Winning Her Back Pt II

Part One is here.

He moved through the house, picking up odds and ends scattered all over the place. Pizza boxes, beer bottles and dirty clothes littered the floor. ‘Christ, I’m a fucking slob. Why didn’t I pay attention to Tammy before now?’ The trash went into the can while the clothes went in the hamper. Twenty minutes later, the house looked more presentable. ‘What else should I do?’ A glance across the bedroom revealed both hampers to be full of dirty laundry.

He emptied her hamper on the bed and sorted the articles into separate baskets. “Bloody hell, she has a lot of different clothes. How does she wear them all?” He sighed and carried the load of panties into the laundry room. After reading the tags, he placed them into the washing machine with the detergent and fabric softener and then started the cycle. The phone went off, reminding him that Tammy’s flight was due to land in two hours.

Brett strolled through the house, wondering how to best start the process of winning his wife back. The bathroom was where the idea hit him. He nodded to himself and strode to the garage. Several minutes of searching revealed the location of caulking and tile. ‘She’d like the idea of me turning the bathroom into a personal beach.’ Gathering the tiles, caulk, tape measure and wet saw, he placed them on his tool cart. Half-way across the garage, he stopped. ‘What if she hates the idea? That would be too many hours of work for nothing. I should check with her first.’ Sighing, he pushed the cart to the far wall and checked the time. ‘An hour left. Time to go.’

***

A tall redhead with a marathoner’s physique approached him. Her auburn tresses ignored her ponytail to fall over her forehead. She dragged a wheeled carry-on behind her. Another bag hung crossways over her body. Even looking exhausted from her trip, Tammy was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. ‘How long has it been since I told her that?’

“Hello, beautiful.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. ‘That long? Damn. I really have slacked off.’ She then smiled. “Hello, Brett. How’re you?”

“Good.” He held his hand out. “Shall I take your luggage?”

She blinked a couple of times, and raised her eyebrow. “Sure.” After he slung the bag over his shoulder.
“What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?”

“Offering to carry my bag.”

“Has it been so long since I did?”

“Four years.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For not offering to carry my stuff?” She chuckled. “It’s not that big of a deal. I’m a big girl.”

He looked over her body, taking in the hip hugging blue jeans and grey sweater which did nothing to conceal her C-cup breasts. “Girl? Not hardly, my love.”

She rolled her eyes and glanced away, but not fast enough to prevent him from seeing the pleased smile on her face. They reached his car and he opened her door for her. Ignoring her quizzical expression, he closed it behind her and put her bags in the trunk.

Sliding in and starting the car, Brett exited the parking area and headed to I-95. He glanced to his wife. “How was your trip?”

“Pretty boring, mainly.”

“Since when is negotiating boring for you?”

“That part was fun, as usual, but most of the trip was spent in my hotel room.”

“That sucks.”

“I know. I wish you could have come. You could use the vacation.”

“I’m telling Brianna I’m taking some time starting next week.”

“Really?” She turned to him. Light from the street lamps illuminated him in brief orange flashes. “Why is that?”

He looked over to her again. “To spend more time with you.” And then returned his attention to the road.

“Wow.” She glanced out the front window and then back to him. “Did you have a near death experience?”

“What? No.”

“Oh my god. Are you cheating on me?”

“The fuck?” He whipped his head around to focus on her. “Why would you ask such a stupid question, Tamara?”

“Those are the top two reasons for someone to suddenly start paying attention to their spouse after years of ignoring them.”

“That is why.”

“What? Because you’ve been ignoring me?”

“Yes.” He reached over to take his wife’s hand. “I didn’t realize I’d been ignoring you until recently.”

“Oh? What brought me to your attention again?”

He sighed but didn’t answer. Coming to their exit, he took the off ramp and five minutes later, turned into their driveway. She maintained the silence which had fallen after her question. He turned off the car and turned sideways in his seat.

