“You sure you’re okay sleeping on the couch?” asked Louise, tucking the blankets in around him. “I have air mattresses and you can always sleep with me.”
Novak stared at her. “Is that a good idea, sleeping with you I mean?”
“We’ll be asleep, how bad can it be?” said Louise, staring at him.
“Where is Gau sleeping?”
“On the floor next to my bed. I made a nest for him out of blankets and old sweatshirts, since he’s still stressed and afraid to be alone.”
“I think I’ll stay here.”
“Up to you,” she said. “If you change your mind, you know where I am.”
“Maybe,” said Louise. “Shy or afraid…he seems to go back and forth.”
“Coo,” said the bird, in agreement.
“What about his job?” asked Shane, knocking back a bottle of water. “Any donuts left?”
“He really can’t go to work right now.” Louise took a box of donuts out of the draw next to her knee and slid them across the counter.
“Thanks!” said Shane, happily. “My favorites.”
“Every donut is your favorite,” snickered Louise.
“Na uh,” mumbled Shane. waving a chocolate iced donut in the air and then pointing at a French donut still in the box. “Favs.”
“Are you staying here tonight?”
“I’ll be right next door.”
“Lock the door and spell it when you leave, please. I’m gonna crash. And yes, you can take the rest of the donunts . I have more.”
“You’re the beast partner ever, you know that, right?”
“I do, actually.”
Louise fell across the bed and then forced herself to remove some of her clothes and crawl under the covers. Gau and Billy were snuggled together on the floor and in spite of their loud breathing and snarfing, Louise fell asleep immediately and barely felt Novak get into bed with her early in the morning.
“Softest bed ever,” he whispered. “Why do you ever get up?”
“Because the bed can’t pay the bills.”
“It could if you rented it out by the hour.”
“What time is it?”
“Seven,” said the bird.
“Time to rise and shine kiddies,” she said ripping the blankets off.”
“I hate you.”
“Wow, no one has ever said that to me before. I’m crushed.”
“She’s kidding,” said Graywing. “You know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, thank you, I do know that,” replied Novak.
“I’m taking a shower. We’re going to visit your friend after breakfast.”
“I need clothes,” said Novak.
“Look in the hall closet. I’m sure something will fit you. And before you ask, there are clothes for men in the closet because you aren’t the first client who has stayed here.”
“Got it,” he said.
An hour later everyone was in the kitchen. “Billy, you stay here with Gau. You know the drill. Graywing you’re with me. Shane will take drag.”
“Is my friend going to fall on a bullet?” asked Novak, who was dressed in jeans, a white t-shirt and a navy sport coat.
“That’s up to him,” said Louise, eyeing him up and dow. “You look…good.”
Novak bowed. “Thank you. I do my best.”
“Gau, do everything Billy tells you to do. He’s done this before. Eat anything you want, unless it’s alive.”
Billy, nodded and so did Gau. Shane was in the hall leaning against the wall. “Took you long enough. This is my last donut,” she said,wiping her fingers on her torn, skin tight jeans. “Powder sugar rocks.”