A Death, Baked Bob, and the... Ch. 04byRogue Writer©
"The therapist tell you that?" she asked. I nodded. Jess looked in my eyes and asked, "You still in therapy?"
"No," I said. "You don't always have to go for your whole life. Sometimes when something bad happens you can go for a little while until you're better."
"Funny you should mention that," she said. Jess took something out of her bag and slid it across the table. It was a brochure. I picked it up and looked at it. "The Sunnydale Clinic?"
"It's a rehab program," Jess said. The nervousness in her voice wasn't hard to detect. She started to say something, then stopped, got that faraway look again, and finally looked me directly in the eye. "If you want to be with me, you have to be clean first." She swallowed hard and continued. "No in-between. And don't tell me you can kick it all by your lonesome. Smoking you can give up on your own, with this stuff you need help."
I put the brochure on the table. "I don't think I can afford this."
"I talked to Baked Bob. Between him, me and some of your friends we're going to pay for it."
That surprised me. "How did you get in touch with Bob?"
"I realized that email address I was talking to must have been his. He wants you to do this." Jess leaned across the table. "And I need you to do this. After what happened with my parents…I need to be able to trust the people in my life."
Jess wore an expectant look on her face. I took in a deep breath and let it out. "Okay. I'll do it."
Jess gave a small smile and her hands took hold of mine and squeezed tight. "I know you can do this."
I smiled and squeezed back. "What I need to do right now is go to the bathroom." I got up, hoping she wouldn't notice anything funny about me bringing my bag with me.
I made sure the other two stalls were empty and went into the last one. Out of my bag came my stash. Maybe I would go into that program, but first I was going to get my head straight. Who the hell does she think she is, blackmailing me into that? And fucking Bob, once again meddling in my life, something I'll have to put an end to.
I stood in the stall looking at the pills. Part of my brain was saying, "Just put one in your mouth!" But something kept me from doing it. And then I realized that part of my brain wasn't talking so loudly anymore. There was another part, speaking over that other part. It was saying, "Jess is sitting out there. She cares about you and isn't that important to you?"
I stood there feeling almost numb as the two parts of my brain silently worked all this out. I felt like an observer in all this. And that's when I realized why I was standing there frozen – I wasn't an observer. Both parts were making their arguments, but I had to make the decision. With that realization I moved my hand and dumped the pills into the toilet.
"Welcome to oblivion," I said as I pressed down the lever and watched the water spin, carrying the drugs to some unknown place. A little laugh escaped me as I thought of sewer rats getting high.
When I came back from the bathroom my cell phone started ringing. I shook my head and told Jess this would only take a minute. Then I spoke into the phone. "What is it?"
"My buddy the cop called. They're over at Renee's place. She's dead."
I felt my stomach turn. "What happened?"
"They're not sure yet. They caught three guys just as they were leaving her place. Someone called in a tip." Bob was silent for a moment and then spoke trying to hold in his breath at the same time. "They said…Renee was…shot. Several…times." Bob exhaled.
"They didn't find anyone else? An Asian girl?"
"No," he said. "Just Renee."
I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe Zhi had taken my advice and left. Or maybe she knew enough to be nervous, saw Tyler and his men coming and ran to call the cops.
In a sincere voice, Bob said, "I'm glad you weren't there."
"I wasn't going back anyway."
"Good," he said. "I hope you learned something from all this." His voice took on this stern, fatherly tone when he said it. Suddenly I was fuming.
"Yeah, that I shouldn't trust you. You're the one who sent me to her. What the hell were you thinking?"
That caught him off guard. "I was…I was just…"
"Let me guess, you were looking out for me. Well maybe Monica was right; people like you are trouble. Goodbye Bob." I hung up the phone. Jess looked at me. "What was that about?" she asked.
"Something a long time coming," I said.
When we got back to my car I grabbed Jess and kissed her. Looking into her eyes I asked, "Do you have to be anywhere tomorrow?"
"You want to come back to my place?"
