Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Zoe Bleak #2

The next morning, Zoe and Vanessa walked hand-in-hand to a coffeeshop at 63rd and Woodlawn. When they got their coffee, they went outside and sat on the patio. “Where do we want to get dinner tonight?” Vanessa asked then took a sip of her coffee.

“I don’t know. Do we want to drive to the city or stay around here?” Zoe asked.

“I could do either. It’s been awhile since we’ve actually went that far north,” Vanessa took another sip. “Did you sleep okay last night?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You muttered in your sleep and tossed and turned a lot. Usually you sleep like you are dead.”

“I had a weird dream,” Zoe said. “We’ve been dating for three years, right?”

“Yeah,” Vanessa agreed hesitantly.

“How do you feel about having children?”

“I’ve thought about it but not in depth. We’d have to decide who would carry the baby. We’re both still young enough that either of us could do it.”

“How do you feel about adoption?”

“Adopting a baby or a toddler? We could try but I don’t know if we’d be good candidates.”

“What about adopting a teenager?”

“A teenager? Do you have one in mind? You seem to have a specific kid in mind.”

“It’s because of my dream last night. I can’t really explain it here but when we get home, I’ll tell you everything,” Zoe’s eyes teared up.

“That dream must have really shook you up,” Vanessa took Zoe’s hand.

“My Grandpa was in it,” Zoe sniffled.

“Your Grandpa? The one that disappeared when you were 18?”

Zoe nodded.

“We can head back to the shop if you want,” Vanessa said.

“No. I’m sorry, it’s just been awhile since I’ve seen him. Seeing him again was so comforting that I wish I had those last years he was around to be with him again.”

“So he did pass away?”

“I always thought that he left for no reason. You can’t imagine the trauma I suffered considering my mom died giving birth to me, my father being murdered and my grandfather just vanishing. I’m glad to know that there was a reason for him leaving.”

“What are you talking about?” Vanessa laughed but was growing concerned for her partner.

“I’ll tell you when we get home,” Zoe smiled.

When Zoe and Vanessa got back to the shop, there was a man sitting on their step. As Zoe recognized him, panic flooded her body and her grip on Vanessa’s hand tightened.

“Zoe Bleak,” the man stood up and extended his arms. “How long has it been?” he hugged her and she recoiled at his touch.

“Not long enough,” she groaned.

The man turned to Vanessa. “I’m Joshua. Zoe and I were boyfriend and girlfriend back in high school.”

“I heard,” Vanessa said. “Luckily it was just a phase and she suffered no permanent damage.”

“Heh. The mouth on her,” Joshua smiled.

“What are you doing here, Joshua?”

“To reminisce about old times and all the fun we used to have.”

Zoe unlocked the door to the shop hoping to get away from Joshua. “Fun? All we did was drink, get high and have sex.”

“There was that time we murdered that woman,” Joshua said. Zoe and Vanessa were in the shop and Joshua was following them in. “Well, I guess I murdered her while you just stood and watched but accessory to murder is just as bad.”

“Go away, Joshua!” Zoe shoved Joshua out of the store and onto the street. “And if I ever see you again, I will kill you,” Zoe slammed the door and locked it.

“You murdered somebody?” Vanessa asked, quietly.

“I wasn’t a very good teenager and I think the reason Joshua is back in my life is because of my dream,” Zoe said and sat down on one of the ratty couches they had in the shop.

“Okay. You need to tell me this dream,” Vanessa sat down with Zoe.

“I dreamed about that night—that murder. The only difference was that my Grandpa appeared and explained everything. It was a pregnant woman that Joshua and his friends killed. But the baby lived and has been living in limbo or something for the last fourteen years. She’ll be a freshman in high school this fall and they want us to take care of her.”

“Us? Why us?”

“Part of it is as punishment for allowing Candice to be killed. The other part is because of my powers. For some reason this child needs protection and only I can help,” Zoe said.

Vanessa was silent and just looked at her hands. “What else haven’t you told me? Are there any other secrets that could come up and disrupt our relatively quiet life?”

“Like I said, I wasn’t a very good teenager,” Zoe chuckled but it sounded more like a sob.

“Zoe. Tell me. There can’t be secrets this big between us,” Vanessa said.

“When I was fourteen, my Grandpa had to go out of town and he let me stay home alone. I invited a friend to stay over and I ended up getting her drunk and raping her.”

“What?” Vanessa’s mouth dropped open.

“I really liked her and I thought if I…It was stupid. We never spoke again and I lost a great friend,” Zoe said. “I wish I could take it back but I can’t.”

Vanessa was silent again. “Is that all?”

“My freshman year of college, I had decided to embrace my lesbianism and I fell for this girl who was definitely not a lesbian. I got around that little hiccup by putting her under a love and attraction spell,” Zoe revealed.

“How long did you have her under this spell?” Vanessa asked, a cold undertone in her voice.

“Ten months,” Zoe hung her head.

“Why did you release her from this spell?”

Zoe started messing with her fingers. “I stopped loving her.”

Vanessa nodded. “Have you ever put me under one of your spells? Am I under one now? Do you ever render me unconscious and rape me?”

“No! God, no. Rachel was the only person I’ve ever done that to. I’ve never used magic on you, Vanessa,” Vanessa pursed her lips and glared at Zoe. “I’m sorry, Ness. I should’ve told you about all of that but I wanted to put it all behind me. I’m not the same person I was at 14, 17 or 18.”

“You raped someone,” Vanessa said, disgusted. “Actually, you didn’t rape someone, you raped two people and murdered a third.”


“No,” Vanessa interrupted and stood up. “I’m going upstairs. Please don’t follow me.”

Vanessa walked through the shop to the stairway. Zoe stayed on the couch and watched her leave. Zoe cried as Vanessa left and buried her face in the couch pillow when she heard the apartment door slam.