Jacob watched Charlene cross the street with her double mocha frappe with a sprinkle of cinnamon, hold the whip. Charlene was so predictable. It was what attracted Jacob to her initially. He had watched her for weeks before he dared approach her that first time at the bar.
Jacob shot back a whiskey and slammed the shot glass down on the bar. Charlene was wearing that red dress that made his mouth water. Jacob felt the alcohol burn away the fear he felt just moments before. He grabbed the negroni he had ordered with his whiskey and walked across the room wearing his best smile. “Hi there,” Jacob said, “I thought you could use a drink.”
Charlene looked surprised. “I don’t accept drinks from people I don’t know,” she said.
Jacob held out his hand. “I understand. My name is Jacob,” he said. Charlene shook his hand with a very limp grip. Jacob loved the feel of her hand nevertheless.
“Nice to meet you,” Charlene said. She broke off the handshake and turned back to the television.
Jacob placed the drink in front of her on the small table. “Enjoy your negroni,” he said.
That grabbed Charlene’s attention. “Wait. You brought me a negroni?” she asked. “How did you know?”
Jacob shrugged. “Don’t know,” he said. “You just struck me as a bitter sweet kind of lady. Enjoy your drink.”
Jacob turned to walk away, but Charlene reached out and grabbed his arm, stopping him in his tracks. “Wait. I told you I don’t accept drinks from strangers,” she said.
“But I introduced myself,” Jacob said. “We’re now acquaintances.” The fire from the alcohol was dying down, and the fear was beginning to creep back in. Jacob gave Charlene a quick nod, and then walked back to the bar. His hands shook as he ordered another whiskey, but when he looked back at Charlene she was sipping her drink. She raised the glass in his direction when she noticed he was watching. He raised his shot glass in response before pounding it back and slamming the glass back to the bar.
Charlene paused at Maurice’s Irregulars. Jacob hated going in there. He liked everything to be just right, the more predictable the better. There was too much chaos already in the world. Charlene seemed to be a kindred spirit in this at first, but soon Jacob learned that Charlene had a wild streak in her. It was something that Jacob admired, but it scared him as well. He hadn’t seen that in all that time he had watched her before they started going out. Still, it had kept their dates interesting.
The movie theater grew dark and the sound system went into overdrive announcing the beginning of the spectacle. Unfortunately for the theater owner, Jacob and Charlene were the only ones there to witness it.
Charlene leaned over and gave Jacob a kiss. “This is romantic,” she said.
The first of what would be many explosions rocked the speakers and the flash left Jacob blinking. Of course it could have been the unexpected kiss as well. “I didn’t know you were into explosions,” Jacob whispered, never taking his eyes off the screen.
Charlene nibbled at his eardrum. “It’s not the explosions silly,” she said. “We’re all by ourselves.” Her hand playfully began massaging his scalp through his thick black hair.
Jacob suppressed a shiver down his spine. “I know,” he whispered. “It means no one will interrupt us.”
Charlene laughed and threw her head in Jacob’s sight line, kissing him fiercely. She broke the kiss and moaned, “Exactly.”
Jacob kept his eyes on the screen, but he could see Charlene doing some wiggling in the corner of his vision. As much as he tried to focus, Charlene was being a distraction. Just before he was about to give up and turn towards her, she calmed down. Jacob smiled, allowing his attention to be fully absorbed by the larger than life confrontation in front of him when he felt something silky get plopped onto his hands. He looked down and there was a bra. He turned to Charlene, and she flashed him. “How do you like the show?” she asked with a huge smile on her face.
“I’m loving it,” Justin whispered. Just then there was another large explosion on the screen that rocked Jacob’s world. He knew if he looked at the screen right now he could finish watching the movie, but he would be doing it alone. It would have been such a waste of all his time and effort he had put into this relationship, both before they had started going out and after. Charlene was the one, Jacob was sure. It would kill him to let her go.
As Charlene closed her eyes for a kiss, Justin tried to watch what he could of the screen as their lips touched. What he would give to have someone, anyone, come into the theater right now.
Charlene stopped and talked with one of her girlfriends. Jacob tried to remember her name, but as usual he had blocked it out because she wasn’t really important. Of course Charlene would disagree, and had done so quite vehemently.
“You apologize right now Jacob!” Charlene said as she stomped her foot. Jacob had to hold in the chuckle. She had actually stomped her foot. That was the funniest thing. “Well?” she asked.
“I’m sorry,” Jacob said, “but really, you said we were going to go out. I assumed we was just you and me.”
