Between The Walls Ch. 02byTheLastNavigator©
Louise stood examining herself in the dressing room mirror.
"Ugh," she blew out frustrated. Shopping was never something she really enjoyed but dress shopping was physically painful. She never really understood where her contempt for the activity came from, she laughed thinking of the disaster that had been prom dress shopping. A small smile touched her lips as she thought of her father trying to balance the multitude of garments after he had lured her to the shopping district by telling her they were going to pick up some things for the guys back at the ring.
"Papa," she closed her eyes trying to fight back tears, "I miss you."
Louise was pulled from her thoughts by knocking on the door, "Excuse me Miss? The gentlemen you were with uh Mr. Gallo, he asked me to bring you these pieces as well."
Louise swung the door open quickly, taking the dresses from the blonde and overly cheerful sales clerk.
"Uh Thanks," she muttered trying hard to level her annoyance at the woman's bright red smile. Her mouth looked awkwardly large on her petite face, and with the hair bump at the crown of her head she looked like one of the bimbo's from her small collection of comics.
Louise was about to shut the door when a thought struck her, "Oh and Ma'am."
The clerk's smile seemed to widen, "Can you please tell Mr. Gallo that if he tries to bring me anymore dresses I will murder him in his sleep."
The clerk's eyes widened and she laughed nervously before turning back down the hall, her heels clicked after her.
After closing the door Louise began to shift through the mountains of rhinestone and tulle when her eyes suddenly caught a flash of emerald. She let the other garments fall to the floor and held the dress up, it was beautiful she thought.
She slipped it on and though she couldn't zip it up herself, she knew it fit perfectly. A triumphant grin formed on her face as she began placing the other dresses back on the hangers, she shook her head at the monstrosities that Johnny had picked out for her. She took in the hot pink dress that sat at the bottom of the pile, "what the fuck was he thinking?"
When she walked back out into the main area she saw Johnny sitting nervously in an overly stuffed and no doubt overly priced arm chair. A glass of champagne was on the side table next to him, it looked untouched.
"So," Johnny asked with eager eyes.
Louise whisked past him and began speaking to the blonde clerk from before. Once she was certain that the girl understood she walked back over to Johnny who was standing with his mouth hanging open.
"Louise? Which dress did you choose?"
"None of your business," she snapped playfully, "you'll see when you pick me up on Saturday."
"Louise," he drew out like a child.
"Johnny," she gasped back, mimicking his tone.
"Fine, have it your way then. And by the way Pink's picking you up on Saturday not me; I have to take care of some things before the dinner."
"Oh I've missed Pinky," she tried not to sound too excited. The truth was that of all the thugs Johnny ran around with Pink held a special place in her heart. Stephen Pinkerton or Pink as he went by was one of Johnny's oldest friends, next to her of course. Pink had taken on the role of big brother and protector when she moved back after her father died a couple of years ago. When Johnny was not around to work on her last nerve she could always count on Pink to pop into the shop for a few freebies. Pink was a big, black man, not fat just large and at 6'4 and 240 pounds he could eat a truck load of her sweets. Hell he'd eat her out of business if she didn't keep him out of the kitchen.
Even though he looked threatening Pink was the biggest push over when it came to her, he was always teasing her about being Johnny's girl to push her buttons.
Johnny broke into her thoughts, "I swear sometimes I think you like him more than me. And would you stop calling him Pinky it's demeaning."
"Why? Are you jealous he gets a nickname?" She loved to tease Johnny; she could get under his skin like no one else.
"No, but I'm sure he doesn't like you calling him 'Pinky' behind his back," he straightened his suit jacket.
Louise couldn't hold back her laughter, "Oh Johnny you should hear what I call you behind your back."
He cocked a brow, "Devilishly handsome?"
"Oh please, you wish," she continued laughing.
"Or maybe incredibly charming," Lou felt like she was going to piss her pants giggling, "Or maybe 'the best fuck you've ever—OW!"
Louise smacked his chest through her giggles, "please don't flatter yourself."
