Monthly Archives: September 2019

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

Chapter Ten; Part One

The Friday before the party, the day in question when Mrs. Curtis saw Vashti livid outside of Moira’s house, started out like any other day.  Vashti went into work thinking of the five thousand things she had to do that day, and how she was going to do it all in eight hours.  She didn’t even have enough time to pour herself a cup of coffee before her supervisor pulled her into his office, a grave expression on his face.  Vashti thought of the million things he might want to talk to her about, but couldn’t find anything about her job performance that would have put him in such a solemn mood.  They had their differences, sure, but he respected the work she did with the kids; Vashti was certain of that.  She sat in the chair across from his desk and waited for him to speak.  She knew from experience that he liked to take control of a meeting and things would proceed more smoothly if she allowed him to speak first.

“Vashti, we’ve had a complaint about you,” he said slowly, looking at her from over the top of his bifocals.  He was a slight, nervous man who was constantly popping Tums because of his ulcer.  He wasn’t cut out to be in a supervisory position, but he wasn’t good with kids, either.  The board figured he’d do less damage as a supervisor than as a counselor.  Still, Vashti didn’t speak.  She had a hunch that she would want to reserve her words until Mr. Benson finished with his speech.  “A woman called up this morning.  Said she is thinking of pressing charges against you.”

“What?”  Vashti couldn’t help interrupting.  “Who?  A mother?”

“No, not a mother.”  Mr. Benson’s eyes shifted away from hers so he was gazing at a point just above her left shoulder.  He picked up his pen and started fiddling with it.  He was one of those men who had to have something to do with his hands even if it’s only to jingle the coins in his pocket.  He took a deep breath and let it out explosively.

“Who, then, Mr. Benson?”  Vashti was careful to keep the impatience out of her voice, but she wanted him to just tell her.  She had been on the job for less than a year and was still considered the new kid on the block.  This was exactly what she didn’t need to feel more confident doing her job.

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

Chapter Nine; Part Three

“Mrs. Curtis, you’ve been very helpful.  Can you tell me if you saw anything else suspicious next door the last week or so?”  I frown at how I worded that, but it can’t be helped.  I don’t think Mrs. Curtis will notice, anyway.  Besides being batty, she’s draining her glass of lemonade until there’s nothing left.  She looks at it wistfully before setting it down on the tray.  I can tell she wants to pour another glass, but she won’t in front of me.

“I’ve seen girls go in and out at all hours of the day,” Mrs. Curtis says, primming up her mouth; I don’t think it’s from the lemonade.  “Sluts, all of them.”

“Do you remember a week ago Friday?  The day before Moira and Max’s party?  Did you see anything unusual then?”  I don’t know why I’m even asking.  If this woman talks to fairies, how is she supposed to remember mundane events like a party next door?  She surprises me, however, with a factual answer.

“During the day, a girl came to the house.  She looked very upset.  She was crying when she left.”  Mrs. Curtis looks at me triumphantly, proud that she is able to remember this tidbit.

“What did she look like, Mrs. Curtis?”  I am patient, digging for information I’m not even sure will be of any use.

“White, young, raggedy,” Mrs. Curtis shrugs.  “Thin and really upset.”  It could be any of Moira’s students, but I would bet it was Annie.  That put her at the scene of the crime a day before it happened.  I am liking her more and more.

“Thank you, Mrs. Curtis.”  I shut my notebook and beam at Mrs. Curtis.  She may be talking to the fairies, but she also knows what’s going on.  I start standing up in preparation of leaving.

“Wait, don’t you want to know about the other girl?”  Mrs. Curtis reaches out and grabs my wrist.  She has a surprisingly strong grip for someone her age and size.  “The dark one who was angry when she went over that very same day?”  Mrs. Curtis smiles like a cat, pleased to hold back this bit of information until I am about to leave.

“What, when, huh?”  I ask inelegantly.  Finding out about Annie was more than I had hoped for.  I am lost as to what she is trying to say.

“A dark girl, Arabian or something like that with long black hair and flashing brown eyes.  She had a pierced nose.  She slammed her car door so hard, it shook.”  Mrs. Curtis tells these details with relish.  I slowly sink back into the couch as what she says hits me.

