Careful What You Wish For - Laura Lovecraft - ebook
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Mark has never kept secrets from his sister Megan. Yet Mark refuses to say why their father hates him, nor will he disclose how he won the Winthrop trial. When Megan presses. Mark tells her some things are better left unsaid. and reminds her she owes him a very important answer herself. But Megan wants to know. and the game is on. She is about to learn the meaning of the expression “Be Careful What You Wish For!”

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Broken

Book Six: Careful What You Wish For

By Laura Lovecraft

******

Published by L.L. Craft Publications

Copyright © 2012 by Laura Lovecraft

Part One Chapter One

Spain’s restaurant was packed and even though I’d called ahead, Dad and I found ourselves sitting at the bar while we awaited our table. Dad had been sweet; asking me first if I was okay sitting at the bar and after I said I was fine, asking if it would bother me if he had a beer. I told him of course not, but appreciated him asking.

I left out that I hated beer and it was hard liquor that even now once in a great while would call out to me. Between the crowd and the TV over the bar blasting the Sox game, conversation was difficult so dad ended up watching the game, leaving me to my thoughts. Although I was in no danger of succumbing to the siren call of my addiction, I did have the passing thought of what I wouldn’t give for a Captain and Coke.

Instead, I thought back on how things had been left off with Mark. My brother had not only played me, but had made me think I was playing him. Mark had let me have exactly what I wanted .Then, before I left he had pulled a three sixty and denied me to prove a point. I may very well have to learn how to live without him as my ‘fallback’ as he had referred to it. What was most upsetting is that Mark was right; it would not be fair to him to spend the rest of his life waiting on me.

Sad fact was although on the surface, Mark looked like the colder of the two of us, I was the one who had let people fall in love with me when I knew I was not in love with them. Years ago my brother had been in love with Krissy. There had also been a time after the Max incident that he and Cynthia had grown quite close.

Had Cynthia not taken a dream job on the west coast, when she finished school who knew what would have happened. Then there was Samantha who had fallen head over heels for my brother. All this led me to the sad realization that if I did not accept Mark’s heart, he would find someone that would.

Mark had left Samantha because his feelings for her made him realize that I had been his love all along. In that light had I not found my soul mate because he had been in front of me my entire life? Reading the journal had reminded me that twenty years ago I had been in love with Mark, but had wanted to save him from me.

Mark had shocked me by bringing up that night at his apartment. All along I had thought that he didn’t know I was in love with him and had convinced him he had been wrong about us. Once again, Mark had proved to know better than I, but had assumed that I had not wanted him.

Mark had even thrown out my longtime excuse of running from us. With six years sober and a very successful career I no longer had to worry about ‘bringing him down’. Hell, if the Walsh deal worked out, I would be making more money than Mark within a year! I shook my head; what the hell was I going to do with Walsh? My brother was far more important than money, but Royce’s point of being able to take care of mom and dad had hit home. I picked up my glass and sipped at the coke I had ordered.

Putting the glass down, I pushed past that and thought back to when I had left Mark’s. After his little buy the cow crack, he had kissed me as I had stood there in shock and headed off to the shower, ending any further conversation. Feeling like an idiot, I had gone into the parlor and after getting dressed, waited to say goodbye to my brother.

Mark had emerged from the shower dressed in only a towel and I knew he was teasing me. Nonetheless, when he put his arms out to me, I had gladly stepped into his embrace and rested my head on his shoulder. As I enjoyed the feel of his still damp skin and the smell of his clean wet hair, I again imagined having this every day.

Right on the heels of that thought was how long would it last? As Mark gently lifted my face from his neck to kiss me goodbye, it hit me that that last thought was the problem. I had thought I had been in love several times and had been, but only for a short period of time. Then I would grow cool and distant and break the heart of the person who was still in love with me.

I was afraid it would happen with Mark as well. What if I was not as capable of it as he was? What if at the end of the day I really was the more broken of the two of us? To me it was beginning to come down to break my brother’s heart now or six months from now. Mark interrupted those thoughts by pressing his soft lips to mine and giving me a lingering kiss that would have made my legs weak had I not thought that this was another tease.

When he had broken the kiss he looked a little upset himself, and I was glad! He had gotten himself with his own little game. Mark told me that he would see me tomorrow and would be free by six so let him know what time we would be going out.

I told him I would, leaving out the fact that I was supposed to be on a private plane heading back to Chicago by that time. I then asked Mark if he wanted to tell me about him and dad and he rolled his eyes. I told him I was going to confront dad and he said to go ahead; that if dad cared about me as much as he claimed, then I wouldn’t get an answer from him either.

I didn’t like the sound of that, but decided to let it go and unlike yesterday leave on a decent note. When I arrived back at my parents house Dad hadn’t gotten home yet so I took another shower.

When mom asked why I was showering again I had told her that Mark had talked me into the gym and I’d had quite a workout. As I told lie number ten thousand and counting to my mother about my brother and I, the sick thought that my brother certainly had gotten me nice and sticky went through my mind.

After the shower I changed into a yellow sundress which I wore a matching blouse over to cover the tattoo that I knew dad hated. I didn’t bother with makeup and pulled my long black hair into a simple ponytail. As I looked in the mirror I thought ‘daddy’s little girl’ and laughed as I thought of the outfit I had shown up at the airport a couple of days ago. By then dad had gotten home from golfing, but needed to clean up as well so I sat with mom and had a cup of tea. Mom noted I looked exhausted and upset and asked if I’d had a fight with Mark.

