Dex’s POV

This sum­mer I’ll be pub­lish­ing The Dex-Files — a col­lec­tion of sto­ries and scenes from the books from Declan “Dex” Foray’s point-of-view. Some will be of scenes that are from the books, like the Strip Club Scene in Dead Sky Morn­ing, oth­ers will be scenes that are totally new (like, what hap­pened to Dex after the end of Book #5 On Demon Wings?).

DO NOTE: The fol­low­ing excerpts and scene’s from this upcom­ing book are ONLY for peo­ple who have read the entire series.

DO NOT read The Dex-Files or the scenes below until you have read the whole series thus far (Books #1-#5). Though I will never give away every­thing in Dex’s head and a lot will remain a secret until the series is over, there are some insights into that strange head of his that should remain a “mys­tery”, at least for new readers.

One last thing:.……SPOILERS!!!

If you have read the series, then feel free to read on:

 

The Dex-Files: DARKHOUSE (#1)

The first meeting

The room smelled like shit. Shit, sea­weed and decades of decay. It was too bad Smell-O-Vision never went any­where, because the smell of the old light­house would have been just as ter­ri­fy­ing as the sight of it.

Speak­ing of, there wasn’t much to see here. Down­stairs was empty. This floor gave up noth­ing except doors that wouldn’t open and I was begin­ning to doubt Old Cap­tain Fish­sticks was actu­ally haunt­ing the place. Just because pansy-assed ghost hunt­ing shows were clam­or­ing to film the light­house, didn’t mean any­thing was actu­ally here. Had I been duped by the hype? No. Not me. That was impossible.

I stopped in the mid­dle of the room and sighed, the cam­era feel­ing extra heavy on my shoul­der.  A migraine tick­led my tem­ples and I pinched the bridge of my nose, hard. I hated feel­ing like a fuck-up fail­ure. I couldn’t go back to Jimmy empty-handed. I sup­pose I could, see­ing as the Nazi didn’t really know what I was up to, but it didn’t mat­ter. He’d sniff it off of me like some fuck­ing dog. He’d know I was down here, try­ing to find some­thing bet­ter for myself.

Then there was Jenn. She was worse. She said she was sad when I left the show, but I could see through those tears of her. I knew what they meant. She was secretly pleased I took off with the tail between my legs, like she won yet another bat­tle or some­thing. Three years with some­one and you get to know their tac­tics pretty well. You can see that smug smile beneath the “But I’ll miss you.” The one that says I’ll be noth­ing with­out her, that I’ll fail on my own.

I didn’t want Jenn to be right. But look­ing around this dis­gust­ing, dark relic with the kelp and the crash­ing waves out­side, waves that seemed to laugh at me, well, fuck, she prob­a­bly was­right. Again.

I chewed on my lip absently and looked above. I had more of this place to see. I wasn’t going to give up yet. After all, I was here. And even though the mon­sters were hid­den behind veils of pre­scrip­tion, I was still the same boy as I was back in New York. They still wanted me, even if I couldn’t see them.

My pride would be the death of me one day.

THUD.

A loud clat­ter sounded out from the floor below. It sounded hard, like some­thing had top­pled over from a great height.

I froze, feel­ing just a lit­tle spooked. I walked across the room and paused near the stair­case, wait­ing for more.

From down­stairs came a scur­ry­ing noise, like a very large rat was pok­ing around. I care­fully turned off the cam­era light and waited. My ears lis­tened hard, try­ing to fig­ure out just what the hell it was.  From what I remem­bered, ghosts didn’t usu­ally make much noise. They didn’t move around like they were try­ing to be quiet and fail­ing at it. Rats didn’t move like that either, espe­cially not on the West Coast.

I picked up another sound now. Foot­steps. Then a metal­lic jangling.

It was def­i­nitely a person.

I was def­i­nitely fucked.

I took in a deep breath and ignored all the pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios that waited for me below. What was the point in fig­ur­ing out who it was, or what was going to hap­pen? If I got out of there with­out them see­ing me, then wor­ry­ing was fruitless.

I made my way down the stairs, paus­ing every other step to keep track, until I reached the bot­tom floor. I could hear tiny gasps of ragged breath cou­pled with a whim­per­ing sound. I could see only dark­ness, except for weak light that spilled in through one of the rooms. There was a win­dow where there hadn’t been a win­dow before.

You need move your ass now, I thought to myself. But before I could do any­thing, I felt this…this…I don’t  know what the hell it was, like a mag­netic pull, like the air before a thun­der­storm. An energy rolled toward me like a freight train. It made me stop, stunned and still.

There was another whim­per, almost like a sigh, then feet slap­ping the damp ground.

