone laughed at her comment, then ordered another round of drinks.

After they finished their dinner, Dee notices Edward hardly touched his food; “Are you feeling okay? You were fine at lunch.”

Albert asks; “What did you have for lunch?”

“I had a couple bottles of beer and a pulled pork sandwich at Dee’s uncle’s place.”

Bruno looks to Larry; “Maybe he can’t handle soul food.”

“Screw you. He’s not looking good. He’s pale for a white guy.”

Dee puts her hand on Edward’s head; “Shit! He’s burning up.”

“It’s down in my gut. I’m not sick, but it’s beginning to hurt real bad.”

“Let’s go home. You’ll feel better after a good nights sleep. I’m glad I put fresh linens on your bed earlier.”

One of the others asks; “Are you two living together?”

“We’re sharing an apartment. I have my bedroom in the front and he has his in the back. Not that it’s anyone’s business.”

Larry helped Edward into the car. Dee drove them home where he had a hard time walking up the stairs.

It’s a little after midnight, wearing only a cloth robe, Dee enters Edward’s room to see if he’s okay; “Are you alright?”

She can only hear his shallow breathing. She gently shakes him. Only a low level moan is returned. She shakes him more vigorously this time.

With a stressed voice; “I hurt … real bad.”

She touches his forehead. He’s burning with fever. To the bathroom medicine cabinet to retrieve a thermometer.

Returning; “I’m putting a thermometer in your mouth. Don’t bite it. Do you understand me?”

He squeaks out a weak; “Yes.”

Close to a minuter later, she reads the result.

“Oh shit! A hundred and four? You’re burning up.”

She goes to the kitchen, empties a tray of ice into a towel and places it on his forehead.

Now thinking; Something is seriously wrong. He has one hell of an infection. I got to get him to the hospital.

Edward is not a big man. He’s average at best, but too much for Dee to help down the stairs. Call an ambulance? No. The police may get involved.

A moment later, she’s dialing the phone. When the person on the other end answers; “Who the hell is calling me at this hour? This better be a life or death matter. If this is a wrong number…”

“Larry, it’s Dee. I need help and really fast. It’s Edward. Please come over right now.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m in my apartment above the studio.”

“I’ll break that little honky sum bitch in half if he hurt you.”

“No it’s not that. He’s real sick and I need to get him to the hospital fast.”

“Call an ambulance.”

“You know what downstairs used to be. Half the police department will show up thinking there’s half naked porn stars to be seen. Larry, I need your help.”

“You’re lucky I only live three blocks away. I’ll be there as soon as I get my pants and shoes on.”

It’s less than 10 minutes later when Larry arrives with Albert.

“Why is he with you?”

“Albert is staying with me for a few days. Eloise threw him out of their apartment again.”

“Eddy’s upstairs. I don’t know what’s wrong other than he’s burning up with fever.”

She leads them to his room. Larry takes one look; “Damn, he looks like shit.”

“He was puking after I called you. He couldn’t get out of bed to make it to the toilet. He’s really sick. ”

Larry pulls down the bed sheet.

Albert is staring; “Look at the bulge on the right side of his stomach. I think he’s got appendicitis.”

Not a deep thinker, Albert lightly presses on the bulge. Edward almost deafens everyone with his scream.

“Dee, wipe the vomit from his face. We’ll roll him up in the bed sheet. I’ll carry him downstairs.”

“I’ll help you.”

“Just prop him up. I’ll carry him myself. Albert, go down and open my car. Dee, make the call to our hospital so they know we’re coming.”

Albert asks; “Why bother with the sheet?”

“How would it look if a black man is carrying a naked white guy and putting him into a car? Besides, as sick as he is, I don’t think getting pneumonia is going to do him any good.”

Dee asks; “Should I take this bottle of pills?”

“What are they?”

“It says Quinine. Take three times a day during flareups.”

“Shit. He’s got malaria too. Bring the bottle with. We better get him to the doctors fast.”

30 minutes later, Edward is on a gurney with a doctor barking to the orderlies: “He’s running over a hundred and six degree fever. Get him into the soaking tub with cold water and as much ice as you can find. We need to get that temperature down to prevent brain damage.”

Nurse Hiroshi Sada is there also. She tells Dee; “Ed’s in good hands. Doctor Itou will take good care of him.”

“How do you know he’s a good doctor?”

