Phoenix Chapter Nine: Consequences

Phoenix Chapter Nine: Consequences

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg

Chapter Nine: Consequences


When Rogan gets home Tuesday night, he slumps on his couch, holding his head in his hands. Not from the hangover. Memories have been ambushing him all day with piercing pain. Now at home, with nothing to distract him, he feels like he might be going crazy. He can't control his mind. It keeps dragging up images and emotions. This has never happened to him before. Always in the past, he has been able to compact his feelings about his sister into something very small and put it away. There is no putting it away tonight.   

He gives up trying to avoid it all and turns on Fade to Black by Metallica.

Things are not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can't be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel
Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone 

He listened to this over and over after Lucy died. Listened until he came to hate it. Now he listens again and it hurts just as much as it had back then. The guitars fade away and he is left empty of all emotions. It's only eight o'clock, but he goes to bed and falls asleep right away.

Wednesday morning, Rogan feels terrible when he gets up, can't remember why, and then it comes back to him. He showers, hoping he can somehow wash it all away. Getting to work, clocking in and starting with his first car is a relief. It is some distraction from all the pain he's feeling. He forces himself to smile and joke with the other guys as usual.

Eventually the distraction of work succeeds in driving away unwanted thoughts and memories. He starts feeling a bit more normal by lunch.

Andy finds Rogan at the bus stop just outside Midas, after work. Finds him and calls his name. When Rogan turns, Andy punches him in the face. Rogan stumbles back, caught totally off guard. He covers the side of his face with a hand and says, “What the hell?”

“Deny it. Go ahead and deny that you and Allison spent the night together!” Andy demands.

“Jesus, Andy, all we did was sleep.” 

“Yeah right, that's what she said, too. Some story about a dead sister,” Andy scoffs.

It takes all of Rogan's self control to not launch himself at Andy. Through gritted teeth, he growls, “That's right, My sister died when I was 12. She died seven years ago as of Monday night.” 

“And how does that make it OK for my girlfriend to spend the night with you?” 

“Is she still your girlfriend?” 

“What?” Andy seems puzzled by this.

“Is she still your girlfriend, now?”

“Why? You want a clear playing field?” 

“If she isn't your girlfriend anymore, what she does is none of your business. And what I do is definitely none of your business.”   

Gary and Ryan arrive at Rogan's side at this moment. 

“What's this creep want, Rogan?” Gary wants to know. 

“Do you want to press charges?” Ryan asks. “That was assault.” 

Andy's fury does not lessen in the presence of two witnesses. 

“She was dating me when you slept together, so you are both my business.” 

“The only business you got is to shove off, buddy.” Gary is unconsciously rubbing his knuckles, as if he is itching to punch Andy.

Ryan steps between Gary and Andy. “OK, you need to get out of here,” he says to Andy. “Rogan, if you want to press charges, we can call the police right now.”

“No, no pressing charges. Just stay the f**k away from me. Allison isn't a cheater and neither am I. Go away.” 

Andy spits at Rogan's feet, gives him one more glare and turns away, stalking off.

“I'm glad I saw you from the front window,” Ryan says. “What was that all about?”

“Ah, I dunno, he thinks I slept with his girlfriend.” 

“Is your reputation catching up with you, Casanova?”

Rogan shrugs.  


***


The next night, Thursday after work, Rogan collects his guitar and heads over to the warehouse for practice. Buzz greets him. Rogan can feel the man's eyes lingering on the bruise high on his cheekbone. 

“Got into a rumble?” 

“Guy punched me.” Rogan considers telling Buzz the story behind the bruise. He'd have to mention Allison's overnight visit, though. He doesn't want to talk about that. 

Buzz doesn't pry, just goes back to his work on his drum set. Rogan gets started on setting up.  

It's a good practice. Rogan feels fused into something larger than just the four of them. It's an exhilaration he feels nowhere else. It fills him with deep happiness, despite all the s**t going on in his life. 

After their usual two hours, J.D. has an announcement.

“I've got a line on a gig. I've been trying to get my foot in the door over at Benny's, and something might pan out. Rogan, you'll need an amp of your own, this practice one isn't good enough. If this comes through, we'll be playing the 24th, a Tuesday night. Does that work for you guys?”

