“Why don’t we sit?” Detective Alvarez indicated the conference table. The same place where my life began a massive change slightly more than 24 hours ago. “Are you okay, Rebbecca?”
I nodded my head, somehow, and looked at my arms. No bruises—yet. The Detective’s whole manner was so different than before. She seemed relaxed, yet just as much in control as earlier. It must have been some power play on her part.
“If you need to take a break at anytime, please do.” I nodded. “I would like you to see the nurse as soon after the interview as possible.” Again, I nodded. I needed to get The Shot anyway—thank you modern birth control. “Now, what happened in Biology class today?”
I related to her what I remembered from walking in until the attack. Yes, attack! She asked a few questions, drawing from me details I hadn’t remembered the first time around. Well, nothing like a vicious attack to make me forget I was naked. Still.
“You’re an artist, correct?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“I have one of your paintings.” I looked questioningly. “Ms Rotella gave it to me. It’s ‘Sculptor #2.’” I was trying to figure out why Francesca had given her one of my paintings. “We’re close friends.” I recalled the painting. It was part of a series I had done of Francesca starting with her examining a rough piece of marble to putting the finishing touches on the sculpture from that block of stone Number Two was the most intense. The rough form of the statue was just emerging from the stone. Francesca was deeply focused on it and covered in marble dust. Her look had been overpoweringly sexual… Then I GOT IT! They had to be lovers. She gave me a discrete wink when she saw I had figured it out. “The reason I asked if you were an artist, I would like you to draw Will’s face when he came at you. As accurately as you can. Are you game?”
I ran through the ‘snapshots’ of the event in my mind. Letting the artist take over and trying to stay uninvolved personally. When I got to the pictures of Will as he came at me, I shivered. “If I can have Luis with me,” I answered softly. “Why?”
“Rebbecca, there is only so much I can say.” Her brow scrunched. I could see many things playing through her eyes. None of them were happy thoughts, not like her eyes when we talked about the painting. Just as intense, though. “Will has been known to us for a while.” She studied her manicured hands. Clear polish. She looked up, locked with my eyes, and found my heart. “We want to see he gets the help he so desperately needs. Your pictures will help.”
“What about his parents?” Mom asked. It did not break the bond I had with the detective.
“Mrs. Davis, that’s the core of the problem.” Her eyes never left mine. “I can’t say more except his parents have yet to respond to his incarceration. Again.” I suddenly felt like my legs had been swept out from beneath me. I had thought until last night my parents didn’t care. Yet, they were always there.
“Damn!” Did I say that? A picture of a house came to mind. Suddenly, a blinding flash of light. The paint on the house blisters then the whole thing is blown away. So much for a “Universal Truth”
that homes are safe.
Detective Alvarez pulled me from my thoughts and went on with questions, drawing out of me what I remember during and after the attacks. I wasn’t too helpful since I had withdrawn almost completely. While tears were dripping down my face, I didn’t lose it again. Where is my muse? Where is Luis? I needed my cave.
“Rebbecca, are you sure you don’t need to see a doctor?” She had real concern on her face. That brought me back to now.
I checked my arms. Amazingly, no bruises. Just a little red. “No, I’m okay. Still shaky, though.”
“More than understandable. You’re a very strong woman.”
I stared at her. Strong? Me? How? I’m sure I looked bug-eyed and perplexed. I wish we had the bond we had shared before.
“Trust me. I’ve dealt with too many victims of attack. You’ve handled this well. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”
“Luis.” It slipped out before I knew it. I felt myself heat up. Looking at Detective Alvarez, she had a knowing smile on her face. My parents had it too. Jase, when I looked at him, had a shit eating grin on his face and a wink for me. Christ! I’m naked. I’ve just been attacked. And, everyone knows I’ve got it bad for Luis.
I came back to Mom’s face and stopped. I saw love, compassion, concern, and something I didn’t quite understand. I felt my brow raise in question. She looked back at me with… Damn, I got it. She wanted Becky and Luis to work. I knew I had another partner and co-conspirator. I’m sure she saw thank you, and help, in my eyes.
I came back to the moment and looked at Detective Alvarez again. “I’ll do the pictures you want. With Luis by my side. The memory…” I shuddered and wondered who had turned down the A/C.
“He protected you?”
“Saved me. But, not just that…” I thought of how wonderful he was and how he had melted my heart. How he could see into my soul. How gentle yet strong he was…
“Girl, you’ve got it bad.” She just chuckled.
