"I apologize if I said something to upset you, Judy. It sucks the way Buddy died because you're the one who has to deal with all the crap that comes next."
I know, right? Except for Pru, nobody had shown her the least bit of sympathy. "Thank you," she said, blinking back the extra moisture in her eyes. "This whole thing has been pretty aw...aw..ful, actually."
Admitting the awfulness out loud removed the finger in her emotional dike. One sob slipped and another followed crashing on its heels. Tears came faster than one tissue could stem. A white cotton handkerchief just like the kind her father used to carry appeared in her hand. They still make these? She blubbered noisily. Once the worst of the emotional tsunami had passed, two strong arms wrapped her in a hug, pulling her against a broad, masculine chest that smelled of fresh air, pine and working man. Her heart melted right along with her good intentions.
"Would you...? No, of course, you wouldn't. We don't even know each other."
"We sorta do. We shared a bottle of champagne and a box of Girl Scout cookies after I finished your deck. Remember? We didn't have long--you were picking up Buddy to treat him to a movie. I remember thinking what a kind person you are."
She shook her head, suddenly mad at everything and nothing. "No. I'm not. I killed Buddy."
His eyes narrowed. "Buddy made his own choices," he said, his tone stern. "He knew the risks and decided being with you was worth what came next. That says a lot about you in my book."
Judy liked his book. She wished she had a copy.
He tucked his thick, calloused knuckle under her chin and made her look at him. "Would I what?"
Kiss me? Fuck me? Make me forget my life is in the crapper? All of the above. But he couldn't, of course. He might be able to handle one or two of the three, but if he had to ask... "Would you like another beer?"
"I'd rather kiss you."
His lips caught hers partway open with surprise. Apparently his tongue took her lack of resistance as an invitation. It dipped, stroked and teased as if they'd been doing the lingual tango for years.
"Have we done this before?"
She shared his bemusement completely. "Only in my dreams."