College and Woodland

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Chapter 14

Finger Eleven- Paralyser

Raychel

The sun has given my skin kissed look when we leave the beach right before sunset. Max is driving his Jeep with the soft top removed so the warm breeze send my hair flying in all directions. Today was perfect. Just relaxing by the water with my best friend, not really talking about anything in particular. Very chill and relaxing. Max pulls up to the little soda shop left over from when this ton was more of a tourist site then a college town. It doesn't even have an inside you just order at the window and then sit in the park behind it to enjoy your treats. Back when we first started dating Mark took me here a couple times. Now it feels like the little shop is tainted with memories of him. Max puts in his order and motions for me to step up and place mine, but before I can say anything a voice from behind me interrupts.

"She'll have a single scoop cone of Pecan Praline." There goes my relaxing day... I turn my entire body and face Mark.

"Thanks I guess." I try and not grimace at his assumption of my order, but it is what I always got here. Max is in front of me before I can say anything else. He addresses the girl behind the window.

"Don't bother making either of those we are leaving." Max takes hold of my hand and goes to leave but I keep my feet planted. I am sick of this shit. I am not going to let Mark be a shadow that hangs over my life anymore. I am not as scared of Mark when his friends aren't around. I mean we dated for a year and he never really hurt me until that last night.

"You know what Max we can stay, it's no big deal. We can just get our cones and go to the other side of the park." Max gives Mark the evil eye then looks into my eyes trying to judge if I am really okay.

"Yea... alright. Sorry miss, I guess we are staying." The girl in the window looks to Mark then me. She nods and gives Max the total before turning to make our cones.

"Glad I didn't have to be run off by your new boyfriend again. Have to say Ray, you really scraped the bottom of the barrel with that meathead." I think back to the night a saw him at The Moon I am not really sure what happened after Sammie pulled me into the green room but I know Josh had come up to me first. I decide not to even acknowledge him when he continues.

"With all the tattoos and piercings I'm sure he thinks he is a real bad ass." Do not engage...5..4..3.. " Compensating for something maybe?" He laughs at his own joke and I freaking lose it.

"He has nothing to compensate for. Unlike you he doesn't need the designer clothes, asshole friends and lying, deviant personality to get women to sleep with him." Mark's smug face turns into one of malice.

"You little whore." He looks like he is going to grab me or maybe hit me but out of nowhere a fist hits him right in the jaw. Mark falls back into the group of people that had gathered at our little shouting match. I turn to Max, who I am assuming the fist belonged to.

"Holy shit did you just deck him?" Mark seems disoriented, grabs his face and bends over swearing loudly.

"Yep, and now we are officially out of here." He grabs my hand and starts speed walking down the sidewalk the opposite direction of his Jeep.

"You're just going to leave your car there? Where are we going?" I am struggling to keep up with him as we head towards downtown. He looks behind us, cusses, and picks up the pace to a full out run.

"Somewhere I will have backup when that asshole catches up with us."


