The Light Fantastic

by LA Tucker

Part IX:  Angst You Very Much

For disclaimers,  see Part I

Marcy was spending yet another Sunday afternoon with her butt parked on Chloe's couch.  "So, when are you and Audra going to get together again?"

"That's a tough one.  Our schedules aren't exactly compatible right now.  She's her school's union representative, and she's been chosen to attend union conferences in Harrisburg the most of next week, and then, the week after that, she's got a week in Chicago, at the national conference."

Marcy shook her head. "I knew I should have gotten more involved with the union. It would get me out of town for a few weeks in the lousiest part of the winter."

"Oh, yeah, real glamorous. Harrisburg and Chicago in March?  That's my idea of a good time."

"Yeah, well, what your idea of a good time and my idea of a good time are two different things."

"Which is why your name and number is on phone booths with "For a Good Time Call' and mine isn't." Chloe smiled and looked out her front bay window. "Are you going to help me clean my car off, or not? I have to check to see if Doris Raeburn made it over here last night, in a raging storm, to deposit yet another cow patty on my windshield."

"I think if we wait two more hours, the snow will just melt off it. That's my plan. My little red zoomer should be all clean and ready to go by then."  Marcy brightened. "Hey, maybe one of the D'Amico family took pity on me, and it's all cleaned off now. I mean, one of them had to trip over it to get to Nelson's truck."

Chloe frowned, remembering seeing Nelson earlier this afternoon.  "I saw Nelson today, he was passing by, going towards ... " Chloe's memory clicked in. "Charlie Shemp's!  That's right, he and Sara were going over there to ride the horse today. "  Chloe's face remained in a frown at the mention of Sara's name. "I didn't notice if there was anyone in the truck with him, all I could see was Nelson waving, wearing this ridiculous cowboy hat." Actually, he looked kind of cute.

"I don't know if she actually went with him or not. Dave hasn't been home, and hadn't talked to anyone before he dropped me off here."

"Doesn't matter. As far as I'm concerned ..." Chloe's voice trailed off, and she didn't look like she wanted to complete her thought.

Marcy looked at her skeptically. "So I guess you didn't forgive her, huh?"  Damned hardheaded woman.

"Forgive her?  Just because she practically accused me of trying to seduce her just so I would have a replacement for Mrs. Cumberland?"

"She what?"

"That's right. She apparently thinks I'm the same kind of two bit sleazebags she used to sleep with in L.A."

"I'm sure she didn't mean it that way."

"You weren't there. She talked to me like I was just this little schemer,  just playing with her so I could have a choreographer for some little stinking high school production of 'Oklahoma'. I mean, get real."

The resentment in Chloe's voice was so thick, Marcy had to sit back a bit before she said anything more. "So did you tell her off yesterday when she apologized?"

"What are you talking about?  She showed up yesterday, looking for Nelson. To pick him up."

Marcy grabbed Chloe's hand and looked her in the eye.  "Chloe, Dave came to pick Nelson up,  Sara came to apologize to you."

Chloe sat back, flustered at the new bit of knowledge she had just gained.  She searched Marcy's face. "Are you sure? I mean, she didn't say anything, anything at all."

"Maybe because Audra was around? Was she there when you saw Sara?"

"Well, yeah, they both showed up in the gym within seconds of each other. And then Sara just blew out of the door, and then Audra and I left."

"Yeah, well, she must have been upset.  She showed up in the cafeteria, and she looked horrible.  She just yelled at Dave that she had to leave, NOW, and he took off after her. I ended up taking Nelson home.  I figured she was having a some sort of, you know ...  attack."

Chloe moaned loudly. "Oh lord. I had no idea. Is she OK?"

Marcy shrugged her shoulders. "I don't really know.  She was over at her house when Nelson and I got there, and Dave said she didn't say a word to him on the way home. We never saw her again last night."

Chloe got up off the couch, and paced nervously. "I don't know what to do, here, Marcy.  Should I wait for her to try and apologize again?  Should I just leave it be?"

"What do you want from her, Chloe?  Maybe you should just leave her be. Let her come to you. She's the one who should be apologizing, it sounds like ..."

"I think that maybe that was the first and last chance I had to hear an apology from her.  I don't know if she thinks it would be worth a second effort."

