Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chapter 3.2- How To Ask Nicely

A small warning from me- Language Language little lady. Emotions are running high and so my characters are a little more profane than usual.

            Well, Watcher. Roger wasn’t supposed to grow up. He was supposed to be her little playground friend forever.

            Mariah tried to find traces of the gawky teenager in the man standing before her, but without glasses on and his hair combed it wasn’t easy. Then it hit her, while she was studying him, he was studying her.
            With his mouth hanging open his eyes kept resting on her belly, widening, making him draw deep breaths before he’d shake his head a little, blink, and bring his eyes back to hers briefly. Then, again, they’d fall. And then he would gasp a little once more. Blink. Shake his head just barely. Flick his eyes back up. Repeat the process once more, this time letting his gaze linger on her bulging waistline a little longer, and a little longer the next.
            For the first time ever she stood before him and he was judging her. Her best friend could finally see who she really was.

            “Now you hate me, too!” Mariah wailed. Her sobs shattered the growing tension making Roger jump.
            But she didn’t care. She could see the judgment; he didn’t have to say it aloud. The worst of it all was she knew she deserved it.

            “Are you alright?” Roger’s voice was barely louder than her crying.
            “No! Does it look like I’m alright? Nothing is alright!” Wiping her eyes, she noticed that he’d put one arm around himself and that his shoulders were hunched forward. It was a gesture as familiar as her own face in the mirror, and she knew what it meant.

            “Oh, my Watcher now I’m scaring you!” Hiding her face from him, she whimpered into her arm.
            Standing in confusion, she could hear his odd gasps and groan from across the room. He was trying to say something, but kept stopping himself. Now she’d confused him too. Great. What a great meeting. What a fabulous time we’re having. He’ll never want to see me again.
            She’d half decided to run to her room to spare him from looking at her when she felt an arm slip around her waist.

            Grateful for a kind human touch Mariah immediately leaned onto him, abandoning her thoughts before.
            “He was just there, I’m so. So. Stupid. I mean, protection? Why? Where was my brain? They warned us about this in school,” babbled Mariah between sobs. “There are movies about this shit on tv even! That girlie stupid channel designed to scare the living Watcher out of you to make sure you stay vigilant and on your guard, and to make you a feminist, and a weak one at that. Movies! They always fall for it. And I did too! Stuuuupid!”
            Roger let her babble as he tried to lead her to a seat in the room, shushing her when she threatened to become hysterical.

            “Look at me,” she continued, cradled in Roger’s arms. “Here we are, barely out of high school. My mom is gone. I should be living my dreams out! Not about to have his baby.”
            “Whose?” Roger’s voice was a low rumble.
            “Andre Parker’s,” Mariah dissolved into tears once more just saying that piece of shit’s name.

            “I didn’t know.”
            “Of course you didn’t know,” a little of Mariah’s fire returning. “No one knew! What kind of idiots do you think we were? Kelci might have broken up with him and then he might have lost his scholarship to Simvard. That bastard. That bastard!”
            Again she dissolved into tears and Roger waited for her to calm down once more.

            “How long?” Roger’s arms tensed a little as he asked.
            “Almost 8 months,” Mariah gave a half smile. “She’s really active too.”
            Frowning momentarily, Roger had to think for a moment before he figured it out. She thought he’d asked about how far along she was.
            “A girl?”
            “Yeah,” she answered as her hand absently rubbed her stomach. “She’ll be beautiful I think.”
            “Well, yeah,” Roger tried to quip, but it fell flat.

            “A beautiful little girl without a daddy,” Mariah’s voice quavered again, her grip of his arm tightened.
            “No Andre, huh?”
            “No,” she sniffed. “I wrote to him. I told him. Months ago. I just got a letter back, but I could hardly understand what he was saying. But he sent money, and I think he-”
            “He wants nothing to do with you or her?”
            “No- yes. I mean, he’s kind of suggesting-but-no-ye-yes!”

