Random Sample

        In a mock-chivalrous gesture, Mike held the tent door open for me. As I stepped inside, I could see hidden among shadows, a large rifle underneath the cot. Not a hunting rifle, like Grampa’s 30.06, but something that looked like a paramilitary member would have for shits and giggles, banana clip and all. I swallowed, unnerved by the presence of such armament. I grew up around guns, helping Grampa clean his collection. Dmitri even took me out to the firing range and let me empty the clip in his Glock a couple times. I’m not shy about firearms. But with Mike, the scenario did not improve. Why would he need such a gun? There are no elephants running around the Mendocino National Forest, I’m pretty certain about that. I sat on the cot, acting as though I didn’t see the weapon.

        Must get home. Now.“I would like to know when I can go home.” Irked, I tried to be civil. Nothing to be gained by pissing him off. Hard to contain my anger, though.

        “When I’m done talking. I’ve got a couple years worth of questions for you.”

        I sighed. “After I answer, you take me home. People will be looking for me. You don’t want a kidnapping charge over your head.”

        “I’ll take you home when we are done.” 

        His answer did not comfort me. Almost evasive. I wanted to hear, yes, I will take you home when we finish talking…. his usage of ‘done’ veered toward the vague. And he didn’t deny kidnapping. Sigh.

        “Then please, by all means, start the Inquisition. I would prefer to sleep in my own bed tonight.”

        “It’s not your own bed. You share it.”Ah, the crux of the matter.

        “Yes, with a man who isn’t you. Now you don’t have to worry about making my body disappear, and I don’t have to worry about you smothering me in my sleep. Works out for everyone, doesn’t it?” Pain brings out my bitchy side and what do ya know? I’m sore all over.

“That almost hurt, Kaylis.”

        “Sorry, wasn’t looking to open old wounds tonight.” In addition to crashing my ride after getting in a fight with Dmitri, this night was turning out just spiffy. If I could take my angry words spat at Dmitri away, erase that burst of temper so I never got in that wreck, I would. A thousand times, I would. Him having coffee with Lorryn definitely preferable to me being stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no one but a heavily armed sleazebag as my tour guide to Hell.

        Mike leaned back in his seat, quirked his head to the side and asked softly, “Was I really that bad to you?”

        Yeah. Yeah you were. Besides the rape you encouraged, the depression resulting and you telling me to kill myself. Yeah, you were that shitty. Then you add injury to insult by hitting me so I miscarry. You are what happens when a woman has no self-esteem and does not want to be alone.”

        “Ouch. I just wanted to renew our friendship, Kay bay-bay. I miss you being friendly with me, and since I’m stuck up here, all alone…”

        “I cannot do that, Mike. Not in a million years. The candle I carried for you burned out a long time ago.” And is not missed in the slightest. That candle is no match for Dmitri’s flood light.

        “I wanted you to be the mother of my children… just not right then.”

        “Sorry to disappoint, but that’s not an option. I felt you had a right to know, being that it was half your genetic material. But you gave up that right, and any rights to my life when you did what you did. I’ve moved on from you, Mike. A long time ago.”

        “You don’t have to marry that guy. I proposed to you first, loved you first. I want what’s mine.”

        “I am not yours. And I want to marry him. I’d bake him cookies while wearing a frilly dress, lacy apron and high heels, if he asked. I’d even do my hair like June Cleaver. There is nothing more I want right now than to be his wife.”

        I would happily have a huge white wedding right bloody now if it meant I was safe at home with Dmitri. Traditional gown and all. With all things considered, the anxiety about weddings faded in a heartbeat when compared to true danger. A poofy white dress wouldn’t strangle me. Mike… well, I couldn’t rule out his hands not wrapping around my neck. The man scared me with his unpredictability.

        “You were also the first to fuck up royally to the point the woman you claimed to love no longer wants to be around you. That should be an indication of where you stand with me.”

        “You once believed we were soulmates.” Soft and plaintive, Mike tried appealing to a side of me that no longer existed for him. If only he would give up the ghost and drop me off on my doorstep.

        “I was young and ignorant. Now I’ve grown up and moved on. I suggest you do the same, Mike. Please take me home now.”He arose from his seat and sat next to me. Hairs on my arms and nape stood on end. Hated Michael in such close proximity to me.He trailed his fingertips up my arm then brushed his knuckles against my shoulder in a mega-creepster move.

        “Don’t touch me, Mike. You do not have permission to touch me. At all.”

        “You liked my touch before.” 

        The bastard swiftly bent down and kissed by my ear.

        “Again, young and ignorant. And that touch of yours you think is golden lost its charm a long time ago.” I jerked my arm away from him.

        Mike’s voice lowered and he grabbed a fistful of my hair and yanked. “I could do whatever I wanted, Kay bay-bay… and you can’t do shit about it.”

        I will not be passive like I once was. I will not tolerate this son of a bitch touching me ever again.

        I am not Ona, adrift on the eddies of life.

        I am beyond enraged.

        Bright-white heat of a thousand stars going supernova fueled my rage. How dare he put hands on me? How dare he not wait for the paramedics when he pulled me from the wreckage? Hell, the track has its own EMT truck… no excuse whatsoever for him to haul me all the way up to the middle of nowhere. Never so angry in my life and it was all directed at the son of a bitch who saved my life only to toy with me. If I failed to act, he’d rape me. I’m sure of it. Getting all hands on and creepy needs to end now.

        “You will remove your fucking hands from my body. You will take me home, right goddamn now. Think I’m scared of you?” This fucker was no where as scary as the figment of my imagination, Landross. My voice rose with anger. “You are unwelcome in my life. There! I didn’t have the balls to say it before I walked out on you, but I’ll tell you right fucking now to your repulsive mug that you have no part in my life. End of conversation. Now take me home.”

        Mike looked at me dumbfounded and bemused. His grip on my hair slackened. “Didn’t know you had a backbone in you, Kay bay-bay. It’s kinda hot.” He resumed the touching, trailing his fingers up my shoulder to my neck. “I’ll touch you because I can. Who’s going to stop me? Won’t be you, sweetums.”

        I hit him in the goddamned nose with the flat of my palm. Not the smartest thing I’ve done lately, but it felt good. 

        Mike cupped his injured nose. Then he backhanded me.“Bitch!”

        “Don’t fucking touch me, Michael. Never again will you touch me. Thank you for getting me out of my car, but that does not permit you to act like a piece of shit as a reward.” Focus. Maybe Dmitri has reported me missing and the police are tracking my cell signal. Happy thoughts. I need my happy thoughts.Mike grabbed me by the hair again, this time twisting it so my face looked up into his. Like a snake, his voice slithered into my ear. “Don’t be making demands, Kay. You don’t like me when I’m angry.”

        “I don’t like you in general.” Fire burned in my voice.

        Mike slapped me then let go of my hair. I didn’t care about him hitting me – I’d rather him get punch happy than sexual with my person. What truly pissed me off was that he refused to take me home.

        I will be no ones prisoner….

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