"Chloe, you must mean something to her. She wouldn't have gone to all that trouble to come out to the school otherwise. I mean, the woman is a hermit, a very contented hermit ..."

"Damn.  She was just starting to get out of her little self-imposed exile, and I ruined all of that."

It was Marcy's turn to get mad. "Oh, no you don't. Don't you DARE take that kind of responsibility on your shoulders.  She had problems long before you met her, and it looks like she's going to be dealing with them for some time to come. You are not her appointed little savior."

Chloe sighed miserably. "I don't want to save her, I just want .."

"What do you want, Chloe? "

"I don't know. But something is telling me if I don't take some action, now, well, it will just be the end of it. And that just doesn't feel right to me."

Marcy didn't know how to reply to that.

Chloe sat down again, and picked at her fingernail, and frowned in concentration. Marcy is going to kill me.  "Marse, are you going to help me, or not?"

Marcy just threw her hands up in surrender. "What, pray tell, do you want me to do?"

Marcy and Chloe were standing in the D' Amico family kitchen. Nelson was looking at his feet. I seem to be doing this a lot lately.

Chloe said to Nelson. "Did you tell her we were coming?"

"Yeah, I did. I told her you were giving Marcy a ride over to pick up her car."


"And she didn't say anything."

Chloe and Marcy looked at each other. This is not going well, they mutually thought.

Marcy spoke first. "Chloe, it might be a good idea if you just got out of here. "  Why tempt fate?

Chloe, feeling as determined as she ever had in her life, said, " No. I've got to see her. Nelson, do you know where she is?"

Nelson, who was feeling like he was 10 years old again, "In the garage. Working on some golf carts."

Chloe spun  on her heel, and went out of the house, her goal the garage.

Marcy groaned. "Oh, jeez, Nelson. I'm sorry. She twisted my arm and made me make her bring me here." Did that make sense?

"Yeah, well, there's something Ms. Donahue doesn't know.  I didn't know how to tell her." I mean, you guys are supposed to be the adults here, right?

"What now?  What didn't you want to tell Chloe?"

"I didn't know how to tell her ... that Aunt Sara knows that ... Chloe's 'date' spent the night  last night. We saw them together on the way over to Charlie Shemp's this afternoon."

Marcy sat down, hard, at the kitchen table. "Nelson? Do you know if there is anything strong to drink in this house?" She put her head in her hands.  "Like battery acid, maybe?"

Sara was in the garage, waiting for Chloe to make her entrance. She had heard Chloe's car pull up a few minutes ago, and figured that Chloe would be coming out to the garage to talk to her soon.  Sara checked her internal emotional meter again. Good. I feel fine. Actually, I feel nothing. I've got myself numbed out, just where I wanted to be.

Sara had been writing and rehearsing her own little script all afternoon. She just didn't expect to have to perform the part she had written for herself so soon.  What she was going to say, how she was going to say it when she saw Chloe again.  She knew her part by heart already, although she was a little unnerved by the possibility of Chloe saying something unpredictable, something Sara couldn't foresee. Well, I'll just have to act my way out of whatever she throws at me.  I can get through this little performance, and if I try hard enough, I can make it real.

Chloe entered the barn, and saw Sara sitting in front of a small, beige electric golf cart with a paintbrush in her hand. She was dabbing over some rust spots, dipping from a small can of paint.  Sara looked up at her, and smiled.  A big smile. Good, thought Sara, everything is going to go according to plan. She's already reacting like I imagined she would.

Chloe, surprised to see Sara smiling at her so benignly, was thrown off guard.  She had steeled herself to meet a scowling, hostile Sara, and that Sara was not here.  Not if that smile meant anything.

Sara smiled wider, and said, "Hey, Chloe.  How's it going?"

"Hey, Sara.  Pretty good.  I just brought Marcy over to get her car. These past few weeks sure have been 'musical vehicles', huh?"  Chloe grimaced at the lameness of her little joke.

Sara squinted at her work, and added another swipe to a stubborn spot. "Sure has. Some weather last night, huh? Ton of snow, and now it's like spring out there." she said, genially.

Chloe was feeling completely off kilter. All worked up, and her emotions had no where to go. Who was this calm woman perched on a low stool, seemingly bent on pleasantly passing the day with her?  Chloe tried to regroup. "How'd the horse riding go with Nelson today?  Do you think it's going to work out?"

