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Rated: 18+ · Serial · Drama · #1150023
What Lorraine wouldn't do for a magic wand to make Gene and Rene disappear.
Chapter 3

         “Lorraine! Lorraine! Are you all right? Please, say something!”

          Lorraine’s brain was split between two thoughts. The first was the feat she just performed. The second was the yelling and annoying pounding at the door. She formed a semi-circle around Gene as she walked to the door. She faced him, reached behind her back, turned the doorknob, and allowed Christy to rush into the office. The sight of Gene ceased any steps she may have taken.
         “Are you okay?” she asked as she continued to stare at Gene. “I thought I heard a gunshot.”
         “I’m fine,” Lorraine answered. “And yes, you did hear one.”
         “Oh my God.”
It seemed to take an eternity to absorb all that transpired before her entrance. The sound of the gunshot stifled Christy’s ability to comprehend the scene that lay before her. Gene was still on the floor, clutching his bleeding hand. One side of his face was swollen as well. She assumed that Lorraine struck him during the altercation. Christy’s eyes then turned to Lorraine. She too, suffered from the confrontation. The torn suit and scattered hair revealed that Gene injected his force in the situation as well.
         “You shot me!” Gene yelled.
         “Of course I did,” Lorraine replied. “You thought that I was joking?”
         “Did you hear that? She admits it. She’s crazy!”
         Gene was unsure which emotion was the strongest he possessed now: pain or shock. Her personality gave no indication that she had the gall to pull the trigger. Until now, the pain diverted his attention from everything in his existence. He looked up to the first woman who dared to defy him. This was a position he had never been in before, and, one he swore he would never be in again.
         He was sure he had leaped to Lorraine’s arm in time to stop her from firing off a round. Lorraine was driven back by his yell. Startled by his movement, her aim shifted, pointing the gun further upward. Gene blocked the bullet when he placed his hand in front of his head.
         “No my friend,” Lorraine said with sarcasm. “It’s you who have lost his mind.”
         She tightened her grasp on the .38 caliber revolver. Lorraine had succeeded his subsiding Gene’s assault on her, yet her sense of relief was not absolute. He was breathing and moving. She could take nothing to chance.
         Gene glanced at Lorraine again. Her stare in his direction turned colder. His pain had not lessened, yet he curbed his body movement. The hardest shot to make was the first one. He did not want to do anything to inflate her aggravation. Who knew what her capabilities were now.
         “Don’t get excited,” she said. “It’s only a flesh wound. I’m not going to jail.”
         Christy was in disbelief from Lorraine’s statement. “How can you say that?” she asked Lorraine. “I mean, you shot him. He’s unarmed. It doesn’t look very good for you.”
          “There’s something you don’t know.”
         Lorraine revealed the events of the past two days to Christy; the restaurant and the office before Christy’s arrival. “Those mistakes made by- Mr. Logan gave me the justification I needed to pull this trigger,” Lorraine said. “My life was in jeopardy. No court in this country will convict me of self-defense.”
         Christy didn’t dare to disagree with Lorraine again. The most important job for her was to keep her boss calm and lessen the possibility of more flying bullets. She searched for a task that could ease Lorraine’s anxiety. As she studied the area, she realized that Gene was causing a problem that could result in a lasting one. Lorraine would want no reminders of Gene after this ordeal. She gazed at the bloodstains on the carpet. “I’ll get some towels,” she said.
         “Please hurry,” Lorraine replied. “He’s ruining my carpet.”
         Christy continued to gaze towards her employer. She had displayed many emotions in the past from Lorraine. Yet, this was the first time her determination gave her the boldness to consider taking a life. Lorraine gestured to Christy for a departure. Christy responded with a nod while she exited through the door.
         Lorraine focused her attention on the floor. Her biggest wish was not for Gene’s imprisonment. Why waste time hoping for the inevitable? Her only desire was for Christy to return as fast as possible. The carpet was less than a year old. She couldn’t afford to replace it now. She was in luck. Christy returned before any permanent damage was caused by Gene’s blood. Lorraine watched as the door moved a couple of inches.
         “Don’t be afraid!” Lorraine yelled to the door. “Bring the towels while he’s still on the area rug.”
