The Glory of Honor

by JS Delaney
Trafford Publishing

In the sequel to The Spy in Me, Russell Eagle Eye McAlister, a man with a past, has been blinded. Spirit Fawn, an old love interest (apparently every woman in town was at one point or another) is there to help him adjust to his condition. Given the circumstance, everything has changed, and maybe Russell, as sharp and tactical as he appears, will learn to appreciate what he has around him. However, that won’t last long because deadly trouble looms on the horizon. The Glory of Honor is a romance, wrapped around an adventure mixed with a thriller. Author Delaney has crafted rich characters in Russell and Spirit Fawn, who are resourceful and strong, but don’t quite understand what’s best for themselves. The narrative begins with a romantic cat and mouse pacing, but launches into action at the appropriate moments. Clearly this is an intelligent read, made rich by the story as much as the people who move through it.


Chapter One

 Spirit Fawn was back in a few minutes and she could see the wear on his face, “Almost Eagle, if you are ready stand up, let’s get the car locked and start toward the house.”  He held the top of the door until he had to let it go and Spirit was right there.

“Two more steps,” she was reaching around him to shut and lock the door.  He heard the door locked and then heard her putting the keys somewhere and then nothing.

“That’s not funny, are you there.”  He went to reach up and he placed his hand directly on her breast.  He was clearly contrite and embarrassed.

“Sorry, I am really tired Spirit Fawn, can we go in now.”  She turned around and placed his hand on her shoulder.  She had no plans to say what she was thinking, they were both tired and it would stir up too many old feelings that would not be helpful right now.

“Just use your guide because the ground isn’t always even here and you really need to learn to handle this on your own. Step, one more, stop.”  She opened the screen door and then pushed open the exterior wood door. She placed his hand on the doorknob.

“Slide your foot forward until you feel the solid landing, I am going to stand behind you, just in case you lose balance.”  She went behind him touching the center of his back and as he rose, she let her hands slide to the top of his belt. Following him up as they entered the kitchen. “The kitchen chair is one step in front of you, feel for the back of it.”  As he did, he felt for the seat and sat down.  She came in and closed the door.

“Well, we made it. Now your choice, tour tonight or bathroom and bed room?”  Russell was tired but he wanted to talk for a few minutes.

“Fawn can I have a beer and then decide?”  She felt that since they were going to be sharing a space for a while she wanted to start out on the right foot. 

“Why don’t we get our shoes off and I will get you a beer in the living room and turn on the TV.  I can wash up and change, then I’ll come get you?”  Russell wanted to talk but he figured that could happen later. 

“Sure, thanks.”  He took off his boots and slid them to the side of the chair.  She slid her hand down his arm and once again took his hand and put it on her shoulder.

“Use your guide so that you can learn to move around the house by yourself.”  She waited until he had it out and at the ready. 

“Here we go, around the table to the fridge, the door opens from left to right, stop and get your beer.”  She took his hand and reached it across her to the handle, stepping back into his body so the door could open.  As the door came around she was pressed to his front and he couldn’t help thinking how good she felt. He was tired and nervous and the comfort she was giving him made him want to hold her tight to him all night long.  When the door opened, she was still concentrating on teaching him the task. 

“Let go of the handle and take my hand again and I will show you how to find the beer.”  He let go of the handle of the refrigerator and was bringing his hand back around the front of the door, but he couldn’t find her hand. She was standing in front of him and she couldn’t seem to grab his flaying hand before it came down too close to the shelf making the beers tumble right off the shelf.  She bent over grabbing the beers and put her bottom almost into his thigh hitting her head on the shelf of the refrigerator instead.

“Stop, just stay still please!”  She started to bend down and picking up the beers and rubbing her head.  She grabbed his hand and placed a beer in it folding his arm in toward her while she closed the refrigerator.

“Everything is fine, now take a breath and we can start again.”  She said it and took a breath, but Russell still didn’t move. The guide cane in his other hand was still extended, but he waited for her to take his arm instead of him placing it anywhere. She took his wrist in her left hand and his other wrist in her right hand.

