This is the last segment in this series, “Kindness.” If you have lost track of the story up to this installment, I suggest you read part eleven under this post. Using classic “Hollywood” story structure, this is our twisting and turning plot so far: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, plus one extra, boy loses both girls.
And so here we go, the resolution to this ever expanding “world of three” love story.
WHEN PRIVACY MATTERS – until it doesn’t [Part 12 of 12]
Mark steps up to Bridget’s townhouse. It’s getting dark, and the lighted windows and muffled laughter coming from inside tells him there’s activity inside. He puts his ear to the door and listens for recognizable voices. Scanning sound through an inch and a half of wood tells him just one thing. Bridget has company, with at least one guy.
He pulls away and takes a deep breath. His chest’s pounding but he has to go through with this. Feelings are on the line. Intense feelings. And they ache. And that won’t stop until he sees Amy again, and delivers his offer.
A shaking finger moves to the doorbell button and presses it. The revelry inside abruptly ends. Will the door open now? He waits. Nothing happens. He presses the bell once more, lets it go and hears soft footsteps approaching. His eyes move to the peephole in the door. It goes dark. Someone must be looking through it, but no KA-CHUNK of a lock turning open. The little hole glows again so someone has moved away, hoping he’ll leave. He won’t.
With determined purpose, Mark’s hand returns to that doorbell and holds it down. The chimes ring on and on and on. It’s even loud through the door. This time it opens, just four inches. Bridget stands behind it wearing her silk robe and a repellent guise of anger.
“I told you I didn’t want to see you again.”
“Can I please have Amy’s telephone number?”
“She doesn’t want to see you either.”
“I don’t believe it. I want Amy to tell me that.”
“Go away, Mark. Forget about us. There are other girls out there. More like you. Now I have to close this door.”
And she does, as Mark shouts, “I saw your porn flick on the internet!” Seconds pass. The door reopens, with Bridget visible again.
“I saw you and Amy and some muscly bald guy on the internet.”
Bridget’s hand wraps white around the doorknob, her arm shaking up to her neck. “Where?” she asks, with a tremor in her voice.
“It’s like YouTube. People upload their movies.”
The nurse stiffens, mouthing, “That Fucking Nelson…” Pressing her lips together, she whips back into the room, screaming, “You fucking asshole!”
The door swings open. Mark steps inside, sees Bridget march to a bald, wrestler-type naked man lying on the couch. “Did you upload our video?”
“Not all of it.”
“Fuck! That was private! That was ours!”
Amy inches out from the hall, wearing nothing except tattoos. Bridget spots her.
“Did you know about this, Amy?”
“Spin down. It’s no big deal.”
“Did you know about this?!”
Amy shrugs. “Yeah, but–”
“Yeah but NOTHING! I am NOT a bartender, Amy!” Firing to Nelson. “And I do NOT sell auto parts to bikers!” Back to Amy. “I’m a registered nurse! In a major trauma center! And all it takes is one staff member to see that video–”
“Hey!” Amy retorts. “Everybody’s doin’ it. Half of the club are doctors and lawyers!”
“It’s PRIVATE! Can’t you get that through your spiky little head!”
Amy faces off, eyes like daggers. “Newsflash, Mom! Nothing’s private anymore! It doesn’t matter. It’s just sex!”
“IT MATTERS TO ME!” rings in the air.
All goes quiet, as eyes shift to Mark standing tense and rigid, his hands balled into fists hanging by his sides. He crosses the room to Bridget and Amy, stopping inches from Goth girl’s face. He takes a deep breath, and makes his announcement. “I love you, Amy!”
She lets out a hushed gasp, her jaw going slack.
“And I don’t want you to do that anymore!”
The girl’s face crinkles. She wasn’t expecting this. Attraction? Of course. All guys want her. But love? How quaint, she thinks, and endearing in a high school kind of way.
Mark’s eyes move to Bridget. She looks pained, pale…spent. As for Nelson, he grinning on the couch. He obviously thinks this is funny. It isn’t. Mark’s gaze returns to Amy. “I want you to come and live with me. I got a job now. I can help you. You can do your bar thing and we’ll have enough to get by.”
