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Old 07-31-2017, 03:16 PM   #101
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It was a side of life I didn't know and for once not because of a difference by money or by family power or anything similar. It was a difference of experience, experience that could come unhappily to anyone. To be trapped and to be guilty and to want to be free. He told his story clearly and simply but it was moving and frightening in equal measures.

I set my elbow on the table and rested my head against my hand and gave him what I hoped was an encouraging smile. Trying to say a lot without speaking which doesn't always work but there aren't always the right words, or more accurately the right combination of words. And what meaning would I want to convey anyway. I didn't know if it would work out alright for him, or for me. I didn't feel at that moment much like guessing either.

"Life is a pigsty, isn't it? Sometimes I want to go a long way away from here and be somewhere where people don't look at me and know me. Somewhere where people look at me and think "who is she?", or even don't think anything at all of me."
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Old 07-31-2017, 06:25 PM   #102
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I heard her statement, and inside I cringed - the wish she was describing was the story of my life. I realized that I wasn't really living - I was getting up and going to work nearly every day, with no friends and no social opportunities since I've moved here following the divorce.

And yet this is what I wanted. My only regret was that my kids were on the other side, looking for their daddy who wasn't there. I was running away from the expectations of others - my ex-wife, who still wanted to be married; my parents, who could not understand why I left behind such a wonderful woman; and my friends, who thought I was living the ideal life before I left Kristy. I ran from all of that, to try and find peace.

But as I listened to Clarissa, I realize loneliness did not equal peace. It was just a new form of silent terror that seemed to rule my life. That terror was enhanced by the tears that ran down my kids' face every time I left them after my visitation was over. It was enhanced every time I woke up in a vermin-infested apartment, a place that seemed good enough for me, but I knew I would never let my kids stay in.

I realized that even though she and I had little in common, the things we did share were life-controlling, designed to keep us in line, in spite of our desires for more. Would those demons we faced be enough to sustain a relationship that otherwise was doomed from the start?

I wanted to find out....

"Clarissa - I needed this time with you tonight, so see you in a different light, and to help me through some of my own issues. I don't socialize at all, but this has been tremendously therapeutic....and fun as well. I want to do this again - my place is lousy, but I'd like to come here and bring you food and cook for you, to return the favor."
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Old 07-31-2017, 07:26 PM   #103
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I said that that would be nice, and I meant it. I felt curious about his home but he clearly preferred the idea of coming here, so I didn't probe on that. I couldn't remember when someone had last cooked for me, without having been paid to do so.

It was late and Joe made polite excuses to depart. I opened the door for him and we paused for a moment and it was very very quiet and I realised I was holding my breath, had to slowly release.

"I liked seeing you tonight."
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:20 PM   #104
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"I liked seeing you as well - thank you for waiting up so late for me! I hope it was worth it!"

Whatever I was going to do next, it was going to be awkward, because I was still in full uniform. Have you ever hugged a cop with all of the equipment he or she wears on the job? That was out. But were we ready for a kiss? I mean it's only been a few days since I met Clarissa for the first time, and that wasn't the most successful meeting ever.

It was the best option...it was what I wanted, and I didn't hesitate. I leaned in to kiss Clarissa on the cheek. It was soft, smooth and electric all at the same time. I missed this - I'm not sure if I've ever really had this before, an innocent kiss with someone I realized I suddenly cared about a great deal.

I straightened back up and looked into her eyes as I said, "Good night, Clarissa. I can hardly wait until next time."
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:56 PM   #105
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"Good night Joe," I said and I didn't want to blush at the kiss and I didn't. I think. It caught me off guard and felt right. He walked away and I closed the door, sighed, tried to get my head around things and there were some feelings swirling and I felt them hard and it was too much. I stepped out of my clothes and left them in a heap on the floor and fell into bed and dreamed.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:42 PM   #106
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I practically skipped as I made my way to the parking lot. Once belted inside the cruiser, I looked at the console clock - I was with her for two hours! The details of our conversation were a little foggy, but the overall feeling in my heart was that of a kid after a first date.

My thoughts moved forward - when could I see her again? I was still on this stupid evening shift for a few more weeks, although I did have two days off each week....well, it was a rotation schedule, but it usually worked that way. That meant being creative with our time, or seeing each other on my off days.

