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Something permanent

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„Well, goddamn."

She was standing in the door, looking slightly uncertain, as if she feared to be unwelcome in the dimly lit bar.

Her eyes sought his and locked, as if he was her sheet anchor. Smiling widely, he bent towards the microphone again and said,

„I'd like to bring a friend out on stage. A wonderful songwriter I met in Nashville…"

She laughed and shook her head at the same time. Was she still doubting herself? Well, he would have to pull her out of it, then.

"And she just so happens to be here tonight. We welcome to stage Miss Chiles Stanton."

Everyone applauded politely as she sat down next to him and gave him this special what-are-you-doing-I-didn't-agree-to-this look of hers. He had been missing it, mostly because it was immediately followed by the oh-well-actually-I-don't-mind-at-all look, just like now.

Beau reluctantly averted his eyes from her to correct his musical annunciation.

"This one's called Give in to me."

I'm gonna wear you down
I'm gonna make you see
I'm gonna get to you, you're gonna
Give in to me

You're gonna take my hand
Whisper the sweetest words
And if you're ever sad, I'll make you laugh, I'll
Chase the hurts

Come on, come on into my arms
Come on, give in to me

"So, Miss Chiles Stanton", he said when they walked towards the parking lot together. "What're you doing here?"

She laughed. It was a nervous little laugh with which she started her sentences if she was unsure of what she should say.

"I'm staying at the hotel", pointing at the tall building across the road, "but I intend to stay a little longer…maybe find something permanent."

His heart skipped a beat as he realised what she might be implying. He cleared his throat.

"Well, I've never had the pleasure to stay there, but people have been saying that that hotel is something of a fleabag."

She shrugged, still avoiding his glance. "There's a bed and a bathroom and breakfast. No fleas so far – although I haven't exactly been looking for them." She grinned and leaned against his truck.

He shoved both hands in his pockets and raised both eyebrows. "How about you come over and stay at my place? I promise
it's much more comfortable."

"That sounds…" She hesitated, then gave herself a little push. "That sounds good. I'll just go get my toothbrush from the hotel, yes?"

"I'll wait here." He grinned as she awkwardly stepped out of the small space between him and the truck and jogged towards the hotel.

When Chiles returned, she was carrying a black holdall. Beau, who was already sitting on the driver's seat, shot her a glance.

"That's a pretty big bag for a toothbrush", he remarked. Chiles sat beside him and turned her face away but he saw her blush anyway.

"It's…the right size for what's included by a woman's definition of 'toothbrush'."

They didn't speak much during the drive. When Beau pulled up in front of his door and helped her get out of the truck, she had a stunned expression on her face. He could see how she took everything in, the old building, the dark shapes of the even older trees growing to both its sides, and most of all, the clear, starry sky.

He could see the stars in her eyes, and was sure he was grinning goofily. When she shuddered, he touched her arm. "Let's go inside. 'S warmer there."

She followed him without question. He unlocked the door and went in.

"I'd let you go first but there's no light here and the switch is at the other end of the room", he called apologetically, making his way through the darkness and finally pressing the switch.

Chiles closed the door behind her. "You know, Beau, there's no need to be so courteous."

He laughed. "'Kay. Just leave your bag uncourteously on the floor while I go get the old mustard glasses for a drink." Then he went to the kitchen, shoving a pair of dirty work boots towards the back door as he went by.

When he had just found two clean, undamaged wine glasses in the upper cupboard, he heard her call, "Shall I take off my shoes before I come in?"

Carefully, he put the glasses on the table and returned to the kitchen door. "Y'know, Chiles, there ain't no need to be so courteous."

She rolled her eyes but smiled. "I'm serious, Beau. Dirty footprints on the floor are nothing to be taken lightly. Now…do you want me to take off my shoes?"

"Actually", he answered lightly, although his voice was raw and his heart beating faster than a drum when he approached her and placed a hand on her cheek, "I'd like you to take off everything, not just the shoes."

They lay next to each other. The stillness of the moment was like a warm blanket wrapped around both of them, it aligned with the darkness and the feeling of peace and calmness in his mind. He felt her hair brush against his shoulder when she said his name.



"Maybe this is the kind of permanent I was looking for."