            This time Roger allowed her to cry. He held her without attempting to calm her or interrupt the outpouring of emotions.
            “I think I’d like to lay down for a little bit,” whispered Mariah once her tears had been spent. “I just need a nap. For a little while. But don’t go. Please? At least until I’m asleep. Just stay until I’m asleep please. It’s such a comfort to have you here with me.”

            And so he’d sat on the bed with her curled around him from behind and held her hand until she’d fallen asleep.
            Her snores were soft and regular before her hand finally went limp and he dared to stand. For one moment he allowed himself to watch her slumber. It was something he’d always hoped to do and now he finally could it was too painful to do for too long. Just like how for several teenaged eternities he'd longed to touch her tenderly, and now he'd at last been able to have her in his arms she'd blubbered about that asshole the entire time. Did she even realize that he'd held her?

            Once he’d closed the door his eyes fell on the letter lying on the table. The letter. She’d mentioned writing to Andre and said she’d just received his reply.

            I received your letter, thank you for not attempting to call. You were right that I’m extremely busy right now. It would have also been very indiscreet.
            As to your situation, I don’t understand how you could possibly think that I should be there to help you with it. This is a very important time for me and I can afford no distractions.
            I also thought I’d made it very clear that what we shared, which was fun while it lasted, is over. I can’t raise a child I don’t want (and have never wanted) with a woman I am no longer involved with.
            Enclosed you should find enough simoleans to cover the expense of getting it taken care of. If you are struggling since your mothers passing and truly have no one, as you say, then this is best. I’m sure you’ll agree.
            I really feel I should say this again: this is the end of our correspondence. I wish you the best in your life and endeavors as I hope you do mine. But it’s time for you to move on.

            Best wishes,

PS- Also, I won’t need to tell you to please keep it quiet even in town so my parents don’t find out. I’m sure you want to avoid scandal as much as I do.

            Roger flung the letter to the ground, not caring about putting it back on the table. Putting his foot on it he glared at it for a moment, grinding it with his heel before bolting out the door.
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            The gym in the basement at the station was stark, and it was mostly avoided by the members of Appaloosa Plains’ Police Force. They generally preferred gyms with better air conditioning and equipment, which made it perfect for Roger right now.

            Ignoring the other Rookies to the force behind him, Roger lashed out at the hanging heavy bag wishing it were Andre. On one of the hits, pain exploded in a knuckle. He’d forgotten to wrap his hands and now paid the price. But he didn’t care.
            He didn’t care. Jab
            He didn’t care. Uppercut
            He didn’t care. Left Hook
            Dammit he did care!

            What the hell? What was she thinking? She was supposed to be his! And here she is pregnant? When he’d first realized she was he was disgusted. What was wrong with him for that? He shouldn’t have felt that way. Even now though, he almost felt like he didn’t know her anymore. It was like he had no idea who she was. Had he ever really known her? How could she have allowed herself to be put in such a position with that schmuck? His Mariah was scrupulous in her actions, terrified someone would pay too much attention, or would notice her and ask questions. Well, she’d for sure get questions now! And just how long had this been going on?!?
            Why isn’t the bag moving like it should?

            “Hey, killer,” his partner popped up from behind the bag. “The chief called me down after you terrified a couple of people. We all like Biff and would rather you keep him in one piece. That or the chief is going to make you replace him.”
            Taylor Mattell had been on the force for several years already. She’d also been a great partner for the first grueling two weeks he’d been on a beat.
            “The heavy bag you’re attempting to pull down with your fists of fury? We call him Biff. Also, you’re throwing those punches pretty wildly. Seriously, man. Focus! And the yelling doesn’t make you hit harder.”

            Not in the mood for banter, Roger gritted his teeth.
            “Let go of the bag, Taylor,” he growled at her.
            “Hmmm, that wasn’t a very nice way to ask,” She gripped the bag a little more tightly. “So, no. I’m not going to let go of it. How about I show you how to ask nicely?”
            Roger’s eyes were slits.
            “I’ll take that as a yes, then. Hey, Roger! It looks like something is up, partner. Would you be so kind as to tell me what’s wrong? Please?”

