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Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

A Chapter by Evil_Angel

Chapter 1

Happy Birthday

 

The young woman looked straight ahead and wiped blood from her trembling lips. The fiery glow of her burning car illuminated the night as she stumbled away. In her hand she clutched a tiny piece of paper.

She squinted to read it. “718 Ash Street.”

            She coughed more blood but ignored it and navigated around the broken glass on the sidewalk. She’d ditched her crystal heels miles ago. Her silver dress trailed on the ground, tattered and blackened. The silk waist flapped open, exposing a gash on her side. With every headlight, she ducked in the shadows to stay hidden.

            “Hey!” a bum shouted angrily into the night.

She gathered the strength to scurry past him and ran into an alley.  She looked down at the paper once more and looked up at the street sign. Indeed, she was on Ash, but the buildings were abandoned.

She stumbled down the alleyway, desperately searching until she came across a long driveway with a few cars and motorcycles parked in front.

A decrepit Victorian house stood before her. It was an oddity to see in an otherwise industrial area of Los Angeles. The once-white paint was now brown and tarnished, peeling from age. The downstairs windows were boarded up with duct tape, and the entire house looked like it could collapse at any second.

With one eye swollen shut, she faintly made out the glow of a light inside. A pitiful glimmer of hope but hope nonetheless.  She clutched onto the weathered wooden railing of the porch as she pulled herself up the rickety stairs. She reached to knock on the door, but someone stepped in front of her and knocked first.

A skinny man glared down at her, then banged on the door again. His eyes darted around .

“I was here before you,” he muttered, his speech slurred.

His hands quivered at his sides. He knocked on the door again.

“Hold the f**k on!” A man’s deep voice thundered from inside.

The door flew open and a tall silhouette filled the doorway. An exchange was made. A small bag was traded for the skinny man’s cash. Hastily he took off with his goods. The man inside gasped at the sight of the girl. Her breath hitched in her throat as she struggled to stay on her feet.

“Jesus, who are… are you alright?” he asked and slowly stepped outside.

His dark skin gleamed in the moonlight. The sound of shouting and laughter roared from behind him.

William,” she said,  clutching her side. “William Dempsey. Is he here?”

“Lady, you’re bleeding, you�"”

“Is he here?”

“Yeah,” he said, puzzled.

The man moved out of the way as she went inside. The front room was dark and empty. The wallpaper was peeling and stained with age. Overhead lights flickered on and off. The hardwood floors were damaged by water and the roof was rotting. The house had once been beautiful, but after years of neglect it had become comfortable in its state of decomposition.

 She staggered through a small hallway and saw a group of men seated around a table playing cards. Only a single overhead light was on- the light she had seen from outside. A pile of loaded guns were stashed on a  nearby bookshelf.
            Dempsey!” the man who answered the door shouted. “Come here!”

            But the man’s calls were lost over all the commotion. A fight had broken out. Poker chips flew across the room and rattled on the ground. Chairs were being flipped over as the men argued that someone had cheated.

A man that towered over everyone both in strength and height stood up. The room immediately quieted as everyone looked to him for what to do next. With a quick motion, he shoved the perpetrator to the ground. His combat boot landed with a sickening thud to the man’s stomach. The rest of the fighting had ceased, and his friends watched ready to defend if the cheater tried to fight back, but the girl knew he didn’t need the help. She watched as he snatched the man’s wallet.

            “Derek! Who the hell is this?” One of the poker players caught sight of the girl.

 

“I don’t know! She just showed up on the doorstep!”

Too enthralled with his prize, the man didn’t hear them. He opened the wallet and pulled out a pile of cash. The girl watched as a smug grin spread across his face. Finally, as he looked up, he spotted her. His smile vanished. The arrogance in his criminal eyes were long gone; replaced with a pain from another life- a life he had worked relentlessly to bury.

“Dempsey?” One of his comrades asked.

The question might as well have been asked from underwater. He was a man turned to stone. The wallet tumbled out of his hands. Cash floated to the ground. The cheater took his wallet back, grabbed what cash he could, and scrambled out the door.

“She was asking for you. She even knew your first name,” Derek said in a hushed tone. “Do you know her?”

Before William could attempt to respond, the girl placed her hands on the rickety poker table for support but lost her balance and barely caught herself.

