Chapter Twelve"There she is," Angel said, with a smile, as Jess entered the bar. Part of his greeting was genuine pleasure at seeing her arrive to help him do the bar's bookkeeping, the other part was a cue to Mitch, letting him know Jess was there, so his friend could brace himself the best he could. For Mitch was putting on a brave front, but, knowing him as he did, Angel knew it was just that - a front. Three blond heads crossed his line of sight, as Angel walked over to give Jess a hug hello. Angel was glad Krystal and Kelly were there just then, they would help make a difficult situation less hard.
"Hey girl," Angel said, hugging Jessie close, "thanks for coming. I really appreciate this, especially since you have other things on your mind. I do believe congratulations are in order," he said, hugging Jessie again, this time up and off her feet.
Jessie couldn't help but giggle, feeling a little lightheaded, and giddy, and she was swept up into the big man's arms. "Thanks," she laughed, hooking her arms around his neck, "but," she said, pushing back on Angel's big shoulders to look him in the eyes, "how did you know?"
Angel plopped Jessie down like a doll into the chair across from him. "Zach was here yesterday," Angel said, "came in here all decked out in a tuxedo, and bought us a round of champagne to celebrate. We even got a sneak peek of the ring.."
"We? Who's we?" Jess asked.
"The usual bunch - me, Mitch, the gals, you know Betty and Sally.. half the bar watched as that man of yours bragged about how he was gonna surprise you with that ring," Angel chuckled. "Never seen anything quite like it.."
"And Lynn? Was she here too?"
"Come to think of it, yeah, she was.."
No wonder Lynn had come at her earlier, daggers poised. And yet it still didn't explain why Zach had done what he did. Why would he go to the Dusk to Dawn in the first place? These were her friends, not his.. Her friends, she thought, looking over at Mitch over Angel's shoulder. "Explains a lot," Jess mumbled, as Angel followed her eyes back to Mitch.
"Where are my manners?" Angel asked. "You haven't met Krystal yet, have you?" Before she could say a word, Angel was up, and headed over to the bar. Mitch was busy showing Kelly and Krystal some magic tricks, as he approached. "Jessie's here," Angel said.
"Jessie?! Where?" Kelly squealed, squirming from her position of the bar.
"Right over there, sugar," Angel said, lifting the little girl up, and placing her lightly on the ground. "Will you go get her for me Kelly darlin'?"
"Sure!" stated Kelly, racing towards Jess. "Jessie.. Jessie!"
"So.. I'll finally get to meet Jessie," Krystal smiled, looking from Mitch to Angel.
Mitch hadn't said a word, just gathered up the props from his latest trick off the bar and into his pocket.
"You two should get along great," Angel said, "don't you think, Mitch? Didn't you all go to the same high school or something?"
"Yeah, we did," Mitch said quickly, smiling up at Krystal, "but Jess and Krystal didn't run in the same groups.."
Krystal looked over at Jessie, who had Kelly on her lap, and was slipping her ring on the little girl's finger. She took a good long look at Jess, trying to see if she could remember her from high school, but she couldn't remember her. From what she could see, Jess seemed like a decent person, especially with how sweet she was being with Kelly. Hmm, Krystal thought, Mitch usually went for blondes.. she must be nice if he had noticed her.
"Daddy.. daddy.. look!" Kelly said, running over to Mitch, waving her hand at him. "Look what Jessie got! Isn't it pretty?"
"Very pretty," Mitch answered, smiling down at his daughter, picking her up. "But not as pretty as you," he continued, giving Kelly a playful smooch on her soft cheek.
He could see the trepidation in Jess's eyes, as she slowly made her way over to the group, and he smiled. Not every woman would allow a four year old child try on their engagement ring. Jessie's not the average woman, he thought, she's your friend. Swallowing the awkwardness he was feeling, Mitch decided to put the manners his mother had taught him to good use.
"Jess, c'mere," Mitch said, waving her over. "There's someone I'd like you to meet."
Jessie smiled brightly at Mitch, some of her own hesitation melting away. "Sure," she answered, walking over to them.
"Jessica Reynolds, meet my friend Krystal Neil. Krystal, this is Jessie.. were.. old pals.."
"Hi Krystal," Jessie said, extending her hand to her, "very nice to meet you."
A memory flashed in Jessie's mind, as she saw Krystal up close. Where had she seen her before? she wondered. "Have we met before?"
"Krystal went to Piedmont High, just like us. She was a senior when we were juniors," stated Mitch.
