Crispen's Rose: Chapter Two

Crispen's Rose: Chapter Two

A Chapter by Rhayne

CHAPTER TWO

ROSE

 

 

Tabora Beach, North Carolina

Winter, 2014

 

The torrent of rain came seconds after the loud boom of thunder that shook the building.  The florescent lights flicker with a sudden flash of lightning.  Rose clasps her chest and gasps as did all her co-workers.  Laura, Rose’s best friend, peers over the cubical wall with a surprised look.  It was the middle of December, not the season for thunderstorms. Not unheard of, but a rare occurrence for this part of the country.

“Some say it’s a sign of a very bad winter” Rose says to Laura.

“I hope it snows ten feet” Laura says happily, “we hardly ever saw snow in Charleston, when I lived there.  Too close to Florida, I guess.”

Laura’s southern accent is charming even if it does sound funny, thinks Rose.  She loves to make fun by imitating her.

“Why Laura, whatever does Florida have to do with snow in Charleston?” she giggles, giving her best impression of Scarlet O’Hara.

“Oh, be quiet, Rose.  I don’t make fun of you.  But I guess I could.  All I would have to do is mope around and be depressed. That’s all you do anymore, you know.  Work, go home, work, go home.  You’re no fun anymore like you use to be.  Ask Rochelle if you don’t believe me.”


Rose isn’t smiling anymore and immediately, Laura begins apologizing.  She didn’t mean to be so insensitive to Rose’s heartache.  But it seems that she has pined over this man long enough.  She needs to face the fact that he’s never coming back. Rose was a fool to believe every word he said.  Granted, he was the most handsome man any of them had ever seen but that didn’t change the fact that he was still like every other man in this town, dishonest and conniving.  Of course, he would say anything to have his way with Rose and all the girls know that she is vulnerable.  Derrick had left her devastated and ashamed.  No man ever had it so good as he did.  Rose catered to his every whim and as soon as some other woman winked at him, he forgot all about the gold he had at home.  

“I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, Rose, but Crispin Aleron is no better than Derrick Jackson.  Why, I bet he’s even lied about his name, Crispin Aleron.  What kind of name is that, anyway?  Sounds too romantic to be real.  Don’t you think so, Rochelle?”

Rose powers down her computer and locks her desk drawers.  She fumbles in her purse for her car keys with her ears still trained to hear Rochelle’s answer.  She says nothing.  Sliding into her overcoat and pulling her long hair out from beneath the collar, she looks up at Laura and Rochelle.

“It’s a French name and it is romantic and he’s not like Derrick in any way imaginable.  And, I don’t care what you say, he will come back.  It wasn’t a one-night stand.”

Grabbing her purse and shoving her chair to the desk she turns to leave her cubicle and then stops.  The girls were waiting for her to turn and apologize like she always does when she spouts off but this time she hesitated for a long time before slowly turning.

“Even if it was a one-night stand, it will be a night that I will never ever forget or regret” tears glistening in her eyes.


Laura felt bad for everything she had said but Rochelle rushes to Rose to comfort her.  Only Rochelle understands Rose.  She too has been in bad relationships and then found the perfect man only to lose him in a terrible car accident.  She shares Rose’s pain. Laura, on the other hand, has never had a serious relationship in her life.  She enjoys playing hard to get.

“Oh, Rose, she didn’t mean it.  You know how Laura is, she always speaks before she thinks.  I’m sure Crispin will call you soon.”

“Soon?” Laura says cynically, “it’s already been six months!”

“Laura!” scorns Rochelle.

Breaking away from Rochelle’s arms, Rose dries her eyes and buttons her coat. 

“It’s okay, Chelle, she’s right.  It’s been six months and he’s not coming back.  So, let’s drop this subject and get out of here, huh?  It’s Friday night.  What are we doing tonight?”

“Now that’s the Rose I know and love” says Laura.  “Hey, let’s go to McKinsey Place.  I hear they’ve got a new band playing this week and we all like the food there.”

Rochelle slips into her coat, subtly glancing at Rose for approval.  With a slight smile, Rose nods a ‘yes’. 

Luckily, Rose was fortunate enough to have a parking space in the garage to shelter them from the pouring rain.  Rochelle climbed into the back seat since Laura had already yelled ‘shotgun’. 

“I swear, Laura, sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re twenty-five years old” giggles Rochelle.


