Monthly Archives: August 2019

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter seven, part one

“Rayne, got a minute?”  It’s Quinn, waiting for me by my desk for the second day in a row.  Her skin is wan and her smile is thin, tacked on with more than a dollop of willpower.

“Sure, Quinn.  Just let me grab a cup of coffee first.”  I go downstairs to get my steaming cup of java, then return to my desk.  I hang up my coat on the rack near my desk, then sit down.  After turning on my computer, I finally turn my attention to Quinn.  “What’s up?”  I had thought about it this morning and decided the best strategy for dealing with Quinn is to be pleasant but professional.  After yesterday, I have no desire to date her.  I am too old to be in a relationship with someone who obviously is in need of deep fixing.  When I was a teenager, I thought it was a sign of love to be willing to work on a person’s issues with her/him.  It is to a certain point, but Quinn’s problems go deeper than I have the patience to deal with.  I know myself well enough to know that it can only end badly.

“I wanted to apologize for my behavior last night.  It was atrocious.”  She pauses, as if to allow me a chance to contradict her, but I remain silent.  “I am so embarrassed that you had to see me like that.  It must seem like I have this huge eating disorder, but I don’t really.  I’m just dieting.”  Unfuckingbelievable.  I don’t know if she’s trying to convince herself or me, but she’s backtracking from what she said yesterday.

I tell her that I’m not going to debate the stupidity of dieting or discuss the nuances that differentiate between dieting and eating disorders, but in my opinion she’s crossed the bridge from the former to the latter.  She counters that every woman at least thinks about sticking her finger down her throat, which causes me to hoot in derision.  I stare at her in disbelief, but also in sadness.  Here is a bright, beautiful woman who thinks there’s nothing wrong with shoving her fingers down her throat after eating.  She blusters that it’s easy for me because Asian women are so tiny.  Her voice is rising and mine is, too.  I tell her it’s worse for Asian women because we have two cultures that revere thinness even though not every Asian woman is tiny.  I am considered huge by Taiwanese standards as my sister is so kind to point out as often as she can, but I do not even think about sticking my fingers down my throat.  It’s such an anathema to me, especially after loving Claudette.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter six, part four

“Ok, baby,” I say, touching his cheek.  “I’ll do my best.”  Paris leans forward and touches my lips with his.  He presses his body against mine, and I can feel his hard cock digging insistently into my thigh.  It would be so easy to have sex with Paris, and it would feel so good.  That’s precisely why I gently push him away.

“Come on, Rayne,” he mumbles into my hair, not letting me go.  “You know you want to.  It would comfort me a great deal.”  He slips a hand down my back and rests it just above my ass.  It has been a long time since I’ve had sex, and I can feel my body responding.  Paris is the best lover I’ve had, beyond compare.  I bury my face into his shoulder as Paris starts to slowly massage my back.  It takes the last ounce of strength I have to push him away, not as gently this time.

“Paris, you know you’ll regret this in the morning.”  I quickly stand up to put some distance between us.  Paris stands up, too, and gives me the puppy-dog eyes.  I feel my resolve begin to crumble as he starts stroking my arm.  Because he’s Paris, he knows that a slow, sensual stroking of my arm is the quickest way to arouse me.  “I think, oh God, I am going to my room.  You are not following.”  Before he can stop me, I race into my room and shut the door.  I feel guilty for turning him down, but this is not the way I want him.  I don’t want the manifestation of his grief to be the driving force of him falling into my bed.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter six, part three

Paris has stopped massaging my neck and is slowly stroking it instead.  I close my eyes and let the magic of his hands do their work.  I am melting under his expert touch—just what I need at the end of a long day.  I sigh and let my head drop further forward.  Paris is patiently working out the kinks and the knots.  I wonder how many people he’s seduced with these magical hands of his, but I don’t ask for fear he will stop.  I let the tension and frustration of the last few days slip out of me, trying to empty my mind as well.  I don’t want to think about anything more than how good it feels to be touched.  It’s not sex that I miss so much as a friendly touch.  Although, sex would be nice, too.  My mind flits from subject to subject, but I just let the thoughts flow in one ear and out the other.  One refuses to leave, however, and buzzes persistently in my head.  Suddenly, I pop my eyes open.

“Paris!  I forgot to tell you about the email Vashti sent me about Max’s ex-hubby being at the party!”

“What?”  Paris is so startled, he stops massaging me.  “How did she know that?”

“From a friend of a friend.”  I pause.  “What was his name again?”

