“Did you see this?” Martin asked.
“See what?” Sal responded, not looking up from his laptop.
“This letter,” Martin answered in a sing-song voice, flapping it back and forth in the air.
“Dude. I’m under deadline!” Sal snapped.
“Fine, fine,” Martin said airily, not surprised at Sal’s waspishness. “Princess.”
Martin walked into the kitchen. “I’m gonna start dinner, okay babe?” he called back.
“Whatever. Yeah. Sounds fine,” Sal agreed absently.
“I’m going to cook your cat,” Martin added.
“Yeah, okay, whatever,” Sal muttered.
Martin smiled to himself and sat down at the kitchen table. He used the letter opener to slit the heavy paper and slid the letter out.
Dear Mr. Martin McAllister,
Schwartz, Greene, McAllister and Stone wishes to inform you that your Uncle Harrison McAllister named you in his will, executed 5th March 2008 in New York City. A sum has been placed on hold for you at the Bank of New York in the numbered account, #—79Zyy48, with the enclosed password.
Please respond soonest as to when you can stop by our offices to collect your Uncle’s remaining possessions.
Mr. Johnstone Bartholomew Greene
Martin sat back in his chair feeling like he’d been punched. He had an uncle in New York? He glanced at the paper again. An Uncle who was a lawyer? Who’d left him money?
He set the paper on the table and started dinner, lost in thought. Sal wandered in a little later and picked it up to read. “Hmm. We could go this weekend,” he said thoughtfully.
Martin turned around, stirring the stew one-handed. “Go where?”
“New York,” Sal said like it was obvious. “When will dinner be ready?”
“Sal, are you serious? We can’t just go to New York!”
Sal cocked his head. “Why not? It’s only an hour or two to drive.”
“I know how long it takes,” Martin snapped, exasperated.
Sal shrugged. “There you go then.” He pulled a diet soda out of the fridge and went back to his computer, muttering about his work.
Sal wouldn’t discuss the trip any more that night, or the next two days. He just booked them a hotel in Manhattan and told Martin he would do most of the driving since Sal was under deadline.
Saturday morning, Sal got up like nothing was out of the ordinary and got packed.
“Sal. You don’t think this is the least bit odd?” Martin demanded, stuffing some underwear in his overnight bag.
Sal shrugged. “Nope.” He grabbed Martin’s toiletry kit and headed out to the car.
They didn’t talk much on the drive. Sal was buried in his laptop almost the entire way there. Martin pulled into the Valet line at the hotel and stopped. Sal looked up, smiled, and stowed his computer.
“Let’s go, hun,” Sal chirped and got out of the car before Martin could say anything.
Sal checked them in while Martin got the car and luggage taken care of. Rather than having a Bellman take their bags, Sal navigated the cart himself. Martin followed, increasingly grumpy. The elevator opened and Martin froze.
The elevator opened onto a huge private suite. French doors stood about six feet in front of the elevator, opening onto a spacious bedroom. Smack in the center of it stood an enormous king-size bed, with what were obviously silk sheets adorning it and more pillows than the Sultan. Hanging like bunting from the doors was the sign: Schwartz, Greene, McAllister and Stone welcome you to New York.
“Happy birthday, baby,” Sal murmured into Martin’s ear, sending chills up and down his spine. He walked past Martin into the bedroom and maneuvered the cart to one side.
Martin, dumbstruck, got out of the elevator when it started beeping shrilly. The doors shut behind him and he heard it rumble back downstairs.
“Hmm?” Sal rumbled over his shoulder as he rummaged in his bag.
“Sal, what is going on?”
Sal turned and came over to Martin, circling him in his arms. “I just figured you needed some mystery in your life. You are turning forty, and you were moping about it.”
Martin felt himself grin. “So there’s no creepy lawyers, no uncle to go see?”
Sal bent forward. “None at all. No reason to leave the suite. They have,” he brushed his lips against Martin’s, “room service…” He captured Martin’s mouth with his and Martin responded, happier than he’d been in days.