Black Cherry presents
CHAPTER ONE: TWO’S COMPANY
Monica Truman checked the caller ID on her cell before answering it. She frowned. It was her girlfriend Torrid Duncan…again. She frowned and debated letting it roll over to voice mail. She didn’t want to be bothered right now, and not especially by her girlfriend.
“Hello?” she said, completely unenthused.
“No, Torrid,” Monica sighed, “I don’t need you to protect me every second of every day! You are smothering me!”
She was frustrated. Every hour her cell rang, everywhere she went, Torrid shadowed her; she was obsessed with Monica’s safety after the incident with Elektra Knossoss.
“Alright, baby—but I want to make sure you’re okay,” Torrid said on the other end of the call.
“I am fine! I am a grown woman! I can take care of myself—so please give me some space!” she said as she hung up. Monica was angry; at her wits end.
She was really starting to crave her independence and wasn’t getting it. Torrid had changed. Monica noticed. She understood why, but it wasn’t the same. She loved Torrid but she feared, she wasn’t in love with her anymore.
She missed the wild and untamed Torrid. Torrid the beast; the unpredictable reckless Amazon. Being in a committed relationship was killing her spirit. It was the same reason she had left Tommy before she met Torrid. Torrid had withdrawn emotionally, but then, so had she. She didn’t seem to connect with anyone these days, except Drew.
Drew had been there for her many times. He knew Torrid, and he knew her moods. Monica could talk to Drew about anything. Drew didn’t judge her either. When she confessed her unhappiness, her feelings of being smothered and craving the wild times, he understood. He was young like her. He was also wild and free, like she longed to be. Thinking of him, she smiled softly, and dialed his cell.
“Fuck!” Torrid said as Monica hung up on her. She clipped her cell to her jeans pocket and put a cigarette in her mouth. She looked at Drew who just shrugged.
“She hung up on me! Can you believe this shit?” Torrid asked as she motioned for him to toss over his lighter.
“Sorry Boss, “ he said as he fished out his Zippo and tossed it to her, “Monica is going through a lot of stuff to. This hasn’t been easy on either of you. Maybe—give her some space?” He offered.
Torrid raised an eyebrow. Maybe he was right. Maybe she was smothering Monica. She loved Monica, and didn’t want any harm to befall her; wanted to be her protector. Monica resisted all of her attempts at this, and seemed to be increasingly angry, distant and bitchy with Torrid. Torrid sighed. She lit her clove and took a long silent drag off it, exhaling the scented smoke, thinking deeply as it curled about her head. She was suddenly pulled from her thoughts by the sound of the cell ringing. She looked down to see the Caller ID.
”Not me—must be you, Drew.” She said, setting his lighter back on his table.
Drew looked at his phone. Shit, he thought to himself. “Oh I gotta take this one, Boss, it’s…uh…about Amsterdam. I’ll be back in a few.”
Torrid just waved him off as she sank back into her thoughts. Drew went into the office and closed the door.
Inside the office, Drew spoke in hushed tones; he offered comfort to Monica, and advice on handling Torrid. Drew liked Monica, she was hot! She was nice to him, and it hurt him to see her so miserable. He would be there for her, and if Torrid continued to drive her away, he would be there then too.
“Drew, it’s been almost a year and a half, “ Monica said sadly. “This just isn’t going anywhere for me anymore.”
“I know, honey.” He said, sweetly, comforting.
“I don’t know what to do. I feel so detached from everything, from everyone---except you.”
“Monica, I am here for you. Come over tonight. We’ll talk, and I’ll make dinner. Why don’t you have Torrid go out and have drinks with the girls, and shoot pool? It’d do you two good to have an evening apart.”
Monica sighed. It sounded like heaven. She could use an evening away from Torrid, and dinner with a friend was just what she needed. She needed more than dinner, and sitting around waiting for it to come along when all she had to do was reach out and grab it, was now over. She stared out the window noticing the sunshine for the first time in a long while. She smiled.
”Okay, Drew. See you tonight!”
Drew closed his cell and sat back in Torrid’s chair smiling. He sighed and said barely above a whisper, “It’s a date.”
Later that evening, Torrid got on her bike and headed over to the bar to meet the girls for a game of pool and a few beers. Taking Drew’s advice to give Monica her space, she agreed when Monica said she’d like to spend the evening with an old friend. Torrid loved Monica, but she knew in her heart that neither of them was happy; she just didn’t know what the fuck to do about it. One thing was for sure; she needed a night away from Monica. She rode through the Montrose and found an empty spot up front. Getting there before the peak of happy hour, she could find a quiet corner and chill out before the gang arrived to be rowdy and cocky.
Monica rushed home from work and closed the door of her apartment behind her. She made herself a drink and turned on the shower to heat up the water.
As she lay on her bed sipping her cocktail she thumbed through the most recent entries in her diary. She frowned. The journal entries dating back over a year were a shocking progression of her growing distance from Torrid. With a sad sigh she closed the journal and headed to the shower. She needed a night away from Torrid.
Meanwhile, over at Chances, Torrid enters the bar and looks for her quiet spot. It was still early so she had her pick of the place. The smoke filled den with it’s dank and dark atmosphere was a haven to Torrid; but it had been months since she had been here.
“Well, well, well…” said Liz, the tall and dark woman behind the bar, “Look what the cat dragged in!”
“Hey Liz,” Torrid said as she took a seat at the end of the bar, placing her cigarettes and lighter on the counter in front of her. Liz smiled at Torrid. It was good to see her out and about again. It was obvious to everyone but Torrid how unhappy she was, and how much the incidents with Elektra had affected her and Monica. It was heartbreaking to see two people taking turns beating a dead horse.
