Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Beginning of the End - Chapter 44

I felt as though a ten-ton weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  Kevin was standing next to the car and smiled as he saw me approach.
“You did it.”
It was a statement, not a question.  I guess my grin had given me away.
“Yup,” I replied.  “But I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.  I just want to get home and celebrate for now.”
“So now you go to trial?” he asked as we pulled away from the courthouse.
I tried to ignore the queasy feeling that crept up on me when Kevin mentioned the trial.  Now was not the time to worry.  I had been worrying enough, and I wanted to focus on the present.  The bastard was locked up, and he wouldn’t be out at least until after the trial.
“Yes,” I replied impatiently, “but I don’t want to talk about that.  Let’s just go home and find Tanya.”
We drove in silence, albeit not an uncomfortable one.  With the windows down and the sun shining, I was feeling happier than I had in a long time.  It was a good feeling.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised to see the motel owner watching us through the window.  As Kevin parked the car, he crossed the parking lot to us.
“Kev – you did pay the rent, right?” I asked nervously, watching him approach.
“Yes!” he insisted, just as confused as I was.
“You Dasi?” he called out to me.  “Dasi from Chicago?”
“Um, yes, that’s me…” I replied, suddenly nervous again.  What was going on?
“You need to call home.  Now.  Your parents keep calling.”
I blanched.  “Ok.”
“I’ll be in the office, you can use the phone there.  Sounded important.”  As he turned and walked back to the office, Kevin spoke.
“Do you think they know?”
I turned to face him.  “Know what, exactly?  I mean, there are a million things they could’ve found out…”  I felt the panic building. “Maybe someone called them about court.  Maybe someone called them about your court!  Or maybe something happened. What if they know about everything?”
Kevin looked as nervous as I felt.  “You need to call them.”
I nodded and headed toward the office and Kevin turned to go into our room.  The manager placed the phone on the counter and nodded.
“One time, I make exception,” he said gruffly.  “Next time, you use pay phone.”
“Thank you,” I said, as I began to dial the familiar number.
As I listened to the ringing, my pulse raced.  Finally, I heard my mother’s voice.  “Hello?” I could hear the tears in her voice.
“Mom?” I said, fear clutching my heart.  “It’s me – what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Dasi!”  she cried, now sobbing in earnest. 
What?  Are you ok?  What happened?”
“It’s Snuffy,” she finally answered.  “We had to put him down.”
I felt my own tears begin in earnest.  Snuffy?  But I had just seen him at Christmas!  He was fine!  I forgot about everything at that moment, didn’t care about court, or partying, or Kevin…  all I could think of was the little dog who always loved me no matter what.  My mother explained that he had gotten pretty sick lately, and this morning my father had taken him to the vet and had him put down. 
“He was old, honey, it was the right thing to do,” she sniffed on the other end of the phone.
I nodded as though she could see me.
“Yeah, mom?”
“I love you.”
“Love you too.”  I hung up the phone and wiped my eyes.  Snuffy was gone.  For some reason, I suddenly felt as though the bottom had dropped out of my world.  My childhood pet had died, and had taken with him any shred of the old Dasi.  Numbly, I walked back to our room and opened the door.
Kevin took one look at me and panicked. “What happened?  Is your dad coming here?  Did the cops call them?  Is he making you come home?”
I laughed without humor.  Leave it to Kevin to make it all about him.  “No,” I responded flatly.  “My dog died.”
Kevin visibly relaxed.  “Oh, thank God!” he replied.  “I mean, I’m sorry, hon – that’s rough.”  He moved in to hug me, but I pushed him away.
“Just leave me alone for a while, ok?” I muttered. 
Kevin moved uncertainly toward the door, and I prodded him on.  “Please.  Just go.”
“Ok,” he said as he opened the door.  “I really am sorry, though – I’m just…” 
I looked up at him and he shut his mouth before finishing what he couldn’t say.  Then he slowly closed the door behind him.  Once he was gone, I flopped down on the bed and sobbed.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bad Boys

I used to be young.  And hot.  And I took it for granted that every guy stared at me and wanted me and the ball was always in MY court.  It was fun.  I'm not going to lie - I loved the attention, and I doled out MY attention sparingly.  The problem was, the guys I DID pay attention to were always the wrong boys.

The hot boys.

The cocky boys.

The arrogant boys.

The bad boys.

