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N.B.'s momma and dad acted that way. That's what Terry thought, sitting back watching Ellie and Uelys cuddle and giggle together sitting in the booth across from where he'd just finished stuffing his face on two pieces of chess pie after wolfing down a bowl of spaghetti and two grilled cheese. He wondered if he'd ever see his friend or his friend's parents again.

Uelys, Ellie told him it sounded like "you-liss" but wasn't spelled anything like that. He was a big man, but definitely didn't look the part of cuddler. Uelys looked and sounded scary at first, but once you got to know him, it was just the way he was, the way he sounded.

"When'r you gonna' ask us fer a ride, son?" Uelys popped the question in between nuzzling his Santa Claus beard into the chins draping down over Ellie's neckline. There came a thick sucking sound followed by a giggle; a sound as unlikely to come from Ellie's big body as it was likely to see the big man cuddle and spoon.

"Ya aint thinkin' about stowin' away behind our backs is ya, boy?" It was like he was coming up for air after bobbing for apples, only it was in her neck where he drowned himself and he didn't have any real teeth to grab an apple

If you heard the questions from the big man without seeing his face you'd flinch. He's got this gritty rumble that gargles a little spit with each word. In between sentences he spits into a red paisley rag, not gross or anything, just a gesture. Sure, it sounds gross, but when he does the spitting he smiles a big smile before and after and then Uelys' eyes shine so bright they don't quite look real. It's like there's a light behind each one of them or maybe they're full of bright shards of glass mirrors.

"You can ride with us in style, Mr. Terry." Ellie was as sweet and kind as she was huge. "They's air conditionin' in the cab and a TV."

Terry thought that might just do.



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