I watch as she applies another layer of Downtown Brown lip gloss on already shiny lips. Vee, as always, is sharp, dressed like she has just stepped off of the pages of a fashion magazine and had had her makeup done by a professional. I attempt to sink lower in my seat when my legs make a loud sucking sound which causes Vee to shoot me the look I dubbed, “You’re on my list.” Sit up Dear. Don’t slouch she commands. I chew at my lips, hoping to bring some color to those two brownish blobs and pull the sleeves of my ragged sweatshirt over my ragged nails. Vee glares again and holds my stare until I sit up in the seat. She rolls her eyes and caps the Downtown Brown, glancing across the parking lot.
We are meeting at the local coffee shop, my coffee shop, until the day Vee decided that it was her coffee shop and that I couldn’t be there without her permission or without her present. Sometimes she says I can’t be there even if she is present and in order to stay I must beg. I am blinking quickly, thinking about the last time she made me beg. It was in the same booth we now sit, the booth that i shared with new friends. With him. This group liked me, they didn’t care for Vee’s…charms. They had invited me to share a latte and danish and we were laughing when Vee slinked in. That day she was wearing impossibly high shoes, impossibly tight jeans and a low cut shirt that showed off a beautiful lacy bra. My lacy bra. She waved away her relaxed locks with ease and practice and her eyes danced across our group until they locked on mine. A smile, grimace played on her face and she asked in that growling voice of her’s What are you doing, dear?
The group, friendly enough and always welcoming, thought it was a true request about our activities. But I knew better. Vee is pissed that I had dared break her rules and she was going to make me pay. I stammered a reply which would may have been OK if not for the dismissal. It wasn’t rude, but Vee wasn’t the focus of everyone’s attention. The group. My group acknowledged her but she didn’t get their undivided attention. Eyes slide over to her and fell away quickly. Conversations didn’t pause and Vee was not happy.
Vee’s eyes flashed and she dug into her bag for her tube of Downtown Brown.She jammed some on her lips and gracefully folded herself into a chair. She accepted a cup of coffee and held the cup in her hand as she stared at me.
If looks could kill.
As the evening went on, Vee gripped her cup of tepid coffee, studying the table next to us. She grabbed a balled up napkin and dropped it into her cup. She used a spoon to mix the concoction and smiled innocently at me. Let’s play, dear It wasn’t a request.
Nervously I smiled. Playing was not what she wanted. Total humiliation was her aim and before I could respond she grabbed my cup and moved it away from my reach. Drink, dear another command as she thrust her cup at me. I turned my head but she kept her eyes locked on mine. I tried to laugh but a dry chuckle tickled my throat.
Drink she commanded. She pushed her cup towards me. Inside I screamed but calmly I pushed the cup away and shook my head. Vee smiled without showing her teeth and my heart sank.
Drink This time she whispered so quietly that her lips barely moved. I swallowed and as loud as I could I croaked out, No.
Vee held the cup and looked at me with that slight smile. She stretched her legs and let her eyes rake across the table. Have a good one she muttered and let the cup fly towards me.
Chill! The table cried as we all scattered away from soggy napkin coffee. I leapt away too but not before Vee grabbed me. You made a huge mistake she hissed and stomped out, her heels beating an angry tattoo.
That was four days ago so when she calls I am surprised. I haven’t been able to sleep, I’ve been getting strange calls and there is the hushed whispers when I walk by. I don’t like this. I don’t like the way I feel. I don’t like the stares, whispers.
We are sitting in the coffee shop and she looks at me. I fish into my pocket and pull out my own tube of gloss. Vee grabs my tube and studies it. She begins to undo the cap.
Stop. I whisper.
Vee pauses. Now it’s mine she says and smiles in a sticky, sweet way.
Vee rips a napkin from the dispenser and wipes away her gloss. Downtown Brown. She reads the label of my gloss. Burnt Raisin? It’s just like you to get a second rate version of my stuff.
Vee! I start but it’s too late. She is coating her lips with my Burnt Raisin and smacking them together. Smack, rub, rub, stick.
Mmbrgh she exclaims.
I smile and sit up. Vee, Dear I purr. I shake my head and force her to look at me. Vee. DEAR I speak louder and her eyes meet mine.
I warned you.
I smile and tears form in her eyes.
I grab the Burnt Raisin tube and hold it in my palm. In the other palm I flash the tube of super glue.
Dear, now it’s your turn to beg.
r’s note: This post is inspired by mystery thriller GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. They may not have the perfect marriage, but after Amy goes missing, Nick becomes the number one suspect. Can he discover what happened before it’s too late? Join From Left to Write on June 12 as we discuss Gone Girl. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.