CvsN 06: PaybackbyTx Tall Tales©
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Part 6 of Convenience vs. Need
For the followers of our story so far: This is not a happy chapter. This is pretty intense and cruel in some places. I exact a price for what Debbie was put through in her previous relationship, a price that is not paid willingly. But it is paid none the less.
I'm not saying that what was done was right. It probably wasn't. But it was the way I handled things, and I'd do it again. The good news is it did solve the problem.
There's not much sex and romance in this chapter of our story. There's a bit of violence and non-consensual sex. If you're just looking for titillation, you may want to scan ahead to the end.
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Lately, life was feast or famine. I would get my brains screwed out for a weekend, then do without for two weeks. The previous weekend had followed the same pattern, with my life full of wonderful women, then from Monday night through Thursday I was a single man again.
I had been working hard to finish moving my belongings from the apartment into the house, while Debbie had been supervising some work done around the house. Karen was still planning on waiting until the end of the month to move in, and was still working. We'd brought in a flooring contractor to repair the living room floor, and to install some inexpensive carpeting upstairs. She'd also managed to get our gas, water, and phone service turned on, after getting the city inspections completed. She was turning out to be an administrative wiz. We'd hoped to get some painting done, but had been too busy with the move, and inspection paperwork. We were looking at a weekend of painting coming up, which should make the house pretty much complete for move in.
Of course just when things seemed to start running smoothly, somehow, somewhere, things would always get interesting.
* * * *
I was packing the last of my boxes into a borrowed truck, when the phone rang.
"You're dime - go ahead."
"Jack. John's here at the house. He just drove up. Could you please come over, I don't want to see him." Debbie sounded nervous.
It took me a minute to place John; her ex- that she'd left about 6 weeks earlier. "I'm only 5 minutes away. I'll leave now." I told her.
"Thanks. Please hurry." She sounded really distressed.
I didn't bother to answer. I headed straight to the car, and took off for the house. I made good time, the advantage of having a sports car and little respect for speed limits and lights.
I pulled up in front, and found Debbie's old Escort parked there. An Explorer with dealer plates had pulled in behind it. The front door to the house was wide open.
I entered the house, into the middle of a mess.
John was a lanky guy, I'd call him scrawny, but I'm trying to be generous here. He had dirty brown hair, cut short, and was standing in Debbie's face yelling at her. Both the little girls were there, crying to one side. Debbie tried to say something, and he hit the wall next to her head, telling her to shut up, or she'd be sorry.
I was about to announce my presence, and try to defuse the situation, when Debbie's little one, Erin, ran up to John and grabbed at his shirt.
"Don't hit my mommy! Don't hit my mommy!" She was hysterical, screaming at him.
He reached down and pushed her away by the face, hard, and she landed on her rear against the near wall.
I'm not some kind of super-hero, out to right all wrongs. And I had been willing to talk things out, in spite of the way he'd been up in Debbie's face. But this was too much for me. Pushing around 6 year olds was well over the line as far as I was concerned.
I walked up beside him, and hit him as hard as I could, just under the ear.
Now I'm just over six-one, two-twenty. I probably weighed half again as much as he did, and I don't think he ever saw it coming. He dropped like a rock. Debbie scrambled away, twisting sideways, sliding along the wall and never turning her back on the guy.
I watched him, and saw him reaching into his back pocket. I didn't know what he was looking for. I doubted he had a gun or anything, but I wouldn't have put a knife past him. So I committed the cardinal sin of fair play and hit a guy while he was down. More precisely, I kicked him. I kicked him in the side just at the bottom of his ribs, and he rolled up into a ball with a grunt. An oversized folding blade fell out of his pocket, and I reached my foot out and kicked it across the room.
I walked to Erin, who was on the ground sobbing, and lifted her to her feet.
"Erin, you and Ashley go in the kitchen and close the door. Uncle Jack is going to have a talk with this bad man. He won't hit your mommy." I guided her towards Ashley, who was huddled in a corner, and the two of them walked hand-in-hand into the kitchen.
John had rolled to his knees, and looked to be considering getting up.
"Don't get up dick-head." I warned him, stepping between him and Debbie.
