Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sessions 19 - It Only Hurts
It only hurts when your eyes are open
Lies get tossed and truth is spoken
It only hurts when that door gets open
Dreams are lost and hearts are broken.
soundtrack: It Only Hurts - Default
Bay View - Marina District Midnight
He should have come up with a better way to handle that. Cooper headed back down Lyon Street toward his bike, mentally reviewing the confrontation with Stevie, already second guessing himself.
He still hadn't decided how to discuss it with Beth, but he knew he had to include an apology. She'd insisted there was a problem. She'd been angry and frustrated, and she'd been right. He was going to make things right and get the hell out of here for a while, take her on vacation somewhere, maybe just the two of them if he could find someone to watch the twins for a few days. As difficult as they'd been the last couple of weeks, that might not be easy.
Pausing next to his bike, Cooper glanced down the sandy boardwalk as the neon sign on the restaurant sputtered and buzzed. Street lights splashed across beach grass and illuminated a strip of stores, deceptively low key and downscale. The marina at the far end was dark at this time of night, but the beach bar was open and crowded, the laughter and music rising above the slap of the waves against the marina pier. Cooper hesitated, tempted, considered stopping in for a drink, thought maybe not, he wanted to go home, when the light by the bicycle rack caught a shock of red hair.
Cooper sucked in a quick breath, but it wasn't McDermott, just some skinny kid locking up his bike and leaping up the steps, shaking the sand off his feet. Cooper watched him, wondering again where McDermott had gone - he'd made some private inquiries, uneasy about not knowing, but had come up blank.
He started to shrug it off, looked back once again and there was Heydon, leaning back in a chair and engaged in an intense conversation with Tyler. Heydon's back was turned to him, but on the other side of the table lounged Cam, and she definitely saw him.
He hadn't said more than half a dozen words to Heydon since the blow up and didn't want to take the time to say anything now. Heydon was one of his oldest and closest friends though. He could take five minutes to say hello, then get out of here. Cooper reluctantly started down the boardwalk toward the bar.
Cooper made it up the first step, avoiding discarded sandals, suntan lotion, very large squashed bugs. "Hell yes I'm looking at options," Tyler was saying. "Shaun may be able to keep it together but I'm tired of the damned drama. Coop can't keep his hands off Stevie and it's coming apart. I don't want to be locked up on some bus with the two of them while this shit is going down."
Heydon, bare feet touching Camilla’s manicured toes, set a glass of dark beer down on the table and shook his head. "I don't know man, you're taking a big risk. You're sure you can't put up with it?"
Cooper froze. Camilla snared him with her gaze, holding it, tight and relentless, and let fly a ringing tangle of words. "Hi Coop come on over here and say hi are you alone I don't see Beth." She paused, and added, "Or Stevie."
Heydon moved abruptly, getting to his feet, while Tyler turned and stared and looked trapped and embarrassed. "Hey Coop," he muttered. "I'm just ah going somewhere. I was going home because I have something I need to do there. At home."
Camilla smiled, although the smile was directed not at Tyler but at Cooper. "Bye sweetie and don't forget to turn off the stove next time because that's how you burn down things, when you leave things burning you should have turned off. Coop are you going to sit down with us or are you going to stand there or maybe you left something burning too."
The tall beach grass fluttered behind her, dry and rattling in the breeze off the bay. Like a sniper nestled in the grass, her target directly in the cross hairs, she didn't drop that smile one inch. Cooper ignored her, glanced at Tyler's broad retreating back, and turned to Heydon. "I was in the area," he said. "I thought I'd say hi, maybe buy you a drink."
Heydon rubbed the back of his sunburned neck and studied him in silence for a long, uncomfortable moment. "Suit yourself," he finally returned.
Cooper’s temper started to flare. He struggled with it, shutting it down. Maybe he'd acted too precipitously, maybe he should have discussed it first, but he still didn't intend to go back to a full tour schedule. Heydon needed to get over it, find another way to make up his cash deficit.
"You know what, I'll talk to you later," he said to Heydon, and looking pointedly at Cam, "I really want to get home."
Camilla leaned way back in the chair, scraping wood against wood as the chair hit the deck rail behind her and sending an empty beer ran rattling down across the deck into the dry grass. "Now why would you want to go there, Coop? Beth moved out. I think it was today actually it was tonight or this afternoon sometime today because I heard she got out after you left to meet Stevie. You think she knew you were meeting Stevie? You do know she left. Don’t you know that?” The sniper squeezing the trigger and firing, and waiting, watching the strike.
