(Another longish post as I wrap up what was an eventful Winter in Roundabout Corners.)
Winter has been a VERY busy season. As Calder deals with his sudden problem of being TOO popular with ladies close to him, Dale and Dagmar were going through a transitional time. Birthdays come and go but some are more special than others; especially when they are the birthdays into your golden years.
Perhaps it was the long nights waiting for Dale to come home? Perhaps it was the nervous breakdown that wore down her system? Regardless, Dagmar was the first to show the signs of aging and the first to have the elder birthday. (Course, maybe it had something to do with the green juice Dale was drinking from the odd dispenser on the back porch?)
Dale called up friends and a party was put into full swing. He also made a quick round of dinner and brought the birthday cake to the center of the room. It was a special moment. With a wink at Dale, Dagmar made her wish and blew out her candles.
She aged beautifully and after a round of hugs and congratulatory pats from the party. Dale, of course, rushed up to her and kissed her fiercely.
As the party moved on and Calder danced with Kaylynn, Dagmar took a piece of cake and headed outside to the side porch. She did not seem sad but perhaps melancholy? Dale joined her but she ate her cake quietly and kept her thoughts to herself.
She was out there a long time. Her spells of sitting quietly had only gotten longer since the breakdown. She seemed to enjoy them more and more as if they gave her a respite from the world. When she finished she came around to the front door and was greeted there by Calder who gave her a fierce hug full of intense gratitude for all she had done for him.
The weeks moved on after the birthday and Dagmar, for the most part, kept up her usual routine. She was writing more than ever and often helped Brendon with his homework without leaving her computer.
It was also obvious that Dale would not be far behind her in turning gray himself. However, Dale was still Dale and after dinner he talked to Dagmar about one more job before he called it quits. The job was as secure as it could be and it would occur a week or two after his birthday. “One more for the road,” he said…
The birthday was a small one. Zen Slate and Jenna Sanders came over. Of course, Kaylynn was there as well. Dale had a good time watching his oldest son maneuver around in the tough situation he had found himself in. Two woman, one man, and neither woman knew the truth about the other.
“It’s gonna end poorly,” he would say to Dagmar and to Dale when his son chose to listen to him. In the meantime, Zen had turned into an absolute knockout of a woman and he took joy in helping Calder by distracting her during the party whenever he could.
The birthday came and went and Dale suddenly found himself looking quite a bit different. “Still the same ol’ me, though,” he grinned and immediately hugged his wife.
With the party over, the days rolled forward and the plans were made for the heist. Dale suited up one last time for the final heist. Dagmar was worried but she held his hand, kissed him on the cheek and wished him well. He was doing what he loved. Well, besides painting that is and he would be doing much more of that when he got done, even if she had to chain him to the easel.
That evening was a long one for Dagmar. Dale was supposed to be home for dinner but dinner came and went. Calder went out for an evening with Zen. Brendon was wrapped up in his newest video game and too young to understand what his father was out doing. So, she pulled herself together and like she had been doing more and more she went outside with the snow and sat quietly, waiting. Finally, well after midnight, she was able to fall asleep.
He crept into the house silently before dawn. Tiptoeing up the steps as he had always done, avoiding the creeky boards and soft spots in the floor like a professional, he changed, showered, and slid into bed with her. Home safe and sound after the final run, he cuddled up next to the woman he loved.
The next morning, after waking and painting for a few hours, he was true to his promise. Though he had warned the other con-men it was coming, he called them and retired immediately. No more late night runs, no more heists. The final job, though not thousands of dollars, would put him in a position to get a decent amount of money from future investments. He was not necessarily ending at the very top but he was ending safely. He was happy with it.
With a final war-hoop, he leapt on the couch and began, officially, to enjoy his retirement.