Chapter 11

By Anj (A.k.a. Azurenon)

Introduction: At the age of seventeen, Darby Jennings is once again running away from a very abusive home life. This time, however, she's dressed as a boy. Along her rather short journey she meets up with a "call girl" or "lady of the evening". This story follows the early trials and tribulations of their rather unique relationship, as well as, their struggles with the malevolent human forces attempting to tear them apart. It is part romance, part drama, with an attempt at suspense and/or mystery. This is NOT an Uber story. Although I love the daring duo (and written fan fiction with a partner, under the pseudonyms "Azurenon and Savanna Mac" posted on this very site) you won't find them here.

DISCLAIMERS: No copyright infringement is intended by the use of titles, artist's names and/or lyrics of the songs contained herein. These have merely been used for entertainment value and possible storyline continuity. All the characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.


Violence: This story contains scenes and/or references to physical, emotional and sexual violence.

Sex: It centers on an explicit sexual relationship between two women. It is intended for MATURE AUDIENCES. So if you're under age 18, this is illegal where you are or this just isn't your cup of tea, then you have been forewarned, please exit stage left. If you are mature enough and I've captured your attention, then moving right along here...

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Be it known the author has no firsthand knowledge concerning physical or sexual violence. Nor does she even pretend to know anything about "call girls" or "ladies of the evening". Therefore, I ask that the reader please forgive any mistakes and/or oversights. Especially so in the area of giving the healing process of such aforementioned experiences the in-depth attention they so richly deserve. This story is complete fiction, written merely for entertainment. In its entirety, it contains 23 chapters: at around 10 pgs per chapter.

Thanks go to all my friends for their support and encouragement over the years.

(Written 1993. Revised 2001)

        If she found out about what happened that night, she didn't mention it. And I surely didn't want to. Although, she had to know something was wrong, because I shirked away from touching her and being touched by her. Imagining what she did was one thing, but seeing it and being told about it by one who had been with her "that way", was another. I knew that if I ever saw her with a man, or most especially with another woman, I'd probably go berserk.

        So, I stayed away from her club during business hours. There was nothing for me there. I withdrew inside myself, because it was the only way I knew how to handle it. I'd never been in love, so I'd never known much about being "heart sick". But it was devastating. And I wasn't sure I would ever recover.

        She tried to draw me out, to no avail. And she tried coming on to me many times, but I always had an excuse: I'm too tired, I have a headache, I have to study, the grass needs mowing, etcetera, etcetera.

        On a Friday night, four weeks after the incident, Jasmine came over to Dora's club; sat down at one of the tables I was waiting and motioned me over.

        "How ya been, honey?" she asked.

        "Fine," I replied. "And you?"

        "Oh fine."

        "What can I get for ya?"

        "How 'bout a vodka tonic, sweetie."

        "Sure, but... what are you doin' over here?"

        "Oh, just visitin', I guess. Ain't seen you 'round a lot lately."

        I knew what she was getting at. I merely shrugged, then turned to walk away.

        "Honey," she said, reaching out and grabbing my arm. "She's draggin' ass bad. Last time I seen here like this, she started hittin' the bottle heavy." She paused. "I know it ain't none of my business, honey chil', but whatever problem you got with her... and I don't believe it's just her strippin'... you need to talk about it. Brandi didn't have no business at all tellin' you 'bout that old man, even if it is true. Which I ain't none too sure of."

        I raised my eyebrow.

        "Sit down here a minute with me, honey and let me tell you a few things you may or may not know."

        "Your drink...."

        "I didn't come over here for no drink and you know it. Now, if you can spare me a minute, listen up." I slid into the chair beside her. "They's bad blood between Brandi and Anna and it's mostly on Brandi's part. See, Rick, he used to... well he was mainly Brandi's trick. Then that thing happened out yonder at Dora's and... Rick stopped comin' 'round. All he wanted was Anna after that. Anyways, when he did start comin' back around with Anna, Brandi made a big play for him. And I do mean BIG! She'd a bent over backwards and kissed her own ass if he'd a told her to.

        "And well, maybe she did, 'cause she got him, event'lly. Anna was hurt, but she didn't do a thing about it. She let him go, drank for a little while, then picked herself up by her bootstraps and went on. Well, Rick saw this and... and he came crawlin' back. But, Anna wouldn't have him back. He stayed at her house, a 'course. Now, that's just how Anna is. You ask her for the shirt off her back and if she can see her way clear, she'll give it to ya." She paused.

