In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Five

In the last chapter we left Maura/Reenie ready to stab anyone who comes through the door. Chapter five starts with Matt coming home from a hard day’s work (and he’s been working like a dog). He thinks about the boat he’s working on and then about Gus (the sheriff), who promised to come by to help him.

The thought of Gus brought rushing back the questions he’d resolutely pushed out of his mind all day. Who was suddenly dead? [How the hell should I know?] In the throes of her nightmare, Reenie had been frantic about the discovery that some man was dead. He’d heard panic in her voice, real fear for her own safety. Her story about the death of her dog showed quick thinking but it didn’t wash. Had she killed a man?  [Because that would explain the fear for her own safety. Dead men usually come to haunt and kill you. By the way, I think it’s amazing how much he can read her! I’m rather easy to read myself, but I don’t think that a complete stranger would know the difference between me being panicky because I have a nightmare and me being panicky because I’m in real danger.]

He thinks about why Maura/Reenie would be on the run and discards every possibility that she could be in trouble with the law. Then he decides to covertly ask Gus about any missing person. One mention of the kidnapping of Bronwyn’s idol’s girlfriend and Gus would be off and running about all the missing persons his ridiculously over-worked sheriff’s department [I wouldn’t have thought that a sheriff’s department somewhere in the countryside would be over-worked…] was supposed to be alert for.

He comes to the house and glances through the window where he sees the dinner Maura/Reenie has prepared. Then he enters through the mudroom and heads for the shower.

Only minutes later, he emerged barefoot, wearing jeans that he’d zipped but not yet buttoned, [Why? Why would he do that? And why would I want to know?] vigorously toweling his hair. Before he’d taken two steps into the kitchen, he knew he wasn’t alone. [he should have known all along – Maura/Reenie lives at his place, more or less, and she’s sick so she wouldn’t be leaving. Hence, he’s not alone at home. God, I hate it when authors think that they are so clever, making “suspenseful” scenes when everybody already knows what’s going on…]
(…) [They discover each other and Matt explains:]
“I’m sorry.” He should have warned her before he got into the shower. [Because that’s a very dangerous thing to do and you should always warn everybody before you take a shower, lest the house explodes or something.]“I forgot how loud that racket the pipes make sounds in Pete’s room.” [That’s the explanation??? Pipes which sound like somebody breaking into you house? yeesh…]

Maura/Reenie tells Matt that she has been cooking for him, despite her fragile health and that of course makes him want to wrap her little sexy body in his arms and kiss her. Jesus… girls don’t need education or anything. They just need to learn how to cook and how to keep clean, then the guys will definitely fall for them.
And what’s more, when Matt tells her that he will clean up, because she did the cooking she’s about to object. One thing that actually sounds reasonable and somehow modern and she’s going to object! Anyway, she thinks better of it and sits down. Matt gets a shirt and they start eating.

Before the agency had yanked Matt out of the field to take advantage of his knack for following the devious money trails of international terrorist organizations, he had worked in the most sophisticated cities of the world and eaten in some famous restaurants. He’d never had a chicken dish that surpassed this one. [First, she has trouble finding anything in his kitchen because he isn’t well endowed (snickers), then she manages to cook a meal which is better than any other chicken meal in famous restaurants around the world. Could you please decide? The best cook can’t make a good meal without any ingredients…]

They start talking, getting more infatuated with each other by the second (if that’s even possible).

The man with the granite face [I may repeat myself, but what I’m seeing now is the guys on the Easter Islands. Not sooo attractive.] was wearing an easy smile and actually teasing her.

Finally, they finish dinner and Maura/Reenie heads of to bed.