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

Chapter Nine: Part One

“Rise and shine, Rayne!”  I hear a voice from a distance and desperately try to block it out.  I lie very still, rationalizing if I act dead, it may leave me alone.  “Come on.”  The tone turns from cheerful to cajoling.  “It’s after twelve, Rayne!  Time to get your lazy ass out of bed.”  It’s Paris, of course, and he’s standing over me.  When I do not respond, he reaches down and rips the covers off me.  I let out a shriek as a) I’m naked and b) it’s freezing.

“Paris Frantz!  You give me back my covers!”  I curl into a ball as I wait for him to comply.  Instead, he hands me a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt while waiting for me to get up.  When I realize that he’s a) not going away and b) eyeing my naked body, I quickly slip into the sweats.  Once I am covered, I fall back into bed and ignore Paris.

“Vashti called.  She wants to see you tonight.”  Paris frowns as I make no movement to get up.  “I’ll make you pancakes if you get up this very minute.”

“Chocolate chip pancakes?”  I ask, my voice muffled from the pillow I have placed over my head.

“Yes, Ms. Sweet Tooth,” Paris sighs loudly.  “Now get your ass out of bed.”

“Why are you so mean to me?”  I emerge from under my pillow to gaze dolefully at Paris.  “Why do you never show me any love?”

“I tried the other night,” Paris quips.  “You rebuffed me, remember?”  He waits until I sit up before slipping out of the room.  I yawn as I contemplate going back to bed.  I don’t understand why Paris has such a thing about me sleeping past noon.  He considers it a great failing of mine that I like to sleep in.  At least he didn’t shake his head sadly this time.  I would have had to clock him one, pancakes or no pancakes.  I shuffle out of bed and head to the bathroom.  I take a shower, brush my teeth, the usual things.  I wash my wound and put more gauze on it, best I can.  It isn’t red or weeping, so I assume it’ll heal.  I slip the sweats back on and go to the kitchen.  It’s only Paris, so there’s no need to look my best.  Besides, he’s wearing sweats, too, only his are gray and mine are black.

“Smells good.”  The fragrance of the chocolate chip pancakes perks me up.  There are few odors I like better than baked goods.  Especially ones with chocolate in them.

“Pancakes a la Paris, coming right up.  How’s the neck?”

“Come take a bite and find out,” I reply with a wink.  Paris laughs, but stays focused on his cooking.  I decide to call Vashti while he’s doing his thing and hunt down my cell phone.

“Hello?”  As usual, her voice makes me think of molasses and honey, with blindfolds and gags thrown in for good measures.

“Vashti?  It’s Rayne.  Glad that you called me back.  Sorry we’ve been playing phone tag.  Can you believe it about Max?”

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

Chapter Eight; Part Two

“I’m not really sure.”  He still won’t look at me.  “She wouldn’t talk to me after that.  I assume Moira told Annie I confronted her.”  The truth, but not all of it.  He is sweating again, so I push the issue.

“What did you talk to Moira about the night before the party?”  I have definitely caught him off-guard.  There is a look of panic on his face, and I haven’t even asked him about the supposed attempted rape.

“Who told you I talked to her then?”  The words tumble out of his mouth before he can stop them.  “The bitch!  I wouldn’t have thought she’d have the nerve to tell anyone.”  So it is true.  I look at him expectantly, hoping he’ll fill in the blanks.  It’s a well-known trick of the cop trade to stay silent, forcing the perp to talk.  It works.  “It wasn’t enough that she seduced my daughter, oh no.  She couldn’t be satisfied with just that, could she?  No, she had to do more.  Moira did cocaine once in a while.  Crack.  I bet you didn’t know that.”  I didn’t, but I keep quiet.  Now that he’s finally talking, I don’t want to do anything to stop the flow.  “She only did it recreationally.  I think she thought it made her cool or something.”  I see where this is going, but I want to hear him say it.  “She gave some to my Annie.  Imagine that!  The girl is only twenty-three, and this barracuda gets her hooked on crack.  ‘Just try it,’ she says.  ‘It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt before.’  So my Annie, my innocent daughter who is so in love with Moira, does what she is told.  Before she knows it, she’s shooting up daily.”

“How did she get that kind of money?”  I ask.  Crack, while cheaper than its glamorous cousin, cocaine, is still not cheap if being done every day.

