tagIncest/TabooHonest-Honest Ch. 06

Honest-Honest Ch. 06

byfsqueeze©

Author's Note: All thanks to shygirlwhore for her ongoing support and editorial work.

*****

Misha and I had told our stories—mine about Amy, hers about Tariq—and I never felt closer to her.

The next afternoon, at the start of the workday, the HR director called me in and took me to see the President.

They asked me about my relationship with Misha.

Apparently we had been followed, seen to enter my apartment together, and some time later, seen chatting together on the balcony. There were pictures. It was a problem.

As her shift supervisor, the evidence suggested—at a minimum—a close, personal friendship with a direct subordinate that crossed the line. Worse, it implied a sexual relationship. Add to that the fact that Misha was married, and it showed very poor judgment on my part. Since I was a candidate for the soon-to-be open Plant Manager position, these pictures put everything in jeopardy.

I never found out—they wouldn't tell me—but I'm pretty sure it was one of my competitors for that job, probably the day shift guy. He was an ambitious prick.

I didn't deny it to the President. I resigned on the spot.

The President liked me. He hired me when I was 18 when he was VP for Operations. Sometimes he called me in during break, and we ate together. He was the one who had set up the paid management internship for when I graduated college.

He didn't like it that I had been set up, but he needed a smooth-running factory even more.

He accepted my resignation. He let me stay on two final weeks, running the day shift. He offered me two months pay, calling it "severance," but, really, he was just trying to help me out. He also promised to protect Misha, and sent me home for the night.

I left a short note for Misha as I walked out. She did not come to my apartment that night or any night after.

***

On my final day at the plant, as I walked out of the office with my box of personal items in hand, I headed past the quality control shop where three guys were putzing around with the Reeler.

The Reeler tested our product. It was a long, hydraulically-driven steel instrument covered with hoses, dials, and controls.

I caught a whiff of something. It was pungent and full of chemicals, that smell.

In front of me, emerging from the smoking lounge, were two QC goofs coming to join the other three. One of them was finishing his smoke on the way back—a big no-no.

But, it wasn't my problem any more, and it never had been. QC belonged to Operations, not the line boss. I walked past them.

Behind the Reeler was a steel waste bin. I didn't know it until I saw the camera footage some time later, but the smoker flicked his cigarette butt at it. He missed. It glanced off the Reeler and sent tiny vermilion embers flying all around.

Walking away, I heard a pop, a rush of air, a roar, and then screams. I dropped my box when I spun around and saw what was happening.

The Reeler was spitting fire from one of its hoses. The flames leapt ten or fifteen feet out from the machine. Instantly, the hose severed and began to flip and flail like a writhing, decapitated snake, launching burning hydraulic fluid in every direction.

The two men returning from their smoke break watched in amazement.

I screamed and pointed at each in succession, "You, call 911! You, get the fire extinguisher! Over there! Go!"

Astonishingly, the three men working on the machine had not yet been hit by the flames.

Go bold or go home.

I ran toward the Reeler, more fire-breathing dragon than machine anymore, and covering most of my face with one arm, I leapt at the wild hose. I felt the white-hot fluid cascade down my back. It was all over the floor and my feet were on fire. Next, I felt it on my arm and on the top of my head: liquid fire.

I seized the hose with both hands. It wasn't hot. What was coming out of the hose was blazing. My arm, back, feet, and hair aflame, I pinched off the flow of the liquid like a garden hose and roared, "Shut it off! Shut it off!"

I burned. One of the three men—all of them still untouched by fire—awakened and slammed the red button on the side, cutting off the power and the flow of hydraulic fluid.

I yanked the burning ball cap off my head and threw it on the ground, and then I stopped, dropped, and rolled. I was still burning in places.

Then I felt the rush of an extinguisher and passed out.

***

Sunburns—bad ones—suck. Greasy burning hydraulic oil burns? They're exponentially worse.

My time in the hospital is mostly a blur of pain and painkiller-induced oblivion. In lucid moments, I became aware that, going forward, the back of my left arm, from my wrist to my shoulder, and the middle of my back, were going to look like an old man's lips for the rest of my life. My feet were going to be okay. I had still been wearing my steel-toes when I jumped into the inferno. My hair was gone, but the doctors thought my hat had saved me from serious burns that might have left me permanently bald. My face was untouched.

