Chapter 10

Vera glanced at the time.

Billy came up from under the covers.

"Will you stop doing that?"

"Doing what?"

"Checking the time! It's Sunday morning, we don't have to go downstairs yet. Harry's got Daisy, Marv's setting up the barbecue –"

A look of concern crossed Vera's face.

"Do you think it's safe to let Marv light the barbecue?"

Billy gave a sigh.

"Stop killing my arousal, Vera! I don't want to think about lighting barbecues! Let's forget everything except this moment..."

And he slid back under the sheets, kissing slowly down her body.

Vera gasped and grabbed him by the hair, pushing his mouth harder against her.

"Oh Billy, don't stop!"

He felt her start to tremble and he came up for air.

"I love the way you get so worked up over me." He murmured, then he took her in his arms, trying to take his time but finding it impossible because she was so excited.

As she grabbed at him and breathed sharply he quickly lost control just as he thought how lucky he was that his wife still wanted him as much as ever after more than ten years of marriage. Vera was kissing him hard and he could barely breathe as they shared passionate lovemaking.

Then they lay breathless in damp sheets as the warm summer air sighed through the open windows.

And Vera checked the time again.

"We'd better get up, baby." She said as she sat up and ran her fingers through her long hair, pushing it off her face.

"We've got plenty of time."

"Not if we have a shower first."

Billy felt lazy and satisfied and didn't want to make a move for a while yet.

"Who needs a shower?" He remarked.

"We do!" She exclaimed, "We smell like we've been making love!"

Billy laughed.

"There's nothing wrong with that, Vera!"

She stared at him.

"Yes there is! Do you seriously want us to go downstairs to the barbecue smelling like we've just been rolling around in bed together?"

Billy still had a smile on his face.

"I thought that was our usual smell?"

Vera got up and playfully hit him with a pillow.

"Don't be disgusting, Billy! Come on, let's go and get cleaned up!"

Billy gave a sigh and sat up.

"Okay pumpkin, let's go and shower..."


In the garden, Marv stepped closer to the barbecue.

He blew on it and watched as a tendril of smoke rose from the coals.

Then he grabbed the lighter fluid.

"MARV!" Yelled Harry, dashing across the lawn "NO! Get away from the barbecue!"

Marv stepped back and Harry snatched the lighter fluid from him, breathing a huge sigh of relief.

"No!" He said again, scolding him like a small child, "Don't touch the lighter fluid, that's my job – you might have an accident."

Marv looked a little confused.

"I was only going to put half of it on."

Harry breathed another sigh and shook his head.

"Go and get the beer out of the fridge – I'll get the barbecue going, okay?"

"Okay." Marv replied, and walked back towards the house.


A short while later, as the coals glowed and Harry took care of the barbecue, Billy came over and offered to help.

Harry looked at him, remembered he was only slightly smarter than Marv and shook his head.

"I don't think I want you playing with fire." He remarked, "Haven't you done enough of that already? Eventually you'll get burned..."

And Billy understood exactly what he was talking about.

"That's in the past." He told him, glancing over at Vera, who was carefully putting their daughter into her play pen under the shade of a tree, "I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. "

Harry glanced at him.

"You've been thinking? Actually thinking, Billy?"

He smiled.

"Yes I have. And I know it now - I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I must have been crazy to cheat on Vera."

Harry smiled too.

"Don't ever forget that." He told him, "You've got a beautiful woman, you don't want to lose her."

"I know that too." Billy replied, "Don't worry about me, Harry –I'll never forget it!"

And he went back over to Vera, who grabbed a beer ff the table and handed it to him. She had one too and it was already open.

"Beer for lunch?" Billy wondered.

"Harry hasn't even put the burgers on yet." She replied, then she knelt down on the grass and carefully moved the playpen back a little, making sure Daisy was right out of the sun.

"Do you think I should get her sunshade?" She wondered as she got up.

"No, she's just fine where she is." Billy replied.

Then he looked at Vera's white cropped jeans. She'd looked great when she had got dressed, pairing it with a blouse tied up at her waist – she'd looked fine until she had got down on her knees to move the baby...

Billy laughed.

"Last time you had grass stains like that you were on your back screaming my name, pumpkin!"

Vera looked down at her jeans and frowned.

"Oh shit!" She muttered.

Then she heard a car horn and looked up.

"Who's that?"

"Must be Kevin" Billy replied.

"I'll go." She offered, and went off to say Hi to Harry's friend.


