Chapter 2 – A Very Civil War
The next day, after sending a report into the chief, he read the intelligence report. It said she would be working the one o’clock docent shift at the museum. Hugh timed it so he would be there by 12:30. He paid the fee and went in. The docent told him there would be a film at 1:00 and to be sure and see that. He said he would.
He wandered around the museum first. It was a very interesting layout. Displays on the north of the building were for the Union. Those on the south were for the South. It was surprisingly well done. He had expected it to be all about the south and the vile north, but this was a really good museum. He found himself studying a uniform when someone touched his arm. It was Jackie.
So enraptured by the display case, he reacted genuinely and said, “Oh, hi. What are you doing here? I mean ...”
She laughed and couldn’t resist smiling. “Startled you, didn’t I? What a small world. I saw your car in the parking lot and couldn’t believe it was you until I found you here. What a small world! Are you into the civil war?”
“Yes and no. I was headed down the highway back to my home after dinner last night after this incredible dinner with this ravishing creature and took a wrong turn on the highway. I decided to go with what my phone said and return to I-30 and then back home. Along the way, I saw this place. I decided to see what it was all about today. They don’t have anything like this back home in the Bronx.”
With a little pride in her voice, she asked, “And, what do you think?”
“Excellent. I really expected it to be all about the south because this is Texas, but this is really well thought out and informative. But, what are you doing here, Jackie?” Then he added with a smile and a hint of hope in his voice, “Maybe following me?”
She blushed. “I am a docent. I volunteer in the gift shop. I am about to start my shift.”
“Well, when are you off?”
“Five. So, are we doing that second date tonight?”
“You bet! Now that I have a southern bell to court.”
Jackie said in her best southern drawl, “Why don’t you think you should get my Daddy’s approval first before you all start a courting me?”
“Why, no! I am nothing but a damn Yankee, Ma’am. And I aim to conquer the south.” Jackie giggled.
“There is a film about Texas in the civil war at one, why don’t you go there first and then talk to me.” She led him to the room and sent him in. He went in. The film was actually pretty good. He didn’t know much about Texas. Upon exiting, he had a surprise.
As he approached Jackie, the man she was talking to turned and said, “Hi, my name is Malcom. I am Jackie’s cousin. And you must be Hugh.” He put out his hand for Hugh to shake. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. The second day out and he had already met his target. His next report was going to be a good one.
He caught himself and made sure he sounded sincere. “Hugh, Hugh Thomas Jackson at your service, Sir.” Just as Hugh politely bowed and then tried to take his hand to shake it, a tourist in the gift shop bumped into Hugh and forced him forward into Malcolm. He fell off balance catching himself by grabbing a hold of Malcom. He said to Malcolm, “Sorry” and then turned and said to the patron. “Hey watch it, please!”
The woman said, “Oh, I am terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to bump into you. Please forgive me.”
“All right, you are forgiven.” He turned to Malcolm and said, “Well I tried to be nice and southern for you.”
“Not a bad attempt.” Malcolm smiled. “We’ll give you credit for trying. Well, I have to run Jackie. I will see you later.”
“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything?” Hugh said as he watched him go out the front door.
Jackie got his attention off of Malcolm by caressing Hugh’s cheek. “Oh no, he was just picking up something from me. When you are done with your tour of the museum, go home and get dressed into something casual. You are taking me where I want to go tonight. Pick me up after my shift, at five.” she said in a sultry voice that could weaken the resolve of a stone statue to remain stone and not become flesh.
He smiled at her teasing and felt a stirring in his loins. “Where are we going?” he asked inquisitively.
“To get some gas. I figured your car needs a fill up.” Jackie said enigmatically and playfully poked him in the ribs.
Hugh laughed. “Okay. Can’t wait!”
He left and returned at five on the dot. He poked his head in the door and told Jackie he would wait on the front portico for her. A few minutes later, she emerged. She looked radiant. She had taken her time to go in and freshen up. He didn’t know how she did it, she made the little dress she wore and the cute little cowgirl boots look like a million bucks. Her fresh face belied the hours she had just spent helping out in the gift shop. He found himself slipping into her grasp and under her dainty control.
He opened the door to his Mercedes and held her hand as she smoothed out her little dress and sat in the car. He went around to the front door and asked, “Well, you are the tour guide, where are we going?”
“Watauga. To a gas station.” He looked at her like she was joking. “Trust me, you will understand when we get there.”
About twenty minutes later, they pulled into a Conoco gas station. “Park in front of the sign that says Chef Point Cafe, please.” He parked, came around and took her hand as she came out of the car. “Thank you, Sir.”
“My pleasure, Ma’am.” The went into the door.
“Reservation for Hallard, please?” He looked at her surprised. “They allow you to reserve a table online.”
After they were seated, he said, “But this is a gas station!?”
She was enjoying his confusion. “I know, but the food here rivals anything you will eat in Manhattan.”
“Okay, you order, I pay. You know the place and menu.” Hugh said shaking his head.
“You trust me, don’t you?”
“At this point, yes!” he said confidently.
A few minutes later, they clinked glasses filled with Bloody Marys. “Cheers!” Then they dove into a ‘Better than Sex Chicken’ appetizer and moaned with delight. “This is great!” He looked around. “But, this is a gas station. I am so confused. I am almost expecting us to get dessert at a Dentist’s office at this point.” Jackie giggled.
“Not exactly. This is Texas. Rule books are for New Yorkers.” she teased.