But those were reserved for my kids. Susie and Joey...what would they think of Clarissa? When should I introduce them to her - hell, when should I even tell them about her? Maybe they didn't need to know just yet...

And then I realized just how far ahead of myself I was getting. I wasn't even sure if I was in a relationship. We had a good evening, and just that by itself doesn't say relationship. Cool down, Joe - get back to your usual life - cop work and parenting.

I was scheduled to see the kids in a couple of days, and that meant talking to Kristy as well. She always asks if I'm seeing anybody. Every time I say "no," I'm sure her hopes increase that we might get back together. I suddenly dreaded our next meeting - what was I going to tell her?
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:01 PM   #107
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In the morning I felt better and lighter. Last night's connection had lifted my blanket of dust and pulled me forward and it was good. I ran, stretched, showered, and had breakfast with Chopin.

I drove to the park for a walk around, with the idea of devising some sort of plan. Salvaging my gallery didn't seem impossible, suddenly. Joe's kind words had inspired me and I was walking on the sunny side.

My phone rang with a shrill demand as I was admiring the trees and wondering why I didn't come here more often. Pierce. I'd forgotten about him and forgotten that he existed. I answered and he fired out his opening sentences in that over-direct, confident style.

"Hey honey how's it going?"

"I'm okay thanks," I said and I was guarded, hesitant. I sat down on the grass and kicked off my shoes to enjoy its feel on my toes, in the warmth of the morning.

"Great, great. So I heard you had a bit of a disaster the other night, yeah?" He didn't wait for me to reply. "But don't worry- I'm coming over. I know I haven't been around, missed your big night, all of that.... but I'll make it up to you, okay? I'll see you at your place in an hour, we'll go have brunch. Okay honey?"

I found myself agreeing and I wondered why and ended the call and turned to head for home. Did I really want this? I couldn't figure out if I liked the guy or not. Whether he was a good person or not. I hadn't really thought about it before, the idea had never occurred to me but now it did and I couldn't figure it out.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:30 PM   #108
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I was tired enough the next morning to sleep in....in fact, I slept longer than I had in several months. The dreams in my head last night weren't about how I had screwed up everything, a very common theme since I left Kristy. Instead, they were about walking through the park, holding hands, admiring the setting, with the tall trees swaying gently through the breeze that kept the warm summer sweat off.

As I struggled to open my eyes in the brightness of the late morning, my cell phone rang - personal phone, meaning it could be only one of a few people. I secretly hoped it was Clarissa, calling to tell me how much she enjoyed her evening, since I had envisioned myself making that very same call.

I couldn't have been more wrong - it was Kristy. I seriously thought about not answering it. She knew my schedule - I always sent it to her as soon as I got it myself. She had to know I might still be sleeping. But I knew it would only make things potentially worse later if I ignored her. So I answered.

"Good morning, Joe - I hope I didn't wake you."

Officially she didn't, and I didn't want to lie to her, so I replied, "No, I had actually just awakened a few minutes before you called. What's on your mind, Kristy?"

She quickly replied, "I know you are supposed to drive over in the morning and see the kids for a few hours before you have to be back for your shift tomorrow evening. Well, I have some things to do in the city tomorrow, and I wondered what you would think if I brought them to your apartment. It would give you a few more hours with them, and it would mean I wouldn't have to lug the around the city all day."

I thought about what she said, and replied, "Yeah, Kristy, that would be great - thanks! What time can I expect them in the morning?"

"I'm going to try to be there by 9:00 a.m., although you know how sometimes it's not always easy to get the two of them dressed and in the car that early. But it will be sometime close to then."

"Okay - that sounds good. I'll be up and ready for them. Thanks again - I really appreciate that!"

"It's nothing, Joe - we'll be helping each other out. And I know the kids will be thrilled to be with you tomorrow - they miss you so much."

There was the dig - it happened at least once in every call, just enough to make me feel guilty as hell. I decided not to reply - I wasn't in a mood to argue, and perhaps it wasn't intended to bother me, but it always did.

I disconnected the call, and went into the kitchen to see what kind of food options I had for lunch. I also got busy with some much needed cleaning. This would be the first time Kristy and the kids had come to my apartment, and while it wasn't much, it could at least be clean.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:06 AM   #109
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Pierce's grinning face greeted me when I opened the door to my apartment.

