Episode 28 Trouble and Pain
Lexie was kicking the trash can toward the garden gate as she heard the side gate open. Turning she saw Caitlin’s new man, fling, plaything, whatever he was standing in the gateway. “I don’t know where that bitch is,” She growled at him, daring him to speak to her. “I do,” He strode casually toward her and glanced around like a prowling predator waiting to pounce on his prey. “so why are you here?” She kicked the trash can again and felt a strong arm on her shoulder. “Listen JC, I’ve had the crappiest night ever, spent a night in fucking lock up and where’s that bitch of a girlfriend of yours when I need her?” It happened so fast, Lexie didn’t even realize what was happening. A sharp sting to her face, then she was lifted and being carried swiftly to a car. She tried to scream but he had a hand over her mouth. Kicking him, she was suddenly filled with fear and the fighting instinct to survive. What was he doing? Who was he? And what had Caitlin got herself into?
The afternoon was filled with phone calls to contractors, cleaners and agencies for staff. She had got the go ahead from JC to revamp the inside of the club and she had some outrageous but stylish ideas. She knew, that the area it was, some of her more extravagant ideas would not be appropriate but still, some of them could be used. JC had loved them and put up capital for her to do some of the changes. By three PM she was interviewing prospective joiners, electricians, and the following weeks would be completely bombarded with stuff that had to be done.
There was getting the club ready, not to mention staff and then there was publicity. But she knew this was a challenge she had waited years for. Running a club for someone who had the same vision she did for its progress.
As the shadows faded outside, and the Santa Monica hills gleamed with a golden sunset, Caitlin allowed herself to wonder where JC had gone and why he hand’t been back all afternoon. She knew better than to question his whereabouts, but it didn’t stop her wondering, especially after past events. She knew who he was and she had, like it or not, accepted everything she knew about him. Looking down at Callie, knowing they had to leave, she called his cell. “Sup?” His voice was thick with weed smoke. “Hey, I need to get home. I’ve done all I can here today. Can I get a ride?” There was a pause and she knew he’d muted her to talk to someone. “Baby?” He called down the phone to her. “Yeah?” She felt a sense of unease at the tone in his voice. Holding onto the phone tightly, as though she’d need it to sturdy herself, she listened. Her eyes closed tightly in anticipation and the setting sun warm on her face. “I’m sending Rico. He’ll drive you home and we’ve made arrangements for him to drive you to and from work in the future. That cool wit you?” She nodded and then spoke. “Sure, I’ll lock up.” “Wait inside until Rico gets there. Remember where you at baby girl.” And they shared a small laugh at her lack of mind in regards to her current location. “Alright,” she smiled. “Will I be seeing you tonight, boo?” “Not tonight mamasita,” he said with a tone of displeasure in his voice. “Got some shit to take care of here but I’ll call you later, aight?” “Sure thing,” She couldn’t tell him otherwise and hoped whatever it was that he was dealing with wouldn’t upset him too greatly. She packed up her things and headed into the club, locking the office door and waited for Rico to arrive.
Emily was laying on her bed with the air conditioner blowing gently across her face. Tears had dried up and the cramps had kicked in. Cory was making dinner that she knew she couldn’t eat. Lexie had obviously been home because the back door was unlocked and the gate wide open. Emily could wring that girl’s neck sometimes.
“Em?” Cory’s soft tone came into the room and she struggled to sit up. “It’s OK,” He reassured her. “Dinner’s not ready yet, just brought you some water and some more ibuprofen.”
“Thanks,” She breathed and he sat on the blue checked comforter that lay on her bed and rested an affectionate hand on her arm.
“It’ll be OK, Em, I promise,” and she believed him. The sight of his drawn face and yet kind smile killed her a little inside and she wondered desperately what she could do to make this pain go away for the both of them.
