Episode 24

Episode 24 Causing Pain

With every day came a new note, a new gift and more flowers. Caitlin kept begging JC to not talk to Battle again, taking his threat seriously and Caitlin knew that the gifts, flowers, cards and little love notes were not for her benefit anymore, they were solely for JC.

“I cannot stand by and watch that nigga keep creeping up on you, ma!” He spat as they sat in his car on their way to her house after a night out. JC had ensured that all the jobs he had picked up were big money makers so he could keep his life style in LA up for as long as possible. He had just made a huge pay off and was contemplating investing it in some property. He was also working on reclaiming money that he was owned in the shape of a club owned by one of the most spineless assholes he had had the misfortune to meet. John Walker was a big time slime ball but unluckily for him he had borrowed twenty thousand dollars from JC a few years back and had recently missed payments and now the debt lay at a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. JC knew the club John owned was worth closer to three hundred grand but that did not concern him. All JC wanted was to get his hands on more money making schemes to stay with Caitlin in this new life he was becoming extremely fond of.And to prove to everyone, including Caitlin but especially Battle that she did not need an up and coming rapper to satisfy her, a nigga from the streets would survice. “I know you can’t, JC,” She sighed exasperatedly as they pulled into her street and she held onto Callie’s lead. “But that is exactly what he wants you to do. If you do nothing, then he cannot pull you into his pathetic, childish game.”

Nodding, JC leaned back and sighed deeply. He knew she was right but it went against everything he knew as a gangster and was uncertain now how to proceed. Caitlin had a way of convincing him of shit that previously he would have laughed at but at the same time, he knew something had to be done about Rick Tomson.

“You coming in?” Caitlin asked in a low voice. The skies were darkening overhead with the oncoming night and she shivered slightly as he touched her arm sensually. “What do you think, baby girl?” His tones were filled with the silkiness of seduction and she shivered again with the essence of anticipation.

Lexie lay on her bed beside a short, dark haired guy with a goofy smile and chubby cheeks. Jake had been in and out of Lexie’s life for several years and although both of her best friends attempted to tell her he was bad for her, Lexie loved to keep Jake on a short leash.

Jake satisfied a lot of Lexie’s needs, her confidence, her ego security and her sexual needs. Jake was the ultimate forbidden fruit and yet at the same time, so was Dan but for different reasons. Jake was a male whore and Dan was married, one was not allowed because he was someone else’s while the other would break her heart without a second thought. Jake Wilson kept Lexie around to make him look good. He was a guitar player in a local punk band and Lexie was the biggest groupie going, with her on his arm, he would get more and more girls. Everyone knew, the prettier the girl you had on your arm the prettier the girls who would want to fuck you. Jake didn’t give one iota to Lexie’s feelings, he wanted her for his own selfish purposes and the sad thing was, he didn’t care who knew.

“Jakey!” Lexie crooned as she ran her hands over his chest. He was hers, that she was certain of. Jake would do anything for her and she had him wrapped around her little finger, so she thought. “Want some food?” “Sure, Lexie baby,” He crooned back, thinking she may as well feed him before he went out with his friends shortly.

Standing up, Lexie walked to the kitchen and began making some tacos for them both. who needed Dan anyway when you had Jake?

Emily’s eyes were sore from the constant fall of tears. She lay her head on the steering wheel, knowing she had to say goodbye but not wanting too. The sky was almost dusk outside the car window, the air a sultry sensation from the open driver’s window, and yet Emily felt as though she was in the midst of an Arctic winter. Why was Cory leaving her? It just wasn’t fair! She wiped her brown eyes and sniffed loudly as her passenger door opened and a familiar tall figure slipped in beside her. His green eyes concerned, his floppy hair around his tanned face.

“Em?” His tones were concerned as he reached over and patted the girl’s arm. His lip twitched with emotion as he watched the girl he had wanted since college cry over his departure. Cars wized past on the freeway but the silence within the car was overbearing.

