Home > Tall, Dark & Lonely (Pyte/Sentinel #1)(9)

Tall, Dark & Lonely (Pyte/Sentinel #1)(9)
Author: R.L. Mathewson

The water shut off. “Yes?”

Jill’s voice answered, “You told me to tell you when it was five.”

Ephraim’s eyes shot to his watch. Well, her sister was a prompt little thing. It was five on the dot. “Oh, darn it, I’m coming.”

He closed his eyes and listened to her every movement. She wrapped a towel around her, unlocked his side of the door, scooped up her dirty clothes and went into her room, closing the bathroom door behind her.

“Shit!” He was really about to piss himself. He hurried into the bathroom, careful to lock her door on the way to the toilet. No need for either woman to see a man piss blood. It would probably send them screaming or fainting. He flushed the toilet all the while listening to what was going on in the next room. Ephraim moved around purposely making noise, no need for them to think he was creepy or anything.

Madison could hear Ephraim walking around in the bathroom. She sighed, thinking he was probably getting ready for one of his extra long showers. She hadn’t seen him in over a month since the day she walked home. It was almost as if he was avoiding her which was strange. He seemed very friendly that day. Of course she was being ridiculous. He was a police detective, a very busy man. It only seemed like he was avoiding her.

She put the hair drier down and spritzed hair gel through her hair as she watched Jill lounge on her bed with a magazine. “I really like your outfit, Jill.”

Jill’s face lit up. “Really?”

She wore a very cute understated blouse and skirt. Her boyfriend of two weeks was coming over tonight. Seth was a straight "A" student and a down to earth guy and Jill was madly in love with him. When she dressed like a slut he avoided her so she tried another angle, being herself.

Madison made a bet with her. She challenged Jill to dress like she used to before Candy showed up and forget everything Candy taught her about men. Reluctantly she tried it and three days later Seth showed up for dinner. He was a nice kid and Madison thought he was a god for getting her sister back in line. A feat she thought would take a year and a convent to do.

Candy did not take the change well. She pouted around the house for days. She let Jill know that she was so upset with her and went as far as refusing to eat with "the boy who wrecked her daughter." Yet she was willing to get drunk with a thirty-five year old man moments after he took her fifteen year old daughter’s virginity. Go figure.

It took a few days but soon Candy happily ignored Jill’s presence the same way she ignored Joshua. She also quit working for Grandma and found work in the next town over. She still lived here, but only until she had enough to move out which was soon. Candy wouldn’t admit it to Grandma, but everyone knew that she was working as a bartender at a strip club. She took a fit the night she was hired. They told her she was too old to strip or wait tables. Money helped her get over that. The patrons always tipped her well to keep them in drinks.

“I can’t believe after a week we finally get to meet prince charming,” Jill said teasingly.

She laughed. “Stop calling him that! His name is David!”

Jill giggled. “Okay, I'll call him David to his face then.”

“Thank you.”

Jill went back to her magazine while she dressed. She decided on a dress, something casual. She looked up to find Jill watching her with interest.


“So, are you going to tell me what he looks like or do you want it to be a surprise?”

Madison rolled her eyes. “I’m surprised you don’t know. The three times we went out you were waiting by the window.”

Jill sighed. “We tried, but we couldn’t see anything. The way this house is setup is so inconvenient. The only thing I know is that he drives a black car.”

“Then you know enough.”

Jill jumped off the bed. “That’s not fair! Come on, please!” She placed her hands together in a praying gesture and jumped up and down.

“Oh all right, sit down before you pass out from excitement.”

“Sure thing!” Jill crawled back on the bed. “Well?”

“Don’t rush me. What do you want to know?”

“Is he a good kisser?”

They heard something crash in the bathroom followed by a curse. They ignored it. “He’s okay I guess.”

“Is he handsome?” Jill nibbled on her lip.


Jill looked up at the ceiling deep in thought. She wasn’t happy with the answer and needed a comparison. “Is he better looking than Ephraim?”

