“I’m not going to like what you did, am I?” She was holding back tears. I could see pain forming in her face. I thought she was going to let it drop. She fooled me with her smiles during the climb back to the house.
“I’m really hoping you don’t hate me for it.” I was getting scared. Why did I have to hit that asshole?
“Are you going to tell me if I ask?” She was looking down at the floor. Her voice was becoming halting as she sensed the direction things were going.
“Yes. It will hurt us, though.” Maybe she will let it slide for awhile longer. I really thought it would come out better later. She was shaking a bit.
“Where were you?” Today was not going to be a good day. I just prayed that we would survive it.
“Your stuff from you old apartment is in my car.” I couldn’t say it directly. I figured if I spoke in generalities it would sound milder. I was wrong. She let go of me and covered her eyes. I could see her cheeks reddening as the tears began to flow. I reach out to her and she slapped my hand away. She didn’t leave, which surprised me.
“How much do you know?” She wanted everything right now. I wasn’t sure my heart could take her pain. I hesitated and pulled away from her a bit. “How much?” she repeated. I wasn’t going to lie.
“Just about everything.” I said it slowly with as much compassion as I could muster. I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. She dropped her hands from her face and stood up away from me. I looked into the most pained face in the world. Tears were pouring out of her eyes.
“I never wanted you to know me like that.” She was screaming at me. “That stupid boat was supposed to blow up.” She was pointing to the beach as she got louder. “Why didn’t the fucking thing just blow up?” She yelled as she started to back away. I reached out toward and she slapped my hand away again. “Don’t you fucking touch me!” It sounded evil and hurt my ears. “You’re just looking for you own private live-in whore, aren’t you?” I tried to answer, but she interrupted. “You couldn’t buy this whore for all your money.” She ran towards the back of the house. “All you fucking assholes are the same.” I heard the bedroom door slam. I had lost her.
It took everything I had not to run and hide on the beach. I knew that if I let her leave the house, she would be dead within a week. I called Dr. Williams and told him everything.
“Don’t let her leave. Tie her up if you have to. I should be there in thirty minutes.” He never said I told you so. I had to respect him for that. Luckily, Mia never left the bedroom.
“Where is she?” Bob didn’t even say hello.
“In the bedroom. I think she locked herself in.” He started running.
“Anything sharp in there?” He was clinical. I was horribly panicked. We reached the door and it was locked. Bob knocked on the door loudly. “Mia, it’s Dr. Williams.” There was no answer. He didn’t knock again. Wally took a few steps back and shouldered the door with all he had. I heard the frame split as the door flew open. Mia was on the bed in a fetal position. He grabbed her hands quickly and checked the wrists and felt her pulse. “Did you take anything Mia?” He was speaking forcible.
“The only things in this God-damned house are vitamins!” She yelled back at him. He stood up and walked back to me.
“She’s fine. Go outside and stay away for a while.” He gave me a compassionate smile and pushed me on my way. I went down to the beach. I couldn’t believe I had screwed everything up. I would never find anyone like her again.
The umbrella was only half shading the lounger. It needed to be moved again. I really hated that umbrella. I yanked it out of the sand and throw it toward the rock wall. It wasn’t enough. I leaned the shaft against one of the rocks and jumped on it. The wood snapped in half. I pulled the metal spines backward over the top and ripped the fabric. I found I was able to break each half of the shaft into smaller pieces. I tore the fabric completely off the spines and threw it into the water. I bent the metal spines into crooked ball and tossed in after the cloth. I still didn’t feel better.
I moved to the edge of the ocean and lay down half in, half out of the water. I let the late afternoon sun attack my skin as I waited for the tide to come in and wash me out to sea. It was an hour before I realized the tide was going out. I prayed for a school of jellyfish instead. It hit me then. My life before Mia. To never see her in my house again. To be alone again. I curled into a ball and wished for death. Not even the waves could sooth me anymore.
I felt and heard someone sit down next to me. I was afraid to roll over and look.
“I killed my family. I am a heroin addict. I am a prostitute. I tried to kill myself on your beach, and I screwed that up to.” She was speaking quietly, saner, although what she was saying sounded insane. “In the movies, the boat always blows up when it hits the rocks.” I rolled over and I knew there were tears in my eyes.
“You’re going to leave me, aren’t you?” I tried to sound like I was in control of myself. I am sure I failed.
“You killed the umbrella.” Why wasn’t she answering?
“I hated it. Are you leaving?” I asked again. I hadn’t received the “yes” I was expecting.
“Doc says you love me. How can you love what I am?” She hasn’t made her decision yet. At least there was still hope.
“You’re asking me to care about who you were. I only care about who you are.” I sat up in the sand. “I have no idea why I love you. I just do. The moment you curled into my chair on the beach, I was yours.” I threw a handful of sand into the water. “I liked that you were alone too. It’s sad, but I was attracted to that.”
“How did you hurt your hand?” She kept moving the subject around. She was trying to think.
“Your landlord said something rude and I swung without thinking.” I didn’t think she needed to know the whole conversation.
“What did he say?” She wasn’t going to let me hide anything.
“He told me that you didn’t pay with money and he didn’t want a blowjob from me.” It felt really bad telling her the truth. It sounded worse than when he said it. She looked away from me for a second. I think she was trying not to cry.
“Why didn’t he kill you?” She was under no illusion that I would win in a fair fight.
“His greed overtook his pride. He now has a completely different opinion of you.” I knew what the next question was and I didn’t make her ask. “Five grand.”
“I won’t let you go broke trying to fix my past.” She really had no concept of my net worth. “You don’t have enough money to buy off everyone I ever screwed.” Yes I did, but I kept it to myself.
“I just wanted you to have your stuff back. You must have pictures of Adrian which are worth more than a lousy five thousand.” I hoped I didn’t just buy back garbage. She wiped a tear that leaked out of her eye.
“Thank you. There are some things I didn’t want to lose.” I was glad it wasn’t a total wasted trip. We sat in silence for a while. There was one more thing I needed to know and I preferred for her to tell me.
“Why did you steal the boat?” I looked at her, and she didn’t even flinch. She looked out into the ocean where the fading sun meet the waves.
“Are you sure you want to know?” She didn’t really want to tell me anymore than I wanted to discuss the landlord.
“Someone is looking into it for me, but I would prefer if you told me.” She closed her eyes and let out a long breath.
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