Monday, June 21, 2010

Harter Union: Part Five; Chapter 1 & 2

“So, Jeff…” began Alyson, twirling the spaghetti around her fork. “We’ve been out on, what, four dates? So why haven’t you tried to kiss me?” she asked.

“Well, I don’t know about you but to me, a kiss means a lot. And as much as I want to, I feel it’s too soon after Nathan for you. Typically, a first kiss is a surprise and very sweet. When I tried to kiss Melissa for the first time I missed and kissed her eye,” I took a bite of a meatball. “It was all very sweet.”

“You’re a sweet guy. Cooking dinner, the lights turned low, candlelit dinner, and some soft music. Very romantic,” Alyson said.

“Well, Heather was going to be out with Wanda so I decided to go all out with this and take a chance.”

“It’s a lovely gesture, Jeff and you have made this a wonderful night.”

“Thank you.” I picked up a napkin and wiped my mouth. I smiled at Alyson who was standing up. She walked over to me and kissed me. She sat down on my lap and ran her fingers through my hair and I rubbed mine up and down her back.

Aaron’s bedroom was only lit by the glow of the computer and a desk lamp nearby. He was instant messaging a girl named Rachell Rexford. Rachell was a true country girl who lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her family was a major name in breeding and showing horses. Her and Aaron met while he was up there visiting family a couple months ago. The two hit it off and started dating over the Internet. She was a beautiful girl who always wore plaid shirts, dark blue denim jeans and a white cowgirl hat. They were determined to make their long-distance relationship work and for the last couple of months, it actually was working but both Rachell and Aaron were getting tired of talking over email, chat rooms, and message boards.
Both Rachell and Aaron typed quick good-byes to each other and Aaron logged off the computer and turned it off. He took a last look at Rachell’s picture on his desk before turning off the desk lamp and climbing into bed.

Jesse rested him on top of Chrissy and worked to release the last bit of himself inside her. “God, you’re sexy,” Jesse said hoarsely into her ear. Jesse slowly pulled himself out which made Chrissy exhale sharply. “I’m gonna get something to drink, want anything?”

“Some water, if you have some, would be great.”

Jesse left the bedroom and Chrissy sat up on the bed and ran her hand through her hair. She got up and meandered through the room looking at the objects scattered throughout. She picked up and looked at a football trophy for the college he went to and looked at his medals for track and wrestling, along with family photos and pictures of other girls. “You look so damn beautiful,” Jesse said, walking in and shutting the door behind him.

“Thank you. Hey, who are these girls?” she asked holding up one picture but pointing to another.

“Old girlfriends that I was able to remain friends with,” Jesse handed Chrissy a bottle of water and sat down on the bed. “Don’t worry, there is nothing romantic between us anymore,” Jesse smiled.

“I’ve been lying to you,” Chrissy said and sat next to Jesse. “I have a boyfriend.”

“You do? Then why are you here with me?”

“We agreed to have kind of an open relationship but…”

“Are you having second thoughts about us sleeping together?” Jesse took a drink of water.

“No. When I’m with you—inside me—I feel wonderful. Better than I’ve felt in a long time but also when I’m with you, I think back to what made Jason and me fall apart,” Chrissy sniffled a little and ran her fingers under her nose.

“Listen,” Jesse took Chrissy in his arms. “if you are truly unhappy in that relationship, then you deserve even a fleeting moment of happiness. You are one of the most beautiful and wonderful girls I have ever met and for the past two weeks, you have been the center of my universe.”

“You are so wonderful but still, all this just makes me wonder what would’ve happened if Jason and I hadn’t…” Chrissy sobbed loudly.

“Hadn’t what?” Jesse pulled Chrissy tighter.

“Had an abortion…” Chrissy began bawling and rested her head against Jesse’s chest.

Emily and Melissa were listening to heavy metal music in Melissa’s apartment. Emily turned it down a little to speak. “Hey, Mel, what are you and Mike doing tomorrow night?”

“Probably nothing. Why?”

“I and Jake, along with Holly and John are having a double date and you and Mike are more than welcome to come.”

“Well, let me check. I’ll call him,” Melissa picked up the phone, dialed and waited for someone to answer.

“Hello?” answered a woman.

“Hello, you must be Mike’s sister. This is his girlfriend, Melissa, I’m sure he’s mentioned me,” Melissa said.