        "So you see, Brandi has reason to try and play a few games with ya, get my drift? I ain't sayin' Brandi was lyin'. Hell, we all pulled a show now and again, brings good money. Ya know what I mean by show, don'cha?"

        I shrugged. I had gotten the gist of what Brandi was talking about, but had she said this was a show?

        "Sometimes a man... will want to be with two women," Jasmine explained. "And, he often wants to seem'em do it together, ya know what I mean?"

        I nodded.

        "I've done a few myself," she continued, "Don't mean I felt one damn thing for that other woman... other than friendship, that is. I doubt Anna did, either, if she even done it."

        "But... she said I was the first and... it hurts," I said, tears welling up in my eyes.

        "Then tell yo' honey, that, hmm? Let her tell ya what happened or what didn't. I can tell ya this, I never heard of Anna doin' a show before. She us'lly works alone."

        "But, you said that... any woman she was with... ended up disappearin'."

        "I said that? Oh.. oh no, honey. What I meant was any who paid her any attention. Ya know... like you do. But, now I didn't mean that they was lovers. No-o-o. Uh-uh. Phil wanted to be, but... I don't think she ever told Anna, or if'n she did, Anna didn't take her up on it... that I know of. And I think Phil woulda tol' me. And that Leena... Humph! She wasn't nothin' but a suck up. They's several glad when that gal up and left."

        I'd never known what happened to Leena. I hadn't asked and Anna hadn't offered. "Does... she fire 'em?" I inquired.

        "No, not that I know of. Just... one day they's here, the next day they's gone. Didn't say diddly-squat to nobody. And you know, I've always found that odd about Phil, too. I thought we was close, ya know. She told me how she felt about Anna and I said: Go for it, if it makes ya happy. Then next thing I know, poof... she's gone. Never have been able to figure that one out. Lot a times girls'll leave and then maybe a month down the road, ya may get a postcard or sump'um lettin' ya know they's still kickin', but... " She shook her head. "Talk to her, honey. Tell her what's eatin' away at ya. 'Cause she knows sump'um's up and it's eatin' on her, too."

        I nodded and wiped the tears from my cheeks.

        "Alright, well I best get back to work. And you should, too, honey chil'. They's a man over yonder justa snappin' his fingers."

        Even though I had agreed, by the nod of my head, to talk to Anna, I found it hard to work up the nerve that night. I figured it might be better to do it in the morning, since I could tell she had been drinking. Not heavy. But, I could tell nonetheless.

        The next morning she had a light hangover and I wasn't really in the mood to discuss this with her anyway, so I put it off again. I told myself that night that I'd do it tomorrow morning.

        She was making love to me. I couldn't see her face plainly, as often happened in these dreams, but I could feel what she was doing and it was wonderful. Usually, however, the dream ended around this time, when things really started getting good. And I questioned this for a split second.

        Then the dream was gone. Yet, it wasn't.

        My eyes fluttered open to find her exactly where she had been in my dream. And the good part had just begun. At first, this frightened me, then it warmed me all over that she'd wake up in the middle of the night, wanting me. It further aroused me that my unconscious mind wanted her, no matter what apprehensions my waking mind might harbor.

        I didn't interrupt her. I couldn't. I was too far up the mountain. I could see the top. "An-n-na!" I cried.

        "Um-hum," she answered.

        "An-na, I lo-ve yo-ou!"

        It was as simple as that, to loosen my tongue. And yet, I wanted to wait until after breakfast to tell her what was wrong. I didn't dare spoil this precious moment of lying in her arms, with the aroma of our long overdue lovemaking permeating the air around us.

        When I told her about seeing her act, she nodded, as if she suspected or knew this. But, when I revealed what Brandi had told me, she obviously had no knowledge of this.

        "Goddamn her!" She fumed, hitting the table.

        "Is it true, Anna?"

        "I'm... gonna... fuckin'... kill... the bitch," she said, slowly and methodically.

        "Anna, is it true?" I persisted. "You said... I was the first. Did you... lie to me?"

        "Darby, I... I never said I'd never been with another woman before," she began, softly.

        "But, you said I could tell my friends that I'd gave a whore her first woman. You mean that was just a come on, too?"

        She dropped her head and nodded.

        "Then you've lied to me all along, haven't you?"

        "No I... I told you the truth, when I said that I'd never acted on my attraction for other women. I've done... shows before. But, that was different. I wasn't attracted to those women. That was... business. You're the only woman that I ever made love to, I swear. And you're the only female lover I've ever had."

