Poughkeepsie, p.15
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       Poughkeepsie, p.15

           Debra Anastasia

  Chris checked himself in the rearview mirror as he climbed back in. His reflection captured him for a few moments, like it always did. When he finally looked away, he knew what needed to be done.

  Livia needed to see that homeless bastard shamed. Shamed in front of her. A good beating—and then just when he’s begging for mercy, I’ll be the big man and let him go.

  That would be perfect. Livia would see that Chris really was a thoughtful guy. But first he had to find this fucker and Livia.

  Chris texted Dave:

  Do u still have the pic of Livia w. the photoshopped hoots?

  Dave texted back so quickly, Chris gave him the finger through the phone. Stupid nerd kept his phone attached to his hand. Chris suspected that Dave texted himself just to look popular.

  Dude, Hell yeah - that pic is EPIC.

  Chris responded:

  I wish I had a pic of the homeless bastard.

  Dave’s excitement seemed to buzz the phone with extra force:

  I got 1! Holy Shit! I took a pic 2 prove I hit him in the face

  with a penny! 10 points u know.

  Chris felt a smile form on his lips as the two requested pictures beeped through on his screen: a decent headshot of Homeless and a sweet picture of a “topless” Livia with a set of gigantic fake tits.

  Dave was a waste of skin, but at least his affinity for creating porn with pictures of girls he knew was coming in handy. Chris had to give him props.

  Sweet. You sick fucker. I should kick ur ass. Send those pics 2 everyone

  u know. Tell em I’m looking for those 2. Tweet me if u c them out.

  Dave’s response was just what Chris hoped for:

  R U going to beat the fuck outta that guy? For taking ur girl?

  Everyone will b all over this shit!

  Chris didn’t respond. Not knowing would get more of a response from all his so-called friends. They loved to watch an ass kicking. And a Homeless ass kicking would make them go ape shit. The only person he could think of who might stand up for that dirty bastard would be with him already. Livia.

  Chris composed a Tweet and set it to repeat. Everyone would see it eventually:

  Looking for McHugh and new boyfriend. Hit me here if u c them.

  Dave will send a pic if U want.

  Let it begin. Chris started The Beast and let the vibration from the motor tickle his balls.

  Livia kept glancing back, trying to get a glimpse of Blake as she drove, but the lack of lighting denied her the pleasure.

  “Do you know he squeezed my ass? And not just once either.” Kyle pulled out her phone and started texting.

  Livia let the statement hang for a moment, but Kyle was already way past the words she’d just uttered.

  “Chris?” Livia tried to spur more information out of her sister.

  “Of course Chris. Please. Captain Romance back there wants to inject himself into you like a vaccine.” Kyle’s fingers flew over the tiny keys.

  “Why didn’t you tell me?” Livia asked.

  “Agh. I dunno. I didn’t want to break your happy.” Kyle began composing another text.

  Livia was overcome for a moment. Between Blake’s return and Kyle’s unwavering devotion…It’s too much.

  They pulled up in front of their house, and the convertible wheezed in behind them.

  “Kyle?” Livia watched her sister’s face, illuminated by the phone’s screen.

  “Mmm?” Kyle was completely absorbed by her little keyboard.

  Livia covered the phone until Kyle looked at her. “You’re simply the best lady I know. I promise not to be oblivious anymore.”

  Kyle nodded. “I love you too. Want to make out?” Despite her mocking tone, Kyle squeezed Livia’s hand before getting out of the car.

  “Well, that drives like crap.” Blake smiled as he dangled the keys in front of Kyle.

  “Just for that, Mr. Pompous Fancy Man, I get to dress you for the evening.” Kyle claimed her keys and ran for the house. “Dibs on the shower!”

  Blake held a hand out to Livia. She grabbed it and hugged his arm. As they entered the house and dripped their way, soaking wet and freezing, into the kitchen, Livia had panicky thought. Will this be like bringing a feral cat inside?

  She watched his face as he took in their surroundings. The warm, small room was by no means a palace, but it was a home. Blake looked a bit shy, but not alarmed as Livia directed him to sit at the kitchen table. The dishwasher suddenly looked obscenely luxurious, and the piles of shoes by the door seemed ridiculous. So many shoes for just three sets of feet? All he has is what he’s wearing and a cardboard piano.

