The Burning of a Dream

Ben and I arrived at the shop. The whole place was engulfed in flames and the Mayor was standing next the Sheriff. A smug look decorated his features and at that point, I wanted nothing more than to break his nose. I’ve never broken anyone’s nose before. I stood there, shaking with anger at him when the Sheriff came up to me. I didn’t hear him talking to me until Ben pulled me around so I couldn’t see the Mayor anymore. It turns out I was making every car in the parking lot shake and the metal groan. If Ben hadn’t pulled me around, I might have totally lost my temper. I owe him for that.

“Marlowe, I’m sorry.” The Sheriff said.

I shook my head at him. “Not your fault.”

“It kind of is. We released Steve this morning on bail. His father put up the money.”

I sighed and leaned in to Ben, laying my head on his chest.

“Did he do this?”

The Sheriff nodded. “There was a note in spray paint in the office before it went up. The firefighters who went in saw it on the wall.”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I was so upset, angry, distraught that I couldn’t find the words. So I nodded.

“Was he still here when you arrived?” Ben asked.

The Sheriff shook his head. “I’ve got patrol officers looking for him, but we haven’t found him yet.”

I finally spoke up and looked the Sheriff in the eye. “Eric, I want to take out a restraining order on him and his entire family. I don’t want them near my place of business, my home or within one hundred and fifty yards of me.”

The Sheriff sighed. “I thought that’s what you’d want. I’ll have the paperwork for you in the morning.”

I nodded at him. “That family picked  the wrong person to bully. I will not be cowed.”

Ben ran his hand over my back and I could feel it through my coat. I buried my face in to his chest to steady myself.

“I’m going to talk with the lawyers after the holiday about all of this, see what they have to say.” I said to Ben.

Ben sighed. “Okay. I’m with you, whatever comes our way.”

I nodded. “I want out of here. Eric, do you need us here?”

The Sheriff shook his head. “No. You can go. I’ll send the Mayor away, make sure that he doesn’t come near you or the house.”

“Miles, Mark, Miss Maggie and Murphy are on that list as well. They will not be harmed because they’re family.” Ben said before I could.

“You’re still coming for Thanksgiving, right?” I asked the Sheriff. He nodded. “Good. We’ll save you a place. The Twins and your sister-in-law too.”

“She’s going back home. The Twins are too much for her.” The Sheriff said with a small smile.

I smiled back at him. There were four of us in the house and they wore us all out. Ben tugged on my shoulders and we walked together back to his car. We got inside and with one last look at my shop, left the yard and headed home.

“Tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours.” Ben said as he picked up my hand.

I was embarrassed that it was shaking. “I wanted to kill him tonight. drive a hunk of metal straight through his black heart and leave him there.”

Ben jolted at my tone and sighed. “Vengeance gets you no where, habibi.”

“I know that. I didn’t do it, did I? But I wanted to.” I gripped his hand tight and looked up at him. “Will you marry me?”

Ben nearly ran off the road. He brought the car back under control and looked at me. “You couldn’t wait four more days?”

I laughed. “No.”

Ben huffed. “I had it all planned for Thursday and you go and do this while you’re all keyed up and angry.”

I smiled up at him. “I’m angry, yes. I no longer want to kill him though. I want to marry you and give him a the finger by living happily together.”

Ben tapped his fingers on the wheel as he looked at me. “No.”

My face fell and I looked down at my seat. “Oh. Okay.”

“You’re not understanding me. No, I’m not living happily with you just to give him the finger. I want to live happily with you because you want to live with me. You’re it, Marlowe. There’s been no one else I love as much as I love you.”

I was shocked. I looked up at him.

“So my answer is no. Not until its me you want. I won’t put up with being someone’s revenge goal.”

He started the car and we headed for home. I sat in the seat looking at him, heart hurting. I’d fucked up.

“I love you.” I said to him as we pulled in to the driveway.

“I love you, Marlowe. I always will.” Ben said as he pulled in to the garage and got out.

