The Game

Jeanne Barrack


Chapter 1

Dave Harris had pulled more than a couple of strings to get time off from work to take this little four-day excursion. The holiday season was always busy for the police, but somehow he’d managed to get that four-day back-vacation owed him.

He looked down at Shari’s sleeping form in the front seat next to him. A strand of vivid auburn hair screened her face from view. His shoulder ached from keeping still for the past three hours so he wouldn’t wake her.

His plan for some alone time with Shari had gone up in flames. After a month together, he still knew next to nothing about her other than she was a reporter for the Brooklyn Bridge newspaper, a weekly rag focusing on news and human interest stories affecting the borough.

They’d met at a crime scene at a club in the Park Slope area. She’d been hanging around, looking for a story, and Dave had been instantly drawn to her flame-colored hair. He’d always been a sucker for redheads.

When she saw him eyeing her, she boldly walked up to him, handed over her business card, and simply said, “Call me.”

He had.

And for the past four weeks they’d gotten together whenever they had free time—night or day. He smiled. Get together was a pretty pallid way to describe what happened whenever they were in the same space.

Sex. Pure, hot, wet, quick, furious, sweaty fucking.

He met her once a week for lunch at Angelo’s, an Italian joint near the precinct. He’d never taken Angelo up on his offer to use the back room whenever he wanted, until Shari. The nooners had become a weekly ritual. His lips twitched as he realized that, since then, whenever he smelled Italian food he got a hard-on.

He’d taken her once, standing up against the wall in an alley in back of a snitch’s apartment near where she worked. On the spur of the moment, he’d text messaged her with the address and just one word—“now.”

Ten minutes later, her skirt was up to her waist, her thong was down to her ankles, and his cock was deep in her pussy. She’d come twice with his hand and once with his prick.

When they finished, she kicked off the thong and handed it to him.

“Think of me.”

And she strolled back to work, leaving him standing in the alley. Her scent wafting from the scrap of black lace left his cock hard and aching again.

The rest of his shift had been shot. His hand kept drifting to his pocket, fondling her gift, and his mind kept drifting to the image of her walking around the rest of the day bare-assed. Finally, he’d gone into the men’s room and, locking the door behind him, jacked off.

He couldn’t remember the last time they’d had a full conversation. Hell, why talk? She was always wet and ready when he wanted her, no matter when he got off work. After the second week, she’d given him a key to her first-floor apartment of the two-story brownstone she shared with her friend Marcie. He’d crawl into her bed, and she’d wake up instantly. They’d make love without saying a word and then fall asleep after. The next morning, he’d leave after setting up coffee for her; a little thing, but it was his way of making a connection outside of the bedroom.

He’d been like a kid given permission to indulge in his favorite wet dream.

But he wasn’t a kid, and now he wanted more. More of the kind of relationship that would comfort him when people got killed, and he’d come home pissed and frustrated because he couldn’t do anything enough about it. He wanted more than just someone to go to bed with. Yeah, he wanted more.

But more Shari, not more people!

* * * *

Frank Paterno stared at the back of Dave’s neck and indulged in his favorite fantasy.

He was showering in the apartment he shared with him. The hot water pounded down on his aching muscles. Steam swirled around his body and his hair fell into his eyes as he rinsed off the shampoo. He squeezed his eyes shut to keep the lather from stinging, and when he opened them Dave stood there, naked, his cock hard and erect.

“Need some help washing your back?”

In his fantasy, he couldn’t speak, didn’t need to speak. He just nodded and Dave stepped inside the stall and shut the door.

Dave smiled, his hazel eyes crinkling at the corners. He wore his curly, dark brown hair short and it stood up in little swirls around his ears.

Frank wanted to caress those curls, nip his strong neck, and feel Dave’s cock deep in his ass.

And in his dreams, he did.

“Turn around, Frankie. Let me get that spot you always miss.”

It was his dream, so he could observe the scene as though watching a movie. He saw himself turn around, facing the tile wall and bracing himself for what he knew would come next.

Dave lathered up his hands and sank one lean finger deep inside Frank's anus. Frank swore he could really feel it move within him, driving him straight over the edge.

He watched his own satiated body slide down to the slick, ceramic floor and he heard Dave’s forceful command.

“Get on your knees and suck me. Now.”

He rushed to comply. Dave was so much more powerful than him. Even in high school, Dave was the one who earned a letter in basketball while Frank was the math whiz.