“Well technically he’s not a surgeon or doctor.”

“What!”

“Calm down. He was a doctor and surgeon of internal medicine before he lost his license to practice when the government put anyone Japanese or of Japanese decent in internment camps. Now he’s going through the process to get his license back, but it takes time.”

The women stand there in silence before Hiroshi suggests; “Dee, Albert, Larry; go home. Edward is not going anywhere anytime soon. He’s going to be here for a couple of days at least.”

Dee is having none of that; “They can go, but I’m not leaving him no matter what you say.”

Albert and Larry say their goodbyes and leave.

Hiroshi looks to Dee; “You look like you could use some coffee, come with me. We can sit for a few minutes while Doctor Itou plans what to do next.”

They walk to the break room.

While sitting across from each other; “I was screwing with you yesterday. I seen the looks you two were giving each other. It was clear to a blind person you’re in love with him. Now admit it.”

“Yes and I don’t know why. The first time we seen each other, he came through the door to kill me. I honestly believed at that moment my life is over.”

“So you’re here. What happened next?”

“With a gun pointing at me, he froze. Then he removed his finger from the trigger and asked me if I was a working girl. I told him I don’t like the term girl from a white man.”

“Damn you are gutsy!”

“I was scared to death. He asked a couple questions. It was then I started to see something in him. I was frightened that he was going to kill me and at the same time I started to be attracted to him.”

“You? Attracted to a man is odd enough. But to a white guy?”

Now smiling for the first time; “Yeah. By the time we left Chuck Pearson’s house, I knew he’s the man for me.”

“How does he feel about you?”

Dee blushes; “Ed tells me he wants to get something between us out in the open. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.”

“Well come on already! What happened?”

“While we were in the car, he gently grabbed my face and kissed me.”

“On the cheek like a relative or something a little better.”

“I felt the passion flowing from his lips to mine. When he moved back, both of us were out of breath.”

“Oh shit; did you slap him?”

“Oh hell no! It was so good, I had to return the kiss with double the passion.”

“Oh my god woman. Have you two been together yet?”

“We share the apartment above the studio.”

“That’s not what I’m asking. Are you two connected at the hip? You know, been intimate? Shared each other? Exchanged bodily fluids?”

“Of course not. I hardly know him. We kissed in the car twice, that’s it. Then tonight after dinner, he got real sick.”

“And you’re in love with him? You two have a long way to go.”

“Hiroshi, can I ask you a woman to woman question?”

“When you call me by my name to ask a question, I know this must be serious. Sure, go ahead.”

“Are you still romantically or sexually interested in Edward?”
With a huge smile; “Oh gosh no. My heterosexual days are long past. My first, which became my last male was a nightmare. The first time was horrible. Thankfully it was over in a few seconds. Because he ejaculated so fast, he beat the shit out of me because he thought it was my fault for his few second performance.

I’ve always been attracted to women, but society says that’s a no no, so I tried to fit into everyone’s normal. All I got out of it was a sore crotch and a bloody nose. In two words; never again.”

Over the PA system; “Trauma Team to the OR stat. Sada, Barrett, Faulkner, to the OR stat.”

Hearing this, Dee becomes frantic; “What’s happening?”

“They need help in the OR, stay here. As soon as I know something, I’ll tell you. Just stay here.”

About an hour and a half later, Hiroshi arrives back in the waiting room wearing scrubs along with who appears to be the doctor she seen earlier.

“How’s Edward? What’s happening with him? Is he alright?”

“I am Doctor Itou. I operated on the man you brought here. He is extremely ill because his appendix burst. The surgery went well and he will have to remain here until his fever breaks from the infection. After that, you can take him home. Nurse Sada will give you the details. I’m going home to finish sleeping. Good night.”

The doctor turns and walks away.

A nervous Dee asks; “Can I see him now?”

“Ed’s under sedation. He won’t come around for several hours at least. Go home and come back sometime after breakfast.”

“We came in Larry’s car. Ours is at home. I can’t leave him until he wakes up.”

Smiling; “I somehow knew you would say that. We put him in a room on the second floor that has an extra bed. Come on, I’ll take you up there.”

While waiting for the elevator, Carl, Big Mike’s brother and the man who answers the front door asks what’s going on.

“Dee is going to stay here tonight in Edward’s room. I’ll tell everyone I see so they leave her alone.”

