3.7 A Quiet Night

by Matt P.

The sounds of music left the front porch of the Richards house like smoke on an evening breeze. Smoke also left the front porch on an evening breeze, as Walter reclined on a chair with a cigar in an ash tray next to him. A glass rested next to it, water condensing on the outside from the ice in the amber liquid and the sticky heat of the summer evening. He was just reaching out to take a sip when a car pulled up to park on the curb.

Morgan Winters exited the white BMW with careful steps, raising an eyebrow as she saw him on the porch. He set his book down while she walked up. “I didn’t realize you were a smoker, Deputy; should I make a medical comment?”

Walter shrugged. “Seems a little rude to come to a man’s house and tell him to stop. I so rarely get to have one.” He gestured to the seat next to him. “But if you stopped by for a chat and it bothers you, then thats a matter of hospitality.”

Winters shrugged as she slid down into the seat, and slid a pack of menthol cigarettes out of her bag. Walter barked a laugh as he offered her his lighter. “I didn’t realize you were a smoker, Doctor; should I make a medical comment?”

The Doctor waggled her eyebrows as she took a puff. “I so rarely get to have one.” She smiled, and it made her lovely face look less serious, and much younger. “I take it you don’t smoke around your children?” When he nodded, she returned it. “I approve. And please…as cliche as it sounds, if you saved my life you can call me Morgan.”

“Well I have to complete the cliche to be polite.” Walter offered with a chuckle. “You can call me Walter. What brings you out my way?”

Morgan paused for a moment, the two of them lighting the warm darkness of the night with the glow of their poisons of choice. “I wanted to come and get to know you a little better, Walter. After today.”

“Well, if you plan to offer me a Wookiee life debt, I’ll have to politely accept.” He said, drawing an amused smirk. “Can I get you a drink? Coffee, something stronger?” She paused for a moment, before she nodded.

“I would love some coffee.” When he stood, she did as well. “I’ll come with you, if its alright with you.” He shrugged, and led her into the house, and over the pile of shoes. Those drew a look from the doctor.

“Their mothers habit originally, growing up in an Asian family. We all got into the habit when we were posted in Japan.” He explained as he stepped to the kitchen. “How do you like your coffee?”

Morgan smiled. “Black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” She answered, before she raised an eyebrow when he almost tripped over his own feet while reaching for the small sealed cup of pre-packaged coffee. “Did I say something wrong?”

Walter shook his head. As he reached for the coffee it exposed a tattoo high up on his bicep, a black band almost an inch wide that would be hidden under most shirts.

“You’re the second person in my life who ever said that.” Walter explained. After he put the cup in the machine, he rolled up his bicep to reveal the full tattoo. Inside the band of black were letters formed by the negative space. “They were the first words my wife ever said to me.”