"Who the fuck are you. You are really fucked now, you know? You are FUCKED." He was talking tough for a guy sitting on his ass, huffing and puffing, while malevolently looking up at me.
"You are in my house. You are not welcome here. You're going to get the hell out of here, and we're never going to see you again." I spoke calmly and slowly.
"Wrong. Fuck you. This bitch is going with me." He raised himself onto one knee, and I was pretty sure he was looking to try to jump me.
"I don't think so." I stood, waiting, weight on the balls of my feet.
He was predictable. He jumped forward straight at me. I wasn't particularly worried. Growing up, I'd moved a lot, and in the world of juvenile manhood, one of the rites of friendship was fighting. As the new guy, I was always getting in fights. Competing in a variety of sports didn't help; I was ejected from more than one game for brawling. Then, during the first two years of college, I'd been in ROTC, doing the two-and-screw, and got some more formalized training in defending myself. I could protect myself.
I stepped into him, confident in the advantage my eighty pounds of weight gave me in this battle. He wasn't able to fully stand up, and was still bent over when my outstretched arms pulled him forward and down. He stumbled and forward, and I delivered a pretty mean kick to his forehead, snapping his head back. I dropped on his back, grabbing his hair, and gave him a rabbit punch. Only after I had hit him did I realize he was not resisting.
I grabbed the back of his shirt, and dragged him out the door and to the front of his car. Sometime while I was dragging him across the gravel walk, the cobwebs must have started to lift, and he squirmed a bit at the end. I flung him against the side of his vehicle.
"Just be smart and get out of here. Don't let me see you again." I told him. I was really pissed, and was looking for him to talk back, so I could deliver more punishment.
He did a pretty smart thing. He pulled himself up by the door handle, got back in his SUV, and got his keys in the ignition before he spoke.
"You're dead. I'll be back, and you are FUCKED." He drove off, leaving the threat hanging in his wake.
Back in the house, Debbie didn't speak of the matter as we calmed the kids, and bundled them into her car. We took them back to Karen's and I called Karen to get her to come home.
"You know he'll be back. Maybe I should just go with him. He's going to be so angry if he has to come for me again." Debbie said sitting back in the couch, holding herself in a ball and rocking back and forth.
She had stood up so well, with the kids around, until we'd settled them down in their room, working on some crafts. Then she just fell apart.
I wanted so badly to go to her, to take her in my arms, to comfort her. But I wasn't sure I was welcome. I didn't know what to do about her. But I did have an idea about what could be done about John.
"No. That's not the answer." I told her.
"He'll be back. He'll bring a bunch of his friends, and they'll beat you up. And then he'll beat me up. Then I'm sure I'll have to pay him and his friends back for causing this trouble."
I sat down beside her, putting my arm around her. She stiffened noticeably. I couldn't help but think at that moment that I'd get more warmth from a statue. I could feel her slipping away from me. I hated that feeling.
I leaned over to kiss her on the side of the face. I wanted to tell her we guys weren't all that bad. I'd take care of her if she'd just let me. As my lips touched her soft skin, I could see the tracks of the tears silently rolling down her face. She didn't sob, didn't cry out. She wasn't shaking. She just rocked back and forth, holding her knees tight, and allowed the salty sadness to create it's own path to freedom, a freedom she lacked.
Fucking John. I don't know if he had done this to her or if his treatment was just another brick in the wall. All I knew was that he was the source of the current pain, and if there was something I could do, anything, then I was going to have find a way.
I made my plans. For that afternoon. No defense like a good offense. No time like the present.
* * * *
Debbie and I pulled up to John's townhouse. His vehicle wasn't there, which was a lucky break, and meant we wouldn't have to do any hiding and waiting in our car. I knocked on the door, and waited a good long time, just to make sure nobody was home. Debbie still had her keys, and she opened the door. We went in, carrying along a few items I'd brought in preparation.
Debbie was scared spitless and I almost expected her to bolt at any time. I had explained my plan to confront the lion in its den. She argued against the idea at first, but finally agreed. I felt bad pushing her that hard to get her to help me, but I didn't see any other way. I knew that John was the cowardly type, and would stew over how I'd treated him, until he demanded his revenge. I understood that for him, that would probably mean an ambush of me by he and several of his friends. My feeling on the subject was 'do unto others, before they can do unto you.'
