Monday, August 31, 2015

BEAUTIFUL REGRET

       The beginnings of a short story by Mina J. Moore (Unedited)

LEE

I spit in his face and give him another good kick to the gut so he’d remember.  I know I will never forget what was done to me and it is his fucking fault.  There are a few assholes left on my list but their time will come soon enough…

Present Day

“Lee! Where the hell are you going now?”

I glance back at the one person I had allowed to get close.  I’d known Gina from the time I’d exited my deadbeat mothers womb.  She is her druggie lovers discarded child and we practically raised each other.  Gina swore she was my sister but I won’t admit to her face that she is.  It is an understanding between us.  She knows my limits and I know hers. 

Gina is the opposite of what I turned out to be. 

She is kind and positive.  Given her upbringing she should be fucked up just like I am.  I guess she’s stronger.  She hid the ugly with a brilliant smile while I covered my pain by staying away from big crowds and playing like everything was cool when asked why.  The boys always watched me.  Gina said I had the killer looks passed down from my non-existent father.  It’s what got mom hooked on him and the drugs.  I swore that wouldn’t happen to me so I stayed behind the scenes. 

Gina strives to stand out.

Not me.

What you see is what you get.  And it isn’t pretty.  I made sure of that with my butch cut and scary piercings.  No more butt length hair and fresh as you please makeup.  My look was harsh and had fuck you written all over it. 

I turn back and wave. “I’m heading out.” 

Gina finally catches up to me as I swing my leg over my motorcycle.  She hands me my devil red helmet and smirks.  “I figured but where.”

“To the mall, mommy.”

She slaps at my shoulder.  She knows I won’t be caught dead there unless they are having a good sale at that funky store I love.  So much so I don’t even remember the name.  I slip my helmet on and smile at her.

She crosses her arms over her ample chest and I am glad, once again; I am not endowed with the same.  Boobs are useless sacks of meat hanging from a body; Just another temptation for the dogs.

“Somehow, I don’t think I believe you.  You’re up to something.”

I hate that she knows me so damn well.  It’s part of the problem.  Gina could never know what I am up to.  It is dirty and unlawful.  But it needs to happen. 

I drive to my destination with a death wish. My machine swerves in and around all the idiots that shouldn’t have a license in the first place. 

The truck in front of me slams it’s brakes right before I make contact with the bumper, sending me flying over the car and into a very hard place. 

Lights out.


NICK

“Holy Fuck!”  I yell as I see a young woman’s body summersault over my hood. 
I knock my car into park and move quickly toward her.  She isn’t moving. 

Shit. 

This is a lonely road without much traffic.  I approach and thank God she is wearing a helmet.  Her body isn’t at an odd angle; limbs seem to be facing the right direction.  I am terrified to touch her. 

Just as I’m dialing 911, she starts to move.

“Hello?”

“Motherfucker,” she moans.

“Are you okay?  I can drive you to the hospital,” I offer.

Her eyes snap open and if looks could kill I’d be toast. 

“How about you back the fuck up and let me breathe.”

My hands come up and I step away.  Miraculously, she sits then stands.  When she starts to lean to the side I reach out and grab her elbow. 

“Don’t you dare touch me if you want to keep your arm.”

My breath leaves me as she removes her helmet.   I will never forget that face as long as I live.  It still haunts my dreams. 

Natalie Spencer.  Her black hair was much shorter, cut at an angle toward her face.  A silver hoop was attached to her generous lower lip and another at her nostril.  Those were new.  The Natalie I remember was clean cut and almost preppy.  Did I have the wrong person? There was only one way to find out.

“What are you staring at?”  She snaps.


“Natalie Spencer?” I question.



LEE

I glare at the stranger calling me by my other name, the one I loathe.  The one that reminds me of another time and who I used to be.  He moves his hand up, taking his ball cap and glasses off. 

I start to hyperventilate.  He grabs me and forces me to sit on the soft grass. 

OMG.

“Hey, you need to breathe.  Deep breaths.”

I listen because if I don’t the darkness takes over and I will be damned if I will let Nick Brayer handle me while I am out. 

Fuck.

Slowly, my world comes back into focus and I move as far away from him as possible.  A huge tree works out great as a backrest. 

“Natalie--”

I scowl up at him.  “Don’t ever fucking call me that again.  It’s Lee.”

His head snaps back on his neck. “What the hell?”

I start to get up.  “Look, just keep along your merry way and forget you ever saw me.”

His hands rest loosely on his lean hips.  “I can’t do that.  Not after what happened between us. 

I growl.  “Nothing happened.  And I want it to stay that way.”

He starts to come closer.  I hold up both hands.  “A few kisses don’t mean jack shit.”

He smiles.  “You know damn well it was more than that.  But you just up and left after everything we had shared.”

I was beginning to feel ill.  “Nick, if you can’t tell yet, I am totally fucked up.  I can never be what you want me to be.  I spared you by leaving.  Trust me.”

