Thursday, March 29, 2012

Up In Flames Part II

It’s weird to watch everything you ever had literally go up in flames. Having to stand on the side of a dirty street while your home burns down is a humbling experience. I’ve never felt so helpless.

I started running toward my building but stopped at the wooden barricades the fire department had set up to keep people a safe distance away. The fire had spread to both buildings next to it and the water being poured into them didn’t seem to be helping at all. I saw neighbors from my building standing around the barricades watching in awe. I called Zoey and told her what happened, she told me she was on her way and hung up.

I backed up a little from the barricade, I don’t know why, maybe it was to try and separate myself from the reality of what was happening. Someone ran into me hard. I ended up on the ground with a scraped up hand and my head hit the concrete. They were on the ground next to me rambling apologies in a panic.

“Randy?” I said when the person who hit me offered me their hand to help me get up.

His eyes were wild and his face was blotched with soot and sweat.

“Faith!? I’m so sorry, are you okay? I’m trying to find Teddy, we got separated in the stairwell and I haven’t been able to find him.”

“I’ll help you look.” I said. We split up after agreeing to meet up in 15 minutes at the same spot. I slipped through the crowd calling Teddy’s name but didn’t see or hear him. I ended up near a stoop of a building that wasn’t on fire yet, right on the edge of the wooden barricades. I stopped to catch my breath and heard crying. I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from but it sounded like it was coming from an alley next to a burning building about 150 feet from the barricade. I looked around amid the chaos. No one was paying attention to where I was. I hopped the barricade and ran towards the sound.

“Teddy!?” I said practically sliding into the alley. “TEDDY!?”

The crying had stopped but there was whimpering and I followed it. The sky above me looked like it was on fire, the blaze was spreading and I could hear firefighters yelling nearby the opening of the alley. Embers from the burning building were trickling down around me.

“Teddy?” I said looking around a trash can.

Teddy was covered in soot and was cradling his arm. It looked burned. He was wearing Iron Man pajamas that were singed in places and absolutely filthy. His pants were wet and there were tear tracks on his face.

“Teddy, let’s get that looked at buddy.” I said holding my hand out to him.

“I’m cold, Faith.” He whimpered.

I whipped off my coat and wrapped him in it before sweeping him up in my arms and running back to the barricade.

“How did your pants get wet?” I said trying to distract him as I climbed over the wooden barricade with him in my arms. His arms were wrapped so tight around me I was having trouble breathing.

“I-I had an accident.” He said. He started crying and buried his head into my neck.

“That’s okay, Teddy. It was scary. It’s okay. We’ll get you some new pants soon.”

I weaved back through the crowd to the meeting place Randy had designated.

“Oh, my God. Thank you, Faith! Oh my God.” Randy started crying when I transferred Teddy to him.

“He’s got a bad burn, you should take him to a paramedic.” I said.

Randy nodded, pulled me close to him, and kissed me on the mouth before giving me a grateful look and then disappearing in the direction of an ambulance. I stood and watched numbly as the firemen carried out some of my neighbors. Someone had put a blanket around my shoulders and I turned to see Zoey, Anna, and Molly. I hugged them all at once.

“Faith, have they brought any pets out?” Molly asked gently.

“N-no.” I said. My voice caught in my throat and I couldn’t speak anymore.

Zoey waved down a fireman and asked if they could look for my cat. He shook his head and brushed her off. I flung off my blanket, hopped the barricade and started running towards my building but suddenly ended up hanging upside down.

“What do you think you’re doing?” A fireman had flung me over his shoulder like a sack of flour and started walking me back to the barricade. At first I kicked and tried to break free but gave up and started crying.

“Please.” I said when he set me back down, “My cat. He’s still in there. I need him. He’s all I have. Please.”

The fireman looked at me and then back at the building.

“PLEASE.” I said. I was begging at that point.

“I’ll look for him when I go back in, but it was a bad fire…”

“I understand.” I said quickly so he wouldn’t finish the rest of his thought.

I felt like I watched the fire burn for hours. The sun was coming up and each time someone would come out of the building empty-handed my hope was extinguished a little more. I felt selfish. There were full body bags sitting in front of one of the ambulances and I was dying inside because no one could find my cat. Randy and Teddy joined me on the curb across from the crowd. Zoey, Anna, and Molly were helping people in the crowd, getting coffee and blankets, doing what they could at my insistence to be left alone for a little bit.

