by Batty Koda
Kevin learns of Velvet's disability.
| Kevin stared up at the roof of the car, bored. He had decided to park by the building after lunch just to play it safe. He didn’t want to be late for the Queen. That was another thing he had decided on: calling her the Queen. She acted like she was one and she was as pretty as one would anticipate a queen to be.
At five, he pulled it around to the front just as the Queen was coming out of the building. She was walking with another man who flicked her arm playfully. Kevin frowned. The Queen was too uptight to allow that kind of behavior from some random client, he was sure. This man had to be very close to the Queen or something.
They embraced but it wasn’t the love like embrace. It was almost as if they had dated before but things hadn’t worked out so they just stayed friends.
I could be a private detective, he thought as he got out and opened the door for the Queen.
“Kevin, this is my partner and friend, John,” she said and John held out his hand.
“Pleasure,” Kevin said, shaking it.
“I hear you’re much better than her other ones,” John stated and Kevin felt a surge of pride. “Let’s hope you can last long enough under her dragon claws.”
“I heard that!” the Queen yelled from inside and Kevin and John suppressed laughter.
“Can I help you with something?” Kevin asked, finding it weird that John was just staring at him.
“You seem like a really neat guy. How about after you drop the Ice Queen off at her house, we’ll go get dri- ow!”
“I heard that one, too,” the Queen snapped, shutting the door again.
“Well, she knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want,” John sighed, rubbing his leg where the door had hit it. “Meet me at the bar on 29th at 8.”
“Ok,” Kevin shrugged and got into the driver’s seat. “Where to?” he asked her, looking through the rearview mirror.
“Just home,” she sighed.
“Really? You don’t want to go to the bar and get some relaxation?”
The mention of the bar made her stiffen. “Just take me home, Kevin.”
“Ok,” he said slowly and pulled out, making a mental note to ask John about it later.
When he reached Velvet’s home, she walked by him without even saying anything. He had a feeling that would be the norm and he would just have to get used to it. He took the car back to James’ work then got into his own beat up little Ford and made his way to the bar where he would meet up with John.
The bar was packed and smoke hovered about two feet above everyone’s head. It was brightly lit and very hot. Kevin strained to see over the tops of people’s heads until he saw John sitting at the bar flirting with the bartender.
“Kevin,” John said and shook his hand. “Glad you could make it.”
“Likewise. Just a Bud,” he told the bartender who nodded and walked off, swinging her hips dramatically. “Looks like you have an admirer.”
John smirked. “She’s not my type. So, what made you want to drive Velvet around?”
“Are you two close?” John only nodded. “I lost my job at a magazine and my friend James told me she was looking for a driver.”
“It’s no easy task you’re performing here,” John observed and Kevin nodded slowly.
“What disability does she have? She doesn’t look like she has one at all.”
“She has seizures,” John answered and Kevin opened his mouth in shock. “Yeah. She can’t drive. She can’t drink alcohol, either.”
“So that’s why she got all tense when I mentioned the bar,” Kevin said.
“Yep. It’s been hard for her but she managed to make it.”
“I can’t imagine.”
John took a swig of his beer. “I used to date her,” he said and Kevin looked up from his own drink. “We did better as friends, though.”
“She doesn’t look like the intimate type.”
John laughed bitterly. “You’d be surprised, Kev.”
Kevin looked at his phone to see a text message.
Be at my house early tomorrow morning. I have an early meeting.
“Joy,” he said sarcastically. “I need to run. The Queen needs to be at work early tomorrow.”
John laughed at Kevin’s nickname for Velvet and they shook hands again. Kevin drove carefully, feeling a little buzzed. When he got home, he had another text from Velvet.
Did you get my text?
Yeah. Sorry. I was hanging with John. What time?
Kevin groaned but texted back, Right. See you then.
Velvet put her phone on her charger and took her medication. After a light dinner, she went to bed and fell asleep relatively quickly. She was woken up again about two hours later by her phone ringing.
“Hello?” she mumbled, rubbing her eyes.
“Velvet, it’s your mother.”
Velvet sighed. “Mom, it’s 1 in the morning. Why are you calling so early?”
“Oh! I forgot you’re three hours ahead of us!”
“Ok. Get some sleep. Love you!”
“Love you, too,” she said and hung up, falling back onto her pillow, groaning.
Her head was pounding and she shut her eyes tightly. She wasn’t looking forward to the meeting the next morning. It was with Mr. Jackson about his account. A very angry Mr. Jackson. He wasn’t happy that she was threatening to close his account. But he wasn’t sending in his monthly payments and it was costing them money.
She was still staring at the ceiling when her alarm went off at 5:30. She closed her eyes tightly and gasped as her hands gave a violent jerk. She quickly opened her eyes and stumbled out of bed. Her body was shaking as were her hands as she entered the kitchen and got a glass from the kitchen. She whimpered as her hands jerked again and the glass shattered on the floor. Tears of frustration spilled down her cheeks as she fought to keep her eyes open and got a glass of water. She took her medication and stood still for fifteen minutes to let it take effect.
It was now 5:50 and she had ten minutes to get ready. She ran around to get everything together, checking off her mental checklist and feeling very ill. The only thing that really stood out amongst her list of things was the realization that she almost had another seizure. After years of not having one, she almost did that morning before a major deal.
She looked at herself in the mirror and sighed. She was terribly pale with dark circles under her eyes. No amount of makeup would help her so she just left it as it was. She was late as she quickly pulled on her heels. The shattered glass still adorned her floor and she decided to clean it up when she