  Blake’s lips were still tinged blue from the time he’d spent waiting for Livia in the rain. Livia decided to change that. She sat in his lap and pushed the hair out of his eyes. His hands found a sliver of bare skin at the small of her back. Livia knew his touch registered on her face when his lip lifted in a snarl. She let her head fall back so her hair would skim his hands.

  Blake blew on her neck. She knew what was next. She’d been picturing it since the meadow. His tongue was slow and meandering, and even though she should have been prepared, his teeth still made her gasp. Livia wanted to do so many bad things to him on the kitchen table. She was pretty sure she could actually speak in tongues if she tried right then.

  A knock on the front door forced her to give it a shot. “JaPleaseUs!”

  Blake stood and moved Livia behind him in one movement. He hit the light switch and plunged the whole first floor into darkness.

  “Stay here,” Blake whispered.

  “Hell no,” Livia whispered back.

  They went to the bay window and peeked out.

  “That’s Kevin. He’s a friend.” Livia flipped the light back on and swung open the front door.

  Kevin Connell lived two houses down. He was endlessly fashionable and easy going, which had made him and Kyle lifelong buddies. He held out a garment bag and a duffle bag.

  “Hey, am I interrupting a surprise party or is your Clapper malfunctioning?” he asked with a smile.

  Livia shook her head. “How did she force you into this?”

  Kevin held out a hand to Blake. “I’m Kevin. Nice to meet you. Are you the plumber and some pipes busted in there?”

  Blake smiled. “No, sir. The soaking clothes are entirely the weather’s fault. Blake Hartt.” Blake gave Kevin a firm handshake.

  Kevin addressed Livia’s question. “If you must know, she threatened to blow up my house, and after seeing her car out there, I’m glad I came. What, did she try to parallel park?”

  Kyle came stomping down the stairs in her robe with wet hair. “Kevin, you skinny donkey puncher, give me that crap already.”

  “Here’s Miss Bubbly now,” Kevin said, eyebrows raised. “Looks like you tried to use your car as a vibrator. Again.” He passed his bags to Kyle.

  She ignored his insult. “Are you coming out tonight or going home to breastfeed like the mama’s boy you are?”

  “I might be out. Text me when you know where you’re headed.”

  Kyle nodded and slammed the door in Kevin’s face.

  “Kyle! That was incredibly rude,” Livia shrieked.

  But Kyle was busy unpacking the contents of Kevin’s bag on the couch. “Eh, he’ll be fine,” she said. “That’s how we relate.” She turned her attention back to the array of clothing now making a pile on the floor. “Nope. He’s a girl. Hell no. Maybe. Holy crap, pink?” Finally, Kyle selected a white long-sleeved shirt, a skinny black tie, and black pants with a hint of a pinstripe.

  “What’s your shoe size, Lord Fauntleroy?” Kyle held up a pair of funky black Chuck Taylors.

  “Eleven and a half,” Blake responded with a raised eyebrow.

  “Good enough.” Kyle passed a bundle of clothes to him. “Go up, shower, and I’ll handle the hair,” she said, already eyeing his head and looking slightly perplexed. Man hair wasn’t her specialty.

  Blake winked at Livia and headed up the

  “I’m going to create myself, and I’ll redo you after your shower.” Kyle skipped upstairs.

  Livia went to the fridge and pulled out what she needed to make Blake a plate of leftover meatloaf and green beans. She popped a potato in the microwave. As the food warmed, Livia tried to ignore her cold, wet clothes and the fact that Blake Hartt was naked in the shower directly above her head. She grabbed some silverware and a soda and went to her room to wait for him with the food.

  I want to screw him on the table and make him eat in my bed. Livia giggled out loud at her crazy logic. She opened the TV tray she kept in her room for late-night studying snacks and arranged the food. Kyle knocked on the bathroom door and was admitted with a manly murmur—a murmur that made Livia shiver. After some blow dryer noise and cursing (from Kyle), Blake appeared in the doorway to her room polished, shaved, and styled. The Blake Livia had always seen was now revealed in living color for everyone else’s eyes as well.

