And FYI, a writer’s brain is never their own. It’s owned by whatever tale has hijacked them. I wasn’t planning on writing this story, but since it keeps cropping up as I’m trying to get other shit done, then I guess I’m birthing the rude little fuck.
As much of a badass bitch as I am, there is some part of me that still wants to believe the best of people. I really want to believe that people don’t set out to hurt each other on purpose, and that even if they do that they are still capable of true remorse. It’s because of this belief that I didn’t tell Phil to go fuck himself when he approached me as I was reading on the eliptical machine.
“Could I talk to you for a minute?” he asked nervously.
Phil and I had a “relationship” based on the understanding that we weren’t going to be introducing each other to our families or picking out china together any time soon. He had broken up with a longtime girlfriend a week before we had met, and I was still dealing with an overzealous admirer stalker, so neither of us were in a place to start anything serious. Still, our pseudo-relationship ended when he would break dates ten minutes before we were supposed to get together, when he would say that he was going to call and wouldn’t, but most of all, when he would treat me like he didn’t know who I was when we ran into each other at the gym where we both worked out. The kicker was that he would act like an inconsiderate asshole at the gym and then call me to get together as if everything was peachy. The last time that he had called, I did get together with him but it was only to make sure that he knew that I’d had enough.
“Sure.” I closed my book but didn’t break my stride on my machine.
He paused for a moment and then got on the machine next to me. “Okay, I guess I’ll try to keep up with you,” he said grinning.
I mentally rolled my eyes thinking that I wasn’t rising to that bait to begin a flirtaion.
“So how have you been?” Phil asked as he started on the machine without bothering to actually select a workout.
“Brilliant,” I replied.
When I didn’t elaborate, he cleared his throat to fill the silence.
“I just…well, I think I owe you an apology,” he said. “I know I was an asshole, and I’m sorry. I…at the time I wasn’t right. Up in here.” He tapped his temple.
Something about his apology actually sounded sincere, so I shook my head slightly. “Don’t worry about it. I just let it go. I’m not a psycho chick like that.”
“I know you’re not, and that’s why I’m sorry.”
The elliptical beeped that my workout had ended so I finally stopped and gave him my full attention. “Well, thank you for the apology. I really do appreciate it,” I told him. And because of that side of me that tries to be nice, I asked him how he was doing and we made chit-chat for a few minutes before I took off.
Over the next few months, Phil and I would talk here and there when we saw each other at the gym, and while I wouldn’t call us friends, I’d say that we were at least friendly. It even turned out that his mother was one of my patients at the optometry office where I worked. She was a very nice woman who showed me pictures of the wedding that the entire family had attended the previous week. There were several pictures of Phil dancing it up and snuggling a very tan, very blonde woman. Phil’s mother went on to say how much she adored Phil’s girlfriend and how it looked like they would be the next couple to be married, and I can honestly say that I was happy for all parties involved.
About a week later, I was leaving the gym when I saw Phil pulling into a parking spot. I gave a wave and continued walking down the sidewalk toward my house. Phil gave a shout as he got out of his car and trotted after me. He smiled as he approached and looked me up and down.
Alarms immediately started going off in my head.
“Hey,” he said leaning close to me.
I stepped back. “Hey. I met your mother last week.”
“Really? Where at?”
“At my office. She’s really nice.”
“Yeah, she is.” He looked me up and down again which would have annoyed me if I didn’t find it a bit amusing that he was eyeing up someone who look like as much of a sweaty mess as I did.
“Uh huh. Well, take it easy.” I turned to leave, but he grabbed my arm.
He must have felt my muscles stiffen because he let go and laughed.
“Preparing to spar me again?”
“No, but you know that I don’t like to be grabbed.”
“Maybe you should remind me.” He stroked my cheek and leaned in.
I snapped my hand up against his chest to keep him from coming closer. My eyes narrowed in the bright sun and I knew that they were fading from brown to hazel green as they did whenever I was angry.
“I thought that you said that you were sorry,” I hissed.
He cocked his head. “What do you mean?”
“You had apologized for being an asshole before, so why are you doing it again?”
“I’m not. I just thought that you might want to hang out again.” He smiled. “We had a lot of fun, didn’t we?”
“Go have fun with your girlfriend,” I told him.
The briefest flicker of surprise registered in his blue eyes, and then it was replaced by indignant confusion.
I’d had enough. There was something that I had always suspected when we were seeing each other and it was time to find out. I snatched his keys from his hand and skipped back a step.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m going to ask you two questions. If you lie to me then I’m taking your keys and you can walk home. Savy, boyo?”
He rolled his eyes, “Um, no. How about you give me my keys and just walk away?”
“Um no,” I mimicked his bored drawl. “The truth is the least that you own me, and I’ll have either that or your keys.
His face twisted in fury. “What the fuck? Give me me keys!”
He stepped toward me, and I immediately dropped into a fight stance with my left leg forward.
“Stay the fuck away from me, Phil, or I’ll make that last trouncing that I gave you when we sparred look like your birthday spanks.”
That halted him, for which I was very grateful for since I’d been injured since we had last spared and I wasn’t as fully confident that I could take him as I had been before.
“Now take three steps back and I promise to throw your keys back after you tell me what I want to know,” I told him.
He obliged and then crossed his arms and glared at me.
“You have a girlfriend, don’t you?” I asked him.
Phil glared even harder at me. “Fine,” he finally admitted, “Yeah, I do.”
“Very good. See how easy this is? And you had a girlfriend last year when we were fooling around, didn’t you?”
The shock on his face was evident, but he still began to protest. “We had broke up!”
I turned and began walking. “I guess I just got myself a new set of keys.”
“Fine, fine! Yes, I had a girlfriend back then, too!”
I stopped and turned back. “Is it the same one?”
“Does it matter?” Phil sneered.
“Not really. Whether you cheated on one woman or two you’re still an asshole.”
“What-the-fuck-ever,” he snorted. “Now give me my fucking keys.”
Phil still stood back where I had told him to move: exactly in front of the storm drain. I threw the keys toward him in an underhanded arc that flew just below his outstretched hand. They clattered against the bars of the drain and then dropped with a resounding splash into the water below.
“What the fuck!” Phil screamed. “What the fucking fuck!”
“Gee, Phil I guess I owe you an apology.” I shook my head, “I’m a terrible throw.”
“Fuck you! You did that on purpose!” he snarled.
I shrugged, “Maybe I did. But then I’m not feeling right-” I tapped my temple, “-up here.”