CRASH, p.6Pepper Pace
Lucas laughed almost giddily and together they had appetizers consisting of fried mushrooms, chicken wings, cheese fries and for their entrée Sophie had the rib and chicken combination while Lucas polished off a large porterhouse with all of the trimmings.
As Sophie leaned back in her chair rubbing her swollen belly and fearing that she would cause the chair to collapse, Lucas was chewing the last dinner roll that remained in the basket.
“We don’t have any leftovers.”
“We could order desert and take it home,” he responded.
“Ugh…are you trying to make me vomit?” He chuckled. “Order desert if you want, but I can’t eat another bite.”
“No, I’m good.” He waved the waitress over for the check. “Let’s get back to the house. You have some writing to do and I want to start reading a certain writer friend’s novel.”
Sophie grimaced. “Be kind when you read them, and read The Story of Me first. That’s the first one I wrote, and it’s more true to what I was trying to say.”
They drove home, talking animatedly about all things from reality TV, to music and of course her favorite topic; food.
Back at the house, Sophie went to her office and turned on music. She seemed to immediately become engrossed in writing. Lucas checked for messages; none, then he headed downstairs and picked up the thickest novel; The Story of Me.
He propped his pillows up against the head board and opened the book.
Lucas was sitting at the dining room table, sipping a mug of pomegranate tea and reading. It was Sophie’s favorite tea and though he’d only ever drank Lipton’s, this was now his favorite too. He paused and placed the book face down on the table, and then he stared out across the dining room, not quite looking at anything.
He’d been reading the book for the last three days picking it up whenever he wasn’t helping Sophie and now he was near the end. He didn’t want the book to end. He was pretty sure that The Story of Me was actually the story of Sophie. It was pretty magnificent; it was the only way that he could describe it.
In the story, the main character was named Mouse; because she was so quiet it is what everyone called her. She was visually impaired, she had asthma that kept her in and out of hospitals as a kid and she’d been molested by her grandfather. Her mother didn’t understand ‘boundaries’ and treated her like a friend instead of a child. But when Mouse grew up she got really strong. She met and fell in love with a man, and that’s where the interracial part of the story came in. He was Italian and huge like a bear and not pretty to look at but he saw her beyond her thick glasses and her lack of emotion. Mouse opened up to Vincent but she just found out that she was pregnant and he asked her to have an abortion and she did.
That’s where Lucas had put down the book. “Damn Vincent, why did you do that?” He muttered while standing up and carrying his tea into the kitchen. He went into the office to check on Sophie. She hadn’t left the room except to go to the restroom and it was already mid-day.
“Do you need anything, Sophie?”
She didn’t hear him even though he was only about five feet from her. He didn’t interrupt her when she was concentrating so deeply. He checked her mug and found that it was mostly empty so he carried it out to the kitchen to make her some fresh tea. He made her a roast beef sandwich for lunch, with a thick slice of white onion and mustard and cheese, and then he carried it all to her on a tray along with a bottled water and some chocolate chip cookies that he had made the night before.
She gave him a quick smile when he set it down on the desk. “Thanks, Lucas.” She reached for the water and untwisted the cap, taking a long swig. “How is the book coming?”
“Almost finished. I’m to the part where Vincent didn’t show up to take Mouse to the abortion clinic.” He studied her eyes for any reaction. She just nodded with an Ahh.
“It’s really a good story, Sophie.” He resisted the urge to ask her if it was true. When he gathered her blog messages, others asked but she never actually said no, only that it was a work of fiction.
She was in a talkative mood and he settled into the old reclining chair in the corner while she told him about the research she was doing for her current story.
“It’s been so long since I’ve been in college I can barely remember this stuff.” She was doing research on curriculum, the length of semesters, school breaks etc.
“I can do your research. I wouldn’t mind.”
She thought about that. “Yeah. That would be helpful.”
“Just tell me what you want me to research…or you can IM me if I’m downstairs. I keep the laptop open.”
She smiled. “You are so invaluable, Lucas. You have no idea.” He’d been with her for nearly two weeks and he did everything. She even let him take the car to run errands and to get groceries. She had given him two hundred dollars as pay but he had given her back fifty saying that she gave him everything he needed and that one hundred fifty was plenty. She knew he deserved more but he refused to take it.
