It was the phone call that mattered the most to Benton. L was throwing a party. A family get-together. Everyone would be there. Grant – his uncle. Decker – his uncle by marriage. Ashley – L’s wife, his aunt. L was, of course, attending – Shadow’s adopted father, another uncle. Benton had never felt so fortunate. His extended family had helped him through the worst of times. Most recently, it had been his wife’s murder, the trial, and his resulting incarceration. Parole was a bitch, but jails were worse.
It wasn’t his fault Maddy had betrayed them. She had turned coats, become a double-agent of sorts. She gave Company information to the Sanchez and Sanchez information to the Company. Benton had no choice. He had to shoot her.
Benton sighed. It had been the beginning of the rift between him and Shadow. Maddy was her best friend. Benton hadn’t even known Shadow was home, but she had heard the gun shots, ran upstairs, and screamed. He had tried his best to comfort her, explain. Shadow sobbed.
Of course, it was nothing compared to the afternoon of their breakup. He hadn’t planned it. Benton had called her that morning to ask when she was coming back to Macapa. That afternoon. Perfect, they’d have lunch, watch movies, relax.
Then L had walked into the Parlor, listened to his private conversation, and interrupted once Benton had finished.
“You cannot continue this incestuous embarrassment.”
“What incestuous embarrassment?” Benton asked.
”Your relationship with Shadow.” L said.
“It is not incestuous and it is not an embarrassment.” Benton said as he leveled his gaze on his uncle. “You adopted her.”
“It is and you will end it.”
“I will not.”
“If you value your position and potential advancement, you will.” L said and walked away.
Bastard. Benton had reached for his gun but thought better of it. He had just gotten out of prison. “Fucker.”
Benton had waited in the Foyer, paced, sat, cursed L and his stupidity, but it wouldn’t be forever. Only until Benton could take control of the Company.
Shadow walked through the door clad in jeans and a baby-doll t-shirt that read ‘I’d rather be flying’. She hopped, smiled, wrapped her arms around him like she hadn’t seen him in a month. “Can we get lunch?”
“Yes.” Benton said. Though, he didn’t hug her.
Shadow looked up at him, then at his hands. He wasn’t holding her. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. We just need to talk.”
“Oh… can we eat and talk?”
Benton nodded and allowed her to lead him into the kitchen. A large roast beef sat covered on the counter. Chips were in the cupboard. There was tapioca pudding in the fridge. Though, Benton guessed Shadow would go after the double chocolate cake sitting next to the sink.
“Do you want something?” Shadow asked as he pulled out a plate and a knife.
“No.” Benton said as he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Please, Shadow.”
The smile was gone when Shadow turned to face him, knife in hand. She loved roast beef sandwiches especially with Au Jus and mayo.
“Shadow…” He paused, blinked, inhaled. “I think we should limit our relationship to business.”
Shadow took a step back only to butt into the counter.. “What?”
Shadow stammered and repeated the word as the knife slipped from her hand. “What does that mean?”
“It means… No movies. No long drives. No private dinners.” Benton swallowed.
Shadow blinked and inhaled. “Um…” Looked at the floor. “Sleeping?”
“You’re room.” Benton said. He could see the tears coming and with them would be more questions.
“Do you love me?”
“No.” He lied.
Shadow shoved him backwards and bolted for the rear stairs.
Benton would never forget the sound of her bedroom door slamming or the picture that fell and shattered in retaliation. He offered no suggestions to L when his house fell into disorder, not even after being repeated asked to intervene. There was no calming Shadow, but L didn’t understand. Eventually, she left for her Sarasota mansion.
Benton glanced out the side window. The ride was smooth, but then Benton had just purchased a 2008 Cadillac Deville stretch limousine – this morning. His suit was impeccable – also new. Another five minutes and he’d be faced with the front doors of Shadow’s mansion. He shifted nervously in the plush leather seat. Would she be glad to see him? Would she accept his apology? All answers Benton would know within the next five minutes.
Slowly, the limousine pulled through the wrought iron gates of Shadow’s Sarasota estate. The open double doors greeted him as if he had never left. The driver opened the door and Benton took a deep breath. It was now or never.
Benton stepped out of the safety of the limousine and his maudlin thoughts. Upon entering the Foyer, he paused. He didn’t see Shadow. Was she not coming? Was she running late? He cast a glance at the butler who motioned towards the grand staircase.
Shadow stepped off the second floor and down the massive marble staircase. It dwarfed her body. Hell, it practically dwarfed the house. After Benton had called, Shados had sent her personal maid to find a dress. The perfect dress. She had arrived back with a shimmering green evening gown, satin wrap and matching heels.
Tonight had been four hours of bathing, prepping, dressing, tailoring, and more dressing. God forbid Silvia found a hair out of place.
Benton gasped and closed the distance between himself and the staircase. He lifted Shadow from the third step and pulled her into his arms. “You look stunning.”
Shadow smiled and wrapped her arms around him. So many thoughts. So many things she wanted to say. Ask. Tell. “I love the new suit.” She beemed.
Benton chuckled as he kissed the side of her face. “Shall we?” He sat her on her feet and offered his arm. When he felt Shadow delicately link her arm with his, he led her out to his limousine.
“Oh my god, Benton. Did you rent this?”
“I bought it.” Benton said.
Shadow gaped. “You bought it?”
“I did. I bought it for tonight.”
“Just for tonight?” She looked at him.
Benton just smiled and helped Shadow into the luxurious automobile. The driver already knew the destination.
Shadow gazed at Benton. “You bought this for tonight.”
Benton chuckled and cupped the side of her face with his right hand. “You’re gawking.”
Shadow grinned. “I love it.”
“I’ve missed you.” He said as he slowly brought his mouth closer to hers. Inches became centimeters until finally he felt the press of her lips against his.
Shadow closed her eyes and melded against his stronger, larger body. Their lips entertained, pressed, released and pressed again. She wrapped her arms around his body as she parted her lips.
Benton pressed his tongue against hers. First feeling the soft tip and then sliding deeper. The hand against her face slipped down, caressing her shoulder, arm, and finally resting on her cloth covered thigh. During the last month, he had tried to convince himself that
Shadow could find someone better. She deserved someone better. In the end, he knew she didn’t want anyone else and neither did he.
Benton pulled back gently from the kiss and looked into her eyes. He could see that she loved him. “Shadow, I am so sorry. For the last month. For the breakup. Everything. I do love you.”
Shadow threw her arms around his neck and kissed him .
Benton pulled her into his lap and adjusted her skirt until the only thing between her body and his were his pants. “Let’s not breakup again.” He said between kisses.
“Can we watch movies again?”
“Any movie you want.”
“Tonight. I have reservations.”
Shadow giggled. “The party?”
“Fuck the party.” Benton said as he slid his hands along her bare thighs.
“How long till dinner?”
“Whenever we get there," Benton said.
For More Avia and Benton, check out AVIA I - Thunderstorms and .45s
THE PHONE CALL
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