We finished up and headed out of Dr. C’s office. I introduced my parents to Luis’s. I’d forgotten they already knew each other. Jason was being all formal and proper. Carmella would have none of it and it was hugs all around. Then we met Mr. Coleman. That was formal.
I snuggled into Luis’s lap and felt the warmth and strength flow into me. Outside of checking on me, we didn’t talk. It was amazingly comfortable not to. Just being with each other was fine. I was worried for him, what might happen. I knew I would stand by him no matter what.
Our parents and the lawyer were off in the ‘who knows who’ game. As I watched their interactions, I realized that this was not about status or one-up-manship. This game was about extending the networks in which we live. It’s a way of being comfortable with new people. Wow! Not meaningless conversation, but akin to me looking at Luis’s books and getting to know him that way. Finding common ground. I looked up at Luis and saw him watching them as well.
“Social lubrication,” he said when he noticed me looking up. “That’s what my parents call it. Adding oil to the social machinery to help it run smoothly. Weaving a comfort zone is what I just thought of.”
“Maybe it’s both and creating a shared language with known reference points for context.” He looked down at me with a growing smile. “What?” I demanded.
“Beautiful. Not to mention a gifted artist. Now, I find out she’s brilliant as well!” That earned him a kiss. Right there in the school office. Right in front of our parents, Jason, the other students, and Mrs. Grant. It wasn’t a ‘melt me to the core’ kiss, but my pussy—YES! PUSSY!—responded. One more and I’d need a towel. When we broke and I looked at the crowd, I saw that my parents had big grins on their faces and were holding hands. Luis’s parents were the same. Jason gave me a big thumbs up. Mr. Coleman tried to scowl, but had a grin in his eyes. Mrs. Grant had found something to do in another part of the Cavern. The other girls just giggled. The guys trying to be suave.
“Oops!” Who turned up the heat? I think I knew why my nipples were poking out. I looked up at Luis and saw he was blushing too.
“Did I mention you turn my legs to rubber?” He grinned again. Then, he got this mock serious look. “Were you sent here by East as some secret weapon?”
The others heard his comment and shared a good laugh. I could see in his eyes that it went deeper. He was really concerned. Lightly placing my hand on his cheek, I whispered, “What’s wrong sweetheart?”
I swear My Mountain had an earthquake in that moment. A deep shudder went through him.
“I’m scared.” I waited for more. Instead of words, I felt another shudder. I realized I was breathing through my nose.
“Is it about today?” I pushed the air all the way out of my lungs, just like he had taught me.
A small nod. Another tremor.
He closed his eyes and nodded. A 6.0 sized quake racked him.
I gathered up every ounce of love and strength I had. I was working hard to get the air into my lungs. “Us?”
Saying the words made me have my own quake. Ever seen granite turn to water? I have, now. I don’t like it. My Mountain is in pain and I love him. Time to act. I put my hands on his face and made him look me in the eyes. I did my damnedest to pour my love into them.
“I love you no matter what.” I struggled. I wanted to kiss him. Himself wasn’t there. I wanted to put my arms around him. I didn’t have enough arm. I put my arms around his neck and pulled his head down, patting the back of his neck, making soft sounds into his ear. His body was shaking and tears were dripping onto me. Still, he put his arms around me and we rocked together.
Never underestimate the perceptive power of a mother. Let me say that again. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE PERCEPTIVE POWER OF A MOTHER. Suddenly, both were there. Comforting Luis and supporting me.
And the fucking door opened. Yes, I said that. The fucking door. And the fucking detective was calling Luis for his interview. Thank God, or whomever, that the detective was a woman. She immediately understood the clatch. “Mr. Coleman, are you representing Mr. Contadino?”
“Yes, Detective Alvarez.”
“Please present your client and his parents for an interview in the next ten minutes.” With that, she winked at me and the Moms then closed the door. The lawyer went into lawyer mode and wanted Luis to go in now. Stupid man.
I put my hands behind Luis’s head and pulled him to my lips. The Moms didn’t stop me. It started with me forcing the kiss. Finally, he opened his mouth to my invading tongue. I thought about him breaking through the offensive line. Silly game. I checked for cavities, carefully inspected his tongue for lesions, and probed for his adenoids. Nope, none. It took a few moments for My Mountain to come back to me.
The Moms helped by hugging us, effectively giving us some privacy. The quakes subsided. He started returning the kiss. Umm… Oh, wait… I’m here for a reason! Support. Yes. Definitely part of the granite was returning! I could feel Junior on my butt.