“Turn to your left half a step.”  As she instructed, he turned bumping into her backside. Spirit Fawn closed her eyes and took a breath, “Eagle, keep your mind on the task damn it, or we will never make it to the couch, let alone through this evening.”  He nodded his agreement and tried to stay still.

“Start with your right foot and let’s do this together.” When they finally made it to the couch, she just leaned back and told him to sit.  She opened his beer for him and moved the coffee table to make it easy for him. As rattled as she was, she wanted their first night together to be calm for both their sakes.

“There! That wasn’t so bad. Well, enjoy your beer and I will be back within the hour. Anything else you need before I leave?” She couldn’t think of anything and she waited to see him nod.

“The remote and the direction to point it.”  She smiled, she was obviously making more of the incident than it was and that was a good thing.  She grabbed the remote and his wrist once again placing the remote in it, turned his hand until he was masterfully clicking like a pro.  As she turned to leave, he pulled her to him and kissed her cheek.

“Thanks for everything Fawn, I really appreciate this.”  Then he let go quickly shoving the bottle in his mouth. She quickly said, “It will be fine Eagle, you’ll see, give it time.”  She left the room as quickly as she could get out of it.  She wasn’t going to make it.  She wasn’t seventeen anymore.  The man had his own zip code of women to choose from.  He didn’t give her a second glance when he left.  No letter, no phone calls, she cried herself to sleep and she wasn’t going to be fool enough to become a mess like that again.  She was going to do her best for him and hopefully, get her job back.

She would always have a soft spot for Russell Eagle Eye McAlister, it was a character flaw she would have to live with, but she couldn’t let him get to her heart. She sat on her bed giving herself this pep talk wondering why she kept talking because he was already there, right in her heart, broken and waiting to be stepped on one more time. She was doomed and she knew it.  She grabbed her nightgown, robe, and headed for the bathroom. 

“Fawn, are you there?”  He stood, trying to come around the couch and remembering where everything was so he didn’t wreck the place.  He heard the shower and followed the sound. Sliding his feet with his hands out in front, tripping over a chair was the worst of it, and finally he made it to the sound of the bathroom shower.  He knocked on the door then entered. 

“Fawn, I need to use the bathroom.” She apparently didn’t hear him because she opened the shower and saw him sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles.  “Why?”  She sounded frustrated. Russell just grinned at the absurd situation.

“Look, you can see me and if you don’t want to you can shut the shower curtain.  I can’t see you so what harm have I done?  That beer went right through me.  I couldn’t wait.”  He sounded like a child, she had to laugh at the way he was sitting on the toilet.  At least he didn’t try to aim and miss.

“Whatever, you might as well stay. I’ll dry off and be out of here in a minute and then I will set it up for you.”  Russell sat there.  He didn’t smile, just nodded and said thanks.  

She closed the shower curtain after grabbing her towel and dried off.  When she reopened the shower curtain, she saw he had taken off his shirt and slipped his pants off the rest of the way.  She was stopped by the beauty of him, even in this silly situation he was a mass of muscle, tanned and his long hair draped his beautiful face with his soulful eyes and his soft full lips made her appreciate the image all the more.  She just smiled she knew why women were constantly throwing themselves at him, but the problem was she knew more than that.  He was smart and fun and he had a great sense of humor.  She needed to get her nightgown and robe and think of something else immediately. 

Russell could hear her, but worse he could smell her and feel her. “You smell really good Fawn.” 

She could see in his face where his mind had gone and she didn’t want to join him.  “You don’t move, let me pick up your clothes so you aren’t tripping over them and I’ll be right back.” She was out of there so fast, she hadn’t realized that she was crying.

“Russell, let me help you get into the tub.”  She lifted his foot after she placed his hands on the shower wall.  She placed the left foot into the tub turned his shoulders and then grabbed his hands. 

