As promised, here is the second half of my short story. Thank you to those who have followed this. If you did not catch the first half, please go check it out here: https://shesgotdimples.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/and-now-a-bit-of-fiction-fun/.
Stained: Part Two
He was back the next day, cleaner, more collected. There wasn’t a speck of dirt on him that didn’t belong, and even the stains around his wrists were faded, scrubbed, revealing pale and peachy flesh underneath. It offered a sort of ease, one that you could feel as it blanketed the bar. A collective breath exhaled when they saw his demeanor had returned to that of which we were used to. There would be no more outbursts, no more violence, no more fear.
At least, that was the collective hope. It had yet to be proven true, and this was a lot that, once their trust was broken, it took a mighty groveling to gain it back.
Jame-o and Seven.
It was a question minus the inflection, asked of me in a manner of humility. I stared a moment, being sure that those baby blues saw the look on my face and remembered it for days. I wanted it ingrained in his mind anytime he thought of starting something even the least bit crude. A lowering of his eyes, subtle, but there, and I knew he understood. Finally, I picked up a glass and made his drink, filling it high with ice the way he liked, three shots of Jameson when everyone else got two.
Gonna be any problems? I kept the drink in my hand until he grunted and shook his head, eyes cast down in respect rather than challenge. Good. And then he drank.
The silence that had swarmed us died, giving way to conversation and slaps on the back for dear old Davis Jr.
Glad to see you’re you again. Glad to have you back. We missed you kid. If there’s anything you need…
It went on and on and on until Marie came out and gave him something real to do. Fix the stool he broke, for one. And he did it, graciously, with a smile on his face to boot. All manners and civility today, the other side of Davis buried deep down. Maybe even stamped out for good.
Four days passed and no one seemed to remember that other side at all, the charming nature of the worker accused of all things violent weighing in above all else. He was handsome, is all they thought. Pearly white teeth despite the grease in his hair. A chiseled jawline even with dirt smearing his neck. Rippled muscles when we’d all seen what they could do.
Everyone had forgotten the real Davis Junior. Everyone, that is, except for me.
I want to take you out. The words took me off guard, making me flinch and blink and blush, looking around trying to see who he was talking to. I’m talking to you. I want to take you to dinner.
No way, no how, not on my life. I assured him that that was the worst idea in the history of the imagination. He only laughed and rolled his eyes, telling me that I was being silly. He winked, like I was hiding something. And I laughed like he was crazy.
Tomorrow night. The way he smirked made me shake my head. Not going to happen, Davis. It’s what I wanted to say.
I work. It was true, and I was glad.
Marie will give you off.
And she did. She came out from the back with a guilty grin, and I knew she had been in on the entire thing. She wanted me to go. He wanted to take me. But why?
There was a certain amount of intrigue, I have to admit. Davis Junior was all mystery and obscurity. He’d come off the street and worked for cash. There were no papers, no statements, no records. Really, in truth, he could have been anyone, and here was my chance to find out more about him. I could finally get some answers.
7:00, then. I nodded, and his baby blue eyes pierced me, steeling me to the spot with a look I hadn’t yet seen. He broke into a smile, downed his drink in a single sip, and got up from the barstool with the grace of a gymnast.
I’ll pick you up.
He already knew where I lived, and I tried, as I got dressed, not to let that bother me. Marie probably told him was all. Or maybe one of the patrons. Everyone knew me there and everyone knew where I lived, but I’d be lying if I said his not asking for my address didn’t set my teeth on edge.
I was still struggling with the zipper on my dress when the buzzer sounded. I pressed the button to silence the ungodly noise. There were a series of thumps as his feet hit the stairs, and then, I knew he was standing outside my door.
I peeked out the spy hole, timing it right, and just as his knuckles were about to rap against the wood, I opened it. This startled him which made me grin.
He handed me lilies. I let him come in, and I put them in water, asking him to zip me up. There was a moment where he looked nervous and then he did it, pulling the zipper up and letting out an exhale when he was through.
I slipped on my heels, reaching his chin with the added height, and we walked outside to where he’d parked his old Camaro. The thing was red and rusty, but it had a body without dings. The rust was more patina than ratty, and in the car world that made this a classy car.
