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Another snippet from the story about Penny from In for a Pound. Penny and Ken have just had a rather enlightening discussion with Joshua and Sidney, although Ken isn’t sure he likes Sidney’s revelation.
Ken found three more plastic totes of fabric on the floor beside the door. The rest of the room had been stripped of personal touches. He felt stripped himself. If a perfect stranger could see his heart so easily, he was in trouble. Penny would catch him in her marriage trap with a mere blink.
“You get lost?” Penny called. Her cast thumped across the linoleum. She’d never give her husband a moment’s peace. When her health deteriorated, she’d probably be one of those patients who wondered away all the time.
He reached for the first tote and grunted as he hefted it into his arms. The box was heavier than he expected.
“Don’t hurt yourself.” Penny appeared in the doorway.
“I’m fine.” Ken shifted the container and moved to sidle through the opening.
“Are you sure you should carry something so heavy down the stairs?” She kept at it. “They’re steep.”
“You’re one to talk. You just hiked up them with a cast on your leg.” Ken gritted his teeth and inched his fingers to get a better grip. Sweat was making the plastic slide out of his grasp.
“Wouldn’t want you to fall.” Penny shrugged nonchalantly, but her eyes sparkled. “You might break a leg.”
The drill sergeant’s voice barked in his head again.
Whether it was because Sidney had put the idea in his head or he just needed a way to keep Penny quiet… He dropped the box to the floor and backed Penny against the door jamb. His lips touched hers before he’d even had a chance to recognize the direction of his actions.
The drill sergeant in his head was already shouting down disciplinary actions: a month of latrine duty, spit polishing the officers’ boots, and push-ups until his arms collapsed like wet spaghetti. The punishments layered in his head as Penny made a tiny squeak. A crack of dawn hike in twenty degree weather. He had to stop, to pull away, to end the madness.
Then she responded and her arms slipped around his neck, possibly for balance because he was sure the earth was shaking beneath his feet.
When they finally broke apart, Penny had the look of a woman on the cover of a romance novel.
And Ken doubted enduring every punishment the drill sergeant could throw at him would change that he couldn’t wait to do it again.
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