I actually felt kind of lucky...when I wasn't in agony from the scorching, itching, feverish pain or just insensible from the drugs.

People came and went, and I had little recollection of their presence, other than their cards, flowers, and notes. There were lots of congratulations and hero talk. I somehow gave an interview to a news agency. It, and the security camera footage of my insane dive into the Reeler, "went viral." I watched it on Youtube and found it hard to believe it was me. I actually started laughing when I saw myself throw down the hat and start rolling on the ground.

Misha came to see me. She was alone. It may have been Amy, though.

I know: one is black and the other is white, one is short and one is tall. How could I not know? But, I didn't. It may have been that both of them came. The memory flickers, back and forth, between the two of them, but same thing happens.

Misha or Amy is crying, and her voice is muffled and hazy until one phrase comes through clearly: "getting a divorce." She speaks some more words that I don't understand or can't remember, and then I hear her say something about a nurse or nursing.

That's it.

After whichever one of them came to visit, I started having dreams where Misha and Amy, one on each side of me, alternately sucked on my cock. First, Amy would do it. Misha would just look at me, her eyes filled with sadness. Then, when Amy pulled off, Misha would bend down and suck for a time while Amy smiled at me. Misha always let Amy finish me, saying, "You should have it." Strange.

I was semi-lucid when my parents came to visit me, along with my older brothers. It went better than I expected. My brothers made fun of my lack of hair.

"First bald guy in the family since that crusty old dude Mom keeps a picture of on her dresser!" my oldest brother proudly declared.

A burst of laughter escaped my Pop.

"That's your Great Grandfather!" my Mom protested.

"Well, Mike looks just like him now," my middle brother offered.

Mom looked at me sadly, "But, it's going to grow back isn't it, Michael?"

I nodded as my oldest brother said, "I hope not."

Lots of laughter and tears.

I thanked them for coming, I told them I loved them all, and I asked them to head back home and let me rest. I'd let them know when I was ready to visit again.

I'd been in the hospital about a week and a half when, under the influence of hefty drugs, I decided my room was too cluttered. In my stupor, I cleared it of all flowers, cards, and gifts. I put them all in the garbage bin. Sometime in the early morning, a custodian emptied it and moved on.

I woke up to a nice, clean room, sure, but I had no record of my well-wishers anymore. There may have been a card from Misha or Amy in there.

I wanted to go home, and the doctors released me the next day with a prescription and a bunch of instructions for skin care and physical therapy.

The President at the factory left me a message. He wanted me to come in and chat. I set it up with him to come in as the day shift closed and the swing shift started.

He embarrassed me with a reception and a speech in front of the assembled teams. I waved and thanked them, told them how amazing they were and how much I was going to miss them. I didn't see Misha. Then, the President whisked me back to his office.

He offered me the Plant Manager position.

"What about the Tamisha incident?" I asked.

"Tamisha no longer works here."

"What?"

"Yeah. She quit—shoot, must have been a day or two after the accident."

"Is she moving? Getting a divorce or something?"

"I honestly don't know," he said, "So, what about it? Will you run the factory for us? We need you, Mike."

"When would I start?"

"When you're ready. What do the doctors say?"

"Two-three weeks, at least."

"That's fine."

"Can you give me some time to think it over?" I asked.

"I can give you a week, then I've got to move on it. How about that?"

"Sure. A week. Thanks."

I shook his hand and walked out of his office, heading straight for HR. It took me a bit, but my hero status enabled me to get Misha's cell phone number.

She never wanted me to call or text her. She didn't want a record of our relationship on her phone.

Standing by my car in the parking lot, I violated her rule. I sent: "Mike here. Can I see you? Talk. Important."

I was home when I got the reply about an hour later. She wrote: "Maple Heights Park in 15 minutes?"

I responded: "Coming."

She was standing by her car in the parking lot when I pulled in. She walked over as I got out very gently—my back.

"I'd give you a hug, Michael, but I don't think it would help."

"I know."

"How are you?"

"Better."

"I came to see you in the hospital, but I don't think you were all there at the time," she said, smiling.

It had been Misha who I remembered, not Amy, and the memory came back so clearly. She had been wearing jeans and a black Yankees tee-shirt. I said, "Sorry. Some heavy drugs they had me on."

"I know, but it's nice to see you up and about."

"Misha, why did you quit the plant?"