“Faith, thank you.”

“No problem, Randy. I’m glad Teddy was found.”

He put his arm around me and I put my head against his shoulder.

“They’ll find him.” He said.

I didn’t say anything.

“What are you guys going to do?” I asked him after a long time.

“I don’t know yet. Probably stay at a hotel for a few days…”

The fire burned for hours, it was hard to control because of the wind. Three buildings other than my apartment complex caught on fire. I watched until the building was a smoldering skeleton of wood, bricks, and metal. I was holding a cold cup of coffee in my hands and staring at the ground when a pair of boots came into my line of vision. I looked up and my heart sank.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t find him.” It was the fireman from before.

“I-it’s okay. It’s not your fault.” I said with no emotion.

Zoey, Molly, and Anna surrounded me and shuffled me into Zoey’s car. I’ve been living in Zoey’s guest room for the past four days. The fire has been all over the news. 11 people died and the police think it was arson but have no idea who could have done it. The only things that I didn’t lose in the fire were the clothes I was wearing, my purse, and phone.

I can’t stop thinking about all the things I’ve lost so suddenly. And it’s not just material stuff; it’s the memories that go with it. I’ve lost photo albums from my college years, family photos, my computer and laptop, the signed apology from Kevin that I framed, Murphy’s kitty castle, my college and high school diplomas, graduation photos, and, of course, Murphy. Bruno has given me as much time as I need to get things in order but I haven’t been able to do anything except grieve for Murphy. I can’t believe he’s gone. This is so surreal.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Up In Flames Part I

Haven’t written in awhile, I’ll get to why in a second.

About two weeks ago I was at work. I had decided to dress a little more…liberally, than I had been ever since I made so much money in tips the night Brad and I made out in the storage room. I was wearing a tight-fitting white v-neck t-shirt, tight blue jeans, and sensible 2-inch black heels with a wide base and heel. My hair was up in a high pony tail and I was wearing a simple silver chain around my neck and a matching bracelet. And yes, the girls were out and looking good in that v-neck. I’ve been making a lot of money in tips ever since I started wearing a more strategic wardrobe, not enough to stay in my apartment (I have one more month on my lease and I keep avoiding the landlord’s office to tell them I’m not renewing, mostly because I still haven’t found a suitable apartment) but enough to make my very rapidly depleting savings not be depleted so quickly.

It was a Monday and we’d had an unusually busy night due to it being spring break for the college near the bar. I didn’t make as much money in tips as I’ve normally been getting because college kids are broke and don’t tip a whole lot, if they tip at all, that is. It’s seriously ridiculous. In college, I worked as a waitress at a diner and being stiffed on a tip always ruined my night (I was the best waitress ever so I know it wasn’t because of the service, some people are just assholes) and you’d think some of these college kids also work as wait staff or something so they’d know how important it is to tip, but it’s very common for us not to get any tips from college students at all. Part of me wishes Bruno would just include gratuities in the price of the drinks we sell and let us all split whatever it ends up being at the end of the night. Brad and I were talking about this in the stockroom while we were closing up. Cara had gone home because she wasn’t feeling well (she’s been sick all week, I think she has the flu) so it was just us.

“I had a kid rack up nearly 200 bucks on a bar tab tonight for him and his friends and none of them tipped.” Brad said kicking an empty crate.

“Oh, I know. That smarmy little jerk wouldn’t leave Cara alone, either.”

“I saw him eyeing you, too.”

“Let him look, I don’t care, but it was obvious Cara wasn’t interested and he wouldn’t back off. Plus, he wasn’t eyeing me enough to pay for a damn tip.”

“I hate college kids.”

“Me, too.” I said grumpily.

It had been a long night and both of us weren’t in the best of moods. I went to get my black cropped jacket and purse from my locker near the clock out station. Brad followed behind me while he put his leather jacket on.

“I’ll walk you to your bus stop.” He said, “It’s late and there are a bunch of drunk college kids roaming the streets.”

“Brad, you take the same bus as me, just in the opposite direction.”


I laughed and shook my head before exiting through the back door of the bar into the alley on the side of the building. Brad locked it up quickly and we headed to the bus stop a block away.

“I’m tired.” He said.

“Me, too.” I yawned.

We sat on the bench in the glass and metal covered bust stop area. Brad’s bus came and stopped across the street but he didn’t leave to get on it.

