Bit in a coffee shop in Michigan, a final sort of denouement.
The smell hit him first; sharp and hot and rich, tinged with just that edge of bitterness unwritten law declared all diners must have. And it was a diner through and through, from the cracked vinyl seats, to the faded Formica table tops, all in the middle of nowhere, Michigan, because Henry knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy with a run-down 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra he was looking to sell.
Coffee flowed from the glass pot, a brown so dark it was almost black, splashing up to stain the sides of the white porcelain cup.
Then the mug across the table was full, and the portly waitress with the bleached hair and creased brow was turning to offer the pot to him.
Oliver tensed, his eyes sliding across the table to his companion. Henry met his gaze. He shrugged;
“My lips are sealed.”
They would be too. Even now, after being on the receiving end of more than one lecture about “being an enabler” before, Henry wouldn’t say a word if Oliver nodded at the waitress…
Oliver’s eyes darted from coffee pot to empty cup. They did it again, and a third time after that. He bit his bottom lip, fingers worrying the paper napkin into shreds. The waitress shifted from one foot to the other, patience wearing thin. Henry reached out and took a long sip from his own cup, one eyebrow rising.
He could almost taste it now, that dark roasted ambrosia that had been denied to him for months. It would be heaven in a cup, he knew, and one cup would quickly become two, then three, then four…
…and he would break the trust of his other half.
Oliver’s shoulders sagged, resignation settling over him like a wet blanket. “Tea,” he said weakly, “please.”
Officially safe and sound in Illinois! Time for a nap and then exploring!