Read Callahan's Fate Online

Authors: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Callahan's Fate (8 page)

“Yeah, it was,” he replied. “And here’s
hoping it will be again.
 
I’m glad you
like it.
 
Wanna
go down to the beach?”

“I’d love to,” she said. “It’s a
gorgeous day.”

Callahan had to agree.
 
Above, the October sky stretched high and
blue, the shade deep and vibrant.
 
The
sun sparkled like a pirate’s gold coin, tossed for luck.
 
Despite the cooler temperatures last night,
the day seemed warm, and the slight breeze wafting in from the ocean remained
pleasant.
  
When he inhaled, he could
smell the salt tang of the sea mingled with the delicious aromas wafting from
the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on the corner of Surf Avenue.
 
From somewhere down the boardwalk, he picked
up the smell of fresh popcorn and cotton candy, too.
 
His spirits lifted higher, and he strolled
with his lady toward the beach the way couples had done for more than a hundred
years.
 
Cal savored those words—
his lady—
and decided she was, whether
she knew it yet or not.

“After a while, we’ll come back and have
a Coney Island dog,” he told her.

Raine
nodded. “Sure.”

They took their time to reach the beach,
pausing often to admire the seascape stretching out into the Atlantic.
 
Cal enjoyed her company, and the more they
talked, he came to appreciate her intelligence and soft wit.
 
The ocean soothed his troubled spirits, too,
and by the time they’d walked along the beach for a while, he couldn’t remember
when he’d last felt so good or normal.
 
With sand in their shoes, they abandoned the beach for the pier. When
they reached the end, they sat down for a while, took off their shoes, and sat
with their bare feet dangling above the water.
 
Gulls wheeled toward the clouds, and their cries echoed over the land.
 
Callahan let the peace of the moment wrap
around him and yielded to the serenity.
 

“This is great,” he told
Raine
.
 
He wanted to
better describe the wonderful way he felt, but he couldn’t.

She smiled at him and rested one hand on
his knee. “Yes, it’s very pleasant.
 
I
love this.
 
I think I could sit here all
day.”

He felt the same. “It’d be nice.
 
We can, if you want.”
  
Raine
leaned
over and rested her head against his shoulder.
 
He liked it, but her proximity also stiffened his dick. “I can’t, though.
 
I have to get home by five or so to get my
lesson plans ready for the week.
 
I
suppose you work tomorrow, too?”

“Yeah, seven-thirty until four,” he
said. “Longer, if something happens and I need to stay.
 
I’m on duty every day until next Sunday,
then
I’ll be off through Monday. Where are you tomorrow?”

“I’m in Queens tomorrow, at a shelter
for families in the morning,” she told him. “Then I’m back in mid-Manhattan at
a rehab center. I spend the last class of the day with at-risk kids at one of
the high schools.
 
I finish up around
four,
then
I’m done for the day.”

“Yeah?
You won’t be
too far from my place.
 
Wanna
meet for dinner or something?”

Without hesitation, she nodded. “I’d
like that, Cal, very much.”

So did Callahan.
 
The workweek he hadn’t been looking forward
to brightened a little. “Then we will.
 
How about you meet me at the Thirty-Fourth Street subway station? Then
we’ll grab a bite to eat or whatever.”

“Sure, then it’s a plan.”

“So what are you teaching them
tomorrow?”

“We’re reading Betty Smith’s
A Tree Grows
In
Brooklyn
. The kids like it so far, and they can relate to the poverty and
the hard life, even though it was set a hundred years or so ago.
 
Have you ever read it?”

“Read it? It was my grandma’s favorite
book.
 
She always swore she grew up a lot
like Francie Nolan,” he said. “I’ve read it several times and seen the old
movie twice.
 
That’s cool,
Raine
.”

She beamed at his praise. “I think
so.
 
It’s one of my favorite classic
American novels.
 
I haven’t seen much
that looks like the things described in the book, though.”

“You’d have to go to Williamsburg for
that, doll.
 
Most of the tenements are
gone, replaced by housing projects not so different from where I grew up in
Alphabet City.
 
Some of the stores,
though, they haven’t changed so much.
 
If
you want, sometime I’ll take you there if you promise to stick close.”

“Yes, please. I guess not today?”


Naw
, we’re
way out here at Coney Island, and we’d need to plan for it, but some other time,
I promise.”

“Cross your heart and hope to die?”

Callahan laughed. “So they say that old
shit out in Missouri, too?”

“Oh, yeah, we do.”

Out to sea, he noticed a bank of dark
gray clouds approaching. “Ever hear the one that goes
Rain, rain, go away, come again another day
?

“Sure, why?”


’Cause
I’d
say it’s
gonna
rain sooner rather than later.
 
Check out the storm coming this way.”

As he spoke, the wind shifted direction
and increased, cooler than before.
 
Within moments, the sun vanished behind the clouds.
 
Raine
shivered and
snuggled closer. “I hate to say it, but I think you’re right.”

“So let’s go before we get soaked.”

They made it as far as the comfort
station across from the Coney Island entrance from Surf Avenue before the
downpour hit.
 
Raine
yelped as the cold raindrops pelted them so Callahan ducked under the edge of
the restroom building roof.
 
He wrapped
his arms around her and maneuvered her against the building so he could block
most of the showers. “You know,” he said over the noise of the rain. “I’m beginning
to think this is because of you.”

She looked perplexed. “How do you figure
that?”