        "You mean this happened before you met me?" I questioned.

        "You mean with Brandi?" I nodded. She shook her head.

        "This happened after we were together?"

         She sighed heavily. "You gotta understand somethin', Darby. That pays... good."

        "Anna why?" I asked, tears forming in my eyes. "I... I was handlin'... the men. That... that was different, but.... a woman. That's... that feels like... cheatin'."

        "No, baby. it wasn't cheatin'. It was business, I swear. And... if it's any consolation, what she said, ain't true. I faked it Big Time. I knew what he wanted to see and I gave it to him. I don't feel a thing for Brandi."

        Tears were streaming down my cheeks. "How many... times?"

        "Twice," she admitted, her eyes downcast. "But, we needed the money, baby."

        "Why? I don't... understand. We're... doin' okay."

        "It wasn't lately. This was... way back... close to Christ...."

        I closed my eyes. "The ring and... the charms?" I questioned.

        "No, Darby, not those."

        "Then what could have been so.... oh shit, the motorcycle?"

        She nodded. "It was the only way, baby. I couldn't have you walkin'. And I already had the ring picked out and was payin' on it. I had to... do somethin' to.... Darby, where you goin'? Darby!"

        I was headed out the side door towards the motorcycle. I didn't want it anymore. I hated it. It symbolized something I didn't even want to think about. I couldn't ride it anymore knowing what I now knew.

        "Darby!" She grabbed me from behind as I kicked out at it. The heel of my foot struck the seat, knocking it over. It lay on its side on the concrete driveway, like road kill.

        She wrapped her arms around me from behind. "I'll never... never do it again, baby. I promise. I never dreamed you'd..."

        "I can't... take it... anymore, Anna," I blubbered. "It's... killin'... me. The strippin... the men... the wonderin'... I can't.... I just can't!" My knees went weak and we both went down onto the concrete.

        I lost my breakfast, there on my knees.

        "Oh Jesus, Darby... I didn't know..." she said, holding on to me. "I'll stop hookin'... I swear to God, I will."

        It was early September, nearing the end of school, when I noticed that the checkbook balance had really taken a downward spiral. It wasn't just from her not turning tricks or my schooling; the deposits from the club were getting smaller and smaller.

        Since that night, watching her act, I hadn't been into her club much and wasn't sure what was going on over there that would cause this. So, I confronted her at breakfast one morning.

        "Dora's nightclub has killed me," she answered, lighting a cigarette.

        "How? I thought it was attractin' more business for you."

        "It did, for a while." She took a drag off her cigarette. "I'm surprised you don't know what's goin' on out there. Hell, you work there."

        "What are you talkin' about?"

        She exhaled a stream of smoke. "She brought her girls out there. I know you've seen'em. Hell they're workin' her club and tryin' to work mine."

        "You mean pros..."

        "Prostitutes, baby. You know, like me?" she said in an angry tone of voice.

        "You don't do that anymore," I corrected.

        "Looks like somebody's gonna have to start doin' sump'um around here."

        "Oh, hell no, not that," I said, defiantly.

        She said nothing.

        "Why did she bring her girls in?" I inquired.

        "Money, Darby." She shook her head. "Hell, she gets a twenty percent cut off every trick they turn. And then she gets the room fee, as well. Oh, she's got herself a fuckin' sweet deal. And she's cuttin' my damn throat to do it, too. I'm so fuckin' blind, I never saw it comin'."

        "Does she know she has..."

        "Oh Darby, please... don't be naive. Of course she does. Don't you 'member seein' that McDonald's goin' up over there near her place?" I nodded. "Yeah, well, they shit on her restaurant and now she's shittin' on me to make up for it. Next thing you know she'll be wantin' to buy me out and fuck me over on that, too."

        "But, I didn't think Dora would do that to you... would she?"

        "Honey, one whore'll fuck another over anytime for a dollar," she said, making it sound like I was stupid.

        "Does that include you?" I had to ask.

        She glared at me. "Fuck you, Darby, if you don't know me better than that by now. Just fuck you!" She got up from the table and stormed out of the room.

        "Anna, you know I didn't mean that," I called, following behind her. "I'm sorry, you just sounded so condescendin' and..."

        She spun around on her bare heels. "Don't throw them fancy college words at me," she growled.

        "That's not a college word and I ain't goin' to college anyhow."

        "But, you do have school today, don'cha?" I nodded. "Then you better get movin', hmm?" She turned and was off up the stairs, her black robe trailing behind her.

