tagNovels and NovellasShe Tries To Forget Ch. 06

She Tries To Forget Ch. 06

byD.C. Roi©

Ann awakened the next morning feeling stiff and sore, dragged herself out of bed, slipped on a robe, walked to the kitchen, made herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table to drink it. She felt hungry but wasn't sure she'd be able to keep anything down. She had way too much to drink at the Buckaroo the night before. If she tried eating right now, there was a very good chance she'd spend the morning throwing up.

What made things even worse was that not only did she have a hangover, it was Sunday. She hated Sundays. There was nothing for her to do and no place to go. Sundays always passed so slowly. She sometimes wondered what other people, people who were alone like her, did on Sunday.

There had been a time she loved Sundays, but that was in another lifetime. Now she liked weekdays better. At least during the week she had work to keep her mind occupied, to keep her thoughts off how lonely she was and why she was alone.

Tears rolled down Ann's lovely cheeks and splashed into her coffee. What had she done to deserve such misery? Why had her life, which once was so happy, turned into this?

She finished her coffee, then she took a shower and got dressed. Her outfit was an old pair of acid-washed jeans and a pale blue sweatshirt. She looked lovely, even though she didn't realize it. Force of habit made her fix her hair and apply the understated makeup she usually wore, too.

When she finished dressing, she went out to the living room, laid down on the sofa, and turned on the TV. A religious program came on, but Ann quickly switched to cartoons. She used to go to church, but when she needed it, religion had offered her no comfort.

She dozed off watching cartoons, but was awakened by the ringing phone. She reached for it and realized her hand was shaking. "Hello..." she said tentatively.

"Hi, babe." The voice was male. Ann thought it sounded vaguely familiar, but wasn't sure who it belonged to.

"Who...who is this?" she stammered.

"Jeez, babe, dont' tell me you forgot me already?" the man said, "This is Tom...Tom Jonas, remember? You and I had a helluva time Friday night and Saturday morning."

"Oh. How...how are you, Tom?" Ann said, disappointed. She really didn't want to have to deal with him again today. She could barely remember what he looked like.

"Hey, babe, I'm fine," he said, "Look, the reason I called is I got nothin' to do this afternoon and I got to thinkin' maybe you and I could get together. Whatta ya say?"

"I...I don't know," Ann said hesitantly. She was starting to recall who he was and knew she didn't really want to see him again.

"Come on, babe, what's the matter," he insisted, "You and I had a good time the other night. Jeez, you sure as hell acted like you was enjoyin' it."

"It...it was nice," Ann stammered. She wanted to tell him she didn't want to see him. She knew she should tell him, but...

"Hey, come on, babe, you and I we really had something pretty fuckin' fantastic!" the man said, "Or have you got other plans?"

"I...no, I...I guess not," Ann said. She didn't particularly want to see this guy again, but she didn't want to be alone, either. If he came over, it would make the day pass a little more quickly. Spending time with a stranger, even one she didn't particularly like, was better than being alone.

"Great!" the man said. "I'll be over about two, OK?"

"Ye...yes, that's OK," she said.

"See you then, babe." He was gone.

Ann sat there, holding the phone in her shaking hand, staring at it. Why had she caved in to the man's request? She should have refused him, why couldn't she? She didn't want to see him again, but now she was stuck. She didn't know his number, so she couldn't call him back and tell him not to come.. Feeling confused and defeated, she put the phone down.

She got up, walked to her bedroom, and got a book she'd purchase a while back on a whim. It was one of those books that had to do with improving your self-image. She sat back down on the sofa and began reading. Maybe, if she tried, she could improve herself and her life.

The phone rang again, disturbing Ann's reading. She hadn't been enjoying the book very much, anyhow. The author made it sounded so easy to change your life. She knew that wasn't true. Changing your life involved taking risks, and one thing she knew only too well was that when things didn't work out, you wound up more miserable than you were in the first place.

She picked up the phone and said, "Hello?"

"Ann?" a male voice said. "This is Mark Lewis."

"Oh, hi, Mr. Lewis," Ann said. She wondered why the store manager was calling her at home on her day off.

