tagAnalMrs. Steven Rudy Ch. 08

Mrs. Steven Rudy Ch. 08

byHamletMacbethIII©

Author's note: This is a series inspired by the song of the same title by Mark McGuinn, but all characters are my own creation. Any resemblances to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental. And while I try to keep my stories fairly grounded in reality, this remains a work of fiction, of fantasy even. So if something seems biologically or anatomically improbable, just remember the MST3K mantra: "It's just a show; I should really just relax." I welcome criticism/feedback; all I ask is that you be somewhat gentle, or at least constructive.

This is the eighth (and final) chapter in this series, so if you find yourself getting lost, it might help to go back and read the previous chapters.


*****

Chapter 8: About That Summer

Mike didn't see Heather again until noon Sunday. He tried calling a couple more times, but she never answered. He had spent the last few days in a sort of haze, barely eating and dozing in the living room rather than sleeping. He was afraid to miss any sound that might indicate she had returned, either to his house or next door. And it was indeed the faint slamming of a car door at the Rudy house that jerked him out of his exhausted stupor and sent him barrelling across the yard.

Heather's BMW sat in the driveway, the top down. He climbed the porch and leaned on the railing. He could hear doors and drawers slamming inside. Finally, after what seemed a sizable fraction of eternity, she emerged from the front door, dragging a large piece of luggage behind her. She didn't spot Mike until after she finished locking the door and turned to walk down the steps. Her eyes widened for a second, but she quickly composed herself with a bored look. "Can I help you?" she said cooly.

You'd never know a couple of days ago, she was telling me home was wherever I was. Mike fought back tears. "Heather, I'm sorry. I really am. I know there's no excuse for -"

Anger hardened her features as she cut him off with the wave of a hand. "You're right, Michael. There's not. I opened myself to you. I gave you my heart, and in the end, you treated me just like he did."

Mike flinched. "Seriously? I know I messed up, Heather, but that's not fair. I love you."

"And I still love you, I think. But I don't know if that's enough if I can't trust you."

"Come on. I made one mistake - a big one, I admit, but still just one - and that's enough to throw away everything we mean to each other?"

She sighed. "I don't know, Michael. Maybe not. I need time to think. Call me in a week or two, and we'll talk. For now, I'm staying with Patricia." Her older sister lived about an hour away in Houston, close enough to visit if she allowed it, but too far for him to constantly show up at the door to bother her.

"In a week? Why don't you come back to my place, and hash this out now? Or, hell, sit down right here. We've had some great conversations on this porch." He thought her face softened a little, but she grabbed the handle of the suitcase and hurried down the steps to her car. He caught up with her as she placed the luggage in her passenger seat. Mike caught her upper arm and turned her to face him. He couldn't hold the tears back any longer, and he couldn't keep them from cracking his voice as he pleaded. "Heather, please, talk to me!"

"I can't, Michael. Call me in a week. Right now...right now, we have nothing to talk about." He stood there, staring and weeping as she backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. The house remained empty after that, aside from the occasional lawn crew or cleaning service. Mike learned one afternoon a few weeks later that the owners were getting ready to sell the place, but there was some sort of disagreement between them.

He called the next Sunday, at 8:15 a.m. - their customary time for conversations. Heather didn't answer, and he left a brief voicemail asking her to call him back. He followed it up with a text message letting her know he was still interested in talking. He called the next week, leaving the same voicemail and text messages. And the next week, and the next. Finally, after six weeks, he received a return call some time in the afternoon. He had stopped keeping the phone with him as much, so he didn't see the missed call until Monday night. An alert on the lock screen said he had a voicemail from Heather. Excitedly, he opened the message and listened to it. It wasn't from Heather. It was from Patricia.

"Listen, creep. Stop calling my sister. She obviously doesn't want to hear from you, and you're just upsetting her. You need to move on. She has. In fact, she's dating someone. A doctor named Ronnie Powell. They're very happy together, or at least they would be if you'd leave her alone. Buzz off."