“Here hon,” said Liz sliding a beer over to Torrid. “It’s on me.”
“Thanks Liz, but I don’t need the pity beer.” Said Torrid, putting her money on the bar.
“Fine.” Said Liz, pocketing the money. “I’ll keep it as a tip. It’s good to see you out and about Torrid. By the way, you look like hell.”
Torrid smirked, “I love you too Liz.”
“You wanna talk about it? You’re sitting in the barstool confessional, you know?” Liz said, stealing one of Torrid’s cigarettes and lighting it. “And I am an ordained minister from the ULC.”
Torrid rolled her eyes and laughed as she sipped her beer. She took a long moment and let out a breath.
“It’s Monica. I don’t think she loves me anymore. She seems to be detached from everyone and everything. It’s like she’s sort of numb. She says I smother her, I crowd her. I’m her fucking girlfriend, what the fuck, right?”
“Mmmmmmmm…indeed, what the fuck.” Liz agreed. “But Torrid, you have both been through a lot. You pulled away, so she pulled away. Just being her protector isn’t going to cut it. Be her lover.”
Torrid’s shoulders slumped. “Liz, I have tried. She doesn’t want me touching her.”
“Baby—it’s not always about the sex. There’s more to being a lover than having sex with them.” She touched Torrid’s arm softly, “It’s about trust and freedom and allowing her to make her own mistakes and to fall on her ass from time to time.”
“I hear ya Liz. I have been over protective. I will try harder. I wanna make this work. We have a great investment with each other. And I have so much crap on my mind with the convention coming up next month; I haven’t been giving her 100% of me, unless I have been in protector mode. She’ll get a break while Drew and I are gone. It’ll be good.” Torrid smiled softly and sipped her beer.
“Well, in that case, “ Said Liz, “I absolve you from your sins, go with the goddess and be at peace.”
Monica arrived a little late, having stopped to get a bottle of wine to go with the dinner Drew was making for her.
She walked up to his flat and knocked on the door.
The barking of Torrid’s dog shattered the calmness of the evening. She rolled her eyes remembering that Torrid always stuck Drew with her dog when she went out.
“Can I ever get away from her for even a moment?” she said to herself; aggravated.
At last Drew opened the door.
“Hey Mon—come on in! I had to put big boy in the bed room.” Monica stepped in and gave him a generous hug. He held the hug for a long moment, smelling her hair and feeling her warmth. This did not go unnoticed by Monica. She pulled away gingerly and looked around the apartment, trying to regain her composure. Wow, he gives great hugs! She thought to herself.
Drew escorted Monica into the kitchen and took the wine from her to chill it.
“Nice. We’re having pasta Alf redo, so this will go nicely.” He said, as he put it in the fridge.
Monica sat down at the counter and helped herself to an olive from the garnish tray. She stuck it in her mouth and chewed absently, Drew watched her intently.
“So Monica, you want to talk about it?” He offered.
“There’s not really anything to say that I haven’t already said to you. I am not happy. I feel like I am spinning my wheels and wasting my time. I thought I wanted the relationship, but the truth is I don’t. I am too young to be attached to someone. To be someone’s ball and chain! I want my freedom! I want to—“ she stopped herself.
“Mon? You want to what?” Drew asked.
She moved in close to him, placing her arms around him, hugging close to him and taking in his warmth and scent. She moaned softly, and looked up to meet his eyes. He looked back, losing himself in her amber green pools, Yes! He thought to himself.
He leaned down and covered her mouth with his. She pulled him close and deepened the kiss, heat rising, passion building. All the sexual tension of the last year exploding between them; Drew lifted her up off the stool and gently carried her to the sofa, kissing her all the while. He sat her down, and leaned over her, his hands feeling her form, cupping her ass…her breasts. She moaned and responded to his touch, lying back on the couch, spreading her legs and pulling him down on top of her. Her tongue probing his mouth, her hand sliding down to his zipper….and beyond. His hardness pushed back against her hand and she freed him.
His hand lifted her skirt and cupped her mound, sinking his fingers into her wetness.
He smiled, “Commando?”
“Just for you baby,” Monica moaned into his mouth. He kissed her hard, probing her mouth with his tongue, and moving himself entered her.
Drew’s pasta was boiling over in the kitchen, the water bubbling to it’s climax, spilling over the sides of the stewing kettle while on the other side of the counter Monica screamed in ecstasy, and it wasn’t Torrid’s name she was calling.
CHAPTER TWO: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Meanwhile back at Chances:
Torrid was on her game tonight, winning game after game
of 9 ball. She was having fun, and feeling at ease.
Talking to Liz made her feel better about the whole
Monica situation and she was going to let Monica have her
space and ease up a bit. She loved Monica; wanted to make
it work. It had been so easy in the beginning, but now
everything seemed hard.
Well, I am going to try harder, she thought to herself as she sipped her beer and lined up her shot, Monica is a special woman, my muse. She smiled and nailed her shot.
“Okay fuckers…that’s $50 bucks you owe me…so pay up!” she laughed to her friends Ariel and Sue. They laughed back and offered her their middle fingers as payment in full.
“Fuck you Torrid—slide on this!” Sue laughed.
Torrid smiled; it had been ages since she had hung out with these two mad caps. Ariel had been in Boston for a long time working, and finally got a transfer back home, and Sue was a cop who lived in Austin, about three hours away. It seemed like every time they were all in the city at the same time Torrid had plans with Monica, who did not like her friends. She couldn’t understand what it was about Monica. When they did things alone it seemed fine, but when she made advances or overtures toward sex, Monica froze up or pushed her away.
“Awe”, said Ariel, “What’s the matter, T—the little woman still not putting out?” she teased.