The girls were so busy bickering they had not noticed that Rose had not gotten in but was staring out at the rain.  She didn’t even hear Rochelle call out to her.  The sound of the rain becomes deafening, beating against the concrete floor.  Thunder rolls a soft echo through the parking deck reminding her of the night she spent with Crispin, that perfect night in her bed, a stormy night much like this one.  She could almost swear that she hears his voice calling her name.  A chill spread down her spine as if he had just touched her.  Thoughts of him often plagued her mind but never like this.  It feels as though he is near, watching.  She searches the garage expecting to find him peeking out from behind one of the many support columns.  Suddenly, a man appears from between two cars, walking toward her.  The lighting is too dim to see his face clearly but the need inside her makes her anxious to run to him.  Her fingertips lock on the trim of the roof of her car keeping her from making a fool of herself.  Like a faucet, the rain ceases and the simultaneous toot of the car horn startles her.

“Well, are you coming, Rose?” asks Laura.

The man nods to her as he passes, holding up his hand to press the automatic door lock to his car parked several feet away.  Disappointed, she still smiles courteously at him and then quickly gets into the car.

“That was weird” comes from the back seat.

“What?” asks Rose, starting the engine.

“The rain.  It just stopped.  It was pouring so hard and then it just stopped like a faucet.  Weird.”

The twenty-minute drive to McKinsey Place seems longer than usual because Laura talks non-stop.  It isn’t until Rose is pulling into the parking lot that she finally says something of significance.  It was so significant that Rose hits the brakes a little harder than she means to and Rochelle squeals from the backseat while pounding her feet in short strokes on the floor.

“What!  We got it?  We got the museum account?” shouts Rose.


“Why didn’t you tell us before now, you dope!  How long have you known?” asks Rochelle.

“Mr. Rossi and Mr. Roman just told me this morning.  I was going to tell you at dinner so we could celebrate.  Of course, he would have told you first, Rose, since you’re our team leader.  But you were late coming in and again, we thought you weren’t going to show up.  Mr. Roman said he was getting real concerned about you.  I told him that you were getting better because I thought he was thinking of firing you or demoting you to another department.”

Laura has such a knack for rambling that the girls can usually overlook it and hear only half of what she says.  This information is something they have waited months to hear.  Rose had placed the bid for the museum account among several other insurance companies.  It would be the largest account awarded to Rossi & Roman Commodities.  It had been big news to the community that the Tabora Museum had been chosen to exhibit ancient artifacts recently discovered in France.  The museum curator, Armand Merlion, had also been involved with the discovery of the artifact.   Rochelle can take no more of her rambling and interrupts her, “Laura, will you shut up about stupid stuff and tell us about the account.  When do we start?  Has the shipment arrived yet?”

“It came in today.  I start the inventory tomorrow and you guys start appraising on Monday” she says with a grin.  “Can we go in now?  I’m starving.”


Inside the warm and aromatic atmosphere of one of the most popular restaurant clubs on the beach the girls wait anxiously for a table.  Even Rose is smiling and for the first time in months she has color in her cheeks.  It is the best thing that has happened since the night she first met Crispin Aleron.  It is the only thing that has seemed to take him off her mind.  Rochelle is the first to notice it.  She is glad to see her best friend happy again, so chooses to keep it to herself.  They follow the Hostess to a reserved table directly in front of the stage.  The stage curtains are closed and glitters in the spotlights.  Laura checks her watch before picking up the menu, “the show starts in a about half an hour.  I hear the group that’s been here all week is really good.”

“Yeah, you said that earlier.  You had this planned all along, didn’t you?” asks Rose.  “You reserved this table.  The Hostess was expecting us.”

“I wanted to surprise you, Rose.  You’ve been so depressed lately.  Actually, I had planned this evening before I knew about the museum account, I swear.  That just seemed to make the perfect icing.  Don’t you think?”

“Well, I think it was a very nice thing to do, Laura.  But you should have told us about the account as soon as you knew.  It sure would have made the day go better” replies Rochelle.

“No.  I think she did the right thing, Rochelle.  It is a very nice surprise, all of it.  Thank you, Laura” Rose says with a touch to Laura’s hand.

The evening is going delightfully well.  The food is excellent and the girls toast each other for a job well done. Their table has been cleared of dishes and a new bottle of Champaign has been delivered to them.  The waiter points to a gentleman sitting several tables to the right where he is holding up his glass to salute them.  They are very surprised to see him here.

“Oh my God, it’s Mr. Roman!” laughs Laura.  “Wow, doesn’t he look different, hot even.”