Lexie lay shaking on the cold stone floor and could only see shafts of daylight seeping in through the windows. She was alone and there was no sound except the odd scuffle of tiny paws along the walls. The gag in her mouth was making her thirsty and she prayed Caitlin or Emily would notice her absence and call the cops. But why would they? She’d done vanishing acts before. Why would they even think something was wrong? The door, he’d not locked the back door. But that didn’t mean much either seen as she’d done so many irresponsible things around the house before. So how would they know she was gone? The truck! It was still there. But not where they could see it. She’d had to park a block away because of stupid Mr Gonzales and his stupid kids. Feeling anger boil inside of her at the lack of knowledge she had left for her friends and at that piece of scum. Who the hell did he think he was and what would caitlin say if she knew he had her tied up somewhere and was going to do God only knew what to her? She’d be angry; wouldn’t she? Lexie was uncertain. Things had been tense at home recently and she was so unsure of how her relationships stood with many of her friends at the moment. But surely, surely they wouldn’t want harm to come to her. Would they? Her back ached and the tears of sorrow began to fall as the sun dipped behind the horizon and another day was over.
JC sat with Rico and they talked quietly about what had happened that day. JC knew that he could trust Rico implicitly and Rico knew if he ever even dare think to cross JC, his life would be over. He’d grown up in Mexico until he was eight and three of his uncles were associated with the Mexican mafia. It only fit that he should be closely linked to LA gangs. He wasn’t a blood, his ethnicity didn’t permit it but he was an associate which meant he was loyal and worked for any gangster who deemed him worthy of their service. JC and Rico had been friends in high school and Rico never saw himself as the underdog or lesser than JC’s equal, as neither did JC. Rico was his both and despite skin color or background, Rico had his back as much of some of his Piru brothers. “So she’s OK?” “Homie, she daren’t ask questions. She’s smart and she knows what she’s in. What you gonna tell her?” Rico’s hazel eyes penetrated his friend’s and they both knew that despite piru code, Caitlin would need to know. Lexie was her friend, she had to be taught a lesson but Caitlin was the love of Jay Carter’s life and he could not, no matter what, hide this information from her. “The truth,” He told Rico. “You think that puta would tell anyone what happens tonight?” Rico was referring to Lexie but the twinge of a possibility he was talking about Caitlin sent a wave of fury through JC’s bones. “Yeah, I think she will, that’s why I asked my sisters to give us an alibi.” “And they will?” JC nodded. His sisters were ultimate hoodrats and couldn’t stand the popo so would lie to save anyone but their enemy’s asses. “Aight, let’s go,” Rico stood, JC took the last drag from his blunt and they headed out into the dusk.
Caitlin heard murmured voices as she trudged to her room, exhausted but satisfied with her day’s work. Rico had been chatty enough in the car on the way home but she knew he had other things on his mind. He and JC had business together, that she was sure of. Walking into her room and closing the door to change, leaving Callie to munch on her well earned dinner, Caitlin stretched wearily and hoped Lexie would not be home so she did not have to deal with the girl’s most recent drama. Stripping down to her nakedness, She pulled her robe from the door and headed toward the bathroom and a refreshing shower.
The water cascaded down her back and chest in a soothing spring of watery goodness. The cleansing of a shower is something we often take far too much for granted. Shampooing her hair, she yawned and decided pizza was a great option for dinner.
Emily lay watching TV in her room as Corey had gone to fetch more pain killers. A gentle knock at the door of her room announced the presence of Caitlin. “Can we come in?” Emily felt ill wondering who was with her. Lexie couldn’t have been concerned. It was not her style. But who else would caitlin have with her? To an extent, she could hide the physical difference in herself from Caitlin’s blind eyes but her friend had an unbelievable knack of knowing what was wrong without sight. “Sure,” She croaked and Caitlin pushed the door open and in bounded Callie. The relief that flowed over her was indescribable as she lay there, we had meant Callie and her.
“What’s up, Em?” Here it was, Caitlin’s sixth sense of knowing things. “Nothing,” She tried to hold back the tears but as soon as her blonde friend’s caring arms ensued her, the tears bombarded down her face in a torrent of waves.
“Emily, what is it?” Caitlin’s heart panicked now. “You and Cory are working things out, right?” she held her shaking, emotional wreck of a friend tight to her chest and stroked her hair affectionately. Emily hardly ever got emotional, she was so strong and this situation triggered the sensors of something big had occurred in Caitlin’s mind.
