Tag Archives: chapter two part one

A Hard Rain; chapter two, part one

“I told them they were crazy,” Siobhan says, her face flushing.  “I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, and I knew that if you had known, you would have told me.”

“Damn right,” Leslie says, nodding her head vigorously.  “I don’t know what the hell they mean, but—oh, I have to go back home.”

Predictably, Siobhan objects.  Leslie will not back down, however.  She needs to get her hands on John’s laptop—the one that is sitting pretty in his office.  The same office in which she has yet to step since his death.  Siobhan is throwing out reason after reason why Leslie should not go home.  Finally, Leslie says if Siobhan will not take her, she’ll just walk the two blocks back to her own damn home, thank you very much.  Once she says this, Siobhan knows it’s futile to argue any further.

“Let me tell Eduardo so he can put Eamon to bed,” Siobhan says, abruptly standing up.  She rarely leaves the kids home alone, but she can trust Eduardo to watch the younger two while she runs Leslie home.  Siobhan marches upstairs with Leslie right behind her.  Leslie veers off into the guestroom so she can grab her bag.  She can leave the cat food as the boys will enjoy the treats.  Now, she just has to find Josephine.

“Josephine, where are you?  We’re going home.”  Leslie waits.  She knows that she has said the magic word, and she is confident that Josephine will show up sooner rather than later.  She is right.  One minute and fifty-three seconds pass before Josephine saunters into the room and into her carrier.  Three seconds later, the Beastie Boys enter the room, looking hangdog at the sight of Josephine marching into her carrier.  They know this means that she will be leaving them, and they are nearly inconsolable.

“Good girl, Josephine.”  Leslie shuts the carrier and picks it up along with her duffle.  She is ready to leave.

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Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter two, part one

“Scarlett, thanks so much for doing this.”  Kayla’s eyes were reddened as she greeted me, but that might be because of whatever she was on.

“It’s Scar,” I reminded her sharply, knowing it was useless.  One of the things I loathed most about her—and the list was long—was the fact that she refused to call me by my nickname because she didn’t consider it a real name.  As if Kayla was any less made up.  “I’m doing this for Matt,” I added, feeling like a shit doing so.  Whatever I felt about this woman, her son was missing.  I could only imagine what kind of hell that was.  “I’m sorry, Kayla, about Danny being missing.”  I gentled my voice, not wanting to get off on the wrong foot.

“Do you want to see Danny’s room right away?  I’m not sure how this sort of thing works.”  The way she said it indicated the she considered it just this side of witchcraft, which was actually quite useful.  I wasn’t a witch, but I knew a few who had helped me out with a spell now and then.  I didn’t respond to Kayla’s comment as Matt and I followed her into her modest home.

“I don’t know how it works, either,” I said honestly, not wanting to give any false hope.  “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

“But Matt told me that you had ESP!”  Kayla protested, her eyes darting back and forth.  Her right hand was trembling, making me suspect that she was on coke or heroin.  No, I’ve never done either, but I had friends who did drugs.  No, not the witches—they were more into dandelion wine and things like that.  “You have to find him!”  Kayla clutched my arm with her red talons so hard, I winced.

“She’ll do her best,” Matt said, detaching Kayla’s claws from my forearm.  She immediately transferred her grip to his arm, and he took it like a man.

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter two, part one

“God, did I tie one on last night,” Lydia groaned, holding her head in her hands.  “It was Brian’s birthday, and boy, did we celebrate.  He loved the painting I did for him.”  Lydia dabbled in painting and could be really good at it if she put more effort into it.

“Rafe’s birthday is next week.  Maybe I’ll get you to paint a picture of me as his present,” I replied.  I’d seen Lydia’s work, and I liked her style.

“Love to,” Lydia said, beaming at me.  We took our time getting ready.  We were both early, so there was no rush.  “I hate coming here.”

“I’m glad my two days are coming up,” I agreed.  The way it worked, we each worked five days on, then two days off, in rotation.  I was lucky to have Saturday and Sunday off this week, like normal people.  “This job is for the shits.”  I brushed my hair, though there really was no need considering I’d just have to cram the stupid head over it again.