Winning Her Back, pt 1

      Brett strolled into the tavern and took his customary seat at the far end of the bar near the bathrooms. Both of his favorite bartenders were on shift. Lacy, dressed as always in all black, stacked up a stretch of longnecks, and popped their tops in rapid succession. The crowd of guys near her cheered in appreciation.

     Steven strolled over and passed him a bottle of Bud without asking. He was an odd type: He dressed according to a theme. This week was TV cowboy.

      Pushing his white Stetson back, he said, “Howdy, pardner.”

     “Aw, you’re gonna talk like a cowpoke in addition to dressin’ like one?”

     “Heh heh heh. Naw.” Steven picked up a rag and wiped the surface. “How’ve you been, man?”

     “Not good.” Brett took a long pull of his drink. After wiping this lips, he set the bottle down. “I think Tammy is cheating on me.”

       “Yikes.” The bartender flipped the cloth over his shoulder. “Why do you think that?”

   “She’s more distant, spending most of her free time on the computer. She also recoils when I try to touch her.”

     “Ouch. That sucks.” He turned to the rack of liquor, grabbed the tequila and poured a couple of shots. “On me.”

     “I appreciate it.” Brett tossed back the alcohol and shuddered. It was harder than he was used to.

     “Have you caught her?”

   “What?” His brow wrinkled. “No. I’d have said I was divorced otherwise.”

     “Do you love her?”

     “Of course I do. She’s the light of my life. The literal, as well as figurative, woman of my dreams.”

     “Want some advice?”

     “Yes, please.”

     Someone yelled out.

     “One moment.” Steven strode up the bar and spoke to the guy who’d shouted.

     He pointed to Brett who stood to go to the restroom, allowing his coat to fall open, showing off the shoulder holster with the Sig Sauer 9mm, and most importantly, the gold detective’s shield clipped to his belt.

     A few minutes later, he reclaimed his seat and finished off his beer. Steven strolled over and handed him another. “Where were we?”

      “You’d just found out that I’d welcome some advice.”

      “Woo her.”

      “What?”

      “Woo your wife. Court her.” Lacy called for a whiskey sour, and he began to mix one. “Seduce  Tammy.”

     “How?”

     “Think back to how you won her over to begin with.” Steven took the drink to his partner and waited on some new people who’d come in. The place was getting crowded.

      Brett thought back to when he and Tammy were dating. There was laughter back then. A lot more than now. ‘When did we start to drift apart?’ He took another swig of Bud. ‘Why wasn’t I paying more attention to her?’

     Lacy sashayed over. “Hey, Handsome. Want another?”

     “Yeah, one more before I hit the road.”

     She retrieved the bottle from the ice and set it on the counter. Steven beckoned her to his end of the bar before she could say anything else. Brett glanced up at the television, not really seeing the baseball game.

     “You seem deep in thought.”

     Lacy’s sudden words surprised him. He turned from the screen to see her leaning on the bar, resting her chin on her palms. “I am.”

     “Penny for your thoughts?”

     “I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong in my marriage.”

     “May I make a suggestion?”

     His eyebrow went up. This was unusual. “Sure.”  She usually kept her thoughts to herself.

     “Don’t dwell on how, or where, you went wrong.”

     “What should I do, then?”

     “Well, I don’t know of any woman who doesn’t like flowers. If she goes on a trip, and comes back, greet her with a bouquet of her favorites.” Lacy straightened. “You do know her favorite flower, right?”

     “Of course I do.” He rose and fished out his wallet. Placing a fifty on the bar, he smiled. “She loves the wildflowers called Blanketflower and Blue Bell.” After adjusting his sport coat, he waved to his friends. “Keep the change.”

     The two thanked him as he headed out into the evening air. ‘Call a cab, or walk?’ A glance to the sky revealed a full moon with some fast-moving clouds. ‘Walk. It’s a beautiful night.’

     After a short hike, he stood in front of the thick oak door that marked his house. He unlocked the three deadbolts and stepped in. Once inside, he removed his jacket and shoulder holster, placing both within the closet.