She grinned with joy, "I decided to go back to school and finish my nursing degree. Just came from class, actually."

I was thinking really hard, trying to remember. Then, it hit me. "That's right!" I said. "You told me when you came to the hospital. Now, I remember."

She nodded, "Uh-huh."

"That's really awesome, Misha. You'll be a fantastic nurse—the best."

"That's sweet of you."

Then, the rest of the memory flooded back. "But, Misha, I'm so sorry about the divorce."

She stared at me.

"I hope your kids..."

"Michael, what are you talking about?"

"You...you told me you were getting a divorce. Didn't you?"

She shook her head. "No, we're not getting divorced. We're all good."

Fuck, it was so confusing. Had that been a part of my blowjob dreams? I couldn't remember.

"Michael, are you okay?"

I was looking at the ground, rubbing my temples with my fingers and gently shaking my head from side to side. "Geez, this sucks," I said, "I'm sorry, Misha. Things are just a blur." I looked up at her. "Anyways, I'm glad you're not getting a divorce."

She smiled. "Me, too."

"Are things okay now?" I asked, and she seemed to understand: I was referencing the sudden end of our strange relationship.

She hesitated, and then, finally, said, "I am. It's okay now. It was like quitting my daily cigarette for the babies. I had no other choice."

"I'm glad." I wanted to tell her how much I missed our time together, but I knew it wouldn't be helpful. I wanted to kiss her, just once, to know what it felt like to have the tiniest smidgen of her heart, but I understood how that would be unfair.

Son of a fucking bitch, I missed her. Hell, I loved her.

But, she was never mine to love.

It wasn't the blowjobs—though I'd never deny how insanely great they were. It was afterwards. It was us on the balcony, just hanging out and talking. It was coming to realize that she was really cool and funny. It was her understanding when I told her about Amy, and it was her sacrifice for her brother. Mostly, it was her heart—she had a really good one.

Misha told me it had all been about healing herself, but she also said she had chosen me for a reason. She'd hoped to help me. She did. I had long since left Amy behind for Misha.

Now, I was losing Misha at the very moment I understood how much I cared about her.

The fuck was my problem? Twice, this happens?

"Michael, I have to go. My family is waiting for me." She reached out, and we held hands for a second, and then she let me go.

I watched her walk back to her car, but she stopped.

She turned around.

"I met your Amy, you know," she called out.

I stared at her.

"She came just as I was leaving your room at the hospital."

"How...how did you know it was her?"

Misha gave me a "come on, dumbass" look and said, "A super-tall brunette with a big booty? You think I wouldn't recognize that?" She shook her head.

"She came?"

"You don't remember?"

Did I? Shit. "I don't know."

"Well, I'm glad I told you then."

"Did she say anything to you?"

"No, she just looked very tired and concerned for you—sad."

I nodded.

Misha turned, and then abruptly stopped. "Oh, and Michael?"

"Huh?"

"She wasn't wearing any wedding ring."

I stood and watched Misha smile, wave, and drive away from my life.

***

I drove back to my apartment, stunned. Amy had come. No wedding ring. Amy was the one who told me about the divorce. And she had come.

I needed confirmation. I needed to be subtle.

I called my parents. They were overjoyed to hear from me. I thanked them for the visit, and we spoke for a long time about my recovery. I asked how they were faring, I asked about my brothers, and I asked about the family.

Mom went through the list, starting with Deke's family. I showed interest, asking follow-up questions, but I was eager for her to move on to Cynthia and Scott's family.

Then, she did. My heart jumped when, after two minutes of irrelevant news, she said, "Oh, and poor Amy is getting divorced, did you hear?"

There it was. I didn't know how to feel or think. I said, "That's too bad. What about Katy? How's she doing?" I didn't really listen to the rest.

I ended the call with an agreement that I would check my calendar for a good time for Mom and Pop to visit. I told them I loved them and hung up.

I paced my apartment, checking my own feelings and debating a course of action. The loss of Misha was fresh, and it hurt. Did I think I could forget her suddenly and resume some pursuit of Amy? Did I even know Amy anymore?

I concluded that I ought to reach out to her—thank her for coming to see me.

I sat down at my computer and typed out an email:

Amy,

I can't tell you how much it means to me that you came to see me in the hospital. I'm sorry if I was a little woozy. I honestly don't remember much of our conversation. I'm back in my apartment, now, and doing much better.

