“Burned” #52weeks52stories

Dark Alley


#52weeks52stories: Week 8

Word Prompt: Cocaine

Word Count: 3205


“You know the D.A. is going to plead this down or toss it altogether, right?”

Sinclair glared at Tompkins, ready to explode but caught himself. They were both exhausted and pissed off and it wasn’t Tompkins’ fault. And he was right.

“Yeah, I know, dammit. The war on drugs turns into a polite request to cease and desist when your daddy’s rich.”

He laughed as he finished the case notes.


They’d spent the last six weeks tracking down a new shipment of lethal cocaine that was leaving a growing number of dead bodies in its wake. Weeks of interviews and stakeouts paid off in a whole lotta lip and even more contempt. But from the trailer park to the barrio to the hood, they hassled everyone and got a lead on the supplier—a guy named Spence.

Not able to get any more information on the guy the detectives believed they were being played when one of Tompkins’ paid informants called in with a tip which changed everything.

Supposedly, Spence was pulling up stacks and leaving town… and having a going-out-of-business sale and delivering the last shipment himself to customers.

Only a drug dealer would turn illegal activities into a money-saving event.

After sharing the info with their captain, Sinclair pulled all available bodies for backup. As he left the office, he tossed a Kevlar vest to Tompkins. “Please don’t get shot, and if you get shot, please do not die. I hate paperwork.”

Tompkins chuckled and tossed up his middle finger… and the car keys. “Just for that, you drive.”

The tactical team was in position at the stake-out—behind the public library–when, as promised, an assortment of thugs and lowlife began to arrive. A pimped out gun-metal gray Impala pulled up and Tompkins swore under his breath as the riders got out. They were all known felons.

“Can you believe this shit? They can’t live in the same neighborhood or sit down together for a meal, but they have no problem calling a truce over drugs.”

Pat couldn’t believe it as members of a big numbers cartel talked amiably with men from the Irish mob. A pumpkin orange Hummer joined the group, and Court-Case, aka Courtney Casey, stepped out. The head of the local Crips gang was accompanied by two enforcers.

“What the hell did we stumble into, Tomp? No one has mentioned any of these guys. With the lack of information on the street and the number of deaths involved, I figured we were dealing with amateurs. These guys are no amateurs.”

From his position just inside the library, Sinclair glanced around the area, glad there was plenty of backup. The crew assembling in front of them were always armed and thought nothing of shooting a cop.

The last vehicle to arrive was a late-model black Yukon.

A skinny blonde kid not old enough to be out this time of night hopped from the rear passenger door and open the front door.

What the hell?

With a mop of tousled, dark curls and skinny jeans, the last guy to exit the vehicle didn’t look old enough to be out alone either.

The baby-face was familiar but neither Sinclair or Tompkins had arrested him before.

The kid and Skinny Jeans greeted the group of law-breakers and ushered them to the rear of the Yukon. Skinny Jeans’ driver, a muscle-bound weightlifting type, was already pulling out and stacking bags of what Pat assumed were the drugs.

His voice low and clear, Pat spoke into his hand radio.

“Alright, people. I doubt it’s going to get better than this. We’ve got some true bad-asses out there so when I give the signal, move in fast, hard and loud and don’t stop until everyone’s in cuffs. Units 9 and 13, hang three steps back just in case some of these guys have their own spotters hidden -”

Before he could continue, Pat heard Court-Case laugh and watched him slap skinny jeans on the back.

“You’re stand up for a white boy, Spence. Been a pleasure doing business with you.”

Spence? This kid was the mastermind behind the drug operation that killed seven people and had his whole department on overtime?

Gripping the radio, Pat removed his Glock 22 from its holster.

They all watched as the skinny blonde kid offered Court-Case a sample.

Sinclair growled into his radio, “Move in!”

Law enforcement stormed the drug deal. Team members charged from darkened doorways, parked cars, and two even popped out of an abandoned dumpster. Three sharpshooters were focused on the melee from the library’s roof.

Court-Case, the blonde kid, and the Irish Mob guy all froze their hands in the air. The kid was terrified, and the two older men were no strangers to the drill. They knew it was better to not resist, use any info they had as leverage for a deal and live to see another day.

