Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Liberty #51: Vagabond Girl

Katie awoke on a bus bench and slowly sat up, squeezing the bridge of her nose and keeping her eyes shut tight. Her eyes snapped open and she looked around. She reached an arm around to scratch her other arm, pressing it against her chest. In surprise, she squeezed both her breasts quickly. “They stole my bra,” she sighed. She rested her face in her hands for a couple of seconds before getting up and walking away. She shifted in her jeans a couple of times then reached behind her to rub her ass. “And they stole my underwear.”

“Where have you been?” Katie heard as she walked into the apartment she shared with Michelle. Katie continued walking past the kitchen where Michelle was and down the hallway to her bedroom. “Katie, where have you been?” Michelle asked again as she followed Katie down the hallway. Katie grabbed a bra off of her bedroom floor and removed her shirt, putting the bra on with her back to Michelle.

She went over the night in her head, the two guys, possibly being drugged, more than likely raped and then being left on a bus bench. “I met a couple of guys last night,” she smiled.

“A couple? I didn’t think you were that kind of girl,” Michelle smiled back at Katie. “Look, Katie, do you have any money for rent?”

“No. I get paid at the end of the week so I can probably get something to you this weekend,” Katie answered.

“Where does your money go? You don’t have a car, you don’t have any bills, you rarely even go out except for getting a few drinks and apparently getting double-teamed by a couple of guys. Where’s your money?”

“Can you chastise me later? I have to get to work,” Katie sighed, tired of these financial talks Michelle subjected her to.

“I have work, too, Katie. I can’t support this apartment by myself. I have a friend who is looking for a place to stay and I’m thinking of letting him stay here.”

“Here? Where?”

“He’d get your room, you’d move to the couch.”

“I’ll give you some money on Friday,” Katie said.

“I let you stay here to ease the burden on me having to pay for everything,” Michelle began. “I also didn’t like that your last roommates basically advocated for your rape every weekend but you have to start being more responsible.”

Katie nodded because it was really the only thing she could do.

As Katie reorganized shoe boxes on the shelves, swept the floor and assisted customers in the shoe department, she thought about where her money went because she was confused by that too. She paid half the rent, bought her own groceries, gave $100 a paycheck for utilities so she should have about $400 left over at the end of the month. Take out the few drinks at the bar and her weed she should still have about $300. But she usually barely had $20 to her name.

“Hi, Katie,” a young man said, smiling and walking down the aisle toward her carrying a basket.

“Hi, Josh. Shouldn’t you be asleep?”

“No. I grabbed some breakfast then decided to grab some essentials,” he lifted the basket up. “Also, just between us, I’m stalking an employee.”

Katie nodded. “I see. Is it Bob in sporting goods?”

“It is. Honestly, I wanted to see if you got to work. Michelle texted me earlier this morning saying you didn’t come home.”

“Were you worried about me?” Katie blushed.

“Maybe. A little. Ever since I walked in on you being raped a few months ago I’ve just wanted to keep my arms wrapped around you and protect you. But that’s stupid. You just need to find a decent guy who doesn’t want to get you pregnant just so you’ll be stuck with him forever and slam your head into a wall.”

“Based on my experience, easier said than done,” Katie said. “Will we be seeing you this weekend?”

“Definitely. Michelle invited me to stay all next week so I’ll probably come over after work on Friday. We’ll be seeing a lot of each other.”

“Cool. Why don’t you just move in? We’d all save some money,” Katie suggested.

“I still have a few months on my lease. Also, I don’t know how committed either of us to our relationship so moving in might not be such a good idea.”

“Are you two going to break up?” Katie asked, trying not to sound enthusiastic.

“Probably. Some day. We still care about and love each other but our relationship over the last couple of months has felt a bit off. .”

“You’re probably just a bad boyfriend,” Katie said.

“Yeah, that’s probably what it is. But do me a favor and don’t tell Bob, okay?”

“Your secret is safe with me,” Katie replied and giggled. Josh waved to her as he walked away.

“Katie, this is Mike,” Michelle introduced. “Mike will be moving into your room.”

“I have money for you,” Katie argued. “I thought if I got you some money no one would have to move in.”

