Chapter 5

I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. Go make up the couch for me? Be presumptuous and get ready for bed in the bedroom? I was tired and still well buzzed. I just wanted to go to bed. So I undressed down to my skivvies and dared to lay on the bed, surprisingly wide awake waiting for Cierra to return.

It had been a while since I'd been involved with someone, the antique business taking up most of my time and interest. Besides, there really wasn't anybody other than Cierra although Dunc endlessly reminded me that I was a fool to hold on to something that was long gone.

Cierra was a woman who made her choice a long time ago and while it didn't work out the way she had hoped, that didn't mean that anything was going to change between us now.

The shower stopped running and my heart began to beat faster. Was all this a dream or was it a fool's errand? Cierra came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and she stood by the side of the bed, using a second towel to dry her hair.

"I lied before," I told her as I gazed at her beauty.

"About what?" She asked, looking at me.

"You were the highlight and highpoint of my high school life," I confessed.

Cierra looked at me for a long time before tossing aside the towel she was using to dry her hair and unfastening the towel around her torso, letting it fall to the floor. She was naked, her skin still glistening from the shower. I had always fantasized about such a moment and now it had come to be.

Cierra crawled across the bed, dripping onto the sheets as she straddled me.

"We're too drunk," I said.

She felt my hardness poking her crotch. "I don't think so," she said.

"It's late," I cautioned.

"Is it ever too late?" Cierra wanted to know.

"We've been apart for a long time," I said.

"It feels like just yesterday to me." She leaned forward, used her hand to pull down my boxers, and then she lowered herself onto me, warm and moist. She smiled. "All roads lead to somewhere," Cierra said.

I took the road in front of me.

"I know you think I'm this worldly, experienced, know it all person," Cierra said afterward as we lay together under the sheets. "But Lou was the only man I've ever been with," she confessed. "I hope I wasn't too disappointing."

I was stunned by her admission. "You will always be perfect to me," I said.

How ironic that Cierra, the one who was the leader of the pack, the mature and knowledgeable one in our friendship, the popular and respected one, would look to me for sexual comfort, support, and validation. I held her close, amazed and grateful to be with her once again.

I quietly slipped out of bed in the morning, hoping not to disturb the sleeping (and most likely hungover) Cierra.

"Trying to sneak off on me?" She asked, opening her eyes.

"It's my house," I reminded her. "Where would I go?"

"Where are you going?" She asked, seeing that I was half dressed.

"I usually tag sale on Saturday mornings," I explained. "I didn't think you'd be interested."

"Sure I am!" She said, rolling off her side of the bed, amazingly naked. "Give me a minute!" She darted in her nude glory into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

I made some coffee (black) and had it waiting for her when she emerged from the bathroom, dressed and her hair brushed.

"Thanks," she said. "Now I remember why I don't drink so much," she laughed, holding her head for a moment.

I picked up my tag sale notes from the counter. "Sorry it's so early," I said. "But you've got to show up first to get anything of value or collectability."

"I understand," she smiled. "I've been to a tag sale or two myself."

It was a pleasant summer Saturday morning – blue sky, bright sun. I found a few notable purchases that I loaded in the back of the truck from the yard sales we visited – a hope chest, a cedar chest, and a 1950s bicycle. Cierra was upbeat and positive, especially when we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for another coffee and a muffin.

I explained to her some of the techniques of the trade as we went from sale to sale, town to town. We made a few return trips to The Antique Barn where Mrs. Morrison, a friend of my grandfather's, manned the fort for me on Saturday mornings. Naturally, the older woman was thrilled to see me with somebody.

"Do you ever wonder?" I asked as we drove to the next yard sale.

"Wonder what?" Cierra asked.

"How life turns out? Don't you ever wonder if it's always supposed to turn out the way it does?"

Cierra nodded. "I've figured out that everything happens for a reason," she said. "We just don't always understand or know what that reason is."

"Is there a reason why we're together doing this now?" I wanted to know.

Cierra nodded her head and tapped her temple. "Because it was meant to be," she reasoned.

"I like the idea of being with you," I admitted.

"I want a do over," Cierra said.

"With me?" I asked hopefully.

Cierra nodded her head affirmatively. Neither of us said anything for a while. It was a nice morning for a ride through Blue County in search of antique items.

"I've been on my own for a while," I said. "This is what I do."

"I'll get used to it," Cierra said.

"That's it?" I asked with a smirk. "That easily?"

"After what I've been through all these years this is welcomed and needed cake," Cierra told me. Then she glanced at me. "Will you get used to it?" She needed to know. "My parents? My girls?"

"It's what I've been waiting for," I assured her.

"The road that leads to somewhere?" She asked.

"The road that leads to here," I confirmed, pulling the truck into The Antique Barn lot with another load to drop off.

"You mean it?" Cierra asked.

I grinned. "It will be my best collection yet."

She gave me a wide smile, leaned across the seat and kissed me. "Are we crazy?" Cierra wanted to know.

"Do I have to answer that?" I smirked.

Cierra shook her head no. "Let's go take that road," she suggested. "It's full of discoveries."