“I never said just the two of us. Besides, you know Megan and I celebrate every Thursday by shooting back a shot of Goldschlager,” Charlene said.
“Of course I do,” Jacob said. “I just figured since yesterday was Thursday…” Jacob let his voice trail off, hoping it would lead Charlene along the path of verbal breadcrumbs to a safer topic. Anything was safer than the sacred Thursday. Heaven forbid someone ever die or need to go to hospital or something.
Charlene was not impressed with the breadcrumbs. “We couldn’t since we both had to work. Therefore we postponed it till tonight. You knew about all this,” Charlene said.
“You didn’t tell me about this,” Jacob said. “I would have remembered it.”
“I told you all about it when we talked on the phone last night. You were playing your guitar and I told you all about my day. I told you about…”
Jacob tuned her out and thought back to the conversation. He could vaguely remember her talking about someone, but he had gotten so close to figuring out how to get Stairway to Heaven to sound good as a blues number that he couldn’t afford to pay to close of attention. He tried to say all the appropriate yes dears and uh- huhs when Charlene had paused. Jacob wondered if he put some swing into his rendition of Stairway that it might work better. That might be interesting. Then he could get discovered like Justin Bieber.
“Are you even paying attention to me?” Charlene asked.
Jacob tuned back into reality, but he realized he was in big trouble. Charlene had her hands on her hips and was swinging those hips back and forth. “I’m sorry, I was just trying to remember”
Charlene interrupted Jacob. “You are sorry,” she said with a huge emphasis on the are. “As a matter of fact I think I am done here.”
Jacob sighed in relief. “Does that mean we can go to Charlie’s now?” he asked.
“You can go wherever you want. Just wherever that is, it won’t be with me,” Charlene said. She turned around and began to walk away.
“Wait,” Jacob said. “Are you breaking up with me?”
That stopped Charlene in her tracks, but she didn’t turn around. “Breaking up with you?” she asked. “I’m not only breaking up with you, I don’t want to see you again. I’m sick of you blowing me off.”
“But I’m not blowing you off. I watch every move that you make. You are the center of my universe,” Jacob said.
Charlene held up the back of her hand. “Whatever,” she said and walked away. Jacob felt his universe tilt. What would he do now?
Charlene looked behind her, but Jacob made sure to duck his face out of the way. She was getting better at trying to look for him. Good thing he had bought that grab bag of wigs and old clothes from the Salvation Army outlet. Why had it come to this between them.
Jacob smiled as Charlene walked towards him. “What the hell Jacob,” she said. “I told you we’re through.”
“You’re just saying that,” Jacob said. “I told you I apologize.”
“You’ve said that every other time I’ve found you following me for the past two weeks,” Charlene said. “Take the hint. Go away!” She emphasized those last two words by poking him in the chest, hard.
Jacob grabbed her finger and gave it a twist, causing Charlene to gasp in pain and almost go to her knees. “I didn’t say it was over. You’re just over reacting,” he said. With that he let go of her hand.
Charlene held her finger with her other hand, obviously still in pain. “Are you fucking insane? You just hurt me,” she said.
Jacob shook his head. “I’m sorry. You hurt yourself when you attacked me. I was just defending myself,” he said.
“Get the fuck out of here,” Carlene said. “I’m calling the cops.” With that she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and began to dial.
“You’re bluffing,” Jacob told her.
Charlene never hesitated. “Hello 911? I am being attacked by my ex-boyfriend,” she said.
“You’ll regret this bitch!” Jacob yelled as he turned and ran away.
Charlene walked the three blocks to the new bar that she hung out at now. It wasn’t as nice as the one they had met at, but Jacob gave her credit that she never went back to the old place after they had broken up. It would have felt awkward to have her sit in the same seat when he wasn’t there to keep her company. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed. “It’s me,” he said. “Yep, just liked I told you. I’ll make sure to be there when you’re done.” There was a short pause. “I’m sure it will be a surprise. She likes some surprises.
Prince Charming laughed at all of Charlene’s crappy jokes and that made Jacob even more pissed off. He looked at the contents of the folder the private investigator had gotten him on the Prince. This guy was dirty, but Charlene had rebounded hard with this idiot. Well, now Jacob had the goods. He just had to wait for the right time.
The waiter came to Jacob’s table. “Did you save room for dessert?” the waiter asked.
“Nah, I would just like a refill on my coffee,” Jacob said. “Oh, can you please run my credit card now. I am waiting a call and I want to be able to leave as soon as I get it.”
“Why of course,” said the waiter. The waiter took the offered card and retreated back to his station.