She wanted to lie, but Jill would see for herself in less than twenty minutes. “No, he’s not as handsome as Ephraim.” She continued quickly. “He’s really nice. He’s an expert on British history and he’s a perfect gentleman.”

“He sounds dull,” Jill said.

“He is not!”

“Do you think…that you know he’ll be the one that you let…you know?”

She did know. Being a twenty-three year old virgin was starting to grate on her. She wasn’t saving herself for marriage or anything. “I don’t know. I can think of worse men to take a chance on. If I did I think he would be gentle and respectful.”

“So, you think you might with him?”

“Yes, I think so. If things continue the way they are.”

“Do you love him?”

“I think I like him,” she hedged. She just met the guy, but couldn't say that because Jill would think she was putting down her relationship with Seth.

Jill nodded. “Just don’t rush into it. I know I messed up and I regret it. I wish I hadn’t. I wished it had been with a nice guy. Just….just be sure, okay?” She looked sad.

Madison hated seeing her sad. She knew Jill cried at night over what happened. She really wanted to slap Candy upside the head for this. Instead she threw a balled up pair of socks at Jill. “Hey come on, no crying. You don’t want that boyfriend of yours to think that you cry over him.”

That got her attention. She jumped up and ran to the mirror, pushing Madison over to check her lip gloss. She looked very pretty and very fifteen.

She smoothed down her dress. “We should go downstairs. They’ll be here any minute.”

“I can’t wait!” Jill giggled.

They walked downstairs, talking and laughing. Grandma met them in the foyer and smiled. “One of my favorite guys is in the living room waiting for you, Jill.” Grandma loved him as well. He made her job easier and who wouldn’t love that?

Grandma lowered her voice. “We have a surprise guest tonight.”


“Oh, you have no idea how happy I am that he’s eating with us. Listen, I know your special friend is coming over tonight, but I need to sit him between you and Joshua. You two seem to irritate him less. I’ll sit your friend across from you which is more proper for a dinner anyway.”


A buzzer went off. “Oh, that’s my roast!” Grandma hurried down the hallway, leaving Madison to wonder. It had to be Reverend Michaels. Grandma was constantly trying to get the man to stay for a meal. He was nice and she did enjoy talking with him and Joshua loved playing chess with him. Hmm, having the Reverend here wouldn’t be bad. Candy was too much of a coward to make a scene in front of him.

Joshua walked out of the living room fidgeting with the tie Grandma most likely made him wear. “You really should go in there. It’s rude to make your friend wait for you.”

She froze. “He’s here? Why didn’t Grandma tell me?”

He shrugged. “Probably ‘cause I’m the one who let him in and she didn’t know.”

“Joshua, you are enough to drive me to drink.” She playfully pushed him on her way to the living room.

David sat on the couch, making conversation with Mrs. Adle, the resident widow. She was a sweet old woman who liked nothing better than to talk about her grandchildren.

“Oh, look who’s here.” Mrs. Adle smiled in Madison’s direction.

David’s blue eyes lit up. He pushed his shoulder length blond hair back as he walked over to kiss her on the cheek. Madison ignored Joshua’s gagging noise. “I’m sorry I didn't know that you were here yet.”

“It’s fine. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Mrs. Adle so I can’t complain.” Mrs. Adle beamed. Madison ran her eyes around the living room. The good Reverend wasn’t here yet and thankfully neither was Candy.

David didn’t know much about her. She really should have warned him, but she couldn’t force herself. This was a nice guy and Candy would send him running for the hills. He was so old fashioned. He already told her he hated guys that went to strip clubs. What would he think if he found out that her mother worked at one?

Grandma poked her head in. “Dinner is on the table.”

David gestured for her to lead. She walked into the large dining room. It was the second largest room in the house, the kitchen was the first. It was custom designed for Grandma years ago when she decided to turn the house into a boarding house. The table was long enough to sit sixteen.

“David, why don’t you sit here? Oh, and Madison you sit here.” Grandma gestured to the third seat away from the end where she sat.