“Okay. Since he’s the only patient here, I’ll tell Jeff when he cleans the floors upstairs to keep the noise down.”

Dee looks spent; “Thank you. I’ll figure everything out when I have to. Right now my brain is not working.”

Hiroshi puts her hands on Dee’s shoulders; “Damn lady, you really are in love with him.”

“I don’t know what came over me. This has been like a whirlwind. I’ve known him for less that a day and I … “

Dee starts looking to the ceiling like searching for unknown answers to unknown questions.

“And what, you were saying?”

“It’s like he’s the missing piece of my soul I found and now it might go away.”

Hiroshi drops her hands from Dee’s shoulders and onto her arms; “Do you think he’s serious about you?”

“When he kissed me, I felt my heart melt.”
“Oh my! Then?”

“I grabbed his head and kissed him with every bit of passion I didn’t even know I had in my body. Oh shit that was so damn good!”

Hiroshi is smiling; “Because of your obvious differences, do you think his being white will cause any problems?”

“We had lunch at my uncle’s place and there wasn’t any issues other than a lot of nervous stares.”

“I would have loved to have seen you and Eddy there.”

“Well there was one asshole while I was getting our food. He wanted to know why black men aren’t good enough for me and why did I bring a white guy there.”

“What did you say?”

“I told him: I want to be treated with respect and as a woman. Edward is my business partner.”

“I’m going to let you get some sleep. He should be out for several hours from the sensitives. I’m going home so I can get some sleep. I’ll tell Nurse Rhonda Sanders, she’s the night nurse on duty that you’re in his room.”

“Thank you. You’re a real friend.”

“This is quite an improvement from this morning.”

Smiling; “I’m so sorry for coming across as a bitch. I thought you were, well you know, trying to make a pass at Ed.”

“I seen you’re a woman in love so I couldn’t resist. Good night.”

“Good night and thank you for everything.”
The next morning, Edward is still unconscious. Dee is awakened by Nurse Sanders; “Dee, wake up. It’s Nurse Rhonda.”

After a few moments gathering her thoughts; “How is he?”

“I’ve already checked his vitals. Edward is doing quite well. His temperature is slowly coming down. At this rate, he should be able to go home tomorrow or the day after at the latest.

Do you know where he lives? Is there someone to care and watch him?”

“We’re sharing an apartment. I’ll make sure he’s well cared for.”

“Looking at you, I can see he’s going to be very well taken care of.”

1947 Noir 05

Chapter 05 “The Kiss” (I generally don’t name chapters in my books, this is an exception)

Dee parks the car behind the restaurant. When Edward exits, he sees a guy with a gun sticking out of his waistband.

“Hi James. I just got this car and I don’t want anyone stealing it or my tires.”

“No one’s gonna touch your car Dee. Who’s this? Is he okay?”

“He’s my business partner. We’re starting a new business.”

“I was wondering if you were ever going to get yourself a man. No offense; but you get yourself involved with a white guy?”

“James, you’re you’re not my keeper. His name is Edward and we’re only business partners so mind your manors.”

Edward moves towards the man; “Hello James. I know Dee is a beautiful woman. I would have to be blind not to see that. But our relationship is business.”

While James is shaking Ed’s hand; “It would be impossible to do better than her.”

The handshake stops and James pulls Edward closer; “Don’t ever hurt her. She’s been hurt way too much to be hurt again. That would make me angry and you won’t like that.”

Ed whispers; “I could never hurt or allow her to be hurt by anyone or anything.”

James turns to face her; “I like this guy. He’s going to be good for you. Go on inside. Your uncles we’ll be glad to see you.”

Once inside, two biracial men who looked to be in their late 50’s see Dee and are all smiles; “Well as we live and breathe, our favorite niece finally finds the time to pay her uncles a visit.”

“And she brings a surprise guest with her. Welcome to H and H, that’s us. I’m Harold and he’s my brother Herbert. I own this place and by brother helps out when his undertaker business is slow, which is a lot of the time.”

“You can call me Herb. So our favorite niece; what brings you here with a welcome, but unexpected guest?”

“I’m your only niece so I must be your favorite. So Uncle Herb, how’s the undertaker business?”

A somewhat sour look comes over the man’s face; “As you know, there’s no shortage of our kind dying. It’s only there’s too few who can pay, so the county buries most of us.”