"I love Mondays. Don't you Clarissa?" He said, and I mumbled some sort of half-agreement. "A new week, a new start, new dreams- you know?" He hugged me and stepped inside. He was wearing a casual pale blue linen suit over a half-unbuttoned white shirt and I had to admit that he looked good. He always did. Not a really tall or muscular guy, but fine featured on that borderline of handsome/beautiful that some men have. He could have modelled, I supposed. He could do a lot of things but wasn't inclined to working properly, preferring to lounge around, travel, generally live-it-up. He had benefited from a huge inheritance and was smart enough to increase it through investments.

"How are you, honey?" His eyes showed genuine concern. "I heard all about it from Krystal. About everything."

I shrugged. "I don't know why I was surprised about it to be honest. Just a standard evening with my family, you know?"

Pierce nodded, and I could tell he was trying to hide a smile which wanted to burst out. I didn't mind- he was like that, always a livewire, always laughing. So different for me- I liked it. It raised me when I was feeling on the ground.

"What did Krystal say then? I guess all of our friends know about it all?"

"Yeah. yeah, they do." He clicked his fingers "But hey- she told us all how great the gallery is, how brilliant the paintings are. That you've made something beautiful."

I turned away. "You don't need to say that Pierce, I'm okay."

"It's true, honestly. Everyone's saying it. They loved being there. We don't have enough.... enough proper culture, you know? People like that. They like to, erm.... you know. Look at paintings. That stuff matters. Expression." He came up behind me and put his arms around me, leant in with his lips against my hair. "I've missed you honey. We haven't seen enough of each other. You don't come out with our friends.....," He kissed my ear, my cheek, held me closer. "Always with the excuses..... and I know I'm stupid sometimes too... I'm sorry honey...."

It was the same old story and we'd been here before- hot after cold, close after distant. But it felt good, felt good to be touched again after the last couple of months of solid work on the gallery, avoiding socialising, feeling withdrawn and apart and losing touch with everyone. I hadn't been able to figure out if I belonged. I still couldn't.

"Have you missed me too?" His whispered words were sweet and needy.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:58 PM   #110
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I was making the last minute adjustments in the ugly apartment as the doorbell rang. It was what it was, but at least it was clean and as presentable as possible. I hadn't planned on spending any time there anyway. As soon as we got settled, I had an ambitions agenda planned that would certainly wear Susie and Joey out for their trip back home.

I bent down as I opened the door to greet them, but instead was greeted by the waist of my ex-wife. There were no children. I stood up to look at her with a puzzled expression, but before I could say anything, she began to speak.

"I can see your confused, and I don't blame you. We found out last last evening that their friends down the street - you remember the Thomlinson's, don't you - invited them to the amusement park for the day. They were so excited to be asked, and I didn't feel like I could deny them. And I didn't try to call you because I know you won't answer me while you're on duty."

"I'll make this up to you, Joe - I'll give you an extra day with them, I promise."

My disappointment started to fade as I thought of the choice she made....as usual, it was the right choice. If she had called me and I had answered, I would have told her then to let them go with their friends. I hated losing opportunities to spend quality time with them, and I think this day would have done me as much good as I hoped it would to the kids.

"It's okay, Kristy - I know they'll have fun, and I'll have time again with them. I guess you have to get to your business, so I won't...."

"Joe, wait....can I come in for a while? I promise I won't make a scene - I'd just like to visit with you for a while, okay?"

I wanted to say no. I knew there probably would be a scene, because every time we just "talked," we ended up going way beyond that. But she seemed different this time, and it was on my territory, so I figured maybe we could keep it under control.

I motioned her in and led her to the kitchen, where we sat at the dingy little table. I reached into the cabinet and retrieved a mug, sat it in front of her, and poured her a cup of coffee. She smiled as I sat down across from her. The awkward silence that ensued was painful.

Finally she cleared her throat. "Joe, I came to tell you that one of the new teachers that has arrived this summer is single, and he and I have been visiting with each other. I don't know if there is anything there, but I know it's nice to have a man to talk to again. I felt you needed to know because if we continue talking, he will be a part of the kids' life in some way."

