Episode 29 Growing up
She waited on the porch, arms folded, allowing the cool night breeze to flow around her. Callie lay by her feet and the night air was still. Emily was playing heavily on her mind. Why hadn’t she come to her? They’d been so close during the college years. Before the Cory years began. Caitlin realized at that very moment that they had all grown up and she’d missed it. She never saw herself as the successful career woman with a healthy social life but that was what she was. Emily went to work but then she came home and told Caitlin all about her day and guys she liked, and clothes she’d seen at the mall but that had stopped recently. Cory had become a more permanent feature in Emily’s life and JC a more prominent feature in her own and so she knew, that somewhere, friendship did take a backseat. But it shouldn’t! She scolded herself. I should still be here for them. For Emily and Lexie. And Lexie. What had happened to her? Why was she so angry these days? Where was she now? Getting drunk? High? Sleeping with the entire Los Angeles male population? Her brow furrowed as she sighed heavily. Stepping onto the porch in her blue PJs, she sat down heavily on a chair and waited. His phone call had been strained but she was used to that tone with him. Something was playing on his mind and he needed to tell her.
“Emily?” cory sat down, his heart heavy with the reality of their situation. “I’ve tried to get another week off work but I can’t. You can though. So I was thinking, maybe you’d like to come to San Francisco and relax a little.” His heart pounded. He hoped beyond all hope she wouldn’t fly off of the handle with him. He knew she was hormonal, the doctor suggested that could be a major factor of recovery but the truth was, he didn’t want her around Alexia and the stress that came with her. “I’d love to,” She snuggled into him and sighed. “I need to get away Cory. I need to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating over here.” He nodded and kissed her head gently. “I’ll book the tickets online,” He pulled away and lifted a MacBook onto his lap. She watched him as he entered all of the relevant details. Staring at the walls, she wished to God she’d never have to come back.
The freeway was busy and the sense of urgency in his stomach was plaguing JC as he drove toward Glendale and Caitlin. He knew Alexia wouldn’t be home for a while, he’d made sure that she was dropped at Key Club but a part of him knew how vindictive that girl could be. Stopping at the stop light as he turned off of the freeway by the Galleria Mall, he wiped his sweaty forehead with anxiety filling his body. His legs and arms were tense and he could feel his heart pounding within his chest. He had to get to her before Alexia did. This would not sound good if that bitch told his girl what had gone down. He couldn’t feel guilty though. She’d deserved it. His street mentality continued to tell him that and shaking off the feeling of nervousness, he told himself that Caitlin would understand and thank him. But would she? She hadn’t grown up in a completely oblivious world like some girls but she hadn’t exactly grown up on his block either. What if she ditched him because of this? What if she couldn’t truly handle his gangster side, no matter how many times she tried to tell herself and him that she could.
Turning into Caitlin’s street, his stomach volleyed as he saw Alexia’s truck. But she couldn’t be home. Could she? He mentally slapped himself. She didn’t have her truck either so of course it still would be here. Parking, he saw the figure of the beautiful blonde he’d been dating for a few months now and his heart leapt.
“Hey,” He said, his mouth drying up with nerves. “Hey,” She turned her pretty face toward and offered him a chair. “Can we talk inside?” he didn’t move toward the chair and she nodded. Her eyes, as blind as they were, knew he was anxious and worried about something.
Lexie stood tearfully in the bathroom. Her hair was tangled and she had no makeup on her to clean up. Slouching on the ground, she figured she’d stay here until closing and then walk home. Call Emily maybe? She needed a ride. That bastard’s friend just left her here to find her own way back to the house. Tears continued to flow as she hugged her knees. Her stomach was in knots and her heart was breaking. Why was he so cruel? Would Caitlin do the decent thing and ditch him once Lexie told her about what had happened? Could she tell her? Could she get away with it? Maybe Caitlin would have a plan to ditch him, say it was for another reason and life could return to normal. They could eat dinner together, go out places and stop all of this horrible crap! The door opened and a couple of giggling girls came into the bathroom. That had been she, Caitlin, Emily and Kira a few months ago and now it felt like she was all alone with no one to care or laugh with.
