continued from “Scrambling”
I tested the bathroom door. It opened. Why did Rissa scream? I walked quietly out of the bathroom into the hallway and leaned against the wall to think. I would just go and see what the problem was…I would be friendly and normal and everything would be cool.
I moved away from the wall but then stopped and put my hand up to my forehead that was now beaded with sweat. What was I thinking? What would I be walking into? Should I put her dad’s gun back in the bathroom drawer or should I take it out of my pocket and hold it out in front of me incase I needed it? This was too much. The most logical option would be to just get the hell out of this girl’s house and forget I’d ever met her. I looked over at the front door again…an escape, just a few feet away. Chris would be showing up in a few minutes or so, if he actually stuck to his word. So he could drive me home even if my truck wasn’t out there. I made my decision. I ran through the hallway, treading as lightly and quietly as I could along the thick brown carpet to the front door. I gently turned the bumpy brass handle, with no problem, and went outside into the searing sunlight. Then I grabbed a twig from the front step and shoved in the corner of the door so it couldn’t shut on its own and lock automatically.
I walked into the quiet suburban street while texting Chris, “meet me on the street“. There was my truck parked out on the side of the road…a welcome sight. I started to walk towards it and then Chris drove on up in a loud, old VW bus. Not too stealth. I pointed at an open spot further down the street so that the van wouldn’t be too close or too loud. He parked with a loud squeak of the hand-break and I went up to his door and watched him climb out. His face was black and blue and his lip was swollen. I stared in sick-awe. I had done that to him when I kicked him in the face last night. Then I almost started laughing. “You should see what I can do with a soccer ball ” I said.
He was assessing the damage he caused too, not paying much attention to my words. “Shit” he said, “Look at you.”
I didn’t know what my face looked like. I didn’t check in the bathroom mirror on purpose. And it wasn’t like I didn’t have other things to think about in there. He glanced down at his knuckles that were all cut up. I had a flashback of his fist pounding my face. He looked back up at me. I guess we were both thinking about it.
Then he seemed to realize he didn’t want to be here and frowned. “Why am I here? Or the bigger question is, why are you here? I thought I was coming here to bust you out of a bathroom.”
“Rissa’s still in there” I said, and leaned my back against his van. My heart started pumping again. “Her dad left me in the bathroom and I thought I was locked in there but then I walked out just fine”
“So what the fuck is the problem then?” he practically shouted at me. He turned and put his forehead on the equally beat-up blue, van door. “I’m so sick of you,” he said and banged the door with his hand.
“I think he’s hurting Rissa.”
Chris turned and looked at me, clearly troubled. “What do you mean?”
“He told me that he needed to go and talk to her…about me. Then I heard her scream.”
“She screamed? Was she laughing?”
“No, it was one of those screams where you know something bad is happening. We have to get in there now and help her.”
“Just walk into their house?” Chris said, looking horrified.
“There’s no fucking way. I don’t even know that girl. This is non of our business what her dad does to her.”
“Listen” I said walking close to his face so that he instinctively took a step back. “If you hadn’t beaten me so bad, while I was so drunk I couldn’t even defend myself, then she wouldn’t have had to risk bringing me here. But she did. And now she’s in trouble because of me and because of you. We can’t leave her in there.”
“You know why I kicked your ass,” he said. We looked at each other like we were going to go at it again. “This is all your fault. Not mine.” He looked away for a second. I could see his mind working, trying to make a decision. “What if he’s got a gun?”
“What if a bomb falls out of the sky and blows us up right now? Come on.” I turned and started to walk back down the street to her house. Then I stopped and looked at him. “Between the two of us we should be able to help her. I can’t do this by myself with my ribs all busted up. The only reason I can even walk or have this conversation is because I’m drugged up on her dad’s pain pills.”
Chris bit his lip and touched his forehead. I could tell he was scared shitless too but he started to follow me towards the front door. I thought for a very short second that I would like him if he wasn’t such an asshole. I pushed it open and we both walked in quietly.