“It’s rained every time so far we’ve
been together, and your name’s
Raine
so I figure you
draw it, like lighting or something.” He kept his tone light so she’d know he
kidded her.
 
“How’d you end up with the
name anyhow? Was it raining when you were born or something?”

Pink flushed her cheeks. “Well, no.”

“Your parents
fond of rain, then?”

Her obvious embarrassment made Cal
curious, so he pushed it a little.

“Not really,” she replied. “It’s, uh, a
nickname, really.”

“Say what? Then what’s your name? C’mon,
give it up, I told you mine.”

Raine
managed a
smile. “Yes, you did, but I asked.
 
You
didn’t.”

“I am now.”

She pursed her lips into a bow and blew
out air. “I noticed.
 
Oh, all right.
 
It’s Lorraine.”

Lorraine
...
 
Maybe a little old-fashioned, but he found it
pretty. “What’s wrong with Lorraine?”

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s just when I
was very small I had trouble saying my full name and told people my name was
Raine
.
 
By the time I
reached junior high, everyone called me
Raine
, even
my parents.
 
Now you know.”

“Lorraine.” He tested it out and she
winced.

“Don’t call me that, Aloysius,” she
replied.

Callahan laughed. It might be worth it
to tease her sometime, but not now.
 
He
could tell she’d get angry if he did. “All right, all right, so I won’t.
 
We’re even then,
Raine
.
 
You’re turning out to be a woman of
mystery.
 
Got any more secrets?”

“Not really,” she said. “What about
you?”

The question curdled his mood.
 
He might not call them secrets, but there
were things he wasn’t ready to share.
 
Cal worried his dark truths might change her opinion of him, and he
didn’t want to see her admiration turn to displeasure or worse, scorn.
 
Maybe she wouldn’t blame him the way he did
himself, but he was too chicken to find out.
 
“Nothing worth knowing,” he said.
 
His tone sharpened despite his effort to keep it light.
 

They stood facing one another, and he
watched her expression shift from complacent to anxious. “Callahan?” she said,
voice soft. “Something’s bothering you.
 
I know from a few things you’ve said, and I can see it must be something
terrible.
 
So you’ve got baggage.
 
We all do.
 
Won’t you tell me? I’m not going to judge you or anything.”

His first response, which he squelched,
was to lash out at her because she nailed it so well.
 
With most people, his mask held and no one
saw beneath the façade, but
Raine
did.
 
Cal bit down on the hot words that bubbled to
his mouth and waited a long moment.
 
“I
will, someday, doll,” he said. “I don’t want to ruin the day talking about any
of it.
 
Hell, I don’t even want to think
about it.
 
Okay?”

Her fingers cupped his cheek in a light
caress. “All right, but don’t hold back much longer.
 
I want to see a lot more of you, and I don’t
want anything between us.”

Cal put his hand over hers.
 
“Me, either.
 
Thanks,
Raine
, for
understanding.
 
You’re great, you know?”

He meant it.
 
She ducked her head, nodded. “I try,
Callahan.”

“Then keep on with it, baby.
 
I need it, lots more than you know.”

“Then I’ll do my best.”
Raine
stood on tiptoe to kiss him.
 
He expected it to be light and fleeting, but
she surprised him.
 
The kiss was anything
but gentle as her mouth devoured his with a feverish passion.
   
It awakened his desire, and he gave back
all he offered with greed, tempered with a gentleness he hadn’t known he
possessed.
 
God, he wanted her naked and
willing.
 
If she kept kissing like this,
it would happen sooner rather than later.
 
Cal pulled her tighter against his body and held her close.
 
His dick hardened and pressed against
her.
 
She had to notice, and when she
rubbed against him, he almost groaned.
 
Glad she was
aware,
her movements put him in
something close to agony.
 
If they’d been
anyplace else, he might have lost control.
 

When he stepped back to draw a breath,
Callahan noticed the rain had stopped.
 
“Hey, look!”

As he spoke, a brilliant ray of sunshine
burst through the clouds and illuminated the beach with a golden hue.
 
“It’s like a blessing,”
Raine
said. “It’s beautiful.”

Callahan agreed.
 
The way the light played across the sand
created such a lovely effect that it touched him deep within.
 
It contributed to the faint beginning of
something he thought he’d lost forever—hope—but he knew most of the credit was
due to
Raine
Teasdale.

With a light step and an almost merry
heart, he escorted her across the beach and boardwalk back to the original
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on Surf Avenue. This time there
was
 
more
than one kind of hunger burning
in his gut.
 
The first, he could fill
here, but the second loomed large between them, an unspoken presence that would
have to be dealt with very soon.

 

Chapter Six

 

Watching sunlight and shadows play
across the beach,
Raine
knew one thing.
 
She had fallen hard for this cop, and if she
didn’t love him yet, she was halfway there.
 
Callahan moved her in ways no other guy ever had.
 
His kisses brought her from zero to eighty in
seconds, her body revving like a race car engine with a wild desire and a need
for speed.
 
His dark, good looks appealed
to her, but what touched her most was his combination bravado and anguish.
 
She adored his New York accent, exotic to her
Midwest-raised ears, and the way he carried himself, with a cocky swagger and a
cop’s touch exterior.
 
He spoke with both
intelligence and authority.
 
Toward her,
he displayed nothing but definite interest, gentle caring, and open
appreciation.
 
Who couldn’t resist such a
combination, even if he wasn’t to-die-for gorgeous?

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