By that point, Mike couldn't remember much of his weekends. The day after his last conversation with Heather, he threw himself into his work. Every paper that students turned in got graded that day, no matter how late he had to stay at the school. He ruled his classes with an iron fist. Small infractions that he had let slip before now felt his wrath. There were no larger infractions to deal with. Students sat up and paid attention, or at least pretended to do so. Even though he had become something of a terror to the kids, he barely noticed them unless they were off task. Tabitha became withdrawn, but she still did her work, so he didn't bother her. He could understand why she wouldn't want to interact with him any more than she had to. School ate up his weekdays and kept him from wallowing in self-pity too much. Weekends, though, were a different matter. He spent a sizable portion of his disposable income keeping the owner of a nearby liquor store very happy. It started the first weekend after Heather didn't return his call and went downhill until graduation.

The high school graduated its seniors the first Friday of June. They held the ceremony at a local convention center, and all the staff had to be there, so even though he'd had the day off, Mike had not started drinking, although he had plans as soon as he could get home. He had responsibility for one row of seniors during graduation, making sure they got in line to receive their diplomas at the right time. His row included Tabitha Miller. She looked at him oddly as she left and again as she returned to her seat, but didn't say anything then. She waited to corner him in the parking lot afterwards. Once all the pomp and circumstance had been completed, Mike stripped off his gown and hung it up in a closet in his classroom, grateful he only had to wear it once a year. Some students and their families had started to leave, but most hung around, taking pictures and hugging one another goodbye. Mike slipped through the crowds and walked to his car, keys already in his hand. He found Tabitha leaning against the driver's side door. "Can I help you?" he asked.

"I'd like to talk to you, Mr. Baker." She picked at the hem of the short skirt she had been wearing under her gown.

"Not now, Tabitha. I have things to do."

She chewed on her bottom lip. "Please? It's important."

"Not today, Tabitha. Now if you please..."

"Mr. Baker, I'm not going anywhere until you agree to sit down and talk to me, dammit!"

Why didn't I try that with Heather? he wondered briefly before squashing the thought. He had gotten pretty good at that in the last couple of months. "Fine," he sighed. "Talk."

"Not here. Can we go somewhere and grab a bite to eat? I'm starving."

"Whatever. Get in." He thought about driving off while she was still trying to get in the car, but she actually opened the driver's door and crawled over to the passenger seat. Her skirt rode up, giving him a glimpse of a tight, toned ass framing the strap of a g-string. He groaned and slid into the seat.

They went to a nearby McDonald's. Mike grabbed a couple of burgers and drinks while Tabitha scoped out a secluded booth where they could talk in relative privacy. He slapped the tray down on the table. "Alright. You got me here. What do you want to talk about?"

Tabitha a bite of her hamburger and said, "You." She somehow managed to keep from spraying him with food as she said it. I'm worried about you."

"Me?" he scoffed. "What is there to worry about?"

"Look, Mr. Baker, my dad's a fairly high-functioning alcoholic. I recognize the signs."

Mike forced a laugh. "I am not an alcoholic."

"Maybe not." She took another bite. "But you're getting close."

"Now listen here, girl..."

"No, you listen!" Tabitha hissed. She looked around quickly to make sure no one was looking at them. "I've seen you come in on Mondays. You think I don't know what a hangover looks like?"

"OK, so maybe I've overdone it a time or two..."

"Every damn week since spring break! And don't think I haven't noticed how you're jonesing to get home on Fridays."

"OK, you got me!" he said sarcastically, waving his hands in the air. "So what? You're out of there. You're free. What do you care?"

"Because you're a good teacher. Or at least, you can be."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"When you're on your game, you're one of the best teachers I've ever had. But ever since spring break, you've been a zombie. Like, completely unplugged. The only time you've shown any emotion is when you've been pissed. You need to get your head screwed on straight before next year, and killing yourself isn't going to do it!"

Tabitha had her arms folded, chest heaving. She's mad, Mike realized. "What do you mean killing myself? I'm not suicidal."

She frowned at him. "Mr. Baker, what 'things' did you have to do when you got home?" He stared at his half-eaten burger but made no response. "I thought so. You were going to go home and get wasted. Work's probably been the only thing holding you together, and now you're free for the summer." Tears slid down her cheeks. "You may not pick up a gun or a knife, but the way you're going, you'll be dead by August. What is eating at you so badly that you can't deal with it?"

"Tabitha, I don't think you can honestly understand," he said softly. "Wait until you've loved and lost, and then come talk to me."