“Harry.”  Paris makes a face.  “Harry Seavers.”

“Harry?”  I frown.  “Emil called him something else.”

“His full name is Harrison, but he goes by Harry.  He’s one of those haute couture screenplay writers who talks about it more than he actually does it because he doesn’t have to make money doing it.  He sells insurance by day.”  Paris has a sour look on his face.  For some reason, the name Harry is resonating in my brain.

“Screenplays, Harry,” I mumble under my breath, closing my eyes again.  They pop open again against my volition.  “I remember him!  He had a hard-on for Guy Ritchie!”

“That sounds like him,” Paris makes another face.  “He likes to think he’s so deep and philosophical, but he really likes the shallow, flashy guy directors.”  Paris seems to be feeling low as well.  I know something that will make him laugh, however, and tell him the horror story that is my sister’s wedding.

Before I can stop him, he goes camp on me, flipping his hand up and waggling his neck.  He cannot believe ‘that heifer’ had the nerve to tell me to lose weight, not to mention her other demands.  He is up and stomping before I can stop him, but at least he’s lost the glum look.  I let him have his say, rather enjoying his defense of me.  When I tell him that she wants me to spend over a thousand dollars for this ordeal which includes me wearing mauve, well, let’s just say he loses his ever-loving mind.  He rants and rave about how selfish she is because any fool can see that ivory is clearly a better color for me.  He cusses Libby out while questioning her genealogy but in such a way that he’s not questioning mine as well.  He is in high camp, and he has me crying from laughing so hard.  It is nice to have a friend who cares so much about me.

Once he’s calmed down, he settles next to me again and resumes massaging my neck.  We diss Libby some more because it’s a national pastime with us and because she deserves it.  When we were in college, we devised an elaborate points system to see who could put her down harder.  It was no contest; I am the reigning champion of dissing Libby.  “She gets put on hold when she tries calling her conscience,” I say, to cap off the contest.  We both laugh uproariously at that before subsiding into giggles.  Paris wants to make sure that I’m not going to listen to ‘that heifer’, but I’m not paying attention as he is melting me with his fingers.  He lectures me to put my foot down or Libby will run roughshod over me, which I know to be good advice but which I also know will be difficult to follow.  He is still massaging and lecturing as the buzzer rings.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter six, part two

My parents would try to make it better by buying me little treats or whispering in my ear how special I was in my own way.  My father would take me for walks, just the two of us, holding my hand so I wouldn’t get lost.  We’d stop off in Chinatown to buy some special dumplings or pastries filled with barbecued pork or red beans or whatever.  My absolute favorite were the buns filled with a sweet custard.  My dad would buy two and let me eat them all by myself.  He never said a word about saving one for my sister or my mother.  He would buy two, along with a bottle of sweetened soy milk, hand me a bun and the bottle while he held the other.  When I was done with the first bun, he would hand me the second and smile in pleasure as I gobbled it up.  I invariably ended up with a stomachache after finishing the two buns plus the bottle of milk, but it was worth it.  We’d walk home with bags bulging with food, but no custard-filled buns.  Those were mine alone, and I dearly loved my father for making that treat exclusively mine.  It didn’t take away the sting of my sister’s beauty, but it helped mitigate it.

I grimace as I think of him.  Even though it’s been nine years, I still ache to see him again.  He was my confidante as well as my father, and he listened to me better than anyone else ever had.  He would look at me, focusing his entire attention on what I was saying.  No television, no radio, nothing to distract him.  Sometimes, if a problem was especially tough, we’d hop a bus to Chinatown and buy some buns.  Strolling through the heart of Chinatown, we’d eat, drink soy milk, and talk about my problems.  I spoke mostly Taiwanese with my father, as he preferred it that way.  My father was patient and wise, telling me exactly what I needed to hear.  It may not have been what I wanted to hear, but it was invariably what I needed to know.  He never pulled punches with me or tried to sugarcoat the truth, for which I was grateful.  I knew that if my father said something, he meant it.  I appreciated that quality about him.

“Rayne!  I need ten copies of this yesterday!”  Alicia tosses a pile of papers on my desk, a scowl creasing her fat features.  Everything about her is round from the bun of gray hair on her head to her cheeks to her body.  Her cheeks are so fat, they push her eyes into slits.  I look away as she has a morsel of tuna melt clinging to her lower lip. I briefly entertain fantasies of telling Alicia off, but I tamp down the irritation.  I know much of it is residual from Libby’s emails, so I try to let it go.