I loved the thrill of a guy who gave me that hooded gaze, the guy who smirked at me knowingly, the guy who made me squirm uncomfortably with just a look. I loved the danger.  I loved making out in parked cars on deserted streets.  I loved sneaking out and driving around the neighborhood after curfew and pulling over to make out and drink beers.

I had plenty of nice guys that wanted to date me.  And I tried.  Really, I did.  But I got too bored too easily too fast.  I didn't WANT to be the nice Catholic girl I was raised to be - I wanted MORE.   And good Lord, I got it.

I got a DUI.

I got a drug addiction.

I got an unwanted pregnancy.

But...  I had FUN.  Living life recklessly, with total abandon, was the way I WANTED to live.  Sure, there were consequences and casualties, but damnit, I LIVED.  And then life caught up to me.

The addiction became too much.  The people became to stifling.  And I was pregnant again.

This time, I kept the baby.  Almost twenty years later, I have absolutely no regrets.  My daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  She drew me away from the life that I was hypnotized by.  She made me a mother, a recovering addict, a productive member of society.

But still...

I miss the days of reckless abandon. I miss fucking the "rules."  I say I want a partner in life, but what I really crave is a partner in crime.  Even at forty something years of age, all it takes is for a hot guy to tell me I am beautiful and give me a sexy smirk for me to completely melt.  Putty.  DONE.

I still want the bad boy.  I want the guy who makes me feel like a woman - the guy who makes me shiver with his words.  The guy whose touch sends chills down my spine.  The guy who makes me feel young and sexy again.

Maybe this is unrealistic, but you know what?  I don't care.  I am a strong, independent woman.  I have built my own life from the ground up, and depend ONLY on myself.  I don't necessarily need a husband, or a provider.  I need a man who will make me feel like God's gift - not just another housewife.

So in the meantime, I will keep on living my life.  And when I run across these men, whether they're "good" for me or not, I will take full advantage .  Because I deserve it.  Every woman deserves it.  Whether it's for a lifetime or an evening, every woman deserves to be worshipped and spoiled.  Every woman deserves to be told she is beautiful and to feel sexy.  And who cares if it is just for a night?  Sometimes a reminder is all you need to get you back on track.

So enjoy it when you can.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Beginning of the End - Chapter 43

