Sonoma picked through her collection of botanicals, looking for a combination she thought might help settle the man she and her husband had taken in for the night. She had everything from yarrow to Echinacea in her suitcase.
She glanced at the guy, sizing him up for muscle mass and mental stability. Drew had a couple of day’s growth of beard – just enough so it clearly wasn’t intentional – and clean hair about shoulder length with gray around the temples. His hair was way too long for his story.
“Huh. FBI?” She shook her head in wonder at the strangeness of the universe. The drug addiction she bought, but the cop? He seemed too nice for that. Not that she didn’t recognize the humanity in those who engaged in law enforcement, but she couldn’t exactly count any of them as friends.
“You don’t believe me?” He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. He sat on the edge of the hotel bed while Trent leaned against the wooden headboard attached to the wall.
“No, no,” Sonoma was quick to assure him. “I believe you. Just… well, I’ve never known an FBI agent before.”
“I’m not sure if I’m still an agent. I walked away without giving notice.”
“That’s quite the transition.” Sonoma grabbed a couple of packets that should go well together – one as a sedative and one as a buffer; a yin and yang tea.
She put water in the coffee maker, but no coffee. Sometimes she brought her own little hot plate and a ceremonial tea pot, but this time she’d only planned on hiking around Yellowstone for a couple of days, and had brought only what she considered the essentials.
“Transition? Yeah. I guess you could call it that.” Drew stared into space for a while, lost in thought. “Calling this a transition is like calling skydiving a jump. Everything I believed was wrong. My whole world has been destroyed.” This last he muttered to himself, eyes still fixed on something a lot further away than the corner of the room.
The thousand mile stare. She’d seen it many times in her long life. Sometimes the people who looked that way ended up discovering a wondrous new world. Sometimes they jumped off a tall bridge into a dry riverbed. The same was that most would be fine if they simply had a little guidance.
Sonoma glanced at Trent, hoping the unity of their hearts was enough to let him read her mind. As often as not, it was. He glanced back, but didn’t say anything.
She brewed up the tea in a coffee mug, which she handed to Drew.
He looked at it like he’d never seen such a thing. Then he blinked. “I’m supposed to drink this?”
“And it’ll make me better?”
Sonoma shrugged. “It’ll make you feel better for now, but it’ll take more than a cup of tea to clear you head completely.”
“All right.” He looked suspiciously over the rim of the mug as he sipped.
Maybe his story was totally true after all. That distrust was certainly cop worthy. While she waited for the tea to make Drew relax, Sonoma went to the door to the hall. She gestured to Trent, who grudgingly shoved himself to his feet and followed. Once the two were in the hall, he quirked an eyebrow at her.
“Doesn’t he remind you of all kinds of people? Not just Jessie, but Candice and Marge, and Hunter…”
“I mean, I feel so sorry for him. He’s been through so much. What if you or I ended up like that; drifting around the country, unable to go home because we couldn’t see straight.” She paused, hoping he would agree with her.
“What are you not saying, Sonoma?” Trent looked right through her.
It always made her uncomfortable when he did that, like he could see her soul. But after all these years together, she knew it would be all right, whatever he might see when he looked at her.
“Um… I’m not saying we should take him home with us…”
“Like a lost puppy?”
“Or a psychic refugee.” She grinned. Trent liked psychic refugees. It’s what had brought them together in the first place.
“All right.” He flashed a smile. “We’ll give it a try. If he wants to stay with us a while, he’s welcome.”
“Great! Thanks!” She kissed his cheek. “I love you.”
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