Thursday, June 25, 2020
RIDING THE RAILS OF REGRETS
HER FAVORITE ANTI-HERO
Scotty continued to watch flashing lights and the siren fading off to black in another of his darkest nights. The silhouette of his Katie-bear's head, tilted in the rear window, and it shaking with sobs, brought home to him the realization that again, he did this to her. If it wasn't her on one end of his rage, it was the man she loved, the one he hated. A slow scuffle back to the Cheapside with the rest of the audience of the night's events, Scotty kept his head down in humiliation but his eyes roaming looking for judging eyes on him among the murmurs and whispers. He put his hand in his pocket and took out the ring to study it. Nick had the shiver power, while Scotty had her loyalty and abiding love.
Trustworthiness, loyalty, longevity and security was going to put that ring back on her finger, not the shiver factor. The shiver factor was unstable and dangerous, at least for her, especially for the woman with a four-oceans-sized heart. He was her chief of security and secure he was going to make sure she was. There is no security in a transient country singer from port to port. He knew Katie would never be able to fully trust him, and he knew this flamboyant county star would eventually seek out new harbors to dock.
If it was felony charges he had to hold over this rival, even if it meant sending him to jail, at least the bars would be between is Katie-bear's heart and the artist's ego. Even if she did not love him as a wife should love a husband, this was his opportunity to move in on her insecurity and fear of Nicolas Paul's return. Her life was in Scotty's hand, and he vowed to Matthew and Becca to save it, once again. Whatever the cost, he knew that their marriage meant guarding her from Nick’s heart crushing power.
His days of betraying Katie were long time in the past and he had worked so hard these past three years to prove how much he could love and take care of her, spoil her, and be that man she needed as opposed to the kind of man he used to be with her.
When Scotty arrived at the table where they had intended on celebrating Katie’s thirty-sixth birthday, he saw their table with food and drinks and shook his head, noting how cold the dried out food looked. She surely won’t eat this, now, he thought to himself. He added a bill to the money Matthew had given him and threw them down on the table, leaving the restaurant in search of appealing food he knew that Katie could not resist. If she was not going to raid Kroger's junk food aisle with him, he would do it for her. Walking the long walk back, all alone to his brand new Special Edition Mustang that she bought for him for his thirty-ninth birthday in November, the ambiance was a far cry from what it was when they were walking arm and arm to what he thought would be a wonderful night of celebration with the only family he had. The short beeps and flashing lights of the doors unlocking brought him immediately back two months ago when Katie had surprised him with this most elegant of gifts, one he was surely not deserving of.
He studied the dash and rubbed the leather seats, remembering that day she brought him to the Ford dealer. He had been complaining about how old he was getting and dreading his thirty-ninth birthday. If there is one thing a cop cannot stand, besides persistent lawbreakers getting away with murder, was time and age taking away their livelihood and what they live for, serving and protecting. A warm memorializing smile graced his face as he could almost feel her hands reaching up to cover his eyes when they arrived at this mysterious place she took him for his birthday. He could hear the echo of her leading questions as she guided him to the best gift this man has ever received in his life, besides his Katie-bear.
"So, what do you get a young, handsome, sexy, strong State Trooper, for his thirty-ninth birthday to prove to him that he is not old?” He shook his head chuckling, knowing that they were outside somewhere. She whipped off his blindfold, letting it fly in the cool November air, and with a jubilant pitch in her voice, she exclaimed, "A hot ‘Stang, You know, the only thing sexier than you in your uniform behind the wheel of your cruiser, is you in street clothes behind the wheel of a ‘Stang.” She started giggling, grabbing his six-pack abs tickling them like she always did when she wanted to melt his heart. Katie loved her men in Mustangs. Scott’s Mustang that he bought before he knew her was well over ten years old. "Forest-Green, your favorite color, and it’s a special edition. I even had a digital police scanner put in it. It even has lights and a siren if you hear of an exciting call dispatched, and you want to play Joe-cop off duty.” He turned, shaking his head in disbelief, picked up her tiny frail body, spinning her around with such gratefulness and joy, until he realized that he was hugging her too tight and he slowly lowered her thin skeleton-like frame. A twinge of fear for her ailing health was quickly muffled by Katie's joyful laugh. There was nothing she enjoyed more than spoiling the people she loved, and she did love her Scotty. She took great care into selecting just the right gifts for people, based on what she thought they needed that would brighten their day. He was still glowing from this gift, two months later. As he relished and cherished her in his memory, the vibration of his cellphone on the center console brought Scotty back to the present as did it bring his solemn heart, and a dreadful reminder of the peril he not only put Nick Thomas in, but also his Katie-bear and their relationship.