“My ex gave it to her before she realized what Annie was doing with it.  Once it became clear that Annie was using, Ginny—my ex—refused to give her any more money.”  A font of information up to this point, Emil stops.  He doesn’t want to tell me anything else, but I wait him out.  There’s no contest, and he breaks.  “Annie started hooking to make the money to feed her crack habit.”  It is what I’m expecting to hear, but saddens me, nonetheless.  Any residual good feelings I had for Moira drain away; I’m glad I never went on that date with her.

Emil hadn’t been able to put Moira’s treachery out of his mind which is why he met with Moira the night before the party.  He had been brooding about his daughter almost nonstop for three months, and he couldn’t take it any more.  His work was suffering from his lack of concentration; he was having difficulties sleeping at night; he’d lost ten pounds because he couldn’t eat.  It was one reason he was taking a sabbatical next year.  He had to talk to Moira again, if only to give him peace of mind that he’d done everything he possibly could to help his daughter.  He said Moira wasn’t so high-and-mighty when Emil threatened to tell the department about her conquests.  In fact, she looked absolutely panicked until she realized that she had something to threaten him with, too.  She told him she’d turn Annie in to the cops if Emil ratted on her.  Emil’s nostrils flare as he starts breathing harder.  His skin is ashen, and he is panting slightly.  I worry that he will have a heart attack in front of my eyes.  I won’t be able to handle the guilt if I send this man into cardiac arrest.

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

Chapter Eight; Part Three

“Let’s go,” he says when he appears, forty-five minutes later.  He is looking straight ahead, his lips set in a thin line.  I buckle myself in as he takes off with a screech.  Paris is a good driver, but when he’s angry, he becomes more aggressive.  I wisely keep my mouth shut as I do not want to aggravate him further.  Most of the time, I can jolly him out of a mood, but even I know my limits.  Neither of us speak the entire way home.

When we reach our place, he shuts his door with a slam and marches up the steps to our apartment in silence.  I follow him meekly, not wanting to set him off.  Inside, I head for the fridge and grab two Molson Ices.  I pop the tops and hand one to him.  He strides into the living room and sits on the couch, flicking on the television and rummaging through the channels.  He presses angrily on the remote at the rate of three clicks per second.  I sit next to him, but abandon any hope of actually watching anything.  We sit in silence, drinking our beers.  I sneak glances at him, wondering if I should say something.  I want to be supportive, but I also don’t want to get into his business if he would rather I butt out.  We have been friends long enough for me to know that talking things out is not always the best thing to do with him.  Sometimes he needs to brood before he feels able to discuss the problem.  I let him ruminate all he wants, giving him a wide berth.

“You know what pisses me off?”  Paris finally says, settling on MTV where there is some asinine reality show on.  “The assumption that I took advantage of a lonely older woman, that I’m nothing more than a gigolo.  That damn inspector actually thinks I tried to swindle Max out of her money!”  Paris’s eyes reflect the hurt he’s feeling.  An easygoing guy, he really gets steamed when his niceness is called into question.  Because he is so impossibly good-looking, people have a hard time believing that he could be interested in someone less than gorgeous-looking her/himself.  It’s a stereotype Paris has had to fight all his life, and it ticks him off every time.  The fact that it’s true for the most part doesn’t make it hurt any less.

“Did she say that?”  I ask cautiously. I  don’t want Paris to think I’m questioning his interpretation of events.

“Over and over.  She asked if I was in Max’s will, if I thought I should be, if I was angling to get put into Max’s will, if I knew the contents of Max’s will.  The way she was harping on the will, you’d have thought I wrote the damn thing.”

“It’s her job,” I counsel, wanting to calm Paris down.  I glance at the VCR clock and see that it’s seven-thirty.  “Shit!  I promised Emil I’d go over to his place at eight.”  I jump up from the couch and hurry into the kitchen.  I’m starving, and I want to eat something before I skedaddle.  I grab a Tupperware and open it.  Paris made fajitas for lunch, and there are two left over.  I heat them up, then scarf them down.

“You have one hour,” Paris says sternly as I pass by the living room.  “If I don’t hear from you in an hour, I’m coming after you.  Understand?”

