Ellie and Harm Ch. 03byMatt Moreau©
The last time I saw Ellie she had been running out of the house holding her blouse and her purse in her hand. She hadn't even taken her car. I found out later, with help from Rex, that she had evidently gone down a few blocks and called a cab. Then she had simply disappeared from the face of the Earth.
I was sure she would return at some point during those next few days and try to talk to me. But I was wrong. As the days passed and became a week, then two, then three, with no attempt to contact me; I became at first mildly concerned, then worried, then very worried. My last impression of her demeanor was that she was hurting and depressed—and feeling very guilty. I prayed she wouldn't do anything stupid.
That was three years ago, and the memory was still fresh. Worse, I was now alone. Not alone in the sense that I had no one around me or couldn't get a date, but in the sense that I felt empty and incapable of a happy moment.
My wife, my ex-wife, had not even shown up for the divorce. I made my lawyer, Ms. Carter Esq. of the same name as me, commit to giving her half of the estate; but to the best of my knowledge, the point was moot. I'm sure she didn't know about the settlement or really even the divorce, though I expect she probably guessed I had gone through with it. It was sad and cold and empty, that is my life.
Ellie ran. At first she didn't even realize that she was half naked. She stopped stepped behind a tree and hurriedly put on her blouse. She headed out once again. She had thirty-five dollars and a couple of credit cards. She bent the cards in half several times each and ditched them in a big smelly trash can behind a convenience store.
She sat on the park bench and sobbed into the fabric of her purse. She mentally assessed the events of the past twenty-four hours. How could she have been so incredibly stupid? She had no defense. She had humiliated and betrayed her husband and now she had nothing—and—she allowed, she deserved nothing.
She had but the thirty-five dollars now. She had to figure a way to get out of there, and get away from her shame. Harm, poor Harm, he'd worry about her, she knew; but, he'd get over it eventually and get on with his life; he deserved better.
She'd taken a bus toward downtown. She hadn't cared where. She just wanted to get away. She got off and started walking.
She was still walking the street hours later; she had no idea where she was, and it was late at night. She stopped at a park bench and took off her shoes her feet were killing her. She was sure glad she'd had sneakers on.
"Hey woman whatcha doin'," said a voice to her right.
She ignored him. She looked around. It was clearly a rough part of town. She was suddenly frightened. What had she done? What had she gotten herself into!
The man approached. He was grubby and smelly and about as unkempt as he could be. He looked her over. He knew in a minute she wasn't from around there. "You know where you are woman?" He said.
"No," said Ellie.
"Whaddya called?" he said.
She almost said Ellie, but she stopped. "Grace," she said.
"Yeah right. I saw you hesitate. But, no matter, none of us have names around here," he said.
"What is this place?" she said really wondering.
"Skid row," said the man.
Suddenly it all made sense. The man was homeless and probably a wino. A regular down here, she thought. Well what the hell, she was homeless too if it came to that.
"Is there a shelter around her," said Grace.
The man choked down his laughter. "Down in the city proper. There's a couple of missions, but not much else. I take it you have no place to stay. I can see you're new to the street."
Ellie thought. Despair suddenly overwhelmed her. She realized she was in a very tough and dangerous spot. She started crying.
The man laughed. It made her look up. It made her angry. She was desperate and he was laughing at her. "What the hell..."
"Fuck all of the bawlin' lady. It ain't got no currency down here. Down here it's from day to fuckin' day."
"Can you help me?" she pleaded.
"Help you? Hell I can't even help myself. I just survive," he said. "Like I said, from day to fuckin' day."
She started sobbing again. He was getting tired of her whining.
"This is it, Grace or whoever you are, you can stay with me, but there's a price," he said.
"A price? I have only a little money. I need a place to stay. I'm frightened," she said.
"Down here we're all scared. But we survive. The price is a piece of that sweet ass of yours," he said. "It's been a long time. For that you'll get my protection. You'll be my woman while you're down here. I'll show you the ropes. You won't last long on your own."
She was stunned. "Are you fucking kidding me!"
"Fine," he said. "I don't rape women. But them as do are around, and there are a lot of 'em." He started to walk away.
"Wait. Okay. Where?" she said. She was sickened, but it was clear to her now. Her punishment was going to be long and painful.