“Hot, cold, right is soap and call out and I will help you with the shampoo and cream rinse. Do you have it?”  He said he did and she left the door open so she would hear him.  She opened a beer for herself and sat in the kitchen waiting to hear him call her.  When he finally called her, she went in and put the shampoo in his hand so he could wash his hair. 

“This is the cream rinse and it is open.  The towel will be to the left right here.”  She took his hand and let him feel where she meant.  “Thanks Fawn, I got it.”  She still didn’t trust him to be okay so she stayed in the kitchen with the door opened so he could be heard if something else was needed.

“Spirit Fawn, are you there?”  She was there in a minute and he had place the towel around his waist.  “Help me get out of the tub will you, and could you comb my hair?”  She helped him out of the bathtub and sat him back on the toilet while she dried his hair and combed it.  She noticed his beard was getting too long but that would have to wait for another day, because she was not going to mention it now. Spirit Fawn wanted him to go to bed now. 

“This way, if you go to the bed room and remember to count your steps so can get there from the bed.”  He said that was fine but he wanted to have another beer to calm down, and would she mind rubbing his head because his eyes were hurting. She was overtired and shaken by their closeness.

“Do you want to take a pain pill?” Spirit Fawn was hoping that would make him feel better. 

Russell hated pills and refused to give in. “I would rather the head rub and the beer if you don’t mind.  I don’t like the way those things make me feel.  You know I don’t like drugs if I can avoid them.”  She did remember that.

“One thing at a time, let’s go to the bedroom, are you ready?”  He nodded and waited for her. She grabbed his hand and put it on her shoulder. He could feel the silk of her robe.

“Nice, is that for me?”  She rolled her eyes and was trying with all her might to keep her voice steady, “I live alone remember, so I guess it’s for me Eagle, put your ego away. I am not in your zip code as the rumor goes.”  Russell felt like she slapped him in the face.  He was so angry when she left, he made damn sure she knew he didn’t need her with every girl he could bed. He knew he had hurt her, but he had no idea just how much until she saw him five years ago and ran the other way.  She wouldn’t even say hello. His mother and White Dove couldn’t believe he didn’t get it, so they explained that when he left her and never wrote, expecting she would wait there until he returned, was mean and cruel. It wasn’t like he could take it back. He left and went to school, then boot camp, and when he came back and she was gone. He was angry and he wanted her to know that. He apparently made it clear enough when he never called and never wrote.  He came back and played around with every girl in town, and they were happy to oblige and very happy to tell Spirit Fawn all about it. He knew women liked him, he knew they thought of him as a hunk, a great catch.  He was their toy and they were his, nothing more. The girls said that Russell had tried every girl in this zip code, and still was just having fun.  They were right.  He knew what he was missing, but what was he going to do about it? He had his chance and was too blind to see what he was throwing away.  He might be blind, and she deserved more, but he was going to be here and he was going to do what he could to make her see he had changed.

“Your nightgown still feels nice.  What color is it?”  She didn’t want to think about that.  She wanted to be civil and it was becoming hard, “blue, Eagle, blue like your eyes.” She heard him swallow, and she saw his face and hoped it cost him.

“Here is the edge of the bed.  Did you remember to count the steps back to the bathroom in case you have to go in the night?”  He said he did but of course, he had no clue.  He would punt before he asked her to do it again.  “Let me get the beers, I think I’ll join you.”  

He was up on the bed with his back to the headboard and the covers were over his lap.  She cracked open a beer and handed it over to him making sure that he had a grip on it and then helping him find the night stand to set it on.  She opened hers and told him to scoot forward so she could rub his head.  He moved forward enough for her to fit behind.  She put one leg on either side of him, took a sip of her beer, “Move forward more Eagle, I can’t reach your head.”  He took another big drink of his beer. 

“Give me the pillow Fawn and I’ll try to lie down in your lap and see if that works.”  She handed him the pillow and he put the pillow down over her legs and lay down on his back. After another sip of her beer, she set it down and started to rub little circles above his eyes. He grabbed her hands and moved them to the sides of his head where it hurt.  She continued to rub his head in little circles. She could feel him start to relax.  After about fifteen minutes, she stopped and took another sip of her beer and Russell flipped over on to his stomach.  He couldn’t figure out what to do with his arms so he wrapped them around Spirit Fawn. 