The Latin guy and Court-Case’s two enforcers weren’t as smart and fired at police.

None of them would live to see another day.

The muscle-bound guy tried to make a run for it. He thought he had a chance when he saw the tactical team member chasing him was female. Puffed up by machismo and steroids, he turned and barked at the fast-approaching police officer. “Don’t come any closer, little girl, you don’t want any of this!”

Thirty-nine-year-old Yvonne Baker almost smirked as she caught up with the arrogant bastard.

He swung one of his big meaty arms at Yvonne, which she ducked with ease. After a kick to his shin, a fist to his solar plexus, and an open palm to his nose, the man was laid out on the ground wondering what happened.

Skinny Jeans leaned against the Yukon, arms folded across his chest. He was too calm for Pat Sinclair’s liking.

“Sure, is a lot going on, officers. Who are these guys?”

Pat was almost too stunned to speak. This idiot was going to play the innocent victim.

“Turn around, hands against the truck, feet apart.”

Skinny Jeans feigned a crestfallen look. “Why? What did I do?”

Wayne Tompkins had enough. “You heard him, turn around!”

“Hey, Not so rough! I’m an innocent party here.”

Tompkins completed his search as tactical team leader, Larry Brent, passed the IDs of the dead suspects to Pat. “They’re all tatted, connected, and very dead.”

Pat shrugged. “All their choice. Your team good?”

“Donner took a round through his sleeve and is bitching about having to buy a new uniform shirt. I told him it was better than his wife buying him a suit to be buried in. That shut him up.”

Tompkins made Skinny Jeans sit on the ground next to the Yukon. Without a word he walked over and handed Pat the young man’s driver license.

Pat’s face fell. “Shit. Are you f-”

He was cut off by Luca, Brent’s second-in-command.

“Detective, you want to see this.”

Still reeling from learning Skinny Jeans’ name, Pat stepped to the rear of the Yukon and looked inside. His brow knitted in awe and confusion.

“What the hell is going on?”

The vehicle was filled to the brim with cocaine.

“Creighton has a drug problem, but this town just isn’t big enough for this kind of weight. Is it pure?”

Luca hefted a bag back into the truck. “We’ve checked three bags so far… it’s the real deal. If all the bags are pure and the same size… we’re looking at close to six million street value.”

Tompkins let out a low whistle. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Sinclair looked at the college student sitting on the ground. “There’s no freakin’ way he’s the Wizard, either.”

The coroner signaled he was done with the first body and moved on to the second.

“Brent, make sure I get photos from every angle and a sketched layout of the entire location.”

“You got it.”

“Come one, Tomp. Let’s get these guys downtown and try to figure this puzzle out.”

Pat brainstormed as he made sure all suspects were securely in police vehicles and headed for the station.

Connected gang associates, a new body count of ten, more cocaine than Creighton had seen in his entire career, and a nerdy rich kid playing dumb.

Things would get worse before they got better.


Two hours later, Pat Sinclair hadn’t made one connection in the case. Court-Case and the other suspect, who turned out to be Shane Peters, had lawyered up and weren’t talking in anticipation of some kind of deal. The blond kid, sixteen-year-old Elliott Olds—a runaway with no prior criminal record, was turned over to juvenile detention. The only talking forty-two-year-old Harvey Newsome was doing was to complain about “that bitch” breaking his nose.

It was no small shock to everyone to find out ‘Spence’ was Cecil Spencer Delk, a candy-ass junior at the local college with a Breaking Bad complex, and his dad was none other than local millionaire businessman, Cecil Delk, Sr.

Pat sat across the table from junior and senior Delk and the sly, slick, and wicked attorney of the local moneyed crowd, Jay Coolidge.

Wayne Tompkins stood in the corner, glaring at the threesome.

“Detective Sinclair, this has gone on long enough. My son has done nothing wrong and we’re leaving.” Delk, Sr., resplendent is a tailored Tom Ford tux was more annoyed at being pulled away from his gala event than his son being a drug trafficking suspect.

“We’re not done here yet, Mr. Delk. Your son still hasn’t told us what he was doing with known gang members and a vehicle loaded with cocaine.”

