Blogging My Murder; chapter two, part two

Chapter Two; Part Two

“Mrrrrrreow!” Onyx weaves her way through my legs as I stand up, almost tripping me in the process.

“Onyx!” I scold her, but my heart isn’t in it. How can I be mad at her when all she wants to do is love me? She butts her head against my shin several times before I scoop her up in my arm. I grab the mug and the bowl with my other hand as best possible to take them into the kitchen. I set Onyx on the counter before washing the dishes. I go to the living room and flop on the couch. I should write my post on NE Minneapolis eateries, but I’m suddenly tired. Sleep is spotty for me. Sometimes, I get seven solid hours a night, and other times, I wake up every other hour and give up after four. Last night was one of the latter, in part because I was waiting for Julianna to text me—which she finally did at five in the morning. She didn’t give me many details because she’s not the type to kiss and tell, but she did let slip that she had a date with Ramona tomorrow, now today. Julianna is a slam poet with plenty of family money to back her up, so she doesn’t have to work a nine-to-five like us plebes. To be totally fair, I don’t really have to work, either, but I like having a schedule that gets me out of the house five days a week.

I drift off on the couch, my dreams filled with malevolent fairies. For some reason, they want to bite all my flesh off, which is agonizingly painful, believe you me. I wake up in a cold sweat, my heart racing. Jet growls in protest from his seat on my lap as I jostle him out of his nap. Onyx doesn’t move from her spot mashed into my right thigh, so I poke her to make sure she’s breathing. She remains inert, so I poke her again. This time, she hisses sleepily before coiling tightly into a ball. I lift Jet from my lap and set him next to Onyx. He wraps himself around her and falls asleep again. I ease myself away from her and tiptoe into the bathroom. I feel grimy, so I take a shower, leaving the bathroom door open. By the time I’m done, both cats are sitting on the counter, staring at me in concern. It cracks me up that this is their reaction to me taking a shower. I can only imagine that they’re thinking, “Why does she take off her fur and allow water to splash all over her?” I could swear they’re shaking their heads minutely as I towel off, which cracks me up. I stick my tongue out at them before pulling on a fresh pair of gray sweats and a red Obama t-shirt. I turn the faucet on a crack so Onyx can lap at the water. Jet turns his attention to her and is now looking at her as if she’s crazy. He cannot stand water touching his fur at all, so it fascinates him that Onyx will stick her  paw in the stream and lick the drops off it.

“Treats?” I quirk my eyebrows at my cats, and they hop off the counter with alacrity. It’s one of the words that they know, and it’s guaranteed to spur them into action. They race towards the kitchen, and I follow at a more sedate pace, wrapping a scrunchie around my hair. I open the fridge and pull out some salmon. I give them each a healthy chunk, and they gobble them down. I toast a bagel, smear some cream cheese on it, then add some salmon on top of it. It’s a decadent treat that I don’t eat very often, but I enjoy every bite when I do.

I hear a ping on my Nexus 5X, and it’s an email from Rembrandt. He says he’s thinking of me and hoping I’m doing OK. I reply that I am and ask how he’s doing. I enable my chat on Google so we can message, and I spend the next hour finding out more information about him. He’s the oldest of three boys, whereas I am the middle sister, also of three. My older sister, Jasmine, lives in Minnesota as well, whereas my younger sister, Vivian, fled the state the minute she turned eighteen to attend art school in Boston and never came back. Rembrandt’s thirty-two, which is thirteen years my junior. That makes me a little uneasy, but the fact that he knows his Toni Morrison from his Maxine Hong Kingston assuages my doubts a little. He’s a huge Vikings fan, which is fine with me. I can watch a ball game and comment on it knowledgably, even if it’s not something I’d choose to watch myself. I’m always happy for Minnesotan fans when the home teams do well, but I’m not devastated when they lose. I remember the season in which the Vikes went 15-1. They made it the NFC championship against Atlanta and was widely expected to take it easily. They lost in the last seconds, which was especially heartbreaking for local fans. At the beginning of the next season, the news interviewed a guy dressed in Vikings gear, who talked about how crushed he still felt about the loss. I wanted to shout at him to get a life, but who am I to judge someone else’s emotions? I’m still mourning the death of Alan Rickman, and I never even knew him in real life. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would scorn my grief and say it isn’t real. I don’t pretend to think what I feel for the loss of Alan is anything close to how his loved ones must feel, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter two, part one