Jay Pennington, Katie's friend and young manager, concerned about the news he was receiving via social media, was not able to reach Katie on her phone. He knew if he could not reach Katie, Scotty was the next best thing to get information, because if she wasn’t with Jay, or on duty with the foundation, she was with him. Scotty filled Jay in with the night’s events and let him know what he was doing. They put their brains together and came up with a plan to get Katie a feast that night. Scotty let Jay know that in no uncertain terms, her appearances were going to end effective immediately until further notice. He was surprised at how quickly Jay agreed. He had expected a long threatening argument.
While Scotty drove to his destination to fill up a sack of her favorite foods, he started berating himself for his temper. This would be the third time that his temper had gotten so out of control that he became so completely lost in it, nearly killing a man, and possibly losing his Katie-bear, again. The first two times he hurt her physical body, this third time it was her heart. Driving through Lexington, he recalled the first incident from nearly three years ago and longed for that secure life with Katie, when he called her his chub-cub, with no fear of losing her ever crossing his mind. He had always had a merciless side to him, and at times that would help him on his job when it came to defending himself against perpetrators. Unfortunately, for Scotty, his temper would get the better of him that year, the worst year of his life when everyone in his work place and town seemed to have turned against him; the stress built until he struck back, however, sadly, he struck back at the one person who did not, his Katie-bear.
“Hey, Scotty, I’m going out with some of the teachers tonight. We’re going to Applebee’s. Are you working tonight? I have lost track of the days,” Katie said from the bathroom off the kitchen, which also led into the master bedroom.
“Yes, I have to work. I’m going in early,” he yelled back to her from the living room while watching a ball game and lying to her. This was a practice that he had become thoroughly adept at when it came to answering Katie about his whereabouts, lately. In that three year-old relationship, their love remained imbalanced betwixt the two of them. She made it clear that she did not have the same kind of shiver-full love for him that he had for her. She continued to hint to him that her love for Michael was alive and well, as dead as he was. Scotty sometimes questioned whether he was there just as security measures, or as a warm body, or just human soul to help chase away painful memories and ghosts that haunted and permeated that little farmhouse. The thought of her ever leaving him was as foreign to him as was any respect he had for her Michael and her marriage to him.
At times, his jealousy of the ghost of Michael drove him to say the meanest things, because of his inability to process that kind of rejection of his heart, which he so freely gave to her. Scotty operated on extremes. He was either extremely mean, or extremely tender, and as of late, he was just extremely indifferent to Katie’s feelings. His plan that evening, as with most, was to meet with one of his most devoted campaign workers, and former girlfriend, Colletta Evans. They had been strategizing together for his campaign for Jessamine County Sheriff, only their strategy sessions would last less than thirty minutes, while their fooling around between the sheets would last until his normal shift time would end.
He rose from the couch and walked through the bedroom to get ready to leave. He leaned against the doorway of the attached bathroom where Katie was applying her makeup in only her bra and underwear. He noticed the extra layers of skin and fat that were not there when he first moved in with her. He moved over to get behind her and smacked her rear-end, adding a few comments about her weight.
“So, what are you going to get at Applebee’s? I hear they have that weight watchers menu, maybe you should consider that, my little chub-cub.” Katie dropped her mascara in the sink when he hit her with that affront, and she spun around with hurt in her eyes.
“You know what, Scotty?”
“What?” He asked.
“Did it ever occur to you that I am keeping this weight on just to spite you?” She spun around giving her backside to him. Scotty looked at Katie’s reflection in the mirror. Indifference and discontent reflected back toward Katie from Scotty’s face that stood just a few inches above and behind her in that mirror. He raised one eyebrow, and with a snarl in his intonation, he gave it right back to her as hateful as he could.
“And you wonder why I never want to screw you. Maybe if you made yourself more appealing, I’d actually get turned on looking at you, instead of pretending and wishing you was someone else.”