I've learned about your separation and the coming divorce, and I wanted you to know how sad it makes me that things did not work out between you and your husband. I hate to think of you as being unhappy.

But, I know you'll get through this.

If there's anything I can do, please let me know. I care about you, and I would love to see you again. I have a guest bedroom in my apartment with it's own bathroom if you'd like to visit.

Love,

Mike

Then I typed out my address and phone number at the bottom and sent it.

Ten minutes later, Amy texted me: "Coming. Be in at 8:30 or so tonight. Wait for me at your place?"

I stared at the words for a time, and then wrote back, "Can't wait. See you."

An hour later, my phone rang.

Katy? What the hell?

We greeted each other.

"I know you probably hate my guts, Michael, but I needed to talk to you."

"I don't hate your guts, Katy. We had our differences. It's over. What's up?"

"Mike, I know Amy's coming there to see you. You need to know something: Amy isn't Amy anymore. She's in a bad place. Since they separated, she's been living at home with Mom and Dad. I've seen her. We're all worried."

"What happened?"

"Well, for starters, she's lost probably 40 pounds. She's skinny and weak. She's depressed. She has no self-confidence whatsoever. She's just...she's an empty shell."

"The divorce?"

"No, not the divorce—the marriage."

"I'm not following."

"He was not a nice guy...or, at least, he ended up being a really bad guy."

I felt my heart pumping blood to my muscles. "Did he hit her?"

"It wasn't physical abuse. It was mental and emotional. The guy turned out to be a fucking bully."

"Oh, shit," I said.

"I know."

"Is he being a prick about the divorce? Threatening or anything?"

"No, he wants the divorce, too. He just...he sends her pictures of his new girlfriends, sends her nasty texts, stupid shit like that."

"What a fuckhead."

"Yes. He's a total asshole."

"Can I do anything?" I asked.

Here, Katy paused—long enough that I wondered if we'd lost the connection.

"Katy, you there?"

"Yeah, I am. I just...you'll take care of her, Michael, won't you?"

I thought hard about this. "Katy, it's been almost five years. Not many days have passed without me thinking about her and missing her. I'm going to treat her right. I'm not going to hurt her. I'm not going to bully her. I'm going to take care of her for as long as she wants to stay."

"That's...thank you, Michael. That's what I needed to hear," she said. After a beat, she added, "I was wrong about you, and I'm sorry. And I'm sorry I didn't apologize sooner. I don't like being wrong. I'm like Mom that way. I get an opinion, and I dig myself in."

"Thank you for saying so. Forget about it."

"Mom—Cynthia—wants me to come, too."

"A chaperone?"

"To help my sister."

"Katy, you're welcome to come. I'll make space."

"That's good of you, but I'm not coming unless Amy tells me she needs me."

"Okay, but you're always welcome."

"Thank you."

"Should I pick up anything for her before she gets here?"

"I don't think so. Mom says she packed a big bag. Amy knew you would be spending time at home after the—after you got hurt," she explained, and then, after a moment, added, "You were so brave, Michael. That was one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen." She asked about my recovery before I thanked her for the call and hung up.

I had shit I needed to do.

I checked Amy's flight, and I had about four hours. Not wanting to assume anything, I set up the guest bedroom for her. Then, I decided it sucked and, after making a quick list, went shopping.

***

Several hours later, the guest bedroom had nice, new sheets, tons of pillows, comfy blankets—the works. The mattress was piled high with wrapped gifts. I bought all kinds of bathroom stuff—a blow drier, good shampoo, body wash, a really soft bathrobe, good towels. I got her tons of cool make-up, skin care, and hair products. It looked like Christmas in that bedroom.

After the phone call with Katy, I decided I needed to make sure Amy had space. It might be, I knew, that she would want our relationship to resume without even the slightest bump. I also knew that she might not be ready for all of that. It might be a quick visit. She may stay in a hotel. However it played out, I wanted her to feel welcome. I wanted her to know she could stay with me and still have space. Finally, I wanted the rest of the family to have some plausible explanation for her presence in my apartment.

I waited, and I couldn't help but think about the last time Amy appeared at my place.

This time, it went differently.

She didn't jump into my arms. She crumpled.

She didn't tell me she loved me and scream with laughter. She sobbed.

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