Knowing I couldn’t get away with saying nothing was wrong, I told her that I had found out that Mark was leaving Rhode Island. Mom got upset and I felt bad, but she would need to know, and I couldn’t count on my brother to tell her. After that, I went right back to the lies. I told her that Mark’s decision was based partly on money, but mostly because the Winthrop trial had left him a moving target. Mom shocked me by snorting disgustedly and saying;

“Megan, I may be a little naïve, but I’m far from stupid. Your brother has never run from a fight in his life. He loves knowing people hate him and gets a kick out of being the scourge of the courthouse.” Mom had then shaken her head and said sadly;

“I’m sure part of this is over him and your father, he doesn’t come around me because he knows Doug doesn’t want him too.”

I had looked at my mother shocked and replied;

“Dad would never keep Mark from you, mom, even if he’s mad at him.”

“He would never tell him, but he would…” Mom trailed off and sighed; “I love Mark dearly, but he thrives on being the tragic tale. He thinks he lost me along with your father even though I’ve tried to keep in touch with him, so he has nothing left here. I…” She waved her and said;

“Ah, it doesn’t matter Megan, Mark will do whatever he wants, and that’s fine, but don’t tell me it’s because he’s got it rough here. Things won’t be that different. I can chase your brother down once a month on the phone in Chicago as much as I can here.”

“Why do you say Chicago?” I asked.

I had told mom that Mark was taking offers and leaving RI as soon as he made up his mind, I hadn’t said where. Mom looked as if she were thinking, and then shrugged;

“Well where else would he go?” She smiled. “Mark’s missed you, I know he has. I suppose when you said he was leaving I should have seen it coming.” She grunted. “He’s using that case and your father to justify it.” She then grinned at me;

“So am I right? Is he heading your way?”

“It’s Chicago or LA.” I told her. “He’s trying to figure it out.”

Mom laughed;

“No hon, he knows where he wants to go, he is just waiting to be asked.”

I glanced down so mom wouldn’t see me flinch at that last comment.

“What do you mean?”

“He wants his sister too tell him that she misses him and wants him down there.” Mom said as if I were dense. “He probably feels that you might think he’s intruding on your life and wants you to tell him its okay.

“You think?”

“I know Megan,” Mom continued in a softer voice. “Mark really has been different since that trial. Even more withdrawn and he seems sad, well last I saw him anyway.” She reached out and put her hand over mine.

“He needs you Megan, before that case he was really starting to get out of control, the partying, the girls, he was putting on a show like he was trying to prove something or,” Mom paused “As if he were trying to forget something. He was like that before Samantha then even worse after her until they ran him through the mud and he lost Alex, and then had the fight was with your father. Now he seems like a shell of himself.”

Mom paused for a moment to sip at her tea. I did the same as I thought about what she was saying. I knew exactly why Mark had been quiet lately, he had been waiting for his chance to make his play for his sister’s heart. Still, what the hell happened with dad?

“Thing is Megan, your brother is having it tough and he wants to be closer to you.”

Closer than you think, I thought dryly as she went on.

“Your entire lives you and your brother have been there for each other. The two of you are both strong when the other is weak and you’re at your best when you are close. I think Mark knows that and he’s waiting for you to give him the invitation.”

“Yeah, well it’s a little more complicated than that.” I said awkwardly.

“Well for what it’s worth Megan, I think you should tell him to come down there with you.”

“Mark’s a big boy mom; if he wants to come to Chicago he doesn’t need my permission.”

“No, but I think he wants his big sister to say she would love to have him.” Mom took another sip of tea and said; “Mark wants you to want him around Megan, make him happy.”

I stared at mom with no idea how to answer. She was talking about being happy in a different way than what Mark wanted, but it wasn’t helping my already spinning mind. Dad then came in, saving me from having to reply. Dad had asked what we were talking about and before I could say just girl talk, mom piped up that we were discussing Mark leaving. Dad had simply grunted and said that he felt bad for all the husbands and fathers in whatever city he was heading for. Mom looked like she was going to respond to that, but I tapped her foot under the table, and when she looked at me, I shook my head. One way or another I was going to get to the bottom of this.

I was snapped out of my thoughts by the obnoxious sound of the beeper the hostess had given us. Dad and I walked back into the lobby and followed the waitress over to our seats. As we sat and started to flip through the menu, I noticed that dad seemed a bit nervous and figured he was waiting for me to bring up my brother.

That was my intention; however I also only got to see my parents once every few months and wanted to enjoy my time with dad. Figuring that we could take our time over a nice lunch, I would talk about anything and everything, but Mark until we were down to coffee. Then hopefully I could find a way to segue into why my father had referred to Mark as a fucking animal last night.

Dad noted that I looked tired and I followed my familiar pattern of lying. I brought up that I was still upset over Laura. Dad nodded and apologized for not seeming like he was concerned last night, but that I knew how he felt about me being with a woman. I nodded, but he continued, saying that he should only care about if whoever I was with made me happy.

Funny you should say that I thought to myself, thinking of my brother. I was touched however, as that was a big deal for my old fashioned father to say. I told him that I appreciated it, and reaching out and putting his hand over mine, dad told me that he was very proud of me.