Harold asks; “This isn’t personal mister; but with that haircut, you must be ex military. Marines I would guess.”

“Yes I was in the corp. Once a marine, always a marine. I’m here with Dee to offer Herbert a business proposition.”

He asks Dee; “Is this guy okay or is he setting us up for something that will cause me to loose my license?”

“Nope. Edward is serious. We started a cleaning business that will require us to get rid of a corpse or more every now and then. Being you’re in that business, I thought you could use some extra, off the books cash for your services.”

Harold directs them to a open rear corner booth where he asks Dee; “Honey, would you get us get us four pulled pork sandwiches and four bottles of beer. We need to discuss this over some food and refreshments.”

Dee has been standing next to Edward the entire time. She turns, gives him a look that almost melts his heart; “Are you gonna be alright with these two old geezers?”

Without thinking, he gently grasps her right hand; “I’ll be fine. I promise I won’t go anywhere without you.”

She’s smiling as Edward is holding her hand the entire time.

“You have to let me go so I can get our food.”

“Sorry. Holding your hand feels so good. Don’t forget our beer.”

Harold points to the booth where the men sit down.

Herbert with a smile; “I would have never guessed she would ever fall for a man, much less a white guy.”

Harold adds; “Considering her history, We’re damn shocked. She definitely has eyes for you. We’ve never seen her like this with anyone before.”

“If I may ask; why? What happened to her?”

Harold and Herbert tag teamed their answers.

“Nobody knows this but us and Cousin James.”

“Don’t ever let her know we told you.”

“We never had this conversation.”

“When Dee was thirteen, she was gang raped.”

“That happened while her mother was being treated for cancer. When her single mother, our sister died two weeks later, Dee came to live with us.”

“Both of us are divorced.”

“Dee became pregnant from the rape. When she was three months along, she started bleeding real bad down there.”

“Being an unmarried, underage pregnant negro, when she went to the hospital, they took the unborn baby from her.”

“They also took out her uterus.”

“She’s never been the same since. She’s never had a real boyfriend.”

“Maybe for couple of days at most. As soon as the boy would make any kind of advance, it was over.”

“She been that way since she was violated.”

“The most we’ve ever seen was her holding some boy’s hand once in a while.”

“Yeah. That was before the boy must have said something that caused her to slap him and have her running into our house.”

“Shush. Here she comes. Don’t tell her we told you anything.”

Edward gets up as Dee arrives. He stands while she’s taking the food and beer off the serving tray and setting it on the table; “So did you two tell Ed all the family gossip? Not there’s much because there’s so few of us.”

“You know us better than that Dee. Two old geezers and a marine have plenty to talk about. Now ain’t that right.”

“Your uncles and I were only talking a little local history.”

She has a smile of her face as she looks to her uncles. Loudly; “I want you two to learn a lesson.”

Both men look confused; “What’s that sweetheart?”

“When I came back, Edward stood up until I sat down. That’s the sign of a true gentleman. You two act like you’re glued to your chairs.”

There’s rumbling from a couple of people in the restaurant. One comment was: “At least he has manors. Not like some people.”

The lunch went well. By the time it’s finished, all the staring at Edward had stopped. Now the duo has a place to dispose of the bodies. Depending on the volume, the bodies could be buried in under new plots or cremated.

Edward offered $50 each. Like Dee said earlier, Herbert wanted $400. They agreed on $200 each. Then there’s one hiccup.

“There’s just a little tiny bit of a problem. The crematory furnace.”

“Uncle Herb; why is there always a problem when I ask either of you for anything? The car won’t start, the truck is outta gas, there’s a flat tire. You can’t find the keys. It’s always something with you two.”

“Now Dee, we’ve always somehow done right for you. We always made sure you had a roof over your head and good food on the table.”

“And we always made sure you had good shoes and clothes to wear.”

“We sent you to Lincoln College all the way in Jefferson City so you could get that degree in accounting you wanted.”

“And one of us always walked you to school and back home every day after those boys …”

Dee almost jumps from her seat. With an angry voice; “Stop! Enough! I don’t ever want to talk about it. Not here, not anywhere.”

“Sorry. We always did what we thought was best for you.”

“That’s what uncles are for, so don’t be cross with us.”

