I realized I had been standing in the same place long after Sharla’s patrol car passed by. I was physically there, but my mind was back to that awful night. The night I’d found out about Javier.
He was the first person I’d ever known to die from addiction. I had always heard stories about people overdosing, but I’d never seen it first hand.
I remember standing in the pew at his funeral, watching his father clutch his mother as her sobs caused her knees to buckle.
Audible sniffles echoed through the church as a slideshow of his photos danced across the screen.
The pictures began when he was a young child and I remember staring at the toothless grin of this innocent boy by the Christmas tree with his Mom. He had a light in his eyes that had long burned out by the time I came to know him.
He was so joyous in the pictures, so full of life and promise.
I knew, that the little boy in that picture wearing a uniform with a baseball bat rested on his shoulder, had no idea that he would only have 15 years left on this planet.
His mother had given birth to him 24 years ago. And now… he was gone. All that remained was a body in a coffin sitting on stage in front of a hundred broken hearts.
“Are you coming?” A voice said, snapping me back to reality.
“Yeah…I…Sorry, yes.” I replied, trotting over to Kelly’s office door.
Kelly was the new therapist, the one that had taken Dr. Danner’s place when she was fired. She was the polar opposite of Dr. Danner in every single way and I had grown really close to her over the past few months.
Dr. Danner didn’t get fired because of me. I had nothing to do with it, surprisingly. Apparently she had been writing prescriptions for Claire in return for half of Claire’s disability checks. Claire obviously tested positive for narcotics and was kicked out of Leap of Faith. Last I heard she was staying in a motel with some old guy.
“So what was going on out there?” Kelly asked shutting the door behind me.
“Nothing. I… just saw someone I knew and I guess I got lost in a memory for a second.” I replied.
“Anything you wanna talk about?”
“Nah, I’m okay.” I smiled.
“Okay. How has your week been going?” she asked, kicking her Converse shoes up on her desk.
“Good, really good. I’ve been doing bag checks for the new intakes. Felicity says I’m better than a bloodhound. I’ve found more hidden drugs this week than they have since the place has been opened.” I replied, proudly.
“Wow. Well it makes sense, you probably know all the good hiding places.” she laughed.
“You gotta be careful with that, you know.” She warned.
“I know you know, Tiff. But addiction is a sneaky Motherlover, so just make sure you aren’t putting yourself in dangerous situations.”
“Thank you. I won’t, I promise. There’s usually always someone there with me anyway. It helps.” I said.
“Well good. I’ll stop lecturing you then. Oh! By the way, you’re Probation Officer stopped by when you were at the meeting, he wants you to go see him tomorrow during the morning meeting.” She said.
“Wait, what? Why? What happened?” I asked in a panic. It’s never good when your probation officer asks you to come outside of scheduled visits.
“He mentioned something about your ex-boyfriends family, but he didn’t go into specifics. It’s nothing bad though, otherwise he would have let us know, and of course I would have given you a heads up.” She winked.
Her reassurance calmed my nerves a bit, but I was still anxious to know what the hell was going on. I decided to shove my worries to the back of my mind for now and take advantage of our session.
“Alright, let’s see.” She said pulling out my file and flipping it open. “Last week you and I had just started talking about Jacob, the gun and how it made you feel, before the session ended. Do you want to pick up where we left off?”
“I do. Yeah. Because, it was the closest I’d come to being caught in the whole 2 years that Chuck and I had been together. It was actually a pivotal moment for me.” I replied.
“Okay. Good. So, if I remember correctly, there was a knock at your front door, correct?” She asked.
“And you and Chuck had been playing video games at that point?”
“Okay, why don’t you pick up from there. I’m interested to hear how you were able to maintain your ‘dual personality’ –so to speak– in the presence of both Jacob, and Chuck.”
I glanced up at the clock and realized we only had 34 minutes left in our session. It never seemed like enough time to me.
Chuck and I had been playing video games for about an hour that night when there was suddenly a knock at the door.
He paused the game and pulled his headset down off of his ear to get a better listen. “Did the doorbell just ring?” He asked, looking surprised.
Before I could answer, he was off of the couch and jogging toward our bedroom — the opposite direction of the front door. I knew what he was doing. He was grabbing his off-duty weapon.
“Be careful, Babe.” I whispered nervously, cowering in the corner of the room. I watched as he peeked out the peephole, the gun resting by his right side.
“Who is it?” He barked, attempting to make his voice lower to sound more masculine.
“Hi, it’s Jacob, Tiffany’s friend–is she home?”
My blood ran cold as Chuck whipped his head around, giving me a puzzled look. My eyes grew wide and I furiously shook my head back and forth.
“Who?” Chuck asked again.
“It’s Jacob, I’m an old friend of Tiffany’s and I’ve been trying to reach her for awhile now, is she home?”
“Bro, it’s midnight. Is there some kind of emergency or something?” Chuck asked before mouthing “What the f**k”, to me.
“Well,” Jake began, sounding calm and collected, “I guess you could say so, yeah. It’s somewhat of an emergency. She has something of mine and I’d like to have it back.”
My heart raced as I shook with fear. It was over, despite my innate ability to get out of any situation, this one would be impossible. And to be honest I wasn’t sure who I was more frightened of, the psycho drug dealer on the other side of the door–or my gun toting boyfriend.
Before Chuck could reply to Jake, I ran toward the door. I held my hand up to calm Chuck and gently began speaking through the door.
“Jake, my phone has been off. I have your old yearbook, and I will meet with you tomorrow.”
“Yearbook?” Jake asked, sounding confused.