Before I could respond dad added that, despite looking a little tired, I had never looked better. I gave him a huge smile and told him that meant a lot to me. Dad then thanked me for the money that I had given mom yesterday, and that he would pay it back. I rolled my eyes and told him not to be ridiculous that I was happy to help.

Dad tried to argue, but the waitress came, and we ordered. When she had left I told dad about Walsh wanting to see me earlier and I wasn’t sure what to do. Dad told me to go, that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I needed to take it. I brought up how Royce and Mark had mentioned that Walsh would just be the beginning; how all of his followers would be buying as well.

Dad’s mouth had twitched a little at my brother’s name, but he did nod and say that he agreed; that rich people were all about keeping up with the other rich people, and I could make a fortune off of them. I then told dad that I was tired of seeing him and mom struggle; that I knew that they were having it rough to the point that a year ago Mark had made a mortgage payment for them.

Admittedly I had tossed this out on purpose, wanting dad to remember that no matter what was going on between them, Mark had been there for them in the past. Dad rolled his eyes, but let me continue talking. I told him that once Walsh gave me the down payment I was sending them five thousand dollars and not taking no for an answer. As Dad started to protest, I added that I was going to send them money each month as well. In the beginning at least five hundred, but once I got the paintings finished I wanted to pay their mortgage every month.

Dad shook his head and told me that I needed to take care of myself. I told him I had plenty of money and except for getting away with clothes sometimes, did not live expensively. I point blank told him that they had taken care of me for years and this was the least I could do. I also brought up that Dad had cashed in a couple of CD’s to help pay for the private clinic that Mark had gotten me into.

The clinic had been so expensive that Mark couldn’t afford the entire thing and was going to borrow from Alex. Dad had stepped in, saying that I was his daughter, and he would be the one to help. I mentioned how if he still had them now they would have matured, and he wouldn’t be struggling as much. As dad still tried to say no, I finally resorted to putting on the pout, looking up at him through my eyelashes and using the little girl voice I said;

“Oh please daddy? Please let me help.” As Dad started to laugh, I continued with;

“Oh your little girl will be oh so happy if you let her help!”

Dad shook his head and told me I wasn’t playing fair, that I knew I could get anything I wanted from him with that look. As I laughed I thought that it never failed with my brother either. Except in Mark’s case I was usually looking up at him from my knees. Finally dad said that he would let me send some money, but we would talk more about it when the time came.

Dad also said he wanted me to go and talk to someone about some investments; to not just toss money in the bank. I agreed, and again slipping the needle, mentioned that Mark had done well with his so I would see who he dealt with. Dad didn’t take the bait, instead he shrugged and said I could do what I wanted, but make sure I did something with the money.

The food came and I was feeling pretty good. I had been a little afraid lunch would be awkward, but so far it was going very well. As we ate dad started telling me about his golf tournament, which he had been knocked out of today.

After he explained how he had double bogied –whatever the hell that meant- he started talking about golf in general. I sat there eating and enjoying listening to him talk. I had little to no interest in golf, but was grateful to be here in a nice restaurant, spending time with a man whom I had spent years putting through hell.

At that thought, I could feel the pull of those melancholy memories. This time however, instead of succumbing to them I decided to let my mind drift back further to a better time in my life. Back when I had first come to live with my parents. Even then I was a lot of work for my father, but it had been different and in the end more than worth it for both of us.

Back then I was fine with women, but because of Frank, was terrified of men. A sudden loud male voice could cause me to curl up into a corner and cry, and all hell would break loose if one touched me. This problem had already cost me a couple of chances to get placed. So when mom had first taken an interest in me, Mary, my social worker, and a woman whose heart I broke every Friday, when I would beg her to take me home with her, had suggested that mom see me alone the first few times.

Mary could see how taken Denise was with me, and her idea was to get me attached to her so that when I met dad I wouldn’t be as afraid, because I trusted her. After a month of twice a week visits, Denise told me that next time she wanted to bring her husband Doug. I said that I didn’t want to meet him because all men were mean.

Denise said that wasn’t true, Doug loved her very much, and was very excited to meet me. I put my head down and pouted. When I looked up mom was doing the same thing, and with a sad look on her face said that it would hurt her feelings if I didn’t want to meet Doug. After all weren’t we friends?

Mary prodded me as well, saying that Denise had been very nice to me so shouldn’t I be nice as well? Finally I said okay, but I didn’t want to be touched. I met Doug the next day and was scared. Doug was a big guy with a very deep voice and I immediately hid behind Mary when he said hi to me. Doug only stayed a little while, long enough for Mary to coax me into saying hi and telling him my name, and then it was just me and Denise again.

Denise had given me a big hug and thanked me for meeting Doug and now that I met him would I like to come to her house? Denise hugged me every time she saw me and it was the best feeling in the world. I hugged her back and figured that if this made her happy then I would do it again.

For the next few weeks I started spending first afternoons, then entire weekends with them. Although I hardly spoke to Doug and wouldn’t let him touch me, Mary decided to give me living with them a try. I was thrilled to be living with Denise.

It was a nice house with my own room and they bought me plenty of toys, including my favorite, a really nice stuffed Scooby doo that I slept with every night. That was when I slept. I had a lot of nightmares back then and many nights woke up crying and Denise would sleep with me. Doug would come in with her sometimes, but I would end up getting more upset and he would have to leave.