"Go Cougars!" Krystal laughed, "gosh, that seems like a million years ago.."
"Is there someone in Fort Lauderdale you didn't go to school with, Mitch?" Angel teased.
"Plenty," Mitch chuckled, "I just have had the luck to keep in touch with the ones I liked."
"Well, mostly," Krystal corrected, remembering that Lynn too was an alum from their school. "Mitch was kinda hard to forget.."
"Oh?" Jessie said, taking a seat next to Krystal, "really?"
Krystal could see Mitch stiffen a little, as he set Kelly down. "Here sweetie," he said, trying to change the subject, "give Jessie back her ring.."
Kelly buffed the diamond against her cheek, before reluctantly handing it to Mitch. Taken a little further off balance by his daughter handing him the ring, Mitch rounded the table to Jessie. Their eyes met for an instant, and he could see she was searching his face for emotion. Don't be a schmuck, he reminded himself, say something..
"Congratulations," Mitch said, in barely a whisper, carefully slipping the ring into Jessie's hand, and pulling her into his arms for a hug. She hugged him back, tension slipping from her shoulders, as he pulled back far enough to kiss her on the cheek. "I'm really happy for you Jess.."
"Thanks sweetie," Jess smiled, peering up at him shyly through her long lashes.
"The stories I could tell," Krystal said, helping the two friends out by changing the subject.
The expression on Jessie's face changed, from shyness, to one of utter delight. "I like her already," she whispered to Mitch, as she turned to face Krystal again. "Do tell.."
"Be nice," Mitch half groaned, half giggled, "no fair double teaming me.."
"How did you guys become friends?" Jess asked, turning the chair to straddle it, and sit down by Krystal.
"Well, Mitch's family moved in just one block away from me back in my freshman year. He was so cute. I can still see him at that bus stop, looking all shy and lonely."
"Mitch, shy? Aww," Jessie teased.
"HA!" Angel quipped.
The more Jess got to see of Krystal, the more she liked. Her manner was as pleasing as the soft cast of her light blonde hair. She met Jessie's eyes as they talked, and Jess could see an easy kindness reflected in her green eyes. Hell, if a stranger came in, they could very well take Kelly as being Mitch and Krystal's daughter, not Lynn's. Too bad that wasn't actually the case. Krystal was a lot nicer than Lynn.. by a long shot.
"We started to get to know each other on the bus ride to school.. he always made it go by so fast with his jokes and tricks.."
"Now THAT sounds like the Mitch I know.." Jess smiled.
"Why do I suddenly feel like the topic on 'This is Your life?'" Mitch laughed.
"I needed to laugh back then too.. my folks were getting divorced, and I wasn't a happy camper," added Krystal. "Little by little, as the years past, we got to know each other more and more. You know how much Mitch loves Rocky Horror, right?"
Jessie nodded. "Who do you think taught me to do the Time Warp?" she giggled.
"Well, we started to go to Rocky Horror pretty regularly there for a while. Mitch knew most of the cast since he went there so often. Well, since I was primed to raise a little hell, as well as get back at my folks, and I joined the cast.."
"Sounds like something I would do," Jessie laughed.
"So we made a deal. He would run lines with me, and I would help him with Spanish," Krystal giggled.
"Don't tell me.. he'd copy from your homework too, huh?"
Mitch looked at the two women, playfully taking a swizzle stick, and mock stabbing himself in the heart with it. "Okay, okay," he groaned, "that's enough," he chuckled, "you guys have gotten through your goodbyes, now BREAK!"
"Why Mitch," Krystal said, batting her eyelashes at him, "we've just gotten started," she laughed, "we should have been introduced ages ago.."
"Help me.." Mitch said to Angel, in his best fly voice.
"You asked for it buddy," Angel laughed, "walked right into this one.."
They talked and talked, somehow managing to even eat some appetizers as they chatted, and soon Jessie felt like she had known Krystal for ages. "I think I remember seeing you around school," she smiled. "Guess Mitch was right, we just ran in different circles."
Krystal nodded. "But from the sound of it we both were both really into school work."
"Too bad we weren't friends back then," Jessie smiled, "we could have studied together.."
"Yeah, that's all Piedmont needed, the two of you pairing up," Mitch teased, "you would have wreaked all kinds of havoc.."
"We can always make up for lost time," Jess answered. "Where did you go to college, Krystal? I went to Wheaton.."
"Wheaton? Wow, great school. I went to Tufts.. majored in Biology. I wanna go onto finish of up my veterinary degree.."