"How are you this morning, Ann?" he asked.

"I...I'm fine, Mr. Lewis," Ann replied.

"Are you angry that I called?" he asked.

"No, ah, why should I be?" Ann replied.

"What are you doing today, Ann?" he asked.

Ann wasn't sure what he meant by his question. "I...I'm, ah, just sitting here, reading and watching TV," she said.

"I was wondering if you might want some company today," her boss said.

"Ah...Mr. Lewis I...I don't know," Ann stammered, "I...ah...I have...ah...someone's coming over later."

"I see," Mr. Lewis said. "Did you enjoy your date last night? What did you do?"

The sudden change of subject caught Ann off-guard and kept her from realizing that it was none of her boss's business what she did in her free time. "I...I went to the Buckaroo," she said without thinking. The minute she said it she was sorry she had. What business of his was it, anyhow?

"You like country music, do you, Ann?" he said.

"It's...it's all right, I guess," Ann replied.

"Did you have a good time?" he asked.

Ann thought she heard a twinge of bitterness in her boss's voice and wondered why it was there. "It...it was...OK," she said. Memories of her debasing time with the two men whose names she'd forgotten washed over her.

"Well, I certainly hope you had a good time," Mr. Lewis said. "I was sorry you and I couldn't get together. And now you're turning me down today, too. I thought you told me you were interested in that promotion, Ann."

"Ah...Mr. Lewis, I...I am interested in that promotion. I...I'm not turning you down, it's...it's just that...well, someone else called me this morning, you know and..." she told her boss. She felt a flash of anger. Who the hell did he think he was, anyhow? Why should she have to explain what she was doing in her private life to him? He was married, why didn't he spend the day with his wife?

"All right, Ann," Mr. Lewis said. "Look, I have to go. I'd like you to stop in my office first thing Monday morning, all right?"

"Ah, yeah, sure, Mr. Lewis," Ann said. Then she was staring at a dead phone once again. Who the hell did Mr. Lewis think he was? "Damn you, Mr. Lewis!" she said after she had slammed the phone back on the receiver. "Damn you to hell! What right have you got to interfere in my life?"

She got up and began to pace. That man named Tom was coming over and she didn't want him to. What would she do when he got there? Could she really get rid of him? If she remembered correctly, he was big and strong and looked rough. If he didn't want to leave, how could she make him?

She heard a lawnmower sputter to life and glanced out her window. Her neighbor, Mr. Flannigan, was mowing his lawn. At least someone had a normal life. She wished she could.

Two o'clock arrived long before Ann wanted it to. By then, she was as nervous as she'd ever been. If she told Tom to leave and he didn't, then what? What if he got angry? She was scared, really scared. She could get hurt, or even get raped.

She jumped when a knock sounded on her door. Quaking, she walked over and opened it. Tom stood there, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt. He brushed by her into the apartment. As he walked by her, Ann smelled beer on his breath. Was that to be her fate, having a series of beer-drinking bullies in her life?

"Hey, babe, nice to see you again," Tom said. He moved toward her, arms outstretched.

Ann stepped back, away from him. "T...Tom, I...I'm sorry, I...I made a mistake when...when you called earlier," she said, "I...I have something else I have to do this afternoon."

Tom's smile faded and was replaced by an angry sneer. "Yeah, sure, what the hell you trying to prove, anyhow?" he growled. "You invite me over, now you're actin' all prissy. Come off it, bitch, you want it as bad as I do."

"I...no...no I don't," Ann stammered. "I...I want you to leave. Now. Please."

As the man moved toward Ann, she backed up. Unfortunately, her living room was small and she had nowhere to go. He trapped her against the wall, pulled her against him, grabbed her chin roughly, and kissed her.

Ann struggled, but she knew she had no chance against the man's strength. She kept her mouth closed though, and continued to struggle. Finally, he broke the kiss, stepped back, and glowered at her. "What the fuck is it with you?" he demanded, clearly angry. "The other night you came on like gangbusters, now you're actin' like a fuckin' nun. You some kinda sicko?" A cold smile formed on his face. "I got it! You're one a them chicks likes to be forced a little, aincha?" He reached for her.

