Phoenix Chapter Three: Halloween

Phoenix Chapter Three: Halloween

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg

Chapter Three: Halloween


A couple of weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon, lunch is subs from the place next door, picked up by Gary. 

Ryan unwraps his sandwich and says, “Me and Rita are meeting up at Marco's after work. Want to come along?” 

“Anyone else meeting you there?” Rogan is suspicious. 

“No, just Rita.” 

“Sure, I'll walk over with you after work.”


***


Rita greets them from their usual corner booth, lit by the old Shell gas station sign. A waitress appears as Rogan slides into the vinyl covered bench seat, next to Ryan. 

“Get us a pitcher and four glasses,” Rita tells Ryan. “Dee is coming too.”

“Hey! You said no one else!” Rogan glowers at Ryan. He feels betrayed, being waylaid with another eligible woman like this. 

Ryan puts up his hands and says, “Not my fault.”

Rita laughs. “Really, it's not his fault, Rogan. I saw Dee at the shop and asked her along.” Rita works at a dress shop in the mall. “But you'll like her, Rogan. Smart lady.” 

Dee, when she shows up, turns out to be a short, bubbly blonde. She works at a beauty shop, giving manicures and pedicures, but she doesn't seem like an air head. She is, in fact, an aspiring entrepreneur. 

“I want to open my own nail spa, and maybe add tanning booths,” Dee informs him. 

“You can get small business loans through this government program. I specialize in signature nail systems.” She displays her own nails, which have tiny black cats on each one. “I did Rita's, too.” Rita has orange and black stripes on her fingernails. It is the day before Halloween, and he supposes that explains the nail art theme. She takes Rogan's hand in hers and clucks. 

“Your hands are a mess. What do you do to get them so dirty?”

“I work at Midas. Mechanics is dirty work.”

“Ryan keeps his hands clean,” Dee protests.

Ryan looks a little uncomfortable at this observation.

“Yeah, he stays nice and clean in the office, shuffling papers. I have to change oil and rotate tires and work on brakes.” 

Dee appears unimpressed by this. Talk moves on and Rita mentions her and Ryan's Halloween party. Rogan waits to see what Dee says. He doesn't want to be roped in again. Dee is nice, but she's not his type. 

“I'm sorry, Rita. I'm already going to Benny's party,” Dee says. 

Feeling the coast is clear, Rogan accepts Rita's invitation. With Claire gone and his high school buddies dispersed, he's happy to have someone to hang with this holiday. 

 
***


Once arrived, Rogan is unsure if going to Ryan and Rita's party was such a good idea. He's not particularly good at being anything but Rogan, so without a costume, he feels out of place here. The popular tripe playing on the stereo isn't really Rogan's style either.

“Hey, that's a great costume!” Rita is introducing Rogan to another guest. She's a sexy nurse named Kirsten, a long legged brunette. Rogan looks down at his motorcycle jacket, Megadeth t-shirt and heavy leather boots.  

Rita beams and tells Kirsten, “That's no costume, he's the real deal.” 

Kirsten looks even more interested. “Are you in a band?” She has one hand on his leather jacketed arm and is leaning close to be heard over the music. 

Rita has evaporated and Rogan is left with Kirsten. 

“No,” Rogan says. Back before his summer with Claire, he took advantage of the whole bad boy appeal to score with girls. And why not again? He's a bachelor, no girlfriend tying him down. 

“But you play the guitar?”

Rogan admits he does. 

“And you're a mechanic, too? You must be really good with your hands.” She is practically purring in his ear now. 

“Let's get another beer, Kirsten. We can talk better on the patio.”

Rogan lets Kirsten lead the way, but keeps one hand on the small of her back, ostensibly guiding her. A casual touch here, an innocent touch there, and soon she'll be wanting more. It always works. Out on the patio, they grab a couple of beers from the cooler. Rogan gestures toward the glider, tucked under the shadow of a camphor tree.  

The way Kirsten snuggles up to him, he sees he doesn't need to tantalize and encourage her, no need for the Rogan moves. She's there already. He puts his arm around her. “What sort of services does Nurse Kirsten provide?”

“I can check your pulse, Mr. Rogan.”

She presses two fingers against his neck.

“Do you think I'm still alive?”

In answer, she kisses him. 

When they pause, he asks, “What's your verdict? Alive?”

“Oh, I'm not sure,” she murmurs. “I think we need to go back to my place to make certain. This could be a serious condition.” 

“Lead the way, Nurse, I'm in your hands.”


***
 

In the soft light of the dimmed torchier lamp in Kirsten's bedroom, Kirsten lies curled on her side. Rogan watches her sleep. Her chest rises and falls with her breath. What a knock out she is, curves in all the right places. And a real wild cat in bed. Eventually he slips out of bed and dresses silently. 

He strokes her arm. “Sweetheart.”  

She turns a little, says “Mmm?”

“Work tomorrow, gotta take off.” 

She sleepily mumbles, “Ok, baby.”

He kisses her temple and makes his way to the living room, quietly steps out into the apartment hallway. He makes sure the door locks after him.


***


Rita is pissed. 

“Why aren't you answering Kirsten's calls?” They are sitting in their usual booth at Marco's.  

“Rita, I never even gave her my number. You did.”

“How can you treat her like this?”

“Hey, it was her idea. She seemed pretty, umm, uninterested in conversation at the time.” 

“So you love them and leave them?”

“Pretty much, yeah. Look you're the one always pushing these women at me.” He's getting angry too. “All of this would be unnecessary if you just hadn't given her my number.”