Nelson snickers, resting his hairless head on his braced arm. That earns him a shut up glare from Bridget, as she steps closer to Mark, raising her hand to touch his face. He retreats, his eyes shifting back to Amy. He finds her smiling now, like a kind mother would to her son.
“Mark honey…” she says, calmly, soothingly. “I don’t hook up for money. Nelson’s video, it was just fun thing to do. And yeah, uploading it was dumb. But that’s all it was. A dumb thing. I’m not in the porn business.”
“Okay…” he murmurs. He sort of knew that. He meant something else.
“So you don’t have to worry about me,” she softly affirms.
“But I love you.”
“And I love you.” She strokes his arm.
“Will you live with me, then?” he asks with puppy eyes.
“I live with Nelson. We’ve got this place together.”
“Oh…” His head drops. “Do you love him, too?”
“Yes. Like I love you. But it’s NSA.”
“No strings attached. I don’t want a relationship. I thought you understood.”
No. He didn’t understand. How could he understand when she kissed him the way she did, and caressed him the way she did, and climaxed the way she did? It all seemed so real and honest the other night, with nothing held back. Or at least, that’s the way it seemed. But what was it really? How can anybody let go and pretend it doesn’t matter?
Mark shifts back to Bridget. She did it too, lifting him to heaven and throwing him to the floor. “You people are sick,” he says, anger creeping back into his voice. “You kick feelings around like a football, like you don’t care about the game. But you do. You really do. And you cheat. And you don’t even know what you’re playing for.”
Bridget lets out a quiet sigh, taking Mark’s attention back to her. She looks so sad, he thinks. And now he’s starting to know why. She must have known this night could happen, would happen, if he didn’t stay away. And he didn’t. He came here and now he’s taking the pain, which is why she pushed him away at the door. But damn it! Why couldn’t she just say it? Explain it before it all went south.
“Mark!” Amy yelps. “Enough with the gloomy face! Everything’s cool. You’re here now. Let’s party.”
“No.” Bridget states. The party’s over.”
Amy turns. “Wow. You’re really pissed.”
“You and Nelson put my job on the line. ‘Pissed,’ is not the word for it. I want you to leave.”
Again, Amy’s mouth drops. “What?”
“You heard me.”
Yes she did, and now she’s feeling the rage. It’s not comfortable. It IS time to leave.
Amy strides to the couch and flippantly snatches her clothes. “Okay. You’re pissed. But it happened. It’s done. Get over it.”
Again Nelson smirks.
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” Bridget explodes, blood flushing her face. “You too Nelson! Get dressed and get out!”
Baldy sits up. Grabs his shirt. “Chill, bitch.”
“Get the fuck out! NOW!”
“Hey! I’m gettin’ my shoes! Relax.” He grabs them, and half dressed, he scoots out. Amy follows, stops at the door, and turns to give her friend a hard stare. “Bridge, you really need some counseling.”
“GET THE FUCK OUT!”
Amy cocks her head, conveying utter condescension, even pity. And dropping a shrug, she leaves with the door still open.
It’s tranquil again. Sort of. Mark takes one more glance back to Bridget and expresses a look of goodbye. He moves to the threshold.
“Please stay,” comes from behind him. He stops, looks over his shoulder. She hasn’t moved, standing in the center of the room, looking forlorn, abandoned, and pained with regret. Mark…” she mutters. “I’m sorry.”
“Will you stay a while?”
He thinks for a moment, then shuts the door.
She gestures, suggesting they meet on her couch. They do, with a foot of space between them. She forces a smile. It’s met with ambivalence. She lets it go, with no attempt to fill the lull. How can she explain this? That she wanted him, and then she didn’t. How can she admit she asked for love without returning it. She can’t. At least not now. She’s just glad he’s still here. Maybe the right words will come later.
Words do come. From Mark. “Where’s Bijou and Ruddles?”
“In the guest room,” she answers, relieved he took the wheel. “I’m sure they feel safer in there after my shrieks.”