"Follow me," he said.
She put her shoes back on without tying them and followed him. There was a dark loading dock behind a business of some sort. The place was deserted. He led her to a still darker corner. There were some big cardboard boxes flattened and stacked nearby. He got one of them and brought it over to where she stood.
"Well, strip," he said. "We can't do it with your clothes on."
She slowly took off her clothes and balled them up and set them at one end of the cardboard box that he would do her on.
He stripped off his clothes quickly and stood over her; she had sat herself down on the box.
She studied him more closely. He was muscled and thin. He'd have been okay looking if he weren't so dirty. And he smelled so bad.
"Get on your knees and bend over," he said. "It has been too damn long. I gotta have it right now."
She was slow but she did as he said. She knelt and bent over.
He gazed almost reverently at her perfect breasts, sizzling butt, and the inviting cleft between her ass cheeks. He'd never had class like this, not in his whole life, not even with the chicks in "Nam.
He knelt behind her and kissed her exposed anus. He was going to savor every minute of this night.
He'd thought to fuck her and dump her. But, now he was thinking to keep her for himself. The rest of those cocksuckers down on Macy Street could fuck themselves. He'd protect her, and he and she would do their thing together. Inside him, he knew it would last forever, not with this chick, but for a while he'd have himself the comfort and attentions of a real live woman.
He licked her up and down her slit, and she became increasingly agitated and excited. At least he wasn't a brute, she thought. She felt him press his penis against her sopping pussy lips. He entered her and began to push deeper and deeper inside of her. She moaned.
He started sawing in and out of her. Soon he was banging her fiercely and she felt herself give way to an orgasm. He followed close behind with one of his own. When he finally unloaded eashing her insides he almost had a heart attack from the thrill of it.
He pulled out and lay beside her as she crumbled into a fetal position at the edge of the cardboard.
"Come here," he said.
She looked at him.
"You need to suck me hard again. I wanna take you on your back. I wanna see your face while I do you."
She followed instructions. She took hold of his cock and stroked it a few times. Then she let it slip between her lips and she sucked him for some minutes until he was rock hard once more.
She rolled onto her back and he mounted her. Her legs over his shoulders he banged her for twenty minutes. She came again. She had the strange thought that this filthy wino was a better fuck than Marco Phillips ever was. She started to laugh.
They lay together for some time. He actually held her, and she let him.
"What now," she said.
"We go home," he said.
"Where's home," she said.
He pointed. Home turned out to be a small leanto-like shack he'd constructed. It was awful, but it was waterproof he'd said. It was the best he could do at the moment.
Thus began Ellie's degeneration into the realm of the bag lady.
Harm waited impatiently for her. His fingers had played entire symphonies on the table's surface, or so it seemed, before his counterpart; the offended wife of Marco Phillips appeared and slid into a chair opposite him.
"Criminy, Rachel, I'm gonna buy you a watch," he said laughing.
"I'm a woman, I'm supposed to be late; Darwin said so," she quipped.
"Well, he should've if he didn't," said Rachel Phillips.
"Right," said Harm. "Anyway, how are you doing. Haven't seen you in a couple of weeks."
The waitress arrived with the drinks that Harm had preordered: a straight vodka for him and a rum collins for her. He left a twenty on the table and asked the girl to keep an eye on their glasses and to refill them at appropriate intervals.
"Okay. It's awful quiet around the house with him gone. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad he's gone. With him around it was always the wrong kind of noise, if you know what I mean," she said.
"Yeah, I guess I do," said Harm.
"Let me ask you the same question. How are you doing?"
"Rachel, you'd think that after three years that I could answer that," he said, "but I can't. I miss her. I miss her a lot. I guess I was really and truly in love."
She smiled wanly at her counterpart. They had become soulmates of a sort since their divorces. Rachel dated some, but Harm only rarely, and more to prove to himself that he still could than because he cared seriously about any of the women he went out with; he didn't. He was beginning to believe the old saw that a man only loved once in his lifetime, movie scripts to the contrary notwithstanding, was a fact.
"So how is Annie getting along? You know in the time we've been friends, I've really gotten to adore that girl," said Rachel.
"She has that effect on people," said Harm.
"She's going to grad soon, right?"