“Hey, you want to trade costumes?”  Lydia asked, her eyes sparkling.  “I’m tired of being a damn duck.

“Groovy,” I said with enthusiasm.  We put on each other’s costume with alacrity, and I must admit it was a refreshing change not to have to be that damn mouse for a change.  “Quack, quack,” I said, my voice muffled.

“Squeak, squeak!”  Lydia said in return.  We both burst out laughing.  “Eddie’s gonna kill us,” Lydia said, her voice merry.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter two, part one

“Hello?”  I have to admit I’m a trifle snippy in my tone.  I do not like coitus interruptus, even if I am still undecided about whether there will be coitus or not.

“Oh my god!  Rayne, is that you?  I can’t believe it!”  It’s Lyle, and he sounds more agitated than I’ve ever heard him sound as he is normally an even-tempered guy.  “You have to come quick.  Paris is in the hospital.  We had a fight, and he left, and now, oh god.  He won’t open his eyes!  Why won’t he open his eyes?”

“Lyle, calm down,” I say, fighting back my own panic.  “Please.  You’re not making sense.”

“I’m at St. Luke’s.  Can you get here?  Now?  I can’t talk over the phone.”  He clicks off before I can get any more information.

It’s a nightmare, it has to be.  I hang up my cell phone, stupidly looking at it in my hand.  Vashti asks me what’s wrong, but I brush her off.  I need her to drive me to St. Luke’s, and I’m praying that she knows the way.  She does.  We are out the door in a flash, and soon, she’s speeding down Caesar Chavez as fast as she dares.  Neither of us speaks on the way over.  Thoughts are rushing through my mind at breakneck speed, and I don’t bother trying to separate them.  I can’t even think about Paris being in the hospital without wanting to either hurt someone badly or bursting into tears, so I push it to the very back of my brain.  I keep my eyes fixed on the window as Vashti pulls up to St. Luke’s.  She drops me off at the front door and goes to park the car.  Information points me to ER, and I race down the hall.

“Lyle!”  I call out as soon as I glimpse him.  He catches me in his arms and crushes me to his chest.

“It’s so horrible, Rayne.  He was deliberately hit.  Who would do that?  Why won’t he open his eyes?”  Lyle is weeping and has been for a while judging by the looks of him.  We sit down, our arms wrapped around each other.

“Can I see him?”  I ask anxiously, wanting to reassure myself that Paris is ok.

“He’s still in surgery,” Lyle moans.  “Why did I let him run out?  Why didn’t I try to stop him?  What was I thinking?”

“Lyle, tell me what happened!”  I shake him slightly to try to calm him down.  I am sympathetic to his pain, but I have to know what is going on.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter two, part one

After fifteen minutes of petting by Paris, I go to my room to research the aforementioned topics.  I start with therapists in the San Francisco area and quickly realize that I will have to narrow my search in order to be more successful.  There are a million and one people hanging out their shingles in the Bay Area, and I have no way of knowing which are legit and which are not.  I could wait until Monday and ask around at the office for referrals, but I prefer not to mix my personal life with my professional one.  I start plugging in words such as ‘Mission District’ and ‘trauma therapy’ into the search field and finally come up with a manageable list.  After scanning a few websites and scribbling a few numbers down on the pad of paper I keep next to the computer, I do another search, this time for group therapies focusing on traumatic events.  That is too broad a topic, so I start winnowing.

It takes close to two hours, but I finally find a place in the Mission District called A Ray of Hope.  What is it about nonprofits that they always have to have cheesy names?  It’s a clinic that provides group therapy with a facilitator who has her MA in women-centered psychology.  The group is for women who are survivors of a traumatic event and allows new members once a month.  ‘The group will provide you with the tools to cope with your traumatic event.  Everything that’s said in the room stays in the room.  We hope to provide a safe and nurturing environment.’  I barely manage to not roll my eyes at the psych-speak.  I have a healthy dislike for anything that smacks of New Age.  It’s not that I don’t think therapy works; I do.  I just don’t see the need to talk about it in fey terms and breathy tones.  People who talk that way are trying too hard to sound sincere and usually come off sounding fakey.  However, I have promised Paris that I will do something about my depression, and I honor my promises.  Pushing aside my discomfort, I continue to read.  The meetings are Tuesday nights from seven to nine, and the upcoming Tuesday is the one where new members are allowed.  There is no fee.  I make a note of it in my calendar on my computer and power off.