Madison stepped around the chair and was about to sit down when the chair was pushed in behind her, helping her scoot forward. David was such a gentleman. She looked over her shoulder, smiling “Thank you,-" the last word caught in her throat as she looked at the one man she hadn't expected.


Chapter 5

“You’re welcome,” Ephraim said. He took the seat between her and Joshua. Joshua grinned hugely at Ephraim.

“I mashed the potatoes!” Joshua announced.

“Then I believe I shall have a double helping,” Ephraim said, making Joshua’s day.

Madison couldn’t help but notice David and Ephraim eyeing each other.

“Help yourselves, please,” Grandma said as she started passing the bowls of food around. That reminded Madison to make introductions.

“Grandma, this is my friend David. David, this is my grandmother, Mrs. Buckman.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” David said smoothly.

“David, this is Ephraim.” David’s smile faltered a touch before he pulled it back.

Ephraim stood and extended his hand. “I reside here as well,” Ephraim explained. David noticeably relaxed.

“I’m sorry you probably won’t have the chance to meet my daughter Emma, Madison’s mother, she called and said she would be delayed.”

Madison exhaled slowly and relaxed. “Are you okay?” Ephraim whispered.

“Yes,” she whispered back. David was talking with John, another renter, while he eyed Ephraim.

“You’ll have to introduce them sometime. It would be better if you just got it over with,” he whispered.

Annoyance shot through her. “Mind your business,” she hissed.

He chuckled softly as he loaded his plate with mashed potatoes and then handed them off. Ephraim looked at his plate and sighed. The food looked good and smelled great he just hated what he would have to do later. If he didn’t force it from his system it would just rot in his stomach. Damn he hated that part.

It couldn’t be avoided tonight. After what he heard her talk about tonight he couldn’t sit back. Curiosity was a bitch. It had him running down the stairs before them to tell an excited Mrs. Buckman that he would like to join them for dinner tonight. She was thrilled. He was impatient. He wanted to see the man that Madison had settled for.

So far he was not impressed. This guy seemed too conceited. He was hiding something, he was sure of it. Everything in him was telling him this guy was full of shit. He just had to find out what it was. He was doing Madison a favor by finding out. She obviously held off losing her virginity for a reason. If she lost it to this prick she wouldn’t be happy, he was sure of that. Only thing to do was help her see it.

“So, David, what do you do exactly? Madison tells me you’re an expert of British history.” Mrs. Buckman started the conversation rolling. He could kiss her.

“I’m an author. I’m currently writing a book covering nineteenth century England.” Meaning someone loved Ephraim. It was fate that this guy chose the century he was born. Now he just had to use it to his advantage.

“How do you make a living if you’re writing a book?” Joshua asked. The boy was getting a bike for Christmas that’s all there was to it.

David squirmed in his seat. “It doesn’t pay anything yet.”

“So, then what do you do to pay the bills?” Joshua asked. Forget the bike he was getting a go-cart.

“Joshua! That’s rude!” Mrs. Buckman, Madison and Jill said in unison. Ephraim had to fight a smile. This was fun. He should do this more often.

David put his fork down and held up a hand. “It’s fine.” He smiled warmly at everyone. “I actually work in a book store in the next town. I enjoy the work.”

“Oh,” Joshua sounded disappointed, making David squirm more. He really liked this kid. “So, do you have to live with your parents then?”

Several of the other boarders coughed, trying to hide their chuckles. Mrs. Buckman looked embarrassed. “Joshua, you’re being very rude tonight,” Madison said.

Joshua bit his lip and looked like he was about to cry. Ephraim took pity on the boy since he was doing his dirty work for him. He put an arm around Joshua and gave him a quick squeeze. “The boy’s just making conversation. I would take it as a compliment, Madison. He’s the man of the family.” Joshua sat up straighter with those words and puffed out his chest. “He’s just trying to get to know David.” Ephraim shot David a smile. “You don’t mind do you? He doesn’t mean any harm after all.” Not like Ephraim.

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