“Before you guys give me a grandchild, right here, we have other things to deal with.” Thank you, Mrs. Contadino—Carmella. My mom hugged me tight and laughed hard.
“Seems like they’re working on at least twins!” Mom managed to say through her convulsive laughter.
Hmm… Yes. Babies. Junior is right there. That’s what he needs. That’s what I need! WHAT? Yes! But not here. Not now. My Mountain needs my support right now, not my lust. My ‘social lubrication’ is with me and supporting. No, make that ‘life lubrication.’ I broke the kiss and gently pushed him back. Reluctantly, I climbed off his lap and helped him up.
Luis and his parents, with their lawyer in tow, went into the office. My parents and Jason found a way to keep me from hitting the floor—somehow. I didn’t even register the nurse checking me over or when she gave me the Shot.
I got up and headed to the office door. Mrs. Grant had a classical music station playing softly in the background. How appropriate. Mozart’s Requiem. The Master’s masterpiece and allegedly the amount of work he put into claimed his health and life.
As I walked into Dr. C’s office—my execution chamber—Momma held my arm. Poppa had his hand on my back. The absurdity of everyone’s dress hit me. Momma in her chef garb, minus the hat and apron. Those stupid, institutionally laundered, checkered pants. Comfortable black tennis shoes and her double-breasted chef’s blouse with the top buttons undone. A thermometer in a pocket on her sleeve. Dad was in loafers, no socks (okay, so I’m not the rebel I think I am), and a golf shirt. Detective Alvarez in nice, upscale “street cop”
clothes. A tasteful mid-calf skirt, silk blouse, and a jacket. Unbuttoned with the bulge of a very large handgun on her hip. Her badge holder on a chain around her neck. Mr. Coleman. Yeah. I swear he must sleep in three-piece pajamas! His Allen-Edmonds wingtips were polished to perfection. Dr. C in his stylish, tailored suit. Light gray with a subtle pinstripe. His tie was striped with his NBA team colors. And the condemned is naked. Absurd.
Detective Alvarez indicated we should sit around Dr. C’s conference table. Just yesterday, standing at this table, I had begun a journey that seemed to become more bizarre by the minute. And, I’m facing East with my college career hanging in the balance. Not to mention criminal charges and school expulsion. Great way to start a career.
She started with the usual police show stuff—Miranda reading, introducing everyone. For some reason, the theme for “Cops” played in my head.
“May I call you Luis?” Detective Alvarez asked.
“As you might be aware, I’m investigating the attack on Miss Davis. There are other officers and detectives interviewing witnesses. I think I have a very clear picture so far.” Had I missed all the traffic in and out of the office? I must have. Hell, a gaggle of three headed aliens could have gone by and I would not have noticed. “What I need to understand, more fully, is your role in this matter. You understand that your actions might lead to criminal charges?”
In through the nose, out through the mouth—although it is closed up, it seems. Breathe! “Yes, ma’am.” I managed to squeak that out somehow.
“Dr. Cavenaugh, is there anything you need to add?”
“Thank you, Detective.” He turned to me. “We have a low tolerance for violence at this school. I will be making my decision on your behavior as well. It could result in punishment, suspension, or expulsion.”
You pull the diaphragm down towards the Dantien. That forces air to enter the lungs. Shift the tongue so the tip touches the roof of the mouth near the soft palette. This pulls the air in through the nose. I felt every molecule of that air enter. It felt cold compared to the heat of my body. Chilling, raw as it made its way through my sinus cavities and into my throat. As the air made its way down past my larynx into my lungs, I realized how dry it was. The feeling was glass shards and needles. Just as my body was beginning to absorb the life giving oxygen in the air, I gasped. Expelling the air, needles, and glass shards. Somehow, I forced the next breath in and squeaked out, “Yes sir. I understand.”
I felt the warmth of Momma’s hand holding mine. Papa’s hand was on my other arm. I saw Becca, in my mind, hugging me and felt the love and warmth. Slowly, I fell into a regular, deep breathing rhythm. My vision normalized. I looked into Dr. C’s eyes then Detective Alvarez’s. “I’m ready.”
Mr. Custis Coleman, Esquire, began yammering about rights, protections of the law, legal loopholes, and whatnot. I just looked at him. Okay, it was more than a look. About the look I give any offensive lineman that I’m about to remove one or more organs from. “I believe in honesty. I believe in consequences for my actions. I need YOU to ensure I receive nothing less than I’m due. And, no more.”