Kevin had felt a little uneasy about accepting a ride over to Harry's house – but he had car trouble and his Mom was only too happy to take him over there. He had felt uneasy all the way to the house, hoping no one would mention the name Wet Bandits.

His Mom knew the Murphy's house had been broken into when he was eight years old, she knew the Wet Bandits had been arrested there, too - but that was all she knew and he needed to keep it that way...

As they parked outside a woman wearing white with grass stains on her jeans came over to the car and smiled as she leaned in the open window. The sunlight bounced off her long hair almost as brightly as it did off the big diamond and sapphire ring she wore above her wedding band.

"Hi!" She said brightly, her breath carrying a slight trace of beer, "I'm Vera!"

Kevin smiled back at her.

"Hi Vera," He said,"I'm Kevin and this is my Mom Kate – she gave me a ride because my car broke down."

"Hi." Kate said, "Nice to meet you."

Kevin got out of the car.

"Do you want a ride home later?" She wondered.

Before Kevin had a chance to answer, Vera spoke up again.

"Do you have to go, Kate? I'd love you to stay..."

"Oh I don't know anybody here..."

Vera smiled.

"You know me now, so why not?"

Kate smiled back at her as Kevin shrugged, then he quickly made his way into the garden to warn the guys that the name Wet Bandits couldn't be mentioned...

As Kevin went into the garden Kate switched off the engine and got out of the car.

Vera walked with her up the path.

"I'll introduce you to the family." She said, "My husband's over there by the barbecue..."

Kate glanced over and saw Kevin talking to a couple of guys, one was standing beside him, he had dark hair and he was wearing shades and looked around forty. The older, shorter guy was putting the burgers on the barbecue and as he glanced over he smiled and the sunlight caught his gold tooth and reminded Kate of someone she once met before – someone who had called at her house many years ago...a cop, maybe?

Kate caught his eye and smiled back

"Which one is your husband?" She wondered.

Vera smiled.

"The handsome one!"

"The guy who's cooking the food on the barbecue?" Kate replied.

"No," Vera said, "That's Harry! My husband's Billy – the tall guy with the sun glasses on."

"Oh." Kate said with interest, "So that's Harry?"

As they walked over to the barbecue, Vera glanced at her.

"Yeah, that's Harry. He's just broke up with his girlfriend..."

And then she looked at Kate again.

"Are you married?"

"Not any more." Kate replied, "Why?"

Vera gave her a knowing look.

"He's single."

And Kate laughed.

"Okay...I'll remember you said that!"


As the two women walked over, Harry glanced at Billy.

"Don't forget – don't mention anything about the past! Nothing about the Wet Bandits! Kevin's Mom would go crazy if she knew that!"

"I won't forget." Billy said, "But where's Marv?"

"He went to the bathroom. I'd better go and warn him not to say anything."

Then Harry thought of something and looked sharply at Kevin.

"What if she's read about Felix Bracken in the paper?"

Kevin shook his head.

"My Mom doesn't read that paper. And she doesn't watch the news much, either."

Harry breathed a sigh of relief.

"Okay, I'll just get Marv – oh shit...he's already coming ...I'd better speak to him alone."

As Kate walked up to the barbecue she smiled.

"Hi." She said, "I'm Kate, I'm Kevin's Mom..."

Harry glanced at the attractive woman with the flame red hair and smiled.

"Hi there. Nice to meet you. I won't be a minute, I just need to speak to my son –"

And he hurried across the lawn towards Marv.


A while later Kevin was talking to Marv and Billy as they shared a beer.

"I think your Mom likes Harry – I think she really likes him." Billy said to Kevin as he watched Harry standing by the table.

He said something and Kate laughed.

Kevin smiled.

"I haven't heard my Mom laugh like that in a long time." He said.

Marv drank some more of his beer.

"I think I'll go over and say Hi."

Kevin and Billy exchanged a worried glance as Marv walked off, and hurried to catch up with him.

Harry was still talking to Kate." Lincoln Boulevard?" He wondered, "No, I've...um...never been there – I don't think I know it..."

Marv had just caught that remark.

"Yeah sure you do! " He said, swigging some more beer, "Remember when we were Wet –"

"Marvin, shut up." Harry said, trying not to snap at him, "Just a minute, Kate..."

And he grabbed Marv and pulled him to one side and lowered his voice.