         Christy leaned with her shoulder to create an opening for herself. Both of her arms were full of towels. She moved towards Gene and made sure to stay out of his reach.
         “Don’t worry,” Lorraine said. “I still have the gun on him.”
         As Christy leaned towards Gene, she made a toss in his direction. The momentum of the throw forced a couple of towels to land near him. Gene grunted as he reached for one of them. He proceeded to wrap his blood-stained hand in the towel.
         With anticipation, Christy looked at Lorraine. “Aren’t you going to call the police?” she asked.
         “I want the police!” Gene said. “Here! Now!”
         Lorraine moved closer to Gene. “You know you’re not going to call the police,” she responded. “I don’t think you want to go to jail. Now, get out. I don’t ever want to see you again.”
         With his towel-bandaged hand, he picked himself off of the floor and headed for the door. Before departing he stopped. “This is not the end,” he said as he looked over his shoulder.
         “For your sake,” Lorraine replied, “it had better be.”
* * *

         Rene watched Gene as he left the salon in a rage. The red and white towel his hand was wrapped with was all the deduction she needed. Someone had hit the mark. Rene had no doubt as to who the shooter was. She was grateful for Gene’s abrupt departure. She didn’t even mind the door slam: it destroyed the chance of any other life threatening confrontation. Hearing a gunshot was a fright in itself. Not knowing if she would get out of the building alive was another contemplation that Rene did not want to fathom. She had no concern for Christy’s welfare. If that hair stylist was crazy enough to run to Lorraine’s office, who was she to stop Christy? The world didn’t have enough wealth to compensate facing a barrage of bullets. She only stayed when the salon manager made the request to her.
         Fifteen excruciating minutes had passed since Christy and Rene were shocked by the gunshot and Christy’s hysterical run to Lorraine’s office. Rene felt she didn’t deserve to be subjected to such agony. The salon wasn’t due to open for another half hour. A simple note stating that she feared for her life would release Rene from any employment obligation today. To her misfortune, her preparation to escape the nearby war zone was interrupted by the telephone. Not wanting to raise suspicion, she answered it. The number on Caller ID informed her of the reason not to write the note.
         “This is Rene,” she said.
         “It’s Christy. I want you to do two things. First, lock the door to the front and back entrances. Then I want you to cancel all the appointments that are scheduled for today. After that, you can leave for the rest of the day.”
         “I’ll start immediately.”
         Rene did nothing that surprised Christy. She expressed no concern for Lorraine or Christy’s safety. Christy wondered if Rene had attempted to leave without saying a word to her. Rene had been nonchalant about serious matters before today. However, Christy never thought she held such a lack of concern for human life.
         Christy hung up the phone and sat next to Lorraine on the brocade-covered sofa. Gene’s prior presence continued to manifest discomfort to Lorraine. She cringed from her prior endurance of horror.
          “You’ve got the call the police,” Christy said to Lorraine.
         “I said no police,” Lorraine replied.
         “I don’t understand why you’re hiding from them.”
         “I’m not hiding. I don’t want my name in the papers again.”
Christy understood Lorraine’s reluctance to face another encounter with the media circus. Even she had her own confrontation when a reporter harassed her for an interview…
         The reporter had waited an hour before Christy entered the salon’s parking lot. The reporter advanced as Christy placed her key in the car door.
         “Ms. Marshall?” the woman asked.
         “Do I know you?” Christy replied as she stepped back from the reporter.
         “I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”
         Christy was startled by the woman’s uninvited appearance. “Who are you?” she asked. “And how did you find out my name?”
         Ignoring Christy’s inquest, the reporter proceeded with her own questions. “Word has it that your boss, Lorraine Ravenshire, is supporting a man 15 years younger than her. Could you give me some details about that?”
         Christy moved closer to the door. The reporter attempted to maneuver herself between Christy and the car. Christy backed herself against her car. “Don’t even think about it,” she said.
          “I can make it worth your while,” the reporter replied.
         “There’s nothing I want from you,” Christy said. “If you don’t move away from my car, I will call security.”