She smiled. "Depends. Do I get another lesson?"
"If I get another kiss."
"Oh! I thought I'd bought the school already."
I smiled. "You still have to pay the staff."
She shook her head. "You've got a dirty mind."
On the ride back we joked and laughed. I realized getting Jess to talk about her past had been a good thing. She seemed more relaxed and open, and I got the feeling she felt comfortable around me. That feeling turned out to be true as we arrived at the front of my building. We had been walking silently, holding hands, when Jess suddenly turned and said, "Do you have a strap-on?"
I grinned. "Now who's got a dirty mind?"
"It's all that religious repression I grew up with."
We laughed, and that's when it happened. Jess was looking at me and she smiled wide, teeth showing. Then she had to look down to see the steps as we walked up to my front door, but the smile was still on her face. There was a feeling of great elation inside me, and it felt so good that when I looked up it took me a moment to realize what I was seeing. Tim was standing there at the top of the stairs, a gun in his hand. It was aimed at Jess, but he didn't shoot when I saw him. I realized he was waiting for Jess to look up, wanting her to know who ended her life.
It was in the moment he waited that so much flashed through my mind. The day I was so overjoyed about my promotion and the moment I walked through the door and realized something was wrong, those agonizing months watching Monica slowly die and not being able to do anything about it. Seeing her coffin being lowered down at the grave. Coming home and being overwhelmed by memories. Silencing those memories with drugs. Washing myself with guilt because I couldn't do anything to save her. Wallowing in self-pity because I was left here to live life without her. Hating myself for not being able to do more. And then, just two words drowned out all those thoughts.
Just as Jess looked up I threw my body in front of hers. There was a loud pop and suddenly an explosion of white-hot pain in my chest. My brain kept fighting consciousness. I heard screaming. The next thing I knew Jess was kneeling over me, crying. Telling me she loved me.
And then there was nothing.
I woke up screaming. My body was covered in sweat and I sat up in the bed.
I heard, "Keisha! Baby!"
I felt a hand on my back, its touch bringing me back to reality and soothing my nerves. I stopped screaming but I was moaning loudly, my body rocking back and forth as I tried to calm down.
"It's okay," Monica said. She put her arms around me and in a calm and soothing tone said, "It's okay. You're safe. It's okay."
I was still shaking, but my breathing slowed and I managed to speak. "It was horrible. Fucking horrible."
"It's okay now, you're safe."
I took in deep gulps of air as Monica's hand rubbed my shoulder. "I had this nightmare," I said. "You died, and I fell apart, and got addicted to drugs…and there was something about being naked in this big house. And then Bob, he set me up on this blind date, and Andy said I was going to lose someone again…and, oh I don't fucking know."
"Shhhhh," Monica said. "Don't worry, it's over now. Relax. It's just scary sleeping in a strange place, that's all."
I looked around. Her uncle's cabin was very cozy and relaxing, but she was right, this place wasn't home. Monica guided me back down and we fell asleep hugging each other.
The next morning I woke up in the bed alone. I walked out onto the porch and enjoyed the feeling of being naked outside. The sun was shining bright and there were only a few clouds in the sky.
Monica came walking around the side of the cabin holding flowers, which she handed to me. "Picked these up for you. Luckily they were cheap."
"Thanks," I said. We went inside and made breakfast and fed it to each other. Then we went down to the lake and walked around to the other side, where we sat under a tree and enjoyed the setting around us. Suddenly Monica jumped up and slapped my shoulder.
"Tag, you're it!" she said and ran away. I got up and chased after her. Monica ran into the forest and I ran in after her. There were lots of trees and no path and I realized I'd lost her. I kept looking around the trees, thinking she was hiding behind one. Suddenly I felt something hit me in the head, so I looked up.
Monica was sitting on a large branch in the tree. She picked off pieces of bark and tossed them at me and giggled.
"Stop that!" I yelled.
Monica climbed down, and when she reached the base of the tree I pushed her up against it. "Gotcha," I said.