“Rogan,” Ryan intervenes, “you need to tell her you're not interested. That's all. Don't just ignore her.”
“Stop being such a s**t,” Rita throws in. 

“OK, OK, I'll tell her I misunderstood her intentions.”

“And apologize,” Rita insists. 

Rogan opens his mouth to protest, but catches Ryan's look.“Yes, I'll apologize, too.” Was one night really worth all this?

Once home from the pizzeria, Blue Öyster Cult on the stereo, Rogan thinks  about Ryan and Rita. He likes Ryan and Rita. They are great people and good friends, but he shares no sympatico with them. Unlike his high school friends. Most of them moved away after graduation and now he has no one to share his music with. 

His thoughts turn to all of Rita's friends he's met. They've all been blonde and uninteresting. Nothing wrong with them, but no spice. When he thinks about it, he wants someone with a passion he can relate to, not pedicures or clothes or vacation packages. He's not sure what he wants, but it certainly isn't Kirsten or Dee or any of the other women he's met. He dwells on this for a while, then thinks back to Allison and the accident. 

He gets down the picture from their trip to Lake Michigan, all four of them on a pier at sunset, and looks at it. Andy and Allison are now in their senior year. He supposes they are still together. His mind wanders back to the night he spent watching over her. What was it that made him have such a strong reaction to her? How is she different from the string of blondes Rita has paraded for him? Her sleepy smile and warm skin ambushed him. He has never had anyone trust him with their life before.


© 2019 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any and all comments welcome.

My Review

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Featured Review

Rogan still playing the field and trying to decide what he wants could be lead to an interesting dilemma, where will lead, how many girls? how many mistakes will it take to find the right one? I can't wait to find out. Please let me know when you have more for me to read,

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month Ago

Thank you, thank you, again and again. I am in the middle of writing this, so it might be a day or t.. read more


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Reviews

This is a review for the latest edit, and it will mostly be about the format and some little nitpicks.

1. Up to “How can you treat her like this?” there are no spaces between each paragraph which is inconsistent with the last few paragraphs.

2. In the first sentence of the last paragraph, "...Rogan thinks about Ryan..." there are two spaces between "thinks" and "about."

3. Now that we're talking about the last paragraph, I'm going to put in my two cents. Now that more content was added, it looks like it can be divided into a couple of shorter paragraphs. Perhaps before "They've all been blonde...," "He dwells on this for a while...," and/or "His mind wanders back to..." But this is all from a person with a short span of attention. Big blocks of text are the bane of my existence (which is also why I often divide my own writing into small bite-sized paragraphs and fill it with more dialogue than narration, but we're not here to talk about that). Anyway, as I say, this is just something for you to think about.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you again, catching that annoying formatting error. I also divided up the wall of text into sm.. read more
Wathanya.5KY3

2 Weeks Ago

The way you divided them up is much better than the way I did in my head, which makes total sense be.. read more
It sure looks to me like Rogan really only has eyes for one girl. And with her taken, what a dilemma!
I've noticed that a few of your commas are misplaced or missing. Here is an example. You wrote "The head mechanic Gary shouts, over the sound of air tools..." Here is how it should be written: "The head mechanic, Gary, shouts over the sound of air tools..." Another thing is "tell" instead of "show". Another example: " Look you're the one always pushing these women at me.” He's getting angry too." Consider leaving off the "He's getting angry, too." and letting his speech or mannerisms convey the anger. Also, there should be a dash or semi-colon after "Look". (I'm a bit weak on those usages, myself)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month Ago

Oh my, you have brought up two of my (many) problem areas. Commas are a nightmare to me. I will go b.. read more
This is a huge line I'm gonna step on, but what's the worst that could happen?

Me: Geez, Rogan. Fine, at least the nurse was showing signs that she was also interested.
Also me: GEEZ RITA. YOU PLAY MATCHMAKER, GIVES PEOPLE'S PHONE NUMBER AWAY WITHOUT ASKING THEM FIRST, AND THEN HIGHKEY ASKS ROGAN TO APOLOGIZE?! EVER HEARD OF THE WORD CONSENT?! Also, GEEZ ROGAN, I don't like Rita, but I agree with her. AT LEAST LET THE NURSE KNOW YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED.

Okay. To sum up, this chapter made me feel many different things which is a compliment in itself. It also kind of triggered my poly and consent-is-not-the-absence-of-a-no-it-is-the-presence-of-a-yes button.

In any case, reading your writing over morning coffee (like today) is something I can see myself enjoy. Keep up the good work!

P.S. But don't put pressure on yourself. I know "keep up the good work" can put a lot of pressure on someone, speaking as a straight-A-student.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month Ago

Yeah, Rogan can be a s**t, as Rita pointed out. He's maybe got some things to learn he didn't get at.. read more
Wathanya.5KY3

1 Month Ago

That's true. From what I've read, it seems like a spurt of character growth (I'm looking at you Roga.. read more
Rogan still playing the field and trying to decide what he wants could be lead to an interesting dilemma, where will lead, how many girls? how many mistakes will it take to find the right one? I can't wait to find out. Please let me know when you have more for me to read,

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month Ago

Thank you, thank you, again and again. I am in the middle of writing this, so it might be a day or t.. read more

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Added on June 27, 2019
Last Updated on July 30, 2019
Tags: mechanic, musician, artist, painter, love


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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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I am back and returning all reviews of "Phoenix." I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) .. more..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



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