Closing her bedroom door and hearing him sitting heavily on the bed, Caitlin went to him and sat down putting her arm around his slumped frame. Kissing his cheek tenderly, she gently spoke. “JC, what is it?” He merely sighed heavily and didn’t move. “Come on, you have to tell me,” She said forcefully. “It’s obviously pretty serious.” “It is,” he said monotonically. “It’s very serious.” “so tell me,” She demanded, rubbing his shoulder for comfort. Her stomach knotted with fear of what it was he was going to tell her. “JC, I’m a big girl now, I can take it.” “Can you?” he turned his dark face toward her and watched the worry grow in her ocean blue eyes. “Can you truly handle this?” She shifted nervously as she remained still, listening to all of the sounds surrounding them. The carefree crickets outside, the moan of the air conditioner, the mumbling of Emily’s TV and the rumble of their conversation in the next room. “Yes,” She said. “Please, just tell me.” The anticipation was driving her mad. Patience wasn’t Caitlin’s forte but right now it was definitely not even within her vocabulary. Clearing his throat and taking a deep breath he started to let his voice rumble. “Caitlin, tonight, I did something. I’m not sure how you will feel about it.” At that moment the door swung open and a be straggled Alexia stormed in. “Go on, don’t let me stop you!” “What did I fucking tell you bitch!” He exploded, jumping up off of the bed and slamming Alexia into the wall. “I told you, this stayed between us.” “Hey! Hey!” Caitlin was yelling. “What is going on?” Callie was growling and caitlin heard the door of Emily’s room open. “Go on, JC, tell your precious girlfriend what you did tonight?”
Caitlin’s heart sank with dread. Cheated on her. He had, right? That’s why he couldn’t pick her up and he had sent Rico. Her brain flared into action now and her thoughts came tumbling out faster than she could formulate them. “You’re cheating on me with her?” She was screaming and Callie cowered by her legs protectively. “Is that why you came over here? You had to tell me you were cheating but you and that bitch were going to keep that little secret though weren’t you? I trusted you!” She screamed so loud her voice began to break. “After that slut in Compton, I fucking trusted you!” Emily was by her side and Cory was lifting a shaking Callie into his arms. He hushed the frightened dog and Caitlin began to sob. “Is she OK, Em?” Emily’s arms were around her tightly and her eyes blazed bright green flames at the other two figures in the room. “She’ll be fine, Cory’s got her. Come here, girl!” “I didn’t…”JC tried but Caitlin pulled herself away from Emily and threw herself at him, kicking and punching him as hard as she could. “I fucking forgave you for that, you deceitful bastard. I trusted you!” “I didn’t! I din’t cheat! Caitlin, baby!” He pinned her arms to her side to stop the punches and pulled her tight to him. The tears of anguish flowed down his cheeks in fury. She couldn’t believe this. She couldn’t. His heart was on fire with the need for her to know he wouldn’t hurt her like that. “Caitlin, please, baby, listen to me. Please baby girl. Mamita, por vavor. No amé a ninguna otra mujer. es tu es. Tu Serás siempre mi amor. ¡Te amo! ¡te necesito!”. His calming tones in the language of love seemed to do something tranquil to Caitlin. She raised her face and listened as he caught his breath. “Caitlin, I love you. I wouldn’t do that to you. It’s something else.” She relaxed and nodded for him to continue. “I’m so pissed off with her I had to do something.” “He tied me up!” Lexie burst now, seeing the anger ebbing from Caitlin’s face. “He tied me up and threatened me with a knife. That’s the kind of man you’ve been sharing your bed with, Caitlin! A murderous, disgusting dick who treats women like utter shit!” “That’s not true!” Caitlin screamed at her. “He treats me like a fucking queen. What did you do?” Her attention was back on JC now. He glowered menacingly at Lexie now and sighed, letting Caitlin go. He knew she had calmed but the redness in her cheeks remained as a cold reminder of what she had thought he was capable of. The true was, he didn’t blame her. In the beginning he had cheated but not now, not as long as he loved her. She was his everything.
“I taught, or I tried to teach her a lesson,” He said insolently glaring at Lexie. How dare she cause problems between him and Caitlin. She’d live, or maybe not live to regret this. “Again!” Caitlin’s voice was menacing now. “What, did, you, do!” Every syllable was uttered in a cold, commanding voice he did not associate with his beautiful girlfriend. “I took her to lock up,” He said blowing a long breath from his lungs. His eyes ached with angry tears and his body tensed like the tiger ready to go in for the kill. “I had the boys tie her and gag her until I got there and when I did, I told her ow she needs to stop disrespecting you and Emily. How she needs to grow the fuck up, stop being so self obsessed all of the time and treat you guys like friends not like doormats.” “Was that it?” Caitlin asked with trepidation in her voice. Her whole body ached and her head throbbed with the facts that were flying about te room. “Did you do anything else?” “I slapped her a few times and I did hold a knife but I didn’t cut her,” He hurriedly added. “But you would? If she came to me, like she has? You’ll not stop there, will you?” Her voice was cold and precise and it worried him greatly. What was going on in her mind? What was she thinking?