"Don't mention we used to be the Wet Bandits! That's Kevin's Mom and she doesn't know about it! She can't ever know about it, okay?"

Marv's eyes grew wide.

"Oh, okay. Sorry Dad."

Then Harry let him go and went back over to Kate as Marv followed.

"I just had to tell my son to ease up on the beer. Marv's a nice guy but he's not too bright."

Marv was back already.

He smiled at Kate.

"Nice to meet you." He said, "I didn't know you were Kevin's Mom – you're hot. I thought you might be his girlfriend!"

And Kate laughed.

"I guess that's a compliment, Marv. What were you saying just now about something was wet?"

Marv stared at her as he tried to think.

"I...I...was...um... saying it's not wet weather, is it?"

Kate looked at him in confusion and then she smiled, remembering what Harry had just told her – his son was not too bright.

"No, that's right, Marv...well done!"

Marv smiled again.

"It's warm today." He stated, drinking some more beer. "And I'm getting another beer. Would you like one?"

Billy grabbed his arm.

"Kate's just fine and you're drunk, buddy. Come on, let's go and sit down..."

Harry breathed a sigh of relief as Marv walked away with Billy.

"He's a little bit dumb- not too dumb, he's drunk today but –"

Kate looked at Harry with understanding in her eyes. "It's okay, I get it. He seems like a nice guy."

"He is." Harry said, "And he's not used to drinking much – I always have to watch him at parties!"

And they both carried on talking.

Kate and Harry talked for most of the afternoon.


By the time the barbecue had grown cold and Marv was indoors on the sofa sleeping off the beer, Billy picked up Daisy and walked over to Vera.

"I'm taking her back in now I think she's ready for a nap."

"Okay." Vera replied. She leaned over and kissed her daughter's cheek, then she gave Billy a kiss.

"Thanks for helping with Daisy, I think I'm a little bit drunk..."

Billy glanced at the empty bottles beside the space on the law where she had been sitting.

"You sure are, pumpkin! Just don't get too drunk – remember my back's weak, I can't carry you up the stairs like I used to in the old days!"

She laughed.

"I won't pass out like Marv! I'll say goodbye to Kate and Kevin and then I'll come out here and have one more beer and then I'm coming in, okay?"

"Okay." Billy said, and took Daisy into the house.

As Kate and her son walked to the car, Harry followed to the gate and so did Vera.

As she watched the glance that passed between Kate and Harry, Vera smiled.

As the car drove off she waved, then she turned to Harry.

"I don't care what you say about her being Kevin's Mom and she cant know about the past – you like her and she likes you and I think you two could have something special."

Harry thought about it and smiled.

"I'm sure we could – in my dreams! How many beers have you had, Vera?"

"No!" She insisted, "I mean it – I can tell when people like each other. I think you'd make a great couple."

Harry laughed again.

"In my dreams, Vera." He said again, "I'm gonna go and clear up the barbecue now."

And he walked back down the path.

Vera stood outside the house for a moment, feeling the sun on her skin and as she looked around her she thought how lucky she was that life had turned out the way it did –she had Billy, she had Daisy and now they lived in a nice house with Harry and Marv and it all felt so great.

She felt great and the beer was making everything even warmer and fuzzy around the edges and she liked the feeling.

She looked across the street and saw some kids playing with a ball on a front lawn. She smiled as she thought about Daisy and wondered what games she would play when she was old enough to go outside in the street and play with her friends.

She turned to go back inside.

Something bumped her leg.

Vera looked down and saw the ball roll past her and come to a stop just by the gate.

She staggered a little as she leaned to pick it up; Billy had been right – she was drunk.

She turned to throw it back but wondered if she might hit one of the kids or even break a window because she felt real clumsy right now. So she glanced across the street and waved to a woman who had just come out of the house.

"I've got it!" She called out.

Then she stepped into the road, heard a squeal of brakes and turned to see a moving blur rushing at her.

As the car hit her there was a loud crash, then she was across the other side of the street, lying on her back as blood ran from beneath her.

Harry had heard the collision and come rushing out of the garden.

Marv had heard it too; it had been loud enough to wake him up so quickly he fell off the sofa.

Billy had just come down the stairs after getting Daisy off to sleep and as soon as he heard the crash he ran outside to see if he could help, thinking one of the neighbourhood kids had been hit by a car.

When he realised it was Vera he dashed into the street, pushed past the crowd of people who stood there in shocked silence and fell to his knees and cradled her in his arms as he sobbed, not caring about the blood that was soaking his clothing.

