Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chapter Ten

Chapter one:  http://bloodyroseandthorn.blogspot.com/search/label/Ch%201

And...a slight bit of a turning point. :)  


CHAPTER TEN

She awoke with a start.  The sound of steely fingers scraping metal faded into the darkness and her burning stomach drove her to snatch the water glass at the side of the bed.  Sweat whisked away with the back of her hand.  Sleep blurred her vision and gargled laughter still filled her imagination.

She shuddered and gulped the water like she’d been thirsting for a century, and then set the glass back down when the sense of danger re-emerged from the corners of the room.

Sliding off the bed in an attempt to escape, she fell onto her knees with a gasp.  Though she knew her mind was playing tricks on her, she hugged herself while shadows clawed from under the bed and nightstand, reaching down from the ceiling and running ghostly fingers through her hair.  To her feet she went, her heart in her throat as she pulled the chain of her bedside lamp.

Poof. The shadows faded.

Unfortunately, with her deep breaths came the stale leftovers of cigarette smoke.

Alice had been here earlier. Late, after Bekah and her mother had arrived home.

The vodka her friend had left her…was still tucked between the headboard and the wall, but Bekah hadn’t any pop to mix it with.

After that nightmare, she’d need it.

Collapsing back onto the bed, she brought her knees toward her chest and returned the glare of the lamp light against her telephone.

During times like this, she often snatched the phone from its cradle and held it to her ear.  Though only a dial tone filled the emptiness, she’d imagine her father on the other end of the line, soothing her with one of his loony stories- something to make the likes of Freddy Kruger disappear into a fluff of smoke and snatch her bedroom back into pleasant reality- well, as pleasant as it could be with all of the pink that it shoved in her face on a daily basis.

As she rolled her back, her childhood laughter rippled from one of her favorite memories- her father describing how Bugs Bunny used to shove dynamite carrots into the rear-ends of any big, bad wolves who dared to mess with him.  Her mother used to scold him for telling “obnoxious stories,” but that never stopped him and it never stopped Bekah from laughing her butt off.

No more Bugs Bunny stories. No more nitpicking over the outfits Bekah chose to wear.  No more Daddy reading his newspaper at the dining room table on Saturday mornings.
 
He’d deserted them.  Just like that. No notice, no letters, no phone calls.

Just emptiness.

Damn him.

He couldn’t really have left over the incident with Towers, could he have?  Why would he abandon her in the midst of such a freaked-out situation and why wouldn’t he believe her version of the story?  Did he believe it? 

What else might have been going on with him that neither she nor her mother knew about?

God, why didn’t anyone stay where they were supposed to?

Did people like Allie realize how lucky they were?  Even if the men in her life currently consisted of nothing but her brothers, she had it made.  Her brothers loved her, carted her around, stole her off to the doctor at the first sign of danger.

Not that Bekah needed all of that babying, but a man who truly loved her would be nice.   Someone who cared no matter what.

And Shields…Dan…he seemed to be a bearer of such care.  And she’d been a brat when he needed it the least.

Back on her side, the phone popped into view again.  Dan’s card lay on the nightstand, not having seen her mother’s hand just yet, because why would she give her mother the ability to plot with Teacher?

Shoot, what did it matter if they plotted and planned behind her back? All the plotting behind her back couldn’t change who she was and what she intended to do with her life, which over the past year had become a mystery.  Her visions of becoming a cop, of learning to kick butt and to play volleyball- swept under a billion “Cheap Rose” chants.

Crème filled.  Your favorite.

She pursed her lips and closed her eyes tightly.  Yes, the ominous feelings that followed her nightmares always brought the heartache of a thousand years back into focus.

The steel-fingered monster who crawled into her dreams loved shoving all of her depressive thoughts in her face, reminding her of her mistakes- with Towers, with her father, with anyone or anything, but those two men always stood out the most.


Towers may have already been leaning toward the creepy side, but her teasing had pushed him completely over.

It wasn’t entirely his fault but she hadn’t the guts to tell anyone.

Hey, he’s the one who grabbed your breast. No matter what you said or what you did, he’s the one who made that freaking choice, so stop it with the self-torture.

