“This is pretty close,” Matt commented casually, not at all agitated as he would be if it were the Red Sox in the same jam. Nevertheless, he watched closely as Nathan struggled through Rodriguez’s at bat, falling behind three and one.
“Don’t worry, the Twins are going to win it.” I said it with confidence because I knew it was true. Sometimes, I wanted something to happen, and it did about half the time. Other times, I just knew how something was going to happen, and it always did.
“You calling it?” Matt asked seriously.
How fortunate was I that he didn’t make fun of my abilities. That could have something to do with watching the BoSox’s miraculous season a few years back, and I called David Ortiz winning game four with a homerun. Not only did I call that, I called him winning the game again the next night. I didn’t realize it would be in the fourteenth inning, and I thought it’d be another home run, but I called it out loud. Every time he was up, I paid closer attention to the game as did Matt who was from Boston originally and never outgrew being a member of the Red Sox Nation. Of course, he was impossible to live with after the Red Sox finally broke the Curse, but I could understand that. I damn near lost it myself when I got to see in person the seventh game of the first World Series the Twins won back in 1987. Now, Matt cheered for the Twins alongside me but only when they weren’t playing the Red Sox. Oh, and I called the Red Sox sweeping the Cardinals in the Series. Matt was skeptical before that, but he couldn’t deny my freaky powers after he saw them in action for the duration of the magical playoffs. I even knew the Twins would lose to the Yanks again in the first round, but it didn’t take a psychic to predict that.
“I’m calling it,” I said firmly. “Nathan may let a base-runner or two get on, but he’ll close the deal with a strikeout. In fact, all three outs will be via strikeouts.” Ok, I was just showing off with the last prediction, but damned if I wasn’t right. Nathan walked Rodriguez before striking out Abreu and Jorge to end the game.
“You are too good,” Matt said in admiration after the last out was made. “You really should bet on some games.” I smiled but didn’t respond. We’d had this discussion many times before, and I didn’t feel like going through it again. Hell, if I were that good, I’d buy a lottery ticket and be done with it.
“I’m very good,” I said, dropping my voice to husky. It had been three months since I’d had sex, and I was PMS’ing big time. Matt wasn’t seeing anybody, either, so there was no reason we couldn’t indulge in some sports of our own, especially as it was Saturday night—which meant no work tomorrow.
“Oh, I know you are,” Matt said, leaning towards me. “But maybe you could refresh my memory as it’s been a long time.” It had been half a year since we’d had sex, but I remembered how great it was as if it had been yesterday.
We met in the middle of the futon and kissed. There was something familiar about Matt that made sex with him simultaneously exciting and comforting. It was really too bad that we didn’t suit as a couple because he was nearly everything I wanted in a partner. I knew he felt the same way about me, but it’s one of god’s greatest tricks to make two people just miss being the perfect match. I slipped my hand under Matt’s shirt, marveling at his taut body. He stilled played baseball on the weekends with some of his old teammates, and he worked out almost every day. He was borderline body dysmorphic, but he realized the absurdity of his mindset and managed not to go completely overboard with it. Any time he edged near insanity, I was right there to pull him back.
“Your room or mine?” Matt breathed once we broke off the kiss.
“What’s wrong with right here?” I asked, quirking an eyebrow. I was more adventurous than was he, but he was more than willing to play along with my oddities.
“Nothing at all.” Matt reached into his jeans and took out his wallet where he kept a condom. I reminded myself to tell him not to do that, but it should be fine this once.
We reached for each other again, eager to disrobe. Since I was hopeless at getting someone’s clothes off him, Matt had to undress both himself and me. He didn’t mind, though, as it gave him opportunity to tease me by slowly stripping after he had divested me of my clothing. I appreciated the show, but I had to get fucked. I reached for him and pulled him to me the second he was naked, causing him to fall on top of me. As that’s where I wanted him, I didn’t mind a bit of bruising in the side where his elbow met my ribs. I could feel his hardness against my thigh, and I couldn’t wait to use it.
“Sorry,” he gasped as he lowered his head to my breasts. I didn’t bother saying anything as I was enjoying myself too much to respond. Somewhere in the distance, the sound of a cat yowling met my ears. As we didn’t have pets, I could only surmise that it was Matt’s cell phone. He loved cats, but was allergic to them. His ring tone was his homage to them.
“Don’t answer,” I muttered as I pressed my body upwards so he could feel my breasts against his chest. I nipped his shoulder, causing him to groan out loud.
