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The Last Time is rated PG-13+,(close to R, but not quite close enough to rate it R), according to my standards.
The Last Time, by Deanna Schrayer
To the innocent observer she appears brave, daring and glamorous in her mismatched, deep purple, crushed-velvet peasant blouse, crinkly, flared white skirt, and scuffed cowboy boots, her long, red-gold curls piled haphazardly atop her small head, some strands escaping the thick barrette as if afraid of being imprisoned for life. Her sudden laugh is full and throaty, leaping directly from a gut so slim it couldn’t possibly hold more than that laughter.
The pudgy, balding man wielding a full-throttle water hose at his prize knockout roses, stares at the unknown creature, mouth agape.
On the other side of the driveway, a younger man, a former football player, half-dressed for business, (open shirt, no coat, untied tie), waxes his Jaguar, smiles broadly, flashing his white teeth at her escort, winks behind shiny Ray Bans.
The man who brought this gorgeous young woman to his home opens the front door, spreads his short arm in invitation. “Come in.”
She’s still laughing, that giddy, I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do-with-myself laugh, the kind caused by several tokes of Jamaican marijuana and unexpected free time. The kind of laughter needed to endure these excitable adventures, to squash out the fear, or is that heighten the fear. She forces herself to a calm, low giggle, stands in the middle of a – living room is it? gazes suspiciously at her surroundings.
“Don’t worry, she’s not here.”
She cocks her head at him, frowns.
“She’s on bed rest now, until the baby’s born, four weeks at least. She’s staying with her mother.”
He’s married? Expecting a child? A flash of anger crosses her face, which, in his faux guilt, he mistakes for fright.
“Three hours away,” he makes his way towards her, haltingly, “two-hundred miles.”
She doesn’t allow him to take her hand and guide her through the vast living room, down the stuffy hallway; she doesn’t resist.
How did she end up here? When all she’d wanted was to laugh with a friend. But all her friends were away for the day. So she’d hopped in the MG with the bartender, the quiet man, the older man, the man who always gave her free drinks and a disarming smile.
“It’s kind of small, I know.”
Startled from her trance, she looks up to find herself in a bedroom. Their bedroom. A wedding photo glares down at her from above the twin bed.
“Sorry about that.”
He’s taking off his booze-stained bartender’s shirt.
She stares. Does not laugh.
Without the slightest of hints she’s racing towards the adjoining bathroom, nearly tripping when her skirt gets hung up between her legs.
“Are you all right?” she hears from behind the locked door.
She turns the water on, both knobs full blast. Stares at the hazy figure in the mirror.
What have you done now?
She barely turns around in time to vomit into the toilet.
You got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out.
Empty now, she faces the mirror again.
You play, you pay.
She finds some mouthwash, a Dixie cup. Rinses. Spits. Releases the remaining curls from the loosened barrette, reaches for the door.
This is the last time, gypsy-girl.
The last time.
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