Sara laughed a small laugh and said, "He looked like a regular Roy Rogers up there. He walked her around a bit, got her to stand still for him. She's a wonderfully intelligent horse. I even got to ride her around for a while.  I think she, and Nelson, will go together just fine."  Sara returned her attention to her painting.

"That's great. Just great. Uh, Sara?"  At least I think it's Sara. It sure looks like her.

"Hmm?" Sara was doing some edging work now; she had to pay attention to details.

"About Friday night ..."

"Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that."  Sara put down her brush, and fixed on a spot just above Chloe's left eyebrow, and willed her gaze to stay there. From this distance, it would appear to Chloe that Sara was looking her in the eye.  "I wanted to apologize about that. I made an ass out of myself, I accused you of some pretty terrible things. I hope you can forgive me for that." Sara was mentally counting the hairs in Chloe's eyebrow.  Sara dropped her head and continued, contritely, "Really sorry.  And I also wanted to tell you," Sara's eyes came up again and settled on Chloe's right eyebrow. "That the answer is 'yes', to helping out, taking Mrs. Cumberland's place, if you still want me to. I want to try.  I could come by the school on Thursday, and meet with the kids, and then do a real session with them on Saturday." Sara tilted her face, and looked hopeful.  Make it real.  "Would that be all right?"

Chloe was scrambling now, not a thing was going as she had expected. "That's great, Sara,  Thursday would be fine, I'll tell the kids..."  She had expected to have to be in charge of this conversation with Sara, but Sara was throwing her for a loop. This is too confusing. I have to say it before I lose my nerve.

"Well, I'm still not sure why you said the things you did, but I realize I may have given you the wrong idea. I really wasn't trying to manipulate you, Sara,  I should have told you ... I wanted to tell you .... " Chloe's mind was now on 'stunned' setting, "I wanted to tell you that night." Say it out loud, Chloe. "Oh hell, Sara, whether you said 'yes' or 'no'  to the whole dancing thing,  it really didn't matter." Chloe took a huge breath.  "I just wanted ...  to BE with you.  It didn't matter what the answer was.  Don't you know that?"  Let honesty be the best policy in this situation. Please.

There popped up that little glitch of unpredictability that Sara wasn't prepared for. She just wanted to be with me. Sara needed to ad lib something in reply to that.  She wasn't immediately coming up with anything, so she ad libbed silence.  It worked.  Chloe just stood there, and Sara decided to just go on to her next line.

Sara chuckled. "I mean, there I was, accusing you of something that I've done a million times myself."  Dip, wipe, brush stroke.  "I can't tell you how many women I've 'ego stroked' into my bed."  Dip, wipe, brush, brush. "Kind of had fun doing it, too."   Sara looked up at Chloe, and winked, and returned her eyes to her paint can. There,  I'm a dirtbag. Deal with it.

Chloe was wildly confused now. Is she apologizing, bragging, or accusing me of something?

"I'm not exactly sure how you mean that, Sara, but I'm glad you decided to ..."

Sara scooted her stool to begin painting on a different area of the golf cart. Some of the raging jealousy in her heart began to leak through into her words.  I want to hurt her, like she's hurt me. She looked at Chloe, and this time, met her eyes for real. " So, Chloe, how did your 'date' with Audra go? Have BIG fun?"  The sarcasm in her voice was plain. Her face was tight and unsmiling. When Chloe didn't immediately respond, she raised her brow and gave her a nasty smirk. " I'll take that as a unequivocal 'yes' then."

She turned back to the golf cart one more time, determined to get herself under control, and to stay that way, no matter how Chloe responded.

Chloe was totally lost, swimming in the alternately upbeat, friendly, angry, accusatory, then offhand mixture of messages that she was getting from Sara.  She reacted the only way she knew how.

She moved the few steps to Sara's side. Chloe dropped to her knees, and put her hands on Sara's face, and turned it to hers.

"Sara. Please. Why are you doing this, why are you being like this?" She searched Sara's eyes for some truth. "Don't you know that I want you?"
she said softly, pleadingly.