The junior Delk slammed his fist down on the table. “I told you Harvey is my personal trainer. After our workout, he was giving me a ride home and said he had to make a quick stop. I had no idea he was mixed up in drug trafficking.”

“Yet, it was you, not Harvey I saw talking with one of the other suspects.”

“Hey, I’m a friendly guy.”

Coolidge decided to join in and earn his retainer. “You have no evidence against my client, Detective. This is an unfortunate situation, and I applaud the Creighton Police Department for its fine work in seizing that drug shipment before it hit city streets. But my client, an earnest, trusting young man from a good family only exercised poor judgment in friends.”

Pat’s anger rose at the smugness of the trio. “If you were coerced or blackmailed into dealing, Cecil, now would be the time to tell me You cannot play with people like this. It’s like playing with an open fire and you will get burned.”

“Are you deaf or just stupid? I told you my son is not involved in this nasty drug business… and we’re leaving.” Delk Sr, stood just as the door to the interrogation room opened. Rick Morgan, precinct captain strode in.

“I’m Capt. Morgan, Mr. Delk, and I’m sorry but Cecil isn’t going anywhere tonight.” He motioned to Wayne to put Cecil back in cuffs.

Coolidge went on the defense. “What is the meaning of this? You have no grounds to arrest my client.”

“Your client was in the company of known felons at the scene of a large-scale drug buy. Conspiracy to traffic and distribute is a good start and will hold him until the feds show up.”

“This isn’t a good career move for you, Capt.” The threat in his tone and words did not go unnoticed.

“Thanks for your concern, Mr. Delk, but you let me worry about my career.” He motioned for Tompkins to remove Cecil from the room.

“We’ll have you out the second you’re arraigned, Cecil, don’t worry,” Coolidge offered. “They’ve got nothing.”

Pat Sinclair looked on in silence, racking his brain for some type of connection in all this for Cecil. Coming up empty, he played his last card.

“Detective Tompkins, just a second, please.”

Wayne paused at the door with the angry young man.

“Cecil, you do know those guys you were with? They’re not friendly guys like you, and they’re also not street punks. They run the streets for their local gangs, but it doesn’t end with them.”

Arrogant to the end, Cecil smirked. “You trying to make a point, Detective?”

Slipping into some arrogance of his own, Pat Sinclair leaned against the doorway. “My point is we picked up two million dollars in cash, and coke with a street value over six million. Your new friends? They deal in hundreds… maybe thousands, but millions? There’s someone bigger at the center of this and they didn’t get the drugs and their money was lost. Someone will have to answer for that.”

“Are you trying to intimidate my son Detective?”

“No, I’m trying to prevent any more lives being lost, Mr. Delk. If your son would just tell us where he got his coke from-”

Cecil kicked the door, pulling against the hold Tompkins had on his cuffed wrists. “I told you it’s not my coke!” With a glare over his shoulder at his father and attorney, Cecil Delk leaned toward the open door. “Get me outta here.”

Pat exchanged a knowing look with Tompkins and their captain before Tompkins took his suspect to booking. Rick Morgan followed close behind.

Delk and Coolidge also headed for the door.

“You must be desperate, Detective, using scare tactics on my son.”

“I’m not desperate and they’re not scare tactics, Mr. Delk. You’re a businessman, think about it. You negotiate for a product and end up without the product and payment. You’d be upset, right? And probably seek legal recourse, right?”

He walked over to the table and gathered his notes.

“People in the drug business don’t take legal action, Mr. Delk, they take lives.”

Delk’s smug facade faltered. He shot a glance at Coolidge, tilted his head toward the door and left without responding.

Pat hoped he was wrong, but Delk’s reaction spoke volumes.


Morgan sat on the desk across from Tompkins.

“Unless we get something solid on that kid, he’s going to walk or get fluff charges.”

Pat shook his head. All that dope and dead bodies… and he wasn’t going to do any hard time for it.

“As it stands now, Casey and Peters will get deals if their info on a couple of cold case murders pans out. Newsome’s going to be stuck with the hard federal time—life—unless he decides to give up his real boss.”

“I don’t think he knows, Capt. I think he believes Cecil is the boss.”