“Why try to postpone the inevitable?” Michelle said. “You can stay in your room tonight so you can get your stuff out of the room. Mike offered to sleep on the couch tonight.”

“How nice of him…” Katie rolled her eyes and angrily went back to her room. She closed the door and flopped down on her—now Mike’s—bed. “I should wet the bed,” she mumbled then rested her arm over her eyes. After a few minutes, she got back up, grabbed a couple of boxes and began throwing what few possessions she had in. It was mostly clothes but she did have a portfolio of art, a few books, an unused pregnancy test, some pens and paper, a half-used box of condoms, a complete DVD set of a TV show, a stereo and some albums, a vibrator she kept in her underwear drawer and a desk lamp. All of it went into the boxes and placed near the door.

There was a knock at the door and Michelle stuck her head in. “Mike is taking us all out to dinner if you want to go.”

“No, I’m gonna finish packing, clean up and then move out to the front room,” Katie said.

“Come with us, Katie,” Josh shouted. “We’ll help you pack and move when we get back.”

Katie rolled her eyes but smiled. “Fine. I’ll go. Let me change my shirt.”

“Great. It’ll be fun,” Katie said and closed the door.

It was almost midnight and the four of them had moved Katie into the front room when they got back from dinner and spent the rest of the evening drinking and smoking pot. “Josh, you work out at Kinnex, right?” Mike asked.

“For the past five years.”

“I never see you.”

“I work overnight as an operations rep. I get off work at 8:30 so I’m long gone before most people get there. I’m salaried but I will arrive early instead of staying late,” Josh explained.

“And Michelle works in training and I’m a lowly peon,” Mike said. “I actually do the work.”

“Yeah. Grunt work that we were too good for,” Josh said.

“Why don’t you work at Kinnex, Katie?”

“I want to. I’ve been asking Michelle to help me get hired there for months. I’m tired of working for minimum wage,” Katie said.

“Sorry for not wanting to attach my name to someone who may not be a good employee,” Michelle said. “They have your application, it’s just not going anywhere.”

“You could at least nudge it along. You know I hate working at my current job,” Katie complained. “You also want me to get a better job and make more money but you refuse to lift a finger to help me.”

“When I see that you are responsible, then I’ll start helping you out,” Michelle said.

“Jesus Christ, Michelle. You’re her best friend. Just mention Katie’s name to someone at H.R. It’s not like your job is contingent on who your friends are,” Josh said. “When I go back into work Sunday, I’ll send an email to H.R., Katie. I can’t promise anything but I can try to get your application seen at least.”

“Thanks, Josh,” she smiled and blushed.

“Speaking of work,” Michelle grunted as she got up off the floor. “I have to go in tomorrow and finish up a class so I should probably get to bed. Joining me, Josh?”

“Only if ‘bed’ is code for ‘sex,’” Josh said as he stood up.

“Of course,” Michelle said. “If I don’t see you in the morning then I will see you in the afternoon. Good night all.”

“Good night,” Katie and Mike said, almost in unison. Michelle and Josh left the front room and went down the hallway to her bedroom, closing the door.

“Sorry you have to move out here,” Mike said. “I didn’t know I was taking someone’s bed.”

“It’s fine. I really don’t mind. Besides, it’s not your fault, I place the blame on Michelle.”

“As well you should,” Mike agreed.

“Where were you living before?”

“With my girlfriend. She broke up with me and we were living together. I offered to leave,” he said. Mike then got up and moved next to Katie, sitting right next to her. “You? Michelle told me you lived with a group of girls?”

“Yeah, two other girls. I had to get out of there thought. It was a bad environment.”

“And before that?”

“With an ex-girlfriend.”

“Girlfriend? You’re gay?”

Katie laughed. “No. I’m into all sorts of scenes.”

Mike ran his hand along her leg. “Mm, good to know. How’d you and Michelle meet?”

“Though Heather--my ex. Michelle was…experimenting at the time and she was dating a friend of Heather’s,” Katie revealed. “Don’t let Michelle know you know. She wants to keep that two months on the down-low.”

“Then why’d you tell me?”

“Because the bitch kicked me out of my room,” Katie laughed.

