I have to say a quick thank you for those who take the time out of their busy schedule to stop by and be amused by my scribbling. Please make sure you stop back here to read the rest of contributors. This week's prompt was the word "CHASE". With that being said, it's time to introduce you to my sexy but over-protective hero, Ezekiel and his sassy but lovable heroine, Theadora, who has run off once more.
Six Years Later
If steam could’ve physically come out of his ears, Zeke would’ve had plenty. He couldn’t remember ever being this angry – even in all of his time working as a Deputy Sheriff under Darrell. Crumpling the letter Thea had left him in his right hand, he slammed his left on the diner’s counter. Standing behind that counter, his sister, Charlotte who worked at the Hard Luck Café jumped along with the crockery, glasses, and utensils sitting on it.
“Tarnation, Zeke what’s gotten into you? I knew I should’ve never promised Thea I’d deliver that note to you.” Pushing her pencil into her mousy brown bun, she picked up several dirty glasses and made her way towards the kitchen.
“I’m gonna paddle her little ass, Charlotte. She took off again! Do you honestly think I want to chase her butt all over the place?” Despite his anger at Thea’s departure, worry was more prominent. He was afraid his interference last week with the idiot who had been trying to date her had driven her to this, but he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t want any other man ever touching Thea - other than himself. Somewhere along the way, the affection and what he'd considered to be inappropriate lust he’d felt for her had turned into love, and like all gruff men who found themselves in this predicament, he growled and fumbled with the object of his desires.
Dropping the dishes in the window to the kitchen, Charlotte walked back out to catch the end of what he was saying. “Did she ever ask you to chase after her, Zeke? Maybe she wants some alone time?”
“Going to Rio, during Carnival?” Zeke shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. It’s going to be crowded with tourists and everything.”
“Well, maybe she wants to live a bit. She’s young and there’s more to life than one small town in Iowa.” His sister picked up another stack of used plates. “Let her spread her wings, for heaven sakes.”
“And let her hook up with some Brazilian gigolo? I don’t think so. I’m going after her.” Shoving back from the counter after polishing off his coffee, he laid a generous tip next to the empty cup before grabbing his hat.
“Now wait just a second, buster.” Charlotte planted herself between him and the door. “What will tearing off after her to Rio prove – other than the fact that you’re a Neanderthal?”
He stared at his sister in disbelief. “Excuse me? I can’t believe you have the nerve to ask me that.”
Propping a hand on her hip, she glared back. “Now don’t you get all snippy with me, Ezekiel St. John. I changed your crappy diapers so you don’t intimidate me the least bit - despite that shiny badge and big gun you carry. Now sit down!”
He pressed his lips together to keep from sprouting off. Charlotte had no compunction about doing mean things to him, like boxing his ears, and even as a grown man at the age of thirty he had a healthy respect for her. Stepping back, he returned to the seat he’d just vacated.
“Now, you and I are gonna have a little discussion.”
“About what?” Crossing his arms over his chest, he had a feeling he wasn’t going to like where this conversation was headed.
Leaning against the counter, she eyed him up and down while smacking her gum – a habit which annoyed him to no end. “Why in tarnation won’t you let that girl be? She’s darn near twenty-five years old. She’s a big girl now - she doesn’t need your protection anymore.”
Gritting his teeth, he hung on to his temper. “Twenty-three, Charlotte, Thea is only twenty-three, and doesn’t have any idea of what men want when they see her.”
His sister had the nerve to laugh. “You mean what you want to do to her? And don’t think I’m blind. Everybody in this God-forsaken town except Thea realizes you how much you want her.”
He flushed. “Dammit! Yes. I’m a man and I’ve got eyes in my head. She’s beautiful and I know what little weasels like Ralph Henderson want to do to her. I told her as much last week. I caught the little bastard sneaking up her walk…”
Surging off the counter, she braced her hands on either side of him. “Don’t tell me you ran another guy off.” If his cheeks could’ve gotten any hotter, they would’ve. “And you wonder why she ran.” Charlotte threw her hands in the air. “I just knew it was a bad idea to let you move back into Momma’s house after her death.”
Zeke shifted uncomfortably. He didn’t need a crystal ball to know where this awful conversation was heading. He’d had to damn near beg Charlotte not to sell their mom’s house after she’d died last year. He loved the old house, but one of the biggest benefits was it butted up against Thea’s house. And as long as she lives in that house of horror, I’m going to be on hand to slay any monsters – real or imagined.
“Dammit, Ezekial Lawrence St. John, you are not that girl’s keeper!” He winced as his sister continued to curse at him. He’d stepped in it this time. “If you keep running off all her dates, you’re going to lose her for good. I don’t know why you keep doing this. How many times have you two fought because of your highhandedness?” She narrowed her eyes.
Hanging on to his fraying temper was hard, but he managed. “And your point is?”
“Don’t you think it’s time for you to either ‘put up or shut up’?”
Dread filled the pit of his stomach. “I…”
“Don’t even give me that crap. You love her. It’s high time you told her so or – let - her – go!”
“Shit.” It came out as a croak as he realized he was probably going to have to do as his sister suggested.
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