Momma squeezed my hand. Pappa damn near hugged me. I could see nothing but respect in Dr. C’s eyes. Detective Alvarez looked a bit off center. She recovered quickly. I gained respect for her in that moment. I was worried about the stroke that Custis was about to have. A vein on his temple was throbbing very hard as he tried to make words come out of his mouth.
“Tell me what you remember,” Detective Alvarez stated. She relaxed a hair.
The same diaphragm that had been causing me problems began working properly. Cleansing air came through my nose, up to the crown point, down into my body into my lungs. Only my abdomen expanded as I took in five very deep breaths. “I was waiting outside of Becca’s classroom when I heard…” I related the story from my perspective.
When I got to Will on top of Becca, my body tensed. My hands pulled into fists. I took time out to take ten cleansing breaths. I relaxed and continued. I had no muscular reaction to the letter opener attack. Okay, maybe a small one. I hadn’t been concerned for my welfare at that point, only the others. I had no idea how much damage he could inflict; I just wanted to stop him from inflicting any more. I had to stop him. He had rushed my actions. I related all this to the group in front of me.
Then I got to where I picked up Dr. C and started to move him out of the way. I could only offer that I had and not why. I had stopped when I finally heard his voice. I felt only shame as I looked him in the eyes. “I’m so sorry, sir.”
He held my eyes. Hard. No matter how many tears came into them from losing control, I held the eyes of the man I had the highest respect for.
“Thank you Luis, I accept your apology.” My tears started to slow. I had to rebuild this relationship and earn his trust anew.
Detective Alvarez asked a few additional questions and I did my best to answer them. I struggled with how I had hurt those around me with one moment’s loss of control.
“Thank you, Luis. Please wait outside.” Detective Alvarez waved towards the door. Dr. C gave me a quick nod.
We trooped outside. Becca was still there with her family and launched herself at me. I do love this new chest ornament of mine! Should I say the sudden mass of delicious flesh that belongs to me? My heartthrob? I kissed her back as hard as I got. She brought me back to life.
Our parents headed down to the other end of the office. Mrs. Grant must have changed stations, there was some Sinatra playing softly in the background. Fly Me to the Moon. Becca definitely did that to me.
“Are you okay?” Her eyes probed mine. Her hands held my face towards hers.
“Yes.” Honesty, damn it. “Well, no.” Suddenly, her tongue was halfway down my throat. My hands had been holding her up by the ass when she jumped on me. They responded by squeezing and enjoying the feeling of her flesh. We paused.
“Thank you.” She started to kiss me again. I stopped her.
“No. Thank you for being here for me.” We both pulled back and looked into each other’s eyes. “I love you.” WHAT! Who said that? Well… I did.
“I love you too.” The world vanished with the contact of her lips. I have no idea how long we were wrapped up and kissing. Eventually, I sat down with her in my lap. Carefully, I put her legs across mine, not around my waist. One temptation down! Our kisses slowed and we just snuggled. This felt different than when she is “in her cave” as she calls it. Delicious. Nice. WONDERFUL!
“Einstein said if you want to understand relativity, sit on a bench waiting for a bus. When you’re by yourself, a minute takes an hour. When you’re with a beautiful girl, an hour passes in a mere minute. Thanks for teaching me relativity.” I smiled at her.
“Only you could think about physics with a naked girl in your lap!” She smiled back. “The beautiful comment, though…” I began to wonder if addiction to her kisses might present health risks. How long can a male stay excited without doing damage? I know she had to be well aware of my state. Junior is difficult to hide when he’s soft. He wasn’t right now. Plus, the bastard was drooling a bit. Damn him.
As soon as Dr. C’s door opened, Junior retreated. I could feel Becca tense. I was doing my best to stay relaxed. My best was not very good.
“Luis, come in please.” Dr. C paused, looked around. “Rebbecca and both families as well, please.”
We stood. I hesitated as I tried to figure out how to walk through the door with my arm around my sweetie. Hell, I barely fit through the door by myself. I didn’t want to push her in front of me. It would be rude to go first. As I start working through the problem, she just grabbed my hand and dragged me along behind her.
“I know you’re not chicken, come on.”
“No, just working out logistics.” She stopped and looked at me with an eyebrow raised. “No way we fit through that door side-by-side. I’m too much a gentleman to go first. I didn’t want to appear to be a coward by not going first.”
“Looks like I have to be the woman!” She got a death grip on my hand and dragged me into the room. She had a big grin on her face. I just shook my head. Three hundred pound linemen have trouble moving me. She must be in charge!
Suddenly, I’m in the execution chamber. Again.
