Authors: Hazel Kelly
by a Stranger
2015 Hazel Kelly
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characters in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons is
“Happy times together we've been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending”
-The Beach Boys
I felt an unprecedented level of anger as the sexual frustration
that had been building up inside me all night turned to adrenaline.
I hurried down the pier as fast as I could without running. It
was bad enough that I was leaving Audrey like that. I didn’t want her to have
the mental image of me literally running away from her.
As soon as I was a good distance away, I looked back over my
shoulder and felt an ache in my gut. Audrey was making her way up the dock, her
dress and hair flowing in the breeze.
I couldn’t believe this was happening. The last thing I wanted
was to leave her alone, pleasantly tipsy and up for it.
She was up for it, right? I know she said she was tired and that
she was thinking of heading back soon anyway, but surely she was only being
polite to highlight how fucking out of control rude I was being. Right? I
couldn’t have misread the signals that much.
No. She definitely wanted it. She’d basically suggested we hook
up outright on more than one occasion despite the fact that I was doing my best
to be subtle.
And that kiss.
She probably would’ve let me have her right there, my hand up
her skirt with the ocean breeze as my elbows gathered splinters from rocking
over her on the wooden dock.
And I fucking would’ve done it, too, especially if I’d known our
evening was going to be unforgivably cut short like this. So much for my good
karma! So much for everything going according to plan!
This bullshit was becoming too much to deal with. I couldn’t
even live my own goddamn life anymore without having to drop everything to put
out his fires. These rescue missions were becoming a regular occurrence, and I
was starting to feel like the most taken for granted babysitter on Earth.
Except babysitters fucking like their job while I was beginning
to loathe the ball at the end of my chain.
I grabbed my bike from under the palm tree where I left it and
swung my leg over the seat, revving the engine before pulling out into the
street. Fortunately, there was no traffic to speak of- except for the
occasional moped chugging along at the side of the road- so it only took me a
few minutes to make my way across town.
When I got to the club, I drove my bike straight up to the door
and jumped off, slowing down just long enough to grab the keys. Thai beaches
were one thing. Thai clubs were another. If I wanted to drive my bike away from
here, I couldn’t risk leaving the keys in my bike.
I walked in with my fists clenched.
The bouncer stopped me with his fingers. “You looking for
“Yeah, Sammy Sparkles. She works here.”
The guy nodded and removed his hand from my shoulder.
I made my way past him into the dark club and looked around. It
was warm and muggy and smelled intimate in a way that a public place shouldn’t.
Finally, I saw Sammy waving at me as she emerged from the
“Thanks for calling me,” I shouted loud enough for her to hear.
She shrugged. “Jimmy was going to call the cops. I didn’t know
what else to do.”
“Where is he?”
“Upstairs,” she said, pointing a pink talon in that direction.
“Can you show me?”
She nodded and took my hand, walking me past a bunch of sun
soaked tourists waiting for their turn to pay through the nose to have Thai
tits shoved in their faces.
When we reached the stairs, Sammy let go of my hand and led the
way to the first floor. The hallway was dark and warm. Why on Earth anyone
would choose to spend time in a place like this was beyond me.
Actually, I knew why the Thai girls did it. Half of them were
being pimped and some of them didn’t know any better. Still, the sight of the
guys downstairs with their greasy hair and their open mouthed breathing made me
feel absolutely sick.
We walked to the end of the hallway where a large man was
standing with his arms crossed. Sammy said something in Thai and the guy turned
around to unlock the door behind him.
I wanted to scream, to run, to go absolutely ape shit, but I
couldn’t leave. I was here now. I had to deal with this.
The sight I was greeted with next was almost too pathetic for
words. My Dad was propped up in a worn armchair with his feet tied together and
his arms tied behind his back. His shirt was wet with sweat and his forehead
was pouring, too. I only had to look at his eyes to know he was totally blacked
“Jack!” he slurred.
I didn’t answer him. Instead I turned to Sammy. “Was all this
She shrugged. Her eyes were sad but not apologetic. “He said he
paid Noi when he didn’t, and then he started screaming at her.”
