tagLoving WivesReconciliation Ch. 02: Recovery

Reconciliation Ch. 02: Recovery

byFD45©

You are probably tired of this, but the story ‘Very Bad Things’ gives a bit of insight to the events in this story, though, as always, I tried to make it stand alone. Somehow, the stories keep connecting. Probably because I keep reusing the characters. Stories sometimes linger.
Bear in mind as you read this: this is a story about people and how they deal with their emotions, situations, and most importantly, their Choices and the Consequences of their Choices. So any other elements are mere dramatic license to highlight the actions and give perspective. Ignore them if you don’t like them.


Part Too of Tree

Kelly DeVecchio closed her locker and sighed. It had taken a whole lot of crawling and begging not to be sent to some private school with barbed wire, guard dogs and…shudder…nuns. Her father had screamed at her for two hours straight without taking a breath. Her friend Pauline was grounded for a month, the two were forbidden to talk to one another, and she personally felt that her parents would let her out of her room when she hit about thirty…right next to death’s door.

Surprisingly, there were no rumors around school. She’d kept quiet about her plans and Pauline had kept her mouth shut. When, in one frantic whispered conversation they had before her cell phone was unceremoniously confiscated, she had outlined the highlights of what her uncle had done, Pauline had sworn to keep her mouth shut.

A locker clanged down the hall from her. Standing there in her torn up jeans and woefully out of fashion top stood Regina Watkins. If tales were to be believed, she had a single alcoholic mother who had a string of shady boyfriends. Guys like Rick Kelly shuddered. For the thousandth time just today, she kicked herself for her idiocy.

Regina had been caught early in high school making out with Tori Goldstein. Tori swore that Regina had come on to her, though Regina denied it. Tori was prettier and richer, so Tori won, though Kelly, who had been to a few of Tori’s group sleep overs and seen how she was, had some doubts about both her character and sexuality.

Regina’s new school nickname was now ‘Queenie’ though the stupider than normal guys called her ‘Queerie’. Regina hadn’t had a date since that Kelly had heard about. Mostly she hung with the stoners or alone. She’d been suspended once after being caught with a joint, thankfully off school grounds.

Kelly thought about what life must be like for her. She turned on her heel and strode right over to her. “Regina…hi.”

Regina quickly closed her locker and started scanning the hallway. She looked suspiciously at Kelly, who was frankly on the entire other end of the social spectrum from her. “Waddaya want?”

“I just wanted to talk to you for a couple minutes. Are you busy?”

“Why?” Again with the suspicion. How many times had she been kicked by her peers to have an attitude like this, Kelly wondered.

“We don’t know each other. I wanted to talk to you about the school dance.”

“Why?”

Kelly sighed. “Look…I know what you are thinking. This is a trick…or I’m trying to set you up. Or I’m just giving you pity. I can’t prove it, but this doesn’t have anything to do with that. I’m grounded. I can’t work on the art for school dances. My parents would have an aneurism if I went.”

“What did you do, use the wrong salad fork at dinner?”

“No.” Regina’s rejoinder died at the look in Kelly’s eyes. “I did something worse than you ever did or were even rumored to do…but I got away with it. Someone helped me out. I owe. I owe BIG TIME.”

“So I’m some ‘project’?”

“No.” Kelly changed her approach. “Do you know where my art prize from that art competition we competed in last year is?” Before Regina could say anything, she said “It’s in a box in my closet. Do you know why? You were robbed. You should have won. Hands down. No contest. I worked my heart out in that competition. I must have put in 100 hours on that drawing. It was good. Really good. But yours was better. I won because I had better connections…and that totally ruined the prize for me.”

“Really?” Regina’s face had an admixture of hope and caution. Her face hardened a bit “Why didn’t you refuse it?”

“Would you? My parents were there. And I was wrong then. I should have. I apologize. So…tell me where you got your idea for that painting.”

Cautiously, the two started talking art as they headed for the buses, bouncing ideas off one another. Regina said she’d die before she did anything for Kelly’s clique, but Kelly thought it was an excellent entry for her into ‘society’. She was trying to talk her into thinking about it when Kelly’s Past almost ran into her.

“Hey, Kells!” Rick said. His arm was in a cast and he was leaning on a cane, but he was giving her that charming, raffish smile he had used so many times. “Did you miss me?”

Kelly stopped dead and her face fell. “No. What are you doing here?” Her voice hovered around 2 degrees above Kelvin.

