I woke to my stomach growling. It was past noon, so it was time for lunch. I got up, went to the kitchen and threw some tuna salad together. I had plenty of tomatoes, and celery, and used a tiny bit of onion for extra flavour. I called “Lunch!” from the bottom of the stairs. At least my deer man wasn’t picky, unlike my ex who would pick out anything the might’ve resembled a mushroom or a pepper or an herb…if not flat out refuse to eat it.
I was thinking through the meal, so it was rather quiet. "Pan" didn’t seem to need to fill the silence with aimless prattle, again unlike my ex. That was two items in the Plus Column.
My phone rang and I damn near jumped out of my skin. I raced to it and snapped out a Hello. It was the police! I guess my "loving mother" got crocked to the gills and crashed her car into a utility pole…just great. I wasn’t thrilled about the fact that she had been drinking, let alone drinking and driving, but she had been admitted to the hospital for her slight injuries and, since I was on the list of contacts, it was up to me to go. The first one on the list was locked up and therefore unavailable.
I sat back down in my chair. She wasn’t going anywhere fast, so I could finish lunch, and take my time. They were going to call when she either got put into a room or released so I could drive her home. I gave them my cell number. This wasn’t the first time this had happened either, though. When I had gone to college, I stayed on campus even though it made sense for me to have stayed home because it would've been cheaper. I went on a field study trip to Chaco to play amongst the dead things and she pulled the same shit. I got a call on the satellite phone that I needed to go home IMMEDIATELY for a family emergency. She was fine, just drunk as a skunk(sorry PePe). Everytime I had tried to get away from her, she just added another strand to her web of lunacy. I had FINALLY broken free when I got the job at the firm. My ex had kept her up to date when we had gotten married, obviously. Now that I was free from him, she had lost that inside source. I wondered if THAT had set her off this time…I looked to my deer man who was just watching me. Betcha HE had something to do with it. Betcha my ex had called her and said that he had gotten beaten up for no reason…he certainly would’ve left out the gun slinging, threatening, his property part…and made it out to be all MY fault.
“News bad, C‘hoar Bihan?”
“Not really. My mother’s in the hospital. She crashed her car into a pole.”
“To see go?”
“Yeah.” I didn’t want to, but I would because it was the right thing to do. He wouldn’t force me to go either, but he’d come with me even if I didn’t ask him. I just sorta knew that.
We finished lunch, and he took the dishes to the sink, which, for some odd reason, was stone and not steel…It took a bit of work to keep nice.
My car had been finished and I could pick it up anytime. The rental place driver could take me there so I could get it. I apologized that there was blood on the seat, but then we had been assaulted. And yes, I had taken pictures of the damage. That would be part of the case. My deer man came with me. He watched the driving very carefully from the front seat. No way he‘d fit in the back.
“Thinking of getting your license?” I asked. He shook his head. We picked up the Tempo which had been nicely detailed too. I paid, and while there, the hospital called again. My mother would be staying for a while, on suicide watch…lovely. Fucking Gods damned drama queen! She had tried one time stabbing herself in the stomach because one of the shows she was hooked on got cancelled, but then called 911 because it hurt. Duh! She had been committed involuntarily, but checked herself out after a couple of days. I wasn’t going to be taking care of her. I had my birds to take care of that gave me so much more joy.
The hospital was on the way back from the body shop, so we swung by. I wasn’t expecting to stay long at all. I already felt the little acid pumps in my stomach firing away. I asked at the desk to find the room for Katherine Arbiter and had to say that I was her daughter and show ID. The tall man with the gentle eyes and his arm in a sling following in my wake would’ve gotten noticed anywhere. I took the elevator to the 7th floor. She wasn’t in intensive care, but on a general floor right near the nurses’ station.
I told the gal at the kiosk who I was, and asked how my mother was. The disgusted look on her face before she turned on a fake smile, told me all I needed to know. The old bag was up to her usual head games. The deer man squeezed my shoulder. There was a policeman taking her statement when we stepped in. She was telling the cop that something furry had run across the road in front of her and she had crashed trying to miss it, because she loved animals so much. (She hated them, and I had never had a pet, not even a fish, or a dust bunny, or a pet rock.) When the cop asked again, it was because she dropped her cigarette in her lap. (A bad habit I had never taken up, thanks.)