“You don’t have to make sure I get on my bus.” I said with my hands in my jacket pocket. It was unusually cold and I was chilly.

“It’s okay.” He said.

I got up to pace and try to get warm.

“What are you doing?” He laughed.

“I’m freezing!” I said through chattering teeth.

“You’re such a baby.” He said, “It’s, like, 50 degrees out.”

“Is that why I can see my breath when I talk? And you’re sitting there shivering.” I pointed out.

Brad stood up, opened up his jacket and engulfed me in it.

“Thank you.” I said. It was muffled by my face being in his chest.

He looked down at me, said, “you’re welcome”, and then I kissed him. My bus pulled up about a minute later and made a loud gush of air as it stopped that startled me from the kissing. Brad let me go from his jacket but I didn’t get on my bus. It left and we both stood there.

“That was your bus.” He said.

“I know.”

“Uh, you’re not on it.”

“I want to go home with you.” I said after a moment.

He smiled and engulfed me in his jacket again. Eventually his bus came and we both got on it after crossing the street . In about 20 minutes I found myself stumbling into his apartment while trying to take his jacket off. He smoothed mine off once his arms were free and I kicked my shoes off as he led me to his bedroom. He backed me into it and fell on top of me onto his bed. Both of us were shirtless and my jeans were unzipped. We were both laughing in between kisses and soft moans.

“We should use a-”

“I’m on it.” He said sliding me up so my head was on a pillow and reaching into a drawer on his nightstand. I wiggled my pants off and he handed me the small wrapper while he got his jeans off. I straddled him and teased him for awhile; playing with the band of his boxers, kissing down his abdomen, nibbling his jaw line. Finally I put the condom on him and he flipped me over so I was on my back, then he slowly took off my underwear, unhooked my bra and went for it. It was good. REALLY good. At one point he had both hands on the headboard for leverage. We were both loud and finished at the same time. He rolled off of me, panting.

“I thought I was tired when we locked up tonight, but I guess not.” He joked.

“Definitely not.” I said.

He started kissing me again and his hand moved to between my thighs. I started moaning and pulling him closer to me, he kissed me harder and moved his hand faster until I was done.

After a few minutes I said, “We probably shouldn’t have done this.”

“I don’t regret it.”

“Neither do I.” I said smiling. Sex with Brad was awesome.

I got dressed, said goodbye, and went home. Brad said I was welcome to spend the night, but I had a hungry cat to get home to and declined. He invited me to come over again and I said that I definitely would before leaving for the night.

The bus ride home took a lot longer than usual. About three stops away from my stop, there were a lot of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances speeding by and the bus had to stop every time. Finally I got off at my stop and walked around the corner. I stood there in shock before my stomach dropped and I started running towards my violently burning apartment building.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Birthday Bash

Today was the twins’ birthday party! I can’t believe they are a year old already. It seems like this year has been such a whirlwind of a lot of bad stuff, but the twins’ birth was definitely a big, good thing that happened. I bought Weatherly a stuffed cat (it looks like Murphy) and I bought Andrew a stuffed panda, Zoey bought this set of blocks that you can play with in the bathtub and stick to the tile, and Molly made blankets for them.

I was helping Anna with the cake in the kitchen and she just looked so happy. I remember when she had her miscarriage and totally shut down and it’s like she’s a completely different person now. The birthday party was in the late afternoon so I had to leave early to get to work on time but I mingled before I left and update the girls on my job situation.

“Brad is pretty hot and he flirts with me but I think it’s just meaningless.” I said to Molly over fruit punch and chocolate cake.

“You should just have sex with him.” She said.

I nearly spit out my punch.

“Excuse me?”

“You totally should. You should just have a fling to finally get over all the bad. It’s a New Year, Faith, a clean slate. Bed that man.”

“You know, ever since you and Calvin stopped seeing each other you have been really, really horny.” I said with a smirk.

“Calvin was a GOD in bed, Faith, I can’t help that I miss his amazing pe-”

“What are you guys talking about?” Anna asked as she came around behind Molly.

“Calvin’s penis.” I said nonchalantly.

“Again?” Anna said flatly with an exasperated look to Molly.

“YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.” Molly joked.

“Maybe you should sleep with Brad.” I said.

“Ooooh, who’s Brad?” Zoey said coming from behind me.

“A co-worker Faith has the hots for.” Molly said.