His eyes narrow.  A sure sign he was getting pissed.   “Since when you do know what I want?”

I attempt to get up again and manage to gain my feet.  “I have to get going.  There are people I need to see,” I say as I brush the excess crap from my leather pants.

“You look different.  What happened to you?”

And there goes my queue to leave.  There was no way I was going to get into it with him.  He was the last person that needed to know my shit.  It’s the reason I had left to begin with. 

I walk right past him and pull my motorcycle up.  Other than a few scratches and one dent, she’s good. 

Me, on the other hand, I feel like a giant walking bruise.

“Lee! Wait up.”

I keep right on moving but don’t get very far.  My girl won’t start. 

Double fuck damn.

Nick catches up to me and smirks down at my ride.

“I can give you a lift.   We’ll put your motorcycle in the back.”

I glance at his his truck and purse my lips.  I am in the middle of fucking nowhere.  I can always call Gina but then she would want the entire story and fuck that. 

I blow at my long bangs.  “Fine.”

We haul my girl up on the bed and I walk around to get into the passenger’s side.  Nick is smiling and I don’t know why.  I am not going anywhere special, just taking a lift verses having to explain what happened to Gina. 

He cranks the radio and I turn my head to look at nothing out the window.  There would be no uncomfortable silence and I am thankful.

Once Evanesence was done belting out the lyrics to My Immortal, the yacking begins. 

“So you decided to come back home.”

It wasn’t a question so I keep my trap shut.  No sense in volunteering information I didn’t want to share. 

“Lee?”

I glance over.  “It’s obvious, I mean, I’m here right?”

He nods as if in defeat and continues to stare at the road.  “Are you going to tell me why you took off without a word?”

I had left making the decision to spare his heart.  In the process, I had pretty much cut out my own.  Leaving him was the hardest thing, even harder than overcoming my tragedy.  But I could never be the woman he needed.  There was too much scar tissue. 

“I already told you.  I’m fucked up and you deserved better.”

“Why do you keep saying you’re fucked up?  We had a great relationship.”

I laugh.  “That wasn’t me.  That was Natalie.”

I stared straight at his profile.  “She’s dead.”


NICK

My head snaps toward her, wondering what the hell had gone wrong.  Where was the carefree beautiful girl I had fallen in love with my senior year?  We had made plans to finish school and join the university locally just to be together.  Natalie had been the perfect match for me. 

I continue to study the lines of her face, so stern and unbending.  The gleam off her motorcycle catches my eye in the rearview mirror.   It was hard to believe the girl I knew would even own one.

It had all happened so fast, right after graduation.  I had found out from her friend that she had moved with a relative but she wouldn’t tell me where.  Her cellular was shut off.  I had no way of contacting her. 

Two fucking years…

“I think I deserve a straight answer.  I’m fucked up isn’t going to cut it.”

She rolls her eyes and looks my way.  “I changed, okay?  I didn’t want the same things anymore.  Let’s just say my priorities shifted.” 

Ouch.

She is definitely not the same person.  It isn’t just the harshness of her words but the way her body is closed off.  As if no one is allowed to touch her without risk of losing a limb.  Her shoulders are squared and inflexible and her eyes are full of repressed pain.  She isn’t the same person. 

“I see,” I answer quietly. 

We ride the rest of the way in silence.  Only because I know she is at her breaking point.  Whatever happened must have crushed her spirit and in its place was this hard shell.  I only hope there is some semblance of humanity left.


LEE

I’ve never been so happy to see my crappy hometown.  I seem to hate it now that I’m back.  It just doesn’t seem comforting and safe after what happened just two years ago.  One night changed the course of my entire life.  Now I live for paybacks and unemotional ties. 
Love could never be a part of my journey.  I just wasn’t able to reciprocate.  So instead, I focus on my prey.  Once my mind was cleared of vengeance, I would get my degree and move on.  This place wasn’t going to be my forever. 

I turn to watch the light dusk that scatters as Nick peals out of the dirt road.  I had him drop me off at some random location, which is nowhere near the apartment I share with Gina.  My rude departure should keep him at bay for the time. He has still been talking when I slammed the door in his face.  It is better this way.  He will eventually see what a true bitch I am and clear a wide path around me.

It is bad enough I will probably bump into him at some point now that he is back. 
I hadn’t even asked when or why.  What was the point?
My destination is only a short walk and I am relieved to see the lights are still on.
Rick pokes his head out of the body shop and frowns when he sees me pushing my girl in.
“What happened there, Lee?”

I smile.  “Took a tumble and now she won’t start.  You think you could take a look?”

“Sure thing.  Wheel her back.”

An hour later I am back in the saddle and heading home.  I would have to visit my next hit tomorrow. 


Gina is busy listening to her ipod and singing away as I walk in.  I thank God everyday she was a great cook cause I seriously sucked.  Toast is about all I can manage. 

