Chapter 27

I don’t want to open my eyes. This is nice. I still hear Roger’s voice. In the distance. Damn, that man can talk. Think I’ll just lay here for a bit. He probably thinks I’m passed out. Who am I to disappoint? His voice gradually took on the quality of white noise. Relaxation…like the gentle ebb and flow of ocean waves upon the ….

I felt the breeze off the ocean, damp from the sea mist. My hair was a mess. All wind blown. We’d met about an hour before dusk. I owned a small condo one street over from the beach. A weekend getaway… A knock at the door. In minutes we were walking

It was late August. And the time of day for holdouts. Snuggled deep in their blankets, dreading the departure from a lazy day at the shore. You’ve spent hours sitting on the sand, walking the waterline, bodysurfing the waves…yeah, that’s what it’s about.

Neither one of us wanted to be the first to talk. As yet unspoken “breakup” was in the air. In spite of it, tonight there was something different.  We were lighter together. Peaceful and relaxed, we walked the entire length of the beach. We held hands off and on. Teased each other like first time lovers. So obvious. The end was near. But not tonight.

This night was about reminiscing. We talked about everything. We ventured to places we never explored. But it didn’t matter. Not now. Now we were walking the walk of dissolution. The walk of reflection and acceptance. Me and Bobby? Done. Over and out. Sometimes, it’s just not right.

“I dare you to walk down this beach, all the way back… topless”.

I laughed. “You’re funny, you know?” I pulled the sleeveless lavender tank top over my head.

“You mean like this?”

Bobby smiled. A smile so wide I had to reach over and touch his face. I looked into his eyes. Why could I never quite break through?

……

“What?! After the night we just had? What the fuck do you mean you think we should go our separate ways? What the fuck does that mean?!

“Calm down Bobby. You heard me. How can I be any clearer?”

“Any clearer?! Are you listening to yourself Janice? You do realize we’re not in a Courtroom, right?”

“Fuck you Bobby. Fuck you. Maybe you ought to get used to feeling like you’re in a Courtroom ‘cuz the way it looks to me, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in one.” 

“Is that what this is all about? You’re pissed because I didn’t tell you about the investigation?”

“Damn right I’m pissed. Internal Affairs is conducting an investigation of brutality charges against my boyfriend and gee, that’s something I wouldn’t want to know about?! I shouldn’t be pissed because the man I’ve been sleeping with for the last year is keeping secrets from me?! Big secrets. You didn’t think I ought to know about that!? What else haven’t you told me Bobby?”

“I don’t need this shit. I don’t need it from IA and I sure as hell don’t need it from you Janice. I’m outta here. Have a nice….”

 “I don’t need your shit, Roger. That’s what I’m asking you. Did you or didn’t you ask her about Jenn’s love life?”

“What? What did you say Bobby? You asking about my love life?” I opened my eyes reluctantly.

 

 

 

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Chapter 25

Like the sound of a fog horn in the distance, I could hear Bobby barking orders to his men – “dammit O’Malley! don’t be movin’ the furniture until DiMartini’s taken all his pictures!” And just like the swell of sea fog spreading over deserted beach, his voice receded as I realized I was being gently led downstairs.

“If memory serves me correctly young lady, your sister has a fairly decent stash of hooch somewhere in…bingo!”

Still lingering and lost in a haze of shock and disbelief at the scene upstairs, I watched PI Guy reach into a cabinet in the corner of Jenn’s dining room and pull out a silver bottle. I found my way to the couch in the living room, sat down. Feeling the oversized cushions reaching for my back, I suddenly felt really tired. The kind of tired you feel after driving an 800 mile marathon road trip with only one stop. No. No resistance. I gave in to the comfort of those cushions and let my body ease back into their soft embrace, eyes closing.

“This will do quite nicely.” Reluctantly, I opened my eyes. Roger was standing over me, silver bottle in one hand, shot glass in the other. “Nothing like a good shot of tequila to clear the cobwebs, right? Am I right?”

Was he doing his best to lighten the mood? Distract me? Prisoner to the moment, I semi-smiled and said “Sure”.

Noticing the bottle he was holding and watching him expertly fill the glass, my smile grew a little bigger. Jenn’s parties were legendary. Everything top shelf, liquor not withstanding. It was all or nothing with my sister. “Live for today!” she’d say. “It’s all that matters!”

This day was getting way too surreal. I hadn’t even noticed Roger was still talking. “…and did you know Patrón has nine different lines of tequila? They’ve even got a tequila-chocolate-coffee blend, Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa. Wild, isn’t it?” I shook my head slowly, side to side, up and down, as if I’d already had a few shots under my belt.

“Hm….think I’ve heard something about it….”

The first one went down without protest. A little surprising considering it was early afternoon and the “any time is a good time” days are long time residents in the “memory motel” of my youth. Who in God’s name invited Mr. Dali to this party….

Roger’s voice was a buzzing in the background. What was really keeping my attention was the rumble and commotion upstairs. Of policmen looking for clues and tagging evidence. As much as I tried, I couldn’t pretend it was the sound of pre-teen girls practicing the latest dance moves. In spite of impending and certain inebriation, hell, maybe because of it, my brain went to my niece Kendra’s 13th birthday party.

My niece had begged her mom to let her do something big.  “You only turn 13 once Mom!”, she’d say. Jenn had feigned serious contemplation over her daughter’s request for weeks. In the end? Kendra invited 20 of her “closest friends” to a weekend long slumber/dance party. Damn. I never had a party even come close to that. Hell, never even had a 13th birthday party.

(this is some kinda smooth tequila) My private revery continued…I’d been working in London the 3 months prior to Kendra’s birthday. Business being business, it became pretty clear it wouldn’t be concluded before the big day. Contracts and negotiations don’t recognize milestone life events. Publicity appearances don’t wait for a more convenient time. But I didn’t want to, nor would I, miss my niece celebrate her official first day as a teenager. I took the red eye out of London, surprised the crap out of everyone and had the best time I can remember with Jenn, Kendra and 20 of Kendra’s “closest friends”.

“Hey, History Man. I love that you’re so knowledgable about what we’re drinking and all, but can you give me a minute? You know. To chill?”

I extended my arm. “Hit me again big man. Hit me again”.