Mark nods. He’s back to remote. But that’s on the outside. On the inside, he’s swirling with change. Not earth-shaking change, but enough to make him a little older. A little wiser. And probably a little braver and more confident.
Bridget lowers her head to his shoulder. And there it stays, as she begins to weep. He strokes her arm, letting remorse soak his collar. “I am so sorry,” she cries. “I am so sorry I brought you into this. And I’m sorry about Amy.”
“No it isn’t. I put you two together. And now you’re hurting.”
“I’m okay, really.”
“No you’re not.”
“Okay I’m not.”
But maybe he is. His eyes go soft as he processes it all. Sure, there’s that hole in his heart, but it’s bearable. He’s still walking. And tomorrow he’ll work on getting his appetite back. Maybe even get involved in his job. And then there’s Roque. He’s gotta get fat boy out of the house and into a gym, and a veggie diet.
Yeah, there’s plenty to fill his time, and his mind. But what about Bridget? What kind of shape is she in? Maybe he should ask. He does. “You okay?”
She sighs. “No, Mark, I am not okay. None of me is okay. My life…my decisions…who I made my friends.” She wipes her face with the back of her hand. “I’m getting out of it.”
“The sex parties?”
“All of it. Everything about it.”
“What about Amy?”
“Everything. The whole game.”
“I thought you didn’t want to get hurt.”
“Well, we found out that’s pretty much impossible. Didn’t we?”
“Guess so. Can’t love without getting hurt.”
“But it doesn’t have to stay that way. My mom and dad, they loved each other, and the hurting was really tiny. There’s a lot of nice people around. A lot of good people. Can’t give up on them.”
She sniffs again, nodding now like he does. And drying her cheeks with the sleeve of her robe, she stares at her Monet print on the opposite wall. It’s a painting of the artist’s wife holding a parasol, with her son standing in the background. Both face the viewer, an older woman and a younger man; together, yet apart.
Bijou yelps from the next room, bringing her back to her own young man sitting beside her. Her eyes go to him, as she raises her hand to run her fingers through his hair, mussing it into that care-free look she likes so much. “I just wish you were twelve years older,” she says as she starts to relax and her lips turn up again.
“So…we’re still friends?” he sheepishly asks, moving his hair back to the way it was.
“We are friends, Mark. Excellent friends.”
He nods, sliding closer to her, so that they can lean back into the pillows, which they do, hand in hand. The calm has returned, allowing reflection of what has happened, and more importantly, where they are going.
“So, uh…” Mark starts, reluctant to hear depressing words. “Are they gonna fire you if they find out?”
“No. They can’t fire me for that. It’ll just get tacky.”
“So, you gonna stay there in that hospital?”
“If I can. If I can’t, I’ll get another job. That won’t be hard.”
“Good.” Mark nods, tilting his head to rest against hers. “Maybe we should let the dogs out.”
One of the fun things about writing fiction, is that it creates a space to toss around ideas. Like gas solidifying into galaxies and stars and then planets, vague ideas compress into themes which breakdown further into attitudes and conclusions, which then can be molded into a sequence of events that tell a story. Sometimes the conclusion bubbles up out of the process. And sometime the message is all in place before the first word is put to paper. In my case, I pretty much know how my stories will turn out once I set a direction. The journey getting there, and investigating it’s details, is the treasure of discovery.
I suppose, had I had different life experiences, coming to different conclusions, my stories would end differently. And maybe, as I continue to grow as a adult and study human nature, my stories WILL arrive at alternate resolutions, and more complex resolutions. This is why it is so important for a writer to live as rich a life as one can. And to constantly take in more and more information about what one writes about. You see, what I’m trying to do with my fiction, is tell the truth. Because without that, why would you need to read it? For entertainment? That’s fine. But it’s not enough for me. I’m hoping I can convey new ideas to you, and that you can use them. If I’m not doing that, I’m sure I’ll be finding that out pretty soon. Feel free to comment if you’d like.
My next series, starting next Friday, goes even deeper into the world of sharing without commitment. We’ll venture into Sugarland, into the lifestyles of sugar daddies and sugar babies.