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Until Next Time

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“How infected do you think this thing is by now?” Max asked, gingerly prodding at his now twice-wounded arm. Maybe he should be more worried about the fact that it didn’t hurt nearly as much as he thought it should after being shot through and then stabbed, but for the time being he was just glad that the lack of pain had let him get through the night. They were finally on their way to the hospital, he was sure once they reached it one of the doctors would be happy to tell him just how much he’d screwed it up by running all over town, having his wife’s fingers digging around in it, and getting into fights before finally getting it taken care of.

Annie huffed a tired laugh that didn’t hold much humor. “Probably germs straight through by now, Honey,” she told him, then reached over to pat him on the knee. “I promise if you lose it I’ll use mine to punch both Brooks and Gary right in the face for you.”

“I dunno, it might be worth telling the doctors to go ahead and amputate it just to watch that. Not that I’m not, you know, committed to this ‘getting along with my brother’ thing we’re trying out, but seeing my wife get punchy in my defense? Very hot.” He waited until she’d stopped at a red light before adding, “Speaking of chances for you to get punchy, don’t you think we’d be great at it if we did this murder mystery game thing for real? I mean, with less hijacking by insane neighbors and brotherly schemes?”

She was quiet just long enough that he was starting to think maybe he’d finally found the place where their competitive streaks failed to meet when she suddenly whipped around to stare at him with a broad smile and blazing eyes, “Oh my god Sweetie, I’ve been thinking the exact same thing, but you were shot, and I didn’t want to bring back bad memories when it hasn’t even been long enough for them to become memories yet, but we would be so good.”

So good,” he echoed, letting himself be carried along by her enthusiasm. “You touched my bone, sweetie, what could one of these games cook up that could phase us after that?”

They both jumped when a car behind them blasted its horn, and Annie stepped on the gas with a guilty expression when they realized the light had been green for who knew how long. “I actually was looking it up on my phone when Gary was handling the other officers. There’s this regular weekend-long murder mystery train ride that’s only a forty-five minute drive away. I don’t think we’d be able to talk the whole group into it, but I was thinking maybe you and me could book a room in a car, maybe make it into a little second honeymoon after all this.”

He smiled and reached out to take her hand. His fingers didn’t quite want to move right, but she linked hers firmly through his to make up for it. “And trains are supposed to be soothing, right? So maybe between all the murdering and mysterying would could spend our nights… destressing.”

The look she shot him at that suggestion was softer than the last, but just as bright. “Yeah,” she agreed, squeezing his hand tight. “That sounds like a great plan.”