“Dempsey always has the ladies coming back begging for more!” a middle-aged fat man drunkenly laughed.

“Look! You can almost see her tits!” another guy roared.

“Dumb a******s. She’s hurt. Maybe we should call an ambulance.” Derek went to her.

She quickly stepped away.

“And have the cops all over this place?” the fat man exclaimed. “Are you kidding me?”

“No�"” she begged. “Don’t call anyone. Please.”

            Dizzily, she toppled backward, but before she could hit the ground, Will, stepped forward and caught her. Her hair draped over his hand nearly touching the floor. He cringed when he noticed her blackened eye and the cut on her lip. Her cheeks were bruised, and dried blood was caked around her nostrils.

             “Come on,” Will managed to lead her upstairs .

            “Do you have a first aid kit?” she asked weakly as they entered a bedroom.

            It was a small empty room with no carpet, just a mattress on the floor, clothes strewn about, and a dim light.

            “N-no,” he stammered as he led her to the mattress.

            Superglue,” She instructed as she sat down and clutched her side. “Get me superglue for my cut.”

            “Superglue?” Derek exclaimed.

“I’ve tended many wounds,” she explained and stared directly at Will.

His eyes locked on hers.

            “The cut is small enough I can seal it up without any infection. Hurry,” she demanded.

            Derek nodded and disappeared downstairs.

     

Dempsey

            William Dempsey had three loves of his life: Women, fighting, and stealing- and he did all of them well. Other men recognized that and followed his lead.

But now, he watched the injured girl and for once was unsure of what to do. He rubbed the back of his neck and panted as he paced back and forth. Helplessness was something he thought he was done with, but the old feeling crept over him like a shadow, and he was about to react in the only way he knew how.

            “I found some in the garage,” Derek panted as he ran back into the room with the little bottle of glue.

            Reluctantly, he handed it to her. She moved the flap of the dress aside and slowly squeezed the tube of glue onto the small wound on her belly. With both hands she pinched the wound, sealing it off. The bleeding slowly subsided.

            “Look, lady, we can call someone if you want,” Derek offered.

             “No,” she said firmly. “No one can know I’m here. I just need a place to stay. Even if it’s just for tonight.”

Will slammed his fist against the wall. The loud thud caused both Derek and the girl to jump. He did it once more, creating a hole in the cheap plaster. She spotted several holes and could see it wasn’t the first time he had done it. Still seated on the mattress she stared dazedly up at him.

            “Your hand,” she pointed at his bloodied knuckles, but he punched the wall again.

            “My hand? Look at you!” Will shouted. “What the hell happened to you?”

            Before she could answer, her blue eyes rolled to the back of her head. She collapsed backward with her body sprawled half on the mattress half on the floor. Will cursed under his breath. He turned to walk away, but bit his lip, then turned back and positioned her on the mattress properly.

            Derek watched as Will sank to his knees and gazed down at the girl.

            “You think she’ll be alright?” Derek asked.

            He stood up. “I’ll kick her out as soon as she wakes up. God damnit! She just comes here…and�"”

            “It’s okay,” Derek said. “Who is she? How does she know you?”

            Will took another look at her battered face. He pulled his arm back to punch the wall again, but Derek caught him in mid-swing.

            “Come on man. Take it easy.”

            He shook Derek off. “I’ll kill whoever did this to her.”

            “Just make sure she doesn’t die. Then worry about that later.”

            Will’s lips tightened into a thin line. Derek left the room, and once Will was sure he was gone, he covered the girl with a blanket.

            Within moments, Derek came back holding his phone. His eyes were glued to the screen.

            “Look at this,” he handed Will the phone. “I was just browsing YouTube, and I saw this. It’s trending.”

            Will stood up and looked down at the phone and frowned. The video was titled Hollywood A*****e David Carrington Gets Rejected!!!

            The video began to play. There was a large gathering of people drinking champagne, dancing, and laughing. Everyone was dressed up like they were at some sort of 1920’s themed party, only this wasn’t just any party. The faces that flashed through the camera were recognizable. Some of the people were from the covers of magazines, TV, and more.

            “What is this crap?”

            “Just wait,” Derek held up his hand and let the video run.

            Next, the camera panned over to a man walking up an extravagant white and gold spiral staircase. He was dressed in a tuxedo, and his brown hair was slicked back. He stood at the top of the banister and clinked a spoon against his champagne glass.