            Instead of answering, Roger continued his glare.
            “Okay,” Taylor kept one arm around the bag and slid around to see him better. “You asked for it. I’m going to use my super logic skills and act like the detective I hope to be one day. Yesterday, you were worried about your girl when you found out about her mom. So I talked you into going to see her. You also took the morning off.  So I’m guessing you went to see said girl and things didn’t go well. Am I right?”

            “What happened, killer?” Taylor pressed. “She didn’t dump you did she?”
            When he still didn’t answer, her face fell a little.
            “Aw, man! I’m so sorry! She did dump you didn’t she?”
            “No,” he finally answered her. “She’s pregnant.”
            “You dog!” Taylor’s face lit up again. “You never told me you two had been gettin’ it on! A baby! Congrats, Daddy!”

            “It’s not mine,” he said a little louder than he’d intended. Saying the words aloud hurt like hell.
            “Oh,” she said. “Shit. So… Shit.”
            “She wasn’t my girl, Taylor,” another punch to his gut coming out of his own mouth. “She’s never been more than my best friend. I just-”
            “No, no,” Taylor quickly said. “I’m the one who assumed, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry. It’s just- you talk about her all the time-”

            “-Because I wanted her to be my girl,” interrupted Roger. “That’s why I talk about her so much. I’ve loved her since we were little kids.”
            “It’s okay to want someone. It’s not okay to obsess and them to not want you in return,” Taylor frowned a little. “Does she know? That you love her I mean.”
            Roger shook his head, softly hitting one fist against the heavy bag.
            “Roger, get your sweaty head off of Biff. Nobody wants to see you making out with him, and he is not a suitable substitute for a real girl,” Taylor grimaced.

            Groaning, Roger stepped back.
            “Don’t be like that! Go fight for her! Win her back from the asswipe boyfriend who stole her from you!”
            Roger winced. “There is no boyfriend.”
            “Husband then! Fight that-”
            “-There is no one,” he admitted, knowing that would only fuel Taylor. “It’s just her. Her parents are dead, the father has a girlfriend he’s not going to leave, he doesn’t want anything to do with it. It’s her and her alone.”

            “Really?” Taylor refused to let up. “That’s even better! Now you can go in and be her knight in shining armor! That’s just what every girl wants! She needs you now. So you go in and tell her just how much you’ve loved her and for how long and plant a nice big kiss on her lips.”
            Roger’s head pounded. She made it all sound so easy when it was anything but. If it were easy, he would have been able to do it years ago, before any of this ever happened in the first place.

            “No,” Roger finally interrupted. “No, I don’t think I will.”
            Flexing her fist a little, Taylor raised her brows, inviting him to explain.
            Roger huffed in exasperation, putting a gloved hand on his hip.
            “She doesn’t want me. If she did she wouldn’t be having someone else’s baby, would she?”
            “Does she know?”
            “What do you mean does she know?”

            Taylor mimicked his stance, pouting and with a hand on her hip. Seeing that she thought he was being stupid he dropped his arms.
            “Really. What do you mean ‘does she know?’”
            “I mean, does she know how you feel? Have you told her? Have you said those three little words?”
            Roger just stared.
            “Alright, Romeo. Lemme spell this out. You need to go and tell her, because we can’t read minds. This is coming from a chick who likes chicks, so I really know chicks and how chicks work.”

            He didn’t like it. There was a lot still left to chance, but what else was he supposed to do? Maybe Taylor was right. Maybe Mariah didn’t know and he’d been the one wasting his own time.
            Dammit, she was right. And it was time Mariah knew. His resolved formed Roger looked back at Taylor and nodded. He would fight for the girl he loved.

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I know that was really long and way overdue. Sorry. And yes, it is indeed a girl. 

And please forgive the boxing poses. I know he was hitting that heavy bag way too low, but if I put his hand too much higher you couldn't see his face. So artistic license won.
Huge thanks to Gemly_Teddie for Taylor Mattell, her generation 3 co-heir. I needed a cop and there was Taylor! Readymade and a cop to boot! She’s so cyoot! And I had a ton of fun putting her in here.