Before I had chance to process that the foot­steps were com­ing toward me, some­thing col­lided straight into my chest. There was a scream, a girl­ish shriek (not my own), and I was shoved back­ward by some­thing small and solid. The ground smashed into my shoul­der, then my head, but it didn’t mat­ter. The CRASH of my cam­era was the most painful thing of all.

I groaned and rolled over, feel­ing for the machine.

Oh please, please, please, please, please, I thought in a panic. I can’t afford this, I can’t afford this!

I heard the other per­son, the beast that hit me, stir­ring and moan­ing, then they hit the ground again with a thump that sounded painful. Part of me didn’t give two shits about the ass­hole that might have ruined the most impor­tant thing in my life. The other part of me felt kind of bad, espe­cially when it became appar­ent that the ass­hole was some fuck­ing chick. She was mak­ing lit­tle ter­ri­fied squeaks.

Then she made no noise at all.

Moth­er­fucker. Now I had a bro­ken cam­era and some tres­pass­ing broad who was either dead or unconscious.

I hoped she wasn’t a cop.

My hand made con­tact with the cam­era, and from the ini­tial feel I was cop­ping, it didn’t seem like much dam­age was done to the out­side. My fin­gers instinc­tively found the light and switched it on. I let out a breath of relief as the dark­ness was vio­lently illuminated.

As was the girl, lying on the ground beside me. Her eyes were closed and she wasn’t moving.

Shit, shit, shit.

I got on my knees and placed my hand on her neck, feel­ing for a pulse. She stirred a lit­tle and moaned, which meant she was at least par­tially alive. Not dead. I hadn’t killed her. So I had that going for me.

I couldn’t see her prop­erly in the com­pet­ing dark­ness and blind­ing glare, but she seemed damn young. She was small, with a round face that glowed ghostly pale. A cam­era hung from her neck and onto the floor. With­out think­ing, I reached up and brushed a strand of black hair off of her fore­head. She was warm, almost fever­ish. Still not dead.

At my touched she moved a lit­tle and tried to open her eyes, rais­ing her arm up to block out the light.

“Don’t move,” I said, my voice com­ing out bro­ken and hoarse. The last thing I needed was for her to wreck her­self even fur­ther.  Just because she was alive, didn’t mean she was well.

She dropped her hand reluc­tantly and I took the light away from her face, plac­ing the cam­era down on the ground beside her head. It cre­ated crazy shad­ows along the planes of her face. Her pert nose turned into a beak. If I let my imag­i­na­tion run away with me, there were a mil­lion things she could have mor­phed into. I was lucky I hadn’t skipped my pills ear­lier, like I had been think­ing about doing.

I touched her face again, just to make sure she was still a per­son. She was. She was still soft, and warm, and alive.

Was I being creepy?

Her eyes flut­tered open and I could barely make out a shade of blue in them before panic tore them wider and she tried to jerk away.

I pressed her shoul­der down to the ground to keep her still.

“Seri­ously,” I told her. “You might be really hurt. Please don’t move.”

She obeyed and lay back down.

“I’m OK,” she said through dry lips. Her voice was light and scared. But she didn’t sound like she was in any trauma. Her eyes searched my face with­out really seeing me.

I still had one hand on her shoul­der and the other on her face.

I was def­i­nitely being creepy.

I took my hands away and inched back a bit to give her space to breathe — and me space to run. She looked no older than 20, so she obvi­ously wasn’t a cop but she was here, in a place I had no right to be. I eyed the hall in the dark­ness, won­der­ing if get­ting out of the build­ing was going to be as hard as get­ting in. I hoped she wasn’t about to call for help. Or press charges.

She eased her­self up and looked war­ily around the dark­ness, her eyes focus­ing on the cam­era. I could see the wheels turn­ing behind those shad­owed eyes, won­der­ing what the fuck was going on.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. Even though she tech­ni­cally ran into me, I had to pla­cate things before they escalated.

“I was upstairs and I heard this crazy clat­ter from down here,” I explained, my voice speed­ing up as my heart raced. There was too much adren­a­line in my sys­tem and the med­ica­tion was screw­ing around with it. “And I thought maybe it was the cops or some­thing. I didn’t know what the fuck to do. I thought I could get out of the way I came in, but I saw you there, and then I saw the win­dow prob­a­bly at the same time you saw the win­dow and I’m…I’m so sorry if…well, you’re obviously OK.”

There was a pause. She didn’t seem to buy any of that.

“Who are you?”

The mil­lion dol­lar ques­tion. What would my answer be today?

“That depends on who you are,” I said honestly.

In the shad­ows I saw her cock her brow.

“I asked you first.”

Why did I have to run into the most ques­tion­ing peo­ple? I exhaled and reached back into my pocket. My new busi­ness cards were printed just last week – she’d be the first per­son to have one.

