Ciara was half asleep- half passed out from too much wine on the side porch when the lights from a car in the driveway woke her up.
The rain had let up some and it had cooled off as night came. She was still naked and she had the throw blanket wrapped around her.
Andrea had left hours earlier having freed Ciara from her guilt, remorse, sadness and hurt. Ciara couldn't tell Zee that his sister had felt betrayed NOT because Ciara had almost cheated with her boyfriend at the time but because she had almost cheated on Andrea with Marsh.
Ciara never believed she was gay but back then she was lonely and confused and when Andy - two years her senior - showed a special interest in her, Ciara was happy to oblige and experiment and feel wanted even if it was a secret she couldn't tell anyone.
Ciara was glad that Andrea had sought forgiveness and offered a wonderful amends and now both could go on with their lives and be friends again and potentially sisters-in-laws too if what Ciara expected to happen with Zee actually happened.
It was obvious Zee was why she returned to the lake - to finally bury the ghosts of her past, to free herself from untold secrets, and to share in the joy that was Pappy's Place with the one person who had always been there for her and with her, the only one who truly understood the anguish of that day when Tom killed his wife and then himself because Zee had seen it for himself and carried those ghosts with him all these years.
Ciara sat up on the couch as Zee appeared in the porch doorway, surprised to see her looking a bit out of sorts with her hair messy and apparently with no clothes on underneath the blanket that barely covered her most intimate secrets.
"What are you doing?" Zee asked with surprise.
"I got a little drunk," Ciara giggled.
"And naked?" Zee asked with confusion.
"The wine made me hot." How's that for a double meaning statement?
He stared at her as if he was seeing her for the first time. "Are you okay?"
"I am now," she answered as she stood and eyed him. "I was wondering how our sex scene was going to play out," she said.
"Huh?" Zee asked.
"How our story was going to end," she smiled. "After all these years. All the secrets." She dropped the blanket and stepped toward him. "No more secrets, Jimmy."
She hadn't called him Jimmy in years.
Zee took in her nudity as she stepped into him and wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning up and kissing him. "I wondered if the sex scene would happen out there on Unicorn Island - we'd paddle out to and bury our goat. Or upstairs in the bedroom you call yours where we would get rid of some ghosts. Or right here on the couch where that jerk Marsh tried to have his way with me all those years ago."
"If it was warmer, we could do it in the lake," Zee told her as he kissed her back.
"So, can we start with a clean slate?" Ciara asked, looking into his eyes. "No more questions about the past - just full speed ahead."
"There's nothing more I need to know?" He asked.
"Not if you trust me moving forward," Ciara replied.
"Isn't this what Tom told us to do?" Zee asked her.
"It's exactly what Tom told us to do," Ciara agreed. "It just took us a while to get here."
"Come upstairs with me," Zee requested.
"I finally belong in Pappy's Place," Ciara remarked with contentment as she took his hand in hers and let him walk her toward the stairs.