As time went on, I did get a little more comfortable. Doug could hug me, but only if I was either on mom’s lap or sitting right next to her. I would let him help tuck me in, but once again only if Denise was there.

Dad would always read to me while Denise would sit on the bed and I started to like the sound of his voice. I noticed that I was feeling less scared when he touched me. I still would never go to him however, he always had to approach me, and still always with Denise very close by.

One Sunday after I had been living there for a couple of months, I came into the kitchen and saw mom, I had asked if I could call her that, was making a cake. I asked her what it was for and she said that it was Doug’s birthday.

I told her I felt bad because I didn’t know and didn’t have a birthday present for him. Mom smiled and asked if I really wanted to give him something. I said yes, but I didn’t have any money. Mom then leaned down and whispered in my ear what she said would be a perfect gift. I looked at her nervously and asked if he would really like it and she said of course he would.

I nodded and went into the parlor where Doug was sitting in his old recliner, watching a baseball game. Doug had looked a little surprised that I had come in by myself, but smiled and asked what I was up to. I walked up to the chair and told him I had something for him.

Doug said that he couldn’t wait to see what it was, and quickly, before I got scared, I crawled up onto his lap, put my arms around his neck, gave him a big hug and told him happy birthday. Before Doug could react, I added a kiss on the cheek.

Dad put his arms gently around me, and seemed to hesitate. I told him that I would like it if he hugged me. Doug hugged me tight and told me that this was the best present he had ever gotten. I stayed there, letting him hold me and realized not only wasn’t I scared, but that I felt safe.

I took my arms from around his neck, but stayed sitting in his lap. Dad put his arm around me and started telling me about the baseball game. I didn’t care, but it felt great being there with him. A few minutes later mom brought out the cake and I ate mine still sitting on Doug’s lap.

I stayed there all day watching baseball, and when the game was over Doug put on cartoons and when I started to fall asleep he carried me into my room and tucked me in without mom. After Doug read me a quick story, and gave me a kiss good night, I asked him if I could call him daddy. A week later mom and dad started the adoption process and within six months I was officially their daughter. I could feel myself start to smile at the memory of the day my adoption was official. Mom had…

“And that’s when I decided to tell your mother that I’d been having an affair and wanted a divorce.” Dad said cutting through my fog.

“Huh?” I asked, wondering if I had just heard right. “What did you just…”

Dad cut me off with a wave of his hand.

“Nothing Megan, just trying to bring you back from whatever fog you were in.” He sighed. “I know I’m not very exciting, but once every few months you could pretend to listen.”

“Sorry daddy!” I batted my eyes at him. “But the golf thing gets to me after a few minutes.”

I paused as the waitress came back over and as she cleared our plates, we ordered coffee. When she walked away, I grinned and asked if he wanted to know what I was thinking about. Dad said okay as long as it wasn’t some twisted idea for a new painting like a zombie father daughter out to lunch called better late than never.

I snapped my fingers and said that I would have to write that down. Dad rolled his eyes and after I told him I was only kidding proceeded to tell him what I had been thinking about. Dad listened intently and I could see by the end that my tough guy father was getting a little misty. This time I took his hand and asked if it was still his favorite memory. Dad nodded then said;

“I think it always will be, but I have to say being there to give you your one year Medallion was really special.” He sighed. “I guess one of those tough, because of what it meant you went through, but very proud of you. I think it was the first day I let myself think you were going to be okay for good this time.”

We stopped again as the coffee came and as we each started adding sugar and cream, Dad continued;

“I really was thrilled,” He gave me a wry smile. “Even though I wasn’t your first choice I…” Dad stopped realizing where he was going with that, and elated at seeing my chance, I dove right in.

“Well not alone anyway,” I began. “I was going to have Mark do it, but didn’t want to leave you out and was going to have you both. Then Mark told me that you and I were just really starting to get close again and he wanted you to have that moment with me.”

Dad didn’t say anything. At first he just sat there staring at me, most likely pissed for giving me that opening. I kept looking at him expectantly, and finally Dad took a deep breath, and as he exhaled, said;

“Yeah Megan I know. He told me that when I wanted to know why he wasn’t doing it with me.” He looked away.

“If you want me to say that it was a nice thing to do, it was.” Dad grunted and added; “Guilt will make you do things like that.”

With no further beating around the bush, I asked;

“Dad what the hell happened between you and Mark?”

“Don’t worry about it Megan.” Dad said simply. “It doesn’t concern you.”

“My father hates my brother,” I told him evenly. “The two most important men in my life aren’t speaking and it doesn’t concern me? Never mind how much it’s upsetting Mom.”

“Not as much as knowing the truth would.” Dad said simply. “Your mother thinks the world of her son” He sneered the word. “She would be heartbroken if she knew what that animal did.”

“What the hell did he do Dad?” I asked in exasperation.

“Forget it Megan.”

“No Dad, it’s not that easy.” I told him. “This is the second time since last night you called Mark an animal. I want to know what he did.”

Dad idly stirred his coffee and shook his head. When he looked up I was staring at him, and after a moment, he said softly.

“You know damn well what he did Megan because he did it to you.”

“To me?” I asked wondering if I’d heard right. “What the hell did Mark do to me?”

“I’m not going to say it Megan. I… can’t.” Dad exhaled slowly, and I saw his hands were shaking. “Just thinking about it makes me wish I’d put my foot down with your mother and never told you about him.”