“Ohhhh, I get it. I see what you’re doing. You are pretending to have something less valuable and less illegal of mine so as, to not tip off your Deputy boyfriend. Ahhhh, good idea. Okay, cool. Well you just give me a call tomorrow then, Tiffany, and you can bring my, “yearbook” to me. If for some reason I don’t hear from you, I’ll just come back, okay?” He said.
It was a threat. I knew that, but I was desperate for him to leave.
“Okay! Sounds good, bye!” I said quickly, walking past Chuck and heading toward the bedroom.
I collapsed onto the bed and closed my eyes. When I was a kid, I used to think that when I squeezed my eyes shut, no one could see me. I wished now, more than anything that that were true. I tried it anyway, just in case.
“Um. You wanna tell me what the hell is going on?” Chuck’s voice boomed from the doorway.
Shit, it didn’t work.
“Honey, it’s complicated.” I said, trying to buy time.
“Oh, is it? Okay well never mind then. If it was easy to explain I’d tell you to go ahead and explain, but since it’s complicated — don’t even worry about it. I probably couldn’t keep up anyway.” He said.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank you,. Yeah it’s a lot and I’d rather not get int–”
“You have 5 f***ing seconds to tell me everything or you can get your shit and get the hell out.” He snapped.
“Oh, so you were being sarcast–”
“Okay, Jacob is a drug dealer.” I said quickly… Like an idiot.
Before he could reply, I continued. “Jacob is a drug dealer and… The last time I relapsed, I … I took a bunch of money, and drugs from him.”
I watched his face fall and his arms go limp at his sides. He was still holding the gun, and a small part of me secretly wished he would just point it at me and pull the trigger.
“I owe him a lot of money. I don’t know how he knows where I live, and honestly, I forgot all about it. I’m so sorry, Babe.” I said, as tears started flowing from my eyes. Mostly because I knew that crying was like kryptonite to him, but also because the sadness in his eyes made me want to die. He hadn’t asked for any of this, and it was clear he was beside himself with shock.
“So, you’ve got a drug dealer knocking on MY DOOR at midnight, because you robbed him?”
“Okay, no. See, technically I didn’t rob him. He gave me like, over $7,000 worth of drugs and I never….um, returned them. The drugs. Never gave them back…to him. So. Technically not robbing.” I said.
“Get…. the F**K out of my house.”
“You’re G** damn right my house. I bought it. I also bought all of the furniture, all of the food in the fridge, all of the plates you eat off of — everything. Every G** damn thing you touch in this house is mine so I’ll say it again. Get the hell out, NOW.”
He dropped his gun onto the nightstand and walked into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
I sat there in stunned silence for a moment, staring at all of the scattered pieces of my life.
I had nowhere to go.
Where the hell was I supposed to go?
It was midnight.
“Babe, please.” I cried out.
“Chuck, I’m begging. Let me stay tonight. I’ll leave tomorrow. I don’t have anywhere to go, please. This all happened a long time ago. I have been doing so good…I didn’t know–”
The bathroom door swung open and Chuck stepped out. He walked to the side of the bed with a look of defeat on his face, and his chin started to quiver.
“I love you so much Tiffany. I love you more than anything in this world…. But you are making it really hard. You are making it so damn hard to love you.” He sat down on the edge of the bed with his back to me and his shoulders began shaking as he sobbed into his hands.
I glanced over at the nightstand where he threw his gun.
I should grab it. I should just grab it, and put it to my head. It would make everything so much easier. On him, on me, my family… I wasn’t cut out for life. I wasn’t any good at it. The only thing I’m good at is creating chaos and destruction.
I stared at his back in silence for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t know what to say, there was nothing to say.
“What are you going to do?” he asked, staring at the floor.
“I guess I can call my Dad and see if he’s awake, but he usually goes to bed early. Maybe my sis–”
“Stop. You aren’t going anywhere. I’m sorry. I was angry, I am angry. But I don’t know if that psycho is still out there waiting for you or something so you just need to stay here. What are you gonna do about the money?”
I took a deep breath of gratitude and had never in my life been more thankful for my boyfriends forgiving heart than I was tonight.
“I have my tax check, I will give that to him tomorrow. I will only owe him $2,000 after that and I think he will just be grateful that I even gave hi–”
“You know what, actually. I’ll tell you what. Don’t say another word. I don’t want to know another f***ing thing, okay? I’m a f***ing deputy–in case you’ve forgotten. So whatever deals you have with your old dealers — I don’t want to know about them. I’m going to sleep on the couch. Goodnight.”
I jumped as the door slammed behind him.
I sat there for a moment, replaying everything that had just occurred, in my head. I couldn’t have Jacob coming back here tomorrow, I had to fix it. I needed a plan.
I got up from the bed and walked into the bathroom. I felt like s***, physically — and emotionally. I locked the door behind me and pulled the remaining bag of pills from the briefcase out of my tampon box. I had been holding on to these in hopes of salvaging some money to give back to him. But he was probably going to kill me tomorrow, anyway. So it didn’t matter.
My mind raced as I filled the syringe. How the hell could I get $2,000 by tomorrow? It would be impossible. I wouldn’t be able to get the money and Jacob would either beat me to death, or show up here and tell Chuck the whole truth…And then kill me.
I thought about Chuck laying on the couch, probably staring at the ceiling wondering what the hell he had gotten himself into.
I needed to leave him. It was for his own good. His soul is beautiful, and pure while mine is tarnished, and evil and …. empty. I probably didn’t even have a soul. Someone with a soul wouldn’t do the things I did.
As I pushed the drugs into my vein I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Suddenly a lightbulb went off in my brain.
Oh my God. I got it. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this before. I smiled to myself just as the drugs hit my heart and rocketed through my body.
It wasn’t going to be easy– but I knew exactly how I was going to get Jake the money before tomorrow night.