  Kyle tromped in behind him with directions. “Livia, you’re next. Isn’t he creamy? You can thank me later. No schmexing in here! Don’t get him dirty or wet. I’m going to put on my shoes.”

  Kyle was a thin, leather assault on the eyes. Livia couldn’t imagine how she’d gotten into her bustier and capri pants. But Livia’s gaze quickly found Blake again. He was sigh-worthy. Even if he’d never waited for her in the rain, never counted her smiles, Livia knew her mind would’ve melted at the sight of him tonight.

  His green eyes sparkled as he entered, and Livia kicked her door shut. He caught her hands, and Livia let her lips touch his. They leaned into one another, mindful not to let her still-wet body touch his freshly dried one. It was like their kisses were over an imaginary wishing well.

  “I’m sorry I took my shower first,” said Blake between kisses. “You must be chilly and uncomfortable.”

  Livia’s mind cried a little. She’d been comfortable for years.

  “I’m fine, really.” She made no move to get to the shower.

  Blake rubbed her arms to warm her. “Honestly, I only went first because I’m a little afraid of her.”

  “Everyone is.” Livia smiled.

  “Five hundred twelve.” Blake’s eyes went from joking to smoldering. He kissed smile 512 right off her lips.

  Kyle banged on the door. “I said no sex! So help me God, Livia, I’ll come in there and pry you off of him!” Kyle turned the knob Livia hadn’t had the foresight to lock.

  “Go—the shower will warm you,” Blake insisted.

  Livia kissed him one more time and went into the hall. Kyle stood on one elaborate high heel that laced up her calf in a criss-cross pattern.

  “Where’s Dad anyway?” Livia pulled a fresh towel from the hall closet.

  “He’s twenty-four on.” Kyle watched Livia enter the bathroom and only then headed back into her room.

  So Dad won’t be home until lunch tomorrow. Blake could stay the night.

  The hot water turned her skin pink. She loved the idea of Blake in her room.

  Blake knocked on the doorframe to Kyle’s room. She was finally tying the bow on her elaborate shoe.

  “Pardon me, Kyle. Can I have a word with you?” Blake waited just outside her door.

  Kyle sat up on her bed and assessed her work on Blake. I rock. He’s scrumptious.

  “’Sup?” Kyle wasn’t sure what they had to talk about.

  “I know you’re designing Livia’s look tonight, and I was wondering if I might make a request?” Blake lifted his eyebrows.

  “Request away, rock star.” Here it comes. “Can she wear a push-up bra? Leave off the panties?” Kyle knew what boys liked.

  “When my lips touch her face I like to taste her skin, so maybe the makeup could be on the light side?” Blake closed one eye.

  Holy fuck, that’s sexy. Kyle felt her heart spit on her soul, taunting, Cole would want you as you are, if you were important enough. But you’re not.

  Blake watched Kyle’s eyes cloud over. “I’m so sorry. I hope I haven’t offended you.”

  Kyle smiled at the tall piece of perfect tripping over his manners in front of her. “I’m not twisting your nuts, babycakes. I was thinking it was a nice suggestion.”

  Blake looked into Kyle’s eyes. She seemed to be crumbling from the inside out. “Is there something I can help you with?”

  She stood on her impossible heels. “Sure. Why don’t you tell me why my relationships only last as long as it takes a guy to remove a used condom?”

  “You’re worth so much more than that,” Blake responded immediately.

  She was shaken by his quick, sure answer. “Um, hey, can I get some privacy? I need to do some boob wrangling.”

  Blake didn’t move, just looked mystified.

  Kyle aided him by pointing to her bosom and shaking like a plate of Jell-O. “Do you think these puppies snap to attention just because I talk nice to ’em? No, I have to drag them into position.”

  Blake used his hands to wave away the new information. “I’ll be going then.”

  Just loud enough for Blake to hear, Kyle added, “Don’t worry. She’ll look like Livia.” Then the door clicked shut.