I was shocked to her her news. In reality, this was something she needed to do, just as I needed to do the same, if we were going to move on from each other. But at the same time, I couldn't help feel just a little twinge of jealousy. For the first time since I met her our freshman year of college, Kristy was talking about having an interest in another man.

And then there was the issue of him being around the kids. I knew this would happen some day, but now that it seemed like it might become a reality, I felt a little pressure to make sure he would treat my kids well.

I smiled at her and said, "That's great news, Kristy - I'm happy for you. Has he met Susie and Joey yet?"

She nodded her head. "Right now it's just the very beginning, and I don't honestly know if anything is going to come of it, so they don't need to know just yet. But so far I like him a lot, and I think he's a very nice man."

I thought of her and her new friend, and then of me and Clarissa. I was prepared to tell Kristy about Clarissa today, but with this news, I decided to keep it to myself. One surprise per day was enough.

"If it progresses and you tell the kids, I promise I will support you and tell them how important it is for you to have someone to make you happy. I really hope it works out, Kristy - you are too special of a person to be alone."

As soon as I said that, I regretted it, because I knew what was coming next.

"If I'm so special, Joe, then why did you leave me? I haven't changed - I'm the same person I thought you fell in love with back in college, the same person who told me they would be with me for the rest of my life."

I took a deep breath, and replied, "Kristy, we've been over this. There's no sense in digging it up again. I've beaten myself up time and time again over this, but the answer always remains the same. You're the most incredible mother to our kids and a wonderful teacher to the students who are lucky enough to be in your class. But I felt like I was being dishonest to you and I couldn't do that to either of us anymore."

I could see a tear well up in the corner of her eye, so I grabbed the box of tissues on the cabinet and handed them to her. She smiled as she grabbed one and dabbed the tear away. As she tossed it in the trash can, she smiled at me.

"See, Joe," she said. "Always taking care of me, just like before. I'm sorry I went back there. It wasn't my intention at all. I just wanted to tell you about Steve. Thanks for being supportive. I promise I will keep you informed of what happens."

She stood and walked toward the front door and I followed her. Before she reached it, she turned around and looked up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and said, "I don't suppose......"

"Don't suppose what?"

She smiled. "Well, we are alone, and I remember we were pretty good together. I don't suppose we could see if we still had the magic there."

I have to admit, I considered it. The sex was always incredible, and I missed that part a lot. But I also know that if I were to give in, I was afraid it would start an even bigger avalanche of requests to come back, and I'd had enough of those to last me the rest of my life.

I opened the door for her, indicating the answer to her question. As she walked out, she turned to me one last time and with her killer smile, she said, "You know, just say the word, and I'll be your loving wife again."

I kissed on the cheek, and she turned and walked to her car. As she pulled away, I had the usual feelings I did after I talked to her since the divorce - she was a wonderful woman, and I knew there weren't many in the world better than she was. Why I couldn't love her, I didn't know, but the feelings of my own inadequacy came storming back, just like they always do when I think of her and the kids.

I looked at my phone - 9:45 a.m. I went back to my bedroom to lay down. I immediately wondered what Clarissa was doing, if I should call her, then decided against it. Maybe a text....that would be good, to let her know I was thinking of her.

I punched in a simple message..."I hope you are having a wonderful day." I sent it, and then closed my eyes and drifted off into sleep....
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:42 AM   #111
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He was lowering the strap of my top, down my right shoulder, breathing heavier in my ear.

"I think about you all the time," He whispered and his voice was low and gravel as it often was when he really really meant something. Really really meant it. He kissed my bare shoulder and I felt like I needed it and it could have hurt, it almost hurt, it did hurt. "I know that you're scared Clarissa, and I don't blame you. It's been a long time for us, but it's right.... tell me that you want to."

I felt the hear rising inside me and welling up and I couldn't deny it, didn't want to. "I do.... I want it.... I can't take it," I murmured and I barely heard my own voice. Pierce lifted my top over my head and dropped it onto the floor. His hand ran up my back smoothly and my skin was warm and his hand was warm. His fingers caressed my neck and then lost themselves in my dark hair and he messed my style and kissed me softly and there was his familiar taste and familiar cologne and the way he pressed his body to mine.