She could say that all she wanted, but the fact remained that she’d played a part in all of the drama, and Brian Cruise seemed to know something about it.

The acidity in her stomach rose, as though ole Freddy had turned up a thermostat, and she found herself leaning over her lap, feet flat on the floor.  Any moment, she’d cover the rug beneath her with a stream of watery puke. The pressure of the past year couldn’t be held down for long. Sooner or later it would all come pouring out and when it did, she still wouldn’t feel any relief.  Instead, it would just keep mounting and mounting, emptying and mounting in a never-ending cycle that made her feel like bloody hell.

It was like…Hotel California.  “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

She was a prisoner of her own device.

Sheesh, listen to yourself. It’s just the late night…you’re just tired.

Yeah, people often start to crack in the wee hours of the morning, when they’re left to the silence and the thoughts…and often, the painful truth.  With nothing else to distract, how could people deny what they’ve been carrying around inside of them?

How could she deny that she’d liked Mr. Shields from the beginning but had been afraid to acknowledge it?

He might still have been a creep, but the doubts in his favor continued to mount.

Crap, I can’t take this.

She pushed off of the bed and trekked through the dim hallway to the front of the house. Thankfully, any shadows that might have reached for her would evaporate as soon as their claws touched the kitchen light. Her mother was in the habit of leaving it on, despite her harping about the electric bill.  Bekah suspected she dealt with nightmares of her own and sometimes thought to ask her about it.

But why would Kaye open up to her? Bekah was the “baby” and her mother’s sister usually stood at the receiving end of Kaye’s tearful breakdowns.  Bekah had overheard her many nights while laying in bed, watching the hours tick by, hampered by the sound of her mother’s sniffles.  Did Kaye really think “Baby” couldn’t hear her?  Did her mother assume that Bekah didn’t care because they never discussed it?

Bekah cared, all right.

She reached for a bottle of Coke and a glass, which she promptly filled with ice and then tip-toed back to her room.

Locking the door, she reseated herself on her bed and hoped like heck she’d sleep off her drunkenness before morning.

It was already 3AM and Teacher’s card sat next to her bed, daring her to call.

Was Allie OK?  Did Dan care to listen to Bekah break down like Kaye did for her sister?

If Shields cared as much as she suspected, he might welcome her openness, but the look on his face at the bowling alley…after he’d told her she could contact him if she needed anything…well that spoke volumes.

It wouldn’t be “proper” for her to call a teacher, and only at a nightmarish time like this would she even consider it.

A few glasses of pop and vodka and all this nuttiness would sink back into oblivion as she reclaimed her right to a good night’s sleep.  Thank the gods tomorrow (or today) was Saturday.

It didn’t take long for the calm to return- a foggy sense of being that shrank her fears and heartaches into little bugs, easily flicked off of her mind.  Still, she lay with the phone receiver cradled next to her heart, the soon-to-fade dial tone a strange sort of lullaby. 

She didn’t own a cell phone, but that didn’t matter.  No need to run around, texting Alice- or whoever- every two minutes, as long as she kept this larger, old-fashioned companion in her room. Beside her bed, where she could hold it close to her chest and feel sheltered in someone’s arms.  A man’s arms.

Where was all this coming from?  The vodka should have silenced all of this bull, but apparently she hadn’t 
had enough.  She sat up to fill another glass full of her favorite indulgence, allowing her “friend” to rest by her pillow as Dan’s card stared back up at her.

Was Teacher still awake?  Was Allie OK?

Maybe Dan was on the computer?  A phone call possibly topped the no-no chart, but a quick email just to ask about Allie…would that be OK?

Stop it.  Drink your alcohol and go back to sleep.

She downed the third glass of the cherry-flavored stuff and sank back into her pillow.  The telephone line had gone dead, so she pressed her finger to the button to restart the tone.

As soon as she released the button, however, the familiar buzz erupted along with the words: “Livin’ it up at the Hotel California. What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise). Bring your alibis…”

Another gasp and she sat back up, phone beginning to quiver in her hand.  From somewhere in the distance came Freddy’s cackles and she shook her head in a feeble effort to stop him from coming.