Dave’s folks loved to tease him.

“Maybe the stork figured wrong and left the athlete here with us by mistake. Duhvidle could use a little of your brains, boychik.”

Everyone would laugh, and Dave’s mother would put another piece of noodle pudding on his plate.

God, he loved Dave’s family.

After high school, it seemed natural for them to share an apartment. Their natures balanced each other’s.

Dave never knew how much he’d agonized over being close to him on a daily basis and not being able to tell him how much he wanted him. He compensated by making sure to pick up Dave’s cleaning and keep the apartment neat. And he fantasized every time Dave shared the highlights of his latest female conquest. Dave had always kept his love affairs sweet and short, but even though he had only been with Shari a month, it was different this time. Dave had never stayed overnight at a woman’s home. He had never wanted to get too close because of his job, but now things had changed. He agonized over how long it would be before Dave moved out completely.

He never brought over any of his gay friends, at least not the ones he was fucking. He had female friends who thought it a riot to cover for him. He’d actually once convinced Dave that he was engaged. When the so-called engagement ended, Dave consoled him with beer and pizza and season tickets to the Knicks. They’d sit next to each other at the games and each time Dave would grab him and scream in his face when the Knicks scored, he’d dream the screams were ones of ecstasy.

He’d milked his broken heart for over a year so he didn’t need to bring home any females. But he’d finally run out of excuses.

He wondered, though, if Dave might have guessed how he felt. Every now and then he’d catch Dave eyeing him, especially after his so-called breakup. To keep up appearances, he’d accepted his invitation for the weekend. No way out of it.


Shari Nelson shifted in her seat, snuggling closer to Dave.

What the hell had she been thinking to invite Marcie and tell Dave to invite Frank on this four-day getaway?

But she knew Dave wanted to talk, and maybe having other people there would forestall a long overdue conversation. And she was afraid.

It had been four glorious weeks of mindless, mind-boggling sex with him. She’d wanted Dave from the first second she’d seen him and had let him know it right off the bat.

He’d called the next day, and after that, anytime he called, she came.

Literally and figuratively.

He was so strong.

One time he’d fucked her in an alley, holding her up so her feet could go around his lean hips and hang on while he banged her brains out.

Did he know how much she needed him?

No one had ever matched his stamina. He always seemed ready, and she was more than willing. After their second week together, she had a key made for him. It seemed silly for him to go back to his apartment since, during the first two weeks, he’d come over to her apartment every other night. When she’d given him the key, he chuckled.

“Guess you’re pretty sure of me, babe. Glad the last guy who lived here returned the key. Wouldn’t want you to go to any special expense for me.”

He thought it was an extra, probably thought she’d given it to other lovers.

Never. She knew he wouldn’t believe her if she told him he was the only one she’d let into her personal space, into her life. But only a little way.

He’d come into the apartment exhausted from work. She’d hear the thunk as he stowed his gun on the top shelf of the bedroom closet after emptying the bullet clip. Hear the water run as he brushed his teeth. Hear the rustle of his clothing as he folded them neatly on the bedroom chair. He’d sigh, and sometimes she thought he was getting ready to say something. She’d hold her breath, waiting to see if he’d speak, but he never did. She never asked him to talk, afraid he’d say something she didn’t want to hear.

Instead, he’d slip naked into bed, and gather her in his arms, his thick penis rubbing her backside. His hands would creep around to her nipples, and he’d play with them a bit before he’d grab some lube, sink his fingers in her hot, wet pussy, and his cock in her ass.

She’d climax, screaming, gasping for breath.

And wishing she could truly find complete release.

For the past month, she hadn’t gone back to the sex club where she’d seen him investigating a homicide. He had no idea she hadn’t been there for a story but had just left after a session with her Master.

Dave had never looked under her bed and found the locked suitcase with her paraphernalia. The closest they’d come to sex toys were the ribbed condoms they used sometimes.

God, how she wanted to share with him! He was the most forceful lover she’d ever had, and she couldn’t get enough of him. But she’d have to end it soon if she couldn’t get back to the lifestyle she liked the best.

Should she tell him this weekend? She’d vacillated back and forth, hence Marcie and Frank’s presence.

What would Dave say? She was so afraid he’d look at her like he looked at one of the scumbags he hauled in for questioning. But she wanted to tell him, had to tell him. Right?