One by one I undid the remaining buttons of his shirt, and he dropped that on the floor too and I placed my hands on him and he said something and I didn't hear it. He moved away, taking my hand, and led me to my own bedroom.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:56 PM   #112
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The sleep that came was fitful and unfulfilling. After about an hour, I got up, and made the trip into the kitchen to rummage for food, but I didn't find anything that looked even remotely satisfying. The beer in the corner of the fridge beckoned me, but I knew that even though it was five hours before my shift began, I wasn't going to start loading alcohol into my system.

Morning TV wasn't appealing - I'd learned that lesson in the past. So I went to my chair in the front room and just sat, letting the jumbled thoughts of my mind take over...which was probably a mistake.

I always felt pangs of guilt descend upon me after talking with Kristy. She had been easier on me than normal this morning - she didn't come to me begging on her knees to come back home, even though she did mention it. She didn't hang the guilt trip on me by telling me how much the kids miss me - I knew that already, since I missed them as well.

But the news of a new friend - did she say his name was Stan? - brought feelings I had not experienced before. I should be happy for her, because I had no desire to hurt her when I had left, and I certainly didn't want her to be alone. And yet the thought of her with someone else was one that until she mentioned it, had never crossed my mind.

It shouldn't matter. She was free to do whatever she wanted. The only concern I should be allowed to have was how he was around my kids, and I knew it was too early to be worried about that. She had said he was a new teacher - apparently at the school where she taught, so he certainly must know how to do well with kids.

So what were my feelings about this? Was it jealousy? Was there something still inside that felt I should be with Kristy? I didn't need anything else to make me feel bad about leaving her, and now this was something I was bringing onto myself.

I thought about Clarissa...realistically, what chance did I have with her? I was just a lowly cop, a divorced father with two kids - basically choosing to walk out of their lives. What about me would make a wealthy, beautiful young woman decide she needed me to be a part of her life? It was probably time to put that notion behind me for good.

I could not sit here and allow this depression to overtake me anymore. Even though it was just approaching noon and I wasn't scheduled to start for another four hours, I went ahead and dressed into my uniform and went to work. Hopefully it would take my mind off of the mess I had created of my life....
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:02 PM   #113
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It felt good to have him over me, on me, with my naked legs wrapped around him and our breathing synchronising. Part of me asked why I was doing this and did I really like him, but I ignored it. I needed this. I'm human.

He kissed me and pushed into me and I was warm and wet and willing and he groaned with the pleasure of it. "God Clarissa, you're so tight... how do you stay so tight, I love it....," He gasped as he started to move inside me.

"Let's not talk," I whispered and he muttered his assent and soon he was less gentle, thrusting with more force and less rhythm, losing some of the control, enjoying it. He shifted his weight onto his left forearm to free his right hand to cup my breast, running his thumb roughly over my hardened nipple and a drop of sweat fell from his brow to mine. It had been a few months but it felt like it always did and though I knew it could be a mistake I didn't mind.

After a few minutes he wanted me to go on top but I urged him to keep going. I wasn't far from a full climax but I felt it burn out and ebb away, as was pretty common for me. He was breathing heavily and his right hand found my hip and gripped hard, and a minute later I felt him swell inside me and he groaned and I felt the sticky heat shoot up as he came inside me.

We lay there and he looked at me with that winning smile, the one that had charmed many and had charmed me. "You're..... you're still taking birth control, right?" He asked.

I rolled my eyes. "Yes, I am- do you honestly think I would have let that happen otherwise?"

He nodded, content, and I rolled away to my side of the bed and fell asleep, vaguely aware of his arm reaching around to hold me as I drifted off, and fading his voice saying, amused; "You're really going to go to sleep now? It's like 10am honey...... there's so much we could do, we could....."
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:07 PM   #114
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I walked into the sub-station at 12:15 p.m., much before the 4:00 that was supposed to be the start of my shift. Lt. Adams looked at me with surprise, and I knew I was going to face a grilling from the "by-the-book" cop with a long record of meritorious service.

"Simpson - what the hell are you doing here? You're not due for several hours!"

I cringed as I stopped to answer. "Yes sir. Having one of those days where my mind wanders to places I don't want it to go if I don't get busy. So I thought I would catch up on some reports I need to file from earlier in the week."