“Leave your door open. I’ll look in on you later.”  [Pardon? Are you crazy or something?]
She’d never be able to sleep if she thought he was hovering outside her door. [Well, I wouldn’t be able to sleep either, if I was in a strangers house where the stranger requests that I leave the door open when I sleep and who stays outside of the door when I should get ready for bed…]
“Why don’t you go to Bronwyn’s meeting,” she suggested. “I’m sure I’ll sleep like a baby. You don’t have to watch over me.”
“Madam Chairman
[I just looked Madam up in my dicitionary, to make sure that that’s how you write it (my french kept telling me that you write it with an e in the end). And what’s the translation I see there? Madam: Mistress of a brothel. Ouch.] will tell me what happened. If you need me, I’ll be here.” Matt’s voice sounded even huskier than usual. [Really, it’s an urban legend that husky voices are sexy. Husky voices sound ill. Nothing more, nothing less.]
He took a step closer and cradled her jaw in his hard hands [Maybe his whole body is from granite?]. Maura met his gaze for a long intense moment, mesmerized by the heat in his eyes. [His eyes must look like this, only in red, to represent the heat.] When he inclined his head as if he were going to kiss her, she didn’t have the will power to resist. She simply looked up at him and waited. But, instead of kissing her, Matt brushed his thumb gently across her lips, once, then again. [Inappropriate much?] Every sensitized nerve in her lips ached for the completion of the kiss. [Well, if you want it that much, then why don’t you kiss him? I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to kiss strangers with granite faces and hands, especially if their husky voices give you a clue about their general state of health. But I believe that women can take such a step and don’t have to wait for the man to kiss them.]
(…)
Maura stood, like an infatuated adolescent, clutching Matt’s I’d Rather Be Sailing shirt to her breast and admiring the set of his broad shoulders and the action of his well-muscled buttocks under his worn jeans
[aren’t worn jeans usually not tight anymore so that you can’t see every butt muscle?] until he turned the corner into the kitchen. She had to grin at her own unabashed ogling. Well, she’d lost everything else. Why be surprised that she was losing her sanity? [funny that she mentions that here. I think looking at a guy you find very attractive (for rather weird reasons) is a rather sane thing to do. About all the other things she did… Well.]

The next morning, Maura/Reenie wakes up to the sound of voices. Bronwyn tells Matt about the GEL [Did I mention already how stupid this name and acronym are?] meeting the day before and that Walt Ames [Jon Casen’s right hand] was going to come to Millbridge [where Matt lives] to talk to her [Bronwyn]. Maura/Reenie almost has a heart attack at the thought of Walt coming anywhere near her and tries to find the reading glasses she bought to be harder recognised (another person who pulls a Clark Kent…).

Matt prepared breakfast for her and because he’s a man, he’s a bad cook and everything’s burnt and because she’s a woman and exists only to please her man, she eats it anyway and tells him how delicious everything is.

While she’s eating, Bronwyn continues talking about how busy her day’s going to be. Maura/Reenie asks her if she could do some shopping and if she, her son and her father would like to come over for dinner. [Notice how casually she invites a strange family to a house she doesn’t even live in.] Bronwyn agrees but asks Maura/Reenie in return if she could take a call from Walt Ames who needs to let Wyn know where they’re going to meet. [Ok, the book is from 1999, so probably in some hicksville, they have never heard of cell phones…]
Although nervous because Walt Ames knows her and her voice, Maura/Reenie agrees to it.

Well, Wyn is of to do the shopping and returns shortly later with the groceries.

“Has Walt called yet?” she asked as she breezed in the door.
“Not yet,” her brother told her. “Has Gus got competition?”
Bronwyn flushed. It could have been from annoyance but Maura hoped, for Bronwyn’s own sake, that she didn’t have a personal interest in Walt Ames.
[Note: Another sub-plot is emerging right in front of us.]

Matt leaves to do something or other boat- and work-related. Maura/Reenie starts baking and fills the kitchen, and consequently the house with pies and tarts and meatballs. Finally, the phone rings, but she’s too nervous to answer it. Therefore, she strips (yes, it’s what I always do too, when I get nervous) and heads for the shower to pretend that she didn’t hear it.

Matt obivously hears the phone, too (why, then, was Maura/Reenie asked to answer it at all?) and angrily answers it after Maura/Reenie didn’t. He takes note of the time and place Walt wants to meet Bronwyn and leaves Wyn a message.

He cleaned off his fingers and was starting on the varnish he’d got on the receiver when it occurred to him to wonder why Reenie hadn’t taken Ames’ call. [Selfish bastard.] Had she fainted? Was she lying on the floor injured? Worse, had her pursuer caught up with her? [He doesn’t even know if there really is a pursuer but an imaginary pursuer catching up with Maura/Reenie would definitely be worse than her being injured…]
He took off for the house at the dead run. [Don’t you usually say at A dead run? What does the dead run look like?]

End of chapter five. Tune in for the next chapter where Matt surprises Maura/Reenie in the shower and either hilarity, sex or catastrophe ensues. Or all three of them.

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