Sara closed her eyes, and took Chloe's wrists in her hands, and moved them down, onto her knees. She took a deep breath, and acted her heart out. Make it real.

"I'm sorry, Chloe. Really I am. But it's not going to work. I'm not a good bet for the long run.  I'm just here to get better, then I'm out of here. I don't want to be a grass cutter at a penny ante golf course. I want to go back, get my career back, get back the life I used to have.   I'm almost there now. My face has almost healed, and what won't heal, the makeup people can fix.  Just let me have my fun while I'm here. Let me help with this play, see Nelson do his stuff, then, I go."  Sara finished her little monologue, and saw the pain on Chloe's face. I have to make this woman go away, so I can go back to being numb again. I won't let her hurt me again. There's only one way to do it. "Chloe, you're really wonderful. You are. But you just aren't the kind of woman that I want. I'm sorry if I led you to believe something else. I get carried away sometimes ... just playing, you know?"  Sara could see  tears beginning in Chloe's eyes. There, that should be the fatal blow.

It was. Behind the tears that were beginning to fall, Chloe's heart and mind gave up. Anger replaced whatever sorrow she was feeling, twofold. She had offered her heart, her dignity and her trust, and had been told that they were not of any consequence. Her tears mutated from ones of sadness, to ones of raging frustration and hurt. That frustration grew, and she stood up, and the crying began in earnest.

Sara's resolve finally broke at the sight of Chloe so completely devastated. What did I do? She started to reach out her arms to Chloe, to tell her that she was a liar and a fool  ... but just as she was about to confess all,  Chloe turned and left the barn.

"Chloe, wait." But it was too late, Chloe was in her car, the motor was running, and Chloe wiped her eyes, and floored it, roaring out of the driveway.

Marcy, who had seen Chloe leave from the kitchen window, came tearing out of the house and ran over to Sara.

"What the hell happened out here?  Why was Chloe crying like that?" she demanded  of Sara. I don't give a rat's ass about this woman's 'delicate' condition, I want answers, now.

Sara flinched, and buried her feelings.  "I told her I didn't want her. She took it badly." she said as off-handedly as she could.

Incredulous, Marcy blurted, "What, are you NUTS?  Don't answer that. I know you are.  Any damned fool can see that you're in love with her, and have been since the minute you met her."  Marcy gulped in air, because she knew she was going to keep yelling.  "And she's so in love with you that she can't even see what I can see so clearly about you right now, that you might be the biggest, tallest, dumbest ASSHOLE that I've ever met!"

Sara went on the defensive. "Oh yeah, she's so in love with me, we have one fight and she goes and and fucks Audra Simmons the very next night."  Sara spat the words out, like getting rid of dirt off the tip of her tongue.

Marcy was stunned at Sara's words.  Sara stared at her, shaking with anger.

Marcy started slowly, her voice barely containing all the fury she was feeling. "No, I take it back, you ARE the biggest asshole I will EVER meet. EVER. I know that now for a fact."  Her eyes bored into Sara's cold blue. "She didn't sleep with Audra, you dumbass.  She turned her down. She told Audra ... for some stupid reason that I can't fathom NOW ... that her heart belongs to YOU.  You, who wouldn't know a good thing if it came up and bit you on the friggin' butt!" Just one punch. Just one. That's all I want.

Sara's gut felt the blow as if Marcy had really thrown it. "Oh no. No." No.

Marcy  stared razors across Sara's throat. "Nice going, Miss Movie Friggin' Star. You just screwed over the best thing that will ever happen to you. Congratulations."

"What do I do now?" said Sara weakly, not sure if she had said it aloud.

"You're not asking ME how to get her back? She's my best friend, you idiot. I don't care if you are Dave's sister. Why the hell should I help you get her back?"

"You have to help me ... because you're right ... about two things, Marcy."

Marcy squinted at her, and said, exasperated, "What?!"

"I am the biggest asshole you will ever meet ,and because... " Sara's eyes showed the truth of her soul, " ... I'm in love with her."


Dave was leaning against the refrigerator.  "No answer? Is her machine on?"

Marcy glared. "I'll bet she's there, and just doesn't want to talk. I've left two messages now for her to call me at my cell phone number."

Nelson was sitting on the kitchen counter, just taking everything in.

