Small victories

My anger collapsed in on itself around day four after they managed to clear the spell that I was under. The dregs that were left dragged my mood down and beat it with a stick until it was twitching. I tried to keep up with the kids, Jude, and Murphy; but I got tired easily in the days that followed the collapse. Ben has been supportive to the point where I get frustrated with him.

I am not an invalid, though I feel that way when people keep doing things for me that I would normally do myself. I try to explain to them that I need to do these things to feel better, but they’re determined to do it for me. It makes me frustrated to the point of tears most days. I am not the person that I was before the spell took hold of my body and mind.

So when Murphy showed up at my bedroom door on the second Saturday in April, I was thrilled to get out of the house with her.

“Get up. Get dressed. We’re going out,” she said as she flipped the curtains open.

I hissed at her and flicked a hand, drawing them back over the windows by their metal hangers. She put her hands on her hips and stared me down.

“You’re not going to get better if you don’t get out of this house, child.”

I pulled the pillow off my head and glared at her.

“Says the woman who won’t let me do things for myself. What’s your deal? First it’s ‘Marlowe don’t do that, I’ll get it for you,’ Now it’s ‘get your arse out of bed.’ Will you make up your mind?” I ranted.

Murphy smiled at me, but there was something about the way her lips twisted that made me shove my head back under the pillow.

“Girl you were trying to climb a ladder to get something off a top shelf. I stopped you because it’s heights and you’re not dealing with them well right now.”

“Semantics,” I shouted from under the pillow. A cold draft let me know she had pulled the covers off me. As I searched for them with one hand, Murphy lifted the pillow off my head.

“It’s not and you know it,” she said softly. “Come on, Marlowe. We’re all worried about you right now and a fresh air would do you some good.”

I laid there for a few minutes while considering my options. It was a pretty nice day outside and I had been stuck inside for weeks. It would be good to get out of the house for a little while. I looked up at Murphy and sighed.

“Fine. I’m getting up, but I need to shower and dress.”

“Take your time. I’ll be downstairs,” she said as she walked to the door. “I love you, Marlowe. I hope you know that.”

She slipped out before I could answer. I sat on the bed, staring out the window. The tears started before I could stop them. I was so frustrated with being depressed. I knew it wasn’t my fault, it was the spell, but there was still some anger left in me over what happened. It depressed me further, to the point where I just wanted to crawl back in to bed.

The baby chose that moment to kick and surprise me. I laid a hand on my belly, sitting there and feeling the life inside me move around. The tears that came while I was getting up to shower were good ones.

It takes me awhile to shower now, so I wasn’t surprised when a half an hour went by between getting in and coming back out so I could dress. Picking out clothing was harder than I imagined, the feelings of annoyance with jeans that were hard to button threatened to bring me to tears again. I pushed my feet into a pair of slides and made my way downstairs, smiling a little bit as I heard my boys and their shouts drift up from the Great Hall.

As I hit the bottom step, my reluctance to go any further in the house swamped me. I loved my children, but I did not want to deal with them at that moment. I made a move for my phone, hitting the speed dial for Ben. He picked up after the first ring.

“Baby? What is it? Is it the baby? Are you okay?”

I sniffled at his tone, he cared so much. “You’re right. I’ll see the therapist.”

I heard Ben sigh. “I’ll make the appointment for you. You’ll like her, ‘Lowe.”

“I’ll see her, Ben. Then make up my own mind.”

Ben let out a huff and a little chuckle. “You’re still you, even though you’re sad right now. I love you.”

“I love you too. I’ll see you tonight. Text me with the appointment.”

“Will do. Be safe.”

I hung up the phone and sat in the chair outside the dungeon door. I was still there with the phone in my hand when Murphy came into the hall way.

“Good. You’re dressed. Now grab your damn coat and let’s go before you chicken out again.”

I smiled a little and Murphy patted my cheek.

“You’ll be all right dear.”

I nodded and put my coat on, before getting up to follow her out to the car. Maybe getting out of the house wouldn’t be so bad at all.

Or maybe it would.

It’s dangerous business, going out your door.


A Denver Monday, part 2

So I guess I shouldn’t have left off last night where I did, but I was tired.

You didn’t really think I was going to die, were you? That’d be boring.

The bomb went off as soon as I entered the door, but it was a puff of smoke, a loud bang and then fizzled out. I was jerked back by the Sheriff and hauled down to the stairs. That’s when my head caught up and I started running on my own, right out the door. We made it to the squad car and the Sheriff pushed me inside. He got in on the other side and backed the car out of my lot and in to the road with his lights on. He blocked off the road with his car while calling in the bomb.

That’s when I started laughing.

I guess it must have been the shock that made me laugh. I just couldn’t believe that Steve could be that stupid.

“Why’s the bitch laughing? Didn’t she discover my gift?”

That only made me laugh harder.

“You’re going away, Steve. That’s attempted murder, what you put in my shop.”