"It's her, isn't it? That woman you were at the ball with - Mr. Rudy's wife."

"'Mr. Rudy'? I figured it would be Steven by now."

"Oh, I haven't seen him since that night. I'm glad I got to go to the Pageant, but he was rude and a lousy lay."

"Really? I would think a hot little teen like you would inspire an older man to bring his A-game."

"It didn't work on you," she muttered. "But that guy wouldn't go down on me until I told him that he wouldn't get a blowjob unless he did. I guess he did OK with his mouth and fingers once he got forced into it, but he never lasted more than a few minutes before cumming inside me."

Mike grunted. "I hope you used protection at least. College is right around the corner, and a baby would make that difficult."

"Thanks, Dad," she said dryly. "But we didn't have to. He's shooting blanks."

"What?"

"His wife didn't tell you? He got a vasectomy like seventeen years ago. It's why they never had kids."

"I guess I missed that part of the story." What an absolute bastard. "We had other things to discuss."

"It is her. I knew it. Is she still pissed at you?"

"I guess. She hasn't spoken to me in three months."

"That sucks. I thought I heard y'all both say that you loved each other."

Mike wiped his eyes. "So did I," he whispered.

"Do you know where she is?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Then go get her!"

"I can't. She's dating someone else."

"How do you know that? I thought you said she wasn't talking to you."

"Her sister told me. Heather wouldn't tell me herself."

"Really? That's cold."

"Yeah, it is, isn't it?" Underneath the tears, anger stirred. Mike pushed it down.

"Mr. Baker?" She played with the straw in her cup. "I've been dying to know: how did you recognize me? There at the ball? I still had my mask on, and I know you've never seen me in a gown like that."

Mike blushed. "Um, well, the fact of the matter is...uh...Oh, hell. I recognized your bush."

Tabitha's eyes widened and she gasped. "You did see me in the restroom that time! That means you heard me...oh, my god! I'm so embarrassed! Why didn't you tell me?"

"This is why right here." He smiled weakly. "I didn't want to make class awkward for you. You're a good student. I didn't want you to mess that up."

She smiled at him. "Thanks. I told you you're a good teacher." She grabbed his hand. "Come on."

"Where are we going?" He remained seated

"Your place. You need to get laid."

Mike gaped at her for a second, then shook his head. "Tabitha, I can't do anything about your grades now."

She slapped his arm. "That was mean. I like you, Mr. Baker. Haven't you figured that out yet?" She lowered her voice and gave him a sexy smile. "Besides, I just graduated. That means I really am legal."

Mike thought about it. He thought about it very hard. "Tabitha. I am really tempted, but I...I'm just not ready yet."

"Come on! You need to fuck that woman out of your system, and I'm offering to help."

"That's just it. I don't think I'm ready to get her out of my system just yet."

"But she's making you miserable!"

"I know, but that pain is the only connection I have left with Heather, and I can't give that up. I know it sounds weird, but it's the truth." He scribbled a note on a napkin. "I appreciate your offer, and I appreciate you spending time with me this afternoon. I needed a kick to the head." He handed the napkin to Tabitha. "This is my phone number and address. I'd like for you to check in on me every once in a while to make sure I haven't fallen off the wagon."

She eyed him suspiciously. "So, no more booze?"

"No more booze."

"And If you change your mind about not wanting her out of your system?"

Mike laughed. "You will be the first to know."

He drove Tabitha back to her car at the high school. She left with a promise to check up on him and a decidedly friendly kiss that had him second guessing his refusal of her offer.

As he pulled into his driveway, Mike saw that a "for sale" sign had been erected next door. He walked into his house and proceeded to dump out all his alcohol. He winced at the thought of how much money he was literally pouring down the drain, but he didn't trust himself to keep that promise to Tabitha otherwise.

The next few days were murder. He kept looking for something to drink, and several times he found himself crossing his living room toward the front door with his car keys in hand. Slowly, little by little, the cravings dwindled to a manageable level by the middle of the next week. When Tabitha called the following Friday, he was able to tell her that he was doing OK, and no, he wasn't ready to take her up on her offer. Saturday passed pleasantly, and he was looking forward to enjoying his summer. Then the knock came.