That comment brought tears of anger and hurt stinging to her eyes. Her first and only thought was to strike back. She spun around, stabbing him to death with that glare in her eyes, aiming to hit him where it hurt the most.
“You know what, Scott? Not only are you the strongest deputy in the county, but you’re the meanest and least attractive.”
“Maybe to you, but not to plenty of others. I certainly don’t need, nor want it from you. There’s plenty of badge bunnies out there lined up, waiting to satisfy me in ways you never would or could,” he said lying, living in denial from the hurt she bestowed upon him whenever she turned him down for some teaching between the sheets, which was often.
“I don’t know why I let you stay here. You’re so hateful, and you deserve what you are getting from the voters and Jenkins. I hope you lose big time.” Scotty’s anger switch flipped on, and without thinking, he smacked her in the face with his open hand.
The shock of the hit caused Katie to back up a half step. He had never hit her before.
“You son-of-a-bitch,” she said as she lunged forward and hit him.
She slapped him twice in the face as hard as she could with all the angry strength she had. She began slapping him on his bare chest, until he caught her arms, squeezing them as if to break them, causing Katie deep stinging pain. Every muscle in his body was rock hard and tense as his anger mounted.
“You fat ugly bitch, you think that you can take me on? Well, I’ll show you who has all the command in this house.” He then shoved her with all the strength stored up in his arms and rock hard six-pack abs. The force, in which he shoved her, sent her flying toward the back end of the cramped bathroom, causing her head to crash into the side of the antique cast iron tub. She lay there still, unconscious from the blow on the head. “Get up, you baby,” he said still angry. When she did not move, panic struck him with more force than she did cumulatively with her hands, as he watched her lay there motionless. Anger exited as panic burst through the doors of that tiny little bathroom in the 200-year-old farmhouse.
“Oh, my God, what have I done? He bent over her and noticed some blood on the floor near her head. Fear joined panic frightening him of the possibility of him having killed his one true love. He lifted her up off the floor and carried her into the bedroom, checking out the side of her head as he kept calling her name. “Katie-bear please wake-up. Honey, I’m so sorry. Please open your eyes.” He rummaged through the pile of miscellaneous junk on the side table to find a phone and call 911. When she started to moan, he held off hitting the call button and began to call her name, again. “Kate, Katie, wake up, honey, wake up.”
“Scotty, my head hurts,” she said in a whining feeble voice. He ran into the kitchen to fill a dishtowel with ice to hold on the back of her head where a goose egg lay witness to his out of control temper, which was becoming more than just bothersome lately, but now dangerous to Katie.
“Katie-bear, open your eyes, please.” She opened her eyes and squinted, trying to focus. She was whimpering from the pain of her face where he slapped her as she grabbed it with her open palm. "I'm so sorry, Katie-bear, I didn't mean to shove you that hard, I didn't mean it, I'm so sorry."
“Why did you do that?” She asked in a feeble and quivering voice.
“I’m getting a unit here, for you honey. You need to go to the hospital.” Katie reached up and knocked the phone out of his hand, causing the battery pack to fall out of the phone, disconnecting the call before it went through to central dispatch. He bent over to pick up the phone.
“No, I don’t want to go in an ambulance. No, don’t call, I won’t go.” She sat up and grabbed the phone with her free hand, while the other hand kept the ice on her head. “Why did you hit me? Why are you so mean to me, lately?”
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me,” he said crying in full sobs. He leaned over her, and tried to pick her up in his arms, but she pushed him away.
“Leave me alone. Get out of here. You are so hateful. You are so mean. I have no idea why I’m still here with you.” She took off her engagement ring and threw it at him. “I’ll never marry you. I’ll never marry a scumbag who beats up a woman.” Scotty bent over and picked up the ring. It had been on her finger for three years, having come off now, for the second time. The first time she had cold feet, this time, she had fear.
“Please don’t push me away. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I don’t know what the hell got into me. I’ve never done that to you, before.”
“Go, away, leave me alone,” Katie said laying down on the bed curling up in a fetal position and crying. “Why are you so mean to me? I’ve always been on your side, yet you continue to be mean to me. Collect is screwing you, and that’s why you never want me. She’s a whore who spends most of her time on her knees. You deserve someone like her. Well, go. Get your thrills from her; just don’t bring that diseased prick near me.”
“I love only you honey. You are my Katie-bear. I always have, only you.”