“Not a problem,” I say, standing with documents in hand.  I walk over to the copier and punch the proper buttons.  It collates and staples for me before I can even whistle a happy tune.  I detour to Alicia’s office and drop it on her desk.  She just grunts at me before turning back to her work.

“How are the invoices coming along?”  Sandra, my supervisor, is at my desk when I reappear.  “There were a couple last week that you were late on.”  Because the counselors didn’t get them to me until after the deadline, I want to say, but hold my tongue.  Sandra doesn’t like excuses.

“It won’t happen again,” I shrug, but don’t apologize.  I have already decided that I’ll email Alicia once a week for the invoices, saving a copy in my send folder, which is known as covering my ass.  She’ll hate me for it, but I don’t care.  I don’t like being chided for something that isn’t my fault.

“Good.”  Sandra nods before returning to her desk.  Since her desk is in the room just off the ‘foyer’, I can see her firing up a movie on her computer.  I can only assume the director is doing the same.  I do a slow burn, but manage to keep my mouth shut.  I work on the invoices for the next couple hours, making sure everything is up-to-date.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter six, part one

I pound on the door with my fist, demanding that Paris open the door.  Seven-thirty is never a happy time for me, especially when I hadn’t fallen asleep until one the night before.  I’m supposed to be there by eight-thirty which I’ll just make if Paris lets me in this minute.  Paris grumbles, the toilet flushes, then the door opens.  He bows with a flourish as he exits, allowing me full reign of the bathroom.  I sweep in and start the shower.  I brush my teeth and pee before hoping into the steaming water.  I like it as hot as possible without actually scalding my skin.  Paris, who prefers tepid water, shudders every time he sees the steam pouring out of the bathroom.  It’s one reason I like to shower with the door open—so I don’t seriously fog up the mirror.

After I finish my ablutions, I go to the kitchen to see what I can rustle up.  Paris is nowhere to be found or I’d coerce him into scrambling me some eggs.  I love scrambled eggs, but I’m horrible at making them.  They always turn out either overdone and rubbery or underdone and runny.  I don’t understand how I can systematically screw them up no matter how much attention I pay to them, because theoretically, scrambled eggs are a snap to make.  Not for me.  I even made them for Paris once for a special occasion.  I had to toss them into the trash and cook something completely different.  French toast, I think it was, which Paris had to tell me how to make.  Some present that was.  I open the fridge and frown.  I don’t feel like having cold cereal, damn it, I want eggs.  I can only hard-boil them with any semblance of success and that’s not what I have in mind, anyway.  I grab the carton of orange juice and pour myself a glass.  I pull out a whole-wheat bagel from the cupboard and toast it.  After it’s done, I spread some lite cream cheese on it.  This is my breakfast more often than I like to admit.  I am out the door by a quarter after eight and walk briskly to work.

“Hey, Rayne.”  Quinn greets me before I can even sip from the cup of coffee I have just poured.

“What’s up?”  I give her a perfunctory smile.  I am not wasting any charm on her until I’m sure that she’s interested.  I sit down at my desk and turn on my computer.  While I’m waiting, I keep my eyes firmly on the monitor so I don’t have to check out the perfectly luscious mini-skirt Quinn is wearing which falls to just above her knees.  It’s a deep purple, and her button-down shirt is white.  She looks good.

“Why so cold, girlfriend?”  Quinn places a hand on her hip, giving me major attitude.  Funny she needs to ask after her reaction to seeing Paris for the first time.  I practically had to hose her down, she was so hot to trot.  “I got dressed up especially for our date today.”  I say nothing, not wanting to admit that I put extra-care into what I am wearing as well.  Instead of jeans and a boring shirt, I am wearing black stretch pants with gently-flared hems and a emerald green blouse that can button up to the chin or show a little cleavage.  I plan on unbuttoning the top two buttons when we go have our drinks.

“I have a lot on my mind,” I manage to say as she stands there staring at me.  “I don’t mean to give you the brush-off.”  My computer has finally turned on, and I see that I have emails.  Several of them.  “I’m looking forward to having drinks with you after work.”  My tone is brusque, and it’s clear that I’m ending the conversation.

“Look, I know I made a fool of myself over your friend, but you have to admit he’s stunning-looking.  Don’t worry—I’m over it.”  She flashes a brilliant smile my way that does a great deal to melt my latent irritation.