“Are you ok, Paris?”  I ask, pausing.  I hate to leave him while he’s in such a state, but I need to talk to Emil.

“Go,” Paris orders me.  “Now.”

“Let me give you Emil’s address,” I sigh.  I scribble it down along with Emil’s number in case Paris threw away the number and hand the scrap of paper to Paris.

“One hour,” he reminds me, shaking a finger in my face.  I give him a look that tells him what he can do with that finger.  It’s a fifteen-minute walk to Emil’s place, and I savor the night.  Some people refuse to walk in the Mission District by themselves at night, but I relish it.  I like seeing the diverse population that roams the streets—so different from the increasingly homogeneous crowd that litters the Mission during the day.  The tourists still haven’t infiltrated the Mission, but unfortunately, the yuppies have.  However, the Mexicans are loud and proud as well.  I hope they keep the upper hand, but I am doubtful that they will be able to live in peace.  I make it to Emil’s place with five minutes to spare.

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

Chapter Seven; Part Three

“Libby Liang,” she says briskly in a tone much different than the petulant tone she takes with me.

“Lib, it’s me.”  I pause as I feel the freeze emanating from the phone.  “Look, you didn’t give me a chance to respond.  You know I’m three hours behind you and I don’t get into work until eight-thirty or so.  I’m sorry that I haven’t gotten back to you, but you did say I had two weeks.”

“To put the order in!”  Libby snaps.  “Not to respond.”  That isn’t how I remember it, but I let it slide.  “What do you want?”

“I wanted to let you know that I’d be happy to be your bridesmaid if you still want me, but that I have some issues with some of your requests.”  That’s as diplomatic as I get, so I wait to see if she’ll accept it or not.

“Fine,” she says shortly.  “Tell me about it.”  Taking a deep breath, I read my list to her.  I am met with glacial silence.  “Out of the question,” she snaps.

“What is?”  I ask, a bit impatiently.

“All of it.”  Apparently, my sister has yet to learn the fine art of compromise.  “Rayne, this is my wedding.  I will not have you ruining it.”

“Let me ask you a question, Libby.  If I got married and you were my bridesmaid, would you do whatever I told you to do?”  I know the answer to that one before she says a word.

“We can cross that bridge if we ever get to it,” Libby says snidely.  “I don’t see that happening to you any time soon.  What’s the longest you’ve been with a guy?  Five months?  You seem to have a tiny problem with commitment that precludes getting married.”  She has neatly sidestepped the question by going on the offensive.  She doesn’t know that I’m bisexual and that my longest relationship of a year has been with a woman.  Somehow, I don’t think telling her that will help the situation.

“You’re being unreasonable,” I say softly.  “I’m willing to give in on most of your points, but you’re not willing to budge at all.”

“It’s my wedding!”  She’s beginning to sound like a broken record.  I can see how this is going to be her mantra for making people do outrageous things.  “You have to do as I say.”

“That’s not how it works, Libby.”  I am beginning to get angry myself.  “You can’t just order everybody around like they’re your minions.”

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Don’t Rayne On My Parade: chapter seven, part three

Chapter Seven; Part Three

When I am through, I shut down my computer.  Ten o’clock.  Early to be going to bed, but it’s been a long day.  After getting ready for bed, I slip under the covers next to Paris.  I have a king-size bed because I like space as I sleep, but the bed feels small with Paris in it.  I am wearing a t-shirt and panties and still feel overdressed.  I turn on my side away from Paris so our butts are facing each other.  He turns over and snuggles up next to me.  We fit together well.  I listen to his even breathing as I drift along.  Just as I’m about to fall asleep, I feel his hand move from my waist down to my hip.  His fingers are curled over so they are brushing the crease that separates my thigh from my groin.  I don’t know if he’s doing it on purpose, but he’s crossing the danger zone.  I pick up his hand and put it back on his own hip.  A minute later, it’s back on my thigh.  I turn around to face him.

“Paris Frantz, you stop that.”  I am fierce with him, knowing it’s the only way to nip this in the bud.  I have miscalculated, however, since turning around puts my face inches away from his.  Even in the dark, I can feel him looking at me before I sense him moving forward.  His lips meet mine squarely, and his tongue separates my lips.  A moan slips out of my throat as he continues to kiss me.  I know I should put a stop to this, but it feels too good.  His hand is on my other thigh and rubbing in slow circles.