Who­ever she was.

She took it from her hands, hes­i­tant, like I was hand­ing her poi­son. So sus­pi­cious.  Tsk, tsk.

I picked up the cam­era and aimed it at the card. It gleamed under the light. So did the chipped pol­ish on her gothy-looking fingernails.

She read it out loud and flipped it over, then looked up at me, some­how even more con­fused. The light lit up her face better.

“Are you from West Coast Liv­ing or something?”

I let out a small laugh. “Fuck no.”

I started to rock back on forth on my feet, need­ing an out­let for the energy that was rum­bling inside my bones.  She was a curi­ous lit­tle thing, but some­thing about her made me ner­vous. Wary. Like she could be even more dubi­ous than I was. Like she had a mil­lion secrets to tell and I would never hear any of them.

Who­ever she was.

“Well, Dex Foray, I have a feel­ing that what­ever you guys are doing here tonight, you’re doing so with­out the per­mis­sion of my uncle, who owns the lighthouse.”

Shit. Fuck. Shit.

Her uncle owned the light­house. I felt the routes in my brain rewire as they pre­pared for the extra adren­a­line, the gal­lop of my heart.

But…wait…

“There’s no one else here,” I said. “It’s just me.”

She laughed, clearly not believing me.

“Look, I don’t care,” she said and there was just enough ease in her voice to make it true. “I’m not going to report you. I shouldn’t even be here myself. Just get your crew together or what­ever and get out of here before you do get in trouble.”

I stopped rock­ing. What the hell was she going on about? My crew?

“It’s just me,” I told her again. “Did you see some­one else here?”

She frowned but kept her gaze on mine. “Yes. I heard you upstairs, and I was going to go out the win­dow, but I saw the shadow of some­one pass by. Outside.”

A shud­der ran down my spine and roll of nau­sea waved through me. I skid a bit closer to her, my pants drag­ging on the damp ground.

“Are you sure you saw something?”

If she had seen some­thing, and it obvi­ously was not me, then I was hooped up the ass. Maybe she was too, but I just couldn’t get a proper read­ing on her. That weird energy slinked off of her in bursts and messed with my head a little bit.

“Yes, I saw some­one,” she said with a tinge of doubt. “Some­one walked past the win­dow, swear to God.”

I wasn’t sure if her God was one I could hold truth to.

“Where did you come from? Did any­one come with you?”

Like your uncle…or the cops…or your 250-pound MMA boyfriend.

She shook her head. I placed the light closer to her face, feel­ing like I needed to do a bit of inter­ro­gat­ing to get to the bot­tom of this. She winced at the glare.

“Sorry,” I mum­bled. “I…well, nevermind.”

“Nev­er­mind?” she spat out. Her eyes nar­rowed and not from the light. “You just broke into my uncle’s light­house. Don’t you tell me to nevermind.”

Whoa. All I was going to do was apol­o­gize again for doing exactly that. Well, fuck. For­get it. I was done. I was out of here.

With a grunt, I got to my feet and stretched up into the moon­light that was now creep­ing from the nearby win­dow.  It would be an easy escape. I picked up my foot to go, but I stopped.

I couldn’t leave like this.

She looked so help­less at my feet. And I did have man­ners somewhere.

I reached for her hand. She even­tu­ally took it, feel­ing all too tiny in mine, and I brought her to her feet. She stag­gered a bit, almost keel­ing over, her cam­era swing­ing, and all I could think about was maybe she fell a lot harder than I thought. Maybe she wasn’t really “all there” and we’d need an ambu­lance after all.

I put my hands on the sides of her arms and stepped closer to her, try­ing to keep her from fal­ter­ing. She was short as hell and that was say­ing a lot since I wasn’t very tall to begin with.

“You OK?” I asked, already know­ing she was the type who’d say she was fine even if her limbs were chopped off. I saw a flash of some­thing – hope? — in her eyes before she twisted us around and I was illu­mi­nated and her face was hid­den in the dark. I searched out her fea­tures but couldn’t get them. It was unnerv­ing to not see the round pale face and watchful eyes.

“Just a bit dizzy,” she said. The fact that she admit­ted that much didn’t sound very good. I began to think where the near­est hos­pi­tal was, whether I could get her there in the High­lander, if I would need to call her uncle first. Who would then slap me with some tres­pass­ing charges and a pos­si­ble assault charge, because men were dicks and no one would believe a girl could run into me, espe­cially not one pixie-sized.

“Good,” I said, try­ing to look into her eyes, try­ing to keep things light. I smiled, think­ing it might help my cause. “Promise not to sue?”

“I won’t. Can’t speak for my uncle, though.”