“Are you kidding?” I blurted out. “Dad….”

“He was bad news Megan, disturbed, and I knew it. I could see it in those crazy eyes of his. Maybe it was what he went through; maybe it runs in the family, but Mark was dangerous like that dog I told you about years ago.” Dad snorted.

“I almost had him Megan, was going to throw him out after that mess at the hotel. He was going to fight me there, I saw it.”

“He was trying to defend me.” I said as calmly as possible.

“So he could ruin you himself.” Dad said disgustedly. “He should have went to jail for what he did to Max. Whether Max deserved it or not what Mark did was inhuman. They should have kept him in Butler.” He shook his head. “But you cried to Alex to help him, just like you cried to me to let him stay.”

Leaning back, Dad continued;

“You always protected him Megan. Always. Makes what he did even worse.”

“My brother did more than his share of protecting me Dad.” I told him, feeling myself getting upset. “You don’t know the things Mark did for me. My brother had half the dealers in the state afraid to sell to me.” Dad started to talk, but I kept going.

“Never mind the end Dad. Mark saved my life, literally.” I tapped the table. “Hell we wouldn’t be sitting here if he hadn’t gotten to me. If it wasn’t for Mark you’d be seeing me in a cemetery and leaving flowers.” I fought back tears and added;

“I remember that day; you were in tears Dad, in tears, thanking Mark for bringing your daughter back to you.” I snorted disgustedly. “What have you done for me lately is that it?”

“You…” Dad seemed to be picking his words carefully. “You don’t know the whole story Megan.”

“Well if you would friggin tell me than maybe I would!” I snapped. “Christ dad, I’m not mom okay? I can handle shitty things, case you haven’t noticed a good part of my life has been full of them!”

“I didn’t know then okay, Megan?” Dad snapped back raising his voice. “I… I didn’t know what he had done to you.”

“What did he…”

“He hurt you Megan!!” This time I noticed the people at the next table look over.

“Dad shhh!” I said putting my hand over his.

“Well this is why we don’t need to get into this!”

“Dad,” I began, now making sure I stayed calm so he would. “When do you think Mark hurt me?” I put my hands out. “A few months ago I came up here with Laura and we all went out and you and Mark were fine. Six months later he’s an animal. When could he have hurt me?”

“Oh for Christ’s sake Megan,” Dad said. “It wasn’t recent. He hurt you a long time ago and I just found out about it.” He grunted. “Little bastard finally ran into someone dirtier than him and I got to see what that piece of shit is really like, what he’ really capable of.”

“Dad, listen to me. My brother never hurt me, ever.” Even as I said it my mind started to form an image of Mark in my face, snarling at me, that crazed look in his eye and blood running down his face. “It’s time you learned your place whore…” he had hissed.

I shoved that image from my mind. I would not go there just as I told Mark not to yesterday. That had been terrible for both of us, but my father couldn’t have known about that, no one did except the two of us. As Dad rolled his eyes I pressed on;

“Dad, I know Mark has done some extreme things and I know he’s earned a pretty bad reputation but,” I took a deep breath to stop myself from choking up and whispered; “My brother loves me Dad, when he came to live with us we promised each other that we would never let anyone hurt us again, that we would protect each other!”

“Yeah well he lied,” Dad said, “Or maybe he figured he would just hurt you himself.”

“Dad, please tell me.” I said softly. I could feel the tears starting to build and didn’t fight them. “Tell me when you think Mark hurt me because he never did Dad, never. If anything I hurt him just like I hurt you. I’m the one who deserves to be…”

“You didn’t deserve what he did to you!!” Dad said slapping the table hard and making me jump. “Don’t ever say that! That sick fuck gave you….” Dad stopped and stared at me as the tears began flowing down my cheeks. After a minute he said quietly;

“My god you don’t know.” He shook his head. “You know, I wondered if you would remember.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked as I wiped at my eyes with a napkin.

Dad paused to take a sip of coffee and I saw his hand shaking again. He put the mug down and once more taking my hand across the table said;

“When we went to those sessions while you were in the rehab, the therapist had said that there were probably a lot of things that you may not recall. That as much of those terrible times you remembered there would be a lot that your mind would block out.”

I nodded; both because I recalled the conversation with the therapist and that I knew there were things my mind was hazy on. I would get little glimpses sometimes, but they would always fade before I could fully grasp them. Like that brief image of my brother over me, lowering himself gently down to me a look of love in his eyes. Dad’s voice brought me back from that fleeting vision.

“I wondered when we started if you knew and were sticking up for him like you always do,” He shook his head. “But you don’t, I can see it in your eyes.” He sighed. “You’re better off then.”

“Then tell me Dad,” I pleaded. Was it possible? Had Mark done something I couldn’t remember and he wouldn’t bring up? “Please?

“Absolutely not Megan,” Dad said. “Its better this way trust me.”

“But Dad, you can’t do this to me!” I continued. “You can’t imagine what this is doing to…”

“Doing to you?”

Dad leaned forward and when he began speaking his voice was trembling with the effort to keep it down.

“What do you think this does to me? I know what that animal did to you Megan, what he did to my daughter. I told him if I ever saw him in my house again I’d blow his fucking head off.”

“D-dad…?” I trailed off stunned.