“All rise!”
Those were the only words I heard.  Everything else the judge said after that was lost in the questions  racing through my brain.  What if no one believed me?  What if they thought it was my fault?  What if he walked away a free man?
Nancy startled me out of my thoughts.  “Dasi, you’re up,” she whispered.
I looked up, and saw the judge watching me expectantly.  I took a deep breath and approached the witness stand.  Once I was sworn in, I sat down, and Nancy smiled at me encouragingly.
“Good morning, Ms. S,” she said.
  I smiled back.  “Good morning.”
“Now, I know this is going to be difficult for you, but please explain to the court exactly what happened on the night of December 18.”
As if on autopilot, I began to speak.  Nancy had told me to stick to the facts, so I told my story about that night.  I talked about the work party, the drinking, being approached to continue “partying” afterwards.  Without looking at the defense table, I then described how I was attacked.  I could feel the tears threatening, but I stared straight ahead and willed them not to fall.        
 “He hit me.  Over and over.  He kept saying ‘shut up, bitch.’  I was screaming and crying and trying to fight, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t make him stop.”  My voice shook and I cleared my throat.  “Then Jesus walked in.  I kept screaming, begging him to help me.  But he didn’t.  The defendant yelled something at him in Spanish, and he left.  He just left.”
I explained how once I got out, I was disoriented and panicked.  How I called the police and went to the hospital.  And finally, how I was able to identify my attacker.
“And is the individual who attacked you here today?”  Nancy asked gently.
My heart pounded as I sought out his face.  He was staring ahead impassively, like he had better things to do.  Like none of this mattered.  I pointed my finger directly at him and said, “Him.  That is the man who raped me.”
 He glanced my way and gave a dismissive smirk, then looked away again.  A wave of rage surged through me.  That asshole took something from me, he beat me, he changed my life forever…  yet he acted as though he had not a care in the world.  Well, I was going to rock his world to the core.  I was going to make sure his new world consisted of a concrete cell for a long, long time.
“Let the record show that the witness has identified the defendant as her attacker,” Nancy stated.  The she turned back to the judge.  “No further questions.”
The defense attorney then stood.  He approached the stand almost tentatively, and then stopped.  He smiled my way and nodded a greeting.
I nodded back.  But alarms were going off in my head.  Nancy had told me to not let my guard down.  To not get upset, and to stay as calm as possible no matter what happened.  But the attorney standing in front of me now was wearing a condescending grin that chilled me to the bone.
“Ms. S, it seems as though you had a very – interesting night,” he began.
 I opened my mouth to speak, but Nancy shot me a stern look.  Only respond to questions, she had warned me.
“Isn’t it true that you had been drinking substantially before you even saw the defendant?”
“Yes, but –“
“And isn’t it true that you were flirting and laughing with not only the defendant, but with almost all the men you came into contact with that night?”
I knit my brows and shook my head slightly.  “No.”
“You weren’t?”
“No,” I replied again, more forcefully.
“But you came to the party without your boyfriend.  You came wearing tight jeans and a low-cut sweater with the intention of having a good time without him, isn’t that true?”
I looked at Nancy.
“Objection!” she said angrily.
The attorney paused for a moment, then started again.  “Did your boyfriend attend the party with you?”
“Were you angry with him for not going?”
“You weren’t?” he raised his eyebrows in mock surprise.  “He blew you off just as you were about to go, and you weren’t angry?”
“Objection – asked and answered.”
“Isn’t it true that you were looking for a way to get back at your boyfriend, and having intercourse with my client was the perfect way to do so?”
I was stunned.  “What?  NO!”  I said angrily.  “He BEAT me!  I was yelling for him to STOP!”
The courtroom erupted as the judge pounded his gavel.  Nancy shot me a look, and I tried to regain my composure.
“Ms. S, I know this is difficult, but please limit your responses to yes or no,” the judge admonished, not unkindly.
“I’m sorry, your Honor,” I said meekly.
“You may continue,” he told the defense attorney.
I sat there like a statue as the questions rained down like bullets.  Do you normally just wander off with strangers?  How much did you have to drink?  Isn’t it true you went with them for the promise of drugs?  Are you a drug addict?  Was your sweater showing cleavage?  Did you wear more makeup than you usually wore?  How can you be so sure of what happened when you were quite obviously impaired?
“I’m sure,” I responded flatly.
“But you couldn’t even identify the apartment you were in when the police arrived.  Maybe you had intercourse with my client, then regretted it, and made up this whole scenario in your head so your boyfriend wouldn’t break up with you,” he reasoned.
I couldn’t even formulate an answer.  I just sat there with my mouth open.  There were pictures of my bruised face, there was physical evidence, there were the nightmares I would probably have for the rest of my life…  but he was suggesting that somehow I made this up?
“Ms. S, were you wearing a belt that night?”
“Did you at any point in the evening take that belt off?”
“No.  Well, I didn’t take it off,” I clarified.
“So you are implying that my client took it off, is that correct?”
“Well, yes,” I answered cautiously, not sure where this was going.
“And when you said you were struggling, how were you struggling?  Were you kicking?”
“Were you punching?”
“I was trying to, yes.”
“You were trying to.  Can you explain what you mean by that?”
“Well, he was pinning my arms down.  So it was hard to move them.”
He turned to me intently.  “He was ‘pinning your arms down.’”
“With his arms?”
“I believe so, yes.”
“And you were kicking the whole time as well?”
“Yes…” I answered carefully.
“So how did he get your belt undone if he was using his arms to pin your arms down and you were kicking at him the whole time?”
“OBJECTION!” Nancy roared.
“Overruled,” the judge responded.  “Please answer the question.”
“I don’t know,” I responded.  I felt the tears finally start to roll down my cheeks.  “I don’t know how he did it.  All I know is that it happened.  Yes, I was drunk, yes, I shouldn’t have gone there…  but it happened.”
“No further questions.”
I walked back to my seat on shaky legs, and felt deflated.  They don’t believe me, I thought.  Nancy put her hand on my arm protectively, and we waited.  The judge had gone back into chambers to make his decision.
“You did fine,” Nancy told me.
I looked at her sadly.  “I don’t think so.  They don’t believe me.”
Her eyes locked on mine.  “I believe you.  They will, too.  That attorney is an asshole.”
I laughed in spite of myself. 
“All rise!”
I focused on the judge while my mind spun.  “Sufficient evidence.”  “Case will be set for trial.”  “Remand the defendant to custody.”
Did we win?
Nancy was squeezing my hand tightly, and I saw the officers taking out their handcuffs.  Morcos shot me a look of pure hate and I could barely hear the click of the cuffs as they were snapped on his wrists.  But it was the sound of that click that washed relief throughout my whole body.
I watched him escorted out of the courtroom and then hugged Nancy.  “Thank you,” I said emotionally.
“It was all you, honey.  The next step is trial.  But I know you’ll do fine.”  She smiled at me.  “You were very brave.  And very sympathetic.  You just continue to be who you are, and we’ll get him permanently locked up.”
I smiled back, and laughed inside.  Be who I am? I thought.  Sometimes I wasn’t even sure who that was anymore.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Three years.  1,095 days.  26,280 hours.  But it doesn’t seem that long…  Maybe because as adults, we didn’t have “Sundays at Grandma & Poppops’” anymore.  Maybe because despite all the promises that “we’ll definitely get together soon,” lives just became too busy, and best-laid plans tended to fall apart.  Maybe because even holidays became something we would read about on facebook, instead of spending together, since Grandma & Poppops weren’t around anymore.