He’d come all right, she realized as her heart rate quickened. Soon she’d fall asleep and there he’d be, taunting and taunting but never ending her misery in a shower of blood. 

If only she hadn’t spent so many nights lost in horror movie marathons. Most of them she could handle- she loved zombies and vampires (and not the cheesy new vampire stories, but the really horrific ones).

But Freddy?  God help her, the fear of Freddy just couldn’t be shaken.

More vodka, she decided and poured the fourth glass.  By now, she was starting to feel a little woozy, her mind whirling with lyrics from Hotel California, which she tried to shut out by clamping her hands over her ears.

Tears streamed passed her closed lids and she cursed them for daring to escape.  She rarely cried and it needed to stay that way. If she kept breaking down, how could she ever learn to fight her demons?

Why wasn’t the vodka easing her mind now?  How could it be failing her at a time like this?  Where was the drunken bliss that normally settled over her after only a couple of drinks?

Vaguely, she sensed it but she’d developed heartburn, which seemed to offset the effects of the alcohol.

No, that made no sense.

She turned to her side and began to rock while holding her pillow against her stomach.  Freddy’s laughter had faded, but Brian Cruise’s green eyes filled her head and she could almost hear him threatening from somewhere in the night. Almost as clear as she’d heard the dial tone, she could hear him snaring at her for leading a guy on and then dropping him.  She knew he’d eventually spill what he’d learned about her. Unless she managed to shut him up, but right now that seemed so impossible.

What did it matter? Was her secret really that bad?  What did she fear most?

She hiccupped and sloughed away a tear, thankful that they seemed to be stopping for now.

But the pain sat on her chest.  Just sat there.  For no good reason. It just didn’t want to leave, like a demon bent on possessing her.

God, I’m losing it. Totally losing it.

Afraid to open her eyes, she recalled her teacher’s show of concern throughout the day. At his desk, at the bowling alley- the curled brows, the soft tone of voice. The way he said her name, “Rose…”

He cared.  Or did he lust and so he pretended to care?

Only time would tell, but she’d love to hear his voice now.  It would soothe her.  Maybe if she just called, even if she woke him up, it would be worth it just to hear his voice.  She wouldn’t be alone.  She’d just sit there with the phone pressed to her ear until he gave up and hung up. 

Even if he had caller ID, he wouldn’t know it was her because her mother had blocked their number.

Thankful she’d remembered that tidbit in her half-drunken state, she snatched the phone.  Maybe by tomorrow she would have forgotten her dingbat behavior.

Unfortunately, she needed to open her eyes to read the number on the card, but she kept her gaze from straying toward her closet or other areas that used to frighten her as a child.  During these times, her childishness always won the battles.

Her fingers quivered as she pressed the numbers into the phone, her heart rate climbing.

What are you doing? her mind screamed but her heart willed her to stay.  She was a tough girl, after all.   

Calling Teacher in the middle of the night would have been the least despicable of her crimes and she’d no intention of repeating it- unless he turned out to be a nutcase, then she wouldn’t mind harassing him in the slightest.

Like she should have been harassing Brian.

You’re going weak for sure.

Leaning back into her pillow, she listened to the ringing phone and smiled softly.  The vodka was finally beginning to work.  The numbness, sweet numbness claiming her lost soul.

“Hello?”  His voice sounded crisp and clear, as though he hadn’t a groggy bone in his body.

She grinned and thought she could just trail off to sleep now. 

“Who’s there?”

Me, Teacher Dear. And you sound so…hot.

A bit of shuffling around filled the line and her heart skipped a beat when she heard, “Rose?”

Her eyes flew open again, but the vodka kept any serious worry at bay. At least she wasn’t so lost in the land of the drunk that she couldn’t hold her giggles back.

What should she say?  How did he know it was her?

“Mrs. Rose?” he asked.  “Is anyone there?”

“You could say that,” she heard herself mutter. “Half here, anyway.”

“Rebekah?”  More shuffling around. “Are you OK?  What’s going on?”