Chapter Two; Part One

“Hey, Megan. How’re you doing?” Lydia’s rather saturnine features light up as I walk into the studio. She’s five years older than I am, and yet, she looks twenty years younger. She claims that it’s all thanks to taiji—she’s been studying for twenty-two years—and I can only hope it has the same effect on me. I’ve only been practicing for seven years, so I still have a ways to go. Her sandy blond hair is pulled back in a topknot, and her horn-rimmed glasses frame her green eyes perfectly. I’m the only one at the studio except for her so far because I can’t help but be fifteen minutes early to any appointment. It’s a result of being Taiwanese and perpetually arriving at events a half hour late, only to find said event hadn’t started yet.

“I’m OK. I met someone last night.” I smile at Lydia as I set down my weapons bag on the floor.

“That’s great! Did you get a piece?” Lydia smirks, her thin lips curving into a smile. She’s rather reserved with strangers, and her countenance is placid, but she has a raunchy streak that can rival my own which she only displays when she feels comfortable.

“Nah. I decided to wait. Delayed gratification and all.” What I don’t tell her is that I’m a bit gun-shy about being with a guy again. It’s been nearly ten years, and it’s very different than sexing with a woman. In my past, guys have been more critical of my body with an extra thirty pounds than have women. I find sex with women to be more collaborative, whereas guys either want to dominate or be dominated. I’m fine with some roleplaying, and I’m a switch when it comes to top/bottom (much like being bi), but it’s not something I need to do in order to be aroused. Tessa wasn’t into BDSM at all, and I didn’t miss it while I was with her. I have to admit, however, that the idea of having sex with someone new makes my pulse quicken. There is something almost reverent about approaching a new body and figuring out its likes and dislikes. And, I have to admit that Rembrandt’s ass looked perfect for squeezing. “What’s new with you?”

“I have a new private student,” Lydia says, her voice alive with excitement. She’s always looking to add to her income, so it’s no wonder she’s happy about having a new student. “He’s a coworker of Roger’s who’s going through a messy divorce.” Roger is Lydia’s husband, and he’s a construction worker with a great body. Hey, I’m a woman with healthy sexual appetites, and there’s nothing wrong with looking at the candy in the window, even if I’m on a diet. Which I am in this case because I most emphatically do not fuck around with my friends’ partners. “His name is Liam, and, man. The stories I could tell you about his ex would curl your hair.”

“No, they wouldn’t,” I retort. “I’m Asian.” After Lydia’s laughter subsides, she opens her mouth, but then shuts it again. She’s not given to gossiping about her students because she takes her position as teacher very seriously.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter one, part two

Chapter One; Part Two

When I open the door to my house, I hear a steady, high-pitch meowing, intermittently punctuated with lower growls. I slip off my three-inch, ruby-red heels and wince in relief once they’re off. I have wide-ass feet, and even the most generous shoes feel better off than on. I follow the sounds up the stairs until I reach my bedroom. Both my cats are staring fixedly out the window. Onyx, a tiny five-pound fluff-ball is the one doing the high-pitch mews. Jet, her twenty-pound litter brother who is all muscle and her protector, is standing behind her (his normal position), emitting the low growls. I flip on the lights, and they don’t even blink. I stare out the window, seeing a small white bunny rabbit twitching its nose at my cats. Onyx reaches a paw towards the bunny, claws out, but I don’t reprimand her because there’s no chance she can harm the bunny through the window.

“Hey, kids! I’m home.” I ruffle the fur on Jet’s neck, and he slowly turns his face towards me, his eyes slit into a predatory stare. They dilate normally as he tucks his head into my palm. It barely fits, and I marvel as always at how panther-like he is. “How’s my big boy doing?” Jet purrs in response before I turn my attention to Onyx. “How’s my baby girl tonight?” She abandons her prey and scurries over to me, leaping into my waiting arms. I know by now to have my arms outstretched when she comes my way because she launches herself at me whenever the mood hits her. I adopted my cats eight years ago, when they were six months old. For the first day, Jet sulked in a box I had placed in the closed off dining room, only venturing out to use the litter box. He refused to come out to eat, so I eventually placed a food bowl and a water bowl in his box. He was content to stay in that box, his enormous gold eyes shining in the dark. Onyx, on the other hand, wandered around the dining room, sniffing everything she could reach. After a half hour, she was sitting at the door, meowing to be let out. I had read that they should be kept in a closed area for twenty-four hours, but Onyx never got that memo. I spent about an hour with them before going to do other things. When I returned and opened the dining room sliding doors, I was greeted by a tiny ball of black fur hurtling through the air. I immediately reacted and caught her, thankfully, but that was the beginning of a lifelong pattern that continues to this day.