Johnny was referring to her graduation night when he drove her out to the coast and they'd drank almost an entire bottle of rum between the two of them. After a night swim they ended up cuddling beneath blankets in the back of his father's SUV, the rear door was open so they could see the stars and catch the warm evening air. She remembered she had been so nervous when he tentatively pressed his lips to hers. It hadn't been their first kiss but her head was spinning as if it had been. Louise remembered how full she felt, it was like her heart would burst from her chest; she was so young she had just turned 18 to his 21. She could still feel how warm he felt touching her and how gentle his fingers were. He had asked her, "Are you sure Lou?" She wasn't a virgin but for some reason when he touched her everything felt new and in that instant her nerves suddenly got the better of her. Louise had been confident up until that point, lost in the haze of liquid courage and his lustful blue eyes. However, when his fingers skimmed the waistband of her jeans she stilled beneath him, but then he asked her that question and she relaxed. She didn't give any answer instead she propped herself on her elbows and moved her head up kissing him tenderly. Nothing else needed to be said after that.
That had been almost 7 years ago, their hormones had calmed down and her and Johnny were able to resume their usual friendship. Both knew that night was special but neither was willing to admit it, so they both laughed it off as a catastrophe that was fated to happen once in their lives. She'd never admit the heartbreak she felt when they agreed to put it behind them both. She was leaving to California in a couple of months for undergraduates; it didn't seem sensible for her to muck up her strongest friendship over one drunken night. So instead she buried her feelings and just tried to enjoy those last few months she had with her best friend before she'd start her own life.
"You know I was the best you'd ever had."
"Well considering all I'd had up to that point was a few sweaty minutes with Kyle Rend I guess you're right. But he was definitely a cutie pie though."
"He had a stutter," Johnny added accusingly.
"Only when he was nervous," she defended, "and I said 'cutie pie' not 'stud muffin'."
Johnny chuckled at her defensiveness, "Yeah, I am so sure."
"Whatever asshole, take me back to the shop. I left Rachel in charge of Simon and Kasey, and well Simon's an idiot."
"Your wish is my command fair lady," Johnny started the engine before pulling of the parking lot.
Louise was all thumbs in the kitchen this afternoon; every time the bell rang she'd pop her head out hopefully but come up disappointed when she didn't see him, J.D that is.
"Get a hold of yourself girl," Louise chastised herself. Yes he was incredibly sexy, damn that, he was downright gorgeous. Tall and lean with the right amount of muscle from the way his white t-shirt had stretched over his chest beneath his leather jacket. She'd only spoken to him for five minutes but that was enough for her to notice those Greenish gray eyes and his incredible smile. She'd tried to play it cool on the outside but inside was a raging inferno that blazed brightest right between her thighs. Rachel had melted like a school girl when he left and chattered about how he couldn't take his eyes off of Louise. She had simply smiled at the girl's remarks but secretly she was reeling, she chalked it up to the dry spell she'd been having.
That had been Monday, it was now Friday and Louise had to get her head on straight. She'd already allowed a soufflé to fall when she heard a voice similar to his Southern drawl but when she walked out she saw that it was just some older man with a receding hairline and beady eyes; he was all smiles when he saw her but for some reason that made her cringe.
By the time the midday rush had finished Louise had stopped her heart from fluttering every time the bell chimed. She and Rachel decided to turn the speakers up a bit louder when Prince's 'Little red corvette' began to play. Over the past year she'd grown really fond of Rachel and considered her to be one of her closets female friends, God knows she needed more. Rachel embraced Louise's strange streak and took interest when she would rant about some new book or comic issue. They had a strong bond; she had even jokingly given Rachel the nickname Thelma.
Both of the women were laughing at one another as they danced and sang behind the counter, Louise covered in flour and Rachel with her recently dyed bright purple hair pulled up in a bandana.
There were only 3 other people in the shop, all regulars. They laughed as the women jumped around; one old woman even gave a little shimmy when Louise pointed at her when the chorus came on.
Neither of the two heard the bell chime as J.D. walked through the door, Rachel was whipping a towel above her head and Louise was screeching, "Places where your horses run free!" into a whisk when she heard a man clear his throat.
She whipped around suddenly and had her face been lighter she would have been as bright as a tomato.
"OH! Uh Hi," her hands began to shake as she placed the whisk onto the counter. She noticed the lopsided smirk he was sporting and grew even more self-conscious.
'Geez Louise,' she thought, 'way to show what a dork you are.'