Ann ducked under his grasp and moved across the room. "No! Please! I...I just want you to leave." She looked at the phone. Would it help to call the police? Or would that just make this man angrier? If he even let her get to the phone...

"Come on, bitch," Tom growled, moving toward her. "It don't make no never mind to me. You want to make this hard, I'll give it to you hard." He reached for her again.

Ann was sure she was going to be forced into doing something she didn't want to do and was more frightened than she'd ever been in her life. She shouldn't have made Tom angry. Now she was going to be hurt. How could she have been so stupid?

There was a knock at her front door. Tom stopped where he was. "Who the fuck is that?" he grumbled. "Don't answer it. You and I got other business to tend to."

"No...I...I'm expecting someone..." Ann said. She eased by him, moved to the door, and opened it. She was surprised to see her neighbor, Mr. Flannigan, standing there, smiling. "Ah, hi, Mr. Flannigan," she said.

"Hi, Ann," Martin said, "I wondered if you wanted me to mow your lawn, too, since I've already got my mower out." He'd been mowing Ann's lawn all summer and had never asked her before, but he'd seen the man go into her house, then, while he was re-fueling his mower, he heard the loud voices and wondered it there might be a problem. Even though he knew it was probably none of his business, he decided to check.

"Ah...sure, I...I'd love that, Mr. Flannigan," Ann replied. She knew her neighbor usually mowed her lawn for her without asking and wasn't sure why he'd asked her if it was all right to do so today. "I...I haven't had time to get it done and..."

Martin saw the man standing behind Ann, glowering. "I hate to be a pest," he said, "but do you have anything cold to drink? It's pretty hot out here and I'm dying of thirst. I forgot to get some soda when I went to the store yesterday."

"Ah...sure, I'm positive I have something," Ann said. She turned and headed for the kitchen. She had no idea why her neighbor had come over today, but maybe, if he hung around long enough, Tom would leave.

As she moved toward the kitchen, she looked at Tom, who stood there glowering at her, his face flushed, his hands clenched into massive fists. "Maybe...maybe this isn't so good," she thought. "Maybe...maybe Tom will do something to hurt Mr. Flannigan." She continued on to the kitchen.

Martin stepped into Ann's house and smiled at the obviously angry man standing there. "Hi," he said, "I'm Martin Flannigan."

"That supposed to mean something?" Tom grumbled. "You're a nosy asshole is what you are." He figured he'd show this guy he was sticking his nose in where it didn't belong. "A real pain in the ass."

Martin forced himself to keep smiling and nodded. "You know, lots of people tell me that," he said softly, but with a surprising amount of force in his voice. "I guess it's because being nosy is part of my job."

"What the fuck are you, some kinda professional snoop?" Tom asked.

Martin continued to smile and nodded. "I guess you could say that," he said, "A professional snoop, really, is exactly what I am."

Tom clenched his fists even tighter. This guy was really dense. "A professional snoop, huh?" he growled, "Hey, I don't know who you think you are, but you're way fuckin' out of line. Me and that chick in there, we got some business to tend to, and you're fuckin' gettin' in the way!"

In the kitchen, Ann heard Tom's voice, and was frightened. If he did anything to hurt Mr. Flannigan she'd never forgive herself. She didn't know what to do. Should she call the police? She stared at the phone, then down at the can of soda she held in her trembling hand.

Martin smiled at the big blond man. "I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself, did I?" he said. "I'm Martin Flannigan, Captain Martin Flannigan, James County Sheriff's Department. And you are..." He paused, smiled, and shrugged. "I guess it doesn't matter who you are, does it?" he continued, "Since you're leaving."

Ann still was in the kitchen, trying to decide what to do. "Wait a fuckin' minute!" she heard Tom say. She noticed there was a change in his voice. He sounded scared. What had Mr. Flannigan said to him? "Yeah, OK, I'm goin'," she heard her unwelcome guest say, "Yeah, right away." She heard heavy footsteps, then the front door slammed.