“Think this hurts you? Your mother thinks she’s upset?” Dad pointed at himself as he spoke. “You have no idea how hard it is for me to hear your mother talk about her wonderful son, how hard it is to listen to you tell me how much your brother cares about you.”

“It kills me to hear you say his name, kills me that whenever you come up here you spend more time with him than us, that you always see him first. That he just goes through life like there is nothing wrong.”

Dad let out a long shuddering breath and I saw how red his neck was and his temple was throbbing. I had never seen him this angry. Oh, my brother, what the hell did you do I thought as Dad went on.

“But as much as it hurts me Megan it would hurt me more to see your mother upset. Trust me if she knew Megan…” he paused and took another breath as if he were trying to control himself. “And it would hurt even more to see you get upset over it.” He sat back and laughed disgustedly.

“Of course that’s your brother through and through. Doing what he wants and leaving nothing but pain behind him. Smug bastard knows I’ll never tell. I’m sure he’s figured out that you blocked it out.” With a sigh he said. “I’m sorry Megan, but I won’t tell you. You can try your brother and if he has one shred of decency somewhere in that cesspool he calls a heart he won’t tell you either.”

“Dad you have it wrong,” I tried again. “Whoever this was that you said you found out from they’re lying. Why would you believe what someone who had it in for Mark would tell you?

Looking into my eyes Dad said;

“Because Megan, I heard it straight from the source.”

“What do you…”

“Your brother,” Dad answered softly. “Mark told me himself what he did.”

Looking down at the table, dad continued to speak;

“I…found out and I confronted him.”

When dad looked back up there were tears in his eyes, but not tears of sadness, more like frustration.

“Not only did he not deny it Megan, he fucking bragged about it! Sat across from me at my own table with that fucking smirk and told me what he did.”

Dad let out a long shuddering breath and continued;

“I swear to Christ Megan, if I’d have had my shotgun next to me I’d have killed him. I told him to get the fuck out and I had better never see him again. That he was dead to me.”

I started to try to speak, but dad waved me off;

“So your mother can think what she wants and so can you. And I suppose if you’re happy that should count for something. But I saw the real Mark and he is a soulless, heartless beast.”

He sat back in his chair and picking up his coffee, said;

“There’s a special place in hell for your brother Megan. It’s right next to his father.” He sipped his coffee then smiling grimly said;

“All that I ask is that I live long enough to see him get what he deserves

*****

We finished our coffee in silence and when the check came I took it from the waitress as Dad tried to reach for it. After paying I asked if he were ready to go and he nodded. We both stood and I walked out without speaking. When we got to Dad’s old Volvo wagon he opened the door for me.

As I started to get in he stopped me with his hand on my arm, and putting his arms around me, hugged me close to him. As he held me there, he whispered in my ear that he was sorry he upset me that he should not have said some of those things about Mark to me, but he couldn’t help it.

As Dad stepped back from me he started to say something, but I told him to let it go. I had precious little time to spend with him and mom these days and didn’t want to fight, especially not over the past.

Dad said okay and I got into the car, thinking that enough was enough. I would get the answer from my brother. Mark may be the consummate game player, but at the end of the day I was his weakness. Dominate him, seduce him, plead or find something to threaten him with, my brother would give me what I needed to know.

As Dad got into the car and pulled out of the parking lot, I started wondering if this would be a case of be careful of what I wished for. What if Mark had done something to me that I had blocked out? In my heart I doubted that he had. Dad had to be wrong or, I felt my stomach twist at the thought, what if Mark had been playing games with his meds and dad had caught him at just the right time. Mark’s ‘other half’, as he would refer to it as, was vicious and would say whatever the hell it wanted to whether it was the truth or not.

Obviously my parents did not know about Mark’s condition, although mom had once remarked that she swore he was bipolar. If that were true would my brother even remember? Only one way to find out and I was done running from the past. I was no longer a weak, needy emotional basket case. I could handle whatever it was and then I would fix it. Mom, Dad, and Mark were my family and it would be only fitting that the one who had done so much to tear us apart over the years would be the one to make it right.

“Oh Christ, would you look at this!” Dad exclaimed.

Looking up, I saw that we had just gotten onto the highway and were in dead stop traffic.

“Yeah I got stuck on the way to Mark’s earlier.” I said quietly.

“Ridiculous.” Dad muttered.

I leaned back in the seat, and turning my head to the right, stared at several buildings just off the highway. As my eyes idly scanned the houses they seemed to look familiar. My gaze stopped wandering as I focused on a large square two story building. The building had been burned out and all the windows and doors boarded up. There was a sign over the main entrance that if you stared hard enough you could still faintly make out the name;

The Wolves’ Den.

Underneath were the words “Hottest girls in town.”

Most of those letters were missing, but I knew them by heart. After all for about a month I had been one of RI’s hottest girls. The sign left out that The Wolves Den had also been a hot spot for cocaine and prostitution. Sadly I had participated in both. Part of my mind told me to look away, as I had earlier when driving through the city.

This time I found myself sliding back to not just that terrible time, but one of the most horrifying events in my life. Even as my mind continued to sound the warning bells I could see the club in its heyday; the stage, the smoke, the drugs. I became aware of Dad turning the radio up, and leaning back in the seat I closed my eyes, and let the sins of the past wash over me.