But Vera knew none of this; she had been killed on impact...


The days passed and Harry took care of Daisy for much of the time.

Billy was somewhere between shock and disbelief and every time he reminded himself she was gone he either cried until he couldn't breathe or he went numb inside like her death had made him hollow.

He knew Marv was there for him but he felt like no one could reach him, not even his best friend.

Kevin and his Mom called at the house and left flowers.

They told him they were sorry just like everybody else did - but he didn't really get what it meant – why was everyone else sorry? They hadn't lost her, they hadn't held her in their arms as her face turned white as chalk and her blood ran dark over their clothing, they hadn't looked into her eyes and seen all trace of life gone, held her close and known she was dead because her breathing had stopped...

It all seemed to mean little to him because he was the one who had lost her - and words of sympathy from others did nothing to lift his pain.

Marv had taken him home after the accident, he had helped him get undressed and put him in the shower and Billy had watched as Vera's blood ran from his skin and he wept for the loss of it because it was the last reminder of her, the last evidence that she had lived.

There would be other reminders, like the scent of her pillow, the way the sheets still smelled like the two of them had made love in their bed- but that would all fade in time.

Billy was terrified of the passing of time because it would fade the memories and he didn't want to look back one day and realise he could barely recall her in his mind.

He needed all the recollections, even of the moment he held her dead in his arms.

Marv hadn't let him keep his clothes that were soaked in her blood. He had taken them away and told him they had to go because keeping them would be bad for him.

Harry had said the same thing.

Billy had sobbed in Harry's arms after he told him that, after he reminded him that he had to accept that Vera was dead.

The days passed in a blur.

Sometimes Billy wondered if he was being a lousy father because he'd look around and suddenly remember he had a daughter – but his daughter was always with Harry, who was helping him so much Billy was starting to feel for the first time in his life that he actually knew what it felt like to have a father now – Harry was doing everything for him...


Harry and Marv had helped arrange Vera's funeral too.

At first he had wanted everything to be over quickly.

But suddenly Billy didn't feel that way any more - not in the hours before her funeral as he walked into the chapel alone and approached her open coffin.

He placed a chair beside it and sat next to her body.

"It's good thing you're here in the chapel." He said quietly, "If I'd brought you home until the funeral I don't think I could have let you go again. I mean that, Vera. I think I might have gone crazy and wanted to keep you with me forever."

Then he looked at the polished coffin with its deep silk lining.

"I'll try not to think about how cold it is under the ground, pumpkin." He said to her, "You'll be resting in padded silk. You can sleep in it forever."

And Billy studied her face.

Vera was lying in that coffin with her long hair tumbling over her shoulders, her make up was perfect and the dress she wore had a low neckline that hugged her cleavage. The sunlight that came through the chapel windows made her sapphire ring sparkle.

She didn't look dead.

He watched her for a moment getting the oddest feeling that if he didn't blink, maybe he would see her breathe. He wasn't expecting her to open her eyes and wake up, but as he looked at her he watched for the slightest flicker of life, anything to tell him they were all wrong – his wife was not dead...

"Vera..." He whispered, "Have they all made a mistake?"

A breeze slipped in through the window and blew gently against her hair.

Billy blinked, staring at her face as he wondered if her eyes had flickered.

Then he glanced down her body and watched her chest, feeling uncertain – had she breathed?

He stood up and leaned against the coffin, watching her body intently.

"Do it again..." He whispered.

He leaned closer and gently touched her hand.

She felt cold and stiff.

"I love you." Billy said quietly, "Please, Vera..." And he gave a sob, "Can't you just breathe for me?"

Then he blinked away his tears, not wanting to let them run onto her perfectly painted face.

The door opened and he heard footsteps coming up towards him.

"I need some more time alone with her." He said without looking round, assuming the priest had entered the chapel.

But Billy was wrong.

Marv was standing there in a black suit and tie and as he put his hand on his shoulder he looked at him sympathetically.

"I didn't want to leave you in here alone for too long. Are you okay, pal?"

Billy kept his voice low.

"Seriously Marv, I think I saw her breathing!"

Marv's eyes grew wide as saucers as he nervously darted his gaze to Vera's body and then back to Billy again.

"You saw her breathe?"

Billy nodded.

"I think so." He said, with a mixture of hope and tears of grief in his eyes at the same time.
Marv stepped away, slowly backing off from the coffin.