“Whoa! Hey, I was kidding!” Ariel corrected, worried to have offended her friend. “Is everything okay with you two?”
“Well, she’s been distant for months.” Torrid explained.
”She’s cheating on you.” Sue said seriously.
Torrid narrowed her brows and stared at Sue, “Bullshit. Monica is not the cheating kind! She’s just going through something.”
“Where is she now?” Sue asked soberly.
“Having dinner with her old friends from college.” Torrid said proudly.
“Are you sure?” Ariel interjected.
“Hey—what the fuck is this? You two always bitch about me not being about to come out and spend time with your loser asses, and now that I have you sit here and bash my girlfriend?” Torrid said, irritated.
Sue put her hand on Torrid’s shoulder. “Torrid—we care. Just watch your back is all we’re saying.”
Torrid shook her head, “I’d never believe that of Monica. But I appreciate the concern.” She didn’t say it, but she really was pissed at Sue for suggesting that Monica would do such a thing. They didn’t know her. She was a sweet, loving girl. She loves me, Torrid thought, She tells me so all the time.
Three hours later:
”Shit, I gotta get to work. Torrid will be coming into the shop!” said Drew putting his jeans on over his naked ass.
Monica rolled her eyes at the mention of her girlfriend’s name. She was enjoying herself and didn’t want to be reminded of Torrid right now.
“I wish you didn’t have to go, Drew,” she said, “Cause it means I have to go home now too.”
“No…you don’t. Stay here tonight. I’ll be back, and we can cuddle!” He winked, joking.
“Actually, I’d rather fuck!” Monica quipped back.
Drew grinned and leaned in to claim her lips in a heated hungered kiss. He broke the kiss and stared at her face.
He smiled, saying, “Oh I can fuck you babe….I can fuck you real good!”
“Well then, hurry back!” Monica ordered, taking her cell phone out of her purse.
Drew smiled as he pulled his shirt down. He turned on his way out to blow her a kiss. “You’re a great fuck, Mon, you know that?” he teased.
“Yeah, Drew…I do!” she winked.
As the door closed, Monica dialed her cell and took a deep breath. Please be voice mail, she thought over and over with each ring. Yes!
”Oh hey baby, I am sorry I got your voice mail. It’s me, I just wanted you to know that I am okay and I love you. I had a little too much wine with dinner so Sara offered to let me crash here for the night. I’ll be home in the morning and I’ll bring you breakfast, k? Have a good night and tell Drew hi for me. *Kiss* love you bye!”
She closed her flip phone and tossed it softly onto the floor. She smiled to herself and stretched like a satisfied cat. She laid there, the scent of Drew all over her skin, and laughed. She felt free, wickedly free. She knew what she wanted now. And Torrid wasn’t it. I can’t tell her just yet. I need her to take Drew to Amsterdam. It could be his shot at international recognition as an artist. So I’ll stay put for now.
“You’re late.” Torrid said, as Drew walked in with Lockjaw on a leash. She looked suspiciously at him and took in his shabby appearance. She raised her eyebrow and kicked a stool across the room toward him. Lockjaw ran to his appointed spot under Torrid’s work station, ducking.
“Have a seat. Tell me all about why you’re late.” She said, crossing her arms over her chest.
Oh shit! He thought, She knows! Oh Jesus, she’s going to kill me! Oh god Oh god! Okay Drew…play it cool man…play it cool.
“Gee Boss, is it that time of the month again?” he said, flashing a charming smile.
“Okay Romeo, you can cut the crap. I know you’re shitting yourself and I know you got some pussy tonight. So don’t play that shit with me. I can smell the cootch on you from here. Go up and take a shower in my apartment, then get your ass back down here and get to work.” Torrid scolded.
“Okay…sorry..It won’t happen again.” He said and headed towards the stairs.
“It had better not!” Torrid said firmly.
Secretly, he counted his lucky stars. That was indeed a close one. Granted it was not a smart thing he was doing. Fucking the boss’s girlfriend was one thing, but betraying a friend of five years and that friend being Torrid Duncan, he was downright insane. But he couldn’t help it. Monica was the girl of his dreams, and she wanted his cock. How could he say no? Besides, Torrid didn’t appreciate what she had and if her girl could be taken away, then she really isn’t Torrid’s girl at all, is she? He smiled a wicked smile. He was standing in her shower washing her girlfriend’s pussy off his face and cock. He laughed.
Downstairs Torrid checked her voicemail on her cell phone and smiled. Okay baby, sleep well; see you tomorrow, I love you. She thought to herself. She clipped her phone to her jeans and set about assembling her gun and filling her cups for the night.
Drew came back into the shop and began working on his new flash book. He was quiet. Too quiet, Torrid observed. She knew something was going on with him, but wasn’t sure what it was. It seemed to Torrid that everyone in her life was acting weird, and she didn’t know why.
Then again, she thought, We were all nearly murdered by a psychotic bitch!
She laughed to herself with irony.
If that doesn’t make people withdrawn and edgy I guess nothing will!
She hoped the upcoming convention would give her something to focus on so she could give Monica some space and also put some of her own issues behind her. She looked over at Drew again, shaking her head at his ham handed attempt to make himself invisible. What is his deal? She pondered. She pulled an ice cold pepsi one out of the cooler at her station and took a long drink of it.
“Oh Drew—you watch my dog tonight?” She asked, lighting a cigarette.
“Torrid, I can’t. Not tonight. Tomorrow sure, but tonight I got plans.” He said irritated.
“Plans? You get off at three in the fucking morning, what plans have you got?” She snapped back. “Oh I get it, that bitch you’re fucking waiting for you?”
“Don’t you call her that!” He snarled.