She had taken a wild, insane chance and toted her suitcase along with her.

Would she even open it this weekend?

Not if she didn’t tell him what was inside.

She snuggled closer.


Marcie Kaplan looked out the window at the passing scenery. The air was crisp and cold, and the night scattered with stars.

Her stomach rumbled.

Great. She had rushed to be ready when Dave picked them up and hadn’t eaten any lunch. They hadn’t stopped for food because they’d seen snowflakes fluttering. Dave didn’t want to take a chance that they’d get stuck on the way to his grandfather’s cabin upstate.

Stupid idea, this weekend. She knew she’d be nothing more than an extra body when Shari begged her to come along.

But it had been a long time since she’d been with Tony and Kip. Why the hell had their jobs demanded they relocate? Her nipples tightened as she remembered the last time she’d been fucked.

“What’s so important I had to drop everything and come over?”

Kip kissed her on each cheek and led her up the stairs to the second floor. He danced her into his apartment, took off her coat and tossed it onto the living room couch, led her into the bedroom, and she gasped.

Silk hangings in pink and purple and gold festooned the ceiling and walls. Fragrant smoke from incense burners permeated the air. Pillows and cushions in every color of the rainbow covered the floor and ornate, brass lanterns cast a golden glow over the scene.

Tony leaned like a pasha against a riot of plump cushions piled on the bed. Every finger bore a ring. An open, embroidered velvet vest revealed his smooth, tanned, muscled chest, glistening with scented oils. A bleached cotton loincloth did little to conceal his semierect state.

“Kneel, slave, and strip.”

Marcie whirled around. She’d forgotten about Kip. He’d kicked off his shoes, taken off his clothes and was similarly clad in a loincloth, but without any rich trappings.

She grinned.

The harem slave scenario—one of her favorites.

She kneeled and removed her blouse and skirt, waiting for the next cue.

“Leave on your undergarments and stand at the foot of the bed.” Tony’s voice dripped with disdain as he fell into his role of pasha. “You thought to escape with your lover, but know that the harem master found out your plans and informed me of them. Since you are so greedy for more than my attention, you shall receive it.”

She almost came right then.

Tony clapped his hands and the exotic strains of Middle Eastern music danced in her ears.

Her nipples tightened. When the music came on, it meant that the guys wanted her to entertain them. They knew what an exhibitionist she was. And she knew how to tantalize them. She reached up and pulled down some of the silk hangings.

Spreading her legs, she planted her lush body in the middle of the room and passed the silk back and forth between her thighs. She rotated her hips and flexed her belly in time to the music. Totally immersed in the music, she draped the long pieces of material over her shoulders and let the ends hang from fingers. She closed her eyes and slowly began to twirl, the ends whipping around her. She danced faster and faster, her heart racing, her body wet with exhilaration until she collapsed on the floor, panting.

“Adequate, slave, adequate. Crawl up the bed and kneel between my legs. Close your eyes again when you are in your place.”

She rushed to comply and placed her hands on her hips ready to take off her thong.

“Wait,” Kip barked. “May I have permission to remove the rest of her garments?”

“You may, but not with your hands, use your teeth. You may commence.” Tony chuckled. “Amuse me.”

She heard the bed creak as Kip placed his knee next to hers. And felt his teeth pull down her thong. His tongue licked every inch of skin he passed over, leaving a trail of goose bumps behind.

“Sit on your heels so he may unclasp your brassiere.”

Once more, she followed Tony’s command.

Kip came around, straddled Tony’s thighs and faced her. Still using only his teeth, he unsnapped the clasp on her bra and pulled it off, tossing it onto the floor.

“That was somewhat amusing, but I find I wish my other senses to be aroused. Harem master, uncover your cock and fuck this pretty slave.”

Kip whipped off his covering, revealing a massive erection.

Marcie gazed transfixed as Tony shifted to his knees behind Kip. Slowly, he unwound the cloth shielding his penis and it sprang free, a drop of precum glistening on its tip.

She licked lips dry with anticipation. She knew what should come next.

Tony addressed Kip.

“Since you have been such a loyal servant, I shall reward you with the blessing of a royal fuck up your ass. What do you say to such largesse?”

Marcie smiled as she remembered Kip’s response. He just couldn’t help it; he was such a clown.