“I guess it’s not your fault,” I say grudgingly.  “He is quite the looker.  I can’t take him anywhere.”  With that settled, Quinn flashes me a smile before bouncing upstairs.  I stare at her until she disappears before turning back to my computer.  I click on my inbox to see who’s giving me a shout-out.  Half of the emails are from Alicia, wanting one dumb-ass thing or the other.  I file them in my ‘to-do-much-later’ folder, then move on.  There’s an email from my mother informing me that my sister is getting married in six months and expects me to be there.

“Rainbow, don’t make this into an issue, ok?  I don’t understand why you and Liberty can’t get along.  Your father and I raised you better than that.  Peace.”  I click it over to my ‘moms’ files and have to laugh.  That’s my mother through and through.  However, I don’t know if I will be able to refrain from making my sister’s wedding an issue.  Case in point, her email to me.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter five, part three

“It sucks,” Billie says hoarsely, slurping at her beer.  “She was my girlfriend, you know.”

“Really?  I thought she was found by her girlfriend,” I say innocently.  “Was that you?”  I line up for a long table shot and neatly sink the one.  The two is on the far rail with the seven in between.  I don’t think I can make it.

“That bitch wasn’t her girlfriend; I was.”  Billie folds her massive arms across her chest and glares at me.  “We just had to keep it quiet.  Moira didn’t want to tell anyone because she said it would cheapen what we had.”  Good God!  This woman who looks like a common thug has the heart of a bad romantic.  I try to imagine this goon in bed with Moira, and I have difficulty trying to repress a reflexive shudder.  Although, Billie would have the muscles to tie Moira down.  “I haven’t been able to stop crying since I found out.  I saw her just the night before, and she told me she was going to leave her gi—the bitch for me.  She was so happy when I saw her.  Then this.  I bet that bitch did it.  If I find out she did, I’m going to fucking kill her.”  Billie finishes her beer and glowers at me as I safety the next shot.  Billie marches to the table and without aiming, shoots.  She’s nowhere near the two so I have ball in hand.

“I read that the police have other suspects.  I wonder who?”  I haven’t read any such thing, but I’m counting on Billie’s grief to cloud her judgment.

“That fucking professor who had a crush on her and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”  Billie snorts, pulling a pack of cigarettes from her back pocket.  Catching the look of the bartender, she puts it away.  There is no smoking in bars in California any more, a fucking travesty if I’ve ever heard one.  Drinking and smoking go together like sex and, well, anything.

“What professor?”  My heart pounds slightly, not wanting her to realize that I am questioning her.  Fortunately, she’s too absorbed in her sorrow to wonder why I’m asking her so many questions.  Besides, she’s eager to talk about Moira and probably doesn’t have many close friends with whom to share her sad story.

“The one who acts like he’s from fucking Britain.  Something Banks.  God, I hated him!  The old fart didn’t know what to do after his wife left him.  Thought Moira was the answer to his dreams.  When she told him she wasn’t interested, he tried to rape her.  What a prick, and him acting so goddamn proper all the time.”  Her nostrils flare in disgust.  Her ill-temper is not helped by the fact that I am now up to the five and have a gimme shot.  I ponder her words for a minute.  She must be talking about Emil.

“Emil Banks?”  I throw the name at her, and she doesn’t even blink.

“That’s the asshole.  I should have sliced off his dick when I had the chance.”  It is clear that Billie is one of those dykes who hate men although it seems to me that she’s not too fond of women, either.  She a pure misanthrope, that’s what she is.  I have no idea what Moira saw in her, unless it was the stalker adoration this woman is emanating.  “Then there are her students.  Take, take, take.  They took, whatever they could from her, but never gave nothing in return.  They all got stupid little crushes on her, then turned hateful when she wouldn’t go out with them.  Maybe one of them did it.”

“Where were you that night?”  I hold my breath, ready for her to explode.  To my relief, she merely shrugged.

“I was here.  Playing pool.  You can ask anyone.”  She presses her lips together and begins fiddling with her cue.  It’s clear that this well of information is about to run dry, so I slip in one more question.

“How did you meet her?”

“Right here.  She came in with the bitch one night over a year ago.  The bitch had a headache and left early, but Moira stayed.  She help me close the bar that night.”  A smile breaks across Billie’s pudgy cheeks, transforming her from scary to almost beautiful.  She hesitates, then pulls out a thin gold chain from under her t-shirt.  “Moira gave me this.  Said it signified our true love.”  It’s a simple gold chain with a tiny heart pendant on it.  It’s completely out of character for Billie, which makes it that much more pathetic.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter five, part two

“Uh, Rayne?  Get to the point?”  Vashti breaks into my recitation with impatience.  “I do not need to know about every person who is wanting you.  I do not have such time.”  She is smiling impishly, daring me to defend myself.  I ignore her and fast-forward.