“I have to,” Matt said, reluctantly pulling himself off me. He was genetically incapable of not answering a ringing phone. As I was the same way myself, I couldn’t give him too much grief about it. “I’ll be right back,” he said, flashing me an apologetic glance. I muffled a giggle at the sight of him hurrying to get his phone, his hard cock bobbing in the air. He flipped me the bird before disappearing out of view, well aware at what I was laughing.
I lay back on the futon, idly touching myself to keep primed for when he returned. He might not be the most adventurous lover I’d ever had, but he was definitely the most thoughtful. He paid attention to how I was doing without being too intrusive about it. While I didn’t like guys who didn’t care if I got mine or not, I also didn’t like guys who were overly concerned with making me orgasm. Often times, that was more about their own ego than my pleasure. Matt made sure I came, but he didn’t push it if it took some time. It didn’t bother him to hold me while I masturbated or to go down on me for half an hour. Just thinking about it made me wet, and I wondered for the hundredth time in our friendship if we were just chickenshits for not attempting a romantic relationship.
Any sexual thought went out the window as Matt rushed into room, still chatting on the phone. Or, rather, still shouting on the phone. Since he wasn’t anywhere near done with his conversation, I could only surmise that he wanted me to overhear his end of it. I couldn’t quite tell what he was saying as he tended to run his words together when he was upset, but I figured out that he was talking to Kayla Richardson, one of his ex-girlfriends. I had to refrain from rolling my eyes because Kayla had been a first-class bitch who hated my guts. Oh, sure, I could understand jealousy or insecurity because Matt and I were so close, but she flat-out hated me. Once, I had the misfortune of spending a half hour alone with her, and I avoided her after that. Although they had broke up three years ago, Kayla still couldn’t let go. She called Matt at least twice a month, usually concerning some made-up crisis concerning her two-year old son. I always told Matt not to talk to her, but he was a creampuff when it came to women.
“God, Kayla, what the fuck? Shit, I can’t talk to you when you’re like this. I’ll call you back in half an hour. Try to calm the fuck down. And stay away from the fucking booze.” That was one reason they broke up—she was a raging alcoholic, and Matt was abstemious because his father had been an alcoholic for thirty years before drying out. I suspected Kayla did drugs on top of the alcohol, but I never had any proof.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, sitting up in concern. I didn’t give a damn about Kayla, but I hated to see Matt so upset.
“Danny is missing,” Matt said bluntly, sinking onto the futon besides me. “Kayla wants me to do something about it.”
“Danny?” I asked, my mind a blank. Then I realized that Danny was Kayla’s son, and my concern skyrocketed. “Oh, God, Matt. Not Danny. What happened to him?”
“She doesn’t fucking know,” Matt said, his voice bitter. “They were in their front yard playing. She went in for two minutes to go to the bathroom, and he was gone when she got back. Two minutes. Just like that! How the fuck could that happen?” He was just letting off steam because we watched Without a Trace together, and he knew as well as I that it was appallingly easy to snatch a child.
“Why did you hang up on her?” I asked, keeping my voice even. As he was in a state of panic, it was obviously up to me to be the rational one. Even though I was feeling less than rational. I’d only met Danny twice, but he was such a good-natured little boy, he took to me right away. Of course, Kayla didn’t like that in the least, but fuck that bitch, anyway. Immediately, I felt guilty for thinking that, but I had never liked her. I couldn’t pretend I did just because her son was missing. I liked Danny, though—there was something about him that instantly drew me to him. I’d try to put a lid on my disdain for his mother for his sake.
“She was fucking drunk or stoned,” Matt said, his voice laced with disgust. “The cops just left her place, though it happened over seven hours ago. She couldn’t wait to have a drink or five or ten before calling me. I couldn’t get much out of her because she was blitzed out of her mind. She seems to think that I should help her find Danny, though I told her that was the cops’ job. She started screaming obscenities at me, which was when I hung up. I can’t take it, Scar. I really can’t.” He buried his head in his hands, and his shoulders started shaking. I realized he was crying and put my arms around him. At first, he resisted, but then he gave in and let me hold him.
“Shh, Matt, shh,” I crooned into his ear. “It’s ok. You just let it out.”
“I feel so guilty,” Matt said, his voice muffled. “She didn’t really go off the deep-end until I broke up with her. I mean, what if I had….” I remained silent because now was not the time to remind him that she had been out in la la land long before they broke up. Sure, she had some control over her drinking, but it didn’t prevent her from going off with strange men on the weekends without telling Matt where she was going. It was a good thing they’d never lived together or, god forbid, gotten married because the breakup would have been even more disastrous than it already was.