He looked up and gave a slight sleepy smile, “Sorry, would you mind rubbing the back of my head too?  It really is helping.” 

She was becoming wary, but said that she would. After taking another sip of the beer, she set it down and started to rub his head.  He once again tried to move her hands so they were where his head hurt.  She rubbed his head in little circles and then his neck.  She noticed his shoulders relax and when he touched her bottom, she didn’t feel offended. When she touched his shoulders and he just moved to one side. She smiled because she knew he was asleep.  The problem was she was trapped.  With the pillow and his head on her lap and his arms wrapped around her she couldn’t move.  His hair was draped over his face and she didn’t see his smile.  He liked this way too much, and her hands felt so good.  Even more he was enjoying smelling her and touching her, and not being alone in his dark. She shook his shoulder. “Eagle, I am going to bed now, please let me up.” 

He barely heard what she was saying, he was drifting in and out.  His hands went up her back and then it registered in his mind what she said.  He moved the pillow and lifted himself up.  He was half awake and not thinking things through.  He reached up and kissed her quickly. 

“Thank you baby,” grabbing up his pillow and waited for her to slide out from behind him. Spirit was not exactly angry, just irritated that he would treat her like one of his quickies. Boundaries would have to be set, but she would address that in the morning.

She grabbed their beers and left the room, leaving the door open so she could hear him if he needed something. She set the beers down in the kitchen and went back to turn off the bedroom light.  She just stood in the doorway looking back at what was in her bed and wishing that she could join him.  He was beautiful that was for sure. He wasn’t stupid, so she couldn’t use that as his excuse.  She would have to say that he just wasn’t for her.  She shut off the light and went into the living room and quietly turned on the TV and finished their beers.

Morning came and apparently, Spirit Fawn must have been wound up tight because the beers finally relaxed her and she fell sound asleep on the couch.  She didn’t hear Russell as he groped his way through the house to the bathroom.  He splashed some water on his face taking a quick drink of water and stood there a minute trying to wake up.  At least he didn’t mind how he looked in the morning he thought.  He was in a terrible mood.  He was tired of being blind and there was simply nothing he could do about it.  “Fawn!” He bellowed and heard nothing. He wanted a cup of coffee and, well, she knew he couldn’t do anything, where the hell could she have gone.  He started through the house to see if she just didn’t hear him or if she went somewhere.  “Fawn?” There was someone talking in the other room.  He followed the sound, realizing it was the television. He found the arm of the couch and decided he would sit there a few minutes before going in search of her again. As he felt for the cushions, following the back of the couch to the middle and went to feel how low the cushions were, he found Spirit Fawn, either that or the Great Spirit was giving him another consolation prize. He started to feel her softly looking for something he could shake like a shoulder. Should he yell or keep up his search? He softly used his hands to identify which way to go. Thigh, hip, waist, side and shoulder, he touched her hair and her face was wet. She had been crying and she made a sound. He put his head closer to her and decided to sit on the side of the couch and softly he wiped her tears.

“I am so sorry, baby.”  He knew she didn’t hear him, and that was okay, but even a blind man could be sorry for the past. The real question was how to proceed? She reached out and put her hands on his bare thigh. He didn’t know how long she had been sleeping there, but he decided that he could feel around in the kitchen and see what he could find for himself. Maybe the noise would wake her, and if not, she needed the sleep.

He was hoping she could make coffee and tell him where she put his clothes. He went back to the bedroom and felt around for where his clothes might have gone and found nothing, so he grabbed a towel out of the bathroom putting it around his waist and called it all good. He went back into the kitchen, felt around for cabinets, and for where the refrigerator might be. He thought coffee might be too hard so he felt around for a box of cereal. Spirit heard all the noise, stood in the doorway, and watched.