        "We'll figure somethin' out, sweetheart!" I called after her.

        "Go to school, Darby and don't worry about it. It's my problem."

        "It's ours, dammit! I'm in this with you, remember?"

        "You're gonna be in hot water, you don't get your ass to class." I heard the bedroom door shut behind her.

        I went to school alright, but I couldn't concentrate. My mind was on how to help out our finances. I knew I wouldn't be returning here for another quarter; that was out of the question now. But, it didn't bother me, any. Anna was more important than school.

        With that thought in mind, I feigned illness and left after only an hour and a half, still driving that motorcycle I loathed. When I got home, I noticed some caterpillars on the azalea bushes, by the side porch. From the looks of the missing leaves, it appeared they were stripping the bushes clean. I knew this had to be stopped.

        I entered the side door, calling out her name. I knew she was home, the blazer was in the driveway.

        "Anna, did you know we had caterpillars on our azaleas?" I called out, as I entered the kitchen; sure she was there. She wasn't. "Anna? Anna, where are you?" I went into the den. "Anna, where you at?"

        I went up to our bedroom then the bathroom. "Now, where the hell could she be?" I asked an empty room. "Anna where are you? Are you playin' some kinda game with me? I ain't in no mood for games, now. Come on."

        I waited a few moments then went downstairs. I was headed for the kitchen again and the backyard beyond, when I heard moaning sounds issuing from the bathroom, as I passed.

        I spun around. "Anna?"

        The moaning stopped abruptly.

        "Hey, baby, you alright?" I knocked on the door.

        "Go... way," came a muffled reply.

        "What's wrong, sweetheart. I came home early cause I couldn't stay away from..."

        "Go... a... way!" she said again.

        My heart registered hurt, but my mind registered alarm. There was something wrong with the way she had said this. And Anna never told me to go away, unless she was cleaning up after being with....

        I couldn't take it. I opened the door. The sight that greeted me chilled me to my bones. She was sitting up in the floor, propped up by the toilet. Her face was a mess. Her lip was split, there was dried blood in the corner of her mouth, her nose was bleeding and one eye was almost swollen shut.

        "Holy fuckin' shit," I whined, rushing towards her.

        "Go... way!" she said vehemently, not sounding like herself at all, as she swung out at me with the back of her hand, missing by a mile and seemingly draining all of her energy in the process.

        I noticed that there were bruises on her arms, as well. I knew what had happened. She'd broken her promise. And this was the result.

        I scuttled back on my behind across the tile floor, as she dry heaved into the toilet. Tears were forming in my eyes.

        "Why, Anna. Why?" I blubbered, drawing my legs up and wrapping my arms around them.

        "Ple-ease," she murmured.

        I wanted to get up and run as far and as fast as I could. Yet, I was grounded for the moment, staring at an unbelievably painful sight. One I could not even attempt to heal, because she wouldn't let me.

        I knew some man had inflicted this pain upon her. And I knew why she had been with him.

        "Go... away, Dar.. by," she mumbled again.

        This time I did get to my feet. I rushed out into the hall and slammed my fist into the first available thing. I screamed my outrage as it made contact with the oval mirror of the coat rack. The mirror shattered, its broken shards raining down around my feet.

        "Dar-by!" she screeched, behind me.

        I drew my injured hand to my body and wheeled around, sliding down the wall. She crawled out of the bathroom on hands and knees, grabbing my bloody hand and looking it over.

        I put my other hand to her swollen face. "GODDAMN HIM TO HELL!!!" I screamed, loud enough to wake the dead.

        She crawled into my arms and clung to me like a little child. "I'm sor-ry," she blubbered. "So... sor-ry."

        Thirty minutes later, I had her upstairs in our bathroom, where the antiseptics and band-aids were.

        "Ouch!" she muttered, when I touched her lip with the peroxide. "Stings!"

        "Sit still," I ordered, my anger still close to the surface. "First I have to put this on it, then... we'll clean you up."

        "I'll... do... it. Take care... of your hand."

        "My hand is fine," I retorted, knowing that it had stopped bleeding a good while ago and had only a few fine cuts on it. "But, this is one damn bath I'm givin' you. And I'll fuckin' well do whatever else is necessary, too. 'Cause I'm gonna tell you one goddamn thing right now, Anna Rollins, you ain't never turnin' another trick. Your whorin' days are over. And I don't give a shit what you say. I'll rob a fuckin' bank before you do this again!" I was on a roll and knew I didn't make much sense, but I wanted to make it plain she was not going out like this again. "And if you go behind my back again like this, I'm gonna fuckin' leave your ass."