“Mrrrrreow!” Onyx trills as she turns her heart-shaped face up towards mine, her emerald green eyes full of sleep. I call her my princess, and she does everything she can to live up to that name. I drop a kiss on her satiny nose, and she closes her eyes before promptly falling asleep. I set her on the bed without waking her, and she curls up in a tight ball. Jet hops up on the bed next to her, wraps his body around her, then falls asleep as well. I watch them for several seconds because they are the true loves of my life, and it warms my heart that they are so devoted to each other. They were actually part of the friction between Tessa and me. She was solidly a dog person and didn’t care for cats at all. I like dogs, but I know myself well enough to realize that I would be shitty for any dog living with me. I work eight hours a day, and by the time I get home, all I want to do is curl up on the couch, blog or read, and then drift off to sleep with my two cats. It wouldn’t be fair to a dog to be forced to live that kind of life, and I would resent a dog if I had to walk him or her every day. Tessa used to complain that my cats didn’t like her, which was actually true. The first time she met them, Onyx hissed at her and wouldn’t let Tessa pet her. Jet muscled up behind Onyx and simply glowered at Tessa. He allowed Tessa to pet him, but he didn’t lean into it as he normally would. To be fair to them, it was clear that she was uncomfortable with them. Plus, she patted Jet instead of petting him, which most cats don’t enjoy.

I tiptoe out of the bedroom and make my way back downstairs. I’m hungry, so I open the fridge to see what I can find. I tend to forget to go grocery shopping until all I have in the fridge is a rotten onion and a container of spoiled milk. However, I had replenished my stock a day or two ago, so I have plenty of choices. I take a minute and ask myself what I want. I have a history of eating disorders, so I try to ask my body what it needs before eating. Unfortunately, my body is a three-year-old child, and it usually tells me what it wants, not what it needs. What it wants is tons of chocolate. What it needs is fruits and vegetables. I make myself a ham sandwich on whole wheat bread with spinach, mustard, and sliced tomatoes. I pour myself a glass of Diet Coke before taking my snack into the living room. I settle down on the couch, pulling my laptop onto my lap.

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Blogging my murder; chapter one, part one

Chapter One; Part One

“I am too fucking old for this,” I grumble, lifting my Diet Coke to my lips. I glare around me at all the gyrating bodies, pissed off that they are oblivious to my plight. I had recently turned forty-five, and I am feeling every year of it.

“Lighten up, Liang!” Julianna shout in my ear over the blare of Purple Rain. First Ave is doing yet another Prince tribute, which seems to happen once a week since he died. “You’ve been an utter bitch since you broke up with Tessa. I thought getting your groove on would cheer you up.”

“Don’t mention that cunt’s name to me,” I say, my face darkening. It’s been three weeks since I caught my long-term girlfriend in her bed with her dog walker, and it still stings as if it had happened an hour ago. “I want to forget that I was ever stupid enough to be with her.”

“That’s why we’re here. We’re gonna hook you up with some cutie to fuck the pain away.” Julianna is scanning the crowd as she talked, which gives me a moment to check her out. She’s my age, but a good four inches shorter than my 5’7”. She has to be fifty pounds lighter as well, which sometimes makes me self-conscious about being around her. Her cropped black hair hugs her delicate features, and her large brown eyes sparkle with mischief. She’s ascended from Japanese royalty, whereas I’m from hardy Taiwanese peasant stock. I’m unhappily aware of my chunky thighs under my maroon mini-dress with spaghetti straps. Julianna is wearing a clingy sapphire blue mini-dress that accentuates her slenderness, and she is garnering several longing glances from people of all sexual orientations. Any time I bring it up to her, she counters with how jealous she is of my hourglass figure and my lush, waist-length hair. Our mutual appreciation society is one reason we’ve been best friends for twenty years.

