Trust Comes Easy Ch. 02byRogue Writer©
I looked back at my apartment and then at him. "Ah, sorry. Another night with a lot of noise."
"It's okay. I'm going out again."
"Oh, how did last night go?" I smiled broadly and tapped him on the arm. "Pick up any chicks?" I said, followed by a chuckle. Why was I acting like an idiot?
"No," he said, his eyes towards the floor. "I'm trying a different place tonight."
I wanted to say something encouraging, but came up short. Then I glanced at my door. "Well, uh, why don't you try our place?" I pointed at the apartment. "I know we have a few single girls here tonight."
"Um, no offense, but aren't you girls gay?"
"Yeah, but we know a few straight ones. And bisexual girls too, heh, they're lots of fun." Yeah, like Amanda.
Mike hesitated, probably because I was back to acting like and idiot. "Uh, I don't know. I'm not really a party type."
"C'mon," I said. Then I grabbed his hand and dragged him and the garbage back into my apartment. I started introducing him to people as we passed them, including any girls who I knew were single. Then I left him on his own and went to take another stab at Kaye.
She was still working in the kitchen. We stood there quietly for a few moments. I was as stumped for something to say as I was with Mike. Hell, trying to talk to that guy was impossible, being without his wife made him so depressed. That's when I remembered something. I said to Kaye, "You are my light."
"Mrs. Klendiski, the woman who ran the escort agency with her husband. When I was leaving she told me, "This is a dark world we live in. But remember there's always a light somewhere, the trick is to know it when you see it."
"Comes with experience, and she'd certainly seen enough in life."
Kaye put a tray of frozen something in the oven and then turned to me. "So what are you saying?"
"That you are my light. Kaye, when I met you everything changed. I changed. I'd spent so much time being angry at the world for handing me a shitty deal, and then you came along and showed me that good things can happen too. And suddenly all that hate I'd been carrying around for so long didn't seem as important anymore." I took a few steps towards her. "No matter what happens, I know we can get through this."
Kaye shook her head and stared at a corner of the ceiling with a look of disgust on her face. Finally her eyes came down to me, with the look of disgust still there. "I don't know what to tell you about us anymore. What I do know is that if you love me, really love me...you will find a way to keep that bitch from destroying my career."
Just then a guy I worked with named Pete walked into the kitchen. "Hey Maggie, there's a problem with the bathroom."
I said I'd deal with it and left Kaye to her food and anger. As I went down the hallway I noticed Mike leaving through the front door. I was disappointed, but at the same time I felt I had tried all I could. Like my Aunt Peggy used to say, you can't help some people because sometimes they're happy with whatever miserable situation they're in.
There were a few people standing outside the bathroom door, and one girl was pounding on it. "C'mon!" she yelled.
"You sure somebody's in there?" I asked.
"No," she replied. "I'm sure there's two somebody's in there." She was about to pound on the door again when it opened. Out came Kaye's friend Amber with a huge smile on her face. We looked in the bathroom and saw Janey, a friend of mine, pulling up her panties. As she scooted out past us, Janey looked at me and said, "Great party."
I shook my head. Amber had come here with her girlfriend. As I walked back down the hallway, feeling like there was nothing good happening in the world tonight, the door opened and my friend Lisa walked in, followed by her boyfriend John.
"Hey!" she yelled.
I smiled. It felt good to smile. Lisa and I hugged and started talking. We hadn't seen each other in a while, and catching up with her and John was a welcome distraction.
Finally, Lisa asked a dreaded question. "So how are you guys doing?"
Just then I almost did it. I almost told Lisa everything that was going on, to get her friendly advice, her comfort and support. And being such the good guy he is, John would have done the same, as well as offering to do damage to Amanda for us. Granted, it meant I had to tell Lisa about escorting. That was something I'd never told her, something I'd managed to do right under her nose during college. Escorting was not a job I boasted to friends about. Lisa might be hurt that I kept it from her, but she would be more concerned that Kaye and I were in danger. Lisa is one of those kinds of friends. I think if I needed a moon rock she'd break into NASA and hotwire a space shuttle.
And at that moment I realized I couldn't drag her and John into this for precisely that reason. Once I had them involved they wouldn't let go of it, and I might put them in danger. Speaking of that danger, my eyes caught sight of Amanda in the living room. Amongst all the partygoers she was standing by herself, once again staring at the print she had given me.