        This got her attention. "You mean... you ain't... leavin'... now?"

        I sighed heavily. "No. I should. But... I ain't. I got my addictions, too I guess. And I don't mind tellin' you I'm addicted to you. But, you fuck me over again and... and I'm gone." I felt it was a valid threat, even though I wasn't sure I could go through with it.

        "I... love... you," she mumbled, wrapping her arms around my waist.

        "This makes me wonder about that," I commented. "If you loved me, why'd you... do this?"

        "Keep you... in school."

        "Fuck school. And fuck you, if you don't think I can think of someway to make more money. Hell, Anna, I could always see if Rachael will hire me again."

        "No," she said angrily.

        "Then there's got to be other jobs to be had around here. Hell, if nothin' else, maybe Rick could teach me how to drive a truck and then I could..."

        "Hell no! Be gone... all time... no."

        "Would you rather me leave you altogether?"

        She remained silent. The only noise was coming from the leaking ball cap on the toilet I'd been meaning to fix.

        "Come on, let's get you in the tub."

        "What do you use for contraceptives?" I finally asked, though I had been meaning to inquire about this for a long time.

        "Don't... need to," she answered.

        I stared down at her. "How come?"

        "Bad... abor-tion."

        I closed my eyes and sighed heavily. "Oh well, guess if we ever plan on havin' kids I'll have to carry'em, hmm?"

        "Wh-what!" She screeched.

        "I saw this show not too long ago about lesbian mothers. They were being artifically inseminated and raisin' a family."

        "Oh... Je-sus," she said. "You... wanna raise... a kid with... me?"

        "Maybe. I do know one thing I've been thinkin' a lot about here lately. Well, for the last few months that is."


        "Gettin' married."

        She closed her eyes. "You'd... mar-ry me?"

        "Make an honest woman of ya."

        She smiled and started chuckling despite the cut, swollen lip and the bruises.

        "Things are gonna change around here, Anna. I'm not the one actin' immature anymore, you are. So, guess I gotta be the parent."

        "Bull-shit. No par-ent. You said... lover."

        "Alright then, I guess I'll just have to be the butch, hmm?"

        She smiled and chuckled again. "I... love you, Darby. But, why you... give a damn... about a stupid... whore like me... is be-yond me."

        "You ain't no whore no more," I corrected. "And I love you 'cause.... well, does anybody know why they really love anybody? I just do, that's all. And... I wanna spend the rest of my life with you." I leaned over in the tub, pulling the charm out from under my shirt. "Remember, the perfect fit." I raised hers to meet mine, so that the two joined.

        She reached out and touched my face. "Don't ever... leave me, Darby. It...would kill me."

        I kissed the palm of her hand, then put it with mine around the two charms. "Together, forever, hmm."

        I put her to bed then went downstairs to use the phone. I called Tiny first and told him she wouldn't be in and why. He sounded sympathetic and mad.

        "Who did it?" he asked.

        "I don't know. She won't say." I didn't mention that she wouldn't even tell me where she had met him (obviously not Dora's motel) or reveal anything else concerning the matter. All she would say is that the cops wouldn't do anything about a whore getting beat up.

        "Yeah, well, I'd like a piece of his fuckin' hide, know what I mean?" Tiny asked.

        "I know exactly how you feel. I mean, I know I'm just a woman and all, but... goddammit, I'd like to hit him one good time. Jack his balls up his ass." I knew I was talking big for someone who had actually hit only one person in her life. And that one hadn't even hit back. But, I was mad.

        Tiny chuckled. "I bet you would, too. I heard you gave Brandi a real bellyache not too long ago. Jasmine said you gotta hell of a right."

        "Did Anna hear about this?"

        "Yeah. She's standin' there when Jasmine told it."

        "Did she know what it was about?"

        "Jasmine said... well, she said that Brandi insulted Anna, somethin' 'bout her dancin' and you gave her the old one, two, 'ceptin' you only needed the one." He chuckled again.

        Thinking about that night, I recalled the note on the windshield. It flashed through my mind that maybe the two were connected.

        "You know anything about the notes she's been gettin'?" I inquired, thinking perhaps he might be able to shed more light on the subject, since so far most of my information concerning her past had come from outside sources. This bothered me, but then I wasn't a gushing fountain when it came to my past, either. It seemed that painful memories were better left in the past where they belonged.