Damn it! Just where was he any­way? Why was she explor­ing a light­house in the dark without him?

“Why are you here?” I asked, more and more curi­ous about this lit­tle goth girl.

She dropped her gaze to the ground, even though I couldn’t see her anyway.

“We’re hav­ing a bon­fire at the beach,” she said. Her voice went higher, younger, and I got the dis­tinct impres­sion that she was feel­ing guilty about some­thing. “I got sick of hang­ing around teenagers and wanted to come here. My uncle never let me come here when I was younger. I didn’t tell any­one, I just left. I was hop­ing to film stuff.”

Hop­ing to film some stuff? As if she couldn’t get any more intrigu­ing. What kind of stuff, exactly. What had she heard about the lighthouse?

She let out a small gasp and started fid­dling with some­thing. Her cam­era. I picked up mine and shone the light on her and while she was squint­ing uncom­fort­ably at the glare, I took her­SLR in my hand and peered it over. Aside from scratches that were prob­a­bly there before, there was no damage.

“It’s fine,” I told her, try­ing to sound reas­sur­ing. “I thought you wrecked the shit out of mine when you ran into me.”

I pat­ted my cam­era which made the light bob against her face. She didn’t look very impressed. Who could blame her.

“You’re right,” I said, before she could. “Who cares? I prob­a­bly deserve to have this cam­era smashed.”

Even though it would put me back at square one. I couldn’t think about that.

Thump.

I froze. The sound had come from upstairs. Where I had just been. Where noth­ing else had been. Unless…

I looked at her, putting the light closer to her face. It was Bad Cop time again.

“You sure you came alone?” I whispered.

She replied, “Are you?”

I nod­ded. She didn’t. It then occurred to me that I had no clue what her damn name was. She never offered it up. I didn’t know any­thing about her.

This could have all been a trap. They might have known I was com­ing here. I don’t know how, but maybe they saw the High­lander from a dis­tance. Maybe tres­passers were a weekly occur­rence. Maybe they lured ghost-hunters here and then robbed them. Or raped them. I’d prob­a­bly let lit­tle miss doe eyes do the hon­ors, but I had no idea how strong her uncle was.

She dropped her eyes from mine and looked at the win­dow. The only easy way of escape.

But if she was think­ing of run­ning, that meant she was afraid. It meant she didn’t know who, or what, was upstairs.

And if they didn’t come with her…they were already here.

I leaned into her and smelled some­thing like a fresh breeze radi­at­ing from her neck.  It took me a moment to find my tongue, find the words to say, “Are you one hun­dred per­cent sure that no one else came with you here?”

I wanted to pull away for her response but that energy, that smell, kept my nose and mouth locked near her neck for just a few more seconds.


Who doesn’t like pie?

“Oh come on, just shoot the freak­ing zom­bie already!” Matt or Tony yelled at me. I couldn’t tell which one. They both looked the same and sounded the same – deafening.

I’d been play­ing video games with Perry’s cousins for the last hour while she checked her emails and we waited for night to fall. My zombie-hunting “skills” seemed just as use­less as my ghost-hunting skills and the noises and the graph­ics were fuck­ing up my equi­lib­rium. I mean, shit. After what went down in the car, run­ning into that psy­cho, Dame Edna lady again, I was sur­prised it took me this long to real­ize every­thing was doing my head in. I had enough.

“That’s it,” I said, throw­ing my con­troller down on the couch and get­ting up. “I’ve died for the last time.”

The twins made a noise in uni­son. It sounded like false dis­ap­point­ment. It was eerie.

Then they con­tin­ued play­ing like I had never even been there. Also eerie.

And nerdy.

I made my way over the kitchen and started to pull out my note­book from my overnight bag. It still smelled like apple pie here, the one that Perry man­aged to bake ear­lier.  What pos­sessed her to try bak­ing was beyond my cloudy brain. Just one more thing to scrib­ble down on my men­tal notepad head­lined PERRY and sorted:  things I needed to get to the bottom of.

It was good too. Not the best thing I’ve tasted in my life, but it was good con­sid­er­ing she ran­domly cooked it in her uncle’s place.  I couldn’t even remem­ber the last time I had home­made apple pie. Had I ever? The only time I could think of was the God awful Christ­mases with Jenn and her white-ass rich folks, and if I knew them, they prob­a­bly ordered those pies from some epi­curean pie cat­a­logue for old farts.

But the thing is, it wasn’t so much what it tasted like but what it smelled like. The damn pie smelled like home to me. But apple pie didn’t exist in my fucked-up youth, and if it had, it wasn’t at the hands of my mother. Per­haps a nanny had baked every now and then. I don’t know, I didn’t care to remem­ber that shit. That whole period was blocked out for very good reasons.