I sat in my seat a while longer, thinking. Ben opened up my door for me and grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the car. I made frustrated noises because I’d forgotten to take the seat belt off. While I fiddled with getting the belt off, Ben knelt next to the car. When I’d gotten it undone and swung my legs out of the car, Ben moved between them and cupped my face in his hands.

“I need to know, right now, why you’re in this relationship, because if it’s just for giving that man the finger, I want out.”

It hurt to hear him say it, but I understood why. I’d been so infuriated by that man I’d made a stupid mistake. I looked him in the eye and there were tears in my eyes. My own soon filled. I leaned forward and laid my forehead against his.

“I love you.” My voice was raw and heavy with the tears that I wanted to let out, but I couldn’t just yet. “Just you. No one else. I was angry earlier and I let it fuel my words. I’m sorry.”

Ben kissed me, but stayed silent.

“There won’t be anyone but you. I can’t promise eternity, but I can promise my life. As long as I’m with you, there will be no one else.” I opened my eyes and looked in to his again.

Ben’s eyes were closed. The tears I didn’t want to let come were over flowing and I couldn’t stop them. When he finally opened his eyes and then spoke, his voice was very raw and he croaked out the words to me.

“I’m not going to ask you yet. We need to put some time in between tonight and what happened, but I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me.” With that Ben kissed me and dragged me up and out of the car. He closed and locked it, reached for my hand and linked my fingers with his. Together we walked in to the house to face the questions that would be coming from all members of the house. Even the dogs.

It didn’t really matter if their question was “Hey, you gonna feed me?”



A Denver Monday

So I woke up Monday morning to the sounds of Denver and Miles screaming at each other in the great hall. It was so loud I heard it up two flights of stairs and through a solid oak door. When I checked the clock, it was 5 am. Plenty pissed off because of the time; I got out of bed, stormed down the stairs and promptly threw the nearest pair of shoes at both of them.

“If you two screaming cats don’t stop screaming I’m going to lock the two of you in the nearest bedroom until you either kill each other or have sex. The noise you’re making is enough to offend the dead.” I shouted at the both of them.

I got glares in return, so I glared back.

“I don’t give two flying shits whether the two of you think I should not have gotten involved, but I got sick of the moping.” I pointed a finger at Denver. “You, I’m goddamn sick of with your superior attitude towards my cousin. For some reason he seems to think the world of you and I’m not fucking convinced. Especially after this little temper-tantrum you’ve disguised as hurt over an imagined affair. If you’d been more honest with how you were feeling, this wouldn’t have happened.”

I sucked in a breath and jabbed a finger at Miles. “Where do I begin with you? You didn’t tell Denver the truth about what you were doing with your time. You told him nothing. This left everything you were doing open to interpretation. I may not have the best track record for relationships in this house, but fuck the two of you if you think you’re going to get away with this idiotic display of two people who are in love with each other and determined to hurt each other over an imagined wrong.”

I glared the both of them down and watched both sets of eyes drop down to the floor. “Silly geese. You’re in love with each other. Now act like it or so help me, I’ll knock the two of your stupid heads together until you’ve figured out why it is I’m so pissed at you.” 

With that I stormed back up the stairs to get ready for the day. Ben was wise enough to stay out of my way when I was that angry. He stayed even further out of my way when he brought coffee in to the bathroom and I bent the spoon in to a knot without looking at it. Even the shower stall doors were trembling. 

I do not get that angry often. The last time I totally lost my temper I trashed an entire cemetery’s iron fence while I was inside because my cousin started trashing my parents at their funeral. Losing my temper is not something I normally do.

So when I marched down the stairs I heard the whispering in the Great Hall go silent. I was still so angry with the two of them that I made the fireplace tools and the mesh screen rattle. Oh yeah, I’m scary.