Yelling won’t do a damn thing so I walk up behind her and pull the plug.

“Are you trying to blow your eardrums out?” 

She laughs and takes the other bud out.  “So nice of you to show up.  Where the hell did you go anyway?”

I yank my gloves off and plop down on the leather couch.  “Nowhere.  Just took a ride to clear my noggin.”

She scowls at me.  Oh oh…I feel a sermon coming.

“Lee, you really need to just move on with your life.  I get the feeling you are just waiting for something.  I’m worried about you.”

I smile at her because only then will she believe me.  “Nothing to worry about.  I know exactly what I’m doing.”

Gina lowers her eyes to my combat boots.  Shoes I wouldn’t be caught dead in before  sparkly sandals and lots of bling had been my thing.  All that girly shit just gets you in trouble.  It calls attention and causes problems. 

I look as attractive as a butch gone Goth.  I don’t care that my head is shaved on one side or my clothes are one size bigger.  The brunette Barbie doll I used to be is gone.  I wasn’t kidding when I told Nick she was dead. 

“Do you want some dinner?  It’s your favorite.”

My traitorous stomach rumbles and I scoot toward the bar. 

“Make it snappy.  I have a class soon. 


Exactly thirty minutes later I am cursing the moment I enlisted for this night class.  Nick is coming in and looking for an empty seat, which is precisely available right next to me.  His eyes widen and then that delicious smile creeps over his face. 

I can’t even opt out of this fucker if I tried.  It was the one class I had bombed back at my aunt’s and I need this credit to move on. Why on earth did a business major need Psychology any damn way?
Some annoying voice inside my head insisted this was a class I should pay special attention to. 
I hated the fact it makes md analyze my most hated memories.  Places I didn’t want to go. 
Bunch of psychoanalytical bullshit.

Mr. Hokey (Perfect name in my opinion) writes his first load of crap on the board, explains he is need a full biography of every one in the class and something about ourselves that make us uncomfortable. 

I can feel Nicks stare burning a hole in my cheek and I refuse to acknowledge him.  Maybe if I continue this way, he will realize what a bitch I am and move on.    The professor continues to babble about class expectations. 
I cringe when he excuses himself to see another coworker and leaves us to begin our project. 

“Are you going to ignore me the entire semester?”

I roll my eyes but continue to stare ahead.  “If that’s what it takes.”

I hear the deep breath coming from his side.  I am really starting to piss him off.

Good.

My hackles rise and I forget all about the love of my life when a blonde nightmare walks in accompanied by her sniveling partner in crime. 

Alisha Anders sports the innocent persona like a pro.  She is polished; totally color coordinated and makes you want to puke when she opens her surgically plump lips to speak.    In her hand is a pink slip, which probably excuses her tardiness. 
Debra Fills, the idiot that scatters rose petals at her mistresses’ feet if asked, follows close behind clutching her purse and looking for a place to sit. 

Alisha’s face cracks with a huge smile when she gets a load of Nick but then she scowls as she realizes the room is full and she will need to stand in the back until reasonable accommodations can be made. 
Stomping her foot, she moves to the side and waits for the professor to enter.  Debra fidgets at her side and whispers something in Alisha’s ear that seems to irritate the shit out of her. 

I smile. 

Debra walks out of the class, her head hung and shoulders slumped.  I almost pity the idiot.  Dismissing her immediately, my attention goes back to my prey.  This bitch is almost worse than the jackass who did the deed.  No woman should condone what was done to me. 

Not only did Alisha endorse it, she lied to protect the bastard at my expense.  All done with a huge smile on her plastic face. 

“Are you okay?  You look like you want to kill someone.”

Nick’s voice pulls me back to the present.  I glance down and wonder if Alisha will recognize me.   

Nick did.

I turn in my chair and face her directly.  She sniffs at the air and frowns then clomps up the stairs to the back of the room.  Her shoes are ridiculous.  Who where four inch hooker shoes to class?  I smile as she walk by and she dressing me down to my boots.  My smile turns into a sneer and I am surprised at the impulse to jump her ass right this instant. 
I grasp the arms rests and compose my features.  This bitch was not going to make me loose my shit.  I had given her enough of my soul as it was.  Who I was today was a product of her silence.  People say vengeance doesn’t always heal but it damn sure helps. 
I hear the click of her heals and close my eyes.  Finally it stops and I can breathe again.

“Fine,” I mumble to Nick’s question.

Mr. Hokey stumbles in with a chair, Debra close on his heels.  He affixes the thing in the front row as students shuffle to move over.  Unfortunately, this classroom is not bolted in place.  Alisha swings her ass down, knowing all eyes are on her.  This is her favorite thing.  Attention junkie that she is.  Once she is sits and her coach bag is delicately placed at her side, the room settles down and the lesson begins.  The silent foots steps belonging to Debra can be heard as she moves up the steps to stand at the back of the class. 


I pray the lesson is shortened being the first night.