Author's Note: A short ROUGH DRAFT chapter from one of many side projects that I've been working on. Paranormal Modern Setting - Kitsune Heroine. As of this point Alli or Vixen is a nebulous idea of mine - trickster with a heart of gold. Smart and strong but emotionally not quite put together. Let me know if you like her and want to read more about her!
Popcorn always tastes better with two things, butter & the sweet taste of revenge. The phone in her pocket vibrated silently. Carefully setting aside her bag of microwave popcorn, she pulled her phone from her pocket and answered, “Brilliant-geniuses-r-us … jerks put in their place and scum bags get their come-uppance; this is Ali speaking. How may I direct your call?”
“Tell me you weren’t actually serious, Ali?!?” The laughing words poured out in greeting.
“You doubt me? I’m wounded Vicky, seriously I am.” She tried to sound sincerely hurt, but was confident her good friend knew the difference. On the street below her, Tom’s car was just pulling up. She watched as her now ex-boyfriend made his way to the front door of his town house; it was all she could do not to get up and dance.
“Talk is cheap. I’ve known more than a few girls with broken hearts who’ve talked a big game against the creep that cheated on you; but you…” she laughed again. “Listen to me, if you actually pulled this off and don’t end up behind bars tonight, you will officially be my personal hero. You know that, right?”
“Well, buy me a medal and schedule the ticker tape parade because operation-pain-in-the-ass is already in progress.”
“Hol-ly shit I can NOT believe you!” A street over a car alarm went off. “Wait… are you actually still THERE!?!”
“Yep. Got myself one of his beers and a fresh bag of popcorn from his cupboard. I fully intend to sit back and enjoy the show, live!”
“You even took his beer? Oh that’s vile – I love it!”
“I earned it.” She said bitterly. “If we’re being honest here, which I know we are, I should have taken the whole six pack.”
“I’m sorry, hon. I really am. I know you and he got a lot of history.” She hesitated. “Are you sure this is it between you? Maybe if he just apol-“
“No.” Allison snapped. “He won’t apologize. Even if he knew that I knew about the two of them, I’m sure he wouldn’t.” She looked across the way as his living room lights and TV came on. Her shoulders sank slightly and she muttered, “Sometimes people leave you – whether you want them to or not. You just gotta suck it up, Vicky.”
“Well, something tells me he’ll know you saw something after tonight, and good riddance to him if that’s the sort of guy he is! Besides, you know what they say, if he’s done it once he’ll probably do it again. You’re right, you’re probably better off.”
Ali watched as he loosened his tie and pulled a beer from the fridge. It was the tie she got him for his birthday. You just HAD to wear that today. You couldn’t just let me enjoy this without giving me an ounce of doubt, could you?
On the street below a car pulled up to the curb. “I gotta go Vicky, I think his first guest is arriving.”
“I want details tomorrow girl, promise me!”
“Love ya, hon.” With that Ali hung up the phone and put it back into her pocket.
As she watched the young man getting out of his black sports car carrying a bouquet of tulips, she recalled the image of Tom kissing Lillian, one hand gripping a bouquet of tulips and his other hand on the small of her back just the way he his hands on her in their most intimate moments. Instantly her feelings of pain and anger returned and she was back in the mood for popcorn and watching the sparks fly.
She’d instructed anyone answering the internet ad to come with a bouquet of tulips, this way he would know the reason they’d come to his house. Of course Tom wouldn’t really know, not right away, but she thought he was bright enough to eventually put together the tulips detail. He’d realize she must have seen him with Lillian at the hotel two nights ago when he was suppose to still be out of town on business & then there’d be no need to tell him it was over between them. He’d know.
She tightened her grip on the cell phone until her knuckles whitened. Her heart hurt so very badly. Of all the people who he might have cheated on her with, why did it have to be Lillian? They’d known each other since grade school and while it was no secret Tom had always had a thing for her and not Lillian, Lillian made it her life’s work to possess everything else that they both shared a mutual interest in. Lead in the school play, editor of the school newspaper, solos in choir, and even that recent promotion at the office – if there was a way to “win” at it, that’s exactly what Lillian would try to do. It wasn’t that Lillian was ambition or talent that bothered Ali so much, it was her motives. Ali wondered if Lillian cared for Tom at all or if this was just another competition to be won.
It would have been easy to seek revenge against Lillian for the affair. She spent more than a few hours crying over Lillian’s actions, but the truth was after all these years she expected this kind behavior from her. It didn’t pardon her for her part in this, but it was Tom who had disappointed her. Tom who she had loved, Tom who she was planning to spend the rest of her life and start her family with. It was Tom who she had hoped would prove different than every other man who ran in the same social circles as she did. Instead, like so many others, once the initial passion between them had died down, he jumped into the sack with the first beautiful woman who would offer it.