"Just hold on a second... I'll get my Dad!" He said, and then he dashed out of the chapel.

Harry was walking towards the door carrying some white lilies for Vera.

Marv stood against the closed chapel door and looked at Harry, then he looked around the cemetary and realised how many graves there were up here...

He looked scared.

"What's the matter, son?" Harry asked him.

Marv drew in a frightened breath.

"Billy saw Vera breathe."

Harry looked up at him in confusion.

"Breathe? He thinks he saw her breathe?"

Marv nodded.

Once again his eyes scanned the graves beyond the chapel and then he looked back at Harry with alarm in his eyes.

"If she's doing it the others will too!"

"Doing what?"

"Coming back... the others will too!"

"What others?" Harry wondered.

Marv took in a frightened breath.

"Vera's a zombie!" He said in a hushed voice.

Harry remembered just in time that this was not the place to be yelling at his dumb son, so he just shoved him aside.

"Don't be stupid, Marv!" He said sharply, handing him the lilies, "Come back inside, I'll show you that poor girl ain't breathing..."

And Harry went into the chapel and Marv followed.

As they walked up to the coffin, Harry just wanted to grab hold of Billy and hug him and keep him safe in his arms because he cold see so much grief in the poor guy's eyes that he was sure it was driving him nuts and making him see things that simply were not there...

"Marv said you think Vera's breathing." Harry said quietly.

Billy's eyes were red and tearful as he nodded his head.

"It was the breeze, it came in through the window and blew her hair and I thought her eyes flickered, then I thought she breathed..."

He was looking into the coffin at Vera's body hoping for a miracle that Harry knew would never come.

He gently put his hand on Billy's arm.

"Billy," He said quietly, "You didn't see her breathe."

He looked into his eyes.

"Harry, I'm not crazy - I know what I saw."

"I can prove it." Harry said, keeping his voice low.

"You need to see this, Billy."

And he leaned over the coffin and carefully unbuttoned the top three buttons of Vera's blouse.

"Sorry, Vera." He said in a hushed voice, "But Billy has to see this, honey."

And he carefully parted the fabric, just enough to show the scar that ran down from her breast bone.

"What's that?" Billy said.

Harry closed her buttons up and smoothed down her clothing again.

"That's the scar from her autopsy, Billy. You know when we heard what the coroner said about all her internal injuries? Well they had to open her up and take everything out and put it back again. She can't breathe. Vera died right after the car hit her. Do you understand? You imagined it. We see people every day and we see them breathing. You look at a corpse long enough and you expect it breathe because you're not used to seeing a person laying there dead. It was in your mind."

Billy took in a shaky breath and tears ran from his eyes.

As he spoke his voice was so choked he could barely make his words come out.

"She's dead."

Harry looked into his eyes.

"Say it again and believe it, Billy." He told him, "You need to say it to yourself."

"She's dead!" Billy said tearfully, and slid back onto the chair beside the coffin just as his legs gave way and he started to sob uncontrollably.

Harry stood beside him and put his arms around him.

"That's it," He said gently, "You cry, Billy. You've got to get this grief out..."

Marv watched feeling helpless as his Dad comforted his best friend and he wished there was something he could do.

Harry glanced over at him." Leave the flowers on the table." Harry said quietly, "And wait outside - make sure everyone understands he needs some more time with his late wife, okay? Tell people they can't pay their respects until forty minutes before the funeral. This guy needs to stay with her as long as he can, he needs this time or I don't think he's ever gonna get over this..."

"Okay." Marv whispered, then he left the chapel, where he stood outside against the closed door, feeling sad for the loss of Vera but crying tears that felt like they would never stop as he thought about the pain that was in Billy's heart right now at this moment...


Harry kept his arm around Billy's shoulder as he took a deep breath and began to calm down a little.

"Feeling better?" He asked him.

Billy shook his head as he looked at Vera lying there as if she was asleep.

"She doesn't look dead."

"Well that's why the undertaker was so expensive – that's their job, to make dead people look good. And Vera looks very beautiful."

Billy nodded.

"She looks like a princess." He said quietly, "She looks just like she's having a deep sleep."

Then he thought about her death and his voice choked up again.

"It wasn't supposed to happen like this, Harry!" He said, "She was healthy, she was okay, she was the one who was gonna bring up Daisy after I died... How could she die first? I had cancer, it's obvious I was the one who should have gone first –you can't quarrel with the kind of odds they gave me, and we always said if one of us died it would be me first... How could it be Vera? It doesn't make sense, it wasn't meant to work out like this!"