“Do you want some help?”  Spirit spoke softly so that she wouldn’t startle him. He stopped and waited until she spoke again.

“I said do you want help?” Russell stood there, sorry that he woke her. “I was trying to help myself so I would learn. I didn’t want to wake you.” She came to his side, “Nice towel, do you want coffee?” Russell said he did, but still didn’t move.

“I couldn’t find my clothes.” She didn’t seem to care. “We will work this out today so you can find things and help yourself. You know it will be okay, right?”  He still didn’t move, just kept looking straight ahead.

“Could you help me find something to put on after you make the coffee?”  She reached out and rubbed his back. His skin was cool to the touch and it was wonderful. She wanted him to understand that her feelings were not his burden to deal with, especially not right now.

“I am sorry, I don’t usually drink, and I guess I have been wound up. The beer hit me hard. I fell asleep on the couch. I keep it here for guest mostly, but I bought it because I know you like to have it in the evenings.” Russell didn’t know how to respond, he just said it was fine. He went to turn around because her touch made him desperate to hold her, if not for any other reason than his need for her. He felt useless and vulnerable, and he didn’t like it. He gathered her to him and just held on.

“Coffee, clothes and maybe I can deal with this.” She wasn’t going to allow him to feel useless or inadequate. “Think of a clock face. Put it in your mind and your arms are the hands. Do you have it?”  Russell nodded.

“Three o’clock is a canister and hanging on its side is a scoop big enough for one pot. Zero fifty-five is the coffee maker, top opens and the filters are right on top. In order to put the water in you take the pot, fill it up with water and put it in the top. Let me hold your hands and we will do each step and then tonight at dinner you can make the pot for morning so if I am not up you can just turn it on. Eagle, concentrate on each step. I know it can be hard, but we have to work on it together okay?” he was getting upset.  He wanted to be Spirit Fawn’s again and he couldn’t even make coffee?

“Don’t call me that. An Eagle must see to fly and to live.  The name that I was given is Eagle Eye.  That doesn’t seem to apply anymore.”

She took his hands in hers, “Do you know why I have always called you Eagle instead of Russell?” He just stood there and didn’t answer so she continued anyway, “Because your target is your goal. You have always worked no matter how many times you fall toward the winners circle and achieved what you set out to do.”

He turned his hand over hers and rubbed the back of her hands with his thumbs, whispering, “Not always.”  Spirit Fawn was warmed because at least he understood that he hurt her, it was a start.

“Well then maybe it is time to let yesterday go and we can start over as friends.”  Spirit Fawn tried to be steady too but she didn’t know if she could. She took control of his hands once again and started “Coffee making 101”.

“Take the filter basket out of the coffee maker, right, take the pot and fill it with water,” she went on until they had the coffee making.

“While that is making, if the sink is twelve o’clock then two o’clock is where the coffee cups are.” She took his hands so he would easily find the handles and the shelf. “Grab one for me too, will you?” He did and put them on the counter in front of the coffee maker.

“When you are learning to pour your coffee, please put the cup in the sink and don’t put your hands near, I would rather you waste the coffee than burn yourself.” She said that she would meet him in the bedroom because she needed to go to the bathroom. She did, but she also just needed space.

She knocked on the door to the bedroom because he was sitting on the bed with a towel around his waist and his knees up on the sideboard. He probably didn’t think about it, but a very clear view was her first sight coming around the corner. The towel just made it more intriguing. She just smiled. Russell’s face came up a bit, “You realize of course, that I can smell you and I can sense you. I always have been able to, sight or no sight.” She knew what he meant because she always felt him too. She could still feel his anger, frustration and confusion, but most of all she knew what he wanted and she wanted it too. It just wasn’t a good idea, at least not yet.

“Then should I say thanks for the show?”  She laughed. Russell stood up “I’m blind, remember? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She just shook her head and laughed. She went to the bed and grabbed his hand again, “Come with me please.”  She walked him to the door and turned him around.