"Uh.. sorry ladies," Angel teased, pointing at his watch, "but I'm afraid I'm gonna hafta cut you off. I need to steal Jess away to help me with my books, remember?"
Jessie laughed, nodding her head. "I'm sorry, I was having such a good time talking to Krystal that I totally forgot. We should get together for lunch soon, and continue our chat.."
"That would be great," Krystal agreed, looking at Mitch's worried face. "You really should have introduced us sooner Mitch.."
fork in me, I'm done," Mitch said, shaking his head with a laugh.
Lynn was running late. Her appointment at the beauty salon had run longer that she had anticipated, having her highlights freshened up always did get on her nerves. Sitting in one place too long had never bode well with Lynn, especially when she had so much on her mind. Checking her face in the rearview of her car, she smiled. The hours at the salon had been well worth it - she looked like a million bucks. She had to, she was on the warpath, with Mitch as her target.
Mitch... she was sure to hear it from him now, since she was more than an hour late, and it was way past Kelly's dinner time. Running a perfectly manicured fingertip along her lower lip, she wiped away a stray smudge of lipstick, making sure she was one hundred percent perfect before she entered the bar.
"You look fine to me," she heard a male voice say. Turning around, she saw a man dressed all in black, leaning up against her car, admiring her.
"And you are?" she said, flipping her hair over shoulder to look coyly at him.
"In awe of your beauty, Blondie," he grinned, meeting her gaze.
Nick knew exactly who Lynn was, having seen her many times in the bar. He didn't miss a stroke. He could see that Lynn was eating up his compliments, and grinned broadly. She opened her car door, and he took her hand, helping her out, caressing her palm with his thumb.
"You're that drummer," she smiled, brushing her tightly fitted cleavage against his chest as she exited the car, squeezing his hand. She could play the game as well as anyone.
"Notice me too, have you?" Nick teased.
"Kinda hard to miss in those tight pants," Lynn laughed.
She walked past him now, brushing him off, while giving him a good view of her hips, coquetishly swaying within the confines of her form fitting cream colored suit. She looked good and she knew it, right down to the scoop necked silk blouse that called attention to her ample cleavage.
As always, Lynn swept her eyes across the room, clenching her jaw when she saw Jessie at the far table with Angel. Well, she thought, at least she wasn't with Mitch. Maybe her warning had sunk in after all. But her grin turned to a frown when she saw Mitch cozying up to Krystal..
Taking a deep breath to settle herself, Lynn made a grand entrance, walking up to Mitch proud as day. "Hello there sweetheart," she purred, turning Mitch to face her, giving him a killer smile, before laying a searing kiss on his lips. Her hands went to Mitch's waist, pressing him to her, pressing her breasts against his chest. "Oh hello," she said sweetly to Krystal, "didn't see you there. I just HAD to give my Mitch a proper hello."
"Howdy," Krystal laughed, pitying Lynn's pathetic display.
Mitch, too, was unamused. "HELLO LYNN," he said, pushing her firmly away, while taking a swipe at his lips.
"Where's Kelly?" Lynn asked.
"She's back in the employee lounge having the dinner she would have missed otherwise if we had waited for you," Mitch answered, sternly. "Really Lynn, you should spend less time getting your hair done, and more time taking care of your daughter.."
"You like?" she asked proudly, running her fingers through her long locks. "Besides," she interjected, noticing that Mitch wasn't appreciating her little display, "YOU should be having dinner with Kelly. You've missed enough time with her already.."
Mitch was just about to quip back at Lynn, but bit his words, as he caught sight of Krystal's face. She was right. It would do no good anyway. "Blah, blah, blah," Mitch shrugged, "I've heard this speech before Lynn, and it's getting rather old."
OLD?! Parading all these floozies around our daughter is what's old, Mitchell," Lynn
snapped, "the girls were right. You have no class," she said, and with that,
turned on her heel, and headed towards the back in search of Kelly.
"Best Actress in a Soap Opera goes to Lynn," Krystal laughed.
She could hear Krystal and Mitch laughing, as she looked in on Kelly. Seeing that she was fine, eating a plate of what looked like spaghetti with Betty, Lynn decided to head back to the bar.
"Buy you a drink?" Nick said, watching her from a table in the window, "it looks like you could use one."
Taking the out, Lynn nodded curtly, and sat down with Nick. "A scotch and make it a double.. straight up," she said, as Nick went in search of their drinks.