I shook my head. Raising your voice in Thailand was considered
extremely disrespectful and set people on edge faster than just about anything.
My Dad had been out here long enough to know better.
“Then he got physical, and that’s when Jimmy snapped.”
“I’m sorry. I thought if you came it would be better for everyone.”
“It’s okay. I’m glad you called.” I knew these places didn’t
like to involve the cops unless it was absolutely necessary. If the city
started to get the impression they couldn’t handle their own customers, they
could get shut down. What I didn’t understand was why the fuck they kept
letting my Dad inside in the first place?
I sighed. “Well, he looks calmer now.” I tilted my head at him,
dying a little inside to see my Dad so fucked up by his own hand.
Sammy tried to smile.
“Can I just leave him here?” I asked. “Get him some water and
let him sleep it off?” I knew the answer, but I wanted to pretend for just a
second that I could walk away, that I had options and wasn’t completely stuck.
“No, Jack. He needs to go. He can’t be here. He upset Noi.”
I pursed my lips. “I came on my bike.”
“I can get a tuk-tuk for you.”
“Do you know anyone with a cab, Sammy? Or a car?” I asked. “I’m
afraid he’ll fall out of a tuk-tuk in this condition.”
Her lips formed a straight line. “Yes. I think I know someone.”
“Maybe someone who can be discreet?”
She touched my arm gently. “I’ll be right back.”
I turned and looked at my Dad.
“Well don’t just stand there,” he said. “Help me out of this.”
I didn’t move. His feet would have to be untied, but it might be
a good idea to leave his hands bound. It would make it easier to lead him out
and shove him in a cab. Plus, that was the only way I could be sure he’d keep
his hands to himself on the way out.
And it’s not like he would even fucking remember this tomorrow
anyway. He never did.
Every time he got like this, it was my night that got ruined,
not his. I was the one who was embarrassed, the one who was so desperate the
next morning for things to change. But he’d always wake up in the afternoon,
ready for a good time and unable to think of any reason he shouldn’t treat
himself to a cold beer.
“Why should I, Dad?” I asked, looking for a place to sit and
deciding against it. “I’m starting to think we’d both be better off if you were
tied up all the time.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Untie me now.”
“Untie me damnit!” he yelled, his face turning as red as the
“Dad, if you don’t calm down, I’m going to leave you here. I
swear to god I’ll walk out and let the cops take you away.”
“Come on, Jacky,” he said softly. “You wouldn’t do that to your
I shifted my weight and stared at him.
“Please untie me.” His addict’s eyes were vacant and full of
lies. “I’ll buy you a drink?”
I collapsed on the bed and let out a long sigh.
There was no contest. Jack was hands down the best male company
I’d enjoyed in a long time and that was by far the best date I’d ever been on.
the way it ended though.
I knew it was
too late to change the way we parted ways, but I wish I’d been thinking more
clearly when he caught me off guard. It would’ve been nice to know what the
problem was that needed his immediate attention so urgently.
But it’s not
like he offered the information up himself. Plus, he was in such a hurry. At
the time, it would’ve seemed rude to pry into his personal business.
After all, I
didn’t even know him.
And to think I
was considering sleeping with him?!
And not just
considering it, but looking forward to it!
moment he met me at the bar, I’d hoped the evening would end with sex. I
imagined he’d be in such a hurry to have me that he’d rip my dress when he tore
it off, and I wouldn’t even care because I have it in so many other colors.
throw his clothes on the floor, too, and give me the mind-blowing fuck that I
so badly needed. And even though I would never actually say any of the pillow
talk I imagined would be fun to whisper to a doctor, it all ran through my head
between dinner courses…
“I think I’m
coming down with a fever… Lay down for me so I can test your reflexes-”
And then he
might say “tell me when this hurts,” but I wouldn’t because it would hurt so
good I wouldn’t be able to breathe much less speak.
But as I
refused to learn despite repeatedly being burned, the fantasy was always better
than the reality.