“Dude. I can’t even think about fucking.” I finish my Diet Coke, wishing it were something stronger. I’m past my days of imbibing, however, as it made me do stupid shit I always regretted in the morning. I got my first tattoo—a yin-yang on my ass—in that way, and while I didn’t regret getting a tattoo because I’d wanted one for years, impulsively getting one when you’re drunk at nearly midnight isn’t recommended. It turned out horribly, and I was glad it was in a place where I could easily hide it. As soon as I could afford it, I had it covered with a melting sun a la Dali.

“Don’t lie to me, Liang,” Julianna retorts, her eyes laughing at me. “You can always think about fucking.” She slams down a gin and tonic before picking up her next one. She pauses, sets it down, and sips at her water instead.

“Well, it has been almost a month,” I snicker, looking around the room. “The problem is, anyone under thirty looks like an unformed peach to me. I know it’s prejudiced of me, but I have no interest in what they have to say.”

“Not everyone is under thirty,” Julianna says. She points in the direction of a Latina with curves to rival mine. “She looks closer to our age.”

“She’s also grinding on that guy who’s obviously her boyfriend,” I say, nodding at the bald black guy with a passing resemblance to Ving Rhames who is grabbing the Latina’s round ass and pulling her close as Prince sings about how he would die for us, but only if we want him to.

“Girl, you know that don’t mean a thing.” Julianna is a firm believer that it’s each woman for her own, and she wins that fight more often than not.

“I’m not like you, Araki. I have morals.” I stare at Julianna, then we both simultaneously burst into laughter. This is an old joke between us, and it cracks us up every time. “Besides, that guy could mop the floor with me without breaking a sweat. I do not want to mess with him.”

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Dogged Ma; chapter fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

I felt horrible about kicking out Ted last night, then not returning his calls.  He’d left three of them, each increasingly desperate.  I knew that my temper got the best of me sometimes, and he had a right to question the origins of my pregnancy.  I hadn’t explained it very well, and it was a strange-sounding story if you’d never met God face-to-face as I had.  I decided to dress up, go over and make amends for my highhanded behavior.  I found a dress that was quite sexy though it showed off my slightly-bulging stomach.  It was a moss green color and dipped to show my increased bust-line.  I pinned my hair up in a ‘sloppy’ bun—which was artfully crafted, of course—before putting on the finishing touches.  I left off the makeup because I hated smearing when I had sex.  As I drove over, I felt happier than I had in a while.  Ted was a reasonable man, and I knew that we could work things out.

“Margaret!”  Ted said, looking shocked as he opened the door a few inches.  I didn’t notice, however, as I was eager to say my piece which I’d rehearsed on the way over.

“Ted, I’m really sorry for springing the news on you that way.  I know it’s a lot to deal with and—”

“You should have called.  Now is not a good time, Margaret,” Ted said, trying to smile.  He wouldn’t open the door any further, however, and his odd behavior reminded me of the night his ex had come barging in on us about to have sex.  I looked closely at Ted and noticed that his hair was mussed, he had traces of lipstick on his lips, and he was sporting an erection.

“Oh, I get it,” I said, my tone frosty.  I could feel my cheeks burning despite my attempt to stay calm.  Motherfucker was playing me for a fool, and I didn’t like it one bit.

“It’s not what it looks like—”

“Teddy?  Who’s at the door?  I’m getting lonely all by myself.”  It was the not-so-dulcet tones of his ex, and she sounded nicely lubricated.  “Come back to Lucinda.”

“Margaret, listen,” Ted said, grabbing my arm.  “We haven’t, we weren’t, that is, it was just kissing.”  He shifted his eyes away, knowing that he sounded like a jerk.

“I see,” I said coldly, stepping out of his grasp.  “Well, I’ll let you return to Lucinda, then.  Wouldn’t want to keep her waiting.”  I turned on my heel and marched to my car, tears blurring my sight.

“Margaret, please!  Come back,” Ted called at the top of his lungs.  I ignored him, however, as I didn’t do sloppy seconds.  It sure hadn’t taken him long to go back to the bitch, had it?  I jumped in my car and fumbled with my keys, finally inserting the right one into the ignition.  As soon as I got the car started, I peeled out of his driveway, not caring if I got stopped by the cops.  My cell phone started ringing immediately as I drove away, but I didn’t bother answering.  I knew it’d be Ted, and the last thing I wanted to do was talk to him right now.  Besides, I had to concentrate on getting home in one piece.  Not that I had much to worry about concerning myself, but I didn’t want to cause any accidents on the way.