Cooper's breath caught in his chest. Was she jerking him around? No, Cammie didn't make up shit like that but that couldn’t be true, and how the hell would she know. Beth wouldn’t do that to him; she would have yelled, said she was leaving, she would have called. If she’d found out he was meeting Stevie and tried to call…his cell...he'd turned it off this evening before he'd met Stevie. If she'd tried to call, she would have gotten a terse message and no response.
Heydon glanced at Camilla, then back at Cooper, and his expression subtly changed, a shadow of sympathy crossing his face. "Maybe you should give her a call," he offered quietly.
Yeah, he should definitely do that and right now. His voice stiff, Cooper ground out, "Later."
The boardwalk yawned before him, a long empty stretch between him and his bike and some small measure of privacy where he could call without looking like an ass in front of god knows who. Cooper rigidly controlled his pace, forcing himself to walk, sand crunching under his boots, ten more steps, five.
He broke into a run, ducked into the shadow between the restaurant and the dark street, and grabbed the cell out of his pocket. For a split second he hesitated and looked back in case someone was following him, and then swore under his breath, fuck them, all of them, anyone and all of them. None of it mattered if she was gone. He hit the speed dial.
It rang. And rang. Ten times. Fifteen. Nothing but long, soft purrs, signals going out and landing nowhere.
Rockwood – 14 Bridgewater Drive, 1 AM
“Did you leave that note?”
Standing in the overgrown driveway behind Nate, Eric answered his twin brother in a quiet, firm voice, “No, I dumped it down the disposal, just before we left. Mom didn’t go back in and look for it.”
Eric took a few steps across the broken stone, shivering, glancing at the suitcases still left waiting for them to bring inside. They’d already hauled a ton of shit in there. Nate was staring at something across the dark road that might be a barn and an old house with a broken porch. Trees were growing up right through them. Things rustled, plants or animals or something, maybe something large. Were there bears out here?
“What about the cell?” Nate pressed his brother. Turning his back to whatever might be out there in the dark, Nate leaned back against the hood of the car. It might still be warm.
Why was he the one who always had to execute these plans? “Took care of that too. She won't even know he's blocked.”
They both looked back at the house. Rayne had been in there a long time, until a few minutes ago when she tore off and drove over the mailbox on her way out, leaving them to prop it back up again. Their mother had crossed back and forth in the light for a while, pacing, then went out back or upstairs but they couldn’t see her now. “Asshole,” Nate muttered. “Fucking asshole. He’s gonna be fucking out of his mind.”
Eric let it go for a minute. He was on board with this but it hadn’t been his idea, and he still wasn’t convinced it was going to work the way Nate thought it would. “You don’t think he'll run off with Stevie?”
Nate shrugged, straightened and ran his hand through his hair, sparing another suspicious glance at the deep shadow under the trees. Neither of them liked this place. It was supposed to be temporary and couldn’t be temporary enough. “We talked about this. He won’t do it. You think too much.”
Eric shoved at a clod of dirt with the toe of his boot. They usually agreed on almost everything but he wasn’t as certain about his father’s intentions as his twin seemed to be. Nate blew up faster. “Maybe not but you know what we saw.”
“Get real,” Nate scoffed. “She's not the only one. He’s not running off with her."
“She's the one he keeps going back to,” Eric pointed out again. “She's the one with her hands down his pants in the men's room.”
Nate tossed his head back and looked irritated, looked like their dad when he was pissed about something. And the thing was, he had the voice and the hands, and the talent, and they both knew it. He strode off toward the back of the house, skirting the pile of suitcases and the car, and turned and growled, “I was there, Eric, looking through the same window as you. I’m telling you, he won't be thinking about her, not when he can't find us. Let her try to take his mind off that.”
Cold, edged wind blew through the pines, moaning like an unhappy animal. It was really dark. Off in the distance a few lights blinked but they might as well have been a hundred miles away in another town, and that surf was as cold as the wind. They looked at each other.
“We did good this time,” Nate assured his brother. “He didn’t even answer the phone tonight. You know he was with her. We did good. Payback for Mom.”
Eric watched the lights across the water, a whole lot of nothing out there. Whatever happened, none of this was good. Nate was waiting. Nate wanted him to say it. “Yeah,” he agreed, reluctantly, still not sure he believed it, pretty damned sure he didn’t believe all of it, but he said it. It wouldn't take their dad long to work through this, so he wasn't even sure how effective it was going to be, but Nate was right about one thing, it was payback.
Whether or not their mother even wanted it, whether it should have been directed at their dad in the first place, and when was he going to stop going along with everything Nate wanted to do, all of that…it was all too late now.
NEXT CHAPTER: Chameleon Chapter 5