“Just needed a friend, Teach.  That’s all.”  Her eyes drifted shut and she felt the receiver starting to go limp in her hand.

“You have one,” came his drifting voice. “He’s there…just call out.”

“What?” She pulled the phone back to her ear, now fighting the need to rest.  “Who?  What do you mean?”

“Did you read the Narnia books yet?”

Was he serious?  Had she missed part of this conversation?

“I’m not mentally capable of discussing this, Teach…” She could hear the slur in her words and figured she might be busted.

Sure enough, he asked, “Rose?  Are you…drunk?”

She burped into her fist and snickered, though she was sure that if he’d heard her, any attraction he might have felt would leap out the window for good.

Crap, what had she done?

“Answer me, Rebekah. Are you OK?  Please tell me what’s going on, because I’m feeling pretty unsettled here.”

“I’m OK.”  Then she remembered her concern for Allie.  She guessed his little sister was fine or he probably would have told her to shut the hell up and leave him alone. Still, she asked, “Is Allie OK?”

Silence.

“Dan?”

Oops, she’d just called Teacher by his first name.  She gnawed her inner cheek, waiting.

“She’s fine,” he said finally.  “She had some blood drawn at the hospital…we just got home an hour ago..she’s resting.”

“Good.”

“Listen,” he said. “This phone conversation is technically not appropriate, but I’m concerned.  What’s going on over there?  I can tell you’ve been drinking, but is that all you’ve done?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you take any pills?”

“Nope. Don’t have any- except Tylenol PM.” Yeah, she’d forgotten about those.

“You didn’t take any, did you?” He sounded alarmed.

“No, Teacher, relax.  I didn’t take any.”

“Where’s your mom?”

“Asleep- and she’s going to stay that way.”

“I don’t know about that.”

“Look- I think…if I remember this conversation tomorrow, I’m totally going to regret this….”

He fell silent again, and she pictured him leaning against the wall with those adorable eyebrows curled in his typical display of concern.  Arms folded- bulging biceps.  How she’d love to rest her head on his pecs and fall into the deepest sleep of her life.

“Go on,” he prodded.  “I’m listening.”

“I…was having nightmares.  Just need someone here.  I’m falling asleep.”

“But what did you take?”

“Nothing much…just some vodka.”

His breath filled the line. “Rose…”

“I’m OK.”

“It’s not the answer.”

Typical reply.

Her eyes were drifting shut again and she wasn’t sure how long she could fight it.  Vodka didn’t always make her this tired…but she’d only had about two hours of sleep and the relaxation that had suddenly seized her…she wouldn’t complain.

Detecting a slight ringing in her ears, she asked, “Can I just fall asleep with you on the line?”  

“I’m here. Stay on the line, Woman, I’ll take care of things.”

Take care of things?  Woman?

She couldn’t sort this out right now…but as she finally entered la-la land, she knew she’d seriously regret making this phone call.

Ch 11:  http://bloodyroseandthorn.blogspot.com/search/label/Ch%20Eleven

4 comments:

  1. Gahh! I was just going to bed but I had to check if you updated and you DID! I'm sooo glad btw. You were right this is moving faster now, but everything is happening at a pace that meshes well. I super excited that Dan and Bekah are getting closer. I missed their in depth conversations from your other stories. Can't wait until you update again!
    :D

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  2. Believe me, I've missed their conversations. Dan is more straight-laced this time around is the thing, but since she'll be dating Ryan- that's the remedy;)

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  3. I just had the most amazing 2,5 hours of my life!!! I just got back from a Bon Jovi concert! I kissed him!!!!!!!!!!! I'll never wash these lips again!!!!!!

    I come back at 2am and I find another update!!! Yayy!! Can the night get better?

    I loved this chapter so so much! I love the way she thinks to herself and their call! I knew she'd call him! I'm happy she did! I would too!

    I'm waiting to see what will go on with Ryan and the whole dating thing.

    I mean, I want Dan and bekah together... but I'm a sucker for romance AND angst! Bring it on, sister!!!!!

    Suzie

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  4. Wow, Suzie, sounds like an exciting night. Glad you enjoyed this. :)

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