            “I think that’s Hollywood a*****e, right?” Derek asked. “I don’t keep up with that s**t.”

            “Yeah,” Will said dryly. “That’s him.”

            “I’d like to make a toast!” he announced. The music died down. The guests stopped what they were doing.

            “To the love of my life, Hallie St. Hillaire, will you please join me?” He called out to the crowd.

            Whoever was filming panned over to a gorgeous young woman , with long honey blonde hair, and a silver silk gown. Everything about the girl was pristine. Everyone applauded as she made her way to the top of the staircase. The camera zoomed in, and her eyes darted around uneasily as she joined the man. It was difficult to see, but Will noticed she clutched a small piece of paper in her hand .

            “Thank you all for joining us to celebrate Hallie’s twenty-fifth birthday! This is a celebration for me as well. I have had the pleasure of being her boyfriend for a year now, and I can’t think of a better gift than to take the next step,” he beamed.

            A clear look of horror spread across Hallie’s face as David got down on one knee.

            “Hallie St. Hillaire, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

            The man pulled a jewelry box from his pocket and opened it. Whoever was recording from below did their best to zoom in on the rock of a ring. The crowd cooed in awe. Then the camera panned back to the couple.

             Several moments passed. Silence.

            “Jesus,” Derek mumbled. “That’s awkward.”

            Will continued to watch intently.

            Um,” the man chuckled, still kneeling on the ground. “I’m not sure she heard me. I guess she’s in shock!” He laughed anxiously and looked at the crowd.

            “Everyone is waiting,” he insisted. He took her hand and gripped it in his. “Will you marry me?”

            “I heard you,” Hallie finally spoke. “No. My answer is no.”

        She jerked her hand back as if she was trying to get free of him. She raced down the staircase, with the silver train of her dress flowing behind her. She ran past everyone to the entryway and vanished out the front door.

            The crowd chattered hysterically. The camera became shaky, then zoomed in on the man. He stood up, absolutely stunned, and gripped the edge of the banister, squeezing it with both hands.  He ran down the staircase then also disappeared out of the front door. The video came to an end.

            Will felt his pulse begin to accelerate. He looked at the girl lying on his mattress and then to Derek.

            “That’s Hallie St. Hillaire! The girl on the cover of all those magazines. This happened tonight,” Derek said in disbelief.

            Will remained quiet.

            “So why would she come running to your door? No offense, but how do you know her?” Derek asked.

            Will took a deep breath before responding. “She was my wife.”

            Derek’s eyes widened. “You were married? How did I miss that?”

            “I have known her since we were kids. Even before you.”

 As he said the words, he was taken back to all those years ago. He could almost feel the long grass brush against his fingertips. He shook his head and felt stupid for thinking about those times. They were long gone.

             “She rejected that dude in front of everyone!” Derek laughed.

            “And it looks like she paid for it,” Will said grimly as he pointed to hand marks around her neck.

            “Jesus. Do you think that guy beat her up? Look, she has marks all over her shoulders too. But some of the bruises look old. I don’t get it.”

            Will sank against the wall next to the mattress. He ran his fingers through his dirty blonde hair.

            “I’m sorry man. Some good news at least,” Derek offered. “When I answered the door that tweaker paid me eight hundred bucks for the blow.”

            Will sighed. “I’m not a God damn drug dealer. I told you before, I don’t want to f**k with that.”

            “But eight hundred bucks! Think of how much more we could make! Plus, it’s a lot easier than what we do now,” Derek insisted.

            Will glared up at him.

            “Okay, okay,” Derek put his hands up. “Won’t happen again.”

            “Good,” Will said. “And tell everyone downstairs to get the hell out.”

            Derek nodded and left the room.

            William Dempsey took one last look at the beautiful

 wounded girl sleeping on his mattress. He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.

            “I’ll kill David Carrington if he did this to you. He’s a dead man. I promise you that,” he murmured .

            “Too late,” Hallie whispered faintly.


© 2018 Evil_Angel


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Added on March 21, 2018
Last Updated on March 21, 2018
Tags: romance, danger, fire, car, car crash, lost, girl, woman, afraid, murder


Author

Evil_Angel
Evil_Angel

San Diego, CA



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