After a dinner of Maple Leaf Duck and Chicken Scampi, with a bottle of pinot noir, Hugh soon found himself flabbergasted by her next suggestion.
“Who is he? What?”
She giggled. “Not who, where.”
“You are confusing me again. I am just a poor city boy. Have pity on me!” He batted his eyelashes.
“Yeah, I like doing that, confusing you city boys.” she said with a wide grin. “Billy Bob’s is a bar with country line dancing. That is why I asked you to dress casual. I am going to see how well you do urban cowboy.” She winked.
That is how it went for the rest of the evening. While walking out of Billy Bob’s into the cool Texas air, a woman bumped into Jackie and said, “Watch it pop tart!” Jackie looked angrily at the woman, picked up her purse that had been knocked down, and grabbed Hugh’s arm.
They went up the street to a late night McDonald's and had coffee. “My cousin will pick up my car for me. Why don’t you take me home.” Jackie said softly to him. “After all, you need to know where I live if we are to date again.”
Hugh smiled, “You bet.” He couldn’t believe his luck.
A few minutes later, he pulled into her driveway and walked her to her door. The light was on in the inside and he was confused once again. She walked straight in and said, “Hi Malcolm.”
Malcolm was relaxed and sitting on the couch. “Hello Hugh, I just wanted to talk to you man to man first.” He waved to him to sit down. Hugh resisted.
Jackie excused herself and went into the kitchen.
“My cousin Jackie is interested in you and you are interested in her. I am not here to stop that. I just wanted to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind. Then I will leave and let you both choose how you want to end the evening. Please, sit down, make yourself comfortable.” He waved at him again to sit down.
Hugh sat down this time and leaned back. The alcohol he had that evening was making him very relaxed. He even wondered if he was technically drunk.
All Hugh heard was, “I grew up with Jackie and I want to make sure she dating someone who will ...” and he was out like a light.
Jackie came back in the room. “Is he out? That was fast. Too fast. I must be losing my touch.”
“Yeah. Work on it. He could have been driving when it happened. He will wake up with one hell of a headache with what you put in his coffee.” Tess shook his head and laughed. “So, obviously, you got my message about him.”
“That he is a cop and you were here waiting. Yes, I got the message, ‘pop tart.’ Who is he?” She went over to a table and pulled out an iPod and Bose noise canceling headset. Then she carefully put the headset on him and set it to playing Alice Cooper at full volume so he didn’t hear their conversation, even in his sleep.
After seeing her place the headset on him, Tess said, “After checking the information in the wallet you lifted from him at the museum, I found out from my sources that he is a cop assigned to the 130th precinct in New York City. He is here undercover. All that stuff Mandy returned to him when she bumped into him was phony. He didn’t notice he had been picked or had it returned, did he?”
“No, she did a good job. Damn! Do you think he suspects it was us?”
“No. From the look of things my contact gave me, the rogue Captain thinks he can get close to me via getting close to you. And, he thinks I did the money laundering in some caper.” He made a grifter sign to Jackie and then looked at Hugh. “Even a broken clock can be right twice a day and that is what he is hoping he is.”
“What should we do?” Jackie sat down and looked pensive.
Tess leaned forward and patted her on the knee. “That depends on you. He looks like he could be a good first fling. You do think he is sexy and he shows all the signs of being your play thing. Plus, he will be a cheap fling. The city of New York will pick up the tab.” Tess winked at her and chuckled.
“Seriously? I am a girl now. We don’t talk about certain things now.” she looked a little embarrassed that he talked about her sex life.
“You’re right. Sorry. Look, you need experience dating. He will pay for it. What a deal! And, you do find him attractive.” He tried to reassure her.
She looked at him and thought about it. “He is cute. And, he makes a good boy toy. And, I do need practice in the bedroom at some point I have to admit.” She looked back to see if Tess would blush. He did. She got him back.
Tess changed the subject. “Sounds good. By the way, your car is out back.”
Tess left and Jackie removed the headset and put a blanket over Hugh. She sat there and brushed his hair. He was a handsome man. She was drawn to him. A few hours later, she woke him up. “Hugh, Hugh, wake up darling. Come on, you can do it.”
Hugh stirred, “What, where am I? What happened?” He looked at her with concern.
“You are still at my place silly. You fell asleep talking to my cousin about me. You can’t handle your liquor, can you? It was rather sweet to see you asleep.” She lightly stroked his arm letting him know that she wasn’t bothered.
“No, I guess not. I’m sorry. I ruined your evening.” he said apologetically.
“It’s okay. You have been a gentleman. I had a real nice evening. Go home.” She handed him her business card with some writing on it. “Here is my personal ‘you get through no matter what’ number. Give me a call. I would love to go out with you again and maybe next time, have you stay awake when you take me home.” She kissed him on the forehead and lingered for him long enough to moan a little.
“That was nice.” he said.
“But you need to go home. I have business to do in the morning on one of my house flips.” Jackie then walked him to his car, reached up, took him by the collar and gave him a big wet French kiss. “There, that really ought to wake you up. You will have to see me again and treat me to another wonderful evening to get another.”
Hugh caught his breath. The kiss was very nice. Her tongue felt incredible. He still couldn’t believe she was once on a man. “Oh yeah. I am most definitely up now. Thanks.” Keeping his composure as best he could, he smiled at her and got in the car to drive off.
As Hugh drove home, he found himself singing, “Schools out for summer!”
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