Harry put his arm around his shoulder a little tighter and gave him a hug.

"Life doesn't work out the way you expect it to." He told him, "Believe me, I know that only too well, Billy. When I was a boy and fooling around with Marilyn Merchants, I didn't realise I'd wind up being a father while I was still a kid myself. And I never thought Marv's Mom would have died like she did. I never imagined I would have wound up raising my son like I did, either. It's life. These things happen. You can plan ahead for anything and everything Billy – but always remember this – life will get in the way of those plans. Nothing's ever certain in this world."

Billy had listened to him.

As he looked into his eyes he blinked away more tears.

"I want to sit with Vera for a while. I want to hold her hand; I want to say so much to her."

"Sure." Harry replied, "You want me to leave, or shall I just go up the other end of the chapel and wait by the door?"

Billy turned back to his wife's coffin and closed his fingers over Vera's cold hand.

"Just wait by the door for me."

"Okay." Harry said quietly, and then he gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze before walking up to the other end of the chapel, then he waited by the doorway, giving Billy the space he needed to say his final goodbyes.


Later, as the mourners stood around the grave, Billy stood alone and watched as Vera's coffin was lowered into the ground.

Harry had asked him if he needed someone to support him through the service, he had offered to hold him and help him get through it but Billy had said he wanted to do this by himself.

Harry and Marv stood together with the other mourners and as Harry saw the grief in Billy's eyes his heart went out to him.

"You keep an eye on him." He said to his son, "He's your best friend and this is the hardest thing he'll ever have to go through."

"Don't worry Dad," Marv said, "I'll take care of him."

And Marv looked across the grave side at Billy, who was pale in his dark suit, his eyes were tear stained and sore from crying and he seemed as if he was just about ready to collapse with the strain of the funeral.

"I'll make sure he's okay." Marv said to Harry, then he walked around the graveside and stood next to Billy, who was looking down into the grave at the coffin that bore white lilies on the top of it and had a brass plaque elegantly inscribed with the name Vera Merchants.

Marv reached out and touched the back of Billy's hand.

Billy glanced at him.

He knew in that moment Billy understood what he was trying to convey; he was not alone, he never would be – because he would always be there for him.

He saw gratitude in Billy's eyes and then he turned back to the grave.

Billy stood there for a long while; long after the other mourners had left.

And for the whole of the time, Marv waited for him.

Finally Billy took a last look at the grave.

"Goodbye Vera." He said quietly, "I'll always love you, pumpkin."

As he turned to walk away, Marv walked with him.

They were heading back towards the limousine and Marv thought about how everything had changed so suddenly.

And strangely enough, he didn't see such a bleak out look for the future – because nothing was set in stone. Life was like a blank page waiting to be written on and as he thought about Billy and the future he glanced at him again and their eyes locked for a moment.

"It will be okay." Marv promised him.

And Billy nodded.

"I know that, Marv." He replied.

"Great," Marv replied, "That's all you need to remember."

And suddenly as they got into the limousine and headed for the cemetary gates, Marv felt a lot more hopeful when he considered the future.

Billy was looking out of the window and his thoughts were far away, probably back at the grave side with his late wife – but Marv's thoughts were very much connected to the future.

He knew how he felt about Billy he didn't know if Billy would ever feel the same- but as he had just concluded, nothing was written in stone- the future was yet to be...

And with that thought in mind Marv stayed hopeful as he looked at his best friend, because although Vera's life was over, Billy was very much alive and Marv felt sure that where there was life there was hope and all things were possible- he knew he just had to believe in himself and reach out hard enough and maybe, just maybe, one day Billy would understand how he truly felt.

As they drove out of the cemetary gates, Marv finally smiled as he looked out the window at the sunshine set in a blue sky - today had started as an ending, but now it felt like a new beginning and even if he couldn't get exactly what he wanted, he knew he had to try for it because some things were too precious to ever let go of.

Marv glanced at Billy and Billy managed a smile.

"Thanks for being there for me today..." He said.

"I'll always be there for you." Marv reminded him.

"I know that." Billy said, then he fell silent and so did Marv and the limousine drove on, away from the cemetary and back to the world of the living, where life and the future and so many possibilities awaited.

The End

*** This story is concluded in the final part of the Trilogy, The Other Marv Merchants: Story 3: Flesh and Blood.***