"We're fine," I told Lisa and John, suddenly wanting to get them away from me before I said something or started crying. "Kaye is cooking in the kitchen. I hate to ask you guys, but she could use some help."
"No problem," Lisa said as they started to walk off.
John smiled. "Yeah, we'll have this place on fire in no time."
I watched them go to the kitchen. This was my problem, and I needed to handle it myself. So I went into the living room and walked up beside Amanda. Maybe if I were friendly to her she'd ease up on the threatening. "Whatcha doing?" I asked.
Amanda took a deep breath and let it out. "Wondering. What do you think Rembrandt was thinking when he painted it?"
"This is going to make me rich and get me laid."
Amanda gave a slight chuckle. "At least that hasn't changed about you."
"What do you mean?"
"I was thinking I'd come back and find you the same person I once knew. The one with all the fire." She turned to me. "My father taught me that people are weak. So many of them don't know how to work hard, really hard, for what they want. They're afraid to sacrifice current comfort for a future goal. They get some crappy job and take what they're given. Drink, watch television, masturbate, and stay slaves to their most base desires. They are weak, and that's what makes me better than them. Because I'm not weak."
I sneered at her. "Goody for you."
"But there was a time you weren't weak either. When you had drive and ambition. Now...now you're just pathetic."
I felt the sting of her words. "Well maybe...maybe I just achieved my goals."
"And this is all you wanted?" Amanda looked around the apartment. "This, and some girl who's can't see past her own prejudices to understand that you did what you had to do?" Amanda shook her head. "Some dream. Didn't take much to make it fall apart, either."
I was sitting alone in the bedroom, holding Mr. Pookie. It felt like everything I tried to do today went wrong in the worst possible way. Even worse, I still had no plan about how to save Kaye from Amanda. I put down Mr. Pookie and picked up a picture of Kaye and me at the beach. She looked good in a bikini. I looked like a pale, shaved cat.
"I hope you know she loves you."
I looked up and saw Kaye's friend Lucy standing in the doorway. She's tall and a little big boned and her Asian features made her look like the hottest Amazon you've ever seen.
I smiled. "I know."
Lucy walked in and sat down. "You guys are going through something and I'm not going to pry. But I wanted you to know that I was just talking to Kaye, and she says that as far as she's concerned you're as good as chocolate. Which is her way of saying her world revolves around you."
I closed my eyes tight and gritted my teeth. There was still a chance. She still loves me. But I couldn't figure out a way to keep my problem from ruining her life. I opened my eyes. "I thought things got easy when you found that one special person."
Lucy chuckled. "My therapist calls it The Cinderella Complex. We're all raised on Cinderella or similar tales, where the struggle in the story is finding that special someone, that perfect mate, and convincing them you exist. Once that happens they ride off into the sunset together, happily ever after, and then the story ends, the hard part is over, roll credits. Except in real life the hard part isn't over, it's just beginning. Because these two people need to learn to live together, and that means you need to learn to compromise. You can't just think about yourself anymore, you have to think about the other person as well. And sometimes that means giving up things, making sacrifices. Other times it means doing something you wouldn't normally do, or don't want to do. It's a big change, and so few people are ready for it. I think you and Kaye are really good together. Honestly she's happier than I've ever seen her. So whatever it is, please don't give up on her."
I nodded and we were quiet for a moment. Then Lucy stood. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've had to pee for the last half of this conversation."
Lucy walked away, but when she reached the door she turned. "Oh, and if you hurt her, just keep in mind how mentally unstable I am and that I own a big knife collection."
With that she walked out. But I wasn't concerned about her threat. It was what she said before that was tumbling around in my head.
"...the perfect mate...can t just think about yourself anymore...happier than I've ever seen her..."
Tumbling around. Not making much sense.
"...hurt her...making sacrifices...happily ever after..."
But then some things started coming into focus.
"...the hard part isn't over...something you wouldn't normally do...think of the other person as well..."
Suddenly, it hit me.
"...the other person...knife collection...once that happens they ride off into the sunset together..."
And with that I knew what needed to be done. I had brought the problem into our lives and I would take it out. Standing up, I went to the bedside drawer and took out my pocketknife. With the gentle push of my finger the blade sprang open. I held the knife in my hand and looked at its sharp edge, and then stared at my distorted reflection on the side. Suddenly there was only one question I had to answer.
What was I going to do with the body?
Coming in part 3 – planning a murder isn't easy.
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