“Well…I was worried about you, traveling with that crazy man. I wanted to see if you were okay and…you know…reconnect.”

“Reconnect. RECONNECT! AFTER YOU…” she looked sideways at Regina. “Could you excuse me for a minute?” Regina nodded and ducked around the hallway corner. This section of hallway was reasonably empty. It was getting late and shd didn’t want to waste a lot of time with this loser. Her parents were keeping her on a tight leash.

“I am going to give you one minute to apologize and get out of here. And that’s a gift. So get out of here before my Uncle Reggie DISconnects you from important body parts!”

Rick’s face split into a much less pleasant grin. “Ooooh! I’m shivering. ‘Uncle Reggie’ is in Riverside hospital. I got a friend who runs a wrecker and he picked up his car from where it was wrapped around a tree. My brothers and I was looking for him. Seems he had hisself a little ack-cee-dent. Maybe he’s going to die. Come one…don’t be like that. You seemed pretty happy. Don’t you remember the good times we had? Tell you what. You be nice to me and maybe I forget what the asshole did to us. Come on…we was good together. You wouldn’t want me to start…talkin’.” There was a darkness behind his eyes that Kelly noted.

Ice water was running through her veins at news of Reg’s hospitalization and her breath rate increased. Panic ran through her head. But…she took a deep breath. She focused on what was important, and it wasn’t this piece of whale shit. What would her Uncle Reg do? “Regina…I know you’re listening. Come out here.” A shamefaced Regina came from around the corner.

“You wanna talk? You go ahead and say whatever SHIT you want to say about me. How stupid I was! How incredibly….idiotic. Any girl who sees you and sees me will laugh…LAUGH at me…and they’ll be right.” His face started turning red in anger. “So you go ahead and start talking. And then I’ll start talking. I’ll mention the teenth’s you were dealing right in front of my face. I’ll talk about that box in the closet you wouldn’t let me touch. I’ll talk about words like ‘statutory rape’, ‘intent to distribute to a minor’, ‘larceny’, ‘blackmail’, ‘conspiracy to commit assault’. You got two witnesses here. And let me tell you another damn thing! I have THREE Godfathers, not one. One’s a Teamster. The other is a cop. Uncle Reggie is the NICE one.” She stretched the truth a little. “Maybe I have a conversation with them. And while I’m at it, I’ll talk to my daddy on Saturday morning. That’s when he golfs with his friend the ADA…that’s Assistant District Attorney for those of us who never graduated high school. So while he’s working on your case, I’ll be crying my eyes out to a jury and my daddy will be offering pro bono legal work to all your future prison guards to help me select what color your new HUSBAND is going to be in jail! So you wanna talk? LET’S TALK!”

Kelly was taking long shuddering breaths while Regina looked incredulously at her companion. Rick was stringing things together in his head. “Let me tell you one last thing RICK! You are on school property talking to a minor girl. Do you know exactly how much time you are looking at if you have even a goddamn joint on you? It’s plastered on signs all over the place. Now…get out of here before I start screaming! And I’ll be sure to mention this conversation to Uncle Reg.” She was gratified to see Rick blanch a little at that.

With a hostile look, Rick started caning his way down the hallway. “You haven’t heard the last of this.” He threw over his shoulder.

Kelly kept it together until Rick turned a corner and then she almost fell over in the hallway. Regina quickly squatted down and put her arms around her. “You weren’t kidding! Remind me never to get on your bad side! Oh my God, what are you going to do?”

Kelly slowly straightened up and wiped her face. She looked at her watch. She noted that she had missed her bus, which meant her parents would go ballistic, but she dismissed this as a trifling concern at this point. “Fuck him! He’s a liar. He’s a loser. I have more important things to worry about. Reggie…oops, I mean Regina…could you please do me a favor and help me find a ride to Riverside?”

A couple of phone calls later, Regina had packed the two of them into some thrashed out car with a tattooed character by the name of Spyke ‘with a y’. Kelly owed her parents a phone call so they wouldn’t worry. Then she imagined the confrontation after that. She looked at the handcuffs Spyke had hanging from his rear view mirror. “Do you have the keys to them?” she asked. Some obligations just HAD to be paid…not matter the cost.

++++

Others were also paying attention to the life of one Reginald Perry Esquire.

The newspaper rustled.

