Note: Written for the Five For Six Challenge at oz_rapsheet
Prompt No. 60. Five Visits Chris Keller Had With His Wives
Word Count: 2244 (again, too many words, sorry)
She sits down very carefully, almost like a house cat, gracefully curling her tail around her body on a sofa in some nice house somewhere else but here. But this ain't somewhere else, it ain't nice and she sure as hell ain't a cat. Or graceful. The weight of her body spills over the edges of the plastic chair as she imagines - she always does - her mother's fat ass melting over the kitchen chair like grease...and there it is, the *crack*.
A woman sitting nearby looks at her right on queue, rolls her eyes and whispers something into her hubbie's ear. When they break into laughter, Bonnie ain't even there anymore. She's locked up in her nice house, sitting on the sofa, curling her tail around her warm body, purring softly.
His grip is just as strong, just as real as it used to be, his mouth just as hungry...and it *still* takes her a couple of seconds to remember that Chris, her Chris, gives it to pretty much whoever is interested.
So she keeps her eyes closed bites down on his lower lip, breathes in his cheap aftershave, clinging on for one more second. And then opens her eyes and wakes up.
The moment's gone. The moment was never there. And she ain't the only one who knows it.
That doesn't stop her from coming though. It doesn't stop him from waiting for her either.
"Having a convict for an ex-husband is cool," she says, playing with the red beads strung around her slim neck, falling down her cleavage. "Just think of the possibilities: you've got some asshole chasing you for whatever shit reason you can't get rid of, all you have to do is tell your big, bad hubby, and he'll take care of business. For free!"
Her hands do a little dance through the stale air inside the visiting room, gold bracelets ringing mercilessly.
"Got the asshole off your back, hell, got him on his knees, ready to lick your feet. Now, tell me, you think a regular asswipe who's never done time, never even got a fucking parking ticket could do that for you? Shit, no. He'd be pissing his pants, run off like some fucking fag. My ex would never do that. And that's just one of the things he's good at."
She opens her little black purse and takes out a mirror and a tube of lipstick. Purple red.
"My ex loves this color," she adds, pursing her lips in the mirror and blowing off a kiss.
Angelique always wanted to be a movie star. Instead, she ended up working as a part time accountant, part time exotic dancer at a strip club somewhere down New Jersey.
Her ex couldn't give a shit where she worked or what she did after work. After all, that's how they met.
"Yeah, it's a small movie production company," she says, leaning over the table towards the blonde man waiting for his brother. "I don't think you've seen any of the movies I starred in, they're usually shown at the festivals in Europe, where all the good movies get released. You know the Europeans don't say 'movie', they say 'film'. Like in French, you know. And also, I get a lot of screen time in Asia, 'cause, as you can see for yourself, I'm Asian."
She breaks into laughter and crosses her legs under the table while her fingers play idly with the young man's wedding ring.
"Married, huh? I've been married twice. And I'm thinking of getting married again, although I'm trying not to rush into things this time around, be more...level headed. More wise. I've been reading these books, you know, self-improvement books and psychology quizzes and such, and that's what they said, I swear, it was like they were talking about me. It freaked me out, I tell you. But what can I do, really? I'm inlove, I can't escape it. Just the way I am: passionate."
"Hey, my *passionate* sweetheart!..."
As she half turns, she jumps out of the chair, pushing it with her legs towards the guy waiting for his brother, falling dramatically into her ex's arms. Then they spend the next hour making out in-between Angie's latest career plans and Chris' nods and growls of approval.
Like in the movies.
When he comes back in Em City, Keller's got purple red lipstick smudged all over his grinning face.
Kitty's like a local celebrity in Oz, right next to the beached whale and the little tipsy Asian. Chris' ex-wives are his calling card, his family, his only proof he's more than a number, muttered at 6 o'clock in the morning, shouted out before evening lockdown.
Chris' wives are real, more real now than they were when he married them.
She walks in like a movie star, taking little, carefully studied steps, big sun glasses covering her eyes, a black fur coat sliding just a little bit off her left shoulder.
Sunglasses and a winter coat - Kitty's own manner of leaving her mark on the place.
And it works. Everybody's staring at her.
Keller wonders for a small second why the hell he's such a complete sucker for drama queens and concludes that maybe Beecher's right after all. Drama queens crave each other's company like they need air...otherwise they'd choke on their own misery.
She smiles, and he grins back at her.
And sometimes he wishes he could tell her how fucking ridiculous she looks with those ugly sunglasses in the middle of winter; and that she would tell him he never meant shit to her, ever.
But not now.
Not right the fuck now.
Bonnie's the one that always comes on time, never misses an appointment. She's real, reliable, steady as a rock.
She's always there. Always was, always will be.
She loves him. Sure, the others love him too, but not like Bonnie. She's special. She's his.
Always was, always will be.
He never got anybody like he's got Bonnie, not even Beecher. Especially Beecher. But...
There's always that.
That little nagging doubt creeping under his skin, that fucking itch he never gets to scratch. Scabs on his hand, under his skin, flesh and bone, somewhere inside that black hole he's got for a heart.
"So don't your husband get mad at you for comin' over to see me?" he asks her, soothing the tender skin just under her jaw line, waiting for her to tremble slightly under his touch. "I wouldn't let another guy even look at you, if you were still mine."