As soon as I was safely in my home, I ran into my bedroom and threw myself on my bed.  I hated acting like a typical girl, but I couldn’t stop weeping.  I hadn’t known Ted long, but I thought we’d been so simpatico.  I thought he would be man enough to deal with my strange situation; I was obviously wrong.  I could feel a migraine coming which occurred sometimes when I cried too much.  I didn’t care, however, as I welcomed anything that would make me feel more miserable.  My heart wrenched in my chest, causing me to gasp for air.  I pounded the bed best I could and wished it was Ted’s face.  Speaking of the devil, I could hear him talking to my answering machine.

“Margaret, I am so, so sorry.  It’s just that your news shocked the hell out of me, then you kicked me out and wouldn’t answer my calls.  I just—no.  I fucked up.  That’s all.  Lucinda is gone.  Please call me.”  When Hell fro—never.  I would never call him again.  The one thing I couldn’t tolerate was infidelity, which he should have known.  I closed my eyes and cried even harder until I felt someone’s arms around me.  Without looking up, I knew it was Lucifer.

“Margaret Marilyn,” he murmured into my hair.  “Let me comfort you.”  I turned around, facing my nemesis.  He glowed, even in the dark, and there was something almost angelic about his smile.  I reminded myself that he was an angel, albeit one who had fallen to the dark side.  It didn’t dim his allure, however.  There was no trace of the whipping Li Ling had put on him last night, and he was beautiful.  He was erect, but he didn’t press himself against me as he carefully enveloped me in his arms.  His wings folded themselves around us, and I felt so safe—cocooned.  “Cry, Margaret Marilyn.  Get him out of your system.”  I opened my mouth to protest that I wouldn’t get over Ted so easily, but Lucifer captured my mouth with his.  Any thoughts, any words in my head were instantly forgotten as the white-hot pain/pleasure shot through my body when his tongue touched mine.

“Morningstar,” I breathed once we’d broken off the kiss.

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Dogged Ma; chapter fourteen, part two

Chapter Fourteen; Part Two

I handed Ted a cup of coffee before taking one myself.  I sat across from him in a chair as I was in a strange mood.  Skittish, I’d say.  Not because we’d had sex already, but because my body was changing.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to explain my precarious situation, but I didn’t want it to be tonight.  Unfortunately, that probably meant no hands-on fooling around as the signs were unmistakable.  Then again, he was a man.  What did he know about pregnancy?  What I knew was that he was looking at me with puppy-dog eyes, wondering why I was so far away.  I hesitated a moment before giving in to my impulses and plopping down besides him on the couch.  He pulled me to him, careful not to jostle my coffee.  I set down the cup on the table because I didn’t trust myself not to spill.

“Thanks for dinner,” Ted whispered in my ear before nuzzling my neck.  I shivered as I draped my arms around him.  My hormones were triumphing over my brains as usual, and I quickly gave in.  “Is there any way I can repay you?”  He slid his hand over my breast, frustrated at the limited access.  One problem with dresses was that there was no graceful fondling of naked breasts.  Ted realized that trying to worm his way in on top was futile, so he dropped his hand to my knee and slid it up to my thigh.  He met with more success on this route.

“Why don’t you show me your bedroom?”  Ted asked huskily, removing his hand from my thigh.  I nodded as I stood up, holding my hand out to him.  He grabbed it to pull himself up, leaving his coffee behind.

“This is it,” I said, gesturing around me.  I hadn’t done much with it as I didn’t spend much time in it.  However, I had pictures of my family on the wall which gave it a homey touch.

“Maybe we could keep the lights off,” Ted suggested, eyeing my mother’s stern face in consternation.  I suppressed a giggle as I complied; turning off the lights benefited me as well.

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Dogged Ma; chapter fourteen, part one

Chapter Fourteen; Part One

“Hello?  Is this Margaret Wang?”  A British voice filtered through my cell phone, causing me to perk up.  It was Wednesday night, and I’d just been ready to turn on the television to watch a little sports when the phone rang.

“Yes, it is.  Is this Alan Rickman?”  My heart beat a bit faster.  What other Brit did I know?  None.

“Yes, it is, love.  How are you?”  Alan Rickman, talking to me like we were friends.  I had to breathe deeply a few times before answering.

“I’m just fine.  You?”