“Then it sucks to be him.” He stood. “But it won’t be our problem for much longer. DEA will show up sometime tomorrow to get the coke and Newsome. I’d love to have you both on-hand, but the commissioner is crawling up my ass about overtime hours. So officially, you two are off for the next two days. I hope this thing is just a bad memory by the time you clock in again.” He waved and headed for the on-call room for a quick nap before having to deal with the feds.

Tompkins scrubbed his hand down his face.

“Damn, I hate this shitty job sometimes.”

“Man, you and me both.” Pat sat up in his chair. “Wayne… before I let this go, there’s one more thing about this case with Delk.”

“What’s up?”

“I believe Delk, Sr. is in it up to his eyeballs.”

Wayne frowned. “Seriously?”

“Not many people in Creighton have the money to do business with this volume.”

“So, he’s guilty because he’s rich?”

“No, because of his son’s reactions.”


“Cecil didn’t say, “it’s not my coke,” he said, “It’s not my coke.” He knows the real owner. And when you took him out of here, the look he threw at his dad was accusatory.”

“Maybe you’re on to something, Pat. But we’ll never know for sure unless something major happens.”

He shut down his laptop.

“I’m gonna head out. Deb’s not over the flu and I need to get the Tompkins crew up and ready for school.”

“Up for school?” Pat glanced at the wall clock.

4:04. In the morning.

“Man, go on. Get out of here. I had no idea it was that late… or early. Last I noted the time was when Cecil’s daddy and lawyer showed up—at twenty minutes after one.”

Tompkins laughed, grabbing his coat. “Well, you could say we’re dedicated professionals more concerned with tracking down criminals than tracking time.”

“No, I think it’s more we’re a couple of schlubs who keep falling for the captain’s “It won’t take long” line.”

They shared a laugh, both knowing they would do anything Rick Morgan asked of them.

“I hope Deb feels better and tell Tyler he owes me a rematch in horseshoes.”

“Dude, I hope so too. Her mom said if Deb wasn’t better by the weekend, she was coming to stay with us to help out.” Tompkins shuddered. “I do not want that!”

“Better you than me! Enjoy the next couple of days off. See ya’ Friday.”

“You too, Sinclair.”

Pat knew Wayne Tompkins was already switching from police detective to husband and father in his head before the elevator even reached the first floor.

He made the last few entries in his own case file notes and emailed a copy to the captain, the desk sergeant, to himself, and to the queue of the records department.

With his part in the case done, fatigue to bore down on the fifty-two-year-old detective. He eased his bulky frame from his chair and stretched. The aches and pains of age joined in with the past job-related injuries and scarring to once again bring thoughts of retirement to mind.

Why do I keep doing this shitty job? I’ve put in my time. Served my community. Tried to be a good cop and make things better. Twenty-seven years is long enough. Let the new guys have it.

Pat grabbed his coat, needing to get home to Carla, the love of his life.


Pat Sinclair was relaxed and in a great mood as he drove into work. The two days spent with Carla were just what he needed. They’d taken a short road trip and made plans for their future. Pat wasn’t looking forward to telling his partner he was putting in his papers and would be gone by his next birthday.

Knowing his quiet time had to come to an end, Pat clicked on his police scanner to get the buzz.

“14, detectives have already left, and on-site cleanup is complete.”

“Identifications, B1?”

“Affirmative. And notifications have been made for the two victims, a white male, late teens-early twenties, and a white male, mid to late forties.”

Pat frowned as the communication continued.

“B1, these were the victims found bound, gagged and killed execution-style last night?”

“Affirmative, 14.”

Pat knew they wouldn’t say names over the police scanner, and he didn’t need to hear them.

He knew.

The Delks arrogance and total lack of street-smarts cost them their lives.

Pat felt bad for the family left behind. But, he had tried to warn them.

If you play with fire, you will get burned.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Take a Letter, Maria” – R.B. Greaves

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “letters”. 


Even though it’s about infidelity, this upbeat song with a Latin flair was a dance favorite and quickly gained airplay reaching number two on Billboards Hot 100. Released in September of 1969, Take a Letter, Maria was certified gold in early December of the same year. It would go on to sell nearly three million copies.

So many songs about broken marriages leave you crying in your beer or scarfing down Ben & Jerry’s. R.B. Greaves doesn’t seem too broken up over his… since he asks Maria out to start a new life!