Marcy, standing in the kitchen doorway, threw Dave a look. "I swear, Dave, if she wasn't your sister, and for some damned reason I feel like we're all in this together,  you'd be dialing 911 right now, and they'd be hauling me off for assault and battery."  She kicked Sara's chair for emphasis.

Sara was seated, head hunched in her hands, at the kitchen table.  She hadn't said a word, other than a low moan here and there, as Marcy had quite ungracefully filled Dave in on the details of what had happened.

"And your sister here,  a total NITWIT about love and romance,  thinks that Chloe bedded Audra Simmons, so she does everything in her power to hurt Chloe and drive her away. In tears."  Marcy kicked Sara's chair one more time.

Sara moaned again.

Nelson, coming to his suffering Aunt's rescue, said, "Well, it sure looked that way. I mean, we passed there on our way to Charlie's this afternoon. And they were outside, cleaning ALL this snow off of that yellow car, so well, we just assumed ... I mean, I even saw it that way."

Sara lifted her head, and made an effort to speak. "Yeah, that's right. That's what we ..."

Marcy kicked another toe mark onto Sara's chair. "YOU keep quiet. You got yourself into this mess, and now you want us to help you get out of it. You've already done enough damage."

Sara's head went all the way to the table, and she sprawled her arms out on either side of it.

Marcy was in fourth gear, heading for overdrive. "Audra Simmons would probably be the best thing in the world for that woman. But NO, no, our dear librarian has to fall for some lunkheaded, self-absorbed, anxiety stricken former starlet who now tinkers with golf course machinery for a living."

Dave said, "Hey, that's not fair. She also cuts the grass. And stuff."

Sara murmured, "Attaboy Dave, you tell her."

"Well, enough throwing the blame around, I guess. We all know where the blame lays. Right there, crying in her Diet Coke, head on the table. So, now what the hell are we going to do about it?" Marcy looked at Nelson, and then at Dave. Both of them blinked at her and shrugged.

"Oh, great, just great. I forgot , I'm dealing with the family who has a hard time stringing together even one sentence between the three of you."

Dave was offended. "Marcy..."

Nelson frowned. "...that's not..."

Sara finished. "... true."

Marcy threw up her hands and spoke, person to person, with God. "Why me?"  She kicked Sara's chair again. "God told me to do that." She sat down in the chair closest to Sara, and dropped her head to table level so she could see eye to eye with Sara. "Sara, I see only one solution here. Wait, two."

Sara blinked open a bleary eye and looked hopefully at Marcy.

"Two courses of action. One, Sara has to do entirely by herself. She has to devote herself to it, day and night." Marcy's voice went stern. "Sara, do you think you're up to it? Do you really love Chloe?"

Sara gulped and said, "Yes, to both parts."

Marcy looked her in her one open eye. "Groveling. 24 hours a day until you get her back, and probably the rest of your life after you do. And I know Chloe, she's strong willed. You may think you were a bad ass, cranky bitch in your former life, but I assure you, you were a rank amateur compared with her. As soon as Chloe realizes you are trying to make nice with her, she's going to go at you with both barrels. It's going to hurt. You have to be tough. I'm not going to commit to this little reunion without a solemn promise from you, Sara. Because there's going to be fallout on all of us, especially me, if she realizes we are all working towards a common goal. The 'greater good', so to speak. Can you PROMISE us this? It's not going to be pretty."

Sara opened both eyes. "I swear."

Marcy growled, "Good.  Now, for YOU two."  She cast an eye at father and son. "And me. We have have to work together. We have to be devious, not obvious, or it'll throw the whole thing off.  She'll string up all of us and hang us from a tree. We'll have to come up with a plan." She scanned Dave and Nelson's blank faces. "OK, I'll have to come up with a plan. You two just play your parts."

Sara moaned again. "Oh, god, I have to count on them?"

Marcy finally smiled. "Oh, yeah. Aren't you the lucky girl.  Now, I have to get out of here, and go check up on Chloe. And if she's really bad off, Sara, I will personally be back just to kick your butt just for the fun of it."  She grabbed her coat, and gave Dave a scintillating kiss goodbye. "Don't worry, big guy, I'm not mad at you. I'll call as soon as I can with a progress report." She kicked Sara's chair leg, once more, in farewell. "And you, pull yourself together. You've got a lot of ass to kiss, you're going to need your strength."


