Tonight was the night.
I was meeting Jake at a local restaurant at 6:00pm to give him the money I owed him. Technically, I didn’t have it just yet, but, I would very soon. As I paced back and forth across my living room, Tatum, my puppy’s toenails clicked against the hardwood floor as he ran beside me, excitedly.
“What the hell am I doing?” I asked him. His tail began to wag in response and I couldn’t help but think how f***ing wonderful it would be, to be a dog. Having no responsibility, no pressure. Just running around and pooping. I hated being human, I hated having to think and make decisions and dig myself out of the bottomless holes that I’d created. It would be so much easier to be a G** damn dog.
I had to quit stalling, I was running out of time. I took a deep breath and bounded to the hallway closet. As I grabbed the blanket on top of the shelf, I froze.
Was I sure I wanted to do this? There was no coming back from this once it was done. I have done a lot of really messed up things in my day – but this took the cake.
I thought of what would happen if I didn’t do this. I imagined the faces of everyone I’d ever known as they hit play on the video Jake would send to them. Images of that night flashed across my mind and I cringed, remembering what was on that tape.
If that tape was released, I could never show my face again. I would have to kill myself or at the very least, leave the country and change my name. My life would be over.
With a newfound determination, I ripped the blanket from the shelf and headed toward the spare bedroom.
My heart pounded as I reached into the hole in the wall of the closet for the cigar box. My fingers fumbled around until I felt the wood of the box. I reached inside and pulled out the keys to the gun safe.
Chuck kept a ton of guns in there; rifles, handguns and some automatic weapons. He never went into the gun safe unless we went shooting, and we hadn’t done that in years. By the time he noticed anything was missing, I would have had plenty of time to come up with a reason they were gone. For now however, I had to do this.
The door squeaked as I pulled it open and I could hardly catch my breath. Holy shit, I can’t believe this is actually happening.
I quickly stretched the blanket out across the floor as if I were preparing a picnic, except this was no picnic, this was the craziest thing I had ever done in my life.
I immediately located the first 2 types of guns Lazarus had asked for, and placed them in the middle of the blanket before returning to the gun safe to find the third. He had specifically asked for a 9 millimeter, but I was having trouble locating it.
As I searched each gun in the case individually, I thought about Lazarus and I’s conversation. He said there were some guys after him and he was worried for his life. He wanted protection, and as if the universe had aligned perfectly in order for me to pay Jake, he messaged me and asked me if I could get him any guns.
He said he would pay me $4,000 for 3 of them. Now I don’t believe in God, but if there ever was a sign from heaven that I needed to see, this was it. I knew that this is what I was meant to do. Opportunities like this don’t just happen, it was fate. In order to get my life back where it needed to be, I had to sell these guns.
There was no 9 millimeter in this safe.
I closed my eyes and sat down on the blanket feeling defeated. I didn’t know how much he would give me for only 2, especially when he specifically asked for a 9. I told him I had one, son of a b****, I could have sworn we did.
Tears began streaming down my face when I realized it was over. Time had run out, and now I had no way to pay Jake. I laid down onto the blanket on the floor and stared up at the ceiling. Maybe I should just tell Chuck everything now, mentally prepare him for what was coming tonight. Tell him that our whole relationship had been a lie because I’m actually a junkie piece of trash. Let him know I wasn’t strong enough to beat my demons and I’d allowed them to take over my life.
Tell him that I lied to him every day for years, and every time he ever touched me, there were narcotics floating through my veins.
I’d have to sit him down and shatter his heart and let him know that there was also a very good chance that his entire family, the entire police department and anyone else with a computer and a set of eyes was about to see a sex tape I’d made 6 years ago while inebriated. Maybe if I ended my life with one of these guns, I wouldn’t even have to explain myself. Jake would feel too guilty to release the tape and Chuck will never have to know the whole truth about who I really am.
