Hey Folks, what a week! The first and most important thing I have to do is to thank everyone who read the story. I have to thank those of you who wrote to me afterwards even more. The number of e-mails I had gotten before lunchtime last Thursday was staggering. I continued getting them until ... Crap I got another one this morning just before I posted the ending. Every one of you who told me what they thought should happen had great ideas. I wish I could have written five different endings to cater to the five major trends that you all wanted to see. But I wanted this out in a week so that wasn't possible. Barney-R and I had to work long and hard to make this happen and I think that what we came up with is a very good although not perfect ending.
There was one person among all of the hundreds of e-mails that really made me think. Although I didn't write the ending she wanted to see yet, I'm working on it, Theresa. Anyway ... I'm sure that some of you will like this and others will hate it, but that's how it goes. Please feel free to write to me with either complaints, compliments or outright scorn. If enough of you hate this, maybe I, or someone better can take another stab at it.
Thanks again to the legendary Barney-R for making this legible. SS06
"Don't try to talk," I said. "I've already called for an ambulance."
The pain was written all over his face. That same face was swelling up as I watched. Both of his eyes were going to be black. His nose was at an odd angle. Bubbles were forming in the blood on his face every time he breathed. His mouth looked weird. It wasn't the fact that his lips had swollen to nearly twice their normal size. It was as if his entire mouth had shifted to the side.
I heard the sirens getting closer. He grabbed my arm and mumbled to me.
"Mggd ... dhn mntn Dlan!" He was adamant. It took me a while to figure out that I was to tell the EMS guys or the police that he'd been mugged, and I was not supposed to talk about Dylan.
For once, I had no problem doing something that Jimmy wanted me to do. Two hours later, I was still filling out paperwork. Jimmy, naturally, had no health insurance. He had two black eyes, a fractured left orbit, a fractured cheek bone, a dislocated mandible, and a fat lip. He cried like a baby when they popped his Jawbone back into place.
They wanted to keep him for a few days to rule out a concussion. I was all for it. Paying for Jimmy's medical treatment was going to take a big chunk out of my savings.
Even though his jaw was only dislocated, not broken, he was in a lot of pain. With his two black eyes and his swollen lips, he looked like some sort of mutated raccoon.
The thing that confused me the most though was the way he looked at me. The glances he gave me, and his entire demeanor towards me were openly contemptuous.
Even though he gave me the impression that he hated me, he expected me to be in the hospital every day while he was there.
It finally became clear once he could talk again. He filed a police report that claimed that he was attacked by two guys. He told them that it had happened so fast that he didn't see them.
The police told him that if any details occurred to him to give them a call. They had lots of random mugging cases and had neither the time nor the resources to spend very much time on another one.
Once he was released from the hospital, it didn't get any better. He moved right into our ... or my house. He was no help with any of my problems. I had to get my boss to give me more hours at work to cover my expenses. His medical bills had already put a drain on the money I had. I had no idea if Dylan would ever come back to talk to me again about of problems. I couldn't believe my marriage was over.
They say that hindsight is twenty/twenty. In my case, it was even sharper than that. Mine was a case of greed. I reached out to try to grab more. I had a great man. He was a loving husband and would have someday been a great father. However, I've always had a thing for bad boys, and I got one. Now I needed to get rid of him, so I could get my husband back.
I guess that all the crap that Jimmy had fed me about the two of them sharing everything, including some of their women was old news. Apparently, I meant more to Dylan than Jimmy thought. Jimmy had all kinds of clever sayings about things, like Bros before hoes. But Dylan had beaten the fuck out of Jimmy over me.
I should have been flattered by it. But to tell the truth, it was frightening. I had never seen Dylan so much as raise his voice before that. I know that he misunderstood my motives when I pulled him off of Jimmy. I think that Dylan thought that I was trying to protect Jimmy. I wasn't though. I was trying to keep Dylan from going to jail for killing Jimmy. The next time we spoke, I had to clarify that if nothing else. I was sure that Dylan thought of that as just another case of me betraying him for Jimmy. The longer this went on, the deeper the hole I dug for myself.
The worst part of it was that I seemed to be alone. My family was so against what I had done that they gave me the cold shoulder. They didn't disown me or anything, but every conversation seemed to be centered on my mental health.
Jimmy was worse. The longer we were together, the more hostile he became. Finally, I asked him if we could talk. I told him that his attitude towards me bothered me. I told him that if he disliked me that much, he could simply leave and live elsewhere.
I'd been working my ass off trying to save money, so I could move out if I couldn't keep the house. More than anything else, I wanted my husband to come back. Jimmy had been completely wrong. I felt really stupid. And the worst part about it was that Dylan had become exactly what I wanted from him. He became more decisive. He became more physical. And he HAD, in fact, chosen me over Jimmy, just as I had demanded he do when we first got together.
It had been me who had been weak. I was the one who wasn't strong enough to stand up to Jimmy. And with every day that passed, I regretted it more.
While at work, I ran into a friend, Sylvia, who gave me even worse information. She had been at a bar on a date a few weeks prior and had seen Dylan and Jimmy. She overheard part of their conversation. She actually heard Jimmy insulting me. He made jokes about my looks and my body. Apparently, Jimmy had never felt anything for me. She also heard Dylan defending me. He had disagreed with everything Jimmy said, and he finally got tired of it and left. I only wished she'd called me as soon as she'd heard all of that. My life would be so much different. I would have simply hung up the phone on Jimmy when he called.
Instead, I did the stupidest thing possible and let him into my house and my bed. I seemed to go from one mistake to the next where Jimmy and Dylan were concerned.
After falling for Jimmy's bullshit that Dylan wouldn't be upset if Jimmy and I slept together, Dylan had left me. The fact that he had punched Jimmy in the mouth when he mentioned Sarah should have taught me something. The days that Dylan and I were apart were hell. I should have gone to him to beg his forgiveness. But I continued to let Jimmy tell me how he knew everything about Dylan and that everything would be fine.
I then let Jimmy con me into getting Dylan back to the house, so we could talk. When he got there and found out that Jimmy was still there, the pain and the hurt he was feeling magnified. He felt as if I had simply betrayed him all over again. He had beaten Jimmy to a pulp and apparently left the state. Now I was stuck with Jimmy who was treating me as if he hated me, but refused to leave my house.
"I can't leave," he said. "When Dylan comes back, this is where he'll be."
"So we're only together, because of Dylan?" I asked, shaking my head.
"What else is there between us?" he asked. "I have to admit that I fucked up. Dylan has real feelings for you. I guess there's no accounting for taste, even among brothers. However, the two of us need each other."
"Why the hell do we need each other?" I asked.
"I already told you," he said. "Dylan will come back to you one way or another. The look on his face when he walked in and saw you was disgusting. He really thinks of you as something special. I don't think he's over you yet. I think, and this is hard for me to understand, but I think Dylan loves you. I'm pretty sure that he'll come back. And then you told me that he likes your family. He likes your dad and your mom and your hot little sister, right? He won't break off ties to them, unless they make it clear to him that they don't want to hear from him. Shit, Dylan still sends birthday cards to my mom and dad and sees them whenever he goes back home. I don't even do that."
"So that's why you need me," I said. "Why do I need you?"
.... There is more of this story ...