It seemed that the only times the family was together anymore were at weddings and funerals.  Ironically, three years ago we were preparing for your funeral.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “I wonder how Richie is doing,” or “I should call Kris and see if Rich can take us out on the boat,” and then I remember.  Which is funny.  Because there are times I find myself forgetting that you are really gone, and it seems surreal to have to remember all over again. 

As kids, you were the elusive older cousin, the one whose room we used to snoop in when you weren’t around, peering through the hanging beads to see what cool stuff you had stashed in your sanctuary.  You never had a lot to say to me in those days, so I would just watch you in your coolness and think that when I grew up, I would collect TV Guides too…  and I would get those beads.  I learned to love the Beatles, and when I got a little older, I knew who to call when my car needed work. 

As a young adult, I was able to talk you without getting nervous, because even as a teenager you just seemed so intimidating with your laid-back confidence.  I was always afraid I’d do or say something stupid, or immature, and you’d look at me with disgust or disdain.  But you never did, because that’s who you were.  You may have chuckled and shaken your head at me more times than I can count – even as an adult – but you never made me feel like I was silly or “uncool.”

And then you got sick.

Which seemed ridiculous.  Because you were Richie Drexler, for God’s sake.  You were the cool cousin with the beautiful wife and the awesome son who was always there if you needed him.  You enjoyed life, and worked hard, and loved harder – we all knew it.  Kris started the Caring Bridge, and I came to both love and hate the update alerts I would get.  I was so scared, because if something like this could happen to you – it could happen to anyone.  And I felt like I just didn’t have enough time with you.  We were blood, but suddenly there was so much more I wanted to know, so much more I wanted YOU to know. 

I remember Bagfest at the Boehm’s – and how much fun we had.  And as evidenced in the picture, it looks like I definitely got to explain SOMETHING to you that day.  Possibly something a little bizarre due to the vodka, based on the expression on your face.  It may have been that day that I told you that you reminded me of Thor, from “Adventures in Babysitting.”  With your long blonde hair, total coolness, and ability to fix cars.  You laughed and told me you had never seen that movie, and I insisted you see it.  Because it was so awesome, and all filmed in Chicago, the city you loved so much. 

We had Rich Drexler Day at Wrigley Field, and as sick as you were, you were there cheering the Cubs on to a win even through rain delays.  The love and camaraderie I felt that day with everyone there was overwhelming.  And we got to talk again.  You shared memories I had never been privy to before, and I loved it.  I felt I was finally getting to know you so much better as a person than I ever had before.

The last time I saw you was when you were in the hospital.  I had bought you a copy of the script of “A Hard Day’s Night” while I was in Seattle, and you loved it.  Although you informed me, not unkindly, that you already knew the whole movie by heart.  I told you that you could let other people run lines with you and they could use the script.  And you laughed.  You told me you finally watched “Adventures in Babysitting,” that I was right, you did love it, and I made you laugh again when I insisted you were Thor. 

Then we took a walk.  You asked about my brother’s new house, you asked about my mom, you asked about my life.  You got tired, and we sat down.  And that’s when I lost it.  I had promised myself I wouldn’t, but I couldn’t stop the tears.  And YOU consoled ME. You hugged me, and I hugged back - but carefully because you were so thin, you were so sick... and you were only forty-nine. You told me it was ok, that you weren’t dead yet, and to just concentrate on the present.  And I tried.  But it all seemed so damned unfair.  I was finally getting closer to you, finally really enjoying talking to you, and you were dying.  But you looked me in the eye and told me something I will never forget.