“If the bed is twelve and the night stand is forty five then the closet is two and the dresser is three.  It is a small room so very few steps. You didn’t have many clothes but what you have is in the top drawer, underwear is left, shirts right, pants are hanging in the closet. See you in ten. Call out if you need help, real help.” She laughed and closed the door. 

“The door was closed for my sake.” Through the door, she heard him say, “Good to hear that.” She laughed and went toward her own bedroom. After gathering her clothes, she went to the bathroom to wash up and dress. She didn’t care if he could see, they would have to go out so he could get use to things like getting in and out of the car and how to deal with the store. She wasn’t going to listen to everyone tell her how cute Eagle was, like she wasn’t even there.

When she came out he was pouring the coffee everywhere and she let him do it. “How am I doing?” He asked and she knew he was waiting to hear how he was getting it everywhere, but she didn’t say that at all. “I take milk,” she said, and went to the refrigerator to get some milk and put it in hers. She grabbed the paper towels, wiped off the cups, filled them a little more, handed his to him, and took a sip of hers.

“Just like a barista,” she pronounced and he smiled. “You make the sausage in the microwave and I’ll make the eggs and the toast.” She showed him what to do and how to use the microwave. Then she started the eggs and toast. She showed him where the plates were and told him to set the table showing him how to know what to do. “As long as your hands are clean you can feel what you’re grabbing and find things yourself.”

After breakfast, she helped him with where he could find his toothbrush every day, and where the toothpaste would be. “Make sure that you use your sense of smell when using things in here. On the whole I don’t keep anything dangerous in here, so just be careful and you’ll be fine.”

“After lunch we need to practice going out. We won’t do too much today but if you think you’re up to it, I could use a few things.”  Russell didn’t know if he was up to it, but he was feeling that he might still have something to look forward to, so he thought giving up was a bad idea.

“Sure, but could you call Mom and see if she could bring some of my clothes, my phone, knife and my gun, I need to practice and I’ll need more clothes before the end of the week.” Spirit Fawn said that she would if Russell would lay down and rest with cold packs on his neck and head for a few minutes before and after lunch.

“Your mom says that she needs some things too, so she would bring them to the family WorldMart, and we could get them in the parking lot before we go in.”  Russell was getting headaches more regularly now, but that was normal because he was more active. Pushing too hard could be too stressful just yet, so she thought that the ice might help and it would make him lie down and rest. He lay on the bed with a towel under and over the ice bags and closed his eyes. He had to admit it did feel better. He didn’t want to sound silly, but having her there made him feel safer, since alone he could accomplish very little.

“Fawn, would you mind staying for just a few minutes.”  She didn’t understand, but she said she would. Setting the alarm so they wouldn’t be late for their meeting with Margie, Russell’s mom, at the store, before she laid down. It was a good thing too because they were both sound asleep within minutes.

“Russell, if I do everything it doesn’t help you, now try again.” At lunch, he put together roast beef and cheese with a vinaigrette dressing. It probably wasn’t pretty but he thought he did alright. The drinks were still a problem. He could do the cold drinks by putting his finger an inch from the rim and stop pouring when he felt the liquid touch his finger.  The hot things were a problem. He finally gave in and had milk with his sandwich.”

When lunch was over she helped Russell find his shoes, but she wouldn’t put them on for him.  She explained that he would have to get into a routine of putting things where they belonged every time or he would constantly be in a mess. He took his guide cane and he put his hand on her shoulder to get back to the car. Russell was hoping that his Dad would have dropped off his truck so he wouldn’t have to pile his large body into the small space of her economy model. He was going to have to put up with it, hopefully just one more time.

“Do you need anything at the store?” Russell knew that Spirit Fawn didn’t have very much money and he didn’t want to be a burden.

“If Mom brought my wallet then yes, but nothing that can’t wait.”  She wasn’t concerned that Russell would pay her back, but she still appreciated his concern for her.

“If you need something Eagle we can pay for it today, and you can just give me the money back. I know you will.”  He nodded.  She went on while she drove.

