Cold Steele--and Ice

by woodmanone

Tags: Romance, Drama, Detective,

Desc: Action/Adventure Story: Detective Matt Steele is on another case.

Another adventure with Matt Steele There are no descriptive sex scenes in this story.

Constructive comments, critiques, and emails are welcome and very much appreciated.

"I thought you grew up in the country," Abigail Stewart said laughing at her companion.

She pulled her horse to a stop next to a small spring seeping from under a crumbling granite wall. The small dell was surrounded by large trees, oak and hickory, and the ground was covered with vegetation; moss grew on the rocks, ferns dotted the area, and deep green grass grew all over the floor of the opening in the hills.

"Doesn't mean I want to play Roy Rogers," Matt Steele answered. "Abby, let's get down and stop for a few minutes," I requested in my best pleading voice and then added, "hopefully for the rest of the day." I sawed on the reins of the big over grown dog I was riding, bringing the horse to an abrupt halt; I almost fell off trying to get down.

My antics brought another peal of laughter from Abby. She quickly dismounted and grabbed my horse by the halter before it could bolt.

"Thanks," I said. "Course, if you let it run away maybe it will just run back to the stable or something. Then I wouldn't have to ride the damn thing."

"How would you get back?" Abby asked; again almost doubling over with laughter.

"You could ride back, get a four wheel drive truck, and come pick me up."

"I can't believe you don't like horses," Abby said in disbelief. "You like hunting and fishing and camping well enough."

"Never spent much time with the horsey set," I replied. "I was always too busy running a boat up and down Current River or hunting back in the hills. Besides, horses are dangerous."

Abby laughed again and stroked the neck of her horse and fed it a sugar cube. "Dangerous? How so?"

"Yeah, dangerous. Like this beast here," I motioned toward my mount. "He weighs what, about 1100 pounds?" She nodded. "And he's got a brain the size of a small apple. Something all wrong there about the ratio of size to brain power."

"What if you wanted to get way back in the woods to hunt or to a remote part of the river to fish? Wouldn't a horse be just the thing?"

"If I can't get there by boat, ATV, or hiking, I don't need to go." It seemed I was Abby's entertainment for the day because she started laughing again. I grabbed her, pulled her close, and stopped her laughter by kissing her.

Abby and I met three months previously at a cocktail party given by her godfather, Jason Worth, who was my client at the time. I was working and she thought I was funny. When I finished the job, I called her and we went to dinner at my favorite St. Louis restaurant; Rigazzi's on the Hill.

On that first date, I, er we, were confronted and accosted by the guy I'd sent to jail for trying to blackmail Mr. Worth; Ralph James, the blackmailer, was out on bail waiting for his court date. After the confrontation, I sent him back to jail; again. Abby wasn't put off by the fight and with a big grin said, "You sure know how to show a girl a good time." Our relationship flourished from that point.

After that night, Abby was off the dating market as far as I was concerned; she apparently agreed with me. We saw each other three of four times a week and even had a sleep over at her place or mine a couple of times. This was our first full weekend together.

According to Abby, we were at the, meet the parents' stage. We'd left St. Louis and joined her folks at their vacation home in south central Missouri; it wasn't my idea of the best use of her limited time off, but hey, I wanted Abby to be happy.

I could understand why her folks kept a home in this area. Jack's Fork River ran past the south part of town and on down the valley between the hills where the small town of Eminence stood. It is a clear, spring fed stream much like the Current River that I grew up playing in and on; in fact Jack's Fork is a tributary of Current River. The hills surrounding the town and its valley were too tall to be called hills and not tall enough to be real mountains. They were tree covered mostly in oak, hickory, and white or red pine, and full of wildlife.

This area had been a hotbed of moonshiners since just after colonial times; but the stills really blossomed during prohibition and for years afterwards. The people were a walking, talking example of the old "Don't Tread On Me" mentality of revolutionary times. Most of the farmland in the area was along the river basin or in the small valleys. The farms were mostly family owned and worked; no big impersonal agricultural companies here.

Before our trip south, Abby had asked me when she was going to meet my folks. I answered that I didn't think that was going to happen.