Mike still woke up early on Sundays. he had spent the better part of a year building the habit, and he couldn't seem to break it now. he was sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal and actually reading the paper he had been paying for when he heard the rap at the door. It sounded so hesitant at first that he ignored it. Then it sounded again, loud and insistent as if the knocker were determined to have the door answered even if it meant bloody knuckles.

"Alright, alright!" he yelled. "I'm coming!" Who on earth would be tearing my door down on Sunday? Tabitha wouldn't be so strident even if she thought she had cause to be worried. The HOA maybe? Did I let the grass grow a quarter of an inch too tall? Mike had a sudden premonition of a cop standing to tell him that something had happened to his parents. He sprinted across the room and wrenched the door open.

It was Heather.

She looked as beautiful as ever, wearing a green sundress that hugged every mouthwatering curve and left a sizable amount of cleavage exposed. A denim purse was slung over one shoulder.

Mike stared. He had played this moment out so often in his head, with scenarios ranging from a calm "Hello" to sweeping her in his arms and kissing her within an inch of her life. Instead he surprised himself by barking out a harsh, "What the hell do you want?"

"I, um, thought I'd say hello..."

"Well, you said it. Hello! Don't bother with goodbye. I think we've covered that one." Mike hated the cruel sound of his own voice. He wanted nothing more than to invite her in, but he knew that if he did, he'd never want her to leave. I can't go through that again. He swung the door shut.

To his surprise, Heather caught the door with her hand and pushed it back open "Michael, we need to talk."

"Like hell we do! I believe I tried that already. If memory serves, your response was, 'We have nothing to talk about.' You obviously meant it. If you want to talk so bad, go talk to your sister or your damn boyfriend."

A confused look crossed her face, then she shook her head. "Have you come to hate me so much that you -"

"Hate you?" His wild laughter cut her off. "Heather, I don't hate you. I wish I could! Maybe then I wouldn't wake up in the morning thinking about laying down in traffic!"

Heather flinched, but he thought she looked a little hopeful, as well. "Then you could at least hear me out."

Mike's eyes narrowed. "Oh, hell, no!" he growled. Grabbing her arm, he dragged her inside, slammed the door, and shoved her down on the couch. "You want to talk? Fine! But you're going to hear what I have to say, and then I'll consider listening to you."

"OK." She spoke in a small voice.

"Although frankly, I don't know why I should. Why are you here? You want me to admit I messed up? I've already done that. But I'll do you one better. I fucked up royally! And for that, you decide to take everything I thought we had and rip it to confetti."

"You hurt me, Michael," Heather snapped.

"I know!" he yelled. "And I have apologized. If I could change it, I would. But that wasn't enough for you. You had to rip my heart out and toss it on the soccer field for the kids to play with. You told me that lack that lack of communication kills relationships, and you certainly did your best to drive a stake through my chest." He knew he was crying now, but he could no more stop his tears than he could lower the volume of his voice. "And now you have the gall to come to me three months later demanding that I hear you out? What the hell, Heather? What is so damned important that you had to come over here to tell me now?"

"I'm pregnant," she said softly.

Mike dropped into his armchair. Oh, hell. "Congratulations," he said coldly. "You and your boyfriend must be very happy. When are you due?"

"December. And I don't -"

He cut her off. "Shit, you move fast! What, did you wait a whole week before finding somebody new?"

"What are you talking about? I don't have a boyfriend."

"Oh, call it whatever you want. A life partner. A significant other. A gentleman caller. A booty call. A friend with benefits. The guy I happen to be fucking at the moment." Mike's temper had the bit in its teeth, and he couldn't seem to stop ranting. He felt a pair of hands on his face and realized Heather was kneeling on the floor in front of him.

"Stop it, Michael! Just stop it!" she yelled. After he sputtered to a halt, she continued with a cracking voice and tears on her cheeks. "Is that what you really think of me? That I'm some kind of slut who will spread her legs for anybody who comes along?"

"I never would have thought so, but what about Ronnie Powell?"

Heather sat back on her knees and looked at him with a bemused expression. "Ronnie Powell was a creepy kid in third grade who picked his nose and ate paste," she said blandly. "Now where did you get the idea that I was dating him?"

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