You told me to never take anything for granted.  To not waste time worrying about the small stuff.  To be grateful for my health, each and every day, because that was the most important thing.  You told me when you heard about people complaining about bullshit, it upset you – because none of it really mattered.  That people had a tendency to waste so much time not seeing the big picture.  That people should stop thinking about only themselves, and concentrate on the people they love.  Because, as you now realized, life is way too short. 

I try, Richie.  I honestly do.  Sometimes I ask myself what you would think about this situation or that situation, and I even try to ask you.  I don’t know if you hear me or not, but I like to think that you do.  I like to think that in between jamming with some of your favorite artists and chatting up your dad and Grandma and Poppops, you take a quick look down here and send us little signs.  And nod and smile and know that all the people you love are doing what you wanted – living.  Loving.  And taking nothing for granted.

I miss you, Richie.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Beginning of the End - Chapter 42

The days seemed to fly by.  Tanya had done an excellent job of keeping my mind occupied when I wasn’t at work, and she even offered to go with me to court.

“You need someone there with you,” she insisted on that Tuesday morning. 
But I didn’t want her there.  I didn’t want anyone there, in all honesty.  No one really knew the whole story about that night, and I wasn’t looking forward to reliving it.  Nancy had coached me on what could be asked, and to keep my answers simple and to the point – no matter how angry or frustrated I may become.  It unnerved me knowing that even though I was the victim, the defense would do everything in their power to make me look like the bad guy. 
“You just be ready and waiting when I get back,” I told her.  “I have a feeling I’ll need you when I’m done.”
She smiled and gave me a hug.  “You got it.”
Tanya had become a good friend in the past few weeks, especially since Kevin was so paranoid and quiet lately.  We had spent a lot of time talking and getting closer.  Oddly enough, as much as she knew about my life, I still didn’t know too much about hers.  But she was a good listener , and I considered myself lucky to have her around.  It had been getting far too lonely in Reno lately, even my coworkers seemed to sense the stress I was under and had begun to keep their distance. 
Kevin suddenly walked out of the room and up to me and Tanya.  “You ready?”
I nodded.  Tanya turned and went back to her room, and Kevin and I got into the car.
We were both quiet on the ride to the courthouse.  Finally, Kevin broke the silence.
“I can still go with you, if you want,” he said, still staring straight ahead.
I sighed.  “Kev, I think Nancy is right.  You need to just wait.  Outside.  Please.  I know you want to be there, but it’s for the best.”
He gave an irritated nod.  “It just sucks, is all.”
I chuckled.  “The whole situation sucks.  But hopefully it will be over soon.”
When we pulled up to the courthouse, he leaned over and gave me a tender kiss.  “I love you.  And I’ll be right out here waiting.”
“I know.  Thank you.  I love you too.”
And with that, I smoothed out the black slacks and blazer Nancy had instructed me to wear, bought specially for court, and walked into the courthouse.
I looked around nervously, hoping I wouldn’t see him, at least not until the hearing began.  Then I spotted Nancy walking briskly toward me.  I smiled hesitantly as she approached.
“You look great,” she said, reaching out and touching my shoulder.  “And you’ll be fine.  Just remember what I told you.  They’ll try to goad you, make you angry or uncomfortable.  Just stick with the facts.  Answer honestly, and be yourself.  And most importantly, remember that none of this was your fault.”
“I know,” I responded.  “I will.”
She directed me to the courtroom, and we sat at the prosecution’s table waiting for the hearing to begin.  Nancy took out a legal pad and started making notes.  The courtroom was basically empty, and no one was seated at the defense table. 
Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw him, walking in with his attorney. 
I felt my gut clench up and I thought I was going to vomit.  He was wearing a suit, for God’s sake, acting like he was some respectable human being.  He looked my way and smiled.  I quickly faced forward again and began to shake.
Nancy looked up from her writing and directly at me.  She glanced over at the defense table and gave a small nod.  Then she leaned over to me and whispered, “You can do it.  Let’s put this bastard away.”