"Yes, next month, end of May. I am really looking forward to it. It'll be a little bit sad though without her mom there to bask in her achievement," he said.
Rachel looked down at her drink. "You really do still love that woman don't you Harm."
"I guess. I don't know. I hate what she did to me. I keep trying to convince myself that she can't help herself; that she has some kind of medical condition or something. Oh, I know that's all chaff in the wind, but it's all I can come up with that makes a damn bit of sense."
She laid her hand gently on his arm. "You're a good man, Harmon. I hope it works out for you and for Annie.
"On a lighter note; I have a company party at the end of next week, and I am dateless. Do you think you could see you way clear to escort me? I went solo the past two years and I really felt out of the loop. No strings, just guard duty," she said laughing.
"Absolutely, dear heart, you got it. Just tell me when and where, and I'll be there," he said.
"Wonderful," she said. "I was afraid you'd think of it as cheating. It's Saturday evening at the Round Tree Inn."
"Rachel! That was uncalled for; I mean about the appearance of cheating," he said, laughing at her.
Rex had been loosely tasked with trying to locate Ellie in his spare time. He had moved heaven and earth to find her in the beginning, even though he'd had misgivings. But for the past two years he had made at least desultory efforts to locate her: more of a passive watching and listening kind of thing than anything proactive.
He was coming out of a cheap hotel downtown when something strange occurred across the street. A bag lady was wrestling with a store owner over some apparently pilfered groceries. Ever the white knight, he rushed across the street and restrained the man.
"Hey, guy, cut her some slack, okay. Here, I'll pay for the stuff. He passed the snarling man a twenty and that seemed to pacify him. He turned to say something to the woman, but she was already gone, and with the groceries.
Since he'd just parted with a double sawbuck he decided to maximize his opportunities. Affecting the demeanor of your friendly neighborhood PI, he asked: Ever seen this woman around here?" He showed him Ellie's picture.
"You're kidding right?" said the man.
"Why would you say that?" said Rex.
"You just bought her groceries," said the man. "Her name's Grace. I don't think she has a last name; none of them do."
Rex felt frustrated! So near and yet so far. Well, he now knew for a fact that she was in the area. She'd never seen him; so he could look without concern of being recognized and having her skip country again. He'd still been hidden in the bedroom when she rushed out the door and into thin air that fateful day. He decided not to say anything to Harm, not until he knew for sure, and until he could find the woman.
Annie was exiting her Philosophy of Aesthetics class when Carol Montgomery came up to her.
"So Annie, has your mom been found yet?" asked Carol.
"No, not yet. We're still hoping," said Annie.
"Why, your dad needed to be rid of her. She was a slut Annie, and you know it," said Carol.
Annie's visage darkened. "Don't ever say that again, and you'll be able to avoid a lot of dental bills," Said Annie.
"Well, gee," said Carol. "You know what I say is true, Annie. We both saw her that day in the mall all over that asshole. Danielle saw it too," she concluded.
Carol never saw the right hook that laid her out. When the dust had settled; Annie was in cuffs and seated in the back of a squad car, and Carol Montgomery was on her way to the EMR.
"Harm," he said, as he picked up the phone in his room at the school.
"Harm, could you please come to the office right away," said the voice of Bob Fallon the VP.
"Sure, be right over," he said.
At the office he'd gotten the message that Annie was in trouble with the police and was being held at Central jail. He was out the door as soon as he got the necessary facts. Gawd! he thought, I hope they take credit cards down there.
In the car he and his daughter were silent almost the whole way home. Finally, he said, "Okay, why?"
"She insulted mom, called her a slut—twice. I couldn't take it. So, I unloaded on her," said Annie.
"Geezsus, Annie, the officer said the girl is in the hospital!" said her dad.
"Yeah, well, she brought it on herself. No one talks that way about my mom, or my dad either for that matter," said an unrepentant Annie.
"I hope this doesn't cost us a lawsuit," said Harm.
"I'll pay it, dad, if it comes to that," she said.
"Dear heart, we'll play it by ear. From what I hear she provoked you; that may mitigate things some; we'll see," he said.
They drove the rest of the way in silence. Harm didn't let it show on his face, but he was secretly proud of his girl. She'd done it wrong, but he would have done the same damn thing, and he knew it, wrong or not. Oh, Ellie, he thought, if you only knew. He started to tear up as he thought about her.