         The reporter continued the interrogation in hopes Christy would surrender and dispense a few answers. Christy had reached into her purse and proceeded to alert the building’s security with her cell phone. The reporter became silent as Christy gave the guard her location. Without another word, she backed away and exited the parking lot…
         Christy was sympathetic to Lorraine’s desire for peace, but this was different. Today’s shooting terminated any attempt for mere avoidance of publicity. Lorraine’s wealthy clients brought status and prestige to her business, yet the price for success became an expensive one. The press not only followed Lorraine to the salon, but to her home as well.
         To date a man fifteen years Lorraine’s junior wasn’t a crime in Christy’s eyes. She wished, however, that the members of the press held the same viewpoint as she. For them, it was just another key point to increase newspaper sales.
         “This isn’t about publicity anymore,” Christy said. “It’s a matter of your life now. At least get a restraining order. The police will be able to arrest him if he comes near you.”
         Lorraine picked up the gun that she placed on the table next to the sofa. She gazed at it, as if she had never seen one in her life. “This is all the restraining order I need,” she replied. Lorraine’s look changed to one that was almost hypnotic. She was entranced by the weapon.
         “I’m worried about you,” Christy said.
         “I don’t see why,” Lorraine answered. “He won’t be back. It’s over between us.”
         “That’s the way you see it. What if he doesn’t think that way? What are you going to do if you haven’t scared him away?”
* * *

         She tried to keep an objective viewpoint of her surroundings. Yes, Lou’s Spot was quite a contrast from the Duet Restaurant. No matter how much she focused on her unbiased thought, the sight of her present location erased any chance of a neutral opinion of the diner.
         Jill Curson was not a snob, yet, this place was more than she could bear. The tables at were covered by graffiti. The booths were torn and ragged.
Jill was very fond of Rene. Jill didn’t mind Rene’s company in spite of her friend’s faults. She was guaranteed a good time whenever she went out with Rene. However, she wished Rene’s personality sustained that pleasant tone on a constant basis. On occasion, her companion exhibited a vindictive trait- one Jill hoped she would not fall a victim to.
         Jill was not large in stature, but she would be more satisfied if ten pounds would dissipate from her physique. She didn’t spend a fortune for clothes, but, her wool jersey dress wasn’t cheap, either. She made a promise to herself not to wear her better quality outfits around Rene again unless she knew the evening’s destination in advance. Rene’s choices in outing establishments had changed a month ago. Only God knew where they would go next Saturday. She refused to jeopardize her wardrobe to Rene’s questionable locations for socializing.
         Jill diverted her attention from the present derogatory etchings on the table as she resumed conversation with Rene. Her dining companion’s behavior was more anxious than usual. Rene offered little more than a greeting before they arrived at this so-called restaurant. Rene gave her a mischievous glare during the drive to the café. Jill ruled out the possibility of Rene winning the lottery. Her friend wasn’t the type to reveal her fortunate happenings with any of her associates.
         “You look as if you’re torturing yourself,” Jill said to Rene.
         “Pain is the least thing I feel,” Rene responded. “It’s the exact opposite right now. Didn’t you think it strange that I called you to have lunch on a weekday?”
         “Of course I did. You didn’t get fired again, did you?”
         Rene’s rigid glare relayed her displeasures in Jill’s question. She held her breath for a moment before she defended herself.
         “I haven’t lost my job, again,” Rene answered. “Do you want to hear what happened today, or don’t you?”
         “All right,” Jill said. “Let me in on your story.”
         Rene looked over both shoulders before she started her tale. “Didn’t I tell you it would happen one day?”
         “I told you. One of these days, Lorraine’s high and mighty attitude would catch up to her.”
         “Is it safe to guess that it finally happened?”
         “It is if she shot her own boyfriend.”
         Rene was pleased with Jill’s reaction. Jill’s eyes widened as Rene nodded to confirm the statement’s validity. She prided her accomplishment. Jill’s undivided attention belonged to her now. She marveled at the opportunity to share her heroine experience with one who enjoyed gossip as much as she.
         “You have got to be kidding,” Jill said after a gasp of surprise.
         “It’s true,” Rene said. “I heard it myself. She shot him, right there in the office.”
          “In broad daylight? Wasn’t she taking a chance?”