He opened the door for me, let me get in, and then shut it once I’d buckled. Expensive manners, is all I could think, but I didn’t complain because no one ever does that stuff anymore. It worked, him trying to wow me as a gentleman, but I still didn’t trust him. I couldn’t. There was something about him I couldn’t put my finger on—maybe the lack of conversation or the way he incessantly scratched at his wrist beneath the cuff of his shirt.
We passed all the good restaurants and I wondered where we were going, but I wasn’t about to open my mouth and spoil the game by being the first one to speak.
How do you do it?
It’s the first thing he said since my apartment and it left me baffled. Do what? I made a face at him until he continued, but he just shook his head and shut his mouth.
Davis, what are we doing here? He stopped the car and was getting out, but we were nowhere. There was nothing but dock in front of us, a lighthouse, and then a forty-foot drop-off into the frigid lake. He didn’t answer, getting out and slamming his door. My door was yanked open a second later and he had me by the arm, pulling me to my feet.
That hurts! Let go!
You’re going to remember this. He grabbed my hands and pulled me with him.
I couldn’t break free, though I tried. My arms were flailing, elbows jutting into his chest, but he overpowered me as if it was nothing for him to hold me down.
What are you going to do? But he didn’t answer and his rage showed through.
The kinder, gentler Davis was waning, eclipsed by the one everyone had tried so hard to forget. He had made us forget, and now I was a fool for giving in. He pulled me by one arm toward the lighthouse, toward the spiral staircase at its base. Each metal step was edged and sharp and as he jerked me up my shin slammed into the first one, slicing into bare flesh. This didn’t stop him and he forced me to follow him up. We ascended the rickety steps into the narrow room inside that was dark except for the rotating light at the top.
I know you remember. His mouth was hot against my ear, his cryptic words webbing across my skin.
I don’t know what you’re talking about! But he refused to see reason, shoving me higher up the staircase, deeper into the tower, further into the depths of his insanity.
I let out a shriek as I was thrown into the banister that gated the spotlight, my head swinging over into the hundred foot drop below.
You remember it now? He held me by the neck, shoving my face over the railing and my feet flew off the ground.
Screams rattled out of my chest, but he clamped a hand over my mouth to silence me. I bit down into his palm, tasting blood, making him jump back on instinct enough for me to turn on him.
I pulled out the knife I’d tucked inside my top and pointed it toward him, ready to defend myself if he came at me again.
I knew you did it! I knew you killed that girl! The words hit him and birthed confusion across his contorted face.
All we heard then was the racing of our pulses, the panting of our breath. The knife shook, fear betraying what I didn’t want to do.
It wasn’t me. The words came out of his mouth in a plea.
Of course it was you.
My body wracked, tremors racing up and down my entire being as the adrenaline fled my bloodstream.
You really don’t remember? He looked at me with remorse, pity, as if he was sorry for me when he was the real monster. He was the killer. He was the madman.
It was you, Jules. It was you.
My head pivots, shaking frantically back and forth. No-no-no-no-no. It was him. It was him. He’s messing with my head. He was trying to turn me mad just like him.
It was there, he nodded behind me, to the banister. You pushed her after you attacked me.
No-no-no-no-no. He’s lying. He’s crazy.
You’re sick. You’re deranged! I could taste the fear, the outcome, what would inevitably happen. He was a killer. He’d killed that girl and now he was going to kill me.
Felicity. The words puffed from his parted lips.
No. I shook—my head, my heart, my whole body. Don’t call me that name.
It was you. He spoke, cautious, afraid. Not Jules, but Felicity.
A blur of color—sticky, crimson filled my head; a scream erupted in my ears; the feel of fingers as they slipped out of my own. A voice begging me to stop. His voice.
I didn’t know! It came out choked, suffocated. I thought—I thought I had control. She was supposed to be gone.
Davis Junior closed the gap between us, taking the knife in his agile hand. The metal glinted my throat where he held the hilt, and then his mouth pressed to my ear.
I’m sorry, Jules, but this is what you hired me to do.
He was right. He was absolutely right. I’d just forgotten. She’d made me forget, made me think I had control.
Come out, Felicity. His breath feathered against my cheek. Come on out and play.