“Emily,” His voice shook with emotion as the street lamp cast a ghostly presence on her porcelain face making it look ghastly. “Whatever is the matter?” “What’s the matter?” She exploded, her voice tort with emotion. Her sheer level of crying caused her voice to sound as though she had a cold. “shit, Cory, I don’t know. The man I’m beginning to fall for is fucking leaving tonight, maybe that’s what the fucking matter is!” She turned back to her steering wheel, ashamed of her outburst and began to weep again. Shocked at her tone, Cory rested his head on her shoulder. “This doesn’t have to be over, Em,” His tones were smooth and kind. “It just means we can’t see each other during the week. But I plan on coming down at the weekends.” “a part time relationship, is not what I’m looking for!” She growled through gritted teeth and Cory sighed. He knew how she was beginning to feel, he should, he’d been feeling that way for a long time now and yet he’d still accepted that blasted job. Why? To see if she’d come with you, a voice echoed in his head but he had known even when he’d called up his new boss to accept the offer that Emily would never leave her beloved lA or her friends. But he had taken it anyway, why? He shrugged mentally now, uncertain of the reasons but aware too well of the pain in those beautiful brown eyes.

Caitlin typed away on her laptop, not hearing anything from within the house as she was blasting her itunes library through her headphones. Lexie was home, that she knew, but she had guessed she had male company as she wasn’t watching TV in the living room and the kitchen was a mess with taco ingredients.

JC had chilled with her for a little while but had to get back to Compton. Caitlin knew he wouldn’t do anything with the other girls now, not after everything they were going through at the moment. JC had told her specifically that cheating was not on his agenda and she believed him. After all, he had given her no reason to believe he would cheat now. Continuing to type a report that was due for work, Caitlin hummed happily to herself.

JC sat on the kerb waiting for B-dog his best friend. Smoking a cigarette, JC noted how quiet the neighborhood was that night. His grandmother had said it had been like that all day when he had pointed it out to her while they ate dinner. That always spelt bad news in his experience. Stomping on the butt of the dead cigarette, he looked up into the inky black sky that was dotted with both stars and the reflection of the hundreds of street lights and listened. at that exact moment, an array of gunshots were heard down the block and JC spun his body around to squint into the darkness.

‘hope it’s no one I know.’ he thought as he stood, pulling his gun to his side from the holster and walking briskly down the deserted street toward the chaos.

Emily rested her head on her folded arms again as Cory hugged her. she wanted so desperately to jump out of her car and run away from him and at the same time, wanted to stay close to him forever. It was so unfair! Why was this happening to her, to them? Why couldn’t he have found a job in LA and they could have progressed in what was slowly becoming a wonderful relationship.

She looked up at him, her eyes rimmed with painful looking blotches and sniffled for what seemed to be the hundredth time that week. Ever since he had told her three weeks before that he was leaving, she had cried at least once a day; the crying sessions only having increased during the past week. And today, the day he was leaving, she had not seemed to stop crying for more than five minutes at a time. Constantly she told herself to “get a grip, he’s just a boy” but Cory was way more than that and she’d only be a fool to try and make herself believe that crap. Wiping her eyes that physically hurt when she touched them now, she looked at him forlornly and smiled weakly.

“Have a safe trip, Cory,” Looking away, feeling new floods of tears breaking over the dam of her will, Emily signalled for him to leave and hugging her one more time, leaving a tender kiss upon her dark hair, Cory opened the door and stepped sorrowfully toward the airport terminal. Emily broke down, allowing herself one more cry before she picked herself up and moved on.

JC walked to the figure lay covered in blood on the asphalt and his stomach churned violently. He’d discovered and seen many dead bodies but this one was so different. The acidic vomit hit the back of his throat as the tears burned down his dark cheeks and a growl erupted into a sob of grief as he knelt beside the man he called his best friend, confidant and brother. B-dog was dead! His pulse was non-existent, his face frozen in death with a pained expression and a bullet hole in his chest and head. The sobs were coming thick and fast now as he called Rogue and Rico.