The legal matter between Annie and Carol was settled in an odd way the very next day.
"Hey, you're Harm Carter," said a big guy who was leaning against a pillar in front of the administration building.
"Yes, I am. What can I do for you," said Harm.
The guy approached and sent a powerful sucker punch right into his jaw line. "How does it feel, shithead," said his assailant. "My names Ames Montgomery. You might remember me. I was ranked sixth light-heavy by the WBA a few years back. If your daughter ever screws with mine again, you'll be seeing me—again," he said, and he stalked off.
Most of what he said Harm didn't hear. It was a few minutes before he regained any feeling in his limbs or any serious pretense to conscious thought.
"Geezsus," said Bob Fallon, "that guy really brought it. You okay, Harm?"
I had a witness. I knew any potential lawsuit against Annie was a dead issue now. Mr. Ames Montgomery may have been a contender, as I later discovered was true, but a military genius he wasn't. The sucker punch had been worth it—well, it was after the swelling went down.
Additionally, the power punch that laid Carol Montgomery out stilled any further baloney on the part of anyone taking her mother to task—male or female.
Rachel Phillips looked like a million bucks, and Harm told her so. "Wow!" he said. "Now I know why I have guard duty."
She giggled. "Well, thank you mister. You sure know how to massage a girl's ego. Shall we go?"
"For damn sure," he said. "Can't wait to show you off."
They drove the few miles to their destination, the Round Tree Inn, in near as few minutes.
Other couples were already dancing and drinking and carrying on. Harm, with Rachel, on his arm found a table to base themselves and headed for the bar. They ordered their usual, returned to their base, and nursed them.
Two other couples joined them at their table, and within minutes they had all introduced themselves and were drinking and talking animatedly. It was the best time in a party's life.
Some hour and a half later Sam Tolliver was dancing with Rachel. He had his hand lightly covering her ass and his knee separating her legs and pressing against her vulva. Rachel pushed him politely back.
Harm who was between dances at that moment looked over at the concerned wife of the man. He knew what he had to do.
"Pamela, may I have this dance?" he said.
"Uh—yes," she said, having been pulled out of her reverie by his words.
They danced near to Rachel and Sam and made themselves obvious. Sam wouldn't be getting any strange that night, and you could see it in his eyes that he was miffed. Harm determined to talk to the man.
Dance over, the four returned to their table; the other couple that had joined them were still on the dance floor.
Harm asked Sam to help him get a round of drinks at the bar. The man, still miffed, couldn't very well say no, so he nodded and they went. As they waited at the end of the bar for the barkeep for the evening to notice them, Harm went for the juggler.
"Sam, listen to me and listen good. Don't be tryin' to get into Rachel's pants, or for that matter anyone else's but you lovely wife's. You and the woman you might try to get it on with will be caught and you will both be real sorry. Trust me, it ain't worth it."
"What in hell! Who are you..." His speech was cut off at the pass as Harm grabbed him by the balls—literally—and forced him up on his toes.
"Listen to me. I know what I'm talking about from experience. You have a great lady there, and you should be making sure she knows you love her. Strange pussy will not make you any happier than she will if she knows you appreciate her. Take it from me." He released his grip on the man's privates and smiled at him.
"You've got a lot of nerve, asshole," said Sam trying to get his breathing back to something approaching normal.
"Yeah, can't argue with you there. I am an asshole; I think it was even in the newspaper," Harm laughed. "But, I'm one asshole who cares about you and your wife. Yeah, yeah, I know I don't know you well enough to care. Well, I do. I don't want anyone to go through what I went through."
Sam snorted something that would have been unintelligible to anyone in the English speaking world.
The barkeep finally came, took their orders, and the two of them returned to the table with the drinks.
The rest of the evening went increasingly smoothly. After he had gotten over his mild embarrassment from what Harm had done to him, he danced all but two of the dances with his wife. The other two dances with Pamela were with different guys cruising the party. Sam did dance once more with Rachel and kept his hands to himself.
By the end of the evening Sam approached Harm as they went to get the ladies wraps. "I wanna thank you," he said. "I've thought about what you said. I've got six kids and a pretty good looking broad for a wife. I really don't need strange, do I?"