Chapter Two

Providence 1996

I pulled into the parking lot of the Wolves Den and finding a spot, left the car running. Sitting there with my hands on the wheel I stared at the club; I didn’t want to go in there. All that was in there for me was humiliation. Dancing on the stage and lap dancing was the least of it. I rubbed at my burning eyes, thinking sadly that six years ago at twenty one and before I had let myself get this far, I had been a talented beautiful girl who’d only had a handful of lovers. I was still pretty, but hadn’t painted anything in months and now had as many as five men on a good night.

A good night. I put my head down on the steering wheel and could feel tears coming to my eyes. Not that these guys could be considered lovers, I was not there to be their girlfriend, I was just a quick dirty fuck. Most times it was as simple as just bending over the small couch and letting them take me.

Most lasted little more than a few minutes, then it was back on stage as if I had been out on a cigarette break. Speaking of, I fumbled in my purse, and removing a pack, took one out and lit it with trembling fingers. Christ, I needed a fix. That was where the debate came in; there were several dealers in the club and I could get it all night long. Not for free, but after every trip to the back I could pay for more.

I knew it was a vicious circle. I was dancing and whoring to get the coke then using the coke to keep myself flying high enough to continue to do what I was doing. I also needed money. The rent was due this weekend and I had nothing. Two nights ago I had made six hundred dollars and come home with a hundred; the rest going up my nose and at the bar after my shift.

Home, I thought shaking my head. Where I lived wasn’t a home, it was a place. I’d had a nice home once, with parents who loved me, but that was a lifetime ago. I was no longer that pretty little girl with the bright future. Now home was whatever spare room someone had to offer.

Right now I was sharing a dirty three room apartment with another dancer, whose real name I didn’t know, but went by ‘Sadie’. Sadie hadn’t paid rent in two months and if we didn’t have two months by the first we were going to be tossed. We were supposed to be tossed last month, but Sadie had fucked the landlord to let us ride. Apparently his wife thought something was funny because it was her we were dealing with now and she wanted the cash. Sadie had worked last night and had brought home half now it was up to me to get the rest.

It didn’t have to be this way. A month ago I had been staying with Tommy and it’s not like he had thrown me out, he would never do that to me. But Tommy was straight now and had been for well over a year. During that time I had flitted in and out of his life, but he always took me back. Tommy loved me, why I don’t know. All I had done was treat him poorly. Once when I asked him why he always took me back he said that he was waiting for the real Megan to come back and she was worth the wait.

The real Megan. Who was that? Was she the sweet girl next door type with the big crooked smile and cute little girl laugh that always made other people smile and laugh with her? Or was the real Megan “Raven”; the coked up gothic slut that shook her tits on the stage and bent over for anyone who wanted to pay for it? Seemed more and more as if it were the latter.

Last month in one those dreadful times where lack of money had forced me to be straight for more than a couple of days I had looked at Tommy sleeping next to me and had decided I had to leave him. Tommy was doing well and having me around him was dangerous. More than once I had brought coke into the house and once even tried to get him to do it with me. I was messed up at the time and very grateful that he had said no. I had caused enough pain to people who loved me, I didn’t need that guilt as well. So I packed up when he went to work and left him a note saying how sorry I was.

I had gotten a job dancing at the Foxy Lady where the clientele was upper class, the money phenomenal, and all you had to do was dance. I had lost that job within a week for showing up wasted and after I got a second chance got caught doing lines in the bathroom. One of the girls that worked there sent me to The Wolves Den where I fit right in.

Everyone from the bouncers, to the dancers, to the crowd that hung there were users. I put the cigarette out and looked at the dashboard clock. I was due on stage in twenty minutes. If I didn’t work tonight I would not have a place to live. I also would have to deal with being straight.

Then again, there was always Mark. I could go stay with him for a little while and get myself together as I had many other times. I let out a small sob as I thought of my brother, who I hadn’t seen in over a month. Not for lack of trying on his part.

Mark had called Tommy several times looking for me and had stopped at some of the places that I would hang around in. As much as it pained me to do so, I was avoiding him. Not that Mark had not seen me messed up before, because God knew he had seen me in pretty rough shape, but to find out I was working in a place like this would kill him. Bad enough he had posted bail for me three months ago when I had been arrested for soliciting a police officer in a bar.

The last time I had seen Mark we had spent the weekend together and I had made sure I had been clean a few days before I saw him. Although it was no secret about my habits, I always did the best I could to look okay when I was with him. The weekend had been nice until the end when, while lying in bed, Mark brought up me going into an inpatient treatment center.

That turned into an argument and I had ended up telling Mark that I was none of his fucking business and to leave me alone. I had stormed out of his apartment and had not seen him since. I did call him a couple of days later in tears and apologized to him. He had said to forget it and wanted to see me, but I needed to keep my distance until I felt as if I could handle it.

Unlike me, Mark was doing just fine for himself. Now in his last year at Suffolk, Mark already had an internship with a good firm in Providence that most likely would make him an offer when he graduated. Mark was still bartending, but at a high end country club that Alex had gotten him into.

The tips were phenomenal and Mark had told me that he had met several wealthy married women that slipped him their number and who paid him to pretty much fuck the shit out of them while their husbands were away. Ironic that Mark was also selling himself, but in a very different way; somehow my brother even managed to make prostitution look good.

Mark currently had a nice two bedroom apartment in North Providence that he kept telling me I was more than welcome to share with him. I could either go into the club and get fucked up again or go to my brother and let him take care of me.