“Matt, baby,” I said, lifting Matt’s face to look at mine. There were tears on his lashes, and there was pain in his eyes. I quietly cursed Kayla for causing Matt heartache even after they’d broken up, but I tried to tamp down my anger. I mean, it was her son missing, so I should be charitable. I had a hunch, however, that she knew more than she was saying. “It’s not your fault at all. How can it be? You had nothing to do with this.”
“Yeah, but if I hadn’t broken up with Kayla, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten herself in this mess….” Matt’s voice trailed off as he realized what he was implying. I was relieved to know that the thought had crossed his mind, too.
“It’s not your fault in any way,” I repeated, making my voice firm. “If you’re thinking of helping her out of guilt, well, put that thought right out of your mind. If, on the other hand, you want to help her for Danny’s sake, then go ahead. Though I’m not sure what you can do for her that the police can’t.”
“Actually, she wants your help,” Matt said slowly, looking me in the eyes. My heart sank as I realized what he was about to ask.
“Scar, please. I need you.” It was all Matt said, but it was all he had to say. He had saved my life once, catching me as I’d been about to slit my wrists after a particularly devastating breakup. Oh, that wasn’t the whole reason, but it was the culmination of a really bad year. If Matt hadn’t stayed the whole night with me, talking me into checking myself into a psych ward for a weekend when I was twenty-three, I wouldn’t be here. I owed him, and I knew it was time to pay up.
“Ok. Tell me what you want me to do.” I folded my arms across my chest, suddenly feeling quite cold. As I waited for Matt to gather his thoughts, I bent over to pick up my sweatshirt and sweatpants. I slipped both on while waiting for Matt to talk. He must have been getting cold, too, because there were goosebumps on his arms and thighs, but he didn’t appear to notice.
“I want you to do your thing. You know, the prediction thing. See if you can figure out where Danny is.” Even if I wanted to back out, I couldn’t, not with the look of vulnerability in Matt’s eyes.
“You know it’s spotty and unreliable, and I’ve never done anything like this before,” I said haltingly. A thought struck me. “How did Kayla know about my…thing?” I still couldn’t call it a gift or be so presumptuous as to call it ESP. I guess ‘thing’ worked as well as anything else.
“I told her,” Matt admitted, his voice low. I frowned at him because I didn’t like telling people about my thing. “See, we were watching an episode of Buffy, and she was scoffing at Tara and Willow being witches. She said it was so phony, and I said some people had certain witch-like powers.” He had the good grace to look ashamed because I never called myself a witch or considered what I did witchy. I forgave him, though, as he was most likely just trying to impress Kayla. “When she pressed me on it, I told her about you.”
“What was her reaction?” I could guess, but I wanted to hear it from him. He better be honest with me, too, if he wanted my help.
“She laughed and said it was bullshit, but she wanted to know the details. We never talked about it after that, but she must have stored it away for further consideration. Well, she was singing a different tune tonight, saying she needed your help.” I repressed a shudder as I loathed that woman, but I had to do it. I had no idea why I disliked her so much as I generally got along with everyone. All I could say was there was something not quite right about her. I shrugged and left it at that.
“What specifically does she want me to do?” I needed to know if she was being realistic or if she had some idealized vision of what I could accomplish. I’d had a few precognition dreams, but only one had turned out to be true. That son of a bitch was cheating on me with his personal trainer, and I did throw his clothes out his apartment window when I found them together. Of course, the latter action might have been inspired by my dream, but it was spooky, nonetheless. The other precog dream I had about finding the murdered body of one of my best friends didn’t come true, thankfully. Of course, I didn’t know how long the statute of limitations lasted on a dream like that, but I considered it expired as I had that dream over five years ago.
“She just wants you to go into his room and try to visualize where he might be. She’ll pay you.”
“I don’t want her money,” I said sharply. I recoiled at the idea of taking anything from that woman. “I’m doing it for you and for Danny. That’s it. She has to tell the cops about it, too. That’s nonnegotiable.” Being an Asian woman in a predominately Caucasian area made me wary of getting on the wrong side of the law.
“Done,” Matt said with alacrity. He kissed me on the cheek, relieved that I wasn’t making it harder for him. “Thanks, Scar. I owe you.”
“I guess this mean I’m not getting any,” I said glumly, eyeing his still-naked form with regret. “Oh well. Duty calls.”