Jacob watched the tragedy unfold before him. The subtle touches by Prince Charming meant to establish control over Charlene, the strong eye contact to reinforce his ownership of their relationship, Jacob noticed it all. It was so nauseating. If only Jacob could just go over there and talk to Charlene alone for five minutes. He could explain it all and be her boyfriend again. His coffee and the check came and Jacob chuckled as he signed the bill with Prince Charming’s signature. At least he was getting dinner before being screwed.
As Jacob finished signing he noticed Prince Charming get up and head to the men’s room. This was Jacob’s chance. He quickly got up and followed Prince Charming, carrying his folder. As Jacob entered the restroom he realized how lucky he was that nobody else was in there. He quickly moved to the other urinal, right next to Prince Charming. Prince Charming was doing the man thing and ignored that Jacob was standing next to him. That made Jacob chuckle as he began to urinate on Prince Charming’s shoes. That got Prince Charming to notice him.
“What the hell man!” Prince Charming yelled quietly. “Watch where you are aiming.”
Jacob flashed him a million dollar smile. “I was marking my territory.”
“What?” asked Prince Charming.
“The report didn’t say you were slow,” Jacob said showing Prince Charming the manila folder. Jacob had to take a couple of steps back as Prince Charming took a wild swing at him. “Watch it asshole. I bet Charlene would love to know about Tori.” With that Jacob whipped out a phot showing Prince Charming kissing deeply a brunette that was definitely not Charlene.
“How the hell did you get that picture?” Prince Charming asked, all his previous fire smothered dead.
Jacob smiled at how much of a wuss Prince Charming really was. “Look, cut it off with Charlene. Dump her hard. I’ll swoop in and pick up the pieces and you get Tori as a consolation prize.” With that Jacob dropped the folder on the floor, spilling even more intimate photos of Prince Charming and Tori all over. “Don’t worry, “ Jacob continued, “I have plenty more where those came from.”
With that Jacob zipped himself back up and walked out of the restroom. Charlene caught a glimpse of Jacob and did a double take. Jacob decided to let his coffee sit at his table and decided it was time to strategically retreat.
Unfortunately Charlene didn’t think it was a good idea and followed him out of the restaurant. “What the hell are you doing here? Are you following me again?” she asked.
Jacob held his hands up in surrender. “I was here before you. You can check with the waiter. You came in with your latest fling, so I ate as fast as I could so I wouldn’t be in trouble,” he said.
“That’s bullshit! I’m going to call the police,” Charlene said.
“Wait, don’t do that,” Jacob pleaded. “I’m going. Really.”
Charlene paused, then put her phone back in her purse. “You better,” she said. Charlene was about to go back into the restaurant when Prince Charming came out. “What are you doing, honey?” Charlene asked.
Prince Charming glanced at Jacob before looking at his feet. “It’s over, Charlene. It’s just not working.” With that he walked away without looking back.
“Wait,” Charlene called out. “What did I do?” Prince Charming never gave an answer as he walked away. Charlene’s knees almost buckled.
Jacob reached out to steady her. “It’ll be okay. I’m here for you,” he said.
Charlene pushed Jacob away. “This has got to be all your fault,” she said.
Jacob shook his head. “I know that it hurts to be rejected,” he said. “You hurt me like that, but I forgive you. It will all work out.”
Charlene looked at Jacob incredulously. “You’re really trying to get back together right now?” she asked.
Jacob put on his million dollar smile. “That’s right baby. You and me, together again,” he said.
“You are more fucked up than I thought,” Charlene said. “I would rather die than to ever see you again, much less go out with you. Get the fuck away from me now.” With that Charlene took back out her cell phone.
“Fine,” Jacob said, “I hope you die.” With that Jacob walked away cursing under his breath.
Charlene stumbled out of the bar, a bit tipsy after a few too many strong drinks. The beau she had attached herself to kept her mostly steady. The street was deserted other than the disguised Jacob and the couple. As the couple walked further down the street, the beau and Charlene seemed to trip down an alleyway. Jacob ran over just in time to watch the beau put Charlene down on the ground, blood blossoming from her left side. The beau threw a quick smile at Jacob before running back out of the alleyway. Charlene looked up at Jacob, recognition dawning on her face. “Help me,” she said weakly.
Jacob took her purse off the ground with a gloved hand and chucked it further down the alleyway, removing her cell phone from her reach. “Why?” Charlene whispered.
Jacob got in close. “I would help you, but you know, that restraining order,” he said. With that Jacob left Charlene and the growing puddle of blood behind. There were other fish in the sea.