“Hey there, beautiful.”  A harem girl wearing a purple outfit slinked up to me, her veil covering all but her gorgeous green eyes.  Her body was not covered nearly as much.  She was wearing a royal-purple halter top that exposed her milky skin above and below it.  She was wearing sheer pants that ballooned at the calves before tapering off.  She had a fake diamond pasted in her belly button.  She had silver bangles up and down her arms as well as anklets on each ankle.

“Hi,” I stuttered before remembering that I was Wonder Woman and had nothing to fear from this woman.  “You better be a good girl, or I’ll have to lasso you.”

“You actually said that to her?”  Vashti asks, wrinkling her nose.  “I cannot believe that you are not smoother than that.”

“She took me off-guard!”  I protest.  “Can I tell this story, please?”  Vashti motions with her hand for me to continue…

“Come with me.”  The harem girl entwined her scarf around my neck and pulled me outside.  As soon as we hit the backyard porch, she pushed me against the wall and started kissing me through her veil.  There was something unbelievably hot about having that filmy piece of material blocking her lips from mine.  I was so into the kiss, I didn’t see the person looming over us until the harem girl was wrenched away from me.

“I might have known the minute I took my eyes off you, you’d be out here making it with another girl.”  A behemoth of a woman, dressed in a tux, threw the harem girl aside and turned to me.  There was murder in her eyes, and I was poised for flight because there was no way in hell I was fighting this true Amazon.

“Look, man, I didn’t know.”  I began backing way.  I did not want any part of this.  “I didn’t know she was your girl or I’d never have kissed her.”  I wasn’t sure that’s true, but figured I’d better say something to stop the crazy look the butch woman was throwing my way.

“I’m not her girl,” the harem girl said viciously.  “She just wishes it were so.”  The butch turned to the harem girl and backhanded her across the mouth.  I was frozen in my tracks, unsure what to do.  I wanted to protect the harem girl, but I also wanted to keep myself intact.  I moved toward the tuxedoed woman, but stopped as she turned back towards me.

“Don’t listen to the bitch,” she says, her tone suddenly calm.  “If you go near her again, I’ll rip your arm off and shove it down your throat.  Understand?”  It was the first time I’d been physically threatened, and I wasn’t quite able to take it seriously.  I mean, it’s the kind of thing done in movie, not in real life.  I understood that the woman was making a real threat, but I had to stifle an impulse to look around for the rolling camera.

“She is not my girlfriend!”  The harem girl screamed as she cringed away from both of us.  Right then, I decided even if she’s the most alluring person in the place, she was trouble.  I stayed away from her the rest of the night…

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter five, part one

“So, what happened?”  I greet Paris eagerly when I get home from work the next day.  The reporters have given up on us, so I don’t have to dodge them any more.  A pity, really.  I had come up with some pretty creative ways to evade them, and I rather enjoyed myself doing so.  “Did Inspector Robinson royally ream Max out for withholding information?”  I guiltily admit to myself that I am looking forward to hearing the gory details about the dressing down of Max.

“She was pretty pissed,” Paris admits.  “She got that look in her eye, you know the one that says, ‘I’m disgusted with you.’  I think she cultivated it on purpose to make people talk.”  I know the look he is referring to, and it certainly works on me.  “Her voice got really low.”  Here, he imitates Inspector Robinson.  “Ms. Bowers.  This is a murder investigation.  That means we investigate.  In order to do so, we need information.  I should think you of all people would want us to be successful.”  He reverts to his normal voice.  “If she looked at me the way she looked at Max, I would have spilled the beans for sure.”

“Did you get to sit in on the interrogation?”  I doubt the inspector would allow that, but I  can always hope.

“No.  After Max blurted out the thing about someone coming out of Moira’s room, the inspector took her away.  I had to wait nearly an hour for her.  I took Max to a diner after so we could talk about it.”

They both ordered coffee as it was between mealtimes.  The whole time Paris was talking to Max, he had the feeling that something else was going on.  There was a subtext that he wasn’t getting, but he didn’t like it whatever it was.  Max would say something, then pause and look at Paris significantly, but he didn’t know why.  It pisses me off that Max is playing such games with Paris because I hate seeing him upset.  After an inordinate amount of lead-in time, Max finally got to the meat of the interrogation.  She told the inspector everything she had told Paris, and Inspector Robinson got excited and rushed away, most likely to have another chat with Ms. Fullerton.  As Paris is talking, he’s walks into the kitchen to make himself a hero sandwich.  I must look woebegone enough because he offers to make one for me as well.  I accept with alacrity.  In college, Paris was famous for his hoagie sandwiches.