But the smell still stirred up mem­o­ries that never could have existed. It felt…like, warm. Good. Hon­est. How the hell did those things belong in my life?

I looked at Perry as she came into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from me. Her face was anx­ious, like she was hav­ing another bat­tle inside that head of hers. There was some­thing about her that stirred up the same feel­ings. Maybe this had noth­ing to do with apple pie at all. Maybe it’s that she made it, and when she handed over that first slice and met my eyes, I could see she made it for me. And no one had ever made me anything.

Nat­u­rally, I wasn’t about to tell her that. It was retarded, actu­ally, to even think this funny lit­tle girl thought of me more than some crazy mus­tached fucker in her uncle’s kitchen. She just met me. She didn’t know me. And if she thought she did, she was mis­tak­ing me for some­one else. Some­one who didn’t hide med­ica­tion in a hollowed-out book.

I kept my mouth shut and began to write an overview of the day. I still man­aged to watch her at the same time, watch her debat­ing whether to tell me some­thing or not. A glint of some­thing gleamed in her blue eyes. It was almost…hot. Was she think­ing some­thing naughty? I found myself shift­ing uncom­fort­ably in the chair.

“So,” she said, her voice high and self-conscious. “A local ghost hunter’s club in Salem was hop­ing I could come aboard their team and per­haps show them around the lighthouse.

The…fuck? I stopped writ­ing, try­ing to process what she was say­ing. Com­pe­ti­tion? Already? I knew I should have fuck­ing got her to sign a con­tract. I knew I was being a fuck­tard by just trust­ing that she’d stick with me and not go to some­one else with this fuck­ing access, some­one who actu­ally knew what they were doing. All that shit we said to each other in the car, all the things I said – that didn’t mean shit, did it? Fuck I was a fool.

I cleared my throat and tried to sound casual. “And?”

She shrugged. “I haven’t got­ten back to them.”

How con­sid­er­ate, I wanted to say but I shut my mouth. This was not the time to fly off the han­dle. I knew I wasn’t think­ing straight lately, espe­cially today, I knew I was pre­dis­posed to say shit I didn’t mean, hell, shit I didn’t even think. I couldn’t fuck every­thing up now, not when we were so close.

“Well, you can do what­ever you want to do,” I lied through my teeth. “You’re a free agent. We haven’t signed anything.”

Cuz I’m a dick-grabbing mon­key, that’s why.

My cell phone rang, pre­vent­ing me from say­ing any­thing else ridicu­lous. It was Jenn but I was grate­ful for any distraction.

“Hey babe,” I said.

“Dex?” Jenn’s voice sounded tinny through the poor recep­tion. “Sorry to bug you on your lit­tle adven­ture but Cyn­thia and Relece wanted to have a girl’s night out and…”

She droned on but I had quit lis­ten­ing and was watch­ing Perry again. Her nose twitched (how cute was that?) and a faint flush of red crept up her neck and onto the side of her face. She straight­ened up in her seat as soon as she noticed me look­ing but it didn’t stop the girl from look­ing like she’d rather be in a mil­lion other places than sit­ting here in front of me. I hoped she wasn’t seri­ously think­ing about that pussy ghost hunt­ing club. Who the fuck decides to form one of those?

“….and I know you won’t be home till late, but I won’t be there until prob­a­bly much later. Is that OK?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“You sure?” Jenn asked and from her tone I knew she didn’t give a fuck if I said it wasn’t. She’d still go out, as she always did. I didn’t even know why she was call­ing to ask. Maybe she wanted to check up on me.

“Seri­ously, I don’t mind. Go do what­ever it is you girls do.”

After I told her I’d be home in the morn­ing now, I hung up the phone and decided to jump right back into it.

OK, where were we?” I said out loud. What did we need to know for tonight?

“She doesn’t mind you stay­ing another night?” Perry asked.

I raised my brow. Odd ques­tion. Why did she care?

“No,” I said, not want­ing to talk about how pathetic our rela­tion­ship truly was. I let my gaze fall to the win­dow where the wind was shak­ing the trees loose. I breathed in and let that smell of home bring my heart rate down a notch.

“Do you have anymore pie?”

“There’s a slice or two I put back in the fridge…” she said, as if she wasn’t sure.

“Would you mind get­ting me a piece of pie?” I asked. I wanted to see if she’d do it. And if she’d hand it to me again with that look in her eyes. I needed that look right now. I sensed some changes inside, the wiring com­ing loose and need­ing a good cau­ter­iz­ing. My thoughts were getting lost.

