Monthly Archives: October 2019

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

Chapter Twelve; Part One

“That was incredible,” I sigh after we have thoroughly explored each other’s bodies.  She is by far the best lover I’ve had in a long time.  We are lying on my bed, both satiated, our sweaty bodies pressing lightly against each other.  She has her arm casually draped under my neck, and it feels right to be lying by her side.  We lie in compatible silence for a few minutes until Vashti reluctantly sits up.

“I should be going.  Work and all.”  She quickly dresses.

I am secretly relieved that she is leaving.  I have difficulty sleeping next to someone I don’t know well, and despite the activities we just engaged in, I definitely don’t know her well enough yet. Vashti pecks me on the lips and pushes me back into bed when I make a move to get up.  I elude her hands, grab my robe and get up.  I note that Paris hasn’t come home yet, which means he most likely slept with Jenna.  I walk to Vashti to the front door where we kiss deeply before she leaves.  There is a smile on my face as I lean on the door.  To my surprise, the door starts rattling.

“Hello?”

“Rayne?  It’s me.”  Paris’s voice is muffled, but recognizable.  I let him in.

“How was your date?”  I smile at him knowingly, hoping to get a rise out of him.

“It wasn’t a date,” Paris sighs, staggering into the living room.  I follow, eager for the details.  He plops down onto the couch, exhaling loudly as he does.

“Well?”  I have a feeling this is going to be juicier than a soap opera.

It started nicely with dinner, though Paris was wary because Jenna had gotten all dolled up which is unlike her.  She even curled her hair which was definitely a first.  They ate at a Middle Eastern restaurant on Valencia, but things started to unravel after they returned to Jenna’s apartment.  She put on an Ella Fitzgerald CD and started swaying to the music.  Before Paris could react, she reached up and unzipped her dress.  That’s when Paris knew he couldn’t put it off any longer and gently told her that he didn’t want to see her any more.  Instantly, she flipped.  Started bawling and begging him not to leave her.  When that had no impression on him, she started throwing things at him and ended up threatening to throw herself out the window.

“It would have been more impressive if she didn’t live on the ground floor.”  Paris says with a straight face.  We look at each other then simultaneously burst into laughter.

“So what did you do tonight?”  Paris asks once he can talk again, his eyelids fluttering.

“Vashti,” I say casually, watching his face closely for his response.  I don’t have long to wait.

“What?”  His eyes fly open, and he pops up from the couch.  His whole body screams disbelief.  “You didn’t!”

“I did!”  I shoot out my hand, and he high-fives me.

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

Chapter Eleven; Part Three

“Hello?”  Vashti’s voice is soothing to my ears.

“Vashti?  This is Rayne.  How would you like to go the Wild West with me tonight?”  She agrees and says she’ll be over in a half hour.  It gives me enough time to change.  I wriggle into a slim black skirt that reaches my ankles.  I pull on a low-cut, snug-fitting bright red shirt with long sleeves.  I brush my hair until it shines and give myself a little wink.  I wish I could do something about the cut on my neck, but I’m not sweating it.  I’m wearing my best set of underwear—all lace and very little fabric.  I don’t know if I’ll be spending the night at Vashti’s, but I want to be prepared.  I slip in a pair of black twisty earrings, black nylons, and black heels.  I look in the mirror with satisfaction.  I clean up good when I want to.  I grab my little black purse and hurry to the living room to wait for Vashti.  She is precisely on time which makes me question her heritage.  She is definitely not running on CP time.

“You look beautiful,” Vashti compliments me as I slide into her car.

“So do you.”  She is wearing black jeans and a white t-shirt with a black leather jacket.  Her hair is cut short and slicked back.  “You cut your hair!”  I reach over to touch it, then pull back.  “It looks good.”

“I thought it was time for a change,” Vashti shrugs.  “It was getting too heavy.”    She roars off into the night.  We chitchat as she drives, not wanting to get too serious just yet.  I tell her about the email I sent to Libby, and she heartily approves.  She tells me that she hates doing administrative work and wants to get back to her kids, but her supervisor won’t budge until the murders are solved.  I repeat that she should retain a lawyer, but I don’t push it.  It’s her life, and I don’t know what the answer is.  I just know what I would do if I were in her shoes.  I tell her about Paris breaking up with his newest paramour.  She tells me about Dylan’s newest girlfriend.  We reach the Wild Side West in record time.

At first glance, it doesn’t appear that Billie is there.  She is not working.  There’s some cheerful BBW handling the bartending duties.  I look over to the pool table, but no Billie.  I wonder if it’s worth waiting then decide we might as well drink while we’re there.  We snag a table near the pool table, and Vashti gets the drinks.  Rum and coke for me, Rolling Rock for her.  She is definitely in butch mode tonight as she doesn’t even ask me what I want to drink.  I don’t mind once in awhile as long as she doesn’t make a habit of it.  We sit and drink in silence as we watch the pool game going on.  A cute blond is hustling a dour-looking brunette.  Every time the brunette makes like she’s going to walk away, the blond kisses her on the cheek until she repents.