I watch, mouth watering, as Paris slathers zesty honey mustard onto a hoagie bun.  He starts piling fixings and trimmings as if there is no end to his hunger.  He tells me that the inspector let slip that Moira was gagged after she was killed.  Paris doesn’t know the significance of this, but I make a guess.  I think it means that she was a willing participant in the bondage game because she would have been screaming her head off if someone had tied her up against her will.  By this time, Paris is done building up the hoagie.  He cuts it in two, plates it and hands it to me.  I happily start munching as he prepares another one.  As Paris makes a sandwich for himself, he points out that if Moira was drugged, she wouldn’t have made noise.  I protest that drugging her didn’t make as much sense as her playing games with someone she trusted, someone who quickly shot, then gagged her.

“Why would someone gag her after?”  Paris protests, cutting his own sandwich in half.  He pours us each a coke.  We set our sandwiches on plates and take our food to the living room which is where we do most of our eating.  I don’t know why we even bother having a table in the kitchen as we rarely eat there.  We are silent for a few minutes as we make serious dents in our food.

Continue Reading

Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter four, part two

“She give you a rough time?”  He asks as we get into his car.  For a moment, I can’t answer.

“Why didn’t you tell me you fucked Max?”  I blurt out.  I didn’t mean to ask him this way, but I can’t get it out of my mind.  The thought of him having sex with Max is just too repugnant to bear.

“What?”  Fortunately, Paris isn’t driving yet as he freezes at the wheel.  “Who told you that?  Did the inspector tell you that?  How did she know?”

“Apparently Max told her.”  Now that I’m working through the shock, I wonder why Max told the inspector in the first place.

Paris begins driving, and I prudently hold my tongue though I’m dying to jump down his throat for this one.  Put aside the ramifications concerning the murder, how could he not tell me?  Worse yet, how could he lie to me?  I feel like a spurned lover, as I’ve been completely honest about every exploit I’ve ever had.  How could he have held this back from me?  Paris struggles to explain that it was just one time early in their relationship before they both realized they were better off as friends.  Although he emphasizes that both of them made the decision, I have a feeling that Max would be more than willing to have a second round in the sack with Paris.  As I’m grappling with my emotions and trying not to feel too betrayed, the salient question pops into my head.  Why did the Max tell the cops about it if it really was just a one-night stand?  As I mull it over, I can’t escape the conclusion that Max is setting Paris up.

As usual, Paris blows his top when I suggest that perhaps Max doesn’t have his best interest in heart.  Despite everything he’s told me, there is definitely something going on between the two of them other than friendship.  Paris seems to have a blind spot about Max that even I cannot penetrate.  He accuses me of harping on her because I don’t like her.  While I admit my bias, I also point out that she’s the one who told the cops about them sleeping together.  She’s also the one who called him over to his place the night of the murder, perhaps to have him at the scene of the crime.  If the police are focusing on Paris as a suspect—and I think they are—it’s strictly Max’s fault.  By this time, we have reached our apartment, and Paris pulls up to the curb with a screech.  We don’t say anything else until we’re in the apartment.

“Rayne, you know I love you, but you are way out of line with this.  I don’t want to hear another word against Max.  She is not trying to frame me, and I’ll never forgive you if you tell that inspector this cockamamie theory of yours, understand?”  He glares at me, daring me to make one of my trademark flip responses.  I simply sigh and throw up my hands.

“I give up.  It’s on you.”  I walk into the kitchen to grab a beer from the fridge.  I don’t want to fight with Paris, but I think he’s been shortsighted about this.  I can’t promise I won’t mention my theory to the inspector if it seems appropriate.  I will not let Paris take the fall for something he didn’t do.

Paris does not take kindly to me walking away from him, and he follows me into the kitchen.  His voice is combative as he won’t let it go.  I’m more than prepared to stop talking about Max and how she’s out to get him, but Paris won’t drop the subject.  I rummage in the fridge so I won’t have to look at him as he rants, but he shuts the door firmly and turns me to face him.  He shakes his finger in my face as he admonishes me not to be bullheaded as I usually am and to think before I do anything.  I retaliate by telling him not to treat me as a child because I’m not one.  I walk back into the living room, my heart pounding.  Something about Max has him all turned around, and I have no idea what it is.  I hope whatever he has with her is worth losing his best friend over.

Continue Reading