“I do not.” I said quickly, “We just flirt. For fun. It’s nothing. Really.”

“I told her she should sleep with him.”

“She should.” Zoey said.

I started choking on my punch at that one.

“What!? Anna, is this punch spiked? Am I drunk? Are all of you drunk?”

“It’s non-alcoholic. You should totally sleep with him. It’s exactly what you need to get over the terrible year you’ve had.” Anna replied.

“Yeah, a clean slate.” Zoey said, “Go for it.”

“I work with him. No. Plus, the flirting is meaningless. It’s not meant to be a thing.” I said.

They all nodded like they knew better and then shooed me of before I was late for work. Because of the party, I didn’t have time to change before work so I was wearing a pair of tight, flared jeans and a black flowy top that showed off the girls pretty nicely. My hair was dark and wavy and I was wearing a pair of black heels.

“Whoa. Looking good, Faith.” Cara said as I clocked in.

“Oh, thanks, I had a thing before this so-”

“Have Mercy.” Brad said as he came around the corner.

“Okay, Uncle Jesse. What is this? Full House?”

Cara started giggling and Brad went to the stockroom.

“You SO like him.” She giggled.

“I do not. It’s just harmless flirting.”

“Right.” Cara said and walked back to help Brad in the stock room.

I got a lot more tips than I normally do, probably because of what I was wearing, so I was in a really good mood. Brad and I were serving drinks and flirting back and forth while Cara giggled every time I said anything. We were busy tonight because of the weekend so Cara stayed until we closed. She was mopping behind the bar when I went to put some empty boxes in the store room. Brad came in with a bunch of crates from the kitchen and we were alone in the stock room with the door closed.

“You got a lot of tips tonight. You should buy me a drink.” He winked.

“Can I ask you a question?” I asked.

“Okay.” He said confused.

“The flirting is just…for fun, right?”

“What do you mean?” He crossed his arms and looked at me.

“I mean, that you’re just doing to have fun, you don’t actually mean anything by it, right?”

He cocked his head and smiled but didn’t say anything.

“Because if it’s not I don’t want to lead you on or anything.” I continued.

“Okay.” He said.

I nodded.

“Okay, then.” I said with finality.

I went to move a crate onto a shelf but because of my black pumps, I lost my footing and it slipped.

“Whoa!” Brad ran to catch the crate before it fell and broke whatever was inside it.

He caught it and slid it up onto the shelf from behind me. I could feel him behind me and when I turned around he smiled and put his arm against the shelf above my head. I could have walked away but I didn’t. My back and hands wear against a box on the shelf.

“I dare you.” He said and then smiled again.

I leaned in and kissed him. Hard. He put his hands on the small of my back and I had one on his chest with another on the back of his neck. I was pulling him into me and he was pushing me against the shelf pretty hard. He moved a hand into my hair and then moved his mouth to my neck. My hand made it to his hair while another somehow made it under his shirt (Brad doesn’t look like it, but he is RIPPED). I started unzipping his pants but then I snapped out of it and stopped everything like a huge spazz.

I pushed him and he backed away immediately.

“Oh God NO. NOT HERE! What am I DOING?” I had my hands both on my forehead and started pacing back and forth, “God, I am SUCH an IDIOT.”

Brad started laughing and zipped up his pants which reminded me that he was still present.

“Oh, God, Brad…uh…we can’t do that here.”

“Somewhere else then?” He gave me a crooked smile.

“Yeah, we could…NO. UGH. NO.”

“Are you drunk?” He asked. I was acting crazy.

“No, I’m just stupid.” I said. I balled my hands into fists and lightly bumped them on my head while I stood across from him.

“Faith, it’s fine. It’s not a big deal. It was just a dare.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Look,” he said coming up to me and taking my hands from my head and refusing to let me look away from his eyes, “it’s really not a big deal. We’re both adults. This doesn’t have to be weird. I’m not uncomfortable if you’re not.”

“You’re just…so hot…” I whined more to myself than to him.

He started laughing again and I pulled him over to me where we started kissing again.

20 minutes later I emerged from the stock room with my hair a complete mess right into the hallway where Cara was waiting with the mop bucket.

“Riiiiiiiight.” She said with a wide smiled and started cackling as Brad walked out.

Brad and I didn’t have sex, he’s just a really good kisser and oh my God I was so close to bringing him home with me.