I sit slumped in my chair thinking about therapy.  I’ve been in before—what child of the eighties hasn’t?  I don’t have the energy to invest in one-on-one therapy and decide that I’ll start with the group.  That way, I don’t have to say anything if I don’t want to, but I can jump in if I feel like it.  Sounds ideal given how low energy I’ve been the last month.  I close my eyes, but images of the gun pressed against my temple crowd my mind.  My eyes fly back open as I break out into a light sweat.  I am panting slightly, and my eyes dart from side to side, involuntarily.  I automatically note that the windows are shut and locked.  It makes me feel safer, though we are on the third floor.  The drapes are shut as I prefer them so no one can look inside.  I used to love to have as much sunshine in my room as possible, but I can no longer tolerate the light.  I want to move, but there really isn’t any place for Paris and me to go.  We got this two-bedroom apartment in the Mission before the dotcom boon with rent-control in place.  We each pay eight-hundred dollars a month, which is a steal in San Francisco.  Neither of us can afford to pay more than that per month, so we are pretty much stuck where we are.  Paris offered to switch rooms with me which I accepted, but as the rooms are identical, it hasn’t made much of a difference.

Replacing my bed helped, however, and making Paris paint the walls yellow to match the walls in the living room made me feel marginally better.  I painted the living room walls when Paris and I first moved in, much to the dismay of the landlord.  These days, however, he treats me with great care—like everyone else.  At least with him, it’s partly because he’s afraid I’ll sue him because the security in the building isn’t that great.  The killer got into the building and into my apartment without any help from me.  I’m letting the landlord sweat because he should suffer some considering what happened to me.  I won’t sue him, but he doesn’t need to know that yet.  He is giving us three months off from paying rent.  There is a deadbolt on the front door, too, courtesy of Dickie, the landlord.  Paris says I should have held out for six months rent, but I didn’t feel like haggling.  I don’t feel much like arguing with anybody these days.  I look around the room.  I have placed a few of Paris’s painting on the walls.  He has given me the brightest ones, insisting that I need a myriad of colors surrounding me.  I have to admit, they sure make the room less gloomy.  My favorite is one that Paris did of me and him in Dolores Park laughing and having a good time.  The faces are blurred, but if you look closely, you can see the resemblance.

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Parental Deception; chapter two, part one

“Man, I’m tired of this job,” Darla Quinn, one of my coworkers, grumbles, her fingers flying over her keyboard.

“Tell me about it,” I say, checking my lists to see what I need to tackle first. It’s too early in the morning for talking, but Darla is my favorite coworker, so I will give her the time of the day when I wouldn’t to other people. We are telemarketers who try to get people to buy shit they don’t need. We push a wide variety of products, but our best sellers are Groupon coupons.

“Jimmy says I should just quit. He makes enough for both of us.” Jimmy is Darla’s newest beefcake who is as smart as he is pretty. He’s an inventor of a gadget that makes it easier to tie your shoes, and he’s rolling in it. “The problem is, I don’t want to be a kept woman. He’s making noises about us moving in together, and I’m tired of finding reasons why we shouldn’t do it.”

“Girl, I feel you. Rembrandt has mentioned it already, and we’ve only been dating a month.” I sigh in sympathy. We look at each other and roll our eyes.

“I thought boys were supposed to be the commitment-phobes,” Darla says, pushing her bangs out of her eyes. She’s wearing a smartly-tailored pink blouse and a pale blue pencil skirt. Before she started dating Jimmy, she was a casual dresser. She’s certainly smartened up since she began banging Jimmy, I’ll give him that much.