“No, he hasn’t but there’s probably a lot my husband hasn’t told me…”

“What? Your husband? He didn’t say he was married, I just thought…” Melissa covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m so sorry…”

“It’s not your fault. You didn’t know.”

The other line went dead and Melissa slowly hung up the phone. “Mike was…is married. He’s been lying to me and to his wife…Can you leave? I kind of want to be alone.”

“Sure. I’ll see you at work,” Emily headed to the door and opened it. “I’m sorry, Mel.”

“Not your fault…” Melissa said, almost copying Mike’s wife’s exact words.

Emily left and closed the door. Melissa lowered herself to her knees and looked at a black-and-white photo of her and Mike hugging. Melissa reached over, picked up the phone and dialed another number.

The phone rang six times then an answering machine kicked in. “’You’ve reached Jeff Franklin, please leave…’ ‘They’ve reached Heather Wilmot too you inconsiderate bastard!’ ‘Whatever just leave a message.’” The machine beeped and Melissa hung the phone back up. She laid down on the floor and started crying.

Chapter Two
I was in the bathroom shaving when I heard Heather walk through the front door. “You’re home late. Or is it early?” I hollered.

“I really owe you something for persuading me to go out with Wanda last night. We went to a couple of bars and met a couple of guys. Wow, I did not know a tongue could move like that!”

“Ow!” I shouted after cutting myself with the razor.

“Are you okay?” Heather came into the bathroom and saw the blood oozing down my chin and neck.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Guys always cut themselves on the jaw line.”

“Uh, but I don’t think they normally bleed that much,” Heather took a towel from the closet and started blotting the blood.

“Thank you…” I took the towel from her and held it to the cut. “So you had a good night?”

“The best,” she began, taking the razor from me and rinsing it off, “since you anyway.”

I snorted a laugh. “Thanks. So what made you decide to end your post-me celibacy?”

“I realized that I am not going to punish myself waiting for you. Wanda was able to open me up and I finally did something I was going to do when I first moved out of my parent’s house.”

“I understand. You deserve a good time and I’m glad you got it,” I said.

“And how did your date with Alyson go?”

“It was all I expected and more…” I removed the towel and resumed shaving. “Alyson and I finally kissed.”

The smile on Heather’s face grew from ear to ear. She grabbed my arm and nearly started to jump up and down. “Oh my God! You been waiting three dates for a kiss from her. Are you two going out again?”

“Calm down, you’re more excited about this than I am. I don’t want to rush into this because it’s only been three weeks since she and Nathan decided to spend some time apart and I need to respect that,” I said.

“I can’t believe you were actually right about Alyson and Nathan but at least she chose a good rebound guy,” Heather chuckled.

“Thank you for trivializing me. If things do become serious with Alyson, I am going to talk to Nathan about it. See what he thinks about it.”


“Because Nathan is my friend and I want to make sure he’s all right with this before she and I enter into something serious,” I explained.

“Well that’s nice of you.”

“Do you believe in soul mates?” I asked out of the blue.

“Soul mates? What do you mean?” Heather sat down on the toilet with the lid down and looked up at me.

“Soul mates. That one person who you can talk to about anything. They can be a best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, cousin, wife, anything as long as you can trust them with every little detail of your life.”

“Well, put that way then I do believe in soul mates. Why?” she asked curiously.

“You’re my soul mate, Heather. I have never met anyone that I trust more than you. Not Randy, not Melissa, no one else and for that I love you,” I said.

“Thank you, Jefferson. After hearing that I believe that you are my soul mate too. I love you too,” Heather replied, stood up and kissed me quickly on the cheek. She crossed the hallway and went into her bedroom.

“Hey, come back and tell me about what that tongue could do,” I said.

I walked in through the back door carrying a white rose and a yellow rose. “How lucky can one guy be?” I sang. “I kissed her and she kissed me. Like a fella once said, ‘ain’t that a kick in the head?’” I went into my office and laid the two roses on my desk and headed to the dining area. “Nathan! Perfect, I wanted to talk to you,” I shouted.

Nathan grabbed me just past the Line with a huge smile lighting up his usually pale face. “Jeff, guess what?”

Seeing Nathan this ecstatic also made me smile a little bit more. “What?”

“I finally did it! I proposed to Alyson and she said ‘yes’.”

The smile left my face. “I thought you two were broken up.”

“We were but I heard about you and her going out and it made me realize how much I missed her and it just felt right so I got a ring and came in this morning and proposed,” Nathan was so happy.