Cory sat on the back porch, the door closed, cuddling Callie. His tears of grief finally flowed freely as he cuddled the small, blonde dog. “It’ll be alright, callie-Cals.” He nuzzled his wet cheek into her glossy, gold fur. “Your mommy will be OK. She will. I know she will.” His arms cradled the dog as though she was a baby. He was mourning for something he wasn’t even sure he’d even had. He knew, in his heart that it was the right thing that they had done but looking up into the sky, he said a solemn goodbye to the child they would never know.
Caitlin stood, fists clenched by the door. No one was walking out on her from this argument. “I’d have to,” He murmured finally and she nodded knowingly. “Thanks for being honest,” She wet her dry lips and turned to Alexia. “And you?” Caitlin’s voice was so low, JC and Emily could barely hear her. “Don’t you think you’ve been out of line recently? Don’t you think you’ve been the biggest bitch alive in recent months?” caitlin, usually the calmer, peace maker of all of them was suddenly about to erupt like a dormant volcano. JC saw the blood boiling and he knew that this was where his girlfriend told Lexie the truths she had so amazingly ignored for far too long. “What?” Lexie’s green eyes flashed and she glared uselessly at Caitlin. How could she turn on her like this? She was meant to be her friend! And here she was, siding with that crazy, gangster, freak! “You’re the reason Kira went away!” caitlin began. “Oh no! You are not going to pull that one on me. He is!” She screamed at JC, jabbing a black polished finger at him. “He threatened her too. Are we not seeing a pattern yet, Miss genius? He’s pushing all of your friends away! So then he can have you all to himself.!” “You’re talking shit!” JC said causally. “Kira didn’t leave because of me.” “He’s right,” Emily chimed in. “Lexie, you really have been stepping over the line recently. Life isn’t all about you!” Emily’s trauma had definitely left something imprinted on her poor heart. She normally would have kept out of these situations, unwilling to meet confrontation but here she was, defending JC. Caitlin smiled weakly and shrugged her shoulders. “See! And Emily’s seen her since she left. So maybe, just maybe, Alexia, you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself what the fuck is going on with you? You never used to be like this. Not to this extent. What has happened?” Caitlin felt an urge to hug her friend but something inside of her held that urge back. “So you both believe this dick of your best friend/” “No, he told us what he did…” Caitlin began but Alexia interrupted her. “And that doesn’t matter to you? And you say I changed!” She tried to push Caitlin aside but JC was there holding her back. “When, exactly, Alexia will you learn to fucking respect people? Especially your best friends? When, huh, bitch?” He was shaking her and Caitlin and Emily took all of their energy to pull the six foot five frame off of their roommate.
They finally managed to push him onto caitlin’s bed as Alexia escaped through the now unguarded bedroom door. “What did you do that for?” JC yelled at caitlin at the top of his lungs. “Because, I don’t want you to do this irrationally. JC, I know who you are, what you’re about, and I appreciate that you always have my back, but she’ll never learn. She’s lost. She’s angry and this is probably only going to make things worse.” “So what?” He stood and for the first time Caitlin was afraid of him. “I should let her disrespect my girl. Let her walk all over you and treat you like shit? Is that what you want? Hmm?” “No,” caitlin shook now with apprehension. “JC, you’re angry. I know how you work. You think, and plan, and cover your tracks. Let her be. She’s angry. She thinks we’ve all left her alone. And we kind of have. This is not all her fault. It’s a part of growing up!” Her last sentence was whispered as Emily and JC exchanged a look of knowing. They both knew that Caitlin wouldn’t give him up and they also both knew that she would try and save Alexia from herself until she finally broke. And the way things were going, everyone, except Alexia, knew that could be very soon.
Few words were exchanged between the four friends left within the house. JC sat on the back porch, watching the sky change from dusk to darkness. Emily lay on the couch watching some old movie. Cory worked vigorously on his laptop in Emily’s room as Caitlin wrote her journal sitting with her best friend by her side. Tomorrow would be another day and they would have to deal with all that came. The troubles lay heavy on all of their hearts and for all different reasons. Caitlin knew as she typed, JC was outside and hadn’t left but she had no desire to go to him. Emily and Cory knew where the other was but alone time was all they wanted. And JC, sat, afraid for the first time in his life to talk to a girl. She may still hate him, but as he sat there avoiding his problems, he did not yet know the decisive answer so the truth had not yet bitten. The skies darkened, the air grew colder and still no one moved in the house in the county where dreams should come true.