Still trembling, Ann walked into the living room. She saw that Tom wasn't there and felt tremendous relief. "What...what happened?" she asked.

Martin smiled and said, "I'm here and your, ah, friend is gone. He remembered he had something else to do this afternoon."

"Yes, I see that," Ann said. "What...what did you say to him? How did you do that...get him to leave?"

Martin shrugged. "You know, it's a funny thing. I just introduced myself and he left," he said.

"But...but how..." Ann stammered. She didn't understand any of this.

"Are you all right, Ann?" Martin asked.

"I...I'm still a little scared," she admitted, "but I'm all right now, thanks to you."

Martin smiled. "What are friends for?" he asked.

"I...I don't know how...how to thank you," Ann said.

"No thanks needed," Martin said, "except, maybe, for by handing me that soda you have in your hand."

"Oh, yes, I...I forgot," Ann said, and handed the soda to him. "I...I still don't understand. How did you get him to leave like that? He was so big, so angry, how...what did you say to him?"

"Like I said, I just introduced myself," her neighbor said. "When he heard I was with the sheriff's department, he remembered he had something else to do."

"You...you're a cop?" Ann stammered. "I...I didn't know..." She'd lived next door to him for over a year and never knew what he did for a living.

Martin took a sip of his soda, then he nodded. "I'm an arson investigator, actually," he said. "You sure you're OK?"

"Yes, and thank you," Ann said. Relief swept over her, but she was still quaking and her legs were weak, so she sat down.

"Por nada," her neighbor said. "I guess I better get going and finish mowing, huh?"

"I...I should start doing my own lawn," she said. "You've been doing it all year and..."

"Tell you what," Martin said, "I don't mind mowing, but I hate trimming. If you feel guilty about having me mow your lawn, you can pay me back by doing the trimming in both our yards."

"OK," Ann said, smiling. "You have a deal."

They spent the rest of the day working on their lawns. Martin mowed and Ann did the trimming around the walks and flower beds. When they finished, Martin offered to take Ann out for a pizza and she gladly accepted. Thanks to him, she'd enjoyed one of the best Sundays she'd had in years.

"I really had a wonderful day today," Ann told her neighbor as they waited in a booth in the pizza parlor for their food to be cooked.

Martin smiled at her and said, "I've always said mowing a woman's lawn is the quickest way to her heart."

"You know, I...I had no idea you were a policeman," she said. "Even though we've been neighbors for, what, over a year?"

"Does it bother you that I'm a cop?" he asked.

Ann shook her head and smiled. "No, actually, it makes me feel a lot safer," she said. "You know, you really are a very nice man. I know I'm being nosy, but aren't you married?"

"I'm a widower," Martin replied.

"Oh," Ann replied, "I...I'm sorry to hear that."

"What about you?" he asked softly.

"I...I'm not married," Ann said. She almost told him. He was a widower, he might understand. But maybe he wouldn't. After all, what she'd done was pretty horrible. He was nice and she liked being with him and didn't want to mess it up. She needed a friend, and he might be her friend...if he didn't know... "Do...do you have any children?" she asked.

"Two," Martin replied. He wondered about what he'd seen in Ann's face when he asked about her marital status. "In fact, my daughter just got engaged Friday, and my son got engaged Saturday."

They spent the rest of the meal talking about Martin's kids and the planned double wedding. Finally, they went home. Martin went to his house and Ann went to hers.

That night Ann went to bed and slept well for the first time in years.

Her neighbor lay in bed wide-awake, however. Martin felt a powerful attraction to his neighbor and was confused by it. He hadn't come close to feeling this way about a woman since his wife's death and didn't understand why Ann, of all people was affecting him this way. "You could be setting yourself up for real trouble," he told himself as he lay in bed. "You know what she's been doing, and you know she's hiding something. You ought to pass on this one. You could get hurt, big time." "Maybe I should," he said out loud as he stared at the ceiling, "but I'm not sure I can."

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byD.C. Roi© 0 comments/ 18894 views/ 0 favorites
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