“Want to see the ring?” Alyson casually walked over to us and nonchalantly extended her left hand with a diamond ring on it.

“Wow, beautiful. Well, congratulations to the both of you. I’m sure you will be very happy,” I grabbed a cup from the rack and filled it with chocolate mike and went back to my office and shut the door. I sat the cup down and collapsed into my chair. “God damn it!” I screamed and slammed my hand into the desk. I picked up the roses and looked at them angrily, crushed the flowers in my hand and dropped the petals into the trash.

Alyson opened the door and walked in. “I see you’re angry,” she said noting the crushed flowers and look on my face.

I said nothing.

“I didn’t think you’d react like this…”

“So what did our dates mean? What about what happened last night?” I asked.

“You asked me out and it was just something to do. I felt kind of sorry for you. And as for last night, it was the clincher to get Nathan back. I didn’t know he was going to propose but I’m glad he did because I love him.”

“Get out of my office,” I ordered, pointing to the door.

“I’ve been talking about our dates to the other girls and Nathan has been overhearing them. But I knew he wouldn’t do anything unless there was a possibility of us becoming serious so that’s why I kissed you. I hope you understand.”

“Of course I understand. Now get out of my office,” I yelled. Alyson left the office and I just sat there, getting angrier by the moment.

For the first time since I had been at Baker, the staff was segregated. Aaron, Wendy, Kepler, Jason and I at one table and Nathan, Alyson, Heather, Wanda and Katie at another. I was regaling my table with some ghost-hunting stories which I had never told anyone mainly because no one seemed interested. “Randy, on the first two or three trips to Stull, would bring these two body-sized duffel bags filled with pretty much useless crap. Like a BB gun. What is a BB gun going to do against a paranormal specter?”

“Not the sharpest knife, huh, Bosco?” Kepler replied.

“Well, he tended to either over think or under think the situation which made it annoying as hell but after he passed, him bringing all that stuff suddenly became funny.”

“How did he die?” asked Jason.

“He was hit by a car after he tripped on his trench coat,” I stifled a laugh. It felt good to talk about this to people I trust and cared about.

“How did you get into ghost-hunting?” asked Wendy.

“I can’t really remember. I think at first it was just something to do but after a while it became a passion. I learned a lot about Kansas history which was fascinating and I kind of have a kindred spirit with cemeteries,” I explained.

“What do you mean?” she wondered.

“Cemeteries are the only things that really make sense in this world. After a life of peace or cruelty, riches and fame, or poverty and illness, we all end up six feet under awaiting an uncertain fate.”

“Wow Bosco. Deep,” Kepler said.

“Yeah, I got sent to the university psychiatrist for writing a thesis on cemeteries and including that in it,” I softly chuckled and bit into a carrot. “In ninth grade, I wrote a short story in math class about this boy who shoots up his math class.”

“Why were you writing stories in math class?” asked Wendy.

“I didn’t want to actually do homework so I wrote stories. I wrote forty-four stories in that class which is sad considering that in English class I wrote none.”

“How many stories total did you write?” Wendy asked.

“The forty-four plus a 13-part series, ten chapters of a sci-fi novel, six television pilots, nine screenplays, three theses and one stage play which totals 112 separate stories,” I estimated.

“I would love to read something you’ve written sometime,” Wendy offered. “If you don’t mind?”

“I would love you to but you can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I destroyed them all. Set them on fire, I did,” I said with a cockney accent.

“Why did you do that?” Wendy shouted.

“Oh, God, if I have to explain why I do one little thing, we’d be here all night,” I groaned.

“Melissa?” asked Aaron.

I nodded. “It was a horrible time for me. I had received rejection letters for a lot of material I sent in to be published and Melissa had just left me and I was just days away from leaving Kansas. The only reason I didn’t commit suicide was because I wanted to know what happened on Dawson’s Creek.”

Kepler and Jason chuckled.

I got up and grabbed my plate and Wendy’s. “We got to get to work, people.” Aaron, Kepler, and Jason walked past me as I slowly walked with Wendy to the belt.

“Jeff, would you like to go out tonight?”

“Is this a pity date?”

“Of course not. I like talking to you and I would like some of that conversation in a romantic setting,” Wendy smiled.

“Like at the Old Castle Dance?” I blocked Wendy and looked down at her.

“Yes or no?” Wendy asked.

“I’ll pick you up tonight after work,” I smiled and rushed to place the dishes on the belt.

Wendy and Jeff get closer as Jeff receives a phone call.