I walked up to Dr. C. Thankfully, my right hand was free. I might get my left back from Becca this year. I offered my hand for a shake. There was something my heart needed to say. He took my hand. “Dr. Cavenaugh, I want to offer my sincerest apologies for the disrespect I showed you. I consider you one of my role models and I failed to live up to the sterling example you’ve set.”
“Thank you, Mr. Contadino. Again, apology accepted. I hope we can build new and stronger bonds now.” His shake was firm, yet warm. There was a slight twinkle in his eye.
Detective Alvarez broke the moment and directed us all to the conference table.
“After careful examination of the statements of all the witnesses, plus the known history of Mr. Allen, I am prepared to conclude this investigation. Mr. Allen has been formally charged with felony assault and battery on Miss Davis.” She let the words settle in. “I’m assured by the District Attorney, who I just spoke to, that accommodations are going to be made and Mr. Allen will be receiving the treatment and care he so desperately needs.” She looked at both Becca and I. There was a question in her eyes. Did we approve? We both nodded. “Now, unless there are other police matters to be dealt with…” She looked at Dr. C. He shook his head. “Then, we’re done.” She gave me the subtlest wink. “Now, I will leave you and let Dr. Cavenaugh have his say. Thank you all.” She shook our hands and moved to stand by the door, out of sight lines.
I’d always wondered about the literary concept of the pregnant pause. Now I understood it. That relativity thing again. Seconds as eons.
“As far as the school is concerned, the incident is over.” He paused and looked at me. “Some of us have some work to do.” I nodded my head. Contrite didn’t begin to express how I felt. His eyes were serious, yet they had softened some, letting me know I had a chance. There was an opening and now it was up to me. I gave Becca’s hand a squeeze and realized she had had a death grip on me the whole time.
I thought about what Becca must be feeling. No one was saying anything. Nobody was moving. I was still doing my deep breathing and had just peaked on an inhale. With that measured pause, I suddenly understood.
I stood as gracefully as I could. Extended my hand to Detective Alvarez. “Thank you, Ma’am. We appreciate everything you’ve done.” She took my hand and gave me a firm grip back. Much stronger than her size would indicate. Her left hand covered the shake.
“You’re welcome, Luis. You’re a good man. Keep being that way, okay?” She gave me a smile and a wink.
I turned next to Dr. C and extended my hand. “Thank you Dr. Cavenaugh.” While he took my hand, I held his eyes. “I want you to know that you have, as always, my greatest respect.” His left covered our grip.
“Luis, twice today you’ve used my full name. I don’t want to get used to it. Go back to calling me Dr. C.” Our grips tightened. Not in competition, acknowledgement. “Now, when your adrenaline goes down, I’m open to seeing if you can pick me up again. Maybe on the wrestling mats in the gym?” His eyes were smiling. “After the football season, of course. I’d hate for one of us to get injured before then. In the meantime, I want to spend some time with you talking about leadership.”
“Thanks, Dr. C.” We smiled easily with each other. I had work to do, but an open path. It was time to move forward.
I thanked the suit. He, no doubt, would cause me to lose enough allowance by doing nothing while I repaid my parents the $400 per hour for his time. I turned to Jason and he met me halfway. We hugged.
“Thanks for protecting Bec,” he said.
“Thanks for being there for her. And me.” We broke the way athletes do with those lung rattling back slaps. I turned to Becca’s parents. As I reached my hand out to shake Mr. Davis’s, Mrs. Davis wrapped me in hug.
“Thank you Luis for protecting and caring for my daughter. And, thank you for bringing her back to me…” She started crying in my arms. Mr. Davis took my hand and pulled my eyes to him.
“Thank you, son. We’ll talk later tonight.” He paused as he pumped my hand. “Thank you.” He pulled his wife into his arms, allowing me to move to my parents.
Formality disappeared. An uncle once told me, “for the joy of sex, read a book. For the joy of life, be Italian!” I was almost expecting the wine and antipasti to appear. What other culture in this modern world would form the Slow Food Society!
As the family celebration wound down, I turned to Becca. You know, if I’m going to beat East’s offensive line, I need to work on these rubber legs. I wanted her. I could tell she wanted the same thing. Here? Our souls, through our eyes, were working on the logistics to satisfy our mutual desire. I couldn’t wait. I just picked her up and wrapped myself around her. She wrapped herself into me. We just stated into each other’s eyes. I fell into the infinite gravity well of her soul.
A few discreet coughs brought us back to reality. Somebody might have said something about a bucket of ice cold water.
“Ready for class, sweetie?”