Steve made choking noises and I shook my head. I felt sorry for him before. Now that he had tried and failed to take my life, I wanted his head. I got out of the car and walked around to the back of the unit and sat on the trunk. I figured it was the best place to be, because I couldn’t stand to be in that car with Steve for another minute. Pulling my cell phone out of my back pocket, I called Ben.

“I was just thinking about you.” He answered.

“I hope I was naked and enjoying it.” I could feel him blush on the other end of the line.

“As a matter of fact, you were. Want to try it tonight?”

“Yes. After a cheap bottle of wine and take out from The Fish Place.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Steve came in to the shop.”

I heard Ben swear in Arabic and smiled. “I love you too, but there’s more.”

“Tell me.”

“He tried to assault me with a monkey wrench.”

More swearing. I do love that man.

“Then he tried to blow me up.”

There was silence on the phone, then “I’m on my way,” and the line went dead. He was well and truly pissed. I feared a little for what he might do to Steve when he got here. I brooded over the thoughts when the Sheriff interrupted my thoughts.

“We need to get you out of here.”

“Ben’s coming. Do you mind if he takes me to the station?” I looked back at him.

“No, that will save up my guys for crowd control. I called in the State Police. They’ll fix your place up, Marlowe.”

“If the bomb doesn’t go off first, you mean.”

“You’re taking this a lot better than I thought you would.”

“Oh, I fully intend to have his father’s balls by the time my lawyer is done with him.” I saw the Sheriff flinch and smiled.

“That was a little uncalled for, Marlowe.”

“But no less than honest, Eric. I’m tired of his son being the town asshole and everyone just puts up with him because his daddy owns half the town. He knew his son was supposed to stay away from me and did he do anything about getting him help? No. I bet it was a stern ‘don’t do it again’ and a pat on the fucking head.”

The Sheriff stayed silent while I ranted. “Be careful, Marlowe. His daddy has friends in high places and you just got here.”

“His daddy doesn’t know who I’m related to, Eric, but I’ll take your warning. I’ll be careful. All my contact will be through my lawyer. I promise.”

I saw Ben’s care pull up and I smiled. “Here’s my ride. Would you mind getting my bag when this is over? I’d really like to have my things back right away.”

“I’ll even had someone lock up for you when it’s all done.”

I kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Eric. We’ll go get something to eat and go to the station, is that all right?”

“You might as well, there won’t be anyone to take your statement until later.”

I nodded and ran for Ben. After everything that happened today, I just wanted him in my arms. We collided together about half way. Ben started babbling in Arabic again and I smiled.

“Whoa, slower. I’m still learning.”

“I said ‘my heart. my love.'” Ben said as he pulled me close and pressed kisses in to my hair. “Don’t you ever do anything like that again.”

“I wasn’t planning on doing it the first time, but okay.” I dug my fingers in to his dress shirt and hung on. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Can we go? I don’t want to look at him.”

“Yeah, we can go. Let’s go to Grandma. I’m hungry and she’ll want to know what’s going on.”

Ben didn’t say anything, just led me away while keeping me anchored to his side. Getting in to the car after he opened my door, I pulled out my cell phone and called Miles and Mark. I told them both what happened and where we’d be.

After I’d made my calls and put down my phone, I found my hands shaking. Seeing them, Ben plucked up my left hand and kissed it before entwining my fingers with his.

“Try to hold it in until we get to Grandma’s.” He said.

I nodded but I could feel the tears slipping already. The shaking got worse by the time we got to The Fish Place. When I saw Grandma Murphy come out of the backdoor and heading for the car, I burst in to tears. Ben and Grandma Murphy helped me get out of the car after parking and up the back steps where her apartment was located. I was a sobbing mess by the time they got me to the sofa in her living room. They let me cry until my head ached and then made me lie down in Grandma Murphy’s guest bedroom.

I woke when it was dark out to find my head buried into Ben’s chest while he slept next to me. His shoes were off and he was snoring. Smiling, I snuggled closer to him and just lay there with him. I must have fallen back asleep again because he was shaking me awake.

“Habibi, you need to wake up.”

I smiled and pulled him down for a kiss. “Ahebbouka.”

Ben laughed. “So you were paying attention when I told you how to say it.”

“Of course I was.” I said as I rolled out of bed and stretched. “How long was I out?”

“A little over four hours. The Sheriff called. He’s ready for you to come in to give your statement on what happened.” Ben said as he hugged me. “Enta Habib Alby W Hayaty Ya Habibi.”

I smiled. That one was my favorite. I kissed him softly. “Let’s go. I don’t want to be there all night.”

It took us an hour to make it to the station so I could give my statement because Grandma Murphy insisted on feeding us first. We were home by midnight and in bed together, freshly clean, by one-thirty in the morning after assuring Miles and Mark that I was okay.

I was told by the Sheriff that I couldn’t go in to my shop for a couple of days, so I decided to take the rest of the week off. There was the full moon to prepare for and Ben’s parents impending visit.

As I was drifting off, I vowed to say in bed until at least noon because I deserved it.