Edward has to step in and change this toxic subject; “Gentlemen, what’s the problem with the crematory? Tell me so we can get it fixed.”

“The crematory furnace needs to be repaired. The repairman told me it would cost maybe a hundred and fifty dollars. If things were real bad, maybe up to two hundred dollars.”

“As a show of my good faith in our new partnership, I’ll give you two hundred and fifty dollars. Will that solve the problems?”

Herbert blurts out; “Three hundred would be even better. I could spruce the place up a little.”

“Uncle Herb, listen to you. No, because I know you’d do something foolish with the extra money and I know bad things would happen after that. There isn’t a damn thing in that funeral parlor needs sprucing up.”

“Sorry. You’ve been gone for so long, I forgot how well you know me.”

While she’s smiling, Uncle Harold asks; “So how long have you two known each other?”

“I met Dee under some rather unusual circumstances this morning. After a get to know you chat, we found we work well together.”

“You two developed a partnership and all this in just a few hours?”

“When I met Edward, I honestly thought: I’m gonna die!”

“What the hell do you mean by that?”

“I’ll explain. Dee was sitting alone in a room. I knew there was a woman was in the house and I was completely prepared to end her life. No talking, no begging, just one slug in the chest and one in the head. Then I’m on my way.

When I seen her beautiful smooth face for the first time, those eyes looking at me, I froze. I was looking at the most beautiful woman in the world. It felt like I was looking at a part of my soul. There was no way I could have done any harm to her.”

“You were going to kill her just for being in a room?”

“The job required no witnesses. Like I said before, something came over me that instant. She cast a spell on me.”

“That was it? You fell for her that fast?”

“Was it love at first sight for both of you?”

Edward is blushing. Dee is smiling when; “We’ve only known each other for a few hours now. We don’t even know if we’re going to get along.”

Herb turns to his brother; “Do you see the look on their faces when their eyes meet?”

“Oh hell yes. I do declare I can see love bolts shooting between those two.”

“Both of you stop it. Neither of you see anything of the sort. I thought there may be something in his eyes.”

“I know our niece is going to be in good hands with you young man.”

“Thank you. I will never harm or allow her to be harmed by anyone.”

Now turning even more red faced; “I think I’ve said too much.”

“Why do you say that? We’re all adults here.”

“I don’t want to say anything that might embarrass Dee.”

“I think this man is in love with you and is getting deeper by the moment.”

Dee has the warm smile of a woman in love. Edward makes a couple of confusing motions with his hands like he’s about to say something. A moment later he decides against it, exhales a deep breath and takes the last drink of his beer.

Dee follows by lifting her beer towards her uncles; “To you my favorite uncles who have perfect incite into peoples hearts.”

Ten minutes later, and another round of beers, nature calls Ed; “Please excuse me. Nature is calling.”

As he gets up, Dee asks; “You’re coming back aren’t you?”

He places his right hand on her shoulder. She reaches across with her left hand placing it on top of his.

He leans forward; “I have to come back. You have the keys to the car.” He follows this with a gentle back of his fingers touch to her cheek.

As he steps away, her uncles ask; “How exactly did you meet him?”

“Why are you with a white guy?”

“Are you being held against your will?”

“Did he threaten you some how?”

“What’s really going on with you two?”

“And don’t give us that it’s only business crap.”

“No I’m not being held against my will. He never made threat. When I thought I was going to die, I didn’t beg or anything. Edward told me I could leave of my own free will, so there. You two are like old hen’s the way you want to gossip.”

“This ain’t gossip. We worry about you and want to know what’s going on. How did you meet this guy?”

“I was over at my now former boss’s house. Both of you know the business he was in.”

“You were never in front of the camera were you?”

“Never. Anyway, I was at his house about to do him a service. I might add he paid me quite well.”

Both uncles are wide eyed in shock looking at her. Seeing this; “No no no, nothing like that. Besides he was too fat to do that.”

“Wow. You had us thinking some real bad thoughts.”

“No. That hasn’t happened since … that day back then.”

“Sorry, go on. Now how did you meet this Edward?”

“I was in assholes bedroom waiting for him when the door flew open and there he was. Pointing a huge gun at me with his finger on the trigger. The look on his face made me think I thought I was going to die that instant.”

“You didn’t die; so what happened?”

“He asked me if I was a working girl. I told him I don’t like being called girl by a white man.”