  Kyle leaned against it, and her smile fell. Her full-length mirror mocked her. She could see all the parts of her that were wrong. She looked at the floor, avoiding her reflection. She knew exactly what Livia should wear tonight. She dug through her closet until she got to three smooshed-up prom gowns. Stuffed between the sequins and satin was a blue cotton dress. Kyle pulled it out and smoothed it with her hands. It was so soft, almost like pajamas. The blue would look stunning next to her sister’s skin.

  Kyle cut the tags off of the dress with a pair of toenail clippers. There’s no need to save this anymore.

  Kyle had been saving the touchable blue dress for her reunion with her mother. If Mom ever decided to come back, Kyle would wear this dress to show her who she really was, Kyle always told herself. Then her mom would stop hating her.

  Kyle stomped into the hallway and hung the blue dress from the bathroom door for Livia. Fuck this shit. I’m going down in flames tonight.

  When Livia finally entered her bedroom, the beautiful blue dress Kyle had chosen for her was already comfortable. Why have I never seen Kyle in this before?

  Blake stood at Livia’s dresser with a ceramic Cinderella and Prince Charming figurine in his hands. He almost dropped it when he looked at her, dressed for him.

  “Thank you, Kyle,” he said, not loud enough for Kyle to hear.

  She smiled and was pleased when he counted, again.

  “Livia, you make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.” Blake looked reluctant to move.

  Livia felt a pedestal forming under her feet.

  “Blake, I’m about to kiss the hell out of you for saying that.” She scampered around her bed to get to him and pressed her now clean, dry body against his warm chest. Blake refused to drop her keepsake from Disney World and twirled it in her hair as he accepted her kiss. He worked hard to get every bit of vanilla gloss off her lips.

  “This lipstick is like icing on the most delicious Livia cupcake,” Blake murmured.

  Livia wanted to say something equally sexy but could only manage a small moan.

  “All right, you two, do I need to put a hose on you or are you going to come willingly?” Kyle stamped one of her pointy heels.

  Blake laughed and had to wave Kyle over to help him untangle the figurine from Livia’s hair.

  “Am I allowed to put shoes on?” Livia asked.

  Kyle looked her up and down and declared, “Black flats and your black dress jacket.” Then she went off in search of her pinging phone.

  Livia dug around in the bottom of her closet while Blake put the figurine back where it belonged. He handled her belongings like he was the curator in a world-renowned museum.

  “This bear looks well-loved.” He gently lifted the hairless, torn bear that L
ivia kept in a prominent position on her shelf.

  “That’s Teddy. He’s my favorite.” Livia felt herself blush.

  “Obviously. What a lucky bear.” Blake sniffed the frazzled old toy. “He smells just like you.”

  Livia located her fancy jacket and stepped out of the closet. Blake took the coat from her and held it out in an old-fashioned ritual only he could get away with. He moved Livia’s hair out of the way and kissed her neck as he buttoned each of her buttons from behind her. He skimmed parts of her she wished he would linger on. She turned her head to claim his lips.

  They kissed until he stepped back and shook his head, as if to clear it. “I can only take so much of that with your bed so close.”

  Livia wrinkled her nose. Blake noticed the pile of stuffed bears in the corner of the closet.

  “Why are those poor suckers in prison?”

  “Ah, they were replacement bears from people who thought Teddy wasn’t good anymore.” Livia shut the closet on the tokens of misplaced goodwill.

  “They didn’t know you very well. You’re exactly the type of person to love the hair right off of something.” Blake gestured to the door.

  Livia almost told Blake the bears were mostly from Chris, but she didn’t want to bring his name into this beautiful moment.

  “Let’s get a move on,” Kyle yelled from the front door. “The party doesn’t start until I get there.”


  The Maxi Pad

  KYLE INSISTED ON SITTING in the back of the Escort. Blake held the door for both ladies before taking his spot in the passenger seat. Kyle spent most of the drive leaning up between Livia and Blake to adjust the radio. She cranked it to an ear-splitting level. Like a football team before the big game, Kyle seemed to be psyching herself up. Every once in a while she’d put her hand in front of Livia’s face and point the direction she wanted the car to turn. When she finally told Livia to park, they found themselves at The Launch Pad.

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