She noticed that Lucas moved comfortably around the house, and did things for her before she even had to ask. Sometimes she’d think that it would be nice to have a cup of tea and he would be there with a steaming mug as if anticipating this. Of course, she drank hot tea a lot, so it was probably no stretch to know that she wanted it, but she appreciated him doing that without her having to ask.
Lucas closed the book for the final time. He was sitting out in the back yard in an Adirondack chair that he’d found in the shed when he went searching for the garden tools to get rid of the weeds by the crumbling cement wall.
He wiped his eyes, not surprised that they were wet. It’s why he came outside to finish the book; the ending was causing him to become too emotional to read inside. Vincent died. And Mouse didn’t have their baby or her man.
But then Vincent’s mother contacted her and apologized for her part in the two not getting together. The old lady said, ‘My son died alone because I was too stupid to let him love the girl that he wanted. He told me about the baby; I lost my son and my grandchild.’ And when the old lady cried and Mouse didn’t, Lucas had cried for her because Mouse had lost her ability to cry again.
Years later Mouse tried to make love to a man but couldn’t. She couldn’t let anyone else hurt her. She’d lost everything that Vincent had taught her. But Sophie had written it so that her new love was determined and that he might do for her what Vincent was not man enough to do; fight for her love.
It was sad, but very good. With a sigh, he returned the chair to the shed, making sure it was locked tight. He surveyed the yard and noted that some of the flowers were poking through the soil in the flower bed. Sophie would be happy to know about that.
He frowned. Was Sophie happy? She didn’t have a boyfriend, had never been married, had no kids and if she had family they never called or emailed her; at least not in the nearly three weeks that he’d been with her. He went into the house and checked on her.
Lucas’ breath was coming out in shallow pants as he read. His penis was very hard in his pants and he tried to ignore it but knew that he wouldn’t be able to for long. He didn’t think Sophie would appreciate the fact that he was getting a hard-on from reading her erotic stories, or masturbating almost nightly because of it. He shouldn’t but when he lay in bed at night, his mind kept picturing the characters and he would replay each sex scene until his hands reached beneath the covers and he was stroking himself. Sometimes his climax would be so intense that he’d accidentally slip and moan Sophie’s name out loud.
He didn’t dare make a sound when he was in the basement. She was just right overhead and if he could hear everything she did, she could hear everything he did—well accept for the fact that she zoned out completely. Still, if she ever heard him masturbating it would kill him.
He heard a brief knock on the basement door and it opened and Sophie came dow
“Hey Lucas. I need a break, want to go out and get some ice cream? It’s so pretty out I can’t stand the thought of sitting in that room one more minute.”
“Uh…yeah. That sounds great.” Sweat began to bead on his brow as she stood there waiting for him to get off the bed. His dick was too hard for him to stand up, and even if it wasn’t, it had wept so much that he probably had wet spots. “Let me just close down some of these programs and I’ll meet you upstairs.”
“Sure.” She smiled and headed up the stairs.
Lucas let out a tight breath. When the basement door closed behind her, he jumped out of bed and stripped out of his jeans and his pre-cum dotted boxers. He dug through his drawer for fresh underwear and jeans and just in the event that Sophie decided to add his laundry in with hers, he tossed them into the washing machine along with his other dirty clothes. He quickly started it running and then he found the book and put it on the table where it joined the other Sophie Baxter books. By now his dick was only half hard and that was okay. It was always half hard these days.
They decided to walk and headed out the back. It was so warm that they went without jackets. Sophie was dressed in jeans and a pretty yellow polo shirt with clean white Keds on her feet. Lucas noted that she had fixed her ponytail and had brushed back the stray grey streaks that surrounded her temples. She didn’t have any lines on her face and if not for the grey would probably look a lot younger.
He took her arm to steady her when they stepped over the cement wall and Sophie gave him an appreciative smile.
“Wow, you did a great job of weeding this. Now if I can just get the city to fix this ugly wall.”
“So why is it there?” he asked. “It’s not going to keep any cars from going into your yard. And you’re right, it is ugly.”
“I guess it’s to show where my property ends and theirs begin.”
“You ever think about putting up a fence; like a privacy fence? And then you can pull out your outdoor furniture and make this a real pretty to write.” He pointed to the corner. “You could put a pond there, surrounded by a garden of wild flowers.”
“Lucas, that sounds amazing! But I just don’t seem to have time for any of that.” She squinted at him and pushed her glasses up. “But it would be so nice to have a gazebo to work out of and be able to leave my barbecue grill out without worrying that someone will walk away with it.”
