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Return to the Victory Motel

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Ed drove up the hill to the Victory Motel with a little less trepidation than he'd had the last time he was here. He'd received the postcard from Bisbee a week ago. It simply said, “Victory Motel” and had given a date, a time, and a room number. He could have ignored it, but his curiosity was piqued. He hadn't been back to the motel since that fateful day six months ago when he and Bud had their showdown with Dudley Smith and his cronies.

He walked up the path to the motel, past the little bungalow with the boarded up windows and missing door. The room he was looking for- Room Seventeen- was further down the path, almost to the far edge of the motel property. Ed appreciated the discretion. He and Bud could have had a chat anywhere in the city, could have talked over the phone as they'd been doing since the time that Bud's jaw had healed. Each conversation had become more and more charged and, in those moments, Ed both loved and hated that Bud was living hundreds of miles away.

And now Bud was here, in this place, where everything both ended and started.

Ed stood outside the door of Room Seventeen and ran his hands over his hair, smoothing it into place. A soft chuckle came through the open window as the curtain fell back into place. “You always were a vain little shit. Get in here,” Bud muttered.

Ed didn't need to be told twice. He walked up the couple of steps to the room and pushed open the door and stepped inside.

The room was dimly lit and the ceiling fan was spinning overhead. That's all that Ed was able to notice before Bud had crashed him back against the door. Bud's lips pressed insistently against Ed's and they stayed that way for what seemed like several minutes. When they finally broke apart, Ed looked up at Bud and said, “Hi.”

Bud laughed. “It's good to see you.”

“Interesting place for a reunion.”

“I was feeling sentimental. We only halfway finished what we started.” Bud sat down on the edge of the bed and began to take off his shoes.

“I thought we accomplished quite a lot. We solved the Night Owl. We took care of Captain Smith.”

“You took care of Dudley. I got shot.” The shirt was next as Ed watched Bud's fingers undo one button at a time.

“You seem to have recovered.”

“Well, the hip is still a bit fucked, but the jaw's better. In case you want to test it later.”

Bud grinned at Ed's ruffled expression.

“Honestly, Exley, did you think I was coming here to see if I could get my old job back? That we were going to have a nice civilized discussion and then you'd say you'd see me on Monday morning.”

“How's Lynn?”

“She's good. Met a man that treats her right. I approved. She's the one that told me to send the postcard, said we needed to have a bout of “we survived” sex and then figure out where to go from there.”

“So all that shit with Dudley, we fuck and get it out of our system?”

“Yes. No. Sort of.”

“Okay. Stop,” said Ed, toeing off his shoes. He unbuttoned the cuffs of his dress shirt. “First things first. Yes, you can start on Tuesday.”

“Why not Monday?”

Ed grinned as he unfastened his belt. “Because bad hip or not, when I'm done with you, you're not going to be able to walk until then.”