"Why not? Aren't I good enough?" Abby asked. She was kidding but seemed to be a little hurt and upset.

"Don't get your panties in a bunch," I said. "It isn't you. My parents and I haven't talked in better than three years. Ergo, I won't take you to meet them. Just let it go, okay?"

"Why haven't you talked in three years?" Abby wasn't going to accept my answer at face value; or let it go until she knew the whole story.

Abby was and is, in my mind, a beautiful, interesting, desirable woman; we go good together. She's 5 feet 8, with an athletic body that pushes toward voluptuous; strawberry blonde hair, green eyes, and a few freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks complete the package...

Abby is a lot like me. I don't mean we look alike; I'm 6 feet 3 with a fairly hard muscled body and weigh about 200 pounds. I have black hair and gray eyes. What I meant when I said we were a lot alike was that we both enjoy the outdoors; like hunting, fishing, and camping. But the real similarity is that she can be as sarcastic and as big a smart ass as me.

Abby can be so sweet to someone that butter wouldn't melt in her mouth and then turn around and cut them down if they deserve it. I do the same thing although I don't bother with the sweetness part. As I said we go good together.

"Why haven't you talked to your parents in three years?" Abby's repeated question broke into my thoughts.

She's like a dog with a bone, I thought. She'll gnaw and worry at something until she gets the answer or the result she wants. I had to laugh to myself; just like me.

"Well, you know I'm divorced?"

"You told me that the first time we met."

"My parents didn't take the divorce well. Blamed me for everything; so we don't talk anymore."

"You never explained what happened with your divorce." Abby looked directly at me instead of the scenery. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really. I mean I'm not hurting or sad or even angry anymore and I don't still carry a torch for my ex." I grinned at Abby. "I got closure a long time ago." Abby nodded and turned back to the scenery. "But, I guess since we're involved, you've got a right to hear the story."

"It happened before we met so it's really none of my business," Abby replied. But I knew better; most people want to know as much about their partner as possible; except for me.

I'm just conceited, or shallow, or self centered enough to believe that someone's past isn't important. This works for my few friends and even fewer people I really care about. The people I work for or try to find or catch the bad guys doing something wrong are a different matter but that's business not personal. As for friendships or relationships, I feel that their past, before they met me, isn't important; because it didn't include knowing me. Our interaction is what is important. Not really the complete story, but that is close to the way I feel.

"You know I was a detective with the St. Louis Police right?" She nodded and I continued. "It was like a cliché from stories that you read. I came home unexpectedly, found my wife, Johanna, and my boss doing the nasty in my bed. I proceeded to beat the hell out of him."

I smiled a little, remembering, with a great deal of satisfaction, the beating I put on Captain Joe Harper. "Wouldn't have been so rough with him if he hadn't of gone for his pistol. Anyway, Johanna jumped in to protect her boy toy or to stop me before I could kill him; never did know the real reason. Anyway she caught a punch, but believe me I didn't mean to hit her."

"I know you can be a tough guy, but I don't believe you'd intentionally hit a woman," Abby remarked.

"Oh I would if circumstances called for it. Like she was trying to attack me or someone I care about, but not in anger. Anyway, I lost my job with the department and lost my wife and lost what I thought was a good life. Johanna tried to talk to me during the divorce proceedings, then she talked to my folks and they tried to talk to me."

I gave a short laugh. "Everyone thought I should talk to her about our problems, you know try and get past the 'incident' as they called it. I told Johanna and my parents that I was past the 'incident' and I was past my marriage too."

"Didn't your parents understand?"

"Mom's was raised Catholic and according to her divorce is not an option. So I was wrong in her eyes."

"What about your father?"

"Dad had always liked Johanna and I guess he thought if he came down on me hard I'd get back together with her, in spite of what she'd done." I wasn't smiling or laughing when I added, "Dad was wrong; big time wrong. So we haven't talked in three years. Any time they call, I hang up. They couldn't stand with me then and I don't need them now."

Abby had a sad look and started to speak. "Don't," I said. "For once don't push it Abby. I'm good."

.... There is more of this story ...

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Story tagged with:
Romance / Drama / Detective /