Oasis of Night

Oasis of Night by J.S. Cook Read Free Book Online

Book: Oasis of Night by J.S. Cook Read Free Book Online
Authors: J.S. Cook
the deck with my arm thrown across my face to shield my eyes from the strong rays of the sun. Someone else was there, another man. I opened my eyes and saw a slender figure, vaguely familiar to me, wearing sandals and a pair of shorts. I watched him haul on the ropes, the muscles in his back working as he unfurled the sails. His skin was smooth and tanned, and a bead of sweat was sliding down the valley of his spine; something told me it was a body I knew intimately, as intimately as I knew my own, and this made me happy. “We are sailing down the Nile, just as you wished.” He tied off the ropes and stretched out on the deck beside me. “The least you could do is pay attention.”
    I took my arm down and smiled at him, reached for him, and pulled him into my arms. The kiss went on and on, growing more heated, more torrid, and my hands pressed flat against his back. I wanted to feel all of him against me. I wanted to press him into me, to join our bodies. “Yes,” he whispered, “yes, this is what I want as well as you.” A wild current of pleasure rose up from my belly and shuddered me apart, and I gave in to it, sobbing aloud.
    I T WAS full daylight when I again opened my eyes. The bedside clock said it was a little after nine. I lay there for a few moments, wondering what the hell it all meant, and just then the phone rang.
    It was Chris. “Ricketts called you yet?”
    â€œRicketts? No, why?” Picco had said Ricketts was in Nova Scotia. Was that right?
    â€œJust how much do you hate Picco?”
    He wasn’t making any sense. “What?”
    â€œRicketts is looking for you. He says he called your place, but you didn’t answer. The upshot is, Picco’s in some kind of trouble and Ricketts wants to see you.”
    â€œHe wants to see me? What for? I didn’t do anything to Picco.” Maybe Picco blamed me for the dead vagrant. It wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. From what I’d seen of Picco, he wasn’t too interested in doing me any favors.
    â€œHe just asked me to find you and get you down to headquarters.” There was a pause, and I could hear the smile in his voice. “You still in bed?”
    â€œYes, I’m still in bed.”
    â€œYou a man who wears pajamas, Jack?”
    â€œChris, you like working at the Heartache Cafe?”
    â€œI sure do, boss.” He chuckled. “I sure do. Say, you want me to go down to headquarters with you?”
    I thought about it for a moment. If Ricketts intended to ream me out, maybe having Chris along as backup wouldn’t be a bad idea. On the other hand, if there really was something up with Picco, Ricketts was liable to close up like a clam when he saw I’d brought an audience. “Naw, I think I’ll be okay. Listen, if I’m late, can you open up for me?”
    â€œI thought Picco said to leave the place closed. What’s he gonna do if he walks by and you’re open?”
    â€œUnless Picco’s going to make up the difference in lost profits, the Cafe stays open.” A part of me relished the idea of going up against the flat-eyed constable. “He wants to get a court order, let him.”
    â€œOkay.” Chris didn’t sound convinced. “Will do. Call me if you need me.”
    â€œThanks, Chris.” I threw back the sheets and put my feet on the floor. My shorts were wet and sticking to me.
    â€œHey, Jack?”
    â€œYeah?” I pulled the cotton away from my skin. Obviously the things I’d dreamed had felt real enough for me to reach the ultimate conclusion. That hadn’t happened in a long time—longer than I could remember. After what had happened in Philly, that part of me had just gone to sleep, seemingly for good.
    â€œWas it a good dream?”
    â€œWill you mind your own damn business?” I put the phone down, but not before I heard him laughing on the other end.
    I got showered and

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