“hello?” A laughing Rico answered his cell phone. “Rico,” JC whispered in a sob he could not control. he had known B-dog since elementary school. They had got detention so many times, JC could not remember how many times any more. B-dog had been three through everything and now he was gone. “Jc?” Rico sounded worried. Everyone knew if a nigga called you sounding as awful as jC did at that very moment, there had been a death close to home. “B-dog’s gone!” The last word was drawn out in a heart shaking cry as JC felt his entire world whirl around him with no sense of anything. “no!” Rico was in shock as he fastened up his sneakers and ran out on to the street. “Where are you?” “Block down from mine,” JC struggled to talk, the imploding of his emotions placing a huge strain on his heart and lungs. “He was on his way to see me!” JC felt the guilt as he looked down at the dead face of a friend he could not believe would never have his back again. “I’m on my way,” Rico informed him, praying, as futile as he knew it was, that JC was wrong.

Jake had left, insisting he had a recording session to attend. Lexie had frowned, feeling dejected as he had left her to clean up the mess. Humming quietly, she saw she had had three missed calls from Dan and hurried over to call him. Maybe the night wasn’t at a complete loss after all.

“Lexie, we need to fucking talk!” Dan sounded pissed and Lexie frowned. “What the hell is up with you?” She asked annoyed that he would choose to take such a tone with her. “Beth kicked me out! She found out about us,” Dan was growling through gritted teeth as he told her. “You dirty little bitch gave me an STI!” Lexie’s heart was in her throat as his words echoed around her head. “What? No, not me!” Lexie felt sick. The only people she had been sleeping with were Dan and Jake and Dan certainly had only slept with his wife and her but Jake? As the thought crossed her mind, anger boiled inside of her. So the dirty little dog was sleeping around was he? Great! And now Beth had discovered hers and Dan’s dirty little secret. “We’re done, Lex!” Dan was saying as she contemplated what to do. “I thought it was just me, but I’m guessing not!” “You have some real double standards, Danny boy!” Her voice was filled with venom as she spoke. Catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror she could see her green eyes flashing dangerously. “You’ve been sleeping with me and your wife, no one said this was exclusive!” And she hung up feeling a sudden sensatin of sickness roll over her.

His head was pounding as he left B-dog’s mama’s house and heard the chaos of grief that was all around him, inside of him with no escape in sight. Jumping into his chevy, he hit the accelerator hard and burned out of his street, not sure of where he would end up. How he drove anywhere with the cascade of tears he would never truly comprehend but he got there eventually.

A loud knocking awoke Caitlin around three AM. ‘Not the cops again!’ She prayed as she threw back the comforter and padded down the hallway to the front door. Opening the door, she realized it was raining hard and into her arms fell a distraught JC.

“Baby, what is it?” Panic surged through Caitlin’s tired body as he sobbed into her shoulder. He was soaked to the bone and Caitlin wasn’t surprised seeing the downpour outside. Pulling him into the house and stripping him to his shorts, she heard Emily’s tired voice.

“What’s going on?” “I got it, Em,” Caitlin whispered back, afraid of what JC would do. It was a male pride issue to never see them cry but he was beyond crying now. His body shook with emotion as Caitlin locked up and pulled him beside her down the hallway to her room. Callie looked up and seeing it was JC padded over to him. Taking his hand from his face, he patted the dog gently and then wrapped his arms around his girlfriend so tightly it made her afraid to ask.

His tears fell for hours as she cradled him like a distraught child. His grief so evident, Caitlin didn’t want to think of what might have happened. She prayed Rose Carter was sleeping in her bed peacefully but what else could have brought on the grief she saw spilling from her boyfriend’s eyes like this.