I looked at my trembling hands, and quickly before I changed my mind, shut the car off and got out of the car. I slammed the door of Sadie’s beat to hell old nova so it would stay shut and walked across the parking lot towards the rear of the building.

“Hey honey what’s your hurry?”

I turned to see three college kids leaning against the corner of the club smoking. I was wearing a short denim mini skirt with a tight white t-shirt and black heels. Jack Wolf, the owner of the club as well, as the head of the notorious Devil’s own biker gang, wanted us to look sexy on the way in to get the guys wanting to see more

“C’mon over hear sweetie!” Another guy called.

I was ready to walk away when a slight breeze carried the sweet smell of marijuana over to me. Turning, I sauntered over to them, and stopped next to the one with the joint.

“Hey sexy, don’t suppose you wanna share?”

This had come out in the soft, sultry and slightly raspy voice I used when I was in the club. Sad to say the rasp was not intentional, but was the product of several years of chain smoking.

“Sure, honey.” The kid answered as he passed me the joint.

I took a hit from it, and closing my eyes, held the smoke in my lungs as long as I could before letting it out. I went to hand it back, but the kid waved me off.

“Go ahead baby take a couple.”

I took another and passing it back to him, thanked him.

“How about you thank me behind the building sweetie?” The kid asked with a wink.

“We got more in the car and a bottle of southern, how about you party with us?”

“Oh yeah?” I asked. “With all of you?”

“Sure,” One of the other kids laughed. “We can go one at a time or you can give us the group discount what do you figure?”

I stared hard at him, and resisting the urge to smack him, forced a sexy smile and leaning forward said in the kid with the joint’s ear.

“Tell you what baby, you come on in and spend some money on me and my friends and I’ll see about getting you some fun.”

“Aww come on hon we don’t have that kind of money.” He grinned. “How about a student discount?”

“See you inside boys.” I said, and walked towards the back entrance.

“Cock tease!!” One of them yelled.

I entered through the back way nodding to the bouncer who watched that door and made my way upstairs. The club itself was on the first floor and consisted of several stages spread out in four rooms and one large room that contained the bar and main stage. The smaller stages in the other rooms were reserved for private parties and some of the bigger spenders.

The parties were big money if you were willing to fuck the guest of honor in front of the rest of the room. I had thought in the beginning that I could have never, but two hundred dollars was a lot of money. I shuddered as I pictured myself bent over a chair being fucked by a guy due to get married in a week while his friends clapped and cheered.

I needed a fix, reaching the landing of the second floor which was a large open area with a second smaller bar, and a dozen small rooms along the corridor which were our dressing rooms. The rooms were also referred to “The fantasy rooms” and were where we would bring the guys who paid for private dances. Not that there was any dancing involved, it was for sex and sex only. As I made my way across the room, I stopped at the bar where Rick, one of the bouncers smoking a cigarette.

“Hey baby.” I said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “How’s my favorite guy in the club doing tonight?”

“I’m good Megan.” He answered grinning. “Hard at work.”

Rick was a big guy, over six feet and well over two hundred pounds, but was surprisingly soft spoken and a genuinely nice guy. All the girls liked him, as most of the bouncers were arrogant jerks. I had hooked up with Rick after a party my first week there and had fooled around with him a couple of times since. Like every bouncer there, Rick had cocaine on him, which they sold to the girls and other employees. Any coke that went to customers was sold by members of the Devil’s own when they were there or the two bartenders, both of which were street dealers.

“Really?” I asked smiling. “Let’s see.”

I reached down and squeezed his cock through his jeans. Rick laughed, but then stopped as I continued to rub back and forth. I was standing in front of him and I doubted anyone could see. Not that it would matter in this place. Last week, after hours, Sadie had a fucked the bartender right on the bar while people called out bets on how quick he would get off.

“Don’t tease Megan,” Rick said as I felt his sizable cock, growing hard under my touch. “It’s going to be a long night.”

“But you’ll have me to look forward to.” I told him.

Still rubbing, I leaned into his ear and whispered;

“Hey honey how about some in advance for your favorite girl.”

“I can’t Megan.” Rick said, and grabbing my wrist, gently pushed my hand away.

“C’mon Rick you know I’ll pay you!” I winked “One way or another.”

“Listen Megan, a couple of us came up a little light last week. You stiffed me a hundred and I had to put it in myself. Jack reamed our asses and told us no fronting.”

“Rick the night’s just started you know I’ll get at least one, and as soon as they…”

“Megan I can’t.” Rick said simply. “If we keep giving in to you girls Jack’s going to have all his devil’s in here. And for the record they’ll be sampling you girls all night and you know it.”

I sighed and let it go. I didn’t want Rick to get in trouble.

“Come see me after work and we can party if you want.” Rick said. “But I won’t have my own until then.”

“Okay honey.” I told him, forcing a smile.

I went down the hallway and entering my room, turned on the light. I wished to hell I’d been able to get something so I didn’t have to be in here in my right mind. The room was small with a makeup table and chair against one wall and that god awful sweat-and worse-stained couch against the other. Walking over to the locker in the corner, I manipulated the combination lock and opened the door. Reaching up under my hair, I removed the locket that mom gave me years ago. There was no way I could wear that in here. Stripping down to my black thong, I reached into the locker and removed one of the outfits that were hung up in there.