“It is not your ‘large ass’ I wish, Your Highness, but your large prick.” He reached out and squeezed Marcie’s breasts. “And her large tits. Maybe your ‘large ass’ later.”

All three collapsed, laughing, naked, on the bed, Marcie on the bottom of the heap, and soon the laughter changed to moans of pleasure.

First, Kip kneeled between her legs, his prick nudging the entrance to her core. It was her tits, though that fascinated him. He bent his mouth to her breasts, his lips engulfing her nipple, tugging and pulling at one aching point. He kneaded her soft flesh, making her gasp in pleasure with each squeeze. She reached to grasp his cock, doing some squeezing of her own, and smiled when Kip lost control and spilled his cum all over her hand.

“Hey, you were supposed to wait for me, man.” Tony pushed Kip over onto his back and looked at them both. “Well, since you went ahead without me, I’d better clean up the mess.”

He took Kip’s cock deep in his mouth and licked it like it was a candy cane while Kip played with Tony’s balls and slid his hand up and down his penis in rhythm with Tony’s sucking.

Marcie couldn’t tear her eyes away from the two men. She loved watching them; watching the play of their muscles as they moved, the sweat dripping from their skin as they fucked. She touched her pussy, damp and still aching, and thrust her fingers deep, fondling her nub that begged for attention.

She whimpered, her cries drawing Kip’s attention and he turned his head, his eyes hot, watching her as she writhed with self-induced pleasure.

“Lover, we’re forgetting our slave. Don’t you think she deserves a reward for her dance?”

Tony turned his face, Kip’s prick still between his lips.

He lifted his mouth and attempted to speak.

“Not yet. I’m not there yet.”

His words held little meaning for her. She was wrapped in a hazy world of sensation that focused on only one thing—how close she was to fulfillment. Her fingers moved faster until the ache was gone and she lay limp upon the bed.

Tony collapsed on top of Kip.

He rolled off, panting, trying to catch his breath.

“I’m sorry, Marcie. That was selfish of me. Let me make it up to you.”

Marcie smiled. “You bet your fine ass you will. Starting now.”

She couldn’t remember how many different ways they’d screwed that night, only that, when it was all over, when they lay once more together on top of the rumpled sheets, the smell and taste and feel of sex filling the room, they’d told her it was their last time together.

She couldn’t believe it at first, but finally, she did.

She squirmed now, wishing she could relieve the ache between her thighs, but that would take both Frank and Dave. She almost laughed out loud.

When they’d pulled up at the house, she had actually been excited.

“Shari, you’ve heard me talk about my roommate, Frank. Marcie, don’t let his quietness fool you—just give him a chance. Frank’s a realtor, so I asked him to look at the cabin. I’m thinking about putting it on the market as a rental.” Dave smiled. “I’m glad you’ll be there to keep him company, Marcie.”

Shari had pulled her aside then and whispered urgently in her ear. “He’s available. I didn’t want to tell you ’cause I knew you’d be pissed, but after all, you have to get out if you want to get any.” She grinned. “Come on. He’s almost as good-looking as Dave. It’s just for the weekend. You can’t back out on me now.”

Well, he was good-looking.

“Seems we’re riding in the back together.” He offered his hand and then drew her into his arms for a quick hug. “Glad to have you aboard.”

And she was charmed and hopeful. Then she grimaced. There was Frank’s reflection in the window. He gazed at Dave with a longing he barely concealed.

Could no one else see it?

Well, no way would she spill the beans. If Frank hadn’t come out yet, she wouldn't be the one who outed him.

She was just glad she’d packed her vibrator.

* * * *

“Hurry up, guys! The snow is really coming down!”

Dave flicked on one of the old-fashioned table lamps, and a soft glow illuminated the square room, revealing his companions’ snow-covered forms.

“Thank God the electricity is still working.” Shari shook the snowflakes from her hair and blew on her reddened fingers. “We’ll get some coffee on while you boys get the bags.”

Dave nodded.

“Good idea. The kitchen’s on the right, behind the door. I’m sure you can find everything. The caretaker keeps the pantry full, Gran said. We’ll be back in a minute.”

Marcie and Shari tossed their coats on hooks behind the cabin door and disappeared into the small kitchen.

“Dave, Frank, get in here!”

“What the hell happened?” Dave strode into the center of the kitchen and turned around slowly. The kitchen was gutted. No stove, no fridge. It was a mess. The cabinet doors hung half off the hinges. Frank cursed in disbelief.