“I haven’t found that to be true,” I reply, keeping an eye out for Cara O’Donnell, our supervisor. She’s pretty chill, but she doesn’t like us to waste too much of company time. “All my serious boyfriends wanted to move in together within six months of us dating. Some of my girlfriends were content to wait longer than that.”

“I would totally be into chicks if it weren’t for the cock,” Darla says, her grin wicked. “I can’t give up a good dicking.” We laugh heartily, then we return to our work. I have several lists I have to get through today, so I skip lunch to get it done.

When I get home, I have several texts from my sisters. The ones from Viv tell me that she’s unhappy about ‘that man’ coming to Thanksgiving dinner and that she’s staying in Minnesota for a week. I text her back and say that I’m not happy, either, but I don’t know what to do about it. We gripe about it for several texts before we call it quits. I also have a few texts from Jasmine. She talked to that man again today, and she’s more convinced than ever he’s our father. Speaking of him, he’s sent me an email saying he’d like to take me out to dinner tonight. I don’t remember giving him my email, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he weaseled it out of Jasmine. I ignore his email because I don’t want to go and because I have to leave for taiji in ten minutes. I feed the cats their treats, then rush upstairs to change. I grab my weapons bag, my iced bottle of water, and head to the studio. I make it there with two minutes to spare.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter two, part one

Chapter Two; Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trip on This: Chapter Two (Part One)

Chapter Two (Part One)

Trip strides into Gina’s health club, wearing a black leotard over black tights.  She is swinging her ass just the tiniest bit as she saunters through the door held open by an accommodating fan.  She is sure he’s watching her ass as he leaves, which is why she includes the extra twitch.  Her hair is still pulled back in the simple ponytail, but she has added a touch of eyeliner, blush and lipstick to her face—she knows how the women in these uppity health clubs operate.  For many of them, it’s more a meat market than a place to work out.  Trip has small hoops in her pierced ears and a Berkeley sweatshirt over her leotard to ward off the chill.  She is wearing her hundred-dollar Nikes, white with a black swoosh.  She walks up to the desk where a tall, strapping young lad who looks just barely old enough to shave is manning the counter.

“May I help you?”  The young man asks politely, his fingers opening and closing compulsively around the pen he’s holding.  His white t-shirt shows off rippling biceps that bespeak of many hours in the weight room.  The pimples sprouting on his chin coupled with his agitated manner whisper of steroid use.

“I certainly hope so,” Trip drawls, slipping a touch of Southern into her voice.  “A little bird told me that I could try out the facilities for a day, a test run, you see.”  Trip smiles and leans forward slightly.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” the man says woodenly, a tic jumping under his eye.  “Someone told you wrong.”  He turns back to the book he happens to be perusing which is on the benefits of weightlifting.

“Look, Mike,” Trip says after reading his name off his name tag.  “I’m a friend of one Mr. Fenwick Harrington.  You might have heard tell of him.  He said to put it on his tab.”  Trip proffers a note from her workout bag.  It’s made up, of course, as Harrington had never been into this particular health club.  “Here you go, darling.  You certainly are nicely muscled, aren’t you?”  By Trip’s calculations, Mike is two or three years younger than her and not her type at all, but she’s willing to flirt if it’ll get her what she wants.  “You can call him if you’d like.  His cell number is on the note.”  Trip waits, her body erect.  She learned early on that the more confidence you display, the more likely you are to get what you want.  Mike reads the note twice, moving his lips.  When he hesitates, Trip reaches one red-tipped finger and traces a line delicately on the back of Mike’s hand.  He swallows hard and ushers her in.

“Here.”  He hands her a guess pass.  “Show this if anybody asks.  Do you need a locker?”  He holds out a key as well.

“Thanks, sugar,” Trip says, bestowing a wide grin on him.  She sails past him, only to turn and ask, “By the way, where are the aerobics classes held?”  Mike directs her with more accuracy than strictly needed; Trip nods and heads in that direction.  Her lip curls in scorn.  Some security!  He doesn’t even take her name.  She arrives to Gina’s high-intensity class three minutes before it’s slated to start.

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