She took a step toward him. Her eyes narrowed. She knew she had hit a tender spot with him. She liked it. She was really sick of his bullshit tonight. So, she decided to be more of her old self and just fuck with him.
But before she could open her mouth to say anything, her cell rang. She put her cigarette in her mouth and looked at the phone face clipped to her jeans.
“Who the hell is that?” she said out loud. “Oh maybe it’s Monica calling from Sara’s—“ she picked it up and was about to answer it. Drew went pale. He broke into a cold sweat.
He stood up hurriedly and went toward the bathroom, “I gotta piss!” He said shutting the door behind him.
“Shit is more like it!” Torrid yelled after him.
She flipped her phone open.
“Yeah?” she said.
“Torrid? This is Sara, how are you?” Sara asked.
“I am fine, how about you baby girl?” Torrid smiled. “Is my woman giving you any trouble?”
“Monica? Not..that I am aware of….you okay Torrid?” Sara asked confused. “Oh hey, can you hang on a sec, I got a call coming in..”
Torrid took a sip of her pepsi. Yep, she thought, everyone is fuckin’ nuts these days!
Meanwhile, inside the bathroom, Drew was frantically dialing Monica’s cell phone. Shit shit shit shit…pick up!!!
CHAPTER THREE: MIRROR, MIRROR
Torrid worked the ink into the lines, blotted the run off and wiped it down. She put the finishing touches on and smeared it over with tattoo goo. She took a deep breath. Done! The Asian dragon snaked around the muscled arm of a large man. It’s rich colors and intricate pattern were mesmerizing and beautiful. Torrid’s application skills were second to none, and he was in high demand to serious ink addicts.
She popped a Polaroid of it, and reached over to the fish bowl on the counter pulling out a lollipop. She offered it to the large shaved headed man saying,
“You’ve been such a good boy—here, suck on this!” she smirked.
He took the sucker and stuck it in his mouth, smiling. “I’ll suck on anything you want me to, Torrid.” He replied. “Thanks for fitting me in tonight.”
“No problem. Like I said, come back in a few weeks and I’ll do the rest. But your skin has to heal up a little before it can take anymore abuse from me!” she said with a smile.
Torrid looked at the clock on her cell phone. It was after two a. m. it was time to close the shop down.
“Okay Romeo, since your bitch is waiting on you, no doubt her cunt wet with anticipation, “ she said rolling her eyes, “ Get your shit cleaned up and put the closed sign up.”
Drew jumped up immediately and started cleaning his station. He only did three tats tonight, and was irritated at his evening being wasted sitting around playing step and get for Torrid, who took all the large jobs for herself. He was tired of playing second fiddle to her now. Sure she took him in and apprenticed him, but he was an artist in his own right, and wanted to be treated as such. He wanted her to respect him, but she treated him like a shop assistant even after five years.
“You know, Torrid, you don’t always have to be such a goddamned bitch to me.” He muttered while he wiped his counter down with sterile disinfectant.
Torrid looked up. She stared him down. He looked away.
“Okay, out with it.” She demanded. “What is your fucking problem, Drew?”
Drew shrugged and folded his arms on front of his chest avoiding eye contact. Torrid knew this was coming. She saw the signs months ago when they first started talking about the convention. She knew he was green when she took him in, but now, he was starting to show his hunger. An ambitious and hungry assistant was never a good thing.
“You’ve been acting all freaky since we discussed going to the convention. What’s your fucking deal?”
Should I tell her? Drew thought. Should I be totally honest with her? Oh Torrid my deal is, I want your life, I want your girlfriend, I want your bike, your dog, your fucking tattoo business. And I want your dyke ass to disappear. The truth, Torrid? I wish Elektra had killed you—then I could have had Monica sooner, instead of eating my heart out every time I watch her submit to your disgusting paws.
Thr truth is, Torrid, I fucking hate you; but I need this job, and I need the exposure you can bring me. So for now, I will be your whipping boy, but one day, I’ll take it all away from you. Beginning with Monica. Stupid Monica…beautiful sexy Monica. She’s eating right out of my hand—why right now Torrid, she’s in my bed with my cum all over her! HA!
“Look Torrid, I am just nervous about the convention. You’re still going to showcase my flash right?” he said, keeping his poker face.
Torrid relaxed a little, “I told you I would.” She unplugged her gun, and wound the cord up. “Jesus fucking Christ, is everyone going batshit? Sara called up here, put me on hold, then I had to hang up cause dragon boy came in for his ink.”
“You didn’t talk to her?” Drew asked, trying to be casual, but letting out a silent sigh of relief.
“No. I didn’t have time. I figured I’ll
talk to her tomorrow. I am gonna go over and surprise
Monica with breakfast anyway.” Torrid said picking
up her jacket and pushing her chair in under her
counter. “Drew, do me a favor, will ya? Get some
fucking sleep, take vitamins, fuck your bitch, choke
your chicken or whatever, but do not ever dish attitude
at me again.”
She turned the lights out and headed up the back steps to her loft. “Are you gonna just stand there in the dark or are you going home?” She asked looking back over her shoulder.
She sighed and clicked the rest of the shop lights off. “Fuck off then, Night!”
The next morning Torrid was woke up by Monica calling to tell her she was home. Torrid frowned at her surprise being spoiled, but decided to go ahead and sleep in after exchanging sweet nothings with Monica and hanging up. She agreed to meet Monica and the girls at the park and bring Odin for a walk when she got up and around. She stretched and then curled back up on her side, hugging the pillow that she held in place of Monica when she slept alone. She missed cuddling, but would never admit to it. The tough girl code. Still, Torrid wondered about Monica’s odd behavior as of late. It perplexed her. What to do? Or not do? I don’t think she is happy. I don’t think I really am either. She thought, fading off to sleep.