Bonnie's married some construction worker she *says* she met a couple of months after they got divorced. Chris suspects she'd been seeing him even before he had gotten the fuck out of the apartment, and Chris' suspicions have a twisted way of always becoming reality. For him, anyway.
She avoids looking at him while he whispers these words, double edged, subtle incriminations she's learned in time to decipher...like everything Chris says, everything he does, is some kind of a game, a riddle that only makes sense to him.
You have to switch, shed a part of yourself and embrace a part of him to get the joke. Bonnie rarely could...if ever.
You're cheating on me by doing this. And you're cheating on your husband too. You're cheating on yourself.
You don't *really* love me, and you don't love your husband either.
You're living a lie.
"Well, I'm not yours anymore, am I?"
It bothers him, she can tell. The frown, the way his body seems more relaxed than it should be, that shit eating grin...oh, yeah, she knows him when he gets like this.
"You still comin' here, aren't you?"
At that, she just has to laugh. Or start sobbing or some other hysterical shit she's got tucked under her safety net. Go though your bag of tricks, pick up whatever's handy and see if it still works.
"Besides, who says I still want you?" he adds in that low, husky growl, that oh-so-familiar 'I run this show' crap...and she could tell him he's said that *before*, she could tell him she's seen him like this a thousand fucking times before; she could tell him she already knows what he's gonna say next.
But she doesn't.
"Who says I haven't found someone else already?"
The perfect trick at the right time.
Except Bonnie's already seen his bag of tricks, Bonnie's already *felt* his poison. And she still chose to keep him near, keep him deep inside, in spite of everything.
She hates herself for that.
And he knows it.
Probably that's why he loves her so much.
"You got them all mixed up, Kitty's the blonde," he corrects O'Reily, on their way to the visiting room.
He's got wife no.1 coming over while the mick's stuck only with that old hag Aunt of his. Luck of the draw, for all Keller can tell. Except that...
"Well, that don't look like a blonde to me," O'Reily snickers, pushing his brother through the door, while Keller stops for a moment, frowning at the brand new brunette smiling at him. Hair cut short, small silver butterfly earrings; and she's wearing a fucking lawyer suit, matching shoes and everything!...
"What the hell did you do to your hair," Chris growls very, very slowly, brow still frowned, arms closing in around his chest.
"Well, hello to you too, asshole," she says, low enough for Chris to finally snap out of it, put his grin back on his face and his attempt at a loving bear hug in motion. Only that...it ain't fast enough.
She slumps back on her chair avoiding his embrace and checks her nails, left foot already dangling back and forth, playing its own rhythm. Some things never change, he thinks idly, while sitting next to her, tilting his head a little to catch her eyes.
"Come on, Kitty..."
Sister Pete's words from the other day float like rings of smoke through the sucking vacuum of his mind, and yeah, maybe he does talk of his wives like property, but he ain't doin' it like Vern talks of his prags 'cause he ain't like that jizzbag, he gives a shit, he *loves* them, he loves them...he loves Kitty...
"Kitty, my little kitty cat..."
...and besides, that's what marriage's all about, ain't it? You give a part of yourself to the other, you take whatever you can get, as much as you can and make it yours. So...
"Kitty, what the fuck?"
At that, she looks up, straight at him.
He knows she had a crush on her English teacher in high school, he knows she lost one of her toes in an accident when she was a kid and never wears sandals and how obsessed she is 'cause she thinks she walks funny, and how she never eats white food, he knows all these things... They're all his, all this shit is his.
Sister Pete doesn't know what she's talking about.
"I've got a new job," she says as a matter of fact. "A good job, Chris. Do you know what a good job is?"
"And that's supposed to mean what?" he replies, backing away a little.
"Not only that," and this time she's smiling, bright eyes shining like she's just came back from raiding all the liquor stores on the block, "but I'm seeing someone too." She breathes in, lets it all slither through his layers. Watches. "Someone who's..."
He slumps back in his chair, legs open and sprawled under the table touching hers, tongue slipping though his teeth, grin firmly back on his face. She's a fucking open book, that's what she is.
"Didn't you say the exact same shit like, a year ago too, ba-by?"
Last year, she almost slapped him. She yelled, then moaned, and finally, fell back into his arms, like in that cheesy soap opera she loves so much. This time though, she doesn't even flinch.
"Well, next year, ba-by...you won’t be hearing this *shit* anymore." She stops and checks her watch. She never wore a watch while they were together. "Because I won’t be here anymore," she finishes, smiling back at him.
"Maybe," he says, leaning his head on her shoulder, mouth sliding across her warm flesh as his fingers run over her skinny elbow, raising goose bumps.
"Definitely," she whispers, grabbing the back of his neck and pulling him in, lips brushing over his jaw, teeth nipping at his earlobe, while the thumbs of her fingers feel oddly...cold, rubbing down his nape.
He shudders under her touch as she pulls back.
As she pushes him away.
His fingers clutch on her elbow, burning, but she's already up, shaking him off like some spoiled little child.
"I'm late, Chris," she says, and it feels like some old rendition of a well rehearsed, half-hearted apology to him, some stupid sad-ass song repeating itself over and over. All too fucking familiar, all too fucking real.
"You didn't mean that, did you?" he mutters under his breath, standing up next to her, as she instinctively takes a step back towards the exit door.
She looks at him like he would look at her, like he *looked* at her, all the way back though different 'good' jobs, different haircuts, different visiting rooms. Different prisons.
Across the room, O'Reily's Aunt is crying.