Tag Archives: chapter nine part two

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter nine, part two

“Well, whoever did this missed everything vital,” Dr. Green said to me sternly, looking at me over the top of her glasses.  “You’re lucky, Ms. Chen.  Whoever did this either didn’t intend to kill you or had really bad aim.  Either way, you should be thankful.  You’re also damn lucky you made it here in one piece.  That’s what ambulances are for, you know.”  Thankful, she said.  Me with my thirteen stitches.  I should be thankful.  Well, considering how much Vicodin was pumping through my veins, I was pretty damn thankful.  I was feeling no pain, and I was ready to go home.  I had the note safely in my pocket, and I resolved not to mention it to anyone.

“Well, thanks Groctor Deen,” I said, frowning.  That didn’t sound right for some reason.  I struggled to sit up in bed, but she gently pushed me back.

“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?”  Dr. Green, who was, at most, ten years older than me, asked in a mock-motherly voice.  Her streaked brown hair was pulled back in a bun and her face was devoid of makeup.  Still, she had a wholesome look that was appealing.

“Home?”  I said, making it more a question than a statement.  Dr. Green started shaking her head before I could even squeeze that one word out.

“I’m keeping you overnight for observations.  Your family is here.  I’ll let them in two by two.”  Just like Noah, I thought, but wisely kept that to myself.  Dr. Green turned around and marched out the door.  A minute later, my parents were hurrying in.

“Beezus!”  My mother said in a voice loud enough to mortify me.  Thankfully, I was in a single so no one could hear her besides me and my father.  “What happened?  You scared us to death.  I told you you should have quit your job.”  The whole time she’s talking, my mother fussed with my blankets, twitching them this way and that.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter nine, part two

“If I am not knowing better, I would think you were avoiding me.”  Vashti’s husky voice causes the anger inside of me to melt into something much nicer.  I am practically deliquescing on the street.

“Sorry, Vash,” I say lamely.  “I’ve had a lot on my mind.”

“I understand.  How is Paris?”  Concern laces her tone, and I’m grateful.  I know she and Paris aren’t the best of friends, but she’s a kind-hearted woman.

“The same,” I say, my throat tightening.  “He’s still in a coma.”

“Oh, Rayne, I am so sorry,” she sighs.  “Is there anything I can be doing for you?”

“I’d like to see you,” I say impulsively.  I can’t spend all my time working on the case or at the hospital, or I’ll go mad.

“I cannot see you tonight, but how about tomorrow?  I’ll make you dinner.”

“Sold.”  Vashti is a fabulous cook, and I have no qualms about letting her cook for me.  We agree on seven o’clock, then I click off.  Immediately after, the phone rings again.

“This the cunt roommate of Paris?”  The voice is hoarse and ugly-sounding, not the same one as the one who’s been calling my home number.

“How did you get this number,” I demand, like an idiot.  Why on earth would he tell me that?

“Don’t worry about it, bitch.  Back the hell off before someone else gets hurt.”  Before I can respond, he hangs up on me.  I immediately press *69, but with little hope.  Just as I suspect; it’s scrambled.  I call Lyle.

“Hello?”  His voice is low.  “Rayne?  Let me call you right back.”  He must be in the hospital; they don’t allow cell phone conversations in most parts of hospitals.  He calls me in five minutes.  “What’s up?”

“That bastard or one of his friends called me on my cell,” I fume.  Lyle doesn’t ask which bastard, for which I am profoundly grateful.  “Told me to back off.”

“Your cell?  I wonder why he switched?”

“To show that he can get an unlisted number,” I say impatiently.  “There are very few people who have this number.”

“We’ll talk about it and more when you come here.  I talked to Bil—Matthews.  I cannot in good conscience call a guy over twelve Billy.  Anyway, get here as soon as you can.”  He clicks off before I can tell him I’m on my way.  I’ve run out of steam, so I hail a cab to take me the rest of the way.  The cabbie is an older white gentleman who calls me, ‘doll’ and ‘babe’.  I find it oddly enduring and don’t jump on his shit as I normally would.  He tells me about life as a cabbie, something he’s been for over thirty years.  He doesn’t believe the city’s become more dangerous—we’re just more aware of it.  He has a high school diploma, but never went to college.  Didn’t really see the point.  Got out of being drafted for ‘Nam because of his fallen arches.  He is sympathetic when I tell him about Paris.  Turns out he has a friend in St. Luke’s, too—a fellow cabbie.  The guy was driving his shift one day when he had a heart-attack.  He managed to drive to St. Luke’s since he was in the neighborhood before passing out.  Zachary, my cabbie, says his friend had to have a quadruple bypass, and wasn’t that a bitch?  I agreed that it was.  I give Zachary a healthy tip when I exit his cab in exchange for him cheering me up.  I stride to the ICU waiting room where my happy band of fellow sufferers are waiting for me.