“I’ve done something awful! My mom will hate me!” “Emily, what is it?” caitlin commanded in a firm tone. She couldn’t stand hysteria and Emily was verging right onto a level that surpassed that. “I can’t tell you!” She wailed. Her head lay against Caitlin’s shoulder and the burden of knowledge of what she had done was eating away at her. “It’s too awful! You’ll think less of me.” “Emily,” Caitlin clung to her friend. What could she have done that was so terrible? After all, caitlin had not exactly been miss innocent in recent weeks. Emily could not have surpassed Caitlin’s level of horror in a million years if she had tried. Or could she? Do really ever, truly know someone? Even if we live with them, go to school with them? Do we truly know the kind of people we associate ourselves with? “You can tell me anything. I promise, you can’t tell me anything that could shock me, not anymore.” And Emily attempted to compose herself as she wiped her eyes with her sleeve and took several deep breaths, attempting to calm herself enough to tell the story.
JC slammed the heavy, metal door behind him as Rico and he entered lock up. She lay bound and gagged on the cold, stone floor and JC knelt beside her brandishing a knife.
“Now,” His voice was thick with weed smoke and his eyes possessed a crazed look in them. Lexie felt her stomach reel in fear. He was holding a blade above her neck and if she made any sudden movements he would kill her, she had no doubt in her mind.
“What you keep doing to your girls is unforgivable! They’re great women and you continue to disrespect them by being self obsessed. The world, Alexia,” He rolled her name out in long, drawn syllables. “Does not revolve around you! Despite what you may think. Emily and Caitlin both have their own lives and they cannot come running,” He snapped his fingers as he strode around her menacingly in the cold, dark room, “Whenever you believe you need them.” Kneeling beside her, he lit a cigarette and stared at her malevolently. As she tried to avoid his eye contact he gave her a swift slap to the face. “Do not disrespect me!” His voice boomed and rebounded from the stone walls and to her dismay, she flinched.
He rolled back onto his heels in a crouching stance and Lexie was reminded of hyenas, ready to pounce on their pray while cackling their erie laughter throughout the jungle air.
“So, here’s what will happen!” He said, blowing smoke int her face. “You will grow the fuck up, stop whining like some petulant five year old and you will let them be with respect. You drove one friend away Alexia, how long will it be until you are completely alone?” after blowing out another plume of smoke, he leaned forward and inches away from her face, his breath hot on her cheeks, spoke in a very cold tone. “and this little incident never happened. And if anyone finds out it did, you and me will be having more one on one time together, do you understand me bitch?” And with one final slap, he rose and indicated to someone who was in the shadows to release her.
I had an abortion,” Emily said suddenly, piercing the silence with the weight of her news. Caitlin didn’t respond for a few minutes and then hugged her friend tighter. “I’m sorry girl, you have been through it huh?” And Emily looked into the blind eyes with confusion upon her face. “You don’t think I’m disgusting?” She asked with fear in her voice. “That I did that?” “No,” Caitlin said with bemusement lay heavy on her voice. “Emily, if it wasn’t the right time or what you wanted right now, then you made the right decision. Is Cory OK?” “I think so,” She murmured not convinced by her own words. “He says little but I know he’s hurting. The problem is, I didn’t even know it was his.” Caitlin felt the realization lay heavy on her heart and she nodded, comprehension showing on her smooth face. “Well, if you need to talk, I’m here, OK?” She hugged her again as Cory entered the room, worry written in his eyes. “I told her,” Emily blurted. “I’m sorry Cory,” Caitlin stood and hugged him as a sister consoling her brother would. His frame was wooden in her embrace and she sighed heavily knowing they needed to be alone. “I’m only in the living room if you guys need anything.” And with one call to her blonde friend, Caitlin left, closing the door gently behind her, leaving the heavy silence between the couple in mourning.
JC and Rico sat at Rico’s mother’s house drinking some cool beer from the fridge. Words hadn’t passed much between the two and JC knew he had to make a phone call. Sighing heavily, slamming his beer can on the table, he pulled his iPhone from his jeans and called Caitlin’s number.
“Baby girl?” He said soberly as she answered only after two rings. “I need to talk to you. Can I come over?” There was a pause and he tapped the screen, stood, drained his beer, tossed the can into a pile of trash on the floor and headed to his truck. He was worried, he couldn’t lie to himself. If she rejected him now, he couldn’t blame her but he prayed to God, something he was not accustomed to doing that she wouldn’t and she would appreciate his actions. Slamming the driver’s door, he turned the ignition and headed toward Caitlin and the decision of their future together.