It Happened One Night

Chapter 6

The ride back to the hotel was made in silence. They girls were busy brushing Barbie’s hair. Sherrie and Max were deep in their own thoughts, unsure of what to say to each other.
They went to their rooms and the girls dumped the box of dolls on the floor. Finding not only about twenty Barbie’s, but also a ton of clothes and accessories. “Thanks, Mom.”
“Your welcome, Celi.” She smiled at her daughter.
“Why don’t we let the girls play and we hang out in my room and watch some TV?”
Sherrie shrugged, “Sounds good. I’m going to go down and get a soda first.”
“I have a better idea. I’ll run to the store and get drinks and snacks for everyone.”
“Thanks, Max. That’s a great idea.” The smile she gave him was tired.
“Why don’t you nap while I’m gone?”
She nodded and sat on the bed to take her shoes off.
“I’ll be back soon. OK?” Max questioned her.
“Yeah, I’m just going to lay down for a few minutes.” The door closed and Sherrie laid down. She felt lonely for the first time in nine years. Lonely for her dad. Lonely for the life she could’ve had if her dad had gotten sober years ago. The thoughts kept circling in her brain until she said out loud, “It is what it is. I can’t change anything. I can only do what is ahead of me.” On that thought she slept.

Max didn’t want to wake her when he returned. He sat gently beside her on the bed, turning the TV on low so it didn’t disturb her. Taking off his shoes he settled into the bed with a sigh. It had been a hard morning, but they had the rest of the day to relax.

He watched Sherrie sleep. She was so beautiful. Her blonde hair lay in curls down her back, her face peaceful in sleep. He didn’t know he could love her more than he already did until today. She’d been graceful and thoughtful. He knew how much it had meant to her dad when she hugged him. He’d be sure to tell her when she woke up.

He dozed off between watching her and watching the TV. He dreamed of kissing her, knowing it could only be a dream. Never knowing how the rest of their day would change their lives forever.

Sherrie stirred, feeling an arm around her middle. She panicked, thinking it was one her dads friends. She’d been dreaming about the last time she’d been assaulted in her home. Terror tinging her voice when she spoke, “Get off me.”

Max stirred pulling her closer in his sleep. Sherrie screamed, “Get of me.” Then whispered. “Please God, Not again.” Still in the stupor of sleep she had no idea it was Max holding onto her.

MAx heard her scream and instantly let go of her. Sherrie started hitting him. Gently he took hold of her hands, “Sher, it’s me, Max. Its OK. You’re OK.”

She looked at him with eyes that didn’t really see. “Please,” she whispered. “Please let me go. I won’t tell anyone. I have money. Please, just let me go”

Stunned Max let her go. “Sherrie,it’s Max. Please listen to me.” He kept his voice low and gentle. “Wake up, Sherrie. You’re dreaming.”

She heard his voice but couldn’t respond. Fear held her in it’s dark grip. She felt it like it was a living being. MAx gently pulled her into his arms, holding her lightly in case she wanted to get away.

“Max?” her voice tentative, her head low.

“Yes. I’m here for you.”

“Please hold me.”

“I am.”

“Hold me tighter, I can’t feel it.”

He held her tighter and she sunk into him. Her body started shaking uncontrollably as sobs took over. She didn’t know if it was from the dream, knowing she was safe or Max seeing her like that. At the moment it didn’t matter as she just took comfort from him. She could feel his hands in her hair, soothing her like she’d often seen him do with Hayleigh.

She only drank in the comfort until the sobs subsided. She lifted her head and looked at him. “I’m sorry.”

“For what? For having a bad dream? For yelling at me? For losing control.”


Max smiled down at her and took her chin in his hand. Gently, just the tiniest brushing of lips. At the first touch Sherrie leaned into the kiss she’d wondered about for the last week. What was supposed to just be a kiss of love and support quickly turned into a wildfire as he captured her lips for a full kiss.

She felt it. Arousal. Luciah had told her what to expect if she ever wondered if she wanted someone. She never had before. Now she couldn’t get enough of Max. She lifted her arm to his head and pulled him closer. He deepened the kiss momentarily, then pulled away. “Sherrie, no. This isn’t right.”

Coldness returned as she felt his rejection to her very soul. “OK, I get it max.” Her voice despondent. “I shouldn’t have taken advantage of your comfort.
“No, Sher, that isn’t it. I don’t want to take advantage of you when you’re vulnerable. Come to me when you’re awake alert and not terrified of a dream. Then we’ll set the place on fire.”

“So you do want me?”

“Of course I do. I’d be crazy not to. But let’s talk about this when you are doing better, OK?”

Her smile was mixed with tenderness and fatigue. “It was a memory, not just a dream.”

“Sher, I am so sorry you had to go through that.” Compassion in his tone he just looked at her.

“I’m going to take a shower.” She turned from him and headed to the bathroom. At the door she turned to him and smiled. “Thanks, Max.”

His phone rang while Sherrie was in the shower. He looked at the number, surprised to see it was from Shasta. He debated sending it to voice mail, but he knew she would keep calling him until he answered. He answered, his voice hard. “Hello, Shasta.”

“Max, I’m so glad you answered.”

“I’m sure. What do you want?” He was direct and Short with her.

“I want to see Hayleigh.”

“No.” His answer was quick.

“Why not?”

“Look we haven’t even heard from you in six months. The last time you visited you were so high we couldn’t even talk to you. The answer is no.”

“I’m clean.”

Laughter filled the room. “How many times have you said that?”

He could tell she was crying. “I don’t know. I’m in a rehab facility. I want to get clean and see my daughter.”

That was a new twist. She’d never done rehab no matter how much he used to beg her to. “Call when you’ve got six months in. Then, well, we’ll see.”

“Please, Max?”

“No. I’ve given you my terms. Good-bye Shasta.” He hung up, not giving her a chance to respond.