Dave sank into one of two rickety chairs and shook his head.

“My grandmother hasn’t been here for years, and the last time my grandfather was here was when I was just a kid. He left me the cabin when he passed away last year. The son of a bitch caretaker must have been ripping them off all this time!” He slammed his fist on the table. “When I get my hands on him, I’ll kill him!”

He stood, opened up one of the few cabinet doors not falling off and brought out a broom and dustpan.

“Shari, can you sweep up while I go through the cabinets and see if there’s any kind of food left? Marcie, please check the other rooms and see if there’re any blankets or sheets in the bedrooms? We’ll be stuck here for at least tonight.”

Marcie hurried off and Frank took a crushed box of kitchen matches from the counter.

“There’s some firewood in the other room. I’ll get a fire going. Just for added warmth.”

“Thanks, bro.” Dave ran his fingers through his hair. “Sorry things got so fucked up.”

“No problem. Things happen.”

* * * *

“Well, we have tuna fish, several cans of soup, some crackers whose freshness date expired two years ago, some instant coffee, tea, a couple of cans of creamed corn, an unopened jar of peanut butter, honey, dried potato flakes, a half-empty canister of sugar, some salt, and, most important of all, a flashlight and a can opener.”

Shari laughed. “I wanted to lose some weight, just didn’t plan on doing it this way.”

“You’re perfect. I like a woman with something to hold onto.”

Dave snagged her around the waist and drew her back against his chest. He sank into one of the chairs and cupped her breasts, slipping his hands beneath her pullover sweater.

No bra.

He groaned.

“Dammit, Shari, you know what touching you does to me. Why didn’t you wear a bra?”

She spread her legs so that she was riding his thigh. He could feel the dampness right through his jeans.

“Fuck, are you wearing any underwear?”

“I thought you’d let someone else do some of the driving.” She turned her head and bit his ear. “I wanted to be ready.” Her nipples pebbled in his hands. “You should have let Frank take a turn.”

He slid one hand beneath the elastic waistband of her skintight ski pants and slipped his finger between her swollen folds. “We can’t do this. Frank or Marcie will be back any second.” He pressed down on her clit. “Tease. You know I can’t make you come now.” He grunted as she wriggled in his arms.

“Later.” He withdrew his hand and brought it to her mouth. “Just a little something to whet your appetite. Taste.”

She licked his fingers, swirling her tongue around each one, nipping and sucking them. She grinned. “And that’s from me to you.”

“Did you do this to all your lovers?” He pinched her nipple and she squealed. “Probably not. You wouldn’t still be alive if you messed with anyone else the way you mess with me.”

He shifted her off his lap and smacked her behind.

“Let’s see what Marcie found.”

Shari and Dave went back into the cabin’s main living area, their arms around each other’s waists.

A fire blazed in the fireplace, and a stack of blankets and pillows were piled on the love seat.

Marcie and Frank sat on the rag rug in front of the flickering flames.

“Well, are we going on a starvation diet?” Marcie smoothed her hands over her ample breasts and tiny waist and grinned. “It won’t work, you know. I never can seem to lose weight.”

Dave shook his head. “Not quite. We have some food. Not much.” He paused. “But, we have the most necessary things.”

“Each other?” Marcie asked.

“Nope. A can opener and a flashlight.”

Everyone laughed and the tension dissipated.

“There are two bedrooms and one bath,” Dave continued. He glanced over at Frank and Marcie. “You guys won’t mind sharing, right? I’m going to turn off the heat in the bedrooms to conserve energy and we’ll bank the fire. We’ll divvy up the blankets and sheets. I’d suggest keeping your clothes on in bed. If you want.” His teasing brought smiles from the girls, but no answering one from Frank.

“We’ve got soup and crackers for tonight,” Shari said. “Coffee and crackers for breakfast, and hopefully, by then, the snow will have stopped and we can…what’s wrong?”

Dave shook his head.

“I know this area. The road sucks, and in the best of times, there’s hardly any phone reception here.” He grimaced. “I didn’t count on not having any food or a kitchen.” He sighed. “I need to check on the generator too.” He shook his head. “What a fiasco.” He put his coat back on and picked up the flashlight from the kitchen. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Marcie rose. “I’m going to look through the closets again. Maybe there are some extra clothes packed away.”