“Laura, he’s our boss.  Just salute him back, will ya, before you make him come over here” says Rose.


The curtains open and the fanfare begins with the announcer, “welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen.  It’s time to introduce the band that has made a great hit here in our beach city. Now, will you please welcome....”

Just as the band is announced and the music blares from behind the opening curtains, a hand grasps Rose on the shoulder. She turns quickly expecting to find Mr. Roman intruding his way in to their table.  The lights from the stage glow onto his face. She is startled.

“Derrick.  What are you doing here” she yells above the music.

“I have to talk to you.  It’s important” he yells back, “come with me outside.  Just for a minute.”

“No, Derrick.  There’s nothing left for us to talk about. We’re done, remember?”


Laura’s eyes are glued to the lead singer and sees nothing else, hears nothing else.  Rochelle sees Derrick from the corner of her eye and leans over to ask Rose if everything is okay.  She nods to her, confirming.  Laura pulls on Rochelle to get her attention as she points to the stage.  Neither of them can hear the other for the music.  Rochelle laughs and turns back toward Rose but she is not there.  A bad feeling suddenly flows through her.  She searches the crowd of dancers but knew in her heart that Rose would never accept a dance with Derrick.  She wouldn’t voluntarily go anywhere with him now.  It was over between them and that was one relationship that Rochelle was glad to see dissolved.  He was never good for her.  He was a user and abuser. If only Crispin had not disappeared.  He was good for her, good to her.  She had fallen hard for him and it was then that she saw Derrick for the devil he is.  Rochelle knew she would need help if Derrick had taken her by force and the only person there she knows is Mr. Roman.  She wonders if he is still at his table or if he just came for dinner.  The music didn’t seem to be his cup of tea but then Laura was right, he looked different than when he’s at the office.  She pushes through the dancing crowd to the other floor of tables.  Luckily, he is still there, alone.

“Mr. Roman!” she yells above what seems to be a never-ending song.

“Rochelle, congrats!” he replies.

“Mr. Roman, I need your help.  It’s Rose!  Please come with me.”

“What’s wrong with her?” he shouts.

“I think she’s been kidnaped!”

“Kidnaped!” he smirks.

“Yes, by her ex-boyfriend.  He’s bad news, Mr. Roman, please.”

The look in her eyes tore the smirk right off his face.  He motions for her to lead the way.  Outside, fog has settled in making the parking lot too hazy to see well.  The lights wear halos so thick the light cannot spread.  Rochelle is frantic as she calls out to Rose.  Mr. Roman shouts her name in another direction.

“Why do you think this guy has kidnaped her?” he asks.

“They broke up several months ago and he’s been harassing her ever since.  He was too possessive of her.  She could hardly breathe without his permission.  She was seeing someone else for a while and Derrick just got crazy about that.  He threatened her.  I haven’t said anything to anyone about this, but I’m afraid that maybe his threat was more against Crispin Aleron, the guy she was dating.  He disappeared a few months ago without a trace.  He just wasn’t the kind of guy that would treat Rose the way he did and then just leave.  He was really too nice.”


“You go back inside and check the ladies room and I’ll look around out here.  Don’t worry, Rochelle, I’m sure she’s fine.”

Rochelle agrees and hurries back into the club.  Mr. Roman steps off the curb, listening for any voices.  Derrick watches him disappear into the fog as he walks between cars, searching. He removes his hand from Rose’s mouth with her promise not to call out.

“I swear I’m not here to hurt you, baby.  I just want to talk.”

“What do you want, Derrick?”

“I want you to give me another chance, baby.  I love you. I promise I will never hurt you again, I swear.  I’ll even go to counseling like you wanted me too.”

The way he has her pinned against his truck tells her different. He’s like a time bomb and the minutes have already turned to seconds.  She notices how he is gritting his teeth when he mentions going to counseling.  It’s just another one of his ploys to win her back and he will soon convert back to his old ways.  Two years of smothering and abuse was enough.  The thought of Crispin swarms her mind as she looks into Derrick’s hard black eyes.  She wonders how two men with the same color eyes could look so different.  Crispin’s dark eyes were so soft and warm.  She felt nothing but love and assurance when he looked at her.  His touch was always tender. Crispin was the aura of love.  Derrick’s gaze is hard and demanding, his touch cold and intimidating.  Suddenly, another thought grips her, squeezing her heart.  She pushes him away.