The video is from a 1969 television performance… yes, it’s lip-synced, but check out that dicta-phone!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.


Take a Letter, Maria

Written and sung by R.B. Greaves

Last night as I got home, about a half past ten

There was the woman I thought I knew, in the arms of another man

I kept my cool, I ain’t no fool, let me tell you what happened then

I packed some clothes and I walked out, and I ain’t going back again

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

You’ve been many things but most of all a good secretary to me

And it’s times like this I feel you’ve always been close to me

Was I wrong to work nights to try to build a good life

All work and no play has just cost me a wife

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

When a man loves a woman it’s hard to understand

That she would find more pleasure in the arms of another man

I never really noticed how sweet you are to me

It just so happens I’m free tonight, would you like to have dinner with me

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

Lyrical Fiction Friday | “His Carla”

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This week’s lyric prompt is:

“…6:00 in the morning yawning and laying down next to you…”

For the rules, click on the lyric above. 

This is the last Lyrical Fiction Friday challenge. Many thanks to Marquessa Matthews for challenging writers to dig deep for the story. I missed a week or two and still have one continuation to complete so there will be more LFF posts from me coming soon.


I did a thing again with this week’s writing. Thank you, Mr. Migraine. At least you let me write something.

Instead of posting the same short story for Lyrical Fiction Friday and #52weeks52stories, I took the same characters… and went in two different directions. It’s so much fun being me! Enjoy!


Pat Sinclair made the last few entries in his case file notes. He emailed a copy to his sergeant and to himself, and finally to the queue of the records department.

With his latest case closed and files done, fatigue to bore down on the fifty-two-year-old detective. He eased his bulky frame from his chair and stretched. The aches and pains of age joined in with the past job-related injuries and scarring to once again bring thoughts of retirement to mind.

Why do I keep doing this shitty job? I’ve put in my time. Served my community. Tried to be a good cop and make things better. Twenty-seven years is long enough. Let the new guys have it.

Sinclair thought of the kids coming into the department… with four-year college degrees and not a single clue in their designer-hairstyle covered heads.

Most wouldn’t make it a decade and almost none would get as far as he had. The pay would drive most away. Gen Xers and millennials felt they deserved condos, sports cars, and fancy vacations—things a cop’s salary could never cover. Especially if they had a family.


The thought made him smile as he bagged the remains of an hours-old sandwich, dropped it in the trashcan and headed for the elevator.

He knew he was a blessed man.

Five great kids with no major problems, and his youngest would graduate from college in five months. He was a good, supportive dad, but he also knew he couldn’t take the credit for such an amazing family.

That honor went to Carla Sinclair, his wife of thirty years.

Pat grabbed his coat, needing to get home to the love of his life.

He’d witnessed many marriages implode over the years. Being married to a cop wasn’t a walk in the park. Resentment could grow in even the most supportive spouses and partners after years of the job coming first.

But not his Carla.

Despite the missed dinners, abrupt exits from school events, and canceled vacations, she stood by his side, never complaining.

The irony was the Sinclair arguments were almost always started by him because of his guilt for working so much. But his Carla was still the voice of reason.

“When we got together, I knew I’d have to share you, although back then, it was with the military. But I knew you were that guy… the guy who lives to serve and protect… the hero. And while others may not see you as a hero, you’re my hero and you always will be.”

His steps quickened when he exited the elevator in the lower level parking garage. Raising his hand, Pat clicked his remote starter as he walked down the ramp. He heard his GMC Terrain roar to life and was grateful to find the air blasting from the heater already warming when he climbed inside.

Chalk up another one in the win-column for the all-knowing Carla Sinclair.

The remote starter was her Father’s Day gift to him, so he wouldn’t have to sit in a cold vehicle until it warmed up.

She was always thinking of him.

He’d learned years ago he couldn’t keep up with her, much less, outdo her, but Pat Sinclair was no quitter.

While his coworkers funneled their overtime dollars to weekend camping trips and tech-inspired man-caves, Pat left his overtime pay… in addition to his regular pay, in the business-savvy hands of his Carla. Combined with her pay as a billings manager for a busy vision-care center, she paid the mortgage, household expenses, notes and maintenance on two cars, clothed and fed five kids, and made him look like a million dollars. When they sat down together each month, Pat beamed with pride at all she’d done, and still manage to squirrel a few dollars away into their savings.