“Smashing.  I just wanted you to be the first in Minnesota to know that I’ve agreed to perform at the Guthrie.  This fall.  I shall be moving there, temporarily, of course, in a month or two.  What do you think of that?”

“That’s fantastic,” I blurted out, not caring that I sounded like a star-struck teenager.  I thought about it a second and realized that while it was, indeed, fantastic, it was also going to complicate my life somewhat.  There was no denying I was powerfully attracted to Alan.  Would I be able to keep my hands to myself?  “What’s the play?  No, wait, don’t tell me.  I want to be surprised.  It’s enough to know that you get the girl.”  I was rewarded by Alan’s wonderful laugh.  “Thank you for the orchids, by the way.  They were beautiful.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed them,” Alan said warmly.  “You know, you could ring me every now and then.  I did give you my number for a reason.”  My heart stopped at those words.  He actually thought I’d dare to call him?

“I’ll try,” I said inanely.  “I just know how busy you are, and well, I don’t want to bother you.”

“Listen, Margaret,” Alan said in his inimical voice.  “I wouldn’t have given you my number if I didn’t mean for you to use it, all right?”

We chatted for several more minutes until he had to go.  He promised he’d be in touch the minute he got to Minnesota which nearly gave me a heart attack.  I hadn’t thought he was serious when he said he wanted to be friends, but apparently he was.  I said goodbye in a dreamy voice, not caring that I was giving something away.  I knew I’d have to be damn careful when he came into town, but I could dream, couldn’t I?  There was no harm in that.  I knew I was playing with fire, but I just didn’t give a damn.

“So, the Brit is coming back into your life, is he?”  It was Lucifer, of course, and he was glaring at me.  I was glad I had changed into sweats as soon as I got home so I wouldn’t be as appealing.  Then again, it was easier access, something I did not need to think about.

“He has a name, you know,” I said dispiritedly.  I wasn’t in the mood to fence with Lucifer as I wanted to savor my phone call with Alan.

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Dogged Ma; chapter thirteen, part two

Chapter Thirteen; Part Two

“Ned, what am I going to do?”  I asked softly.  I didn’t mind being vulnerable with Ned because I knew he’d never take advantage of what I perceived as my weakness.  “I have to keep Morningstar away from me.  I can’t resist him forever.”  There.  It was out.  My dastardly attraction to the Prince of Darkness—what the fuck did that say about my soul?  I knew I’d always been drawn towards the dark side, but this was beyond the pale.  How the hell could I justify wanting to fuck the devil?  There was no rhyme nor reason to it, but I couldn’t stop the attraction.  That was the problem more than the open portal—I desired the devil.

“What about a crucifix?”  Ned asked.  I began to laugh, but he was serious.  “Maybe it only works for Catholics, though.”

“That’s for vampires,” I said in exasperation.  “Morningstar is not a vampire.”  I didn’t mention that he had vampiric qualities because I wanted to avoid that particular discussion.  “I doubt something as fragile as a cross would do much to ward him off.”

“What about this charm around your neck?”  Ned asked, fingering the thread.  “Isn’t that supposed to call up a protector?”

“Yes, but I never remember to use it,” I admitted, shameful of another flaw.  “When I see Morningstar, the lust is overpowering.  It’s almost as if some dark force is pulling us together.”

“There’s no way for you to block him out,” Ned mumbled.  “Shit, Margaret.  I don’t know what to tell you.  They don’t cover this sort of thing on Doctor Phil.”  Ned’s idea of a lame joke as he didn’t watch that asshole any more than did I.  Doctor Phil, my ass!  The only thing his doctorate was good for was fooling the audience into believing he actually knew something.

“Damn,” I said, closing my eyes.  “I need to take a bath.”  Even though I’d taken a shower earlier, I felt the need to cleanse once again.  “Do me a favor?”  I knew it was going to sound odd, but I didn’t care.  “Sit on the toilet while I bathe?  I’m afraid God or the Morningstar will show up otherwise.”  Ned being there didn’t guarantee they wouldn’t drop by, but at least I would have a witness to whatever they said or did.

“Hey, if you want me to see you naked, all you have to do is ask,” Ned said playfully, patting me on the thigh.  I swatted his hand away as I got up.

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Dogged Ma; chapter thirteen, part one

Chapter Thirteen; Part One

“Where are you?  Are you still with Ted?  Call me.”