        "She still gettin' those?" he asked. "Probably don't have nothin' to do with this, though. She's been gettin' them for... years now. Started not long after she opened the club, to tell the truth."

        "What did she do about them?"

        "Nothin' that I know of. The girls get notes a lot, ya know. Some askin' for... well... And some, just guys wantin' to have some fun off of 'em, ya know. Scare 'em a little. Never had any real problems outta nobody but Stan. You can rest assured though; he ain't the one sendin' them notes. I doubt he can read, much less write. And... I doubt Anna would be so hard up she'd take on old Stan."

        I wasn't so sure. She had seemed depressed and desperate that morning. And as Rick had pointed out, "desperate people have been known to do some pretty stupid things".

        "Can't think of anyone who might wanna do this to her, then?" I prodded.

        He hesitated. "No, Darby. Honestly, Anna seems to get along with all her customers. Well, you know how she is. She can size a person up pretty well and... smooze'em, ya know. If you want my honest opinion... I think she took on somebody new and... he was the wrong somebody... know what I mean?"

        "Has this happened before?"

        "No. Not since she opened the club. Now I heard the girls say that she'd had some trouble before, but..."

        "I know about that," I interjected. My mind flashed back to the notes. "Have you ever tried to figure out who's sendin' her the notes?"

        "We did, when they first started, but... hell, they's too many frequent ones to pinpoint just one man. 'Sides, nothin' ever come of it. But, you're thinkin' maybe he finally did somethin', hmm?"

        "Maybe. I read one that said: you are mine, dance no more. This would stop her, for a while." I paused. "Tell me, has she danced here lately?"

        He cleared his throat. "Well, yeah. She had to fill in last night."

        "Damn," I hissed.

        "But, why would he wait so long to do anything, Darby? She's been getting notes like that for years."

        "The same phrase?"

        "Well, no. Ones I remember said somethin' like one day you'll be mine. Or we were meant to be together."

        "Uh-huh, well maybe he's graduated in his thinkin', ya know."

        "Yeah, well, all I know is I'd like to get my hands on the sonofabitch."

        "Think you can handle things at the club?" I asked, sensing that I should change the subject.

        "Oh yeah sure. Handled things alright that weekend you was away. Yeah, I think I can manage."

        "Well, this maybe more than a weekend here. She won't let me take her to the doctor, but... she's pretty stove up."

        "Maybe you oughta call Dora. She's handled things like this before."

        "Dora's what caused this," I muttered. "Her and her damn girls out there."

        "Oh, yeah... well, don't worry, I'll take care of things. Tell Anna hope she gets to... well, gets better, ya know."

        "Thanks, I'll tell her."

        "Oh and Darby... if she tells who did it and I get my hands on him... I'll let you have a go at him, alright."

        "Yeah. I'd... like that."

        I hung up then called Candy, because I knew that she'd kept an eye out for the place, as well, when we were away. Anna trusted her a lot.

        Candy was thoroughly worried. "I'll be right over, sweetie."

        "She won't let me take her to the doctor, Candy. And I can't tote her."

        "I'm on my way. She's goin' to the doctor."

        "Damn you... Darby," Anna said, as Tiny lifted her out of the bed.

        Candy had meant what she said.

        It took two hours at the hospital. When she finally came out, she was in a wheelchair.

        "Bed rest for a week," the doctor said to us. "She's got two badly bruised ribs and a broken finger."

        I glanced down at her hands. She gave me the finger, the middle one of her left hand, all wrapped in plaster. I smiled.

        "You her husband?" he asked Tiny, who quickly shook his head. He glanced around at Candy and myself.

        "If you're wonderin' who's gonna be takin' care of her, it's me," I spoke up.

        "You her daughter?" he asked.

        "No, I'm her lo... cousin."

        "Oh, then you need to keep a watch on this eye...." He went on to tell me what to watch out for and what to do if this happened. Then he glanced down at Anna. "I hope they catch that mugger."

        "Mugger?" I asked, when he walked away.

        "Shut up, Dar-by and... get me the.. hell outta here."

        "Oh, she's gonna be just fine," said Candy. "She's back to her old hateful self."

        Anna gave her the finger, as she got up out of the wheelchair. I had a feeling that this was going to become a habit in the near future; and that my headaches had just begun. I was going to pay for this hospital visit, in more ways than one. And, I was going to have a fight on my hands keeping her in bed for a week.

Continued in Chapter 12

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