I hope he didn't asked why my mind was wandering - I really didn't want to get into my personal life right now, but he's been around long enough to know that if a cop is struggling at home, he's likely to struggle on the job as well.

"So are you telling me that you are on duty?" His voice was sharp and direct - a voice that once you hear it, you'll never forget it.

"Yes, sir," I replied.

"Good - I was just getting ready to dig up some of the day shift to serve these court papers that just came in today, but since you're here, you can do that for me."

I should have stayed home. Serving papers was normally a very boring job, with very little reward, because it usually meant bad news for those who were on the receiving end. Because of that, you had to be on your guard at every stop, expecting the one who takes so much exception to receiving something from you that you end up in a dangerous situation.

I looked at the list - many were involving tax situations, a couple were for failure to appear, and still a couple more were restraining orders. Those were the hardest - just like answering domestic disturbance calls, restraining orders usually involved high emotions, and many people resisted when they discovered they were being served.

I took the packets and headed out. Since I was putting in extra time, I did not feel a bit guilty about stopping for a little lunch on the company time. I pulled into my favorite diner and was greeted with shouts of greeting from the regulars who worked there. For the first time in a long while, I felt like I was surrounded by friends. It was something I needed.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:29 PM   #115
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Pierce hung around for a few hours, fussing over me and telling jokes and talking on and on about the lives of our mutual friends and acquaintances and I wished he'd go. I felt.... sick. And strange. The sexual desire had faded and the colour had died off and now I wanted to be alone again.

Eventually he picked up on my mood and wisely made an exit. He knew me well enough to understand that when I was quiet I wanted everyone gone and there wasn't any point in trying to cheer me up. He said something about going shopping for a new suit and retreated after kissing me on the cheek.

I felt sick and dull. Why. I couldn't figure it out. I'd enjoyed the physical passion. I liked Pierce. But I felt.... I felt like I'd made a mistake, spoiled something. Memories of the previous night drifted back. Talking to Joe. Opening up. It made me feel worse and it confused me and hurt.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:45 PM   #116
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After having my ego stroked by my friends at the diner, I was feeling much better about myself. The problems didn't go away, they just took a back seat to the great conversation we had as I ate. This is what your life is all about, Joe - serving great people by pledging to keep them safe and secure in the city in which they lived.

I tried to forget the problems in my life - my kids, longing for their father; my ex-wife, telling me she's interested in someone else; my crappy apartment, which wasn't a home, it was just a place to hide; and my interest in a girl who was way out of my league. Serving the people of this great city was my purpose. Serve and protect....Joe Simpson was on duty.

I didn't even seem to mind serving the papers that had been assigned to me. I tried to be as polite as possible, knowing I was bringing bad news to the people receiving them. Most understood that, although some were openly hostile. But that was part of the job, and the least I could do was try to make it easier on those on the receiving end.

I was finally down to the last paper to serve - a restraining order, served on a person with whom we'd had a history of problems. As I approached his porch, something seemed off, an the uneasy feeling caused me to reach down and unsnap the safety strap that secured my service weapon in its holster. I probably should have called for backup at that time, but I didn't....a mistake that turned out to be more serious than I imagined.....
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:35 PM   #117
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The afternoon drifted. I managed to force myself onto my laptop, to go through emails related to the gallery, and then emails for my actual job as the PR spokesperson for my father's company. Both were hard going but I persevered, telling myself I would feel better. A friend called but I didn't pick up, and then Mason called and I ignored him too.

One email was from an upcoming artist in Spain with whom I'd been talking. I really believed in her and this new piece, which she had shown me a teasing photo of half of, was a strong, vibrant and slightly surreal depiction of a man walking a dark street. The buildings around him were melting in red and it struck me as gorgeous. I felt again the strong desire to continue with my passion and not to give up and not to surrender what I wanted. It was like Joe had given me some of his strength.

I wondered where he was and what he was doing and how he would feel about Pierce.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:41 AM   #118
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I knocked on the door, and then stepped to the side. The walls offered little protection if he wanted to shoot at me, but it was certainly better than standing in the doorway.

I heard his gruff voice shout out, "Who is it?"