Meanwhile Drew slept alone as well. He had frantically gotten rid of Monica and sent her home after the numerous close calls he experienced over their secret rendevouz. He began to seriously rethink the logic of it, and even briefly considered asking Monica to just forget the whole thing. He was gambling with his career, his well being and his reputation for a woman who was currently betraying the trust of her lover. Could he really trust her? Then again, he couldn’t be trusted either. Well, he thought, maybe we do deserve eachother. And Torrid? She really doesn’t deserve any of this—but, it’s coming to her anyway. Life is just a bitch, I guess.
He rolled over and went to sleep, catching Monica’s scent on his pillow.
And Monica, finally asleep in her own bed after a night
of midnight cowboy, was not questioning the sanity behind
her actions, but rather plotting various ways to cover
her ass for future indiscretions with Drew, or Whoever.
She began to turn her gears when she was jarred out of
her light slumber by her phone ringing.
”Goddammit!” She shouted, “If that’s you Torrid—who the?” She said looking at the caller ID.
“Yes?” She asked cautiously
“Monica…you’re going by your middle name now, right? It’s Drelica”
“What do you want?” Monica asked harshly. “I told you never to call me!”
“I just called to wish you a happy birthday, baby sister.” Replied the caller.
“Drelica, you said you had no sister. And you know when my birthday is, so don’t play games with me! Why are you really calling me? And how did you get this number?” Monica was angered.
“Mom gave me your Girlfriend’s number, and I called her. She gave me your cell number. I wanted to talk to you before I go back in the field.
I just had this feeling that—maybe you
weren’t alright. That maybe you need
”I don’t need your kind of help, Dr. Truman! So fuck off and leave me alone!” She exclaimed as she flipped her phone shut and tossed it across the bed.
She was furious at Torrid for giving her number out to ‘strangers’. Her sister and her might as well be strangers, never were two people less alike, in all but looks. Her perfect sister had all the brains, but she was a fucking nerd. She’d rather spend her time reading than fucking, what a loser bitch! Monica thought. Fuck her!
She put her head in her hands and sobbed herself to sleep. What was she doing to herself? And why was Drelica snooping in her business now of all times? Her mind was a mess of machinery working itself into fatigue as she faded off to sleep.
Dr. Drelica M. Truman hung up her phone and sat back at her desk. She took off her reading glasses and rubbed her eyes. She closed her address book and tossed it across the desk into the big pile of papers and folders that lay there neglected.
“Well, sis, fuck you too!” She let out a long sad sigh, and went back to her work. “Why the hell do I even bother?”
She smoothed back her long blonde hair into a neat pony-tail as she dug into her work assignments. Various charts, graphs, maps and specimen labels all strewn over her desk awaiting her attention.
She was about to go on a field assignment to the desert of west Texas, a project excavation of fossils. Paelentology wasn’t the most glamourous career in the world, but it was certainly interesting. Her quarry was an elusive beast known as Deinosucus Riograndensis, a giant crocodilian even larger than the Sarcosuchus Imperator, found in Africa. Dr. Truman was looking forward to being in the field again, being away from people and away from the whispers and rumors that followed her from the Chicago museum all the way to the Houston Museum of Natural history.
“Well it’s a good thing they were desperate for a department curator here,” she said out loud, “Or my dear ‘sis’ would have fucked me out of my career.” She pulled out an artist’s rendering of the giant animal she hoped to find fossil evidence of, “Hey big fella—there you are.” She said, admiringly of the monster, “If I can find you, it’ll be the break of my career.”
Torrid threw Lockjaw’s chewie toy for him to fetch for the millionth time, then she told him to sit. She had been there over an hour waiting on Monica. She was hesitant to call because she didn’t want to get bitched out yet again for calling her too much. She decided to wait a little longer and enjoy the beautiful spring morning.
She loved coming to the park. This was the place where she first started to have feelings for Monica, and entertain the idea of being with someone again. She remembered looking over to the rose garden and seeing this beautiful blonde girl with pink highlights and thinking…”WOW!” she was pulled from her thoughts when she did a double take.
Like dejavu, there was another beautiful blonde Monica’s build, height and coloring sans the pink hair walking through the park. Torrid raised her eyebrow and cocked her head as the girl came close enough for her to see.
“What the fuck?”
She started, seeing Monica’s face on the stranger’s body!
CHAPTER FOUR: The mirror has two faces
Monica woke up to the sound of blue jays dueling outside her bedroom window. It was spring in the city and the birds and the bees were active. She stretched, yawned and sat up in her bed. Sunlight spotted her room and the suncatchers she had made in a stained glass class once, reflected dancing rainbows about the room. Reality came home and she realized that today was going to be a continuation of the dramacidal behavior she embarked on last night in making the decision to cheat on Torrid. She frowned.
“Fuck.” She said, “And I stood her up at the park too. Jesus Mon, when you fuck up, you really fuck up!”
She spoke to the mirror of her vanity. She paused, thinking of her sister’s call. Had her sister spoken to Torrid? If so, what had she told her? She looked mockingly at her own reflection and sneered. No matter how she changed herself; pink hair or piercings and tattoos; Monica would always be haunted by her sister's face. Monica reached down and picked up the loaded puff from her body powder dish and smashed it against the mirror covering the face that leered back at her.
Monica rushed to get showered and dressed.
At the park Torrid watched the doppleganger of her girlfriend walking towards her, she was tongue tied for a moment when she realized what a beautiful woman this was. Yes, Monica’s features, but so different, so clean and so confident. A flash went off in Torrid’s head.
Oh shit! You doofus! That’s got to be Monica’s sister! She scolded herself for not remembering the phone call a few days ago from a strange woman.