“Oh…look. Three men in By Way Trailer park were assaulted. Investigation pending. They were hospitalized.” Curtis noted.

“Do you think it’s them?” Andrea asked him.

“Maybe. Tell me when you’re finished.” Curtis always was the faster reader. Practice.

“Okay, turn.” She said.

The page rustled.

“Curtis! Look here!” she started to read. “ ‘The man, identified as one Reginald Perry, was in a car accident in a blue Mustang on Frantz Road. Alcohol was not suspected. He is hospitalized in Riverside Memorial Hospital.’ What are you doing?” She asked as he started to wheel her away from the table.

“Well, since I’m aware of this situation, I have to get involved now.” He made sure she was situated in front of the television and turned on Turner Classic Movies, carefully nestling the remote in her hand. “It’s part of my job.”

She sighed sadly. “Woe unto thee, Reginald Perry.”

“Cute. Do you need anything?” he asked.

“A small knife.”

Curtis laughed as he carefully locked the door.

++

Reg woke up, wondering where he was. A quick glance around verified he was in a hospital room. Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Oddly, there was a copy of some history book titled ‘Connections to Today’ on the credenza and…he looked twice…a HANDCUFF attached to one of the side guards of his bed. What the very Hell?

Neither hand was handcuffed and the other side didn’t have a matching cuff on it. He wasn’t sure what restraint policy in a hospital was, but it always seemed they used padded restraints and used two. Did they release him? Were the police after him? He pushed the call button and quickly a nurse who was in the ‘hope she has a good personality’ category showed up to take his vitals.

Shortly thereafter a doctor showed up. He was given a breakdown…HA…of his injuries. Cracked ribs. Concussion. Broken nose. Sprained and abused legs and arm. The doctor recognized some of the injuries as coming from a fight, but Reg remained mum on that point. He was judged well enough to change his meds and to get some food, something he desperately needed.

To his shock, he already had visitors.

Sally and Jim entered behind an orderly carrying a tray. He gave Reg a fake smile and set the tray down in front of him. Sally, constant busy body, stuck her finger in the plate cover hole and lifted it. “This won’t do at all” she said, stopping the orderly and glancing at the square on the plate.

“Excuse me, miss?” the orderly asked, just the correct side of professional politeness.
“I said this won’t do. Reggie hates lasagna. Could you please ring down to the kitchen and find something else on the menu? He has enough stress with being injured. We don’t need to add culinary trauma, do we?”

Muttering something incomprehensible, the orderly removed the tray and exited.

Reg was in too much pain and too tired to be outraged. “You knew. Three months and every time I ate over, you fed me lasagna.”

She sat on the edge of the bed and patted his hand. “Reg…you never said a word. Every single time, you pretended and grimaced behind my back and I could SEE you choking down every bite…and you never said a word.” She ran her finger back and forth over the rough weave of the hospital blanket. “Full disclosure…part of it was I enjoyed sticking it to you a little bit. I was a wee bit angry with what you did to Beth.” She said dryly.

“You don’t say.” Reg said laconically.

“Yes…but Reg…I kept waiting for you to say something. I wanted to see how hard I could push you until you stood up for yourself. Well…you were too polite to do it to me, though I heard about the ‘discussion’ at Phil’s house.”

She peered closer at his face. “You look like hell.” Sally ran her fingers on the bandages around his head. “Oh Reg, your beautiful hair.” She said wistfully. “Reg…this is an important lesson for you to understand. Maybe this is just me justifying my lasagna revenge…but we don’t hate YOU. We LIKE you…we hate what you did to people. I don’t know why you did those things, but we hate them so much that it…just blots out the parts of YOU we like. We hate what you did to us. We hate what you did to Beth…and all those other couples. So please stop! Even if you don’t intend it, and I know sometimes you do, you ARE hurting people.”

“But the core Reg…the one who helps Hank fix his car, the guy who buys tools he doesn’t even need to help fix the roof,” she paused “the one who did that amazing thing for Kelly…that’s who we want in our lives. You don’t need these facades. We even like you if you don’t like lasagna.” She patted his hand again. “You get better soon. We took care of collecting the things in your car and cleaning up your apartment. Seems you’re moving. If you change your mind and stay, come over to our house and we’ll grill up some steaks in celebration. If you still want to move…well…give us a call so we can help you do it properly this time and give you a sendoff, though you’ll devastate some people if you do that.”