I took a deep breath and remembered all the pain he had caused me already.  I wanted this over.  Now.  “I’m ready.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Beginning of the End - Chapter 41

Kevin was required to check in with the State’s Attorney’s Office on a regular basis as part of his “deal.”  And I was also spending a lot of time with the State’s Attorney’s Office – but for my case.  It was an odd situation, since technically Kevin and I were on opposite sides of the law. “I’m not sure Kevin should be at your preliminary hearing,” Nancy told me one day on the phone.
I felt a flutter of panic and I clutched the receiver tightly.  “Why not?”
There was a moment of silence on the other end, and I could almost sense Nancy trying to find the right words.
 “Look, dasi, his involvement in a criminal drug case could seriously hurt yours.  The last thing we need is for the defense to find out about his case.”
“But he doesn’t have a case… he’s only a witness…” I protested.             
Nancy cut me off gently.  “He was arrested with drugs in his system and paraphernalia.  In the place you also resided.  Whether or not there is a case against him is irrelevant.”  She sighed deeply.  “Look, I know this is hard, but I’ll be there with you.  And I won’t let anything happen.  I just don’t think it’s a good idea for him to be there.”            
I knew she was right.  And as much as I wanted Kevin there with me, I wanted to put that asshole away more.             
A date had finally been set for the preliminary hearing, and I would be facing it alone.  I hung up the phone and walked across the parking lot to our room.  Despite the beautiful weather, Kevin kept the curtains closed tightly as a testament to his paranoia.  I couldn’t blame him, although I was starting to feel ambivalent about the whole situation.  The only thing that was on my mind was facing my attacker, and that left no room to worry about anything else.            
I smiled as I saw Tanya jogging toward me.            
“Hey, girlfriend!”  she called, waving.           
I waved back, and waited for her to reach me.             
“Kev still home?”             
“Yeah,” I replied.  “He doesn’t get out much anymore.”            
The fact was, he didn’t get out at all.  He lost his job at the casino, and was too paranoid to look for a new one.  Occasionally he would meet one of Arturo’s guys to make a buy, but other than that he spent all of his time locked in the room with the tv as his best friend.  I worried about him, but I hoped that once his case was over, he would return to his old social self.             
I opened the door and found Kevin at his usual spot, sitting at the table scraping the pipe.  He looked up and his face instantly changed when he saw Tanya.  “Hey!  Got anything?” he asked hopefully.      Tanya shook her head.  “Not now.  Maybe later.  You got any cash?”            
Kevin stopped what he was doing and looked at me.  “Babe?”            
I sighed.  I had once again become the sole provider.  “I work tonight.  But we need money for rent…”            
Tanya shrugged.  “I’ll pitch in,” she offered.  “What time do you get off?”            
“So you start at five?”            
I nodded.            
“Hell, I’ll let you go then.  You probably need to get ready.  I’ll be back around one-thirty.”             
I watched her leave and Kevin locked the door behind her.  Then he turned to me.  “Any news?”        
I told him about my conversation with Nancy, and how she thought it would be best if he did not show up.  His face contorted into a mask of anger and frustration.            
“Fuck that.  I’m not sending you alone,” he insisted.           
I sighed.  “Babe, it’s ok.  She’s probably right.  I’ll be fine.”            
He melted into the chair.  “Once again, I let you down.”            
I went up and put my arms around him.  “No, you didn’t.”  I assured him.  “I love you, you know that.  This is not your fault.  Nancy will be there, and I’ll be fine.”           
“So, when is the hearing?”            
“Next Tuesday.  Ten o’clock.”  I took a deep breath.  “All I have to do is get them to find probable cause for an indictment.  Nancy said it won’t be easy, that there will be some tough questions, but I’ll get through it.  I want this guy put away forever.  So he can never hurt anyone again.”  Especially me, I thought.            
Kevin nodded and gave me a kiss.  “I love you too.”            
I smiled and got up to get ready for work.  Eight more days, I thought, and the hardest part will be behind me.            
Until then, I would work and party.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Beginning of the End - Chapter 40

When we finally pulled up to our new "home," I had managed to wipe away my tears and focus on unloading the car with Kevin. He hadn’t even noticed me silently crying in the car as we drove the last few blocks. Apparently he had a lot on his mind as well.
Schmauser made a beeline under the bed, and I wished I was small enough to join him. I was suddenly so tired of everything, tired of my "adventure" in Reno, tired of partying, tired of life. I dragged in a couple of bags, and was just about to collapse on the bed…
"Kevin?" I asked, staring at the queen sized bed. "Isn’t something missing here?"
The bed was stripped clean. Thankfully, the mattress seemed relatively new, and devoid of any remnants of past users, but there was not a stitch of linen to be found.
"Oh, yeah, Ken warned me about that. Wait – I took the sheets from our old place."