“You said that to a white man while he was pointing a gun at you?”

“Yep. It was like I couldn’t stop the words from coming out. After a couple more questions, we talked. I’ll be honest. At first I went along with him because I figured if I play along, he won’t kill me. I tried to jump out the bathroom window. Then I figured I’d break a leg or my neck from the fall.

I thought about him for a moment and it was something in his eyes that changed me. Edward had murdered my boss and left him sitting in a chair downstairs. We arranged to make the murder look like an accident.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“And what happened after that?”

They didn’t notice Edward has returned; “I thought since Dee is now unemployed, I should offer her a position in my new company. I think we both realized we would be good together.”

He sits down; “Right partner?”

She has a mischievous look when; “I’d give you a kiss to seal the deal, but you know.”

“Hum. Why not?”

“I’ve never kissed anyone but my uncles, and that was on their cheeks. Besides, I don’t know how you’d react. You know, the whole different color thing and all. Then being here, in public and you know.”

His body language and expression on his face turn nervous; “Oh, maybe not in public or in front of your uncles.”

He’s now almost shaking; “I’m sorry. I’m at a loss for words.”

Uncle Harold smiles, leans over and softly; “Is this your first time son?”

“First time? I don’t understand what you’re asking.”

Herbert is more direct; “Never mind the color of her skin. Is this your first time in love with a woman?”

Ed instantly turns flush red with embarrassment. After a couple moments of fidgeting, he leans over and whispers; “I have never felt this way about a woman in my life.”

Harold asks; “Do you like the feeling?”

Still whispering; “Gentlemen, I can’t even find the words.”

He sits back; “Dee, we need to leave.”

Once standing, he regains his composure; “Thank you gentlemen for the lunch and our new business relationship.”

He reaches into his wallet and gives Herbert the $250.

Both uncles apologize for the sometimes embarrassing conversation. Edward waves goodbye and remains silent.

Once in the car, Dee drives a couple miles to a city park and stops the car; “Let’s get something straight between us. We are different races. When it comes to anything between us, it’s illegal in Missouri and many other states, you better keep that in mind.”

After her speech, she has tears forming. The emotion on her face is profound.

Edward isn’t doing much better; “It’s been an emotional day for both of us. As long as we’re parked and no one is around, I really want to get something settled between us.”

She turns while wiping a tear and leans slightly towards him; “Okay. What’s so important?”

He moves closer to her; “This.”

With both hands, he grabs her head and plants a kiss that takes both their breaths away.

Afterwards, she leans back against the drivers door with a surprised, almost offended look; “Wow. Are you finished?”

Trying to pull himself together; “Yeah. I think so. I’m not sure what came over me other than I had to do that. … Whew. Yeah, I’m finished, for now I think.”

“Well I got your message loud and clear. Now let me tell you!”

She leans over and gave him a soul kiss that makes him light headed.

Afterwards; “Okay. Now with that out of the way for now, let’s go to your hotel and pick up your stuff.”

“I’m so sorry for coming on the way I did. I’ve never felt this way about any woman the way I feel about you. I’m so giddy, I don’t know what to say or do!”

“Calm down and relax. We’ll figure this out as we go. I know we’re going to somehow make this work.”

He’s all smiles; “I really hope so. I wish I could find the words.”

“How about I love you?”

“I love you Dee Mullins.”

“It’s Miss Dee Barbara Mullins and for the record and I love you too. Now let’s get your things from the hotel.”

“Can we do one thing before we go?”

“We’re not going to the back seat if that’s what your thinking.”

“No no no. Can we kiss again? I want to make sure this is all real.”

“Oh it’s all real honey.”

Later when their lips are becoming sore, they leave the park and are on there way to the hotel. Both of them can’t stop grinning at each other.

After they retrieve Edward’s possessions, they go to the apartment above the once pornography studio.

After selecting one of the two unoccupied bedrooms, they go downstairs to see a note on the desk. It reads: Come to Angelica’s Restaurant on 8th street at 6 tonight for dinner to meet the rest of your crew.

Dee and Edward spend the balance of the afternoon planning on how to operate the new business and buying supplies. Mops, buckets, bleach, flashlights, gloves, etc.

The truck sign painter arrives with the attorney. 20 minutes later, Edward officially owns a building with a storefront, a 2nd floor apartment, a business, a car and a truck.