They both laughed and Mike put his arm around Katie’s waist while keeping his other hand on her upper thigh. He leaned over and kissed her. She was surprised initially but quickly began kissing him back. They made out for awhile then Mike pulled away. “Should we probably head to bed?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Katie breathed. “That’d be good.”

Michelle scoffed as she walked back into her bedroom after taking a shower. Josh was sitting in bed with blankets pulled up to his waist, reading. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Katie slept with Mike.”


“I swear she sleeps with every guy she comes in contact with.”

“Again, and? Sex feels good and can boost self-esteem. Why criticize her about it?”

“How would you feel if I slept with every guy I ever met?”

“I asked you how many when we started dating and you said more than two dozen. Do you think Katie’s number are equal to or lower than that?”

“She’s only known Mike for less than one day,” Michelle said.

“I don’t care, honey,” Josh shook his head. He went back to reading his book while Michelle got dressed.

“He has a girlfriend who’s pregnant,” Michelle said.

“Sounds like Mike is the bad person in this scenario.”

“Why are you defending her?”

“I like Katie and I consider her a friend. You should be on her side too since you consider her a friend.”

Michelle finished dressing, walked over to the bed and leaned down to kiss Josh. “I’ll see you this afternoon. If you find yourself alone with Katie today, keep your pants on.”

“You don’t need to worry, Michelle. Love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Michelle leaving the apartment woke Katie up. She looked next to her at Mike and sighed deeply. “He got to sleep in the bed on my last night in it.”

“What?” Mike asked, still half asleep.

“Nothing,” Katie replied. Mike rolled over on top of her and began kissing her. “What are you…? No,” she started pushing him off when she felt him push against her. Mike remained dead weight on top of her as he painfully pushed himself inside her. Katie fell still and gave up, waiting out the two minutes it took for Mike to finish. When he rolled off of her, Katie immediately got up, grabbed the clothes she had thrown on the floor and left the bedroom.

Katie was sitting on the couch flipping through television channels when Josh came out of the bedroom at 9:30. “Good morning,” he said. “How was your night?”

“Pretty good last night but it went rather quickly this morning,” she answered. “I honestly think he was using me but the joke’s on him, I was using him too.”

“Good for you,” Josh cheered. “Is Mike here?”

“No, he left shortly after I got up.”

“Do you want some breakfast? We have eggs and I think I saw some pancake mix in here.”

“You’re going to cook?”

“I live alone. I cook all the time. I don’t really do anything fancy because I live alone but I know how to cook.”

“All right. I’ll risk it,” Katie said. Josh began getting stuff out in the kitchen and soon the smell of eggs and pancakes wafted into the front room. “There’s nothing on TV. What do you want to watch?”

“I don’t know. Do your or Michelle have any TV shows on DVD?”

“Uh,” Katie reached behind the couch into one of her boxes. “I have this—the complete series.”

Josh glanced out into the front room. “Oh, holding out on me. Throw that in—it’s my favorite show.” As the first episode started, Josh got two plates of eggs and pancakes fixed and out to the front room. “Here you are, milady,” he handed Katie a plate and sat down right next to her.

“Thank you,” she responded, smiled and made little glances toward him.

They watched three episodes while sitting next to each other when Josh received a text message from Michelle. Whatcha doing? He texted back, Watching a TV show with Katie. Another message came in. “Heh. Look at this,” he showed his phone to Katie.

She read the message. “She doesn’t trust you around me?”

“You are too much of a whore, Katie.”

“Well, Michelle is too much of a bitch.”

“I’ll text her that,” Josh said. We’re just watching TV. Nothing is going to happen.

I don’t like her being alone with you. I don’t trust her.

“I’m not even going to respond to this one,” Josh said and showed Katie. She rolled her eyes. Josh then put his arm around her shoulders and held her close to him.

“Careful. I might magically remove your clothes and have my way with you.”

“I’m willing to make that sacrifice,” he smiled at her.

On Monday morning, Josh came home about 8:45 while Mike left for work at 6:40 and Michelle left at 8:15. Josh immediately walked in, went into Michelle’s bedroom and fell asleep. Katie called into work sick and hid in Mike’s bedroom while Michelle got ready and left for work.