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

“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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Parental Deception; chapter nine, part two

They had the funeral a week later, and it was attended by hundreds of people. Several of them spoke up, giving loving eulogies of Henry. Many of them were gay men that he had met through the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus, and they sang, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men, which was one of Henry’s favorite groups. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when they were done. George soaked up all the stories, and after the funeral was over, he was found huddled with a handful of Henry’s closest friends, trading stories. Rowena had a hard time getting him to leave, and he was in deep thought all the way home.

Once he was able to examine Henry’s assets, he spent hours poring over everything he found in Henry’s house. The furniture, all of which Henry made, his computer, though there wasn’t much on it. Henry wasn’t a big email person and preferred to talk on the phone. George found a cache of letters, and that’s when the idea to impersonate Henry sprung into his mind. The letters were the fifty or so that Henry had written to Jasmine, Viv, and me, once a week for a year after he left. Every one of them was returned unopened with the words, “Return to Sender” written on the top of the envelope. George opened them and read each one. Several times. There was also a journal written in Henry’s hand, and it was filled with reminiscing from his time with his family. George read the journal entries  several times as well, especially the passages that had memories of Henry’s three daughters.

“George, it’s late,” Rowena said at midnight. George had brought all the paper paraphernalia from Henry’s house home, and he was reading through them once again. “Come to bed.”

“In a minute, Ro,” George said distractedly, his eyes on the journal. He was thumbing through it again, and he had a pencil in his hand. She could tell that he’d been marking the journal with his pencil, but she didn’t know why.

“What’re you doing, George?” Ro asked, peering over his shoulder.

“Nothing!” George snapped, covering the journal with his free hand.

“George!” Rowena said, placing her hands on her hips. “Do not talk to me in that tone.”

“Sorry, sorry,” George said, his voice softening. “I just….” He hesitated. He uncovered the journal and pushed it toward Rowena. She took it, her brow furrowed. Even when she read his notes, she didn’t understand what he was doing.

“What’s going on, George? I don’t understand.” She handed the journal back to George, and he held it almost reverently. He laid it carefully on his desk before responding.

“Ro, what’s the one thing I’ve regretted in my life?” George asked, looking hard at Rowena.

“Not moving back to Taiwan,” Rowena said promptly.

“What? No! I love our life in San Francisco.” George was startled by Rowena’s response. “No, it’s not having children.” Rowena’s face fell, and she instinctively tightened her shoulders.

“You gonna blame me for that again?” Her voice was weary as it’s an argument they’d had a million times before.

“No! I’m not. Really.” George patted Rowena’s hand, and she relaxed her shoulders in response. “But it’s what I’ve missed the most in my life.” He took a deep breath and added, “I’m going to meet Henry’s children. As him.”

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Marital Duplicity; chapter nine, part two

I’m feeling out of sorts as I download the information from the flash drive onto my computer. I need to return the flash drive before Reverend Yang knows it’s missing. I call him before I can think about it, and he’s still at the office. I pause. Does he ever go home? He tells me he can meet me any time, so I quickly dress and leave. I don’t bother dressing up—I just wear a plain shirt and slacks. My only goal is to return the flash drive without getting caught, and maybe I’ll use the same trick I used the last time.

“Megan. I’m so glad to see you.” Reverend Yang grabs me at his office door and pulls me into a long hug. I get the sense of a drowning man clinging to a life saver, not of a leering Lothario. Given that it’s not even an hour since I last saw him, I know he’s in deep.

“Reverend Yang. You looked stressed. Anything I can do to help?” I look into Reverend Yang’s eyes, and I see that he’s deeply exhausted. In fact, he looks as if he’s about to keel over. “Sit down, Reverend. You’re tired.” I push him onto the couch, and he sinks into it obediently. To my consternation, he starts crying.

“This can’t go on, Megan. It just can’t. I haven’t slept in a week. I throw up whenever I eat. I never thought it’d be this hard.” Reverend Yang throws his arm over his eyes, and he bawls. I put my arm around him and hug him tightly. He leans against me, and he’s trembling. He needs to talk, and it might as well be to me.

“Reverend Yang, whatever it is, you have to get it out. It’s not good to keep it bottled up inside.” I pat his shoulder, and his tears eventually subside.

“I have a problem, Megan, and I need help.” Reverend Yang says, shifting his eyes off mine. He takes a deep breath and says, “I can’t stay away from other women. I’m sure you’ve noticed.” I nod, and he continues. “I love my wife. I really do. She’s been my bedrock through all this. I just…it’s the chase. I’m addicted to it.”

“Reverend Yang. Marcus.” I take his hand and squeeze it. “You are a human being, which means you have weaknesses. The fact that you can acknowledge it is a big first step.”

