Chapter 6: 10 of Cups

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Joy, lasting happiness, unity, trust, rapport. Emotional completion, realization of hopes. An extremely posititve card for matters of love, emotions, values, shared happiness, spiritual growth, well-being.

If God Himself appeared to announce perfecting a cross-over dribble would suddenly transform him into a 6'6" NBA shooting guard, Eddie imagined he would've complied as totally and without question.

Absolutely, I can handle this, Eddie told the mirror's reflection soothingly, watching it slather on shaving cream. Shave, shower, food, talk. No problem. No problem with the most incredible woman ever walking straight into his living room after what, eight-and-a-half years? Marlena Christie was here, the other side of that wall, and anything heaven or hell demanded as payback would be a slam-dunk 'Yes!' from his side.

What the hell ever possessed him to leave her, to believe any grandness of destiny lay beyond the sweet, radiant reality Marlena had been, certainly still was? A second semester junior with a scattering of attaboys! from professors, a dozen freelance credits, and the admiration of a mostly female campus publication staff, and taking a flyer on Roddy's political connection had seemed more reasonable than changes she'd wanted him to accept.

He'd buried the idea pretty effectively these spirit-breaking eight years, but wondering about that fabulous ex-girlfriend and her money had come up plenty during periodic dragging of economic depths. The enormity of everything she'd offered on the proverbial silver platter, why had he equated being loved in luxury with losing something more important? 

All she'd said was she wanted him beside her and economics would never be anything to worry about...

Taking critical inventory of his reflection while carving initial tracks into the lather with a fresh disposable, he approved of the mirrors square-jawed image.

Keeping things lean as a college swimmer was ancient history, but he was within training of being a hard body, and the stroke on his jumper wasn't any less sweet for being one-ninety-seven. His chest, shoulders, arms, and abs were tight and legit, and he could rationalize carrying a couple extra pounds beyond his post-college rugby weight when gutting out tough, high-value games with mo' fo's like Stykya and Gorilla Boy.

Thirty was close to a fact, but he definitely wasn't a geezer.

Maybe not a great face, he admitted, and there were character-enhancing dings to go with a nose that curved right from a back yard hockey collision, but the hair was plentiful, and if the smile included two less-white caps from a long ago bicycling accident, it still sent out a classically effective friendliness. Clear blue eyes sported lines earned from squinting into the sun during countless sports contests over many years, and yeah, the overall product was definitely grinning at the knowledge of Marlena Christie's proximity in his world.

Ego buddy, came a succinct and unsatisfying reply about the what-the-hell question. Only a fucking moron would have considered a Plan B that didn't include her at all, chimed the heart. Good CHRIST, has that Woman got it going on! chipped in his eyes and crotch.

No doubt about it, take every lousy way-back-then-till-now minute since he'd freaked about Marlena buckling that Rolex Presidente on his wrist, barely listening to her explanation of having pie-in-the-sky type trust fund money, and if you balanced that...

Shit - there was absolutely zero to balance that against.

Maybe it'd been some ephemeral piece of twenty-one year old soul unwilling to be pinned down. Right now though, the regret factor of blowing things up, of not sharing every transformative minute with that enormously desirable woman in the other room, was pinned in the far right redness of overload.

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