Katie showered and shaved but dressed casual in a light blue T-shirt and a pair of jeans. She wanted to look nice but not go overboard. Shortly after noon, she slowly opened Michelle’s bedroom door and quietly walked over to her desk, opened a drawer and took out a bus schedule pamphlet. She slammed the drawer shut and turned to walk back out.

“Katie?” Josh said, half asleep.

“Sorry, Josh. I was grabbing a bus schedule. I guess I closed the drawer a bit too loud.”

“Yeah, I guess. Why do you need a bus schedule?” he sat up and the blanket fell revealing his bare torso.

“I’m going to grab some lunch. Do you want me to come with you or bring you something?”

“What were you thinking?”

Katie walked over to the bed and sat down. Josh shifted over to give her more room. “I was thinking Thai or maybe Mexican.”

“Ooh!” Josh suddenly exclaimed. “Have you tried the Cajun place?”


“We should go there. It’s amazing. I…” Katie leaned in to kiss him but Josh backed away. Katie, red with embarrassment, started to pull back but Josh reached out, touched her face and kissed her. They fell into bed while still kissing. Katie got under the covers then sat up on top of Josh and began removing her clothes. Now, both naked, they continued kissing and caressing each other.

“I guess I have to take you to lunch now,” Josh said jokingly as he and Katie got dressed. Josh received a text message from Michelle. U up? He quickly typed a message back. Just woke up. Going to have lunch with Katie. A few seconds passed. What’s Katie doing there? She should be at work. Josh glanced at Katie. I don’t know. I just woke up and found her here. She suggested lunch so we’re going. See you when you get home. Love you. “Katie, did you plan this?”

“Yes, but…”

Josh raised his hand to interrupt her. “Hold on, let’s talk about this during lunch. Come on,” Josh took Katie’s hand and they walked out of the apartment together.

“I want you out,” Michelle screamed at Katie. “One rule. There was one rule: Don’t fuck my boyfriend. You can’t even follow one rule.”

Katie, shaking and crying, spoke, “He was fine with what happened. He could’ve stopped at any time.”

“Anything with a penis,” Michelle sighed, seemingly picking and choosing what she should listen to. “You need to leave. Now,” Michelle ordered.

“Where am I supposed to go? Can you call Josh for me? Where does he live?”

“Really? You have the nerve to ask me and really believe I would tell you? Besides, he doesn’t care about you. If he cared, he’d still be here with you. He fucked you because he felt sorry for you.”

“Shut up, Michelle. Josh was called into work or he would be here. From what I heard, he likes me a whole hell of a lot more than you right now. But fine, I will go,” Katie said, calming down. Katie went over to her boxes and dug out an old cell phone. She turned it on and saw that it had a few minutes still on it. She found a number in the contacts and hit SEND. “Hey, Heather. Yes, I’m fine. I was wondering if I could stay with you for a bit. I’m getting kicked out. Great. One more favor, can you pick me up? I have a couple of boxes as well. Yeah. I’m at Michelle’s. Thank you. I’ll be out of your hair in a few minutes,” Katie said to Michelle.

Later that night, Heather and Katie laid in bed together. They had just finished making love which was something Katie did not want to do but was guilted and forced into it. “I’m so glad you called me,” Heather said, circling a finger around Katie’s belly-button. “I was hoping we’d find our way back to each other.”

“You didn’t choose me, Heather. You left me. You cheated on me both physically and emotionally.”

“I had to lose you to realize how much I loved you. And look around, she isn’t here,” Heather rolled on top of Katie and got face-to-face with her. “But you are,” Heather kissed Katie and they started fooling around, Katie getting more into it than before.

Josh walked around the store before waiting in the shoe department. “Can I help you?” asked an employee.

Josh felt dejected. “Yeah. This might sound weird but do you know if the girl who worked in this department is here?”

“You mean Katie?”

“Yeah,” he felt hopeful again.

“She quit a couple days ago. She didn’t give a reason why.”

“Do you or anyone know where she is?”

“No, we don’t. She kind of kept to herself so none of us really knew her. Sorry, dude.”

“It’s fine. Thanks anyway,” Josh sighed. He turned and walked away.