“Oh, look! It’s my beloved daughter come to tell you it’s all a misunderstanding! Tell Officer McGinnis, Lizzie.” I cringed. I ALWAYS hated that short form of my name; I had had some scrapes in school because it sounded too much like the derogatory word for girls who really liked girls.
“Good afternoon Officer McGinnis, what was her BAC?(Legally drunk in our state was .08) And how fast was she going?” I KNOW I sounded peeved, because I was.
“She blew a .17 (Damn!) She says she was only going 35, but witnesses say she was going…” He flipped a couple of pages in his notebook. “60 on Main Street and she was weaving in and out of traffic, crossing the centre line. She has to attend a hearing, but I think the Registry’s gonna pull her license, because it‘s the 7th time she‘s done this.” She’d drive without it…I KNEW that for a fact because she’d done it before. And it was more like 10th. If I took her keys, she’d hafta get around somehow. The “faithful” ladies from her church would prolly shun her because true forgiveness wasn’t really part of their make up. There was public transportation, or she could take a taxi, or Gods forbid, she could walk or ride a bike. I KNEW that she’d want ME to chauffeur her ass around, without my ex able to do it, and I wasn’t going to. I was here ONLY because we had a slender as a hair blood tie. And I wished again that I had gotten to know my father’s family because there was no way they could be as fucked as this one was.
“It’s a mistake Lizzie! You KNOW that! I’m a good driver!” I cringed as she started whining. “I wasn’t speeding! I don’t drive fast and I certainly follow the rules of the road! I’ll show you RIGHT NOW!!” She rattled the handcuffs. “If this pig would just let me out…”
I had my father’s last name and I guess I rather looked like him, not that I remembered him at all. I was a “ginger” which hadn’t helped a damned thing in school either. I had heard all of the “soulless ginger” jokes and they had hurt way down into my heart too. Having no back up at home either…I felt the tears coming.
“Oh my Poor Little Lizzie. So upset over seeing your mother held captive by the Town Gestapo…” Of course she would think that…her own little fictional world had no semblence to the real one. I reluctantly went over and hugged her just to be nice. No wonder she didn’t like fairy tales, she lived in one of her own making.
“See Officer, my daughter loves her old mother! She knows I’m a good person!” She was damned near strangling me and I was struggling to get away. My deer man had to pry her arms off me. I was going to have finger marks on my throat because she was warning me not to say a word to contradict her…Man, she had another think coming. I had had more than enough of histrionics, drama and bullshit, and her up and down roller coaster of emotions. She was prolly untreated, un-medicated bipolar and I had looked into that too, but she had never taken care of herself.
I stood, cleared my sore throat, and took a deep breath. “My mother is delusional. She has DUI’d before, in fact a dozen times that I know of. She’s doing this because I’m finally divorced from the man that SHE wanted me to marry. She’s a drama queen and all this is just for show. She’s never been a mother, let alone a good one. The only reason *I* was called is because my ex is in jail for shooting my friend here and isn’t able to do it himself.”
My mother was interrupting by groans and cries and shrieks like a demon tortured by Holy Water and an exorcist. She was rattling the steel handcuffs that held her to the bed again, but she wasn’t going anywhere.
“You lying fucking WHORE!” She spat finally. The Officer made a hasty escape, knowing an ugly domestic scene was about to happen.
“I’m on my deathbed and you have the BALLS to lie to an Officer of the Law? And to bring another man into see me?! Are you flaunting the fact that you‘re a slut?” Ferfucksakes!
“Mother, I am divorced finally. I got my decree in the mail. You just never understood that I never even LIKED him. YOU did! My friend came along with me just so you can see what damage my ex inflicted. He shot him and he could’ve died! You and my ex belong with each other! You’re a match made in Hell!”
“C‘hoar…” The deerman stated, then stepped around me. “Pan Stanwood am I…” I still hadn‘t talked to him about that. He held out his hand to her. She took it only because she didn’t have much of a choice. “Friends we are just. Park, daughter and I met at. Work there do I.” A bit of a stretch of the truth. “Walking was she, ex mate assignation thought we having and to shoot her tried. Skunk tripped over he, off gun went and hit got I. Hospital took me she and jail in is he.”
“You are FUCKING a foreigner!?” My mother shrieked at me, raising her decibels to jet engine. Dear Gods she never ever would get it… “You just dumped one man to shack up with another! My daughter that I raised with love and caring has turned into the town whore…How can this be? Where did I go wrong?” The woe is me speech just set me off.
“Listen, you stupid bitch! I raised myself! You were too busy being what you THOUGHT you should’ve been instead of being what you really should’ve been, caring, loving and helpful. I went to school and graduated at the top of my class. You even had the NERVE to show up drunk at my high school graduation. You’ve tried to fuck up my life since I was born, and I’ve done well in spite of you. I am happy.”
“You’re FAT!” She yelped. She had taken diet pills all my life and also did the binge and purge route…just so she could stuff herself into the stylish clothes she couldn’t afford.
“Be that as it may, mother. I am contented with the life I’m leading now. I am comfortable with where I am now.
“I’ve only wanted what was best for you!” Bullshit! She wanted a good appearance for other people.
“And you, you job stealing wetback piece of shit!” My companion stepped back from the venom in her voice. “I KNOW this is your fault! You’ve twisted her thoughts. You’re gonna fuck her, knock her up and leave her, just like her father did me! We women always think the cute ones are the best and they‘re the worst of the worst with the women hanging all over them and fertilizing wherever they go!”
“What knock up is?” He seemed genuinely puzzled. “Call phone?” If it hadn’t been such an odd situation, I might’ve laughed.
“Get her pregnant, you stupid Limey pig!” She yelled.
“English, not am I. Brittany from.”
“Whatever…You’re gonna use her for your fun, then go home to your wife and kids wherever the fuck you’re from…”
“Unmated be I.” We could both tell she was gearing up for another antiforeigner/only wanting a green card rant…He stepped back to my mother’s bed, and took her hand once again. At the touch of the metal handcuffs, his hand flashed to hoof for a second. But I was the only one who saw. He had fixed his eyes onto my mother’s and said a few words in Brythonic. She immediately sagged into sleep.
The audience that had clustered outside the door scattered as we left. The officer hadn’t gone too far, just flirting with a candystriper. Any encounter with her made me feel slimy and exhausted. “Sorry about that.” I muttered walking by. “The next time, don’t call me…Cross me off your list. I don‘t want to have anything else to do with that woman.” The cop paused mid flirt in shock.
I got to the elevator and pushed the down button. This was the end of the relationship. I couldn’t go through another one of her “episodes” again. It wasn’t worth it to me, or to my own mental health.
“Sorry am I, C‘hoar Bihan. Mean spirited is she.” Ya think?! I just pressed my head into his chest. He hugged me, then pressed the button for every floor. Each time the door opened, he looked both ways and let the other people in before letting the door close. It was a very slow trip to the lobby.
“What jack ass hit every button?” A fellow rider bitched. The deer man looked to the floor. I grabbed his hand as soon as the doors opened the final time and we beelined to the entrance before there was a mob after us. I opened the car doors and we got in. I went straight home. I felt the need to shower her miasma off me.
Unfortunately, that would be postponed for a bit because in the driveway was a police car. Shit. Now what? My ex was suing my stag man for pain and suffering. And ME, for harrassment and I was slapped with a restraining order. As the hysterical laughter threatened to boil over, I managed to explain that my EX was the one who was stalking ME. This was a different officer than than the ones I had been dealing with, so I gave this one the names of his Brethren in Blue that were in charge of my case. This day was certainly turning into a cluster fuck of the first water. I checked on the girls and saw that they were okay. At least someone was; it certainly wasn’t me…
I ran upstairs, stripped off my clothes, threw on my bathrobe and headed right into the downstairs bathroom. I turned the water onto Lobstah Boil and got in. I shook out my ponytail and grabbed the shampoo. It was Amber Scented and one of my favourites. I lathered up and rinsed, then got out my scrubbie and scrubbied away. I felt so unclean that I swore I could’ve used a potato peeler and taken off a whole layer of skin.
“C‘hoar?” His voice in my bathroom made me cower behind the clouded glass doors. “Rain falling heard I. Okay see were you.”
I managed to get soap in my eyes and that was stinging and I had been crying too, so I was a mess, I knew. As much as I wanted him to leave me alone until I was together, I found myself throwing myself at him and just bawling. He spoke soothing words to me in his native tongue and I finally calmed down. He placed me back into the shower and helped me rinse off. He took a towel off the wooden rack and patted my back dry. I did the rest myself. “Rarity are you, C‘hoar.” I KNEW he had been peeking and blushed. I wasn’t a your usual redhead. I wasn’t a carrot top, nor a strawberry blonde or a rusty red or even a chestnut colour. My hair was dark brown nearing black, but had a reddish wine tinge to it. And it was natural. I had never dyed it and it was always a shock for someone to look at me. With dark hair you would’ve expected that I’d tan easily. Nope, I’d burn to a crisp unless I used 50,000 sunblock. I would’ve been great vampyre material except for my eyes. They were a navy blue near the iris with silvery grey at the edges. It was more like an animal than a person. Another sticking point in school was the colour of my eyes. Needless to say, school was NOT fun and I had my head in a book most times. I was Valedictorian and maintained straight A’s all the way through. I was in a class by myself though, not a jock: too uncoordinated. Not cool: you already KNEW that though. But I was ostracized from the brainiacs too: my knowledge wasn’t THEIR knowledge. The only place I sorta fit was the Goth, Hippy, Druggy, Metal bunch and they only let me hang out with them because I knew where most of them were coming from.
I also had a star and crescent shaped birthmark on my hip. Except for the fact that it was pink, anyone who saw it, and those were few and far between except for health professionals, thought it was a tattoo.
My deer man had drawn his breath in when he saw it and I quickly covered up. He turned me around and looked again before asking, “What this is?”
“A birthmark. My father had one too.”
“Sire your lives still?” I shook my head.
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything about him really except for what my mother told me.” And most of that was colored by hate and bitterness, I was sure. She had said at one time that he was handsome and that he had courted her in an old-fashioned way. I took THAT with an overly large grain of salt.
“Out find you for, C‘hoar.”
“I haven’t been able to find him or anything about him.” Being an accountant, I could use a few methods not available to outsiders.
“Ways other have I.” I looked quickly into his eyes. I’m sure he did.
“Braddock Dorset.” My deerman suddenly had a serious expression and I didn’t like it one bit.
“What’s the matter? Do you KNOW him?”
“Know OF him, do I.” That didn’t sound good either… “Worry not now this about, C‘hoar. We rest now.”
I slipped the robe on and the towel off. My hair was still damp, but it would dry soon enough. I felt weak from the adrenaline that had been going through my body as I had resisted the impulse to push my mother, bed and all, out the window of the hospital room. I’m sure I would get let off on extenuating circumstances. I went upstairs and he followed too closely. I was really conscious that I had known the deer man for less than two weeks; he was sleeping in my bed, eating my food and I still had no idea who the Hell he actually was…And I realized it didn’t fucking matter! I was comfortable with him, something I had never been with most people. If I had been one of those New Ager types, I woulda said that they disturbed my aura or something, but it was like they rubbed me the wrong way. I dunno.
I didn’t feel that way around PePe or Bo and Jamaica, Carl and Colin, or Mel, or Cy, or Tham. In fact I rather LIKED them. Which was odd for me. I didn’t like anyone enough to be happy to see them. But I did the Park People.
I grabbed some clean clothes, ran into the other bedroom, and dressed. I sat on the edge of the bed and brushed my hair. He took the brush, set it down on the night stand and looking directly into my eyes, spoke Brythonic. I felt as if I was on a cloud, just snuggled and nestled in.