"Mmm, suppose you deserve a reward for that."
Monica was facing the tree. I brought my hand between us and slipped it between her legs. She was wet, and when I made contact with her pussy she moaned that sweet moan of hers that tells me how happy I make her. I pressed my body against hers as I started fingering her. Monica pressed back against me and I brought my other hand around front to caress her breast and pinch her nipple. She started panting and I kissed her shoulder, savoring the feel of her skin. I brought my hand down from her breast to her pussy, both hands now working either end of it. Monica called out as I worked on her faster, then slowing down to keep her on edge for as long as possible. As I brought her up again I slid the hand between us back to find her rosebud and worked my finger into her. My other hand worked on her clit, and between the two sensations Monica was screaming. Her hands pressed against the tree as if she were holding it up, and finally she let out a yelp as she came, slumping against the tree and breathing heavily.
Soon she turned around and we shared a long, passionate kiss, during which she guided us around so my back was against the tree. Then she started to lick down my body, taking the time to suck on my nipples and rim my belly button before she kneeled between my legs. Her tongue licked and sucked at my pussy while her fingers caressed along my slit, waiting for the right moment. Soon I felt Monica's finger enter me, a part of her coming inside my body and taking control, manipulating my pleasure and showing her love for me all at once. She was like a violinist playing her favorite instrument, knowing from years of practice and performance what reaction each movement will cause, taking care to be gentle while manipulating it to her will. I reached my arms up over my head and grabbed the trunk of the tree, feeling the impeding force of nature exploding within me. When she looked up at me from between my legs, all felt right with the world.
She got up and we leaned against each other. Time stood still, and nothing outside of us mattered. If a tree fell right now, neither of us would hear it.
Suddenly I slapped her on the arm. "You're it!" I ran off and didn't look behind me to see if she was keeping up. I hid behind a tree and peeked around. Monica was nowhere to be seen. I tried controlling my breath; afraid the sound would give me away.
Then it happened. A flash. There were lights and beeping sounds and people yelling. Someone standing over me with a small knife, and suddenly there was lots of movement. And then it was gone. I leaned against the tree, not sure if what just happened was real. Then suddenly I heard, "Keish!"
I ran towards her voice. She called again and I came out of the woods. Monica was standing in front of a chair that sat on the edge of a cliff side overlooking the valley. "Look at this," she said.
That's when I noticed the chair was carved out of stone. "Wow. That is weird."
She looked at me with a mischievous grin and said, "Sit in it."
I looked at it for a moment to make sure nothing was sticking out of the seat, and then planted myself in it. The cool stone against my skin was an odd feeling. Looking out over the valley, I said, "They must have made this to sit here and watch the sunset, or the sunrise. Which way is east?"
"I think that way," she said, pointing in the direction the chair was facing.
"So this is to watch the sunrise. Do you think your uncle did this?"
"I doubt it."
I stood up, and suddenly something occurred to me.
"I don't remember this," I said. I looked at Monica, but she was looking at the sky. I shook my head. "I don't remember finding this chair. Do you?"
All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my chest. But I couldn't get my mind off of what I'd just realized. "I…don't remember this part. Monica, why don't…I remember this?"
Monica turned and looked at me. She smiled, but it was a sad smile.
I started crying. "Why…why don't I remember this? Why…I don't…" And then something hit me. Something big. "Why remember?" I said. "Why do I think I should be remembering? If I'm here right now…I shouldn't…"
Suddenly, the pain in my body turned to weakness and I fell into the chair. I couldn't move my legs, or my arms. Monica walked over and kneeled in front of me and put her hand on my face.
In a trembling voice, I said, "Mon, I'm scared."
"Don't be baby." She smiled, and this time there was warmth in it. "You're going to be fine."
Suddenly everything got blurry. Looking at her face, I concentrated hard and kept trying to focus, but it wasn't working. Just before I blacked out, I could swear I heard Monica say something about moving on.
And then I woke up for real.