He slurred his words just enough that I knew there was alcohol on board. "Officer Simpson, of the Metro Police. I have papers to serve for Larry Gossard."

Larry was not in a good mood, and it was causing my mood was darken by the second. All kinds of bad scenarios played out in my head, and I tried to determine what the most likely one would be if this turned ugly.

Larry shouted, "What kind of papers? I didn't do anything wrong."

I tried peeking around the door frame to see if I could determine where he was in the house and what he was doing, but it was too dark inside to see anything clearly.

"I know that, Larry - I'm not here to arrest you. I just have to serve you these court papers. Can you come out slowly, please?"

I heard the shuffle of his feet in what sounded like heavy shoes. He came to the door and peeked around. He appeared to be dressed on nothing but a pair of overalls that hung loose on him, as well as steel toed work boots. As he stepped out onto the porch, the strong stench of beer followed him.

Larry was a frequent flyer in our precinct. He had a record as long as his forearm, but it was mostly petty stuff, although a few of his offenses had landed him some jail time. But his history with us told me to be very wary of him, because he had never liked the men and women behind the shield.

"Papers? What the hell kind of papers are you pushing?"

This was not going in the direction I had hoped. I wanted to just hand him the papers and get out, but that would have had me walking away with my back turned to him, and that didn't seem like a very wise prospect.

I looked at him and said, "I can't open them and read them, but I know from looking on the ID tag on it that it says it's a restraining order. Somebody has filed a court order to keep you away from them."

I saw his facial expression turn from confusion to rage in about two seconds. "That fuckin' bitch - that stupid fuckin' bitch! She can't keep me from seeing my kids...."

Larry sprinted back into his house. I wanted to follow him and see what he was up to, but I had no warrant and no reason to be there except for serving his restraining order. All the time he was in there, he was yelling and cursing as his volume got louder and louder.

Finally, with one loud shout of, "I'll show that fuckin' bitch who is in charge of our kids," Larry burst through the door, carrying a shotgun in his right hand.

Larry the convicted felon wasn't supposed to have a shotgun. Larry the enraged father and ex-husband certainly shouldn't have one. It became my job to stop him, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy....
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Old 08-09-2017, 03:25 PM   #119
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There would be no repeat of the grand opening, but after a few hours I had made enough calls to get the gallery back on track. I had re-assured the staff that their jobs were safe, we would continue as planned, and I had doubled-down on the marketing plan that I had organised through the state's top advertising company. I knew that my father would fund the gallery.... but I wanted, needed, it to be self-sufficient. The costs were not incredible, with the building already paid-for. We needed only to sell a few pieces a month and there were enough wealthy souls around for starters and I planned to attract art connoisseurs from all over the country.

Feeling better, I changed into shorts and a t-shirt and set out for the park for a run. Determine to be the best of myself.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:25 PM   #120
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I was fortunate he wasn't looking at me as he came through the doorway, so I had the element of surprise in my favor. As he descended down the steps, I leaped out at him from the left side and took him to the ground. I was relieved to see that the force of my collision with him had dislodged the shotgun from his hand, although as it fell to the ground, it remained close enough to us to still be dangerous.

We struggled with each other as I tried to get him rolled over on his front so I could get my cuffs on his wrists behind his back. But Larry was no pushover, and I took a couple of shots to the face and head from his fist as she swung at me. He was finally able to get away from me well enough that he was crawling along the ground, trying to get to the shotgun. I knew if he made it, I was likely a dead man, so with my left hand I reached behind on my belt and grabbed my taser and aimed it as his ass, letting fly with 50,000 volts designed to freeze him in his place.

Fortunately, it did as it was supposed to, and Larry crashed to the ground, just inches away from the shotgun. I stood up and quickly walked over to kick the gun further away from him, and then got on top of him with my knee on his back as I secured his wrists with my cuffs. With Larry under control, I called in for more help as I began to assess my wounds.

Help arrived, and Larry was hauled away to the hospital in an ambulance - standard procedure in our department for anyone who receives the business end of a taser. One of my fellow officers drove me in my own squad car to the ER, where I received six stitches above my left eye for the cut created by Larry's knuckle hitting me. I knew that meant restricted duty until it healed completely - basically I had just become a parade cop for the next week.

