Later, back in her own cottage, Courtney lay wide awake. The soft night sounds that usually soothed her to sleep seemed too loud, the sighing pines too mournful, too lonely. Sheer window curtains moved quietly as moonlight sifted through the whispering trees. She turned her face to the wall, picturing Jerry, his flyaway light hair, his slightly misshapen nose from a racing crash. His sturdy body, hardly an inch taller than her own, always seemed a little out of place in sleek racing clothes. His stature never hampered his ability to please the crowd, though; the sidelines were always filled with shrieking young girls when Jerry raced. Of course he reveled in their admiration, though he never did more than kid around with them. "They're cute, sure," he'd commented to Courtney after one winning race when he'd been besieged for autographs. "But they're babies. I'd like 'em more than half my age, y'know?"
Courtney moved restlessly and plumped up her pillow. Why did he have to show up now, a living, breathing reminder of all the things she was trying so hard to forget? But she knew the answer. Jerry had always wanted to be more than a friend. She’d seen hints of that even while Ronnie was alive, though Jerry had cared too much for Ronnie to pursue those feelings. But there had always been a little extra touch when she handed him a drink, an especially warm hello or good-bye hug, and the knowledge that his eyes always followed her from across the room. Jerry had never been less than a perfect gentleman, as well as the solid leaning post she'd so badly needed during the terrible hospital days, and through and after Ronnie's funeral. Jerry had even been there to shared her sorrow when she scattered the pathetically small box of Ronnie's ashes to the winds on the hill high above his favorite track. It was only months later, on her last night in Milwaukee, that Jerry had left no doubt as to what his hopes were.
He'd taken her to Karl Ratzsch's elegant and famous German restaurant on that last night. She'd declined, at first.