“Get out Scotty. Get out of my house and my life. I’m going to sell this stupid house. I hate it, anyway. It’s miserable here.” Scotty adored Katie’s farmhouse and always had. The first time they broke up, she moved out because he loved it so, and she did not want to live alone with the ghost of Laurie, there. When she moved back in, so did the ghost of Michael.
“I want you. I do. Jenkins has the whole damn county against me. You wouldn’t believe some of the things the deputies have been saying about me, that are not true. I get shit everywhere I go.”
“So you’re taking it out on me, well I don’t want it. I don’t deserve it, so get out.” Scott went into the bathroom to get another clean dry washcloth, and he held it on the cut on her head.
“You’re right, honey. I’ve never done anything like this, before. You know that. I’m not fooling around with Colletta, she’s only working on my campaign,” he said.
“And I know that you’re lying, because besides being easy, she has a big mouth. Everyone knows you are screwing her and making a fool out of me, so get out, Scotty.” Katie took the washcloth from him and pushed him away.
“Katie, I swear, I’ll never go near her, again. I promise. I love you, Katie-bear. Please give me another chance.”
“I’m getting out of here. You’re a liar and a cheat and you’re so mean all the time. You’re always mad at me. I haven’t done anything to deserve the way you treat me.”
“Please don’t leave, I’m begging you. I need you. I love you. You are my only shiver deliverer.” Scotty sat down on the bed next to her and put his hand on her thigh. She picked up his hand and threw it back over onto his legs.
“When these bruises heal, I’m leaving. I can’t let Matthew see me like this, or he’ll kill you.”
“Okay, Katie-bear, I’ll leave, but I want you to know one thing.”
“I’m not interested.”
“Please, sit up, please just listen.” Katie sat up and scooted back against the headboard. She folded her knees up, hugging them tight to herself.
“Fine, what?” She asked with frustrated impatience.
“I’ll never give up on you, on us. I’m going to make things right. I’m going to announce the end of my campaign for the Sheriff’s office. It wasn’t worth losing you over. I never even wanted this stupid position; I just wanted to get Jenkins out of there. He is the one who killed your Laurie, by continuously letting that scum Brandon off with a pass. I knew it was just a matter of time before he killed someone. I should have gone further to get that scum off the road. I’m sorry I didn’t put a bullet in his head. Laurie may be here still. I had heard that he was dating your daughter. I didn’t know you well, but I knew you and respected you. I was watching for him, trying to find ways to bust him. I only wish I was working that night that he killed your Laurie.” Katie put her face in her hands and wept for her Laurie. “I hate Jenkins and all his cronies; I hate what he has done to this county and the office. I wanted to take him down. You know how much I hate politics. Why else would I get into this race? No one had the courage to go up against him, because this is what happens. He buries them. I thought I could stand up to it, but evidently, I can’t if it means I’ve lost my head and hurt you. I wanted to do this for you, for Laurie, that’s all.” Katie let down her knees and folded her body in half, weeping great and long mournful sobs.
“Don’t give up the race, Scotty. I didn’t know that was why you were doing it. I didn’t know that was why you were taking all that abuse. I’m sorry. Thank you. Scotty, don’t give up the race. I’ll back you all the way.” Scotty dropped his head and fiddled with the ring with his fingers. Katie put her hand on his arm.
“I can’t marry you right now, Scotty. You scared me tonight. I need to go to Matthew’s and stay in the cottage for a bit. We need some space between us. I love you, but I need some time away.” Scotty nodded, and tears dropped from his cheeks, as he continued to weep over losing his Katie-bear. She moved in and lifted his arm, getting underneath it, hugging his middle. He wrapped his arm around her and wept into her neck. “Scotty, don’t let go.”
"I won't let go, not now not ever, my Katie-bear." He wept into her neck, not letting go of her that entire evening. Katie called in sick for the next few days. When her bruises were barely noticeable, she packed her bags and left one night when Scotty was at work, and he could not leave a guilt trip bad enough to imprison her longer in that miserable existence. That horrible memory along with countless other fights they had rung continuously in his head, while he tried to concentrate walking up and down the aisle in Kroger, picking out her favorite foods. He whispered under his breath, as if he was whispering it from his heart to hers from several miles away, "I won't let go, not now, not ever, my Katie-bear."
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