Josh

Work has been better than usual despite me foul mood. Charlie and I drove around last night and talked about what my "grand gesture" should entail. Truthfully I am not really a romantic guy, I am more of a giving orgasms as a gift sort of person so this is out of my league. I am finishing up some paperwork in the office when Karl comes barging in. Yea Karl has been showing up for work everyday now. Crazy I know.
"You have some company out front."
"Can you deal with it I am almost done here and I have a lesson in an hour." Max, pulling Ray behind him nearly knock Karl over coming into my office and close the door behind them. Max turns to Karl.
"We are not here and do not let him stay." Max says as he pushes Karl back out to the store. Both Max and Ray are out of breath and still holding hands.
"So does someone want to explain?" I ask coming around my desk and crossing my arms. I hear some yelling at the front of the store, but I know Karl will call for me if he needs me. Ray takes another deep breath and explains.
"So we were at the beach all day and we decided to stop for ice cream at the soda shop. We ran into Mark. He started talking shit about you. Then I defended you, and he called me a whore. Then Max punched him in the face." She turns to Max "Which was totally awesome by the way. So we ran here because lets face it Max is great...but probably only good for one hit, then he wouldn't be very good in a fight. He followed us because that's just how Mark is. So we are here seeking asylum." I smile because A. Good for Max, Mark needed a solid punch in the face. and B. Because she came to me.
Max picks up where Ray left off. "I knew the music store was close so I took a shot that you would be here. BTW Mark thinks you are Ray's new boyfriend." His voice sounds frazzled but the wink he gives me says it's just a show for Ray. Thanks Max.
"Oh really and he was talking shit about me?" Ray's face turns red and she looks anywhere but at me. There is a knock at the door and Karl pokes his head in.
"Sorry to interrupt but there is a dill hole out here threatening to call the cops. I told him I would get my manager." Karl smiles, "That's your cue big brother."
I really don't want to make a scene in the store. That would be bad for business but I also want to give Mark the beating of his lifetime. I start towards the front of the store turning back to Ray.
"Go down the hall and through the double doors in the back. My dad is back there in the workshop. Just tell him who you are and he will keep you company. Max come with me." Ray and Max look at each other before following my directions. I make sure Ray is in the workshop before I walk out into the store. Lucky for me I had a meeting with some suppliers today so I am wearing a button down shirt and a tie with my usual work boots and jeans. The arms of the shirt are rolled up because although we have air in the store it's still hotter than hell outside. I also take out most of my piercings when I business meetings and put my hair up so I look semi professional. Hopefully Mark won't recognize me.
"Sorry sir, I was in the middle of some paperwork how can I help you?" Mark turns his attention from glaring at my brother to me and demenor completely changes. He straightens up and offers me his hand to shake.
"Sorry to bother you Mr...?"
"Wood."
"Right, Mr. Wood, but I was assaulted down the street and I saw the assailant come into your store. Your employee insists they are not here but I know..." I cut him off.
"My brother."
"Sorry what?" Jesus this guy is a pompous turd.
"The "employee" is my brother, and I am sorry for the misunderstanding but the only people that have come into the store in the last half hour or so are my girlfriend and her friend." He looks taken aback for a second then really seems to be studying my face. When he finally places me his face turns red.
"Where is that little fag?" He shouts. He gets up in my face. I grab him by the front of his shirt and lift him clear off the ground. Leveling his eyes with mine.
"Max, is right behind me, and you need to shut your fucking mouth and listen to me." He tries swinging at me but a give him a quick jab to the side and he lowers his arm. "You are going to do nothing to Max, because he was right to punch you. As far as I am concerned we could have a field day bashing your face in and it wouldn't be enough punishment for what you did to Raychel." I use her full name to make my point. "Now here is what is going to happen, I am going to put you down and you are going to leave. You are not going to call the police because I have no doubt what you and your friends did to Ray you have done before. So you have a lot to lose if she says anything to the police. If you should see Max or Ray ever again you will not speak to them. If Ray comes home and tells me she saw you and you spoke to her I will find you and we can play out this scenario a little more violently." Mark has mostly fear in his eyes, but also confusion.
"Comes home?"
"That's right home.She lives with me." His eyebrows shoot up but he doesn't say anything else so I set him back down to the ground. Max comes up next to me when Mark turns to the door. I can feel that he wants to laugh but I turn on him before he can let it out.
"Let me make myself perfectly clear Max, I like you, but if you ever put Ray in that position again I will have to kick your ass." Max sobers immediately.
"Understood. I am going to go get Ray and bring her back to...uh... your place." Max stammers. I think i might have actually scared him.
Karl goes back to the counter and starts re-organizing the sheet music we have displayed. He is trying to keep his opinions and questions to himself and I appreciate it.
"So... I have a feeling I am going to regret asking... but what the hell just happened?" He couldn't help himself it seems.
"Just putting Ray's abusive ex in his place." I say with a shrug of my shoulders. I know he has more questions, ones that I am not going to answer. I am saved by my dad coming to the front of the store with Ray under one arm. Both of them are smiling. I have very rarely seen my father smile since Mom died. How did Ray manage that in the three minutes she was with him.
"Thank You Mr. Wood for showing me your workshop. It was very interesting." Ray shakes dad's hand completely ignoring Karl and I.
"Please call me Leonard, you can come back anytime Raychel." Karl and I share a look. Leonard? Ray an Max make their way out of the store and we corner dad before he and sneak back into his workshop.
"Really dad, Leonard, nobody calls you by your real name." Karl is laughing and looking at our dad like he has two heads.
"What was I supposed to have her call me?" He sticks his chest out and trudges back to the work shop. I join Karl in laughing. Our father has been going by Woody since he was a kid, yet for Ray he is Leonard.
"She charmed the nickname right out of him." Karl snorts.
I just shake my head and get back to my office.
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