“Baby,” She stroked his fade that bristled pleasantly under her palm. “What happened?” His sobs erupted again and she instantly berated herself for asking. Pulling him to lie across her stomach, she pulled up the comforter and stroked his tear soaked cheeks sadly. He’d talk when he was ready, that she knew because he was here, with her, seeking her comfort, for that she was grateful. But to see the pain that rolled from him like lava from a volcano broke her heart.

Emily stared at her blotchy face in her mirror. She had never cried over a man before and here she was, unable to contain the pain. Sighing deeply, she wondered what she could possibly do to get over Cory. Wiping her damp hair that stuck to her face like strands of sticky string, she gulped back another tidal wave of tears.

‘No more, Em. No more tears for him! If he had cared about you enough, he would still be here!’ and wiping her eyes from the few escaped tears of her will power she padded over to her bed and looked at the illuminated clock radio that read 05:28 and realized she had not slept. Grabbing her clothes, Emily wandered to the shower and decided to wash away her pain.

Lexie lay in bed feeling sick. She needed to get tested. If she proved to Dan that she was clean, then he’d have to see her again. But what if she wasn’t? What if Jake had given her something? The thought made her feel the bile rise in her throat and her stomach churned with the threat of illness. Why would Jake do this to her? It wasn’t fair! He could have messed up everything! Why couldn’t he just stay faithful?

‘Lexie, how hypocritical are you?’ she pushed the thought away. She was not going to blame herself for this. It was Jake in the wrong or maybe even Dan. But either way, Lexie knew if Dan had something then the likely hood of her having it too was high.

The sun was peeping through the gap in her dark blinds and sighing, she looked at the clock. It was still too early to call the doctor’s office but she couldn’t sleep so she stood and went to make breakfast.

He opened his eyes and noted where he was instantly. Her hands were still gently stroking his cheeks that were red from all of his sobs. His head was resting on her chest while she cradled him like a baby. For the first time since he was a child, Jay Carter felt weak and he did not like it. Sitting up, he pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her blond head.

“Thank you!” He needed her. Needed her in a way he had never felt before. All he wanted was to lay her down and take her, if only to feel again.

“How are you?” She snuggled into his chest, her arms freezing. He wrapped her up in the comforter and kissed her again before answering in a shaky tone.

“I found my best friend shot last night,” his eyes glistened with painful tears but she stroked his cheek reassuringly. “He’s dead, baby girl!” Her arms were tight around him as he weeped for what seemed like the hundredth time for B-dog.

“I’m so sorry,” She whispered sadly. He shook in her arms and Caitlin was overwhelmed. She just wanted the pain to go away for him but this pain was raw and only time could heal it. She felt useless and as though nothing she said or did would help him. But she was helping him, she was there. “I don’t know what to do! i’m a fucking mess! A gangsta ain’t supposed to fucking cry!” His tears were intermitted by short amused bursts of laughter. “You’re human,” She kissed his neck gently. “You wouldn’t have a heart if you didn’t cry for your friend.” He nodded. Again, she was right. But he was glad he’d come here and not stayed with the others the previous night. He wouldn’t have been able to hold up around his boys and they definitely couldn’t see this weakness. He was their leader, they followed him, he had to remain strong for them. And now he’d had this moment, he could do that.

His cellphone buzzed in his pocket then and he answered Rogue’s call. “Sup, man?” He sniffed and wasn’t surprised to hear Rogue sounding like he had a cold too. “We know who shot B-dog!” Rogue’s voice was a growl and JC stiffened, his body tight with tension. “Just get here!” And the call was disconnected. “I gotta go,” He kissed Caitlin. “Thanks for being there for me, ma. I’ll call you later! Rogue knows who killed B-dog.” “Be safe,” She kissed his lips fully as he wrapped his arms around his salvation. “I will, for you baby girl!” His kiss was strong and standing up, looking at her one last time, Jay Carter knew more than he needed too.

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