She tried to look annoyed but she failed at it big time. Cuz she still got out of her chair and walked over to the fridge. She opened the door and had to bend over in front of me to get a bot­tle of milk. My God she had one hell of an ass.  Not too big that your dick would get lost but just big enough to get a good, meaty hold of and squeeze and smack and come until the cows came home.

I must have been pretty obvi­ous in my leer­ing. Wasn’t I try­ing to impress her, not creep her out?

“Were you star­ing at my ass?” she said. She sounded sur­prised but she was glar­ing at me, so I had no idea what the fuck she was think­ing. Did she like the idea? Was she going to tell her mafia uncle to pour cement in my shoes and chuck me out in the Pacific?

“Yes,” I told her. Why lie? I’d put on the cement shoes if I had to. I’ve done worse for a woman.

She made some exas­per­ated sound and shook her head. But she still came back with a piece of pie. She was beet red now and avoid­ing my eyes. Maybe she liked my atten­tion after all.

“Obvi­ously, I’ll need a nap­kin too,” I told her. Push­ing but­tons, push­ing buttons.

“Obvi­ously,” she mut­tered and she tossed one to me. I took it with all the grace of a dandy and folded it in my shirt pocket. I was a gen­tle­man over every­thing. An ass-appreciating gen­tle­man. We are the finest kind of man. I should open my own ass-appreciating gentleman’s club one day.

I shoved the pie in my face (pie-appreciating gen­tle­man that I am) and noticed she wasn’t hav­ing any. To think of it, she hadn’t had any ear­lier either. That’s prob­a­bly why I thought she baked it for me…she cer­tainly didn’t bake the desert for herself.

Oh no, don’t tell me she’s one of those self-conscious girls who have absolutely no rea­son to be self-conscious. I eyed her full breasts and couldn’t fathom why she’d want to diet.

“You’re not hav­ing any­thing?” I asked, point­ing my fork at her in an accusatory fash­ion, hop­ing she’d prove me wrong.

“I don’t like pie,” was her stu­pid answer.

I laughed and a pie of pie shot out. “You don’t like pie? What kind of per­son doesn’t like pie?”

I poked her with the fork to make sure she was still real. “You can’t be trusted.”

She took a swipe at the fork, look­ing annoyed. “You’re the one with the fork.”

With­out think­ing, I reached over for her hand and opened it, soft and warm. I placed the fork in it and gen­tly closed her fin­gers over it.

“Now you have the fork,” I said softly and sat back in my chair. She stared down at the fork, think­ing. I stared down at the paper. Think­ing. Some­times you came across women who had every­thing going for them…looks, per­son­al­ity, smarts, and they had NO fuck­ing idea what they were worth. How amaz­ing and beau­ti­ful, they were, how they oozed sex and secrets. Then you had those women who knew they had what you wanted and used it. Repeat­edly. Just to get what they wanted. It was an unbal­anced universe.

Now I could see that Perry was the for­mer. She did look self-conscious and unsure of her­self at every turn. She was always pulling down her shirt or tug­ging up her jeans, or keep­ing her chin as far away from her neck as pos­si­ble. She’d cover up her breasts with heavy jack­ets and boxy shirts, like they were some­thing to be hid­den. The girl was fuck­ing nuts and for all the wrong rea­sons. It made me feel strangely helpless.

“I just want you to enjoy all the pies in life, Perry,” I said, gaz­ing at her, try­ing to get her shy eyes to meet mine. “That’s all.”

I won­dered if she’d let me try.

 

The Dex-Files: RED FOX (#2)

The Bar Scene

“Sex­u­ally frus­trated?” Perry asked, her voice strug­gling to be heard in the noisy bar.
I turned my head away from my beer bot­tle and looked at her in sur­prise. The girl must have been psy­chic, though I could see from the way her round eyes were slant­ing at the cor­ners that she might just be drunk.

I had to smile. “Yes.”

There was really no use in deny­ing it. Even with all the bull­shit going around and the feel­ing that my brain was split­ting in two, it was hav­ing to sleep next to her every night – and just sleep – that was fuck­ing me up the most. I looked down at the beer bot­tle label that was stick­ing to my fin­gers in moist chunks. Christ, I couldn’t be more obvious.

She didn’t appear put off. She rarely did. It was one of her annoy­ing super powers.

“Because your girl­friend isn’t here?”

“Sure.” That was part of it. But even if Jenn were here, God help us all, it still wouldn’t have got­ten rid of the con­stant boner adjustments.

I took a long gulp of my beer, hop­ing that she would get the hint and not pry any fur­ther. Perry didn’t seem to have con­trol over her lips half the time and not in a good way and it was only a mat­ter of time before I said some­thing really stu­pid. I didn’t trust myself with­out the meds.