"Little red corvette?" He asked simply, his eye brows lifting
"How much of that did you see," she placed both hands on her cheeks in embarrassment, "and hear?"
"Plenty; Prince should be worried he has some competition," Louise knew he was joking but he seemed tense when he spoke, like he was on high alert. However, she couldn't deny that his eyes seemed to smolder even through his demeanor.
"Oh sweet lord," she tried to play it cool, "well now that I've assaulted you with my singing skills what can I get for you?"
"Just a coffee," he answered looking her directly in the eyes, she averted her gaze when the fire in her stomach started to move south.
"Just coffee, really," she was a little hurt that he didn't want any of her creations, "I just pulled some beignets out of the oven, didn't like the last batch, you ate them all."
"Do you always remember the orders of past customers, or am I just special" he asked playfully while crossing his arms over his chest; Louise had to bite her bottom lip to suppress a groan.
"No," she could play that game too, "do you always order your coffee from dessert shops? Especially when there's a café two doors down as well as a Starbucks around the corner?"
"Touché," he leaned onto the counter, "And Starbucks coffee is for stiffs in suits and teenagers on fixed gear bikes."
Louise had to laugh at that, "Alright coffee it is."
After handing him his change she went to grab his drink
"Here you are," she pushed the coffee across the counter.
He picked up the cup and placed it to his full lips, Louise blurted out a warning, "Careful its hot!"
J.D paused before he took a large gulp and gave her a questioning look.
"Maybe not," she laughed nervously.
"Well Louise, as always it was a pleasure," he took another swig, "Damn that is good coffee." He gave her another heartbreaking smile before telling her he'd see her sometime soon.
He had walked over to put sugar in his cup and Louise was admiring his back side when Rachel hurriedly placed a small to-go bag in her hand.
"Rachel what is this."
"I'm tired of watching you mope around and fantasize about super heroes. I will not allow you to stand by and watch another gorgeous man who might I add is completely smitten with you walk out."
"But," Louise tried to rationalize.
"No buts, take this bag and catch him before he's gone." Louise stood shocked before Rachel smacked her back side and told her to get going.
Lou hurried around the counter before she fully understood what she was doing; J.D had just walked out and was in front of her store's window when she caught up with him.
"Hey J.D wait," Louise knew she was out of her mind.
"Louise?" He didn't look surprised more amused than anything, "did I forget something?"
"Yes," she pushed the small bag into his chest, "they're beignets."
His eye brows rose again, "Why are you always raising your eyebrows at me?" She asked.
"Because your interesting," was his simple reply.
She looked up at him through her eyelashes, "Well you looked hungry and my pop taught me to 'always feed a man who looks hungry, whether he asks or not,'"
He chuckled at that and took the bag out of her small hands, "thank you."
They stood their looking at one another for a moment when Louise finally remembered her work, "I should get back but I just thought I'd bring you those, maybe make your day a little better."
"Your singing already did that," he chuckled at the embarrassment that was clearly evident on her face, "Have a nice day Louise."
She gave him a quick wave and goofy smile before she turned and she walked back to her shop's door; she slipped inside before she had a chance to embarrass herself further.
Rachel appeared suddenly, "Looks like someone's going to get some soon. OW OW!"
"Oh shut it," she responded playfully. She wouldn't admit it but she hoped Rachel was right.
"Johnny I'm hanging up now," Louise grumbled into the phone, she had been napping when Johnny called to remind her of the dinner party that night.
She registered the annoyance in Johnny's tone and felt a small pang of guilt; she should have started getting ready an hour ago but her bed looked so comfortable. It was too convenient that she lived in the studio above her own shop.
"Alright I got it, Pink will be here at 8 o' clock, okay I'll see you tonight, bye." She tossed the phone aside and burrowed back beneath her covers. She knew she had to get up and shower and figure out what she was going to do with her hair, but she didn't want to.
Groaning Louise swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stretched, she winced slightly from the few knots in her back. "I need a massage." She rubbed out the places she could reach, imagining they were J.D's hands; she closed her eyes and sighed.
Glancing at the clock she realized she needed to shower if she didn't want to keep pink waiting, stripping down she walked into the shower and turned on the hot water.