“You’ve done something to him, haven’t you?”

“Who?” he replies, stunned at her outburst.

“You know who.  Crispin.  You saw us together at the pier that night.  I know you did because I saw you.  If you’ve done anything to him, I swear, I’ll.....”


“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Who the hell is Crispin?  Name sounds like a male stripper or something” he laughs. 

“What did you do, Derrick?  What did you say to him?  What lies have you told him to make him leave town?”

“I really don’t know who you’re talking about, babe.  I haven’t done anything but miss you.  I don’t want to talk about anybody else tonight but you and me.  Let the girls take your car and let me take you home.  I really want to make a lot of things up to you.  Show you how much I love you.”

“Surely you’re not that dense.  Can’t you understand that I don’t want anything to do with you ever again?  It’s over with us, completely over.  Now get out of my way.  I have a celebration to get back to.”

Pushing him aside, she hurries away only to bump right into Mr. Roman.  Derrick steps up still reaching for her, only to find her being comforted by Mr. Roman.  He looks up at Derrick who now has rage in his eyes.

“I think the lady would like for you to leave her alone” Mr. Roman says sternly.

Derrick shuffles for a moment and then laughs, “are you the stripper?  Crispin, is it?”

“I beg your pardon?” he replies with his virtually extinct Italian accent.

“Derrick, this is Mr. Roman, my boss” Rose explains.

“Oh, so you’re dating your boss now.”

“No, just leave, Derrick, before you make more of a fool of yourself.”

“Okay, I’ll leave for now.  But you and I have a conversation to finish.  I’ll call you.”


Mr. Roman realizes that Rochelle’s worries are legitimate and kept his arm around Rose until they were safely inside the club. He tries to cheer her by congratulating her on the account and telling her how he feels about the excellent work she does as Rochelle runs up totally relieved to see her.

Soon, Laura joins them completely unaware of the adventure.

“Hey, what’s going on?  I turned around and found everybody had left me.  Why did you leave, the band’s great!  Especially the lead singer, he’s...”

“Laura, will you please shut up.  Rose was almost kidnaped” Rochelle snaps.

“It wasn’t like that, Chelle, he just wanted to talk” Rose explains.

“I don’t know about that.  He looked pretty mad when he saw you in my arms” said Mr. Roman.

“What?” sneers Laura, looking directly at Mr. Roman.

The girls snicker at the sudden jolt from Mr. Roman.  It is clear that he is funning with her.  They both knew that Mr. Roman had eyes for Laura and no one else.  She is the only one who hasn’t noticed.

“Listen, Mr. Roman, I think I should take Rose home.  Would you mind taking Laura home after the show.  I know she’s not ready to leave the party yet.”

“I would be delighted to spend the rest of this celebration with Laura.  That is, if she doesn’t mind.”

“Mind?” she says looking at him not as a boss.  “Do you like to dance, Mr. Roman?”

“I love to dance.  What do you say we go heat up the floor and show those nerds how it’s done?”

“Why, Mr. Roman, you surprise me.  I’ve always thought of you as a stuffed shirt.  I think you have a side you hide from the rest of the world.”

“Call me David, please.  Mr. Roman is too formal for a night like tonight.”


Rochelle bursts out laughing as they disappear arm in arm into the dancing crowd.  Rose leans against a nearby post, her mouth slightly open. 

 

It is nearly two o’clock in the morning when the sleeping pills Rochelle insisted on Rose taking, takes effect.  Rochelle refuses to leave her and after she had safely tucked Rose into bed, she makes herself comfortable on the sofa.  She stares into the darkness while listening to every creak and pop of the house settling, wondering if Derrick is lurking outside somewhere.  Uneasy, she double checks the doors and window locks.  A ship’s horn sounds muffled in the fog still rolling in from the ocean.  The ship’s lights can barely be seen from the patio doors.  Rochelle has never seen the weather like this in December before. It is only a couple of weeks before Christmas and usually it is much colder but drier.  Tonight, is like a spring night, cool, wet and foggy.  She pulls the drapes together and feels her way in the dark back to the sofa where she settles in for the night. 

 



© 2019 Rhayne


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Oh. My. Goodness. I absolutely love this! the characters are interesting, and I relate to Rose. Being one who dated someone possessive, I know how scary it can be when things don't go their way. I hope Derrick hasn't done anything to Crispin, it would just devastate poor Rose

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Added on September 13, 2019
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Author

Rhayne
Rhayne

Nashville, NC



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