“OK, now I know you’re not still with your boy.  Call me!”

I laughed as I erased Ned’s messages, each increasingly agitated.  I had no idea why he took such an interest in my love life when his was infinitely more complicated and fascinating, but I knew I better call him before he busted a gut.  It was ten in the morning Sunday morning, and I had just gotten home.  Ted had skipped church this morning, but he wanted me to go with him at some later date.  I promised I would, and to my surprise, I was looking forward to it.  It would be a change from the Taiwanese church, that was for sure.  Speaking of, Ned should be there right now, but he didn’t go every week; I had a hunch he’d be home this morning just waiting for me to call.  I called him, tapping my foot as I waited for him to answer.

“Girl, what took you so long?  Did you just get home?”  Ned was at full decibel, which meant I had to hold my cell phone away from my ear.  “Oh, no, you didn’t!”  I could practically see him waggling his neck, even across the wires.

“Yes, I did just get home,” I admitted, a smile playing on my lips.  “You wouldn’t believe the drama.”

I wandered into the living room, sinking onto my couch as I did.  I was wearing a t-shirt and sweats borrowed from Ted.  Of course, the latter kept falling off me until Ted had fixed it with a quick basting.  I was impressed Ted had a sewing kit until he reminded me that he was a bachelor.  I liked wearing his clothes, however, and I wasn’t sure I was going to give them back.  I spilled the beans about Ted’s ex, and Ned was appropriately appalled.  He knew Lucinda, of course, and he couldn’t believe she would cause a scene like that.  When I mentioned that she’d been drunk, Ned hadn’t been surprised.  Seemed it ran in her family.  What a shame.

“Now it’s time to dish the dirt,” Ned announced once we were through analyzing Lucinda’s behavior.  “How was he in the sack?”

“I don’t kiss and tell,” I said indignantly.  “Especially not when it’s someone you know.”  I couldn’t resist adding, “I was completely satisfied, though, I’ll tell you that much.  We used a three-pack of condoms, if that tells you anything.”

“You go, girl,” Ned cheered.  He knew how difficult it was for me to find someone who complemented my libido.  That was the most crushing thing about Gary’s betrayal—he had been making excuses not to have sex with me the last six or so months we’d been together, leaving me frustrated more often than not.  While I was wondering what was wrong with him during that time, he was getting it on with one co-ed or another.  “I want details!”  He knew I rarely talked about my sexcapades unless they were one-night stands, so he wasn’t offended when I declined.  “I’m happy for you,” Ned said, his voice subdued for once.  “You deserve someone who treats you right.”

“As do you,” I replied.  Ned had known his fair share of heartache, so I was glad there was someone who put a smile on his face.  “How’s Alonzo?”  I had to listen to exactly how Alonzo was for the next ten minutes because unlike me, Ned did kiss and tell.  By the time he was done, I knew far more about Alonzo than I’d ever wanted to know.

“Oh, I have a great idea!”  Ned said after his recitation.  “I’m inviting you and Ted to my place for dinner very soon.  I’ll invite Alonzo as well, and it’ll be like a double-date!  What do you think?”

“That’ll be fun,” I said enthusiastically.  “Alonzo doesn’t hate women, does he?”  More than once, Ned had introduced me to one of his paramours only to discover that I was most emphatically not welcomed.

“Nope.  Some of his best friends are women.  He told me so himself.”  With that settled, I got off the phone.  I wanted to clean the apartment—something I did once in a blue moon.  Alas, it was not to be.

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Dogged Ma; chapter twelve, part two

 Chapter Twelve; Part Two

“Margaret, I’m glad you found my place all right.”  Ted’s voice trailed off as he opened the door to his Kenwood home.  His eyes widened when he caught sight of what I was wearing.

“Are you going to invite me in?”  I asked demurely, slipping my wrap off my shoulders and handing it to him.  He took it silently and stepped aside.  I took a second to check him out as well.  He was wearing black khakis, a silver shirt, and a black sports coat.  Black socks and no shoes, of course.  He looked hot as hell, and I had an impulse to skip dinner and go straight to his bedroom.  I reined myself in as I stepped out of my shoes, however.  I didn’t want to appear that forward.