“Tomorrow we will practice with money so that you don’t get cheated.” She asked if his headache was less and he said that the nap was a good idea and so was the ice, but he thought they could do better if they bought some baggies to keep him from getting soaked. The ice packs do tend to sweat.

When they got to the parking lot they immediately saw Margie and Kathleen was with her. They saw Russell piled into Spirit Fawn’s car and laughed.

“What are you doing Kathleen?”  Russell was glad to hear his little sister’s voice. “I am taking a picture of my big brother stuffed in this toy car for Facebook.  The sun glasses are a nice touch.”  Kathleen laughed. At twelve, she loved her brother.  He was always playing jokes on Kathleen and Ambrose and being silly.  He was easy to be with and he always made time to play with them when he was in town.

“I am going to use this time to even the score Russell, so when you’re better I can try to keep up with you. You better watch out brother because I owe you twelve wet willies.” With that, she wet her finger ready to attack, but Russell could hear her coming toward him and decided to make her think twice, he put his hands out into claws, “are you so sure I can’t see you?”  Kathleen squealed and ran back away from the car. Margie was just grateful his spirit hadn’t crashed. When Spirit Fawn had stored his things in the trunk of the car, Russell got out of the car extending his guide cane and waited. Margie came around, gave him a kiss, and tried hard not to behave dramatic.

“How are you feeling Russ?” He really wanted to whine like a little boy, but he knew it would do no good except to upset his mother.  “I am getting better, mother. It will be what it is. I made lunch and coffee, and I am learning how to take care of myself without seeing.”

He didn’t sound too depressed, did he? She hugged him. “Your father will bring your truck over for Spirit Fawn to use in the morning. He had things he needed to take care of with Gray Wolf and Hawk today.” Russell nodded and Margie decided to walk with him into the store.

Spirit Fawn walked just ahead and he was learning to follow her voice. It was fast becoming his guide and he noticed that he was becoming anxious when he didn’t hear her. She was there when he woke at the hospital, and she was there to help him learn how to do things and there in the night. He was becoming afraid, he was too comfortable with her and that he was hoping for too much, what if he was disappointed? Right now, he didn’t need another crushing blow. He needed to take his mind off his troubles.

“Mom is everything alright with Gray Wolf, Hawk and Dad?”  She didn’t want him to know what was going on because she didn’t want him to worry about work right now.

When they got to the front of the store Margie just didn’t want to be there. She was afraid that if she hung around she would stunt his growth because she really wanted to baby him. She really wanted to gather him in her arms, take him home and hide him from further harm. She knew he would hate her for that. She knew that he needed to find his way in the world as a man.

“Honey, I have just noticed the time and I think we’ll try to catch up in a while, but I better get my shopping done.” Margie kissed Russell on the cheek and he could hear in her voice she was having a hard time letting go, Russell wouldn’t let her leave and pulled her into his arms giving her a crushing hug.

“It’s hard Mom, but it will be what it is. I have to do this, and I will be fine eventually.  I love you and I’ll call.” She brushed his hair to one side and as the people were walking past, she heard the word cougar and lucky woman and she laughed.

“Russell, just try to pay attention to Spirit Fawn, she really means to help you and I don’t think that will be as effective if you are visiting your ladies during the day”

Russell found that vastly amusing. “Are you sure?  I’d keep it down.”  At that, she knew he was going to be fine.

“Russell the smarty pants, I love you. I’ll see you next week.” She hurried off inside the store before she did something dramatically motherly. Kathleen waited her turn but she was definitely going to get her turn.  “Russell, bend over and give me a hug.”

Russell laughed and waited for the wet Willie to come. Sure enough, he gathered her in his arms and she got him good.

    “Ha! I told you I would get you.”  He laughed and put his head in the crook of her neck and gave her raspberries while she giggled. She put her hands on either side of his face and looked at his eyes. “Don’t stay away too long, Russ. Homes more fun when your there.” Russell went to put her down and he said, “I miss you too, Kitten. Tell Ambrose and Julius I love them too.”  She ran to her mother and they were gone.


book text © JS Delaney

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