The room was dark, but the light on the side of my bed was on. A curtain was drawn next to the bed. I was in a hospital. I felt something up both my nostrils, and when I went to reach for it something pulled on my arm. An IV tube. My chest felt like there was a thousand pound weight on it, but somehow I didn't have trouble breathing. I noticed a chair across from the bed, and in that chair someone was sleeping. Someone with blonde hair. I wanted to say her name, but I didn't have the strength. I passed out.
I woke up again and Jess was standing over me. She was crying and I reached out for her. Jess took my hand and I said something like, "Sadness really doesn't suit you." Then I passed out again.
Within a week I was doing better. I slept a lot, which was nice, but sometimes when I woke up there were people in my room and that surprised me.
One such time when I woke up there was sunlight coming from the window on the left side of my bed. It was bothering my eyes so I turned to the right side and there was Baked Bob standing over me.
"You look like shit," he said.
"So do you," I replied, and he did. Bob's hair was matted down and his clothes look like he'd slept in them, yet his eyes looked like he hadn't slept at all.
"I'd better go," he said and turned to leave. I reached out and grabbed his coat.
"No," I said. "Stay."
Bob turned and looked at me. Then he sat down in the chair next to my bed. We sat in silence for a few minutes.
"I don't hate you," I said finally. "I'm just angry. I know you've been trying to be a good friend. But you didn't really need to say or do anything, just be there when I needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen when I felt like ranting. I didn't need someone trying to orchestrate things."
"But I had to."
I sighed, prepared myself for one of Bob's opinions, and asked, "Why?"
"Because Monica asked me to."
It certainly was not the answer I expected. I stared at Bob, lost in shock, until he continued.
"It was towards the end, when she was in the hospital. Monica called and asked me to come over while you were at work." Bob half-smiled to himself and looked at the wall. "I had an idea of what she was going to ask even before I got here. She said I had to be your guardian angel, to look out for you after she was gone." Bob frowned and turned his gaze back at me. "You'd been working so hard to put on a strong front that she was scared you were going to self-destruct. Monica told me I needed to make sure you moved on after she died."
I couldn't believe what Bob was telling me.
Bob sighed. "I still understand if you're angry with me. I know I don't always do things in the most logical way. My dad would probably say it was my mom's fault, 'cause she was always smoking pot around me." He shrugged. "Guess I screwed up."
I shook my head. "No. You just reminded me to have some self-respect. Again."
Bob smiled. "That's right. Am I going to have to keep doing that? Cause if I do, I'm going to need a raise."
I smiled. "And use of the company car."
A few days later Asian Andy came to see me. I had a little more strength by then, enough to get a smug smile on my face.
"So," I said. "I guess you were wrong about what was going to happen."
Andy just shrugged and said, "It was bound to happen sometime."
Jess was at the hospital every day. The nurses told me that she wouldn't leave my bedside for the first forty-eight hours I was there. Something had changed with her, and I didn't see that sadness in her eyes as much. We talked about life and our future. I didn't tell her about what Asian Andy had predicted, that conversation was defiantly going to be sometime later. At one point the police came to talk to me. They had arrested Tim and I would have to testify at his trial.
On the day I was released Jess and I were at the curb in front of the hospital, me sitting in a wheelchair, waiting for Baked Bob to pick us up. Jess turned to me and said, "Do you think he forgot?"
"To pick us up? No. Where the hospital is? Probably. The key to being friends with Bob is knowing that he'll always be there for you when you need him, as long as you have patience and can deal with all the weird turns."
Jess chuckled. Then she said, "You know, I didn't think anything was going to top that first date. Then we go out on a second date and you get shot saving my life."
"How about this, for the third date we just go to my place and watch a movie. That should be safe enough."
"With our luck," Jess said, "there'll probably be an alien invasion that night."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: In a strange coincidence, the people of planet Teionis 6 were planning to invade the Earth on the night Keisha and Jess went on their third date. Luckily they were thwarted, due to the efforts of Baked Bob and Asian Andy. But that's another story…