Twenty minutes later she was out and standing in front of the mirror examining her body. She evaluated her faults like most women do, running her fingers through her short black hair one more time she turned to go find underwear
Around 7:30 Louise was putting on the final touches, she had never been expert with make up so she did what she could. Looking in the mirror she had to admit she looked pretty good, her dark eyes were set off by the mascara and a small amount of eye liner, she had also recently had her eyebrows done. Turning to the side she ran her hands over her breasts and stomach smoothing out the green dress.
She'd fallen in love with the dress as soon as she'd seen it; it was a dark emerald color and came to about mid-thigh, on someone taller it would look a little scandalous but she felt it showed a sexy and reasonable amount of leg. She settled on dark flesh colored rounded pumps, she knew she'd end up tripping in them but she loved feeling like she was tall and glamorous instead of short and cute. She draped a long silver chain around her neck and changed a few of the many rings in her ears to silver studs.
Louise finished putting on her lip gloss just when she heard her buzzer, "There's pinky."
She buzzed him in and opened her front door as soon as she heard his knock.
Pink smiled, his bright white teeth contrasting with his dark skin, "Hey sweetheart, I've missed you."
"Aw your too kind, would you mind zipping me up," Louise turned around quickly. When he finished she spun back and gave him a hug.
"You ready to go, Johnny will be at there in about an hour; he had to meet with Lenard," Pink turned back to Louise, "Come on don't make that face."
"I'm sorry but I don't like that man, he's a slimy bastard," Louise responded holding up her arms and shrugging.
"Yeah he is a bit of a prick," Pink chuckled, "and a bastard. Now go grab your coat."
"Why are you rushing me? Keep it up and you won't get your gift."
Louise walked into the kitchen and grabbed the little bow tied box containing a red velvet cup cake, they were Pink's favorite.
"Here you are," Louise handed him the box beaming.
Pink opened the little package and laughed, "Thanks LouLou, can I eat it now?"
Louise began cracking up, "Sure I won't tell anyone; I'll just go grab my jacket." She turned to leave and returned a moment later. Pink had already devoured the poor cupcake. She covered her mouth to stifle her laughter.
"What," he asked giving her a sheepish look.
"Nothing," she replied, "Let's go before you raid the kitchen."
Johnny stood looking at Lenard and Terry, he was a little agitated with the new addition to his crew of criminals. This Jason Doyle was going to cramp his style, but he figured he'd better get used to him being around. There was something a little unsettling about the man though, the way he carried himself maybe?
Johnny glanced at the man standing in the corner; he had his hands in his pockets as he leaned against the wall. Occasionally during the conversation he would shift and Johnny would catch his gaze in the dim light of Terry's office.
"This dinner gives you boys an opportunity to get to know one another," Terry stated coolly, "Jason's father was an old friend of mine and I'm doing him a favor since he had to relocate." Johnny noticed the man called J.D stiffened at Terry's remark. 'What's his problem he thought?'
"Do you understand me Johnny?"
"Yes Sir," he gave his attention back Terry who was seated behind his large mahogany desk.
"Good," he sneered, "Where's Pink? He should be here for this too."
"He's picking someone up for me," Johnny tried to sound nonchalant about it; he never liked to draw attention to Louise. Terry liked collecting women, and he had been eyeing Louise for a while now.
"Would that someone happen to be that little piece of chocolate pussy I always see you with," asked Lenard, he was standing a few feet from Johnny smoking a cigar. Johnny tensed at his comment.
"Lenard you know I have a lot of respect for you, but if you refer to her outside of her name again I will have to hurt you."
Lenard's eyes narrowed, "What did you just say to me you little shit?"
"You heard me," Johnny stepped closer.
"Alright Johnny calm down, and Lenard shut your mouth," Terry said standing and buttoning his jacket, "you talk too fucking much sometimes, show some respect for Johnny's lady friend."
Johnny didn't like the tone Terry put on his name, but he was thankful for his interjection.
Terry clapped his hands together, "alright boys that's all, go downstairs I'll be there in a few minutes. Lenard you stay here."
Johnny walked out behind Stryker and was followed by Frank, the other boys were already downstairs.
"Jason, would you stay behind a minute," Johnny wondered what Terry wanted with him but shrugged it off. He knew Louise was waiting downstairs and he wanted to get to her before one of the dogs that were hanging around did.