Reading the anger on Lynn's face, Nick smiled, setting down her drink. "This should help," he grinned. "You really know how to pick 'em," he stated, sipping his beer.
"Oh?" Lynn said, eyeing Nick, critically. The last thing she needed was this guy's lip..
"The boss man over there.."
"Mitch? I can handle him.."
"And he can handle the ladies.. a whole slew of them at once from what I've seen.."
Lynn couldn't help but look over at Mitch and Krystal, anger rising inside her once again. He'd get his.. she would see to it. "Mitch is like a tuna.. no backbone," Lynn laughed, "he's just playing with those women," she lied, "to stroke his own ego.."
Hmm, Nick thought, seems I've hit a nerve, a light coming on behind his eyes. This could prove to be the most productive chat he had had in ages. "There seems to be a lot of that going on," stated Nick, motioning over to Jess with a lift of his chin, "ego stroking that is.."
"Jessie you mean?" Lynn laughed, "she's a piece of work.."
"Wouldn't mind a another piece of that action," Nick answered, licking his lips at the memory of Jessie's kiss that night.
"Don't tell me, she worked her little spell on you too?" Lynn huffed, "you men are a pathetic lot.."
"Retract the claws, sister," Nick chuckled, amused, "why? What's your beef with the sexy Miss Reynolds?"
"The ENGAGED Miss Reynolds," Lynn answered, mockingly, "we'll see how long that lasts.."
At that moment, Nick met Lynn's eyes, grinning evilly. Maybe Lynn could help him with his little plan. "I have a plan that I think youll find could be mutually beneficial," Nick said, waving Sally over for another round of drinks.
"Oh? What do you have in mind?"
"I take it Jessie isn't exactly tops in your book either," Nick asked.
"I'd rip that page right out of my book if I could.."
"Well, listen up. Maybe you can.. maybe WE can.."
He waited til Sally til had gone before he continued. "You met Jessie's new fiancé last night, right?"
"Zach Blair? Yes, he's too good for that little bitch.."
"I've done some checking," Nick said, feeding into Lynn's anger, "and the dashing Mr. Blair is as rich as he is dashing. I'm talking heir to a large publishing fortune.."
"And? Where do we fit in?" Lynn asked, annoyed.
"I'm getting to that sweetheart.. patience.." he said, squeezing Lynn's thigh under the table.
"I'm listening," Lynn smiled, evilly, moving her leg towards Nick, as she adjusted her position, moving from under the light overhead. The last thing she needed was Mitch seeing her talking to Nick.
Nick noticed Lynn's uneasiness, and decided that it would be a good idea if they took their little tete a tete out of the bar. "Can you get away for a few minutes? I'd like to pursue this further.."
How could she explain her absence to Mitch? Lynn's mind reeled. She could lie, say that she had to run to the airport to pick up a friend. It would have to do. "Don't worry about that, I'll take care of it. Where do you wanna meet?"
Nick smiled. He had to give her credit - Lynn was just as bad a schemer as him. "Twilight Motel. Room 206. It'll have to be quick. My set starts in an hour.." Nick ran his finger along the curve of Lynn's thigh, enticing Lynn even further. "I'll make it worth your while in more ways than one. Let me slip out the back, and I'll meet you there in five minutes.."
Lynn nodded, as she watched Nick leave, eyeing his tight ass hungrily. She would skip dinner, and indulge in an even better meal that night - revenge..
Waiting a few minutes, she crossed over to Mitch. "I checked on Kelly.. shes fine. But I need to ask a favor.."
Mitch looked up, as he mixed a drink. "What?" he said, flatly. At this point, he would be happy just to get Lynn out of his face.
"I need to pick up Amanda at the airport.. would you mind looking after Kelly a little while longer til.."
Mitch nodded, waving Lynn away, "Go.."
doll," she said, blowing Mitch a kiss. "Be right back," she smiled.
The Twilight Motel was a shabby place, just as Lynn had expected. Making sure her car was parked in the back and out of sight, Lynn made her way down the cheap concrete path that led to the second set of run down buildings at the back. 206.. She knocked.
Nick answered the door, cigarette in hand. "Right on time, I like that," he smiled, letting Lynn in, and shutting the door behind her. "Sorry it's not what you're used to, but it's temporary, I assure you.."
"Yeah, yeah.. save the hard luck story," she said, taking a seat on the edge of the double bed. "So, are you gonna tell me this plan of yours, or what?"
Nick took a long drag on his cigarette, the ashes coming to life in the dimly lit room. "Anxious, are we?" he smiled, "I like that too, but let's cut to the chase. We both have our own bones to pick with Jessie, right? For our own varying reasons.."