“Sophie, I did stuff like that with my grandfather all of the time. He did yard work for extra money and I helped him.” He looked around at the nice sized yard. “This could be done in about…two weekends.”
“You can do that? Even the fence?”
He nodded. Her eyes scanned his slight form. He was wearing a black t-shirt and he was very skinny but she could see the wiry muscles in his pale arms. Well…maybe he could.
“You’re too busy with other stuff to worry about that.” She said with a shake of her head. “I’ll worry about that next year, maybe.” They reached the convenient mart that served ice cream cones and made floats and ice cream boats. Sophie selected one scoop of chocolate chip. Lucas wanted a huge banana split with cherry cordial, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. He topped it with pineapples, caramel, hot fudge, nuts, extra whipped cream and three cherries instead of one.
Sophie died laughing when the woman set the huge monstrosity in front of him. Lucas pulled out his wallet, ignoring Sophie as she reached inside her purse. He smiled smugly to himself. It felt good to pay for her treat. They decided to head for a nearby park to finish the ice cream, but by the time they got there Sophie’s was all gone.
They sat down at a table beneath a shade tree.
“Why’d you only get one scoop?” he asked as he spooned delicious confections into his mouth.
She eyed his ice cream. “Because while I love ice cream—it don’t love me.” He noted the way that she was looking at his half finished banana boat. And he groaned in pleasure as he spooned more into his mouth. He rolled his eyes to the top of his head.
“This is so good. You want a taste?”
She looked like she would say no, but he pushed it in her direction.
“Okay, just a little taste.” She spooned some into her mouth and sighed in pleasure. “That’s good. I haven’t had one of these in ages.”
“We should pull out the grill and make some dogs for dinner,” he said.
“Oooh and some ribs.”
“I don’t know how to grill ribs,” he said while spooning more ice cream into his mouth. He pushed it to her and she absently scooped up a big strawberry that was swimming in half melted ice cream and fudge. And of course she had to spoon up the best part which was where it all began to melt into a delicious goo. She passed it back to him and he dug into the whipped cream coated banana.
“I’m going to show you how to make some down home, slow smoked, barbecue spare ribs.”
“Mmm,” he licked his lips. Sophie averted her eyes and then after a moment said that there was a meat market a few blocks over and they finished up the ice cream and decided to walk over to it.
Lucas had never had spare ribs before, only baby backs and Sophie selected the biggest set of ribs that he’d ever set eyes on. She got six long hot dogs that had natural casing. He didn’t know what that meant, but Sophie said that they’d snap when he bit into them and promised that he’d love them. She got hot dog rolls instead of buns, a bag of charcoal because she wasn’t sure if she had enough back at the house, two cans of beans, and barbecue sauce.
Lucas was becoming nervous when he saw all of the things that they’d have to carry back and he offered to run back home to get the car but she scoffed. “Come on; don’t tell me that you’re intimidated by a few packages.”
He took the challenge and tossed the charcoal over one shoulder, and carried the heavier bag containing the cans of beans and the sauce. Sophie carried the meat in one bag and the buns in the other.
She squinted at him. “You okay with that? I can take the bag-”
“I know I’m skinny, but I’m not weak.” He laughed.
“Okay okay.” They headed back to the house and half way there Sophie grimaced and gripped her side.
“Are you okay?” Lucas asked.
“Ugh…stomach. Too much ice cream.”
“Do you want to stop for a minute?”
“No. I need to get home.” Her face was twisted in discomfort. And he remembered her saying that she was lactose intolerant. They walked quicker and then she looked like she was sweating. He reached for the bag of meat so that she was only holding the bread.
“Give me the bag.” She gave it to him wordlessly, her face now twisted in real pain.
“Fuck…” She gasped.
He was surprised. He’d never heard her curse before. Then she suddenly stopped walking and bent over and placed her hand on her knee. Lucas cut his eyes from her to the house that was now visible. Just about five more minutes…
A stream of saliva came out of her mouth. “I’m going to dump,” she muttered.
And then ice cream and breakfast came gushing out of her mouth. She couldn’t believe that she was vomiting right there on the sidewalk where people could see! Lucas dropped the bag and put his hand on her shoulder and leaned over with her. She gulped in a breath and another gush of vomit came out of her mouth.
CRASH by Pepper Pace / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes