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*Friendship is the choice of the logical mind to control one’s passions*
I’ve spent all day getting stuff from my parent’s place, loading up the rental van, and moving it into the house. The Binder’s, Steve’s parents, have given me the ‘ok’ to start the process. They say the bank should approve me by the end of the month since I’m putting more than half of the money down as a deposit. I’m keeping the rest of the money Carmen gave me to make sure she stays in school and for a rainy day fund.
Carmen meeting my folks was awkward. Carmen refuses to open up so there were times when the three of them would be sitting in silence in a room while I was off doing something. Mom tells me that Carmen is a bit ‘odd’ which is Mom-speak for she doesn’t like Carmen. I respond by saying that Carmen is an acquired taste and that she’ll warm to them in time.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we are going to go to an estate sell to find more furniture because I’m slowly dawning how huge this place is. Even with the Binders leaving us most of the furniture, we still have a while to go. At least I’ve convinced Carmen to allow Curtis and Tyrone to stick it out for the rest of the semester. It isn’t like they here all that often.
My phone rings late and I move to get it, but Carmen magically appears and grabs it first.
“Lynch residence,” she grins to me, but her happiness quickly fades. She hands me the phone. “It’s Lindsey.” I take the phone and can immediately tell that something isn’t right.
“Rob, can I come over to your place?” she sniffles. She’s having a rough night. I look to Carmen who has her neutral mask on.
“Sure. Do you want me to come get you?” I ask.
“I’m at my place. There is a party, but I’ll be waiting in the parking lot,” she informs me. Since it is around freezing outside, I know I have to hoof it.
“Carmen, Lindsey needs a place to crash for the night. I’m going to go get her. Come along with me in case she needs some help please,” I request. Carmen isn’t happy.
“Okay,” Carmen mumbles.
“Carmen, Lindsey is still a friend. If you don’t want me to bring her home we’ll find her somewhere else to crash, but don’t be like this,” I grouse. Carmen stares at me then nods.
“I’ll get my coat,” she says. We have gotten to the car in less than a minute.
When we get to Lindsey’s apartment complex she’s sitting out on the curb. It doesn’t take me more than a second to realize she’s got her head pillow, a toothbrush, and a bottle of mouthwash. She’s drunk and definitely not going home tonight. I hop out of the car and get to her. Carmen is right at my side.
“Rob,” Lindsey slurs, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know who else to call.” I’m still looking for words when Carmen pipes in.
“We are friends Lindsey. We’ll fix something up and you can spend the night,” which is surprisingly generous on Carmen’s part.
“Thanks Carmen,” Lindsey grins. “I won’t be a bother.” We get her into the car and take off a bit before Lindsey starts getting really upset and unloads the story on us.
“I’ve been getting drunk, because I’ve been lonely and Jesse came on to me,” Carmen sobs. Jesse is Pam, Lindsey’s roommate’s boyfriend. “Pam saw us and didn’t understand and threw me out.”
Knowing Pam and Pam’s temper I expect to find most of Lindsey’s stuff in the front yard by sunrise which is when I prophesize I’ll be back. Pam and Jesse are a volatile combination. Jesse has a roving eye and Pam is insanely jealous. Jesse enjoys yanking Pam’s emotions which is why I’ve never gotten along with him. Lindsey is falling apart in the back seat, so I lean over to Carmen and outline the situation.
“Do you want her to stay with us?” she whispers back.
“It is your home too, but you know the good and bad of my history with Lindsey. I’d like to help her,” I weigh out our choices. Carmen studies me again.
“I trust you,” is her response. That’s not the problem; the problem is how much she trusts Lindsey.
“Lindsey, how about you stay with us for a few days until we find you a new place to stay, or Pam cools down,” I offer
“Is that okay with you, Carmen?” Lindsey hiccups.
“Of course, Rob’s home is my home, and Rob’s friends are my friends. It is Pam who has made the mistake,” Carmen smiles back.
That night we tuck Lindsey on to the sofa in the ‘game’ room. I’m not sure how much sleep Carmen gets, but she doesn’t want to talk, or to let me cuddle. She lies up against me, clearly lost in thought. I fade off to sleep worried about her and Lindsey too. At least when I wake up she’s beside me.
“Carmen,” I use my only question, “are you going to be okay if Lindsey has to stay here a few days?”
“Of course Robert; I trust you,” she tells me
again. It isn’t me that I’m worried about. We get up and get Lindsey who is snoring adorably just like I’ve heard her dozens of times before. She’s not so happy when she wakes up and less so when we have to face the consequences of last night.
Sure enough we find many of Lindsey’s things out in front of her apartment eryaman escort covered in frost. Her coffee maker didn’t make the third story plunge but her Blue Ray impacted a bush and lived. After getting up her clothes and gear I go up with them and knock on the door.
“What do you … oh, it’s you,” Jesse mumbles.
“I’m here for Lindsey’s stuff,” I state. Jesse shrugs and tries to shut the door. I stick my foot in and start to wonder that asshat has broken it. I grimace.
“Her stuff is outside, dude,” Jesse says with a faint grin that fires up my pain.
“Let us in or I’ll deck you,” I grumble.
“Fuck off asshole,” he sneers. What can I say? I hit him as hard as I can in the face. Jesse squawks and falls into the room. I step in and shove him into the living room. Pam comes out of the kitchen and glares at me.
“What the hell?” Pam snaps.
“Pam, we are here for the rest of Lindsey’s stuff. Let us get it and be on our way,” I tell her.
“You hit Jesse,” she states the obvious proving to me she’s still groggy.
“I’ll be out of your way in a second,” Lindsey adds as she moves around me, keeping me between her and Pam as much as she can. I feel Carmen press up behind me, unusually quiet even for her.
“You are a bastard Rob,” Pam snarls.
“Probably,” I admit, “but you had better remember to forward Lindsey’s mail to me for the next month or so or I’ll come back.”
“I’m glad she’s gone,” Pam spits.
“Good for you,” I grin. “Have fun making rent.”
“Get the hell out,” Pam tells me.
“Trust me; all I want to do now is take Lindsey and leave. I’m not staying for the sterling conversation,” I joke.
“Bastard …” groans Jesse from the floor. I can already see one hell of a shiner around his left eye. That’s going to be tender for the next few days. Lindsey comes bundling out with belongings stuffed into a gym bag.
“I’m ready,” she smiles to me. She does bother looking at Pam or Jesse.
I turn and usher Carmen carefully from the room. Lindsey is rather animated on the way back. Apparently she likes it when I punch people while I’m less than pleased about how much my hand hurts. Carmen remains quiet until we’ve got Lindsey settled, Lindsey’s taken my car for some take-out, and Carmen and I are in the kitchen.
“You hit that man,” she states quietly. I think I know where this is going so I try and head it off.
“Carmen, had he attacked you … well, we both know how that ended up. If Jesse laid hands on you, I wouldn’t have stopped with only one punch,” I assure her. Carmen looks at me and gives me this weird smile.
“Yes, you did come to my defense, didn’t you? I’m glad you beat Jesse up. I wouldn’t have wanted him to hurt you,” she nods.
“Well, I wouldn’t have wanted him to hurt me too; my hand stings enough already,” I sigh.
“Your hand hurts?” Carmen says in a worried tone. She comes over and holds my wounded appendage to her cheek, stroking my palm. “I’ll make it better.”
Carmen gets me an ice pack and makes me sit down while she makes some hot cocoa. She’s still fluttering over me when Lindsey gets back with the food. Lindsey makes a big deal over my hand as well, which does a boy’s ego good. By the end of the day Carmen is her normal, frisky self. By the end of the next week I’m pretty sure Lindsey isn’t moving out anytime soon because the three of us go out and get Lindsey a bed from a second hand store.
“How is it going?” Ashe says over a steaming hot cup of coffee. It is snowing outside and classes have been cancelled for today and most likely tomorrow too.
“What do you think; Carmen and I aren’t have sex, Lindsey is walking around the house as if it was ‘clothing optional’, I need a spare bedroom like nobody’s business,” I bitch.
“There is always Steve’s old room,” Ashe suggests. I hate the very thought of that, but I can see how I have little choice now.
“Lindsey gave Carmen some money for rent two days ago — says she wants to pitch in,” I inform Ashe.
“Oh, going for the ‘girlfriends’ angle,” Ashe points out. “I hope she knows what she’s getting into playing games with Carmen.”
“You’ve already talked with Lindsey, haven’t you?” I accuse Ashe sadly.
“Yes,” is Ashe’s guilty reply, “she needs to be warned and how to best play along.”
“Have you given thought to how Carmen will feel about this when she realizes her so-called friends are lying to her? Assume for a moment she’s a human being,” I ask.
“I … Rob, I’m not wrong about her,” Ashe insists.
“Fine Ashe, I’m heading home,” I say in disgust. How can I describe how it feels to have Carmen laying against me and smiling in her dreams? She has had such a hard life and I’ve somehow made her happy.
“I’ll drive you. It is really coming down,” Ashe offers. I look at her and she’s not lying. I’m not looking forward to the trip by foot.
“Are you going to be able to make it back to your place?” I point out.
“Rob, I grew up in Canada. This is nothing compared esat escort to what I’ve grown up with,” she smiles.
By the time we get to my place it is coming down in flakes the size of Carmen’s palm and visibility is down to fifteen feet. The car is skidding all over the place and we’ve passed three wrecks too.
“Ashe, you are spending the night,” I insist.
“Ugh, I have to agree with you,” Ashe groans. She looks at my home with real trepidations. As we get out of the car my phone rings.
“Hey Carmen,” I say looking at the number.
“Robert, where are you? The weather …” Carmen starts.
“Carmen, look out the window. Ashe brought me home and now it looks like she’s spending the night,” I tease her. Carmen hangs up and has the door open by the time we make the Victorian era porch.
“Ashe, thank you,” Carmen says to Ashe as she hugs my buddy first. Ashe looks a little taken aback. She pats Carmen as Carmen takes us both in arm and leads into the house.
“Lindsey and I went to the store before it got too bad,” Carmen states. I can already smell some sort of cooking coming from the kitchen.
“Lindsey is making us a beef stew,” Carmen adds.
“It smells good,” Ashe tell us. She makes her way to the kitchen after I take her coat and hang it up. Carmen hovers around me until I’m finished with the coats.
“I was worried,” she says softly. I open my arms and Carmen moves in and hugs me as I wrap my arms around her.
“I was never in any danger, lu … Carmen,” I respond. Carmen looks up at me incredibly happy. She knows what word I almost used — luv; almost. “Ashe wouldn’t let anything wrong happen.”
“I’ve never had a friend like Ashe … Robert, I’ve never had a friend at all,” she sighs.
“I think … I think Ashe is trying to understand you,” I suggest. “Give her time.”
Carmen still has an arm around me when we go to the kitchen. I notice she keeps an eye on me as we eat dinner and make small talk about the current events. We burn through much of evening in a strange null world that lies between friendship and passing acquaintances. The only thing we all have in common is me, and no one wants to talk about which way our relationships might be going.
“Robert, why do you want to be with me when you could have Lindsey,” Carmen asks me once we have all gone to bed. Ashe and Lindsey are in Steve’s old room which doesn’t have me in the most positive frame of mind.
“What do you mean?” I reply.
“Her breasts are so … so much more the types of one guys are interested in,” she sighs.
“Oh, you are worried because her tits are large, firm and round, her waist is slender, her stomach just this side of flat, her hips wide and full, and her ass succulent and begging to be grabbed?”
Carmen sinks her head into my chest.
“Because your nipples feel so good in my mouth Carmen; your ass is the only one I want to touch, your stomach is worth ever kiss, and I don’t ever want to wake up when I can’t look into your eyes. For such a smart girl you can sometimes ask the silliest questions.” Carmen looks up at me with tears brimming.
“I can’t give you sex … you’re a guy and I know you want to have sex more than I’m willing to give,” she persists in this psychological self-mutilation.
“Would I like to have more sex with you: Yes; am I happy with what you are willing to give me: Yes,” I confess.
“Oh,” she whispers and as she puts a cheek to my chest I feel a tear roll down.
“Now Carmen, answer something for me,” I say.
“Okay, I’ll try,” she murmurs. Clearly I’m doing something right.
“Why this house; my room; me?” I ask. Carmen takes a deep breath and rubs her hand over my chest. She takes a deeper breath and lets it out slowly.
“When I … travelled with my Grandparents, I never really had a home. We were always moving around from one … place to another. When I was old enough I wanted to go to college in the one place that felt like home to me — here,” she begins. “On the day after I got my acceptance letter I came on the bus here.”
“I had to, just had to come by this house and … I saw you,” she sighs. “I came up to your room and looked around.”
“When I was at class?” I wonder.
“Yes … and I was in the closet when you came back with Lindsey and you … with her,” she whispers.
“Oh,” I respond — fuck!
“I wanted to be Lindsey so bad, the way she was with you, and I wanted to be with you so bad in a way I’d never wanted to be with anyone. I had to be with you Robert because I knew you could fill in the void this place had ripped in my life.”
“Are you angry with me,” Carmen whispers.
“Are you afraid of me now?”
“Yes,” I reply softly.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
“What void did this place cause in your life?” I finally ask.
“My Mom died here,” Carmen replies.
“Sorry,” I respond. “How did she die?” My next question should be ‘who killed her’.
“I stabbed her in the chest with a knife,” Carmen ankara escort sobs. I don’t know what to even think about that.
“Yes?” she cringes.
“I need to hug you,” I whisper. She pulls herself tighter into me and nods. I keep her close, letting her breath play across my chest for a minute.
“How did it happen?” I feel compelled to continue.
“She left me with those two men and her boyfriend while she stole the jewelry from the house. I think the plan was for them to freak out and leave, but they killed the boyfriend instead. The bigger one killed the other and would have killed me if I hadn’t killed him first. There was so much blood everywhere and Mom wasn’t around so I went and hid.”
“God Baby, I’m so sorry, but what makes you think you killed your mother?”
“I was in my secret place — the one Mom showed me and when she came there … I didn’t know it was her and I stabbed her. Only later when they told me I had Mom’s blood on me did I figure out that I’d killed her. Anyway, I couldn’t stay in my secret place so I went back to my room — this room. This is where they found me.”
I hug her for more than another minute before it occurs to me to ask.
“Carmen, why did they never find your mother’s body?”
“Oh,” she mumbled into my chest, “she’s right where I left her.”
“Where is that?”
“Do I have to tell you? Is it important?” Carmen questions.
“Don’t you want to bury her?”
“No,” Carmen quietly admits. What in the hell did this woman do to my Carmen? Did I just think of Carmen as mine? Hell did I just take ownership if two murders six years ago?
“Carmen, we have to deal with this,” I reason.
“Why? It has rested for six years; can’t we leave it? We have each other now. Please.” I have to do something, but all I can think of is …
“I’ll do this for you, but there is a price,” I say gravely.
“Do you want me to go?” she whispers.
“No, I want to have sex,” is the first distracting thing that comes to mind. Carmen tenses then gasps then hits me hard in the ribs. Ow!
“You scared me!” she howls.
“Did I make you happy?” I ask is which my real intent. Talking about killing her mother and some other vicious stupid bastard doesn’t exactly put me in the mood.
“Oh, very happy; you love me love me love me … I knew it.” I make Carmen dream of things other than stabbing her mother. I make her feel loved, wanted, and worthwhile. Maybe one day I’ll love her half as much as she loves me.
“Rob, Carmen the power is out,” Ashe says through a crack in the door a few hours later. I raise my head up from veil of Carmen’s hair.
“Huh? Oh, okay. I’ll go check on things,” I respond. Under the blanket Carmen strokes my thigh.
“I’ll go with you,” Carmen mutters.
“Lindsey is checking on her phone for the latest weather forecast, but its two in the morning and still snowing,” Ashe informs us.
“Great,” I yawn, “let us get dressed and we’ll meet in the living room. I think the fireplace still works.”
Carmen and I get dressed and sure enough, the power is out all along the block. I get out to the back yard and gather up some wood that’s been there since last winter. Carmen is getting blankets from the various rooms, Lindsey gathers up some beverages, and Ashe is trying to start a fire.
“Rob, have you ever had this chimney check out?” Ashe asks.
“Oh crap, the flue,” I groan. “No one has checked it out since I’ve been living here,” I confess.
“I hope we don’t burn the house down,” Ashe sighs.
“The house?” Carmen say upon entering the room loaded down with comforters.
“The chimney may not be the safest,” Ashe tells her. “A fire in the fireplace could send some cinders up the chimney.”
“It will be okay Carmen,” I assure her. She nods before Lindsey comes into the room. We decide to not repeat the conversation.
We find some batteries and put them into a radio that Curtis has in his room and it tells us that a ‘warm’ front has stalled over the area and we are looking at eighteen more inches of snow. Power is out all over the county and it will be a day, minimum, before we get power back. That leaves the four of us huddled under a series of blankets on the sofa in front of the fire.
Carmen is nestled up against my left side and Ashe is against her. Lindsey is asleep on my right, or so I think before her hand rubs up against my thigh. I move away slightly but Carmen stirs so I stop. I look over at Lindsey and attempt to give her a cautionary look. She is looking at me intently, daring me to do something.
“No,” I whisper.
“You are hard as a rock, Rob,” she whispers back. She keeps her hand moving up.
“No longer your problem,” I caution her.
“Damn Rob, I’ve been good. I’ve seen you looking at me. I know you want it,” she purrs.
“Wanting it and asking for it are two different things Lindsey. I thought you were hot when I first saw you and I think you are hot now; we not going to do that again,” I say softly.
“When you went after Jesse and Pam it was like you standing up for me all over again. You have to admit you felt something too,” she grinned.
“Lindsey what I felt was pain. I would do it all over again for you, but that doesn’t mean sex, it means I care for you,” I explain quietly.
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