“Two Crows in Taos: a novel”

“You don’t even have a strong explanation, I’m appalled.” I grimaced at him.

“Okay, I’m not too smart when it comes to women. But …I really don’t have much experience with…women…that accidental date was all it ever was with Sarah… Before and after. It meant nothing!”

“She was important enough for you to attempt a relationship, that’s all I’m saying. And that tells me she means more to you than maybe you even realize.”

“Nooo, nope! That isn’t it. I wanted to tell you. Y’ see? I was having, well…. After my brother died, I seemed to not be able to relate to anyone but especially with women. Watching my mother taking my brother’s death so hard, I began I think to hate women for some reason. Sarah was an experiment and she knew she was acting as a surrogate mate because frankly, I was beginning to wonder if I was not homosexual.

“WHAT!?!” I started to chuckle.

“This is what I wanted to talk to you about. When I finally deduced the puzzle about you, I freaked—again!

The position with interim Chief of Police, Dolores’ death, Tim’s desperation, our living arrangements and falling in love with you, I don’t know, it was all just too much. It got to me as though when my brother died.

So I told Sarah because she knew what happened to me before. I thought maybe I might do something stupid, or awful, or something! I don’t know what! I just could not make myself talk to you about your …family… I was afraid you were going to go nuts like my mom did!”

Daniel lost the gleeful sparkle in his eyes. He realized what he was saying actually made his heart race and his lips were pouted and shaking. I could do nothing about it, though I wanted to plant another kiss on his lips—I didn’t.

“Okay,” I sighed, “Let’s talk about the case instead.”

Daniel drew in a heavy breath then exhaled, and with finally a long-awaited reprieve, he held me tight for a few moments, and I could feel his heart pounding. I felt strangely aroused. I pulled away.

“I was working on the case while I was away,” I sputtered, “I met my cousin, Rita and her mother—my Auntie Doris—and my own mother. I also met Hawk Feathers head of the tribe at…”

“You did a lot!” was all Daniel could muster.

“So what have you got?” I pronounced my words with careful definition and clarity, trying not to sound insulting.“

“You know…” he started, “you just blew work off, like it was a café job. I’m still the interim chief, remember? You were supposed to let me know your hunches and your schemes…I would have gone with you on all that…”

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t feeling too confident with your back-up.” Daniel threw his hands up conceding to my comment.

“And by the way,” I continued, “why did you say café? You keep tabs on me, don’t you? Did you follow me to the Four Winds Café? Was that your goon in the café, or FBI?”

He took on a posture of professionalism now. “Hold on. All personal angst aside. You need to have a good reason why you didn’t share with me whatever it is you’re doing.”

“Well, was he!?”

“Was he, what?”

“Was he your goon!?”

“I did not send anyone to follow you. I don’t know who you’re talking about but that’s what I mean about letting me know your excursions, I haven’t the foggiest who or what you’re talking about, did someone follow you?” I ignored him.