I glanced up at Max­imus and Bird talk­ing across the table from us. I hated Max again. I didn’t know if it was being off the meds or whatthe­fuck­ever but his rock­a­billy bull­shit act was wear­ing thin. I didn’t like how he acted like he knew every­thing and I didn’t like the way he was try­ing to win Perry over. He would deny it, but I knew exactly what the fucker was try­ing to do to me. And Perry was too inno­cent, her self-esteem too rav­aged to pick up on it.

To cement my point, Dire Straits came on and after Perry pro­claimed her sud­den (and sur­pris­ing) love for the band, the douche­fucker stood up and asked her to dance like he was a Cajun Rhett Butler.

She agreed, tak­ing his hand with a look that was pretty close to glee, and he led her to the packed dance floor. I looked back at the beer just in case she wanted me to notice what was going on, notice them together. My fin­gers started pick­ing at the label again. I wouldn’t give them that satisfaction.

You care about her a great deal,” Bird said in his ‘I’m an old man’ voice.

I shot him a look and resumed con­cen­tra­tion on the beer, tak­ing respite in the monot­o­nous move­ments. I didn’t say any­thing. There wasn’t any­thing to say. It was the truth, that’s all it was.

It’s OK, Dex,” he con­tin­ued. “I would too. But you have to respect each other. You have to move slowly. You are both too much the same.”

What does that mean?” I snapped at him. I felt bad, once again I wasn’t in con­trol of my emo­tions, but Bird’s face was impas­sive and gave nothing away.

You know what it means,” he said and he left it at that. I did know what he meant. That’s what made the whole sit­u­a­tion harder.

We sat in silence for a bit, then he excused him­self to go to the bar, promis­ing to bring me a beer. I wanted to stick my fuck­ing head in a pitcher but I needed to take it easy. Drink­ing never really helped me in the way I thought it did. And those thoughts always came when I was three sheets to the wind.

I man­aged to avoid look­ing in Max’s and Perry’s direc­tion but that all went fuck­aloo whenU2 came on and Perry wasn’t back at her seat with fin­gers in her ears.

Instead she was still on the dance floor. Slow danc­ing. With gin­ger fuck­ing Elvis. They were danc­ing close, way too close. Her breasts were crammed up into his chest, he was hold­ing her like he was about to turn her over his knee and spank her six ways from Sunday.

And she was let­ting him. She looked like she was enjoy­ing the body pres­sure as much as he was. I could only imag­ine the way his chubby must have been grind­ing against her. Not that I wanted to imag­ine that. I shud­dered, feel­ing the curi­ous mix of dis­gust and envy carry through me. Feel­ings, fuck, I wasn’t used to this.

I was still mak­ing a dis­gusted face when Bird came back but to his credit he just handed me my beer and didn’t say any­thing. It was tak­ing all my willpower to peel my eyes away from the cou­ple and con­cen­trate on some­thing else.
This came in the form of Cheri and Amanda, two MILF’s who had been eye­ing me since I sat down. I’m sure they prob­a­bly went after any guy under 35 who didn’t clean his ears out with his car keys, but I decided to be flat­tered. I grinned at them and as expected they teetered over to me on tacky plas­tic heels, smiles broad, breaths rank.

I didn’t really hear a word they were say­ing, I was just try­ing to look hand­some and not breathe in through my nose. One of them, Cheri, maybe, took a lik­ing to Bird which he didn’t seem to mind. Bird didn’t strike me as some­one who had a wife wait­ing for him at home, though he could have cer­tainly done bet­ter than some old lush with wrin­kled cleav­age and brown-speckled teeth. I felt like throw­ing up in my mouth but I played up my viril­ity and asked Amanda, maybe, if she’d help choose songs from the juke­box with me.

We walked to the box through the sticky crowd and I kept Perry and Max in my periph­eral vision. On the out­side it looked like I was hav­ing fun, on the inside I was para­noid as fuck. I kept fear­ing that he’d grab her and take her away some­where dark and pri­vate. The thought of him touch­ing her, kiss­ing her, both­ered me to no end but Amanda was watch­ing me and look­ing con­fused at my expres­sion. I smiled at her again, all good vibes and good sex, and let her select some shitty songs first before I requested mine.

We had just got­ten back to the table (where Bird was try­ing to give Cheri a very politeGTFO) when Max and Perry finally removed them­selves from the floor. I wanted to make some cut­ting remark to him and cut him down a peg but there was a weird aura of ten­sion just steam­ing off. Some­thing had gone down between them and even though it soothed the spite in me, I was a bit con­cerned for Perry.

Appar­ently, so was Amanda. The minute she saw Perry’s sweet, wor­ried face she grabbed my arm, sink­ing her Pepto Bis­mol –col­ored talons into my skin.