Marcy was a little rattled. Seated on Chloe's couch, she was helpfully holding a box of tissues, and handing them over to Chloe, one by one, when it looked like Chloe was in need of another one.  There was a small mountain of snotty, wet tissues on the couch between them.  Marcy had only been there for 15 minutes, but it seemed like hours already.  The first 5 minutes Marcy had spent tapping on Chloe's front door, trying to convince her to let her in. When Chloe finally opened the door, she seemed under control, very red eyed and face puffy, but under control. As soon as Chloe saw the sympathetic face Marcy was giving her, the crying started anew.  Marcy gently guided Chloe over to the couch, and sat her down, and sat down next to her and held her. Chloe was hiccuping her sobs, a sure sign that she had been crying for quite a while.

Marcy patted her,  sat back and shoved the dirty kleenex pile she was sitting on to a space between them.

"I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner, kiddo."

Chloe blatted her nose into a tissue and nodded. Her crying stopped, for the time being.

Marcy continued. "When I saw you tear out of there like a bat out of hell, well, I went to the source to find out what happened. We had words, Chloe. Lots of them. Most of them coming from me."

Chloe wadded her kleenex into a ball and tossed it onto the pile. She felt a zillionth better knowing Marcy was out there sticking up for her.

"And then Dave showed up, and wanted to know what was going on, so the whole thing started again. He wasn't real happy with her, either."

Chloe wiped at the end of her red nose, narrowed her eyes, and said the first word she had spoken since Marcy arrived. "Asshole."

Marcy gently smiled. "Yeah, my word exactly. Those and quite a few others. And quite loudly, too. Dave and Nelson had to stop me from clocking her."

"You should have."

"I still might."


Marcy got up from the couch. "I'm going to get us something to drink from the kitchen, and some pills so you won't get a headache. You're losing entirely too many fluids over that woman." Marcy went off to perform her tasks. When she returned, she handed Chloe a bottle of water, and pills, and sat back down again.

Chloe took a long drink out of the bottle, popped the pills, and sat back. She looked a little more composed now. "Asshole."

Marcy just nodded. "Seems like the perfect word for her. I think they had her in mind when they coined it."  Marcy didn't know if it was to soon to do this, but she had to try and get Chloe's mind onto a different track, and soon, before Chloe had her mind fixated on doing nothing but hating Sara. Time to feed Chloe some new information to process.

"Yeah, Chloe, I called her that right after she told me she knew you  had slept with Audra Simmons. You should have seen the look on her face, then, when I told her you hadn't.  She looked like she got hit by a piano falling out of a fourth story window. I called her an asshole then, too."

Chloe, who had tissues wadded tightly in both hands, gripped them even tighter, and looked at Marcy with wide, bloodshot eyes.


"She looked like ... uh, I can't remember what I said.  She looked like she'd been hit by..."

"No, Marse, the other part. She thinks I slept with Audra?"

Marcy kept a blank look on her face. Hook, line and sinker. "Well, yeah. She said something about you two having a fight, then her making that feeble attempt to apologize at the school, and then you just go and break her heart by sleeping with Audra." Marcy snorted. "I mean, how could she even think such a thing about you, even if she and Nelson saw you and Audra outside the this morning ... even Nelson said he figured that was what happened. The whole family are loons, with the exception of Dave so far, and I'm not holding out any hope for him ..."  Marcy took a small sip out of her own bottle of water. "Come to think of it, I came to that conclusion myself, when I called you this morning and found out that Audra was still here." She shrugged. "But that doesn't excuse her behavior, uh uh, no way. I wasn't about to let her get away with that."

Chloe's mind, rusted with salty tears and backed up snot, tried to engage more gears. "She thinks I slept with Audra?  So that's why she was being so mean, blowing me off?"

Marcy was pleased. Maybe I won't have to enlist the help of the D' Amico men in this. Maybe Chloe will realize on her own that Sara was just reacting to some really bad information and forgive ...

"That BITCH!" spat Chloe.