         “She doesn’t care. She thinks she’s above the law.”
         “I don’t know a lot about her, but she doesn’t appear to be type to look for trouble.”
         “Maybe that’s true.”
         “But, you saw her lover running out of the salon, right? So what happened between the two of them?”
         “Who cares? As long as she finally gets what’s coming to her.”
         “And what is that Rene? What kind of horrible situation is it that Lorraine Ravenshire deserves to experience? Is she that evil?”
         “I wouldn’t want to use that word. But since you said it-”
         Rene’s cynical grin returned to her face. Jill tried not to think the worst of her friend, but she had no other choice now. Rene’s hatred for Lorraine was true. The only reason Rene had not given Lorraine a harder time was lack of money and power to enact on her resentment.
         Jill found it impossible to believe anything that was uttered from Rene’s lips. Too often, Rene moaned of her dissatisfaction with her boss. Jill believed her friend to be a competent worker. The reason Rene didn’t seek employment elsewhere was beyond her comprehension.
         “Are you going back to that job?” Jill asked.
         “Why wouldn’t I?” Rene responded.
         “It maybe too dangerous. What’s to stop her boyfriend from coming back? He may have a gun next time.”
         “I doubt if he can afford to buy one. He’s nothing more than a glorified body builder. You know the type- all muscles, no brain.”
         “You spoke to him?”
         “I didn’t need to. One good look said it all.”
{indent{She’s setting herself up again, Jill thought. More than once, she stood back and watched as Rene made a total fool of herself. Each disaster stemmed from one fault: Rene’s arrogant assumption that she knew everything about the world. Rene’s present focus on the topic of her job led Jill’s mind to recall a similar situation.
         Through devious means, Rene attempted to advance herself in a previous job. She had falsified her own records; giving the impression that she had possessed sufficient qualifications for the promotion. They’ll never know the difference, Rene thought. She convinced herself that the company was too large to check the references of every employee. Only three days had passed from the time she turned in her request to when she received a call from her supervisor. Very little was said as she received her final paycheck and given one hour to clear her desk. Rene’s words continue to burn Jill’s ears to this day: “They will pay for this. I will get them back for my humiliation. I won’t rest until they all feel the same pain that I have right now.”
         Jill was relieved beyond words that Rene never acted on her threat. She hoped the same would hold true in this case as well. Yet, for some unexplained reason, this situation appeared different from the others. Then, she could find a way to alleviate the cold fear of doom from her heart.
         “You’re not thinking about something crazy?” Jill asked.
         Rene looked at Jill with suspicion. Although they were close, Rene never allowed herself to fully trust Jill. For that matter, complete trust was never dispersed to anyone she came across.
         “What do you mean?” Rene asked with aggression.
         “I don’t want to see you jeopardize your job again.”
         “I’m not in trouble. There’s nothing to worry about.”
         “I’m only asking you to be careful. If you’re miserable, look at the want ads. There are plenty of other jobs in the city.”
         “There’s nothing wrong, I said.”
         Jill watched as Rene’s expression brightened to one of evil delight. “How do you think the press would handle a story like this?” Rene asked.
         “The press hears about shootings all of the time,” Jill replied as she shrugged.
         “Not when it’s a rich woman who shot her young lover. Besides, Lorraine despises bad publicity. Aggravating her will be a treat by itself.”
         “Stop and think about what you’re planning to do. If you’re not careful, you’ll walk into a world of trouble. Suppose Lorraine finds out that you went to the media.”
         “Reporters always keep their sources confidential.”
         To Rene, Jill displayed was no amount of concern for her friend. She had placed judgment on actions that were not of her concern. Her unwarranted opinion had overstepped the boundaries of their friendship.
         “It won’t matter if the reporters stay quiet,” Jill said. “Lorraine is an intelligent woman. It won’t take long before she finds out who gave to the story to the press.”
         “I wasn’t the only one in the building. For all she knows, Gene talked to the press about the shooting.”
         “Rene, your one-sided logic won’t work this time. Lorraine is wealthy. She had power and status. The best you can do is to publicly embarrass her. We both know that’s nothing compared to what she will do to you.”
* * *

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