"She's a slut that needs to be put in her place," Lynn said, dangling one high heel off her toes as she watched Nick, who took a seat next to her.
"She's a tease, and I couldn't agree more," Nick said, looking at Lynn, "she needs to be put in her place.. and we're just the two to do it."
"You're still not telling me how you propose to do this.."
"At first, I just was pissed off at being yanked around by my pecker by the little bitch, and that pissed me off enough. But when I caught sight of Loverboy last night, I got this devious idea. Why not kill two birds with one stone, well, three actually.."
He had her full attention now, both with what he was saying, and by how his thigh was pressed up against hers. "I'm listening.."
"Correct me if I'm wrong here, but having Jessie out of the way would do your cause a world of good, right?"
Nick could see, from the very first time he had laid eyes on Lynn that she was a hellcat, just as bad as him. Once she decided she wanted something, it would be hers. They were two of a kind, with only social standing separating them. And that little detail only egged Nick on, wanting payback in more ways than one on the upper crust, that had thumbed their noses at him all his life. In snaring Lynn into his little trap, maybe he could get his own little rich treat out of all this.
"Then," he said, easing closer to Lynn, "I see a definite benefit in our little merger," he stated huskily, his lips brushing hers, as his hand traced the outline of her breast through her blouse. "We can't miss," he said, feeling Lynn's respond to his teasing.
What the hell, Lynn thought. In the social scheme of things Nick was a nobody. And yet his standing in her eyes had dramatically improved when he had approached her with his proposition on how they could put Jessie in her place. Gotta give it to the guy, Lynn thought, sliding her tongue along her lips that curled now in an hungry smile, the man definitely knows a good thing when he sees it. Always up for a challenge, the swirl of sexual tension and revenge was a heady combination that Lynn was more than happy to be swept up into.
It had been way too long since shed have a power screw, and squeezing Nicks muscular thigh appreciatively, Lynn decided to show Nick she was no pushover. "Maybe we should explore this is more detail," she answered, gazing into his eyes, as she flipped over, pinning Nick beneath her. "Convince me.."
"Have you heard of rufies?" Nick said, struggling against Lynn's tight grip wrists, feeling himself starting to get aroused.
"Some sort of hallucinogenic?" she said, leaning down to nibble on Nick's lips, grabbing harder onto his wrists.
"Something like that," Nick moaned, arching his back, feeling Lynn rubbing suggestively against his crotch. "All we gotta do is find just the right moment, and slip some into the unsuspecting Miss Reynolds drink.."
"Then what?" Lynn purred, laying down full length against the hard plains of Nick's muscular body, plunging her tongue into his mouth.
"And then," he moaned, sucking on Lynn's tongue, "we make our move." With one quick move, he threw Lynn off balance, rolling her onto her back. She struggled against him, fire burning in her eyes, as she felt him slipping her jacket off her roughly, holding her wrists in a vice grip, before starting to undo her blouse. He traced the edge of her lacy bra with his tongue, feeling Lynn moan with delight, starting to relax. "We bring her back here, and let's just say," he moaned, cupping
Lynn's breast in his free hand, "we get a little photographic evidence of something just like this.."
Adrenaline buzzed in Lynns temples, and she started to laugh, her maniacal laughter filling the room. "It's perfect," she grinned, looking up admiringly at Nick. "Photograph the perfect Miss Reynolds tarnishing her halo.."
"Bingo," Nick answered, "you play director, and I'll play stud," Nick laughed, "you can film me in all my glory, just keep my face out of it.."
"My attention won't be on your face," Lynn answered, snaking one hand free to fondle the growing bulge between Nick's legs. "Count me in," she purred, "but.." she paused, wrapping her legs around Nick, "let's have an UNdressed rehearsal to get the moves right.."
"No wonder Mitch did you," Nick laughed, pulling his T-shirt up over his head, and tossing it aside. "You're quite a handful.."
"He knows a good thing when he sees it," Lynn stated proudly, shimmying out of her skirt, and kicking off her heels, "and with Jessie out of the way, and a few bucks in both our pockets, I'll remind him just how good I am.."
"It'll hafta be a quickie for now," Nick moaned, feeling Lynn undoing his jeans, "but for the next half hour, I guarantee, lady, Mitch will be the last thing on your mind.."
* * * * *
Copyright © 1998 Susana Audrain and Richard Tingle All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this novel or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law.