Wednesday is Rogan's normal day off, so that works perfectly for him. Now he has to shop for a gig-worthy amp. He has two weeks. He plans to hit the pawn shop right after work tomorrow.

When they are all packed up, Buzz beckons to Rogan, offering him a ride again.

Climbing into the large truck, Rogan says, “Thanks for giving me a ride all the time, man. It's silly being a mechanic and not having a car of my own.” 

“It's no problem, I drive down Hanover on my way home. If you can't get some transport for your amp by the gig, I can pick you up on the way. You'll have to help me with my drum kit, though. You can show your gratitude then.” Buzz laughs. 

Rogan laughs too, as he knows what a pain drum sets are. All that carrying back and forth, and then the putting together. It's a real b***h. 

An impulse takes over and he finds himself telling Buzz, “Thanks for not interrogating me about this bruise back there. It's not something I want the whole world to know, but truth is, some guy thought I was sleeping with his girlfriend.” 

“Were you?” 

“Only in the most literal sense, we were in the same bed and were asleep at the same time. That's it.” He thinks about this. “It does look bad on the face of it, but why doesn't he believe her? He claims to love her, doesn't he trust her?” 

“Love can make people insanely jealous. Irrationally so.” 

“I guess so. Anyway, he hunted me down and punched me in the face. I guess they're not together anymore.” 

“Is that good news for you?”

The results of the break up finally make their way into his mind. She's single now. She doesn't belong to someone else anymore. She's no longer off limits. 

Buzz laughs again, at Rogan's silence. “I guess the answer is Yes.”

Rogan squirms a bit and is glad the cab of the truck is dark. “I suppose so.” 

They are pulling up to the snakehouse now, and Rogan is relieved to escape this conversation.

“Good luck in your matters of the heart, Rogan.” 

Rogan slides out of the truck with a quick thank you, his head full of Allison.   


© 2019 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you, my kind readers, for getting this far. Any and all comments are welcome.

My Review

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Featured Review

"Gary and Ryan materialize at Rogan's side at this moment." Of course the meaning is clear, but it made me think of Kirk and Spock materializing on some rocky planet.
"Rogan can feel the man's eyes lingering on the red spot high on his cheekbone, a souvenir from Andy's attack." Here is how I might slim that sentence down--"Rogan feels the man's eyes lingering on his bruised cheekbone." I left off "a souvenir of Andy's attack" because we already knew where it came from.
I find this to be a pretty clean chapter. You're getting better with commas, I believe.

Posted 3 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your review. I attended to those items you mentioned. You are, as always, ever.. read more



Reviews

The story is moving forward, hurray! I just got back from camping with 61 strangers, and it seems people have already picked out technical mistakes for you (though it's, as Samuel says, a pretty clean chapter).

Except for one tiny thing, though it's something not many people know.

“Do you want to press charges?” Ryan asks. “That was assault.”

Since Andy's punch physically landed in Rogan's face, it's no longer assault; it's battery.

https://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/violent_crimes/assault_battery.htm explains this well, but you can look up "assault vs battery" for more info.

But then again, it's not that important. I'm just a nerd who reads and writes crime. :P

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Months Ago

Would that be assault AND battery? That's something you hear on TV a lot. I might just stick with as.. read more
Wathanya.5KY3

3 Months Ago

Yes. That would make Andy's actions assault and battery, and he can be charged for both (but Rogan j.. read more
another excellent chapter as always they seem so short because I seem to burn right through them. then again I am a fast reader LOLO. Rogan seems to be causing problems everywhere he goes these days I notice good for us reader fans not so good for him.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Months Ago

He's causing trouble, trouble follows him, trouble all around for poor Rogan. Thank you for reading... read more
"Gary and Ryan materialize at Rogan's side at this moment." Of course the meaning is clear, but it made me think of Kirk and Spock materializing on some rocky planet.
"Rogan can feel the man's eyes lingering on the red spot high on his cheekbone, a souvenir from Andy's attack." Here is how I might slim that sentence down--"Rogan feels the man's eyes lingering on his bruised cheekbone." I left off "a souvenir of Andy's attack" because we already knew where it came from.
I find this to be a pretty clean chapter. You're getting better with commas, I believe.

Posted 3 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your review. I attended to those items you mentioned. You are, as always, ever.. read more

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Added on August 12, 2019
Last Updated on August 12, 2019


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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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