Which was why Pat never turned over all his pay. He had his own small savings account for one reason only… his Carla. Whenever he managed to get two or three days off together, Pat would take her to dinner at an upscale restaurant or to a show. Whatever she wanted. Planning was difficult in the early days when the kids were small but one of their mothers or his aunt Joyce would come to his rescue.

Experience taught him in order to keep his job from cutting into his time off, Pat needed to leave town for special time with his Carla… so he did. Whether it was live theater in the city or making love all weekend at a tiny bed and breakfast two towns away, it didn’t matter to him as long as they were together.

Turning off the thoroughfare, Pat entered Crestwood, the family neighborhood he and Carla had lived in for all of their married life.

Many of their friends from the early years fled the congestion of the city for ranch-style homes in the suburbs, but Pat and Carla loved the big, rambling colonials lining Graves Avenue and stayed put.

He pulled into the driveway of house number two-forty… home.

In an instant, too many cases, not enough manpower, and the many stresses of his job faded from Pat’s mind.

He looked up at the weather-beaten roof. He was thankful it didn’t leak but tiles slipped out of place with each storm. The black shutters adorning each window were now grayer in color thanks to the heat of summer and winter’s freezing temps. Pat cringed as he noticed even in the dawn’s muted light, he could see paint curling around the windows. The house had last been painted when Trevor entered second grade, and in a few short months, he would be a college graduate.

Making a mental note to sit down with his wife and make a list of needed home improvements, Pat exited his SUV, house-key in hand. He had thoughts of retirement daily and he knew Carla was ready to explore a home-based business. With no more tuition payments to make, they could take care of the home repairs and settle into a more relaxed way-of-life.

Letting himself in, Pat grinned at a familiar sight… a note from his wife.

Over the years, Pat’s erratic schedule and caseload might see him home long enough only to shower and change clothes. He could miss seeing Carla or their kids depending on the time of say.

So, Carla left him notes.

Some were obvious—on the hall closet door, the stove, or the bathroom mirror.

Others were not—in his underwear drawer, their medicine cabinet, or the jacket pocket of a suit coat.

Carla’s notes would update Pat on mishaps and ER visits for the kids, upcoming school events, or just that she loved him.

Pat Sinclair loved her notes and saved everyone. His favorite was when after a stressful evening of nursing four kids with the flu while pregnant with a fifth, Carla’s note left on the hall closet door informed him she was running away to join the circus.

“I vowed to love you for better or for worse, but I’m drawing the line at projectile vomiting.”

He laughed at the memory while grabbing the latest note from the closet door.

“There’s stroganoff on the warmer or a turkey and Swiss in the fridge. Also, cold beer or lemonade. And because I’m an awesome wife… and somewhat fond of you, there’s a German Chocolate cake on the counter.”

The corners of his lips quirked into a light smile and he raised his eyes heavenward, thankful for having this amazing woman as his wife. His Carla.

His stomach considered the food she’d left for him, but his heart propelled him toward the stairs, which he took two at a time while turning off his cell phone.

Entering their bedroom, Pat’s heart swelled when his eyes rested on his sleeping wife. She lay on his side of the bed, clutching his pillow.

Tearing at his clothes, he rushed into the bathroom for a five-minute shower to remove the stench of the last twenty-four hours.

After toweling off, Pat crawled into bed behind his wife, pulling her back against him.

Stirring, Carla nestled against him, looking over her shoulder.

“Excuse me, sir, but have we met?”

He kissed her temple.

“Yes, ma’am. Just over thirty years ago at a summer carnival. You sold me popcorn.”

She smirked. “Thirty years ago? You expect me to remember that?”

Pat pulled her closer and rested his head on the pillow. “You don’t have to. I remember everything.”

Carla turned in his arms, laying her head on his chest. After a few minutes, she glanced up. “Is everything okay.”

He kissed her forehead. “It’s 6:00 in the morning, I’m yawning and laying down next to you. Everything’s fine in my world.”

They were both asleep in minutes, Pat Sinclair holding onto the woman who made it all make sense. His Carla.