I want to talk to Vashti about Paris’s adoption, but I know it’s not my place.  Besides the fact that they don’t like each other, it’s really Paris’s decision who should know and who shouldn’t.  I don’t want to talk about the murders, not tonight, but I also want to solve them.  I wish this was just a date and that the biggest thing on my mind was wondering if I’d be getting laid by the end of the night.  Instead, here I am waiting for surly butch dyke who is bitter towards the world and delusional about Moira Kelley.  However, said dyke might also have more information that she’s willing to share if I find the right way to ask her.  I have a hunch wearing a tight shirt and leaning over a lot will help my cause.  She already respects my pool-playing abilities.  Now, if she would just show up.  I can take care of business, then go home with Vashti.  Or not.

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

I shut my eyes and try to think about what I know so far.  However, my mind keeps returning to this information about Paris.  Adopted.  I try to put myself in my shoes and imagine how I’d feel if I realized that the people I thought were my parents weren’t, and that they’d been lying to me all my life.  That would mean Libby isn’t my sister—a thought guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.  It probably also would mean that Rayne isn’t my real name—another cheerful thought.  Maybe this adoption thing wouldn’t be as bad as I imagined.  Then I think about my father and something hits me in the gut.  Not being his real daughter?  Hell, no.  That would kill me to find out.  Even though Paris is not close to his mother and fairly hated his father before his father died, he must still be shocked by the news—especially finding out in this manner.

I stare at the blank television for some time.  My mind is racing with no real thoughts, just more glimmers of this and that.  I am tempted to call Paris’s mother back and cuss her out for not telling him the truth sooner.  I don’t know what she was thinking, despite my attempt at defending her.  She must have known that she couldn’t keep it from him forever, and yet, she never told him.  I wonder what her motivation was for keeping it a secret.  I pick up the phone, ready to hit the redial button.  I hang up without doing so.  Another call by me to her will be counterproductive.  There is nothing more that she’ll be willing to tell me at this point.  Better to wait and let it stew in her mind for a bit.

The phone rings, but I’m in no mood to answer it.  If I try to make chitchat right now, I’ll go out of my mind.  I can only focus on the stunning revelation that Paris just laid on me.  I don’t know how to react.  No matter how supportive I am of Paris and what he’s going through, a part of me is repulsed by the idea of Max being his mother.  Not just because I don’t like the woman and think she’s a blight to humankind.  If it’s true, she knowingly had sex with Paris—no, she seduced him!—knowing that he’s her son.  What kind of fucked-up, twisted mind would think of doing such a thing?  Then throwing it in his face.  It’s almost as if she is punishing him for something that only she understands.  If it’s true, I will never forgive her for pulling that kind of cruel trick on Paris.  If it’s not true, then I curse her for making him sweat and for forcing him to discover his adoptive roots in such a manner.  I don’t know what her game was, but I don’t like it any more than I like her.

I wait.  I don’t bother turning on the television as there isn’t anything I want to watch.  I glance at my watch periodically to make sure that I don’t fall asleep.  I want to check in on Paris exactly an hour after he went into his room.  I don’t think he’ll do anything stupid, but I’m not positive.  I slump down on the couch, unable to sit still.  I want to be a good friend to Paris, but I don’t know what he needs at this time.  I mean, what would I want if I just found out I was adopted?  It’s so far out of my realm of possibilities that I can’t even think what would be my reaction.  My mind races to the emails that Libby sent me earlier.  I have to make a decision by tomorrow what I’m going to tell her.  Truthfully, I’d like to skip the whole sordid event, but I’m afraid that we will never talk to each other again if I don’t agree to go.  There is no way I’m giving in on every point, however.  If I don’t make a stand now, she’ll just keep chipping away until I’m a carbon copy of her.  I resolve to email her stating my case gently, but firmly.

The next time I check my watch, I notice that over an hour has gone by.  I stand up and stretch, feeling as if I’ve aged ten years in the last hour.  I walk to Paris’s room, curiously reluctant to interfere with his emotions.  There are some things that even a best friend shouldn’t be privy to, and this is one of them.  This kind of news is best left revealed by the one to whom the news most affects, in this case, Paris.  Unfortunately, given the circumstances, we don’t have time to play by the conventional rules.  We need the information fast, and we need it unvarnished.  That means that Paris doesn’t have the luxury of sulking over it or hoarding it to himself.  Like it or not, he has to share what he knows with the good inspector as soon as possible.  It falls upon my shoulders to convince him of this.  Squaring my shoulders, I knock on Paris’s door.  Without waiting for a reply, I go on in.  Paris is curled up on his bed, staring at the wall.  I know he’s not looking at his drawings or anything else.  He is simply staring blankly at the wall.

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

Chapter Eleven; Part One

“Hello?”  I sing into the receiver.  I’m sure it’s Vashti, so I’m doubly shocked when it’s the inspector.

“Hello, Ms. Liang.  Sorry to bother you on a Sunday, but I have a few more questions I’d like to ask Mr. Frantz.  Please put him on the line.”  Her tone is cool to the point of frosty.