Nope, no fast forgiveness here. Chloe had leapt the wide gulf from self-pity and and landed into righteous indignation in a single bound. " She calls me a casting couch director on Friday night,  she does some lame job of trying apologize for it on Saturday, and then I jump Audra on Saturday night?  What does she think I am, some kind of femme fatale, for God's sakes?  Is that what she really thinks of me? "

Marcy just raised her hands in a sign of mutual disbelief. "Sure looks that way.  I tried my best to set her straight, though. I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but when I yelled at her, and she realized the truth of the situation, she completely fell apart. She looked like I kicked her crutches out from under her ..."

"You should have kicked her in the ass, too.  I can't believe this." Two of Chloe's gears engaged, and clicked. " So she gets all proprietary about me, after just what, one kiss, and that was weeks ago, and she has the nerve to get jealous and do her best to hurt me? I DON'T THINK SO. "

"Sometimes one kiss is all it takes. You know what they say, 'you kiss 'em, you own 'em'.  Maybe that's the way she feels, I don't know. That still doesn't excuse ... "

Chloe's mood shifted swiftly from righteous indignation to the moral superiority of a televangelist. "I told her how I wanted to be with her,  I practically threw myself at her, and begged her. And all the she comes up with is how much FUN I must have had with Audra, and how much FUN she has had with all the trash she has slept with.  She was bragging about her conquests.  Well, you know what? I'm tired of being left out of all the damned FUN everyone else seems to be having.  I should have taken Audra up on her offer,  maybe then it would have made all of this a moot point. I'd have had FUN, and maybe I would have forgotten that she existed at all.  Audra's due back in a few weeks."  Chloe narrowed her eyes. "Time for CHLOE to have some damned fun. Lots and LOTS of it."

Marcy saw the look on Chloe's face, and started to panic a little. This is going from bad to worse. I have to get her back to the here and now.
"Chloe," said Marcy softly. "You don't want to do something like that to Audra if you don't feel that way about her.  Not to get back at Sara. No amount of fun is worth hurting somebody."

"Alright already." Chloe knew Marcy was right. "Forget Audra for the time being. From what you say, Sara feels bad. Well, boo -fucking- hoo. Good. She can just go on feeling bad the rest of her life. Right into her future lives as a rock, then the snake under the rock, then the dirt under the snake under the ..."

Marcy interrupted her, she saw that Chloe was quite prepared to go on and on with that thought into perpetuity. She decided to cut to the chase.
"So, Chloe, what are you going to do?"

"Do?  Whattya mean, do?  Nothing. She can rot for all I care.  I've got too much going on right now to deal with this. I mean, it was a lot to deal with when things were going good, for Pete's sakes."

"Well, I don't know this for sure, but I know she's hurting, and she's bound to try and I don't know, make it up to you somehow."

Chloe gritted her teeth. "Let her try." she dared.

"And I think she's got it in her stubborn head to still want to be the dance director for the play. I couldn't believe it when she said that ..." Oh, yeah, got her back to where I need her to be.

"Is she CRAZY?  No way. No way. I don't want her within a mile of me. I don't care if the cowboys end up doing the 'Macarena' at the damned box social scene."

Marcy felt the need to interject a little reality between Chloe's rants. "Now, Chloe, you can't let those kids suffer because of your personal feelings. It's important to the kids, their parents, the school."  Marcy had played her trump card, and sat back to see what Chloe was going to do.

She's right. I won't let those kids down because of this. Chloe set her shoulders. "Well, Sara thought I was just using her anyway, so I might as well, huh? They can practice down in the gymnasium. I won't have to have any contact with her at all." Chloe re-evaluated that last thought. "Well, very little. I'll keep it professional. I can do that."  Chloe said it one more time, this time with a little more conviction. "Yeah. I can do that."

After about an hour more of letting Chloe vent, and vent some more, and realizing Chloe was now just repeating herself,  Marcy gently finally got Chloe tucked into her bed.  I think I have a bigger headache than Chloe does. Marcy turned off the lights, locked the door behind her and got into her car. She got her cell phone out and dialed Dave's number. "Honey? It's me. Chloe's bad, but she'll be all right." Marcy started the engine. "Tell Sara to get her ass down to Bob's Video Shack and have her rent every "How To" video there is.  She's still the dance guru of this play." Marcy smiled at Dave's expression of surprise. "Oh, yeah. I know.  She's got a LOT of fancy footwork to do."

Continued in Part X

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