“Thank you, Megan. I can’t talk about this with anyone, including my wife. Understandably.” Reverend Yang’s eyes close, and within minutes, he’s asleep. I quickly pull out the thumb drive and put it back where I found it after deleting the files off of it. I look around the office, but there’s nothing else that catches my eyes. I pull on my gloves and quickly race through his computer files again. I want to find something that indicates who his most recent woman is, but I can’t find anything. Somewhere in the bowels of his computer, I find an email from his wife. My eyebrows shoot up because conceivably, they could just talk to each other at home. Feeling like a heel, I read it. It says, “Marcus, we need to talk. They’re breathing down our necks. You need to rein in your dick, and I need to be more creative with the books.” My eyebrows are about to fall off my face. She knows about his dalliances. She either doesn’t care or she’s accepted it as part of her lot in life. That’s hard enough for me to believe, but the fact that she just blatantly states she’s cooking the books is mind-blowing. Wait a minute. Reverend Yang said he couldn’t talk about his affairs with his wife, but it’s clear she knows. What accounts for the discrepancy, or is he lying to me? If he is, why?

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Blogging My Murder; chapter nine, part two

Chapter Nine; Part Two

“Megan! Where are you?” It’s Jasmine. I don’t say anything, naively hoping she’ll go away if I don’t answer. It’s stupid, of course, because she’s not going to leave until she searches the house, but I still don’t have the will to answer. “There you are.” Jasmine sweeps into the living room, turning on all the lights. I blink as the lights flood into the room, and the cats meow in protest. They don’t move, however, the lazy bastards. “You’re brooding. You have to stop doing that.” Jasmine moves Jet to the couch before grabbing me by the arm and hauling me up into a sitting position. “Do you think Julianna would have wanted you to react this way?”

“I don’t know because Julianna is dead,” I retort. “I’ll never know what she wants again, will I?”

“That’s childish of you, Megan,” Jasmine says crisply, fluffing the pillow behind my back. “You know Julianna would be yelling at you right now for being self-indulgent.”

“Well, fuck her. She went and left me, so who fucking cares?” I can’t stop the horrible words from leaving my mouth.

“You don’t mean that. You know you don’t.” Jasmine clucks her tongue as she fusses over my clothes. She straightens them as best she can, but there’s not much you can do with sweats. “It’s the anger talking.”

“You’re fucking right it’s the anger talking. How could she fucking do this to me?” I am screaming by the end of the second sentence. “How dare she do this to me?” I throw a remote across the room, startling the hell out of my cats. I stroke their fur to calm them down, which allows my anger to dissipate somewhat.

“Megan. Listen to me.” Jasmine turns my head so I’m forced to look at her. “I know this is hard. I know you’re hurting like hell, but you cannot give in to this, you hear?” I don’t answer, so she shakes me once. “You went off the rails when Mom died. I do not have it in me to put you back together again for the second time.”

“Jasmine, I appreciate all you’ve done for me. I really do.” I pause as my eyes fill up with tears. She was the one who bought me pads when I first got my period. She was the one I confided in when I had my first serious crush—Ricky Stanton—I was fourteen years old. She was the one who bought my prom dress for me when Billy Jones asked me to prom my junior year. And she was the one who took on a second job so she could help cover my tuition at Carleton College when I could only get a partial scholarship. And when our mother killed herself with drink, it was Jasmine who held my hair back as I puked for three days straight. It was grief combined with too much booze. I couldn’t handle it, and she made sure I didn’t kill myself as well. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to repay you.”

“You can start by fucking living.” Jasmine says. I blink because she is not prone to swearing. I have a feeling she did it just to get my attention. “I did not nurture you this long only to have you give up now.” She touches her hand to the back of my face, and I tear up once again.

“I love you, Jasmine.” I say, my voice choking up. “I just don’t know if I can do this.” I pause and add, “I don’t  know if I want to.”

“I know.” Jasmine stares at me hard. “But, you don’t have a choice. You have to live for me, for your cats, for your friends, but mostly for me.” There it is. She’s calling in the chip I have owed her for so long. There is no way I can say no, and yet, I resent her for cashing it in. Then again, she’s playing for some pretty high stakes, so I can’t blame her for fighting dirty.

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Dogged Ma; chapter nine, part two

Chapter Nine; Part Two

I settled back to watch the movie, enjoying being with ‘my people’.  Oh, I knew that was more fantasy than reality, but it was nice to be surrounded by Asians.  Even better, people had no compunctions about yelling things at the screen, so it was more of an interactive experience than if we’d gone to an American cinema.  I booed lustily every time a bad guy came on screen, and I whistled with enthusiasm for my girl, Michelle Yeoh.  When Donnie Yen tried to put the moves on her after realizing who she was, well, I almost lost it then and there.  The two of them were favorites of mine, and so damned good-looking.  The only thing that would make it even better would be if Tony Leung Chiu Wai were in the movie as well.  Maggie Cheung, too.  Oh, and Jet Li, of course.  That would be a dream come true.

