8.3 Second Time

by Matt P.

The house looked like a wrecking crew had been through it when everyone had finally left. It was also far earlier than he would have expected. Walter had texted Morgan Winters at just after 4 PM that the house was now ‘clear’, although he had to admit it didn’t resemble any kind of clear he would have used.

Walter was all but shoveling discarded pajamas and towels and the fourteen different ties that Ryan had tried on before deciding one was good enough when Morgan came in with a box tucked under her arm. She looked around at the room he was tidying, and opened her mouth.

“Not a word.” Walter said as he threw some unmentionables down the hallway toward the girl’s rooms, followed by a gentle winter storm of silk ties down the hall toward Ryan’s.

She didn’t, to her credit, say a word—but she raised an eyebrow to devastating effect as she stepped out of her own shoes at the threshold and then made her way inside. She was wearing a trendy looking short skirt in dark blue and silver, with a simple white top. It didn’t have sleeves, although after a moment Walter realized she probably wouldn’t be terribly bothered by the slight chill in the air.

“What’s in the box?” Walter asked as he made his way over to the island where she was opening it. He peered over, and she covered it with her arm for a moment, grinning impishly.

“Well, you said you wanted something to drink.” She offered with an air of mystery before she pulled out a bottle. “Something a little bit nicer from my cellars, that I thought you might enjoy.” Walter took the bottle and looked at her curiously.

“This is a two hundred dollar bottle of scotch.” Walter pointed out as he looked at the label, which proclaimed it The Macallan, 18 years old and aged in sherry oak casks. “That’s not normally something that you bring out for a social call.” He offered wryly as he moved to retrieve a couple of glasses.

“I…” Morgan began, laughing a little bit. For a moment she looked a little bit sheepish, less than the normally self assured professional. “I wanted to say thank you.” She offered after a moment of consideration. Walter took a turn at raising an eyebrow as he came back with the old fashioned glasses and set them down in front of her. Morgan sat down in one of the tall chairs next to the island as she opened the bottle, kicking her bare feet. She tapped the bottle idly with a blue painted nail.

“Thank me?” Walter asked curiously.

Morgan poured, as if stalling for time while she put a perfect two fingers of rich amber liquid in to the glasses, and offered one over to Walter. “I’ve had occasion, through the years, to tell people how old I am.” She explained as she held up her own glass in a salute that Walter returned. “I’ve had people who ran away from me. I’ve had people who tried to treat me the same, but failed. I’ve had people who did just about everything when they found out…except for ask me over for a drink, and treat me like they did before.”

For a moment neither of them spoke, silent in the appreciation of a fine drink, broken only by Morgan’s quiet kicking, as they sipped the expensive whiskey. “You’re going to get me hooked on luxuries I can’t afford, Doctor.” He offered into the appreciative quiet. But then he looked at her. “It really weirded me out.” He admitted honestly. She flinched a little bit, starting to pull back and hide behind the glass. “At first. And it took me a little bit to get over it.”

“Hence why I haven’t been back for a smoke since your first night?” She asked quietly, to which Walter nodded.

“And it was all tied in to feeling like you should have told us before we got attacked, or before my daughters got dragged in to it.” Walter continued. “But…” He sighed and sipped the whiskey again, before shaking his head. “But it isn’t fair. You get to have your shit to deal with the same as anyone else. And I figured that it couldn’t be easy. If movies and television have taught me anything about it, immortality can be kind of lonely.”

Morgan nodded slowly. She drained her glass with the practice of an old professional, or a long time aficionado, and gently laid it back down. She traced one slim finger around the rim. “I’m not immortal, not really. Oh,” she added to his growing look, “I’ll live a damn long time, but I’m not technically immortal. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t. That’s why Tania and I are still close, even though there have been decades where we were one sarcastic remark from sororicide.”

Walter nodded, and reached out to pour them both a second glass as his was apparently broken—otherwise, where had the scotch gone? “I remember the first time I came back from a deployment, I was still enlisted before I went to college. I spent three days in New York just bumming around with too much money in my pocket and too much blood in my alcohol stream. And I stood there with the crowd moving around me, New Yorkers flipping me off because I was holding up traffic, and I just remember thinking how different I felt—how much I felt like I was different. It’s hard to describe that isolation when you’ve gone and seen and done, but…” He laughed a little bit, and on an impulse reached out and squeezed Morgan’s hand gently, the one playing with the whiskey glass still.

“What happened?” Morgan asked softly, as she turned to look at him. Her eyes were the dark blue of a frosted winter evening, curious and deep. Walter sighed, and laughed a little bit.

“Tell you what.” He offered after a moment’s consideration. “I’ll trade you for it, but it has to be a good story in return.”

Morgan considered for a moment before she smiled and nodded. “Deal.”