Torrid had just mounted her bike when her cell began to vibrate.
“Who the fuck?” she said irritated, removing her helmet to take the call.
“What?” she answered.
“Torrid Duncan?” the caller asked.
“Monica?” Torrid said, surprised to hear her Girlfriend’s voice on the phone.
“No, Torrid, my name is Drelica Truman, I am ‘Monica’s’ sister,” she explained. “Our mom gave me this number, I hope you don’t mind?”
“I didn’t know Monica had a sister, “ Torrid said suspiciously.
“Well we don’t get along very well, I am afraid. But the reason I am calling is—and this is gonna sound all kinds of crazy, but I had a ‘feeling’ that Monica was upset, or somehow going through some hardship.” She said, nervously.
“Why are you calling me? Why don’t you call her? Are you some kind of nut?” Torrid asked, irritated. “What ‘feeling’?”
“Well I would have called her, but I don’t have her number and mom only had your number.” She said, further explaining, “Monica and I have this –connection. I can’t explain it, but when one of us is in trouble, the other one has a gut feeling. I got a weird pang about six weeks ago and I called home, but mom wouldn’t take my calls. I had no way to get a hold of her, I finally went by the house when I got back into town and got your number out of my mother. I didn’t even know Mon had a girlfriend.”
“Okay, uh…well, I guess I can give you her cell phone number. Got a pen?” Torrid said, hoping she wasn’t making a mistake.
Torrid watched the beautiful blonde walk closer to her
and she made eye contact with her as she passed by the
picnic table where Torrid sat. The woman looked Torrid up
and down with a sterile expression on her face; then she
quickened her pace. Torrid stood up to approach her, and
reached out to touch the woman’s arm when the woman
turned and shouted, “Stop!”
“What do you want?” Drelica asked nervously.
“Uh…take it easy, I was just going to—“
“Stay back! Don’t touch me! I don’t have any spare change! But I do have mace!” she stammered out in one breath.
Torrid couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing. With a single move she disarmed Drelica and pulled her into a bear hug. She held her close and put her lips to the woman’s ear, the heat of excitement from both of them rising. It was fear, excitement and something under the surface that Torrid felt when she touched this woman. Torrid noticed right away how good she smelled.
“Drelica Truman,” She said calmly, shaking off her momentary rush of arousal, “I am Torrid Duncan.”
“Torrid Duncan--?” she said, surprised as all get out. “Oh my god I am sorry! I thought you were a---“ She didn’t finish her sentence. Torrid mentally finished it for her and frowned. Torrid held her close meeting her eyes. Honey green pools meeting ice cold diamonds for what seemed like an eternity. At last, Torrid released her slowly from the hug and spoke.
“I saw you, I was going to say hello. I was surprised…you said sister. You didn’t mention twin.” she said, handing Drelica her pepper spray back.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t use that on me,” she said with a proud grin, indicating Lockjaw who was poised and ready. “That stuff pisses him off.”
Drelica started when she saw the large pit bull terrier standing behind her.
“Oh my God! Is that monster yours?” She asked, stepping behind Torrid. Torrid frowned at her beloved Lockjaw being called a monster and she was about to say something when she felt Drelica’s hands around her waist, and felt her warmth against her back.
“Don’t worry—he only eats the bad guys.” Torrid smiled. She was glad that Drelica smiled back, and she had a fabulous smile. So different from Monica. Torrid couldn’t understand it, but for some reason her sister seemed to be a warmer, more down to earthwoman, even though she was just taken by surprise by a stranger. She felt herself sink inside a little. Thinking of Monica, she was reminded of her relationship woes, and the most recent incident of Monica standing her up this morning.
“What are you doing here, if I may ask? Were you looking for me?” Drelica asked.
“No, I was walking my dog. I do it every Saturday. Monica was supposed to meet me here, but—“
“Let me guess, she stood you up?” Drelica said, folding her arms over her chest. “Doesn’t surprise me, Torrid.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Torrid asked irritated.
“My sister is just that way. One day everything is fine, the next—poof! She goes ape shit, freaks out and self-destructs. Sounds to me like she is hitting another cycle of the flake and break.”
“Flake and break? What the fuck are you talking about? And what do you know about it?” Torrid was getting pissed.
“I know my sister, Torrid. I am sorry to tell you this, but I think she is getting ready to bolt on you. Mom told me you have been together almost a year and a half, right?”
“Well, she runs in cycles; always has ever since we were kids. She’ll be perfectly normal, then after 18 months, she just goes---off.” Drelica said.
“What do you mean—‘off’?” Torrid asked.
Drelica looked at Torrid. It was obvious that Monica had a taste for the wild and wicked side of life. This woman was covered in tattoos and piercing and looked like some sort of urban primitive. Still she was beautiful with her ice blue eyes, dark complexion and raven hair. She had the look of a native, and Drelica smirked to herself, my sister’s painted savage. She could see the attraction since she knew her sister liked to walk on the wild side all the while playing the princess in the tower. Well I can see why Monica would want her between the sheets! But she’s definitely not the one you take home to mama.
“Look Torrid, you know, maybe I shouldn’t say anything more. I don’t know you, or what kind of—relationship you have with my sister.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Torrid asked, folding her arms in front of her chest and raising her eyebrow.
“ And on that same note, I have no idea what kind of relationship you have with your sister. I don’t know why she never told me she had a sister, or what happened with you two, since it was you who told me you aren’t talking. But whatever the fuck it is, Ms. Truman---I don’t give a shit,” she said irritated.
“Dr. Truman.” Drelica corrected.
“What?” Torrid asked, confused.
“I’m not a Ms, I am a PhD. Dr. Truman. I am a doctor of paelentology.” She said proudly, folding her arms in front of her chest and raising her eyebrow.