He ambled back in carrying everything from our old bed, right down to the pillows and cheesy bedspread. With a flourish, he tossed them on the mattress where they landed with a "whoomph." I heard Schmauser complain at the intrusion.
"Don’t you think they might be a little upset that you took those?" I inquired tiredly.
"Ah, who cares?" Kevin shrugged. "They probably have a ton more. Ken told me bedding wasn’t included – towels, either. I hope you don’t need to shower, I forgot to grab those," he added sheepishly.
Honestly, all I really wanted was to go to sleep. For a long, long time. The whole experience had left me exhausted. But first I needed to make up the bed. As soon as I had the last blanket laid down, Kevin collapsed on the bed with a sigh.
"Babe, that was really messed up," he said.
I laid myself next to him, and snuggled up as he put his arm around me. "I know," I murmured. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too."
As we laid there, savoring the silence, we both jumped at the sound of a knock at the door.
I looked at Kevin with fear. "You don’t think they followed us or had us followed, do you?"
His eyes were glued to the door. "I’m not sure," he said quietly. "I thought we got out ok, and I was promised my back was covered..."
"Hey, just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood," a girl’s voice called from the other side of the door.
I stared at Kevin in confusion. "Do they have girls working with them?" I whispered.
"Not that I know of," he responded, looking as baffled as I felt.
"You aren't asleep already, are you?" the voice asked. "Cause I can see the lights still on..."
I cautiously walked to the door and opened it a crack. Standing there was a girl about my age, hands on her hips, looking annoyed. I couldn't help staring.
"So, you inviting me in or what?" she asked.
Startled, I pulled the door open wider and motioned for her to come in. She surveyed our room, and her eyes settled on the bed. She sucked her teeth and laughed.
"You got those from another motel, didn't you?" she accused, motioning at the linens.
"So what if we did?" Kevin replied defensively.

 "Hey, I don't care," she said, shrugging. "I just recognized them." She turned to me and stuck out a surprisingly well-manicured hand. "Name's Tanya. Nice to meetcha."
I shook her hand with a smile. "Dasi," I said, "and that's Kevin." It had been a while since I had a "real" girlfriend, I had lost touch with Shelley and it seemed my only female friend lately was the State's Attorney. Tanya had a friendly smile and a strong grip, and judging by her unexpected "welcome-to-the-neighborhood" visit, a pretty strong personality as well. I liked her already.
Kevin seemed more skeptical. "You live here yourself?"
She gave him a once-over. "Yeah, so?"
He shrugged. "No reason. So no boyfriend, nothing?"
"He split. A while ago. Why are you asking so many questions? You five-oh?" she asked suspiciously.
I laughed out loud at her query as to us being cops. Even Kevin cracked a smile.
"Hardly," I answered, still giggling. "Actually, he just got out of-"
Kevin cut me off. "Work. I just got out of work. And we needed a new place to crash." He glared at me.
I felt like a child who had just been reprimanded. "Yeah, the last place wasn't working," I added meekly.
Tanya nodded. "Whatever. It's cool." She continued to scrutinize the room. "Soooooo..." she began, testing the waters. "You guys party?"
I felt my stomach lurch. Suddenly I wasn't tired anymore, and it seemed like a hit would make everything better again, especially with a new friend. I pushed back all my earlier fears and worries and looked at Kevin with a question in my eyes.
"Depends," Kevin answered cautiously. "If you're supplying..."
She chained the door and reached into her bra, pulling out a baggie that was gloriously familiar.
"I got the favors if you're up for a party," she said smugly. "Like I said, welcome to the neighborhood."
Kevin magically produced a pipe and lighter. "Welcome, indeed."
And the three of us spent what was left of the night, and a good part of the morning as well, partying on Tanya's dime.
"You know, you're a hell of a neighbor," Kevin managed as she squinted in the sunlight as she opened the door to leave.
"Yeah, thanks," I added, still feeling the buzz, but suddenly feeling pretty tired, too.
She smiled and turned around. "No problem," she said. "Hey, dasi, we'll have to do a girl's night out sometime, kay?"
"Definitely," I answered.
She nodded, still smiling my way, like she knew something Kevin didn't. The problem was, neither did I. And my new friend Tanya had secrets of her own that I would find out in a horrible way.