I hoped to catch him that evening, and convince him that the continued risk of retaliation from me was much worse then letting this thing go. I wanted him to think of me and cringe. I also hoped to get some incriminating evidence to hold over his head, even if I had to manufacture it. I wanted Debbie to be there, to see her vicious predator de-clawed, and perhaps to get her to participate in some way in the retaliation. I figured she'd earned it and hoped it might be a bit cathartic.
I had Debbie perch on a chair, behind the curtains, watching the walkway. Her job was to watch for John's arrival. I was counting on him being alone, hoping he wouldn't be in a mood to be hanging with his buddies, and figured it was still too early for his own planned payback.
It wasn't a long wait.
"Here he is. Here he is. Oh, shit. Dale's with him." Debbie hissed in a strung out stage whisper.
"Take it easy. Anyone else with him?" I asked her, setting up behind the door.
"Just Dale, from the dealership."
Lousy break. Two was still doable, just a little more risky. I'm just glad that it was only two, any more might have called for plan B, which had the possibility of extreme legal ramifications.
I waited for John to open the door, and he walked in, head turned to the side, talking to his buddy.
"I'm waiting for Ronnie and Bill to call, then we'll show that guy who he's fucking with..."
He turned at the door, right into my baseball bat meeting him in the gut. I kicked hard at the door, slamming it into Dale's face. I turned, and chopped down on the back of John's shoulders with the bat, as he tried to get up, flattening him. Ok, so it wasn't fight fair. This wasn't meant to be a fight. This was a lesson.
Dale opened the door. "What the fuck was...OOOF" He was clearly confused, and the bat in the midsection didn't help. I kicked his legs out from under him, and hit him again, hard, in the lower back, wrenching a cry from him. He put an arm out to brace himself, and I kicked it out from under him and stomped down on his hand, hard.
"Shut the door Debbie." She was already moving; I was proud of her, she might have frozen, but she remembered what I'd told her.
John wasn't moving, so I decided to take care of the bigger Dale first. I dropped to one knee, right across the back of his neck. I quickly pulled his arms behind him, and grabbing one of the oversized plastic zip-ties from out of my pocket, I encircled his wrists and yanked as tightly as I could, pinching the skin cruelly. I wasn't worried about pain, or cutting off circulation, just taking him out quick.
"Fuck, dude, just take the shit." Dale was whining.
"Not that easy, 'dude'." I answered, zip-tying his ankles, and kicking him just out of spite. Adrenaline does that to me.
I was worried I might have hit John too hard. He still wasn't moving. But to play it safe, I zip-tied his ankles and wrists, before checking for breathing. He was breathing. He was probably going to be fine. Too bad.
Some moaning and movement from John finally indicated that he was about to rejoin the land of the conscious.
Dale had spotted Debbie now, and was telling her how bad she'd fucked up, and how she was going to pay for getting me involved. He was struggling to get to his knees. A well-placed foot in the back placed him back on his belly. Without his hands, his chin hit the ground first. He was just lucky the floor was carpeted.
"Asshole," I advised him, "you are talking to the wrong person here. Speak to her again, and I'll kick your kidneys out through your belly-button." I emphasized my intent with a kick just under his ribs, yanking another cry from him. "You're only mistake so far was picking the wrong friend. Play your cards right and you'll probably get out of here alive, and with all your organs and appendages intact."
I lifted the guy to his feet by his ponytail, and pulled him back against the stairway railing heading upstairs. I pushed him along, until his head was at the same height as one of the steps, and I used the handyman's best friend, duct tape, to wrap around his neck, at the bottom of one of the railings. He was going to be standing there, breathing carefully, until I decided otherwise.
When I turned to face John, I saw him lying there, watching my every move, and not moving an inch. He was glaring at me. I looked to see what Debbie was doing. She just stood to one side, shivering.
I walked over to her, and gave her my bat. I told her softly to hit Dale with it if he said another word. I said it just loudly enough for him to hear. Debbie might have been frightened but she was no coward. She stood next to Dale, bat held awkwardly about halfway up the handle. He looked at her, trying to stare her down, and I was overjoyed to see her jab him in the gut with the handle.
