A Honeybun and Coffee(5)

By: Sam Cheever

“Hello, I’m Angie Peterson. We spoke on the phone a while ago.”

The blankets gave a jerk and started to turn back into the house. “Go away.”

Angie grabbed the edge of the door before he could get it closed and forced her way into the house. “I’m sorry. I know you must feel like a dog’s butt and I’m not normally this pushy. But you have to listen to me. I really believe your life is in danger.”

The man in the blankets sneezed and stared at her. Finally he turned back into the house and headed down a long hallway toward the back of the house. “I don’t have the energy to throw you bodily out of the house so if you’ll promise to make me some of that tea you suggested I’ll sit and listen to what you have to say.”

This extended speech ended in a bout of violent coughing that sounded as if Mr. Honeybun was about to spew a spleen. Angie quickly threw the bolt on the front door and followed him. The happy little dog bounced after her down the hall.

When they reached the kitchen the little dachshund flew past her and exited through a flap at the bottom of the back door. She turned the bolt on that door too. Turning to Alastair Honeybun, who was now perched miserably on a chair at the kitchen table, she asked, “Do you have any other doors I should lock?”

The cap of bright red hair was underscored now by blue eyes with a thick fringe of dark red lashes and a pale, sweaty brow. Unlined. Angie did a quick reassessment of the old guy thing.

“What are you some kind of mobile rent a mommy?”

Angie blew out a sigh of frustration. “Humor me.”

He jerked a blanket clad shoulder toward another door across the room. It looked like it probably led to the three car garage she’d noticed as she’d climbed out of her Edge.

Angie walked over and locked that door too. Then she turned back toward the shivering mass of blankets at the table. “Tea?”

The bristly red head nodded toward a long cabinet in the corner of the room. “Pantry.”

Angie moved briskly toward the pantry and dug out two tea bags. Then she looked at him again. “Cups?”

“Over the sink.”

She grabbed one mug that proclaimed, God’s Gift to Discerning Women, and another that said, If it Weren’t for Bad Love I’d Have no Love at all. She arched a brow at the quivering pile of blankets at the table and it shrugged. “What can I tell you, my friends are all a bunch of smart asses.”

Angie shook her head and added water and the tea bags to the two mugs. Then she put them into the microwave and set the timer for six minutes. She busied herself gathering honey, cream, and spoons until the timer on the microwave chimed and then carried the mugs to the table, where she handed the God’s Gift mug to the blankets.

Pushing aside the blankets just long enough to take a sip of the hot, sweet beverage, Alastair Honeybun smiled at her. “Good. Thanks.”

Angie got a jolt of surprise at the extremely pleasing face that she could almost see between the edges of the blankets. Not old. Not at all. And maybe the mug was right after all. But then she remembered why she was there and, setting down her mug of tea, she leaned across the table toward him. “Mr. Honeybun...”

“Alastair.” He shrugged. “You made me tea and tucked me safely into my house, we’re practically best friends.” He sneezed three times.

She got up and grabbed him a handful of tissues from a box on the counter.

“Danks.” He said, taking them from her, and then he proceeded to make honking noises into the tissues so loud Angie wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors came pounding on the doors.

“Anyway, I own the Dunk and Run downtown.”

“I dnow, I’b seen you there.”

Angie was surprised that he’d recognized her and she hadn’t recognized him. But then she realized he probably hadn’t been swathed in blankets when he’d been in the shop. “Yes. Well I was using the men’s room this morning...”

He arched a dark red brow at her.

Flipping a hand toward him in a dismissive way she hurried on, “The Ladies was out of order. Anyway, these two men got past my assistant and came into the bathroom. I hid in the stall and heard them talking about killing you.”

This brought both dark red eyebrows flying up. “Dat’s ridigulous!”

Angie shrugged, “I thought so too but they had this.” She pulled the pieced-together sheet of yellow paper with his name on it out of her pocket. She’d taped it together before she left her apartment.

He took the piece of paper with a well-manicured hand that shook just the tiniest little bit as he held the paper up so he could read it. She noticed the hand was tanned and square and sprinkled with dark red hairs. Despite the clean, square nails, it was a very masculine hand. Finally he threw the paper down on the table and picked up his tea again. “That has to be some other Alastair Honeybun.”

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