She was wrong about Tom; as she’d been wrong about Aaron, Rob, and a few other men who didn’t make it past date three or four. Successful, handsome, all the right criteria that the media and families tell women they are suppose to seek out and marry – and yet each one of them had an eye open for the greener patch of grass somewhere else. Like so many other people in her life, as soon as the door opened, they walked through it and they were gone for good. This was more than a pattern now. At first she thought it might be her – maybe they sensed she was different somehow & treated her less than human. She had to wonder if they knew her secret, but no, she was sure they didn’t. Which only left her with one other option, maybe this was just how humans were. Maybe it was a truth about people that she’d previously been too naïve or unwilling to accept.
“People just leave…” She whispered to no one in particular, taking a handful of popcorn and placing a few kernels into her mouth before cracking open the can of beer.
She smiled as the front door came open to reveal Tom. He stood there less than a breath before greeting the handsome stranger at his door. Unable to hear the actual words being spoken she began to make up dialogue for what she thought they might be saying.
“Hey, are you Tom?” She spoke in a husky bedroom tenor, a barely contained laugh at her own joke threatening to crack her mimicry.
“Um? Yea.” She watched as Tom looked around, expecting this to be a joke, maybe something one of his college buddies had done.
“I saw your ad.” She continued to narrate. “I brought you these – they’re lovely, like your eyes big boy.”
She stifled an all out laugh as she watched Tom step back inside half-a-step. She was sure he was now trying to get this guy to tell him about “the ad”, what it said, and to convince him that he didn’t put an ad onto the internet looking for a male partner in some erotic role play. Of course, that was exactly what she put into the ad. She stressed that he’d deny everything and that this was part of his sexual game. As the suitor tried to play his part and become more aggressive, seeking a kiss. Ali had to cover her mouth in order to contain her laughter. Already another car was pulling up and she could see the tulips from here. This couldn’t have gone more perfectly!
Again her phone rang, slipping off the building’s ledge and backing away so not to be seen she answered it with a laugh, “Oh Vicky it’s better than I would have guess he-“
“Ali?” She stopped laughing as abruptly as if she’d been punched in the stomach. There was something in his voice, something she remembered from long ago. He must have thought she didn’t know who he was because he added,
“Its Henry.” Most fathers would have gone by dad or father, but for years now he was just Henry to her.
“What’s wrong?” She looked up to the night sky, dark and seemingly starless because of the smog and the glow of the city lights. She began to pace.
The pause was too long. “It’s Carly.” She could hear as he drew a ragged breath. When he spoke his voice trembled. “There was an accident.”
“Is she okay?” Only silence replied. She closed her eyes tightly, wetting her lips before trying to get an explanation again, “Henry?”
“I’m here.” He said, clearing his throat. “I need you home.”
Cold liquid splashed across her leg & foot as the noise of her beer can, having slipped from her hand, registered to her mind. “Shit.” She shook her head and stepped away from the can which now oozed frothy beer in waves across the gravel covered rooftop.
“Come home tonight Allison… Please.” There was desperation in his tone that, despite years of disagreements and problems between them, she couldn’t ignore.
She took a deep breath and let him know, “I’m on my way.” Closing her eyes for a moment, she centered herself. She couldn’t break down right now, not right here. Drawing in a breath of cold night air, she opened her now amber eyes and began to run. Faster and faster she sprinted towards the edge of the roof, away from Tom’s house and the scene of amusement which had so enrapt her moments before. At the last second her foot pushed off the edge of the roof top, propelling her body into the open space between buildings where six floors down a concrete ground lay.
The distance would be difficult for Olympians to make, it was the sort of thing people only attempted in the movies and she would never do in broad daylight for fear of being seen; but under the cover of darkness – and being who and what she was, Allison had no reason to fear.
She fell forward, scrambling for purchase on the next building and as her hands came perpendicular to her body, the air didn’t touch them any longer; instead it rushed through a thick coat of red and white fur. Her eyes could now see clearly all the details of the city around her, whereas before she could only make out the things illuminated in the yellow pale of city lights. Her ears picked up sounds and voices so distant and clear that it was near to overwhelming for her, but onward she pressed herself – across this rooftop and the next; knowing that in evening traffic she’d get to Henry’s home faster as a fox than she ever would have in her car.
She had to get home. She had to know for sure. Silently, she said a prayer to whatever God would listen that she’d been wrong earlier when she told Vicky that everyone leaves; “Don’t leave Carly, don’t leave me.”