I was supposed
to be mending a deflated heart, not putting myself through the ringer again! What
the hell was my problem?!
Was it that I
always put out too quickly? I mean, all my prudest friends were the first to
get married. Maybe I had to stop doing that if I was going to convince a guy that
I was worth committing to.
that theory wasn’t even relevant to this situation. After all, I wasn’t really
pursuing a real relationship with Jack. Anything that happened with him was
just a holiday fling.
didn’t even sleep with him and then who knew what the fuck it was? A holiday
chat? That would be a good story for the grandkids and the girls at home…
gather round. I want to tell you about this hot doctor who saved my life, and I
thanked him by having some really great conversation with him. Boy did we laugh
the night away with our hands in our own personal space! It was an absolutely
wild time!... Maybe you had to be there.”
Of course, we
did have fun. The conversation flowed. There were no awkward silences. We had
enough chemistry to account for a lack of common interests, which isn’t to say
we didn’t have enough in common to keep things interesting.
And I’d been
on enough first dates to know that they never went that well. If I met him in
Seattle, that would’ve been the perfect date, and I’d be hoping with every
fiber of my totally frustrated being that it wasn’t just a fling.
Then again, I
was a terrible judge of men’s character. If there was anything that my dating
record proved, it was that I was complete shit at reading their signals,
knowing where they stood, and guessing at what was going through their thick
But he had definitely
kissed me and liked it, right?
Or had he
hated it and that’s why he fled? And now he was sitting in his apartment
thinking he’d dodged a bullet by not sleeping with me because my kissing was so
atrocious that he didn’t want to take things any further.
couldn’t be. And not just because it would kill me but because my kissing was the
only thing I had any confidence in whatsoever. It was the single sexual skill
I’d practiced the most anyway.
But what if
that’s why I could never hold down a serious relationship? Because everything
besides my kissing was deplorable and cringy?
My heart sank.
If that were true it meant none of the embarrassingly numerous first dates I’d
been on had ever liked or cared enough about me to give me a heads up that my technique
needed work. In fact, they probably got together to discuss their own private
horror stories of what it was like to hook up with me.
Which meant Jack
wasn’t the first guy I’d ever alienated- just the first in this country.
I banged my
head against the bed. This was getting ridiculous. I needed to grab hold of
something and keep myself from sliding into my own sludge pool of self-pity.
the answer. Surely I’d know by now if my sexual skills were defective. Enough
people had come back for seconds and thirds that I needn’t doubt myself. And
Emmett had even told me I was amazing.
Of course, that
was before I knew he would say anything.
Why me?! I was
a nice girl! Why wasn’t I getting railed by Dr. Jack right now?! Damn it all to
I opened my
eyes as wide as I could. The white wine had obviously gone to my head. I was just
talking in circles now and letting myself get worked up.
And over what
exactly? The fact that I’d enjoyed a lovely evening that ended with a fantastic
kiss? That nothing more happened?
it was good that Jack left when he did because I was obviously not thinking clearly.
I chugged a
bottle of water from the mini fridge on the way to the bathroom. Then I splashed
some water on my face and stood up, dripping over the sink as I reached for a
What was that
face he was making at me when I opened my eyes after we kissed? He’d looked
amused and delighted. Even pleasantly surprised. Like I was adorable or
No one had
ever looked at me like that. It was nice. I could see it so clearly in my
mind, and remembering that expression made me feel so much better about the
tomorrow’s outing he would look at me again that way, like he was
I took off my
dress and hung it over the towel bar in the bathroom before grabbing one of the
white terry cloth robes behind the door. Then I turned off all the lights apart
from the one on the nightstand and sprawled across my bed.
After I stuck
my legs under the covers, I reached over to my side table and grabbed my
sketchbook. I wanted to draw the different fish I saw before my accident so I
wouldn’t forget what they looked like.
But it wasn’t
long before my eyelids grew heavy, and when I couldn’t keep them open anymore, I
rolled over to set my sketchbook on the nightstand just in time to see the
digital clock change to one.
I smiled and
slid down against the pillows. I must have sat on that dock with him for hours.