“Wow, she’s really good,” Ted commented, whistling through his fingers as Michelle executed yet another complicated maneuver.  We enjoyed the rest of the movie in a very vocal manner.

“What’s the second movie?”  I asked, stretching at the end of the first.  I was fading slightly, but I knew I’d perk up for something good.

Irma Vep,” Ted said, glancing at the paper in his hand.  It was a poster for the evening, but I didn’t know where he had gotten it.  “Maggie Cheung is hot in black leather.”

“Yeah, but I don’t like the flashing lights.”  I shrugged.  “It’s up to you.  We have to at least go to the concessions so Tamara can make her move.”  Ted laughed and playfully socked me in the arm.  We grabbed our jackets from our seats so they wouldn’t be stolen.  Ted grabbed my hand and marched me into the lobby.  I saw the two girls who’d been dissing me in the bathroom standing in line for popcorn.  I nudged Ted in the side and nodded at the girls.  He hesitated before taking me over to the line and standing a few people behind them.  He radiated so much personality, I was surprised the people in front of him didn’t get singed.  He pulled me closer to him as the two girls turned; I was meanly glad to see the expression on their faces when he draped his arm around my shoulders.  I snuggled against his chest, tilting my head up so I could look seductively at him.  That was enough to spur Tamara to walk over to us.

“Teddy!  It’s so good to see you!”  Tamara squealed, nudging me out of the way.  Even though she was ninety-five pounds soaking wet, she packed a mean elbow.  I moved to the side so I could enjoy the show.  The other girl was watching, too, as well as a half dozen other people.  Tamara raised on her tiptoes so she could plant a wet one on Ted’s lips.  He pulled back quickly, smiling down as he did.  I stifled a laugh at the sight of red lipstick smeared across his lips.  “Oops, I marked you.”  Tamara used her finger to rub sensuously against Ted’s lips.  By the looks of the erection building in his pants, he wasn’t totally adverse to her charms.  Like a snake honed in on its prey, Tamara noticed Ted’s reaction as well.

“Tamara.  It’s been a while.”  Ted held his arms slightly in front of his body to protect himself from Tamara’s advances.  I suppose if I were a good person, I would extricate him from the situation.  However, I was enjoying myself much too much to do that, so I watched Ted suffer without doing a damn thing.  “This is my date, Margaret Wang.  Margaret, this is Tamara Huang.  Her friend is Natalie Wu.”  Two more big-shot families in the Taiwanese community.  Big fucking deal.

“Wang?  Are you related to Andrew Wang?”  Tamara asked sweetly, knowing full well I wasn’t.  Andrew Wang was perhaps the most well-known business man in the Taiwanese community, and I was sure Tamara knew his family history by heart.

“Nope,” I said cheerfully.  “I am related to Peter Wang, however.  Does that count?”  Tamara’s mouth dropped open at the name of a notorious criminal in Taiwan.  He was on their top ten most wanted list and had been for fifteen years.  He was well on his way to becoming an urban legend over there.  “He’s a second cousin once removed or something like that.”

“Oh, how interesting.”  Tamara looked as if she wanted to say something far less banal, but good breeding stopped her.  Of course, she hadn’t display the same taste in the restroom, but she hadn’t realized I was there, either.  She turned back to Ted, subtly blocking me from Ted’s view.  To her shock and my amusement, Ted reached around her and pulled me to him.  I didn’t mind, and it gave me the opportunity to show Tamara my pearly whites.

“Have you seen Lucinda lately?”  Natalie blurted out, earning a dirty look from Tamara.  I understood Tamara’s frustration as it was hard to work somebody over if he were distracted by the name of his former fiancée.

“Nope, not for a while,” Ted said easily, placing his hand on the small of my back.  He began caressing the skin there, much to the discomfort of Tamara and Natalie.  I, however, was becoming turned on.  “Except when I go to my parents’ church, obviously.”

“She misses you a lot,” Natalie continued, seemingly oblivious to the growing ire of the alpha female named Tamara.  I might have to reassess my conclusion that Natalie was the follower because she was sure stomping on Tamara’s toes.  Maybe she was a loyal toady of Lucinda’s and was only hanging out with Tamara because Lucinda wasn’t available.  This was better than any Chinese soap opera, and I didn’t even have to pay to watch it.  I waited to hear what Natalie would say next.  “She cries about you all the time, you know.  She’s even seeing a therapist to understand why she messed up so badly when she was with you.  She’s really trying, Teddy.”

“I’m glad for her,” Ted said politely.  He turned to me and said, “Margaret, do you mind if we skip the second movie?  I have the sudden urge to blow this joint.”

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