“Margaret, you look indescribable,” Ted said, finding his voice at last.  He ushered me into the living room which was painted a warm marigold.  There were Ansel Adam reprints on his wall—at least, I thought they were reprints—as well as a few Chinese scrolls.  Even though the furniture was clearly expensive, the room was homey due to the color.  He had photos of his family on his bookshelves, and I noticed how uncommonly good-looking both his siblings were.  “Please, sit.  May I get you something to drink?”

“Rum and Diet Coke, if you have it.  A Rolling Rock if you don’t.”  I smiled up at Ted who nodded his head as he left the room.  I watched his ass, noticing how firm it appeared.  As soon as he was out of sight, I went over to the bookshelves to see what he had.  Toni Morrison, David Mura, Asian writers’ anthologies, a few Laurie Kings.  A wide variety, all of it good.  My estimation of him shot up a notch as I realized he hadn’t been bullshitting me at the party.  He did, indeed, have similar tastes to mine.  He also had a bunch of poetry which I didn’t recognize.  I didn’t do poetry, much to the chagrin of Wind who was always foisting this poet and that upon me.  Of course, she loved the Beats, whom I loathed.

“Here we go,” Ted said, returning with two Rolling Rocks.  He handed one to me before clinking the top of his bottle against mine.  “Here’s to a great dinner.  I hope I didn’t burn it.”

“Oh!  That reminds me.  Here.”  I thrust a bottle of port out to him.  I didn’t normally drink wine, but port was an exception.  “For dinner.”  I had no idea what he was making—though it smelled like Italian—but we could have it with dessert if nothing else.

“Great.  I love a good port.”  Ted set it on the coffee table, shifting from one foot to the next.  It occurred to me that he was waiting for me to sit down on the black suede couch, so I did.  I sank into it was more like it as it was impossibly buttery.

“This is one nice couch,” I said, patting the seat besides me.

“A little gift from my parents,” Ted said dryly, sitting besides me.  I could feel the heat even though he wasn’t touching me, and I hastily gulped at my beer to cool down.

“Something smells delicious,” I said brightly.  “You must be a great cook.”

“I’m all right,” Ted said, shrugging his shoulders.  “I had to cook for my brother and sister when we were little.  I learned to be creative pretty quickly in order to please those two.  Edgar would only eat meat and potatoes whereas Tina had a taste for haute cuisine.  Imagine trying to cook for those two at the same time!  As a result, I’ll eat anything.”  He didn’t say why he had to cook for his siblings, but I guessed it had something to do with his alcoholic mother.  “It’s chicken parmigiana, the Italian way.  A Caesar salad on the side and garlic bread, of course.  I made tiramisu for dessert.”  My mouth watered as he ran down the menu.

“You’re hired,” I said jokingly, patting him on the arm.  “We need a good cook at the alternative school where I teach.  The food is off and on right now, depending on our cook’s mood.  Given that she is bipolar and doesn’t always take her meds, it’s more off than on.”  I shook my head.  I looked at Ted who was gazing down at me.  Without seeming to, we moved towards each other, meeting in the middle.  When his lips touched mine, I knew without a doubt that we’d be having sex tonight.  Before or after dinner was an open question, but we were going to have it.  Ted leaned into the kiss, gently pushing me down onto the couch.  I was about to give in when I smelled a whiff of something acrid.

“Ted, your food.”  I pushed him off me, alarmed at missing a home-cooked meal.  Hell, I could have sex any time.  How often did I get a guy to cook for me?

“Shit.”  Ted jumped up from the couch and rushed to the kitchen.  I whipped out my lipstick carrier which had a mirror in it and reapplied my lipstick.  Ted must have wiped his mouth as well before returning because he was lipstick-free.  “Dinner is served.  Would you like to adjourn to the dining room?”  He motioned for me to follow, and I did.

“Good Lord,” I murmured, looking around me in awe.  This room was forest-green with abstract art on the walls.  I was beginning to think that the paintings were real and not prints, but that would be astronomical.  Then again, his family was filthy rich, so perhaps dropping a few million on a painting wasn’t such a big deal to them.  The table seemed to be made of mahogany, and I bet it’d been in the family for quite some time.  The china looked ancient, and the silverware was real silver.  Antiques Road Show would have a field day with this house.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind meeting the twins.

“Sit, sit,” Ted said, coming out of the kitchen with a steaming-hot dish in his hand.  It smelled heavenly, and I assumed it was the sauce.  “I slaved all day making you this.”

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