“I’ll get supper on the table—such as it is.” Shari headed to the kitchen. “I wonder if there are plates or cups or utensils? Dave didn’t say.”


“Guess I’ll just keep the fire going.” Frank tossed some crumpled newspaper on the logs and sank back onto the rug, staring into the flames.

What the hell should he do? He had planned on sleeping on the couch, leaving the bedroom to Marcie. Now he’d have to share the same room, hell, the same bed. Despite keeping their clothes on, he knew she’d expect something more from him than simply body heat.

What the fuck should he do?

A blast of frigid air and a stream of curses announced Dave’s return to the cabin.

“What did you find? Nothing good, I can tell.”

Dave shook his head.

“That son of a bitch! He never refueled the generator. We have enough for maybe three days if we coddle it. No lights after dinner; collect water in whatever containers we find.” He paused. “Let’s get the girls, and I’ll give them the good news.”

* * * *

“Well, that’s it. As for personal hygiene,” he took a deep breath, “I hope you all brought lots of deodorant, because this place is going to get pretty rank otherwise.”

The group sat around the fire in stunned silence, taking in Dave’s words. Marcie still held the box she’d found in one of the closets on her lap. An improvised apron made from a towel hugged Shari’s waist.

Dave leaned back against the couch and bowed his head. He spoke again, his voice muffled.

“When the weather lets up, the snowplow will eventually clear the road to the cabin. The problem is, since no one is supposed to be here, we’re a low priority. We could try calling them, but the cabin phone isn’t working either.” He raised his head, impotent fury in his eyes. “The bastard was most likely pocketing the money for most of the bills.” He clenched his hands. “If I had that mother…” He loosened his fists. “We’ll get through this, I promise. It’s only a few days.”

Shari got up and brushed off her hands. “Well, I found a couple of pots under the sink, and we have one mug—minus its handle—a glass with one small chip, and one unscathed measuring cup. We’ll divvy up the crackers and dine by the romantic glow of the fire.” She chuckled. “’Cause we only have two chairs. Dave, can you help me bring things in?”


As soon as the door shut behind them, Dave turned Shari around.

“Thanks.” He swiped a patch of dust from her cheek with his thumb. “You’re being a lot more forgiving than I deserve.”

“Why? It’s not your fault. It’s your Gran’s caretaker who should be strung up by his prick, naked and gnawed on by hungry wolves.”

“Whoa!” Dave’s laughter rang out. “That’s some bloodthirsty scenario you cooked up.”

“Well, I just don’t think you should feel guilty for someone else’s shitty behavior.”

Shari turned on the faucet, letting the water run into a large bowl she’d found while rummaging through the kitchen. As soon as the water got as hot as it could, she poured it into the saucepan with the condensed tomato soup. On the table was a napkin with a half sleeve of crackers and the drinking vessels she’d gathered.

“Well, it’s not Mickie D’s, but it’ll do.”

“We’ll just have to find other ways to kill the hunger pangs.” Dave leered playfully. “I can think of something else I’d like to eat.”

“And if you’re a good boy, maybe I’ll let you.” Shari strutted ahead of him, brushing her ass against his crotch as she passed by.

With a rueful chuckle, he followed her out of the kitchen.

* * * *

“Hmmm, I never knew lukewarm canned soup could taste so good.” Marcie rubbed her stomach and licked off a few crumbs from her fingers. “What was the seasoning you put in it, Shari?”

“A dash of salt and pepper.” Shari giggled. “I plan on sending the recipe to Rachael Ray.” She glanced over to the cardboard box placed next to Marcie. “Have you opened it yet?”

Marcie turned to Dave and pushed the carton over to him. “I thought you should open it first, take a look inside. There might be some personal stuff you don’t want to share.”

“Thanks, Marcie. I doubt there’s anything private, but you never know.”

Dave slowly unfolded the tucked-in flaps. He reached in and drew out a white silken shawl. Knotted fringes decorated the edges and deep blue stripes ran down it lengthwise. A small blue six-pointed star was embroidered on each corner.

“It’s lovely,” Shari whispered. “What is it?”

“It’s a Jewish prayer shawl.” Marcie lifted up one end and let the fringes filter through her fingers.

“It’s way too small, though.” Dave smiled. “It’s mine. I haven’t seen it in almost twenty-two years. I never expected to find it here.” He glanced at the others. “Maybe it’s a sign.”