“What the fuck is that?” Torrid asked with a smirk on her face, “That’s not an ass doctor is it?” She chuckled.
Drelica narrowed her eyes.
“Well, seeing that I am an expert on things primitive I’ll put it in terms that a throwback such as yourself can understand—I dig up dinosaurs.”
Torrid just stared at her for a long second, feeling really dumb. She looked down at Lockjaw who looked back up at her and wagged his tail. “You’re no help,” Torrid said to him under her breath.
Monica drove to the park looking for Torrid, but she held little hope of catching up to her since she left her house an hour and a half late. She was angry at herself for fucking everything up, but she also knew she couldn’t go back. Only forward. She’d make the best out of it all. The novelty on Torrid had worn off, and Drew was new, but he was a smaller version of Torrid. Although his cock was real, she smirked. She liked men. She always had, but they were easy and, when she wanted a challenge, she was attracted to women. In college she had seduced many girls. She smiled and said, never ask them if they are a lesbian, just ask them if they want their pussy eaten.
Monica had everyone fooled, especially herself.
Not finding Torrid, she decided to go to Drew’s apartment and see how he was holding up under pressure. She also wanted to break it off with him before the Amsterdam trip. He needed to focus on his work, and she wanted to make a clean break from Skin Deep, possibly even relocate to a new city. Now that her sister was back in town, she’d have to cut and run –again. Too bad, Torrid—you were good, and I do love you, but, I am too wild to tame. She smiled at having tamed Torrid’s wildness.
Or had she really?
CHAPTER FIVE: WHO’S THE FAIREST?
“Look, Dr. Truman,” Torrid said humbly, “I can tell you don’t like me. But if you don’t like your sister, what difference does it make? If you two aren’t speaking, it’s not like we ever have to see each other again, right?” She said putting a cigarette in her mouth.
“That’s a dirty habbit,” Drelica said, reaching up and taking the cigarett out of Torrid mouth and tossing it into the nearby litter bin. “And I never said I didn’t like my sister. I love her. She is just troubled. She can’t be saved. I spent my life trying to and got burned over and over—so,” She said, sadness in her voice, “I gave up.”
“Monica and I have been through a lot of shit. I don’t know if you know this or not, but about six months ago we had traumatic experience. I am sure our troubles are related in some way to that. I believe in her.” Torrid said, trying to convince herself as much as Drelica Truman.
“Well Torrid, I hope your trust isn’t
”Why is everyone so sure my Girlfriend is betraying me?” Torrid asked, throwing her hands in the air. She was really aggravated.
She sat back down on the picnic bench and put her chin in her hands.
Drelica felt sorry for her now. She realized that Torrid did love her sister. She realized that Torrid was yet another victim of her sister’s theatre of cruelty. She touched Torrid’s shoulder and asked gently, “Torrid, what does your heart tell you?”
Torrid looked up at Drelica. Here eyes were glazed with tears that would never fall. But Drelica understood. Torrid knew. She just wasn’t ready to accept it. Everyone knows when they are being betrayed, she thought to herself, but when we love someone, we don’t want to believe it could happen.
“What are you going to do?” She asked Torrid softly.
“I’ll have to catch her in the act. I have to know…. see it with my own eyes.” Torrid said coldly. “After that,” She let out a long slow breath, “I don’t know.”
“I know this is an awful thing to ask, but do you have any idea who it might be?” Drelica asked, trying not to agitate Torrid anymore. She felt sorry for this woman, who was growing on her by the minute. Torrid was beautiful, exoitic, hard and she could be very dangerous. Drelica had no doubts about that.
“Yeah…I think I do..” Torrid said with an icy air to her voice that sent a chill up Drelica’s spine. Torrid sighed sadly, “Dr. Truman, it’s been nice meeting you, but I have to go. There’s something I have to do.”
“I understand. Torrid—here’s my card. Please call me?” She said handing a business card to Torrid, her green eyes pleading.
Torrid took the card, “I can’t promise.”
Torrid turned and walked away, Lockjaw following at a safe pace behind, sensing his mistress’s anger.
Drew woke up to the sound of pounding on his front door. He shot up in the bed yelling, “Who the fuck is it?!”
He drug himself out of bed wrapped in a crumpled sheet and looked through the peep hole to see Monica standing there. His frown faded to a smirk and he opened the door to let her in.
“It’s about time you got here,” he said cockily. “Me and my dick were missing you.”
“Oh that’s real cute—happy to see you too, Drew.” She said, peeved.
“Don’t you mean ‘you two’?” he joked.
“Not now Drew” she chided, “we have to talk.”
“Oh what the fuck is this? Did you just come from Torrid’s all remorseful for having cheated and now you’re breaking it off with me?” He accused.
“No. I am breaking it off with her.” She said sadly. “I don’t love her. But, I don’t love you either.”
He looked surprised.
“Monica, I thought—we had a connection?”
“We did—we do. But I am not in love with you—I am not in love with anyone. Hell I don’t even know what I want, but I do know I don’t want to be hooked up with you after fucking up the best thing that ever happened to me! That would be the worst thing that ever happened to me!” she said, slightly angered.
“Oh I see, I am good enough for a quick fuck, or a blow job, but not good enough for anything more, is that it?” He spat.
She was pissed now.
“Pretty much, Drew.”
“Well that’s just great, Monica! What’s that make you? A whore!”
“Drew, you can say what you want—believe what you want. But I am leaving, and believe it or not….I am sorry. Sorry to you both.” She sighed.
Drew reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand. He brushed her hair back out of her face and leaned forward to kiss her gently.