“Rayne, I need this,” he whispers after breaking off the kiss.  I can taste the alcohol and the toothpaste, and it’s a strange combination.  I feel his breath on my cheek as his hand moves up my thigh, over my waist, under my shirt and settles on my breast.  It’s as if I’ve been branded with an iron.  Jolts of electricity shoot through me.  Our lips meet.  Suddenly, I am angry that he is putting me in this position yet again.  He knows that I lust over him.  He knows that while we have always been very good at this, it’s inadvisable for us to have sex.  He knows all this, and yet, he doesn’t care.  Even as my body responds to his touch, my mind is quietly fuming.

“Paris, you have to stop,” I whisper back, my voice ragged.  Paris rolls me onto my back and props himself up over me.  My thighs part out of their own volition and the fingers of his left hand are sliding under my panties while his right hand is still occupied with my breast.

“Shh, darling, don’t say anything.”  Paris covers my mouth with his.  I know this is wrong.  I know we shouldn’t be doing this, but I am past the point of stopping.  I finally submit, deciding to deal with the consequences after it is over.  He moves his right hand to my arm and starts the slow, steady stroking that drives me so wild.  He is poised over me when I realize what he’s about to do.

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

“If I wanted a man, I’d be with one,” Quinn explains.  I sigh, not wanting to get into an argument about why butches are not men.  It seems all we do is argue philosophy and beliefs.

“If you like the black woman, go talk to her,” I say.  “That’s what we came here for, right?”

“What do I say to her?”  Quinn starts sweating at the thought of being so bold.

“Say, ‘Hi, my name is Quinn.  What’s your name?’  I guarantee she’ll say something.”  I am being sarcastic but serious at the same time.  I am not into game-playing and find the straightforward approach, pardon the pun, refreshing.  Quinn looks as if she’s going to argue with me, but doesn’t.  She stands up, straightens her shirt, then walks over to the black woman.  I am too far to hear what they’re saying, so I decide to watch the baby butch play pool instead.  The woman who is playing against her slaps her on the ass, so I decide to look elsewhere.  A motion by the door catches my eyes.  It’s my favorite bartender, and she’s looking good.  She’s the miniature, female version of the male bartender from the 500 Club, except she manages to be feminine while still being tough.  She is wearing a black t-shirt and black jeans, and she looks hot.  I know her name is Vivienne, she’s half-French and from Canada.  Quebec, to be precise.

“Viv!”  A teenage-looking girly calls out to Vivienne.  The latter flips the former a wave, but doesn’t reply verbally.  Vivienne takes her place behind the bar.  I finish off my drink and saunter up to the bar for the next one.

“Hey, darling,” Vivienne grins at me.  She has the darkest eyes for a non-Asian person, and she uses them to her advantage.  “What can I get you?”

“I’d like a Cape Cod,” I say, unable to take my eyes off her.  Why have I never asked this woman out, besides the fact that I have a policy of not hitting on someone at the place of their employment because she can’t walk away?

“Viv.  I gotta roll.  See you back at the crib?”  A stunning bi-racial honey leans over the bar to peck Vivienne on the cheek.  The kisser has a head of curly black hair I would kill for, skin the color of molasses, and curves that look just as sweet.  Oh yeah, that’s why.  Vivienne is a married woman.  She’s been with girlfriend for seven years, I believe I’ve been told.  I sigh as I watch Vivienne’s better half leave.  I turn back to the bar, catching Vivienne as she watches me in amusement.  I have a feeling she knows that I am hot for her, but I won’t do anything about it as long as she’s with her girlfriend.  I may not be the most monogamous gal myself, but I don’t mess with other people’s monogamy.  Even if she and the gf aren’t monogamous, it’s too messy a situation for me to want to get into the middle of that.

“Here you go, sweetheart,” Vivienne places my drink in front of me with a flourish.

“Thanks, Vivienne,” I say with my best smile and a sizable tip.  I always call her by her full name because I think it’s beautiful.  She winks at me as she scoops up the money.  I return to my table and covertly watch as Vivienne serves other women.  She doesn’t call anyone else those pet names, so I start fantasizing about what that means.  Before I can get too far, Quinn returns.

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