“Paris, it’s the inspector,” I mouth as I hand over the phone.  Paris’s countenance tightens up as he wipes his lips.  He takes the phone and walks out of the room.  I am tempted to follow him, but decide to give him privacy.  I hear his voice rising in the living room, but I don’t dare go comfort him.  Instead, I sit down to finish my omelet.  By the time I’m done, Paris still hasn’t returned.  I start in on the dishes, wondering what Inspector Robinson has to say that is upsetting Paris so much.  As I am placing my cup in the dishwasher, Paris bursts back into the kitchen.  He is so irate, his face is red.  He cannot speak as he gesticulates wildly.  It takes him several minutes to get himself under control.

“That bitch!”  He yells when he finally can speak again.  “I cannot fucking believe her.”

“What’s up?”  I eye him cautiously, hoping he’ll calm down.  When Paris loses his temper, everyone is made to feel his pain.  “What did the good inspector have to say for herself?”

“Let’s see.”  Paris pauses to rearrange his thoughts.  When he’s ready, he unloads.  It seems the inspector found out that Max had given up a child nearly thirty years ago; Inspector Robinson wondered if perhaps Paris was that child.  When Paris retorted that he could get his birth certificate from his mother if need be, she switched tracks.  He was asked if Max ever confided to him about Moira’s affairs.  When he said no, the inspector switched subjects again.  Apparently her M.O. was to keep throwing accusations out there and seeing what stuck.  She asked again about the last time Paris saw Max, what they did, can you please repeat that in excruciating detail?  The coup de grace, however, was her parting shot.  It turned out that Max was two months pregnant.  Apparently, she had skipped a day or two of her pill.  What would Paris happen to know about that?  Perhaps he was the father?  By the time Paris hung up the phone, he felt as if he’d had three shots of tequila with no lime and salt to ease the transition.

“She was pregnant?”  My mouth drops open.  I thought that was a literary convention, but it actually happens.  “She’s older than God!”

“She’s only forty-three.  She’s not that old.”  Paris is still defending that woman, damn him.  “Max told me she was on the pill.”

Max was fifteen when she had her illegitimate child.  My mind is boggling with this new information.  Not so much that she gave up a child for adoption, but that she was two months pregnant when she died.  That means that Moira wasn’t the only one fooling around at the time of her death.  I can tell by the look on Paris’s face that he appreciates the situation as well.  I cautiously ask if he knew about either, and it saddens me to have to ask.  Just last night I was marveling at how well we knew each other, how we had no major secrets.  Now, I’m not so sure.  He says he didn’t, and the weariness of his tone convinces me more than anything.  If he had known, he would have sounded defensive or guileless.  His eyes fill with tears as he confides that he wishes he had known because perhaps she’d still be alive.  To my consternation, he won’t accept my comfort.  He is beyond placation as he anguishes over why Max had been killed.  He hugs himself, a forlorn look on his face as he keeps repeating, “Why would someone kill her?  Why?”  His pain is palpable, and I can’t stand it any longer.  I need to get to the truth about his relationship with Max.

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

Chapter Ten; Part Two

“Dunno.”  I shrug indifferently.  I am concentrating on eating the popover as fast as I can so it won’t get away from me.  “I don’t get the fuss of weddings, anyway.  It’s just one day.  Why spend so much time and effort on one day?  From what I’ve heard, the bride and groom don’t remember anything about the day, anyway.”

“I am knowing someone who spent close to a hundred thousand on her wedding.”  I almost drop my fork at this astounding information.

“How, what?”  I am so amazed, I stutter.  “What could you possibly buy that would add up to that much?”

“Ice sculptures in the punch, real flowers decorating every table, thousand dollar bridesmaid dresses.  The bride’s dress was twenty thousand alone.  Vera Wang, of course.”  Vashti swirls her ice cream around, not eating any of it.  “She is thinking to have the biggest event of the year.  Two years later, she divorces the man because he is cheating on her.  Her father is out a hundred grand, and she is out a husband.”  She scoops up a bit of ice cream and licks it slowly.

“That’s insane.”  I shovel in the rest of my dessert with deplorable haste.  “Marriage is such a fallacy.”

“I know that Harry wanted Max back,” Vashti says calmly, as if she’s not importing big news.  “He never wanted to separate from her in the first place, but felt he had to because his pride was hurting.  He is not wanting to be the cuckolded husband.”

“How like a man,” I sigh in contentment.  “It’s fine for him to mess around but not for her.  The old double standard.”  I make sure there are no remnants of the dessert on my plate before pushing it away.

“I have more,” Vashti offers, her eyes crinkling in amusement.  “If you are still hungry.”

“I’m stuffed.  It was just so good, I want more.”  I pat my stomach and let loose with a small belch.  It doesn’t faze Vashti.  We retire to the living room with cups of fresh tea.

“Harry made a play for Max at the party.”  Vashti continues our conversation as if we never stopped.  “She laughed in his face.”  I wince at the image of Max gloating over her hapless ex.  If he were serious about wooing her back, he would be a prime candidate for Moira’s demise.  Unfortunately, I don’t see how Max’s death fits in this particular scenario unless she threatened to go to the police with her knowledge, and Harry panicked.  I frown.  If I remember correctly, Max was going to confront a female.  At least, I think that’s what Paris said.  I decide to call him to make sure.

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