I took myself in to my shop and spent the morning venting out my anger by pulling the Nash back in to its proper form and spot welding where I couldn’t get it to bed back without breaking the frame. By noon I’d spent my anger and the Nash frame was back to where it was before the accident. I was cleaning up that side of the shop and putting my tools back so I could start on other cars when Steve Miller walked in, drunk as two skunks. 

“Well, this day is just getting better. Go away, Steve. I don’t have time to play with you today.” I said as I avoided him.

“You stupid, Bitch. I’m not here to play. I’m here to make you pay for ruining my life!” He shouted at me.

I was really getting tired of people shouting today.

“You almost ended mine, Steve. I consider the fact that you’ll never get your license back small comfort for the pain I had to endure because of your idiotic driving.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted poking at him. I don’t make smart decisions when I’m angry or have been angry. So when Steve shouted at me and picked up a monkey wrench, I knew I was in trouble. I launched in to survival mode and used my gift to yank the tool out of his grasp. There was a roll of heavy gauge wire hanging on the wall, so I controlled it to wrap around Steve before he could get to me. I anchored it to the metal guard rail that was on the steps leading down to the shop from the office. He glared at me as I  called the Sheriff and told him what was going on. 

“Bitch. Stupid Bitch.” He growled when I got off the phone. 

“Oh no. I’m not stupid. That’s why I called the Sheriff. I’ve made it a point to stay away from you, Steve. Do you know why?”

“Because you’re afraid of me.” He sneered.

“No, because everyone in this town knows I have an intense dislike for you and your father hates me because I’m the one who finally made his little boy pay for his bratty ways.”

There was more cursing when I called him a brat. I parked myself on a stool across the shop and waited. I wanted to make sure that I was nowhere near the man when the Sheriff walked in. I didn’t have to wait long, because he was there with his lights on about five minutes later. When he walked through the main garage doors and saw Steve, he laughed. 

“Oh, Marlowe. I do like your way of saying ‘The situation’s been handled.’ I do believe that’s the best thing I’ve seen all day.” Sheriff Stiers said. 

There was more cursing from Steve and him calling me all manner of names that I won’t repeat here. He stopped when the Sheriff cuffed him on the head. 

“You’ve just ruined your chance at staying outside jail, boy. You were ordered to stay away from her by the Judge and you disobeyed an order.” The Sheriff said as he motioned me to undo the wire. 

I controlled it so that it was up and off while the Sheriff was handcuffing Steve. As I floated the roll of wire back to the shelf it normally say on, the Sheriff was frisking Steve and hauling him back to his car. 

“I’ll never get used to the freaky shit you do with metal.” He said as he came up behind me while I was using my gift to straighten out a bent axle. 

I laughed. “Eric it’s no different from your powers. It’s just a part of me. I just chose not to use it to become the world’s greatest criminal.”

“God help the world if you do that.” He said with a laugh.

“Agreed. God help the world.” I snickered. I sobered up a little and looked at the car. “What’s going to happen to him now?”

“Oh, for him? Jail. He tried to attack you. That’s attempted assault with a deadly weapon.” 

“Poor man. With a father like his, I’m not surprised he turned out the way he did. Do you think if I asked the court for it they’d force him into counseling?”

The Sheriff blinked and then looked at his car. “They might. Do you really want that?”

“Yes. He needs jail, a good spanking and counseling to see why his way is the wrong way.”

“Do you always have so much hope for everyone?”

I laughed. “I try. It doesn’t always work.”

“If I was in your place I’d be pissed off.”

“I was pissed off this morning. Now I’m just sad. I think I’ll go steal my boyfriend and take him to dinner. After my trip to the station, of course.” 

“You should call Ben. He could drive you. You shouldn’t be driving yourself after this.” 

“I promise I’ll call Ben as soon as I get all the doors locked.” 

“I’ll stay outside until I see the doors go down.”

“Thanks, Sheriff.” I kissed his forehead and went to go lock the front door. 

I never got the chance to tell him about the bomb. It went off as soon as I walked in to the office.