Reg rattled the handcuff. “What is this about? Am I under arrest or something?” If Kelly was talking, an arrest seemed very likely…not that he was sure he cared anymore.

Jim smiled and Sally bit her lip. “We heard about it from the nurses. It seems a young lady is…mmm…quite appreciative of what her Uncle Reg did for her. Somehow she heard about you being in the hospital and she hitched a ride from her friends to the hospital.”

Sally took over. Reg had seen this before in couples, where they seemed to automatically know when one was supposed to stop talking and the other took over. As a single man, it astonished him when he saw it…and made him a touch envious. “Well, you can just imagine how her parents would take that idea, and Kelly knew it too. So she brought a set of handcuffs with her. I have no idea where she found such things. And she cuffed herself to your bed. I’m sure her parents just LOVED that symbolism…”

Jim started snickering. “When Wendy and Phil got here, there was naturally some excitement. Screaming, shouts for bolt cutters, security, doctors, nurses. Kelly kept moving the cuff and kicking at people like some Occupy Wall Street nitwit every time they tried to get her out of here. It was pandemonium. You were lucky you were drugged. Anyway, security and the doctors finally shoved everyone who wasn’t handcuffed to something out of the room to calm things down. Wendy took another look at the room and saw Kelly had been quietly doing her homework before they arrived and , so she had a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with Phil and she told Kelly they would leave her alone as long as she didn’t do anything stupid and did her homework.” Jim paused significantly. “Then Wendy brought Kelly a nice cold Diet Coke.”

Reg thought about it a second and started to laugh, a gulping sound as his various body parts took revenge on his mirth. “How many cans did it take?”

“Twenty ounce bottles and just two.” Sally answered, a smile crossing her face.

“Phil thinks he’s the smartest guy in that house, but he’s just the most educated.” Reg laughed, coughing at the end. “I guess she didn’t think of the bed pan.”

“EWW!” Sally’s face twisted up in distaste. “Are you SURE you know women, Reg? Once she had to unlock herself, the conversation obviously changed. Anyway, you get better soon. Don’t worry about anything. We have your back. I need to take care of the kids” She touched the side of his face again, then gave her husband a kiss on the lips to establish her hierarchy of affection and left.

Jim looked at Reg with a pained and aggrieved expression. “How could you do that to us?”

“What?” Reg asked confused.

“If you’d asked…if you let us know…we’d have come and backed you up in a heartbeat when you went for Kelly. Well I know I would. Phil, of course…and yeah, Hank too.”

Reg tried to curl up facing away from Him and get comfortable, not answering.

“No! You don’t get to do that!” Jim stated. “We called and you came and we…you can’t hold what Phil said against him. It was his daughter. We…I…we knew you’d come. Reg, you didn’t need to do that alone.”

“Yes I did.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Yes. I. Did. What was I going to do? Call you? You have Sally and your kids. Phil is an officer of the court. If anything…ANYTHING bad happened, he might lose everything. Hank? He’s on the road all the time and he’s married too. Besides, “ Reg said mournfully, “This big crushing mass of guilt of all the horrible things I’ve done. All that is bad enough. I couldn’t take a chance and add to it. Besides, you all…well not you, the others treated me like pond scum. I wanted to show them. I wanted to show them they were wrong.”

Jim sat next to the bed. “The upshot is one DeVecchio thinks you can walk on water. Her mother is in turns appalled, delighted and very very guilty at how she treated you in the end. Phil…Phil…if you ever pay a cent on legal fees again for anything, it’s because you didn’t call him. Right now, he has half his associates working to bury the police in paperwork about your accident and is pulling every string he’s even heard of to cover any…issues which might come up. If he can’t do it, he’ll find someone else who can. AND pay for it.” Phil was a notorious tightwad. “And…” Jim trailed off.

“And?”

“And if it were up to him, he’d horsewhip you till his arm falls off if he saw you within a mile of any of his women. He’s…conflicted about this. There are already huge arguments in his house over the guest list for Thanksgiving. Allowing Kelly to visit is a very bitter pill for him to swallow. He’s getting it from all the women, even Sally, so go gently if you see him.” Jim cleared his throat and looked embarrassed. “So…Kelly…”

Reg winced. “I don’t blame Phil and to answer your insinuation, no. I didn’t rescue her from some scumbag just so she could link up with another one. She needs to get a good man in her life. Besides, she’s way too young for…for anyone! I like sadder but wiser girls.” He tried to joke.

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