“A kiss goodbye,” he whispered, as he touched his mouth to hers. She returned the kiss and felt herself melt into it. She kissed back with more force and the passion ignited once more. The pair hungerly devoured eachother, pulling close and fumbling at her skirt and blouse.
Outside, Torrid sat on her bike shoulders slumped, eyes red, looking at Monica’s SUV parked next to Drew’s mustang. Her suspicions were confirmed, and she felt a fool. She lit a cigarette, took a long slow draw on it then exhaled. She tucked it into her mouth and dismounted her bike, ascending the steps to Drew’s flat. Slowly she walked along the balcony to his door, and there she stopped outside.
She looked down at the door knob, and reached for it…it was unlocked. She braced herself for what she might see, and hoped that she wouldn’t. The door opened silently, she stepped in and stopped. She stood expressionless, unmoving, watching.
Her hands trembled, but she was otherwise motionless. The scene played out before her…
Drew Stood across the room with his head back and eyes closed. Kneeling in front of him, Monica, her back to Torrid, her pink hair bobbing up and down, his fingers guiding her into him. She was naked, save for the ink of her intricate tattoo…Torrid’s work, the wings of the Pegasus in flight as scene from above.
Torrid watched in wonder as her girlfriend sucked her assistant’s cock with relish. She couldn’t ever recall Monica’s mouth being that eager with her, and the thought amused her. What a fucking whore, she thought to herself.
Drew climaxed, and stood panting and rushing and finally opened his eyes to see Torrid standing there. He froze, his breath caught, causing Monica to turn and also see Torrid. She wiped Drew’s cum off her chin, and just shrugged.
“Sorry Tor,” she said softly. “I never meant—“
“To get caught?” Torrid finished for her.
Torrid kept her poker face. She ignored Monica and turned to Drew. “I came to see you.” She said.
“Torrid, I am so sorry, man---she means nothing to me! I swear!” he pleaded, pushing Monica away.
Monica sneered at Drew.
“You’re such a coward!” she spat. “You don’t have to guts to stand up to her even now, after you were caught red handed!”
Drew slapped Monica across the face, “Shut up bitch! Get out of my sight!”
Monica crawled over to Torrid and touched her boot, “He h-hit me!” she pleaded.
Torrid looked down at Monica. She was too angry to trust herself to touch her. All her faith had been shattered, her worst fears confirmed. Monica was caught in the act and still she showed no remorse, it was still all about her. Torrid was sick with rage and pain, but did not show it. She had years of conditioning, years of practice, you bleed on the inside. She thought to herself.
“Well that’s one less thing on my to do list now.” Torrid said coldly.
She turned and stepped toward the door, pausing. Without turning around she said, “Drew—don’t bother coming back to work.”
“I understand, Torrid.” He said softly.
“And don’t let me see you around. Ever.” She said with a heavy tone of threat behind it. She walked out of the apartment and down the steps to her bike where she mounted and sat for a long moment. Torrid exhaled, and wiped the one tear that escaped her and streaked her face. A shadow fell across her, and she looked up to see Monica standing there, wrapped in Drew’s sheet.
“And where’s your tear?” Torrid asked her.
“I guess—I don’t have any.” She said calmly. “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Torrid asked.
Torrid shook her head and started her engine. The smell of jasmine caught her senses as the spring breeze came through the car park.
Monica looked up to the balcony to see Drew standing there looking back down at her. He turned and went back inside closing his door.
Torrid put her bike in gear and slowly pulled away.
Monica stood there watching as Torrid drove off into the
afternoon sun. She started to run after her, but stopped
herself. It was over. She had fucked them both over, and
herself in the process, but she had her prize: her
EPILOGUE: OVER THE RAINBOW
Four weeks later
Torrid walked through the metal detectors at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and patiently stood still for the wands to wash over her body. Her numerous piercings were setting off the detectors and she just took it all in stride.
She collected her carryon bags and stepped away from the chaos of the security checkpoint. She checked her boarding pass and looked for the sign for the corresponding gate and headed toward Terminal C. Her flight to Amsterdam would depart in an hour, so she had time for a drink at one of the many bars in the airport’s food court.
She picked a sports bar and sat at the bar.
“Can I buy you a drink?” a familiar voice said from the end of the bar. Torrid turned to see Dr. Drelica Truman seated there with a cold beer and a bowl of peanuts in the shell. Torrid raised her eyebrow, then walked to the stool next to Drelica and seated herself.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” She asked, accepting the budweister that was placed before her.
“You’re such a charmer, you know that, Torrid?” Drelica teased.
“Yeah, I know, “ Torrid said, grinning.
“I am flying out to the dig site in west Texas. I have to make a stop in Austin for a few days, then we are trucking out to the Big Bend. Where are you going, Torrid?” Drelica asked.
“Amsterdam. Trade show convention. You know—lots of throwbacks and painted savages,” She said with a wink. Torrid held her beer up and clinked it against Drelica’s, “Here’s to your dino hunt.”
Drelica smiled, “Thanks. Here’s to your—whatever it is you’re doing,” she chuckled sweetly.
Torrid sat talking with Drelica for quite some time, but
finally looked at the clock on the wall and frowned.
“It’s time for me to head to my gate.”
Drelica frowned as well. She looked into Torrid’s eyes, she felt a warmth she hadn’t noticed there before. Without the stress and worry of a failed relationship on her, Torrid was a charming and charismatic woman. She smiled absently losing herself in thoughts of possible spending more time getting to know Torrid.
“Why are you smiling?” Torrid asked, puzzled.
“Uh…because…,” she blushed, “I do want you to call me sometime, Torrid. And I am not sure how to ask.”
Torrid grinned, “Babe, I think you just did.”
To be continued in…SKIN DEEP IV - Fossil Fuel
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