I Think I Hear Sleigh Bells
Wiping off the mirror so he could see to shave, Ethan stood razor in his left hand, shaving cream on his face- staring intently at his reflection. Recollection of the night before slowly unraveled in his mind. He and his best friend, Kevin, had gone to the party of another friend. Vienna had been there, too - college friends getting together. Why had he gotten so drunk? He enjoyed drinking, but he rarely got drunk- especially too drunk to function, and he had never gotten too drunk to remember.
Then a painful flash in his mind- his father again. The nagging houseguest began once more plundering through his consciousness. Ready or not, his memory was slowly returning and forcing him to deal with the real issue at hand- Michael McBride.
The feeling wasn't good as he began putting pieces of the previous day together like some giant, horrific jigsaw puzzle. As piece by piece fit into place, a sick feeling that was more emotional than physical crammed itself into his hangover-ravaged body, making him feel even worse, which he didn't think was possible.
He wasn't sure he could trust himself with the razor in his unsteady hand as the inevitable kept revealing itself little by little in a diaphanous vision somewhere between his eyes and the mirror in front of him. God, what had he gotten himself into now? Then the last, elusive piece of the puzzle - Sandra.
"Oh, shit" he mumble out loud. Now he remembered.
Quickly finishing up, he went back in the bedroom to get dressed in the clean clothes that he had left behind some weeks before. First, he stopped to ingest the aspirin and wash it down with orange juice that Vienna had left on the nightstand. He needed something to get his head together before he took on his father again.
Vienna had abandoned the breakfast when he said he wasn't hungry, and she now had other things on her mind. Standing behind him as he buttoned his shirt, she admired his tall, thin body. He lacked athletic muscle and hardness; his stature was solid but slender and more suited to the arts and classics of his upbringing. He looked like some dashing prince right out of a fairy tale. All he lacked was the shining armor.
She encircled his trim waist with her arms and ran her hands along his firm stomach. He was 6' tall, so she had to stretch as she began to nibble at the back and sides of his neck.
"Vienna," he managed to say with less irritation than he felt. "Did you get me that bag?"
"No," she purred as her hands began to play with the waistband on his boxers. "Come on, get back in bed. I want to have your baby."
"Where the hell did that come from?" he asked, his irritation becoming more evident. He pulled away from her. "I feel like shit, and I have a million things on my mind - none of which is the same as where you're going."
"Okay," she relented, "but screw that damn bag. You have how many closets filled with clothes? Leave these here. You never know."
He glared at her, too distracted to argue. He'd never miss the clothes, but it was the principle of the whole thing. Still, he knew this thing with his father was unresolved and sooner or later, he'd have to face it, so he dismissed the issue of the clothes. He couldn't deal with this petty quibbling right now. Once he finished dressing, he looked like he had just stepped off a page of one of his magazine ads.
"Everyone should look as good as you when they have a hangover," sighed VIenna.
"Did you sleep in bed?" he asked, ignoring her flattery.
"I wanted to, but I thought you'd get mad - so, no, I slept on the couch."
"That's where you should've dumped me. You didn't have to give up your bed."
"It's all right. The couch is actually very comfy."
"Well, thanks. I'm sorry if I was any trouble."
"You? Never. What's going on with you anyway? That was rather out of character last night. You just kept mumbling some rather nasty things about your dad."
"Nothing's going on. I got myself in kind of a jam with him, that's all. It's going to take a little doing to get out of it."
"Well, it's not," he lied with a smile that all but stopped her heart. "I'll work it out. I always do. Can I use your phone to call a cab?"
"Let me get dressed, and ..."
"A cab is good, Vienna. Thank you for taking me in last night, but now I have to go - by myself. I'm hoping my father is peacefully settled in Highland Park, and I can get my head together before I have to go another round with him. I walked out on him yesterday - in the middle of an argument - so he's going to be pretty pissed."
"Want to talk about it?"
"Nope." He zipped and buttoned his pants.
She sighed. "Fine, I'll call the cab."
Time stopped for Cain at that moment. Everything froze into an unnatural setting as he began to fully realize what was happening to him. Somebody wake me up! But the nightmare continued. Suddenly, he looked up to see Mr. Browning extracting a gun from his dresser drawer. CHRIST!
"Hold on!" screamed Cain. "For God's sake, don't shoot! It's not what you think!"
"Drop the file!" ordered Mr. Browning visibly shaken.
Cain looked absently at the nail file he still held in his left hand and let it drop. He didn't even remember taking it from Carrie.
"Now move away from her," asid Mr. Browning clutching the gun frantically. "Over by the wall."
"Okay, okay," said Cain, "I'm moving."
Cain did as he was told. The man was extremely nervous, and Cain feared he'd do something crazy. Looking down the barrel of what he assumed was a loaded gun was the most terrifying thing he'd ever done. It didn't take much to notice that Mr. Browning was an amateur when it came to guns, and that made everything all the worse.
Mrs. Browning ran to Carrie and brought the sobbing hysterical teen a robe as her husband continued to hold Cain at bay with the gun. She picked up the phone and called the police.
"No!" pleaded Cain. "It's not what you think. Tell them Carrie! This has gone far enough. Tell them what happened!"
"Shut up!" said Mr. Browning waving the gun as his wife continued the phone call to the police. " We saw enough to know what happened- you raped her. Turn around and put your hands on the wall. The police will be here in a minute. And don't try anything funny because this gun is loaded and I'd like nothing better than to have an excuse to use it on you."
"Jesus," sighed Cain as he slowly turned and put his hands on the wall. "Carrie, please. This is getting out of hand. Tell them what happened."