I was given the rest of my shift off. By this time it was after 6:00 p.m., and I didn't want to be alone. So I pulled out my phone and dialed the number of the only friend I had outside of the department. Getting her voice mail, I left a message....

"Clarissa, it's Joe....are you busy tonight? I really just need someone to talk to. Please call me back when you get this."
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:22 PM   #121
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I ran for a long time, enjoying the stretching of myself and the sweat and the heat and the drifting. I found myself a couple of miles from home and walked back slowly and there was almost no one around because everyone drove instead.

Back at my apartment I felt at peace. The kind that comes with good exercise and a good plan.I felt strong and better, better than in a long while and I couldn't quite point to why but I didn't mind about that. Not at all.

I saw I'd missed a call a few minutes ago and I dialed voicemail.

"Clarissa, it's Joe....are you busy tonight? I really just need someone to talk to. Please call me back when you get this."

I felt a hot jolt and knew that I wanted to see him again, a lot. I texted him before I could lose my nerve.

"Hi Joe- sure, come over whenever you're ready."

After moment's inner-debate, I followed that message up.

"I've been thinking about you."
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:06 PM   #122
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Despite the stitches above my left eye, I had passed the tests to be allowed to drive my own car home. Just as I pulled into my driveway, I heard the ping alerting me to a text message on my personal phone. I switched the engine of the cruiser off and anxiously pulled out the phone and read Clarissa's reply...

"Hi Joe- sure, come over whenever you're ready."

I felt the nerves in my stomach tighten a little bit, partly with relief that she had agreed, and partly because I still felt this could never go farther than just being friends.

But then I noticed she had sent a followup message - "I've been thinking about you."

The nerves in my stomach were replaced with the scrambled thoughts that just invaded my brain. Don't read too much into this, I told myself. Yet I couldn't help but be excited. Was she thinking about me in a good way, or was it something else?

I responded to her text with one of my own - "I will be there in about an hour." I put the phone back in my pocket and quickly headed inside. For the first time I looked in a mirror and saw what Larry Gossard had done to my face - it wasn't pretty, but at least I was alive.

I quickly showered and headed to my closet to find what wear. I settled on some cotton khaki pants and a striped polo. Unless I rented a tux, this was about as fancy as I ever dressed up. I hoped it was good enough for Clarissa.

I pulled into her apartment complex parking lot five minutes early. My heart was skipping as I knocked on the door.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:59 PM   #123
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My smile dropped when I opened the door. Joe was damaged, bruised. What had happened to him in the short time since we last he was here?

I wordlessly gestured him in and he smiled at me and it was like he didn't even know that someone had clearly tried to hurt me badly. I poured a glass of wine each and we sat on the sofa a respectable distance apart and he seemed tired and I thought also glad to be here. Maybe he didn't want to talk about but I had to.

"What happened to you Joe?"
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:17 PM   #124
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I had forgotten about my appearance, but I knew it was not good when I saw the expression on her face change as soon as the door opened.

As we sat on the sofa, I knew she was going to want to know - Kristy had always been the same way, although during our marriage I had not been in a physical altercation of this magnitude.

As soon as Clarissa asked, I decided to be honest with her. "I decided I was not going to let a felon armed with a shotgun find his ex-wife and kids and kill them. He was not pleased, and he got me pretty good with a couple of shots, but I'll heal, and he's going to be in jail for a long time."

"But it caused me to think about my life a little....and about how lonely I am, and how when I'm with you, that loneliness disappears. I know there are probably at least a thousand reasons why we shouldn't be together, let alone be friends. But I know this - if I felt for Kristy what I feel for you after a couple of weeks....well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be divorced."
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:33 PM   #125
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I couldn't believe the differences between our days or that life could really be so dangerous. I wondered if I could ever do what he had, to risk my life to help someone in that way. It had never occurred to me. I hoped so. I found myself shaking just a little. Shock at hearing the threat to him.

I took Joe's hand and held it and we faced each other.

"I'm glad you feel that way. But I don't deserve it Joe, I don't. I'm.... selfish, and spoilt, and I've never done anything worthwhile." He started to protest but I cut him short- "But I'm trying to do better. I won't be like this forever, I'm going to grow, I'm going to be my own person. Maybe you can show me how."
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