A frustrated scream escaped my throat as I pounded the floor with my fists. I curled up into a ball right there next to those guns and stared at the wall. I looked at the framed photo of Chuck smiling next to his mother. Neither of them deserved anything I’d done.
As I stared at the photo, I suddenly noticed something that caused me to sit straight up. His mother had her hand resting on the side of his hip, the hip where he kept his off duty weapon.
I jumped up from the floor, startling Tatum, and sprinted to our bedroom.
I yanked the drawer of his nightstand open, and my eyes glistened with tears of relief as I stared down at the 9 millimeter hand gun he kept by the bed. I knew we had one here. I slowly reached down and wrapped my fingers around the cold metal handle and pulled it up to my chest. Everything was going to be fine now. Everything was going to be okay…
“Technically you owe me another hundred, but I will let it slide.” Jake said tucking the money into his wallet and placing it back into his pocket.
“Now delete the f***ing video.” I snapped.
“Okay, okay, geesh. You know, it honestly saddens me to have to get rid of this, it’s actually really great.” he said entering the password into his phone.
“Stop.” I said.
“No seriously, do you want to watch it together one last time? The part where you snorted the coke off of my –”
“G** damnit delete the f***ing video right now, I am not in the mood for this shit. I just want this to be over.”
“Done.” he replied, holding his phone up to show me that it was gone.
“Please get the hell out of my car now. And stay away from me and my boyfriend. I kept up my end of the deal, and if you f*** me over I swear to God-”
“Relax,” he interrupted, “I don’t want to destroy your life, Tiff, I just wanted my money. And now I have it, so we are good.”
“Okay.” I said, starting the car.
“Before I go,” he said, reaching into his pocket, “Here, for your trouble.” He handed me a pill and smiled. “Talk soon.” he said, slamming the door shut behind him.
The moment that door slammed, it felt as if I was finally able to drop the backpack filled with heavy rocks I’d been carrying around for months. The release of that burden was almost orgasmic. It was over. Now I could focus on getting my shit together and getting clean, that way I could put all of this behind me. After this last pill, I was done. I’d learned my lesson.
I smiled as I pulled into our neighborhood. I couldn’t wait to hug Chuck, thinking that I was going to lose him at any given moment had been torturous. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to worry. I glanced down at the clock and saw that it was almost 7:30, he should definitely be home by now.
As I turned left on to my street, every ounce of joy I’d been feeling immediately drained and was replaced with terror. I inched closer to my home and my heart felt like it was going to stop.
Why the f*** were there 3 police cruisers in my driveway?
My entire body trembled as I approached the door and I listened for laughter, maybe he was having some friends over and forgot to tell me. The doorknob rattled as I wrapped my unsteady hand around it..
As I swung the door open, a man I didn’t recognize was standing in the kitchen. “Are you Tiffany?” he asked.
Before I could answer I heard Chuck’s voice. “Babe?” he came running around the corner -still in his uniform and seemed relieved to see me.
“Hi, whhhat’s going on?” I asked, peering around the house.
“Jesus I’ve been worried sick. I called you a hundred times is your phone off?” he asked.
I pulled my phone from my purse and realized it was dead.
“Shit Babe, I’m sorry. It’s dead I didn’t-”
“It’s okay, you’re safe, that’s all that matters.” he said pulling my close for a hug.
I glanced over his shoulder at the officer and I could have sworn he shook his head before looking down at his notepad.
“What’s happening right now?” I asked, just before a female officer emerged from the hallway.
“I just finished up dusting inside the gun safe, we will get these shipped off to the lab to see if we get a hit.” she said. “Thank you Darlene, I really appreciate it.” Chuck replied.
I tried to hide the horror I was suddenly feeling inside.
“Tiffany, I don’t want you to freak out, okay? But… Somebody broke into our house today and stole some of my guns.” he said.
My eyes glazed over and I tried my best to seem suprised. “What? Are you serious?” I asked.
“Dead serious, but don’t worry, Honey. We are gonna find the Asshole that did this, and we’re gonna put him away for a lonnng time.”