You’re danc­ing with me, sugar,” she com­manded. She was sur­pris­ingly strong for her size and her sun-raped arms had no prob­lem drag­ging me to my feet.

Like I have a choice,” I said, try­ing not to laugh. This was one hun­gry cougar.

I gave Perry a quick wink as we went past and decided to give Amanda what she’d been wait­ing for: Some­one young. Some­one fun. I grabbed a cow­boy hat off of some ran­dom Joe Blow and gave “Croc­o­dile Rock” my best moves.
It had been a while since I was able to use some of my the­atre school skills, other than fuck­ing Michelle in the orches­tra pit and tak­ing hits between mono­logues. I knew it didn’t mat­ter if I screwed up or looked like a retard because that wasn’t the point, but I was sur­prised how eas­ily it came back to me. Again, all I could think about was how deep I felt the music, how deep I was feeling…everything. Though I was swing­ing Amanda around, my mind dwelled on what my med­ica­tion was hid­ing half the time. Besides the very obvious.

You’re good,” Amanda said to me, hold­ing me close to her, try­ing to take back the con­trol. Peo­ple were clap­ping and watch­ing us with amuse­ment and she was bask­ing in the glow.

It comes nat­u­rally. But so does being bad,” I said with a smirk.

I can see that. Your wife must be pretty pissed.”

Wife? Oh right. Fuck­ity fuck. I didn’t need to eye the ring on my fin­ger to remem­ber the whole cha­rade. Not that the town of Red Fox gave two shits whether I was really mar­ried to Perry or pre­tend mar­ried, but it didn’t hurt to keep up appearances.

She’s pretty under­stand­ing,” I said.

Amanda nod­ded. I noticed her ear­rings were clip-ons and dan­ger­ously close to slip­ping off. This was one sweaty, stanky ass bar.

You’re the under­stand­ing one. Most men here would be all macho about it if their wife was danc­ing with another man. But I could see he wasn’t a threat at all.”

Oh really? I wanted to pry her for her cougarly wis­dom but I bit my lip instead. We danced some more and then we were inter­rupted by another woman. She said her name was Mary Sue (nat­u­rally) and she was years younger (pos­si­bly even under­age) with des­per­ate eyes that screamed at me, like danc­ing with Dex Foray was the most excite­ment she’d ever get. That made me really fuck­ing sad. How pathetic this town must be to find a fuckup like me as their sav­ior.
I danced with Mary Sue, going through the motions, think­ing about the fake wed­ding band on my ring fin­ger. When the song ended again and I could see more women approach­ing me (look, I get that I can look pretty hot, but no one should attract this many red­necks), I decided I had enough. I knew what song was next and I knew who I was danc­ing with. My wife.

I walked toward her, ignor­ing the women and focused on her face until her big blue eyes met mine. She looked so small and dainty sit­ting there among Max and Bird, drink­ing and try­ing to have fun even though a world of dan­ger whirled around her. I could see the strain on her face, I knew she was always hyper-aware of what lurked in the dark. I knew because Bird was right. We were too much the same.

I stopped in front of her and tipped my hat in the most awk­ward imi­ta­tion of a cow­boy.
“It’s our song,” I said to her over the piano notes of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.” I held out my hand, hop­ing she’d take it.

Her eyes lit up and she took my hand. I quickly grasped it, cool and white between my fin­gers. I led her to the floor and put my arm around her, bring­ing her in hard and fast to my side. She was mine. For the sake of appear­ances, she was my wife, but she was mine any­way. She didn’t know it yet, but I did. It was wrong and it made no sense, but she belonged with me. No one else, not anyone else.

It was a shame that I was the one who belonged to some­one else. I won­dered if I’d ever have the strength to cor­rect that or if I’d pun­ish myself forever.

We started danc­ing slowly, side to side, and I put one hand behind her back, where it was hot and small, tempt­ingly close to her ass. The other held her hand. I kept her as close to me as pos­si­ble, but I didn’t want to impose like Max­imus did. Besides, the last thing Perry needed was to feel my hard-on on her hip, even though it was fuck­ing tempt­ing to let her know what she was doing to me. I enter­tained the idea that she might even like it. It was a high school dance all over again.

 

I had to know. I stared into her eyes, lost in the storm, and started singing along with Joel. Softly, and at a dis­tance to start, then I leaned into her ear where it smelled like sun­shine and baby pow­der. I closed my eyes and sang, feel­ing my breath bound off of her ear in hot clouds. It was tak­ing all of my willpower to not take this fur­ther, to not wrap my lips around it and lick the lobe to see what it would taste like. See if I could make those eyes roll back and make her for­get every­thing that had hap­pened to her. I didn’t want to be Red Fox’s sav­ior, but I wanted to be hers.


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