"Don't even look at me you jerk. I hate you." She was almost spitting. I guess there was some history there as well. He turned away and looked down. Good for her.
I, on the other hand, wanted to deal with the fundamental problem that had brought us there.
"Why, hello John, have a nice nap?" I asked, walking over to him, and nudging his chin with the toe of my boot.
"What do you want?" He asked, timidly.
I'd expected more defiance, not capitulation so early in the campaign.
"John, now I just knew you couldn't leave things along. You were going to try to get some of your cretin friends and cause some trouble, and I thought it better that you and I work this out before some of your friends got badly hurt." I squatted in front of him smiling down at him.
"No, really. She's yours. I wasn't going to do anything." He tried the lying route.
I don't want you to think I'm a bad guy. I just have big emotions. I laugh easy, I love deeply, and sometimes I get pissed off. I don't lose my temper very often, maybe once a year or so. But when I do, even I don't like myself then. I was very angry. And I had the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
I walked behind him and kicked him between the legs. I then waited a few minutes for him to stop grunting and heaving. Dale watched the scene in silence and obvious trepidation.
"John. You don't know me, and I'm willing to make some allowances for that. But if you lie to me again, I'll feed you one of your own balls."
Could I do that? Probably not. Even pissed, that would have been beyond what I could stomach. I'm sure I'd puke first. But he didn't have to know that. I was a very bad person. And I wanted him to believe that way down deep. He needed to be absolutely certain of that.
I leaned over and showed him the knife he'd left at my place earlier that day. I pushed him onto his back and placed the blade of the knife at his crotch. I then stuck the tip in and pushed, sliding the blade between his pants and skin. I felt a little tug, and figured I might have poked him with the tip a bit. Oh well. I slipped the blade in to the hilt and pulled up and hard, cutting his jeans from balls to belt. He pissed himself.
"You dirty shit. Pissing yourself in front of a lady. You disgust me." I grabbed his pants and yanking them hard, pulled them down to his ankles, dragging him across the floor at the same time. He was crying out some incoherent babble about being sorry, and leaving us alone, but I was afraid that over a few beers, and in the midst of his friends, he'd start getting ideas again, and I didn't ever want to be on the defensive.
Dale decided to add his two cents worth, telling us we'd never hear from them again, he'd make sure of it. Debbie hit him with the bat, in the stomach, making him grunt. He couldn't bend over, from the tape around his neck, and when he pulled forward he choked himself. She hit him again, this time in the ribs, and a third time. I got the feeling she really didn't like this guy.
I grabbed piss-boy's stinking shorts, and heaved hard, tearing them off of him. I walked to Dale, held the disgusting briefs in his gasping face, and warned him. "Speak again, without permission, and I'll shove these in your mouth, and tape them in place. Do you think you'll like that?"
He shook his head, minutely, eyes wide. No.
I placed them on a stair tread, inches from this head. I turned back to the object of my lesson, John.
I hadn't really planned much beyond this, other than to play it by ear. My only goal really had to been to place John at my complete and utter mercy. Give him a taste of discomfort. And convince him that he wanted nothing further to do with me, and by proxy Debbie. Dale showing up had thrown awry any plans I might have had. I remembered one other thing. Debbie had left most of her stuff here when she'd moved out suddenly. We could at least recover anything that she wanted to take back.
"So tell me John, what am I supposed to do with you. I'd just finish your ass, but I'm pretty sure that would upset the pretty girl over there, so you've got that going for you. But somehow you need to convince me that I'll never see you again. Can you do that for me?"
The wuss started babbling. He was sorry, he didn't mean it. He just missed her. He didn't know she was in a relationship. He was sorry. He'd stay away. Far away. He was sorry. He almost sounded believable.
I left him there pleading, and returned to Debbie who was just staring at him in disgust.
"Baby. I know you left in a hurry. I want you to gather up any stuff you left behind, and bring it all down here. No need to abandon it now. We'll take it home. Can you do that?"
"Ok, there's not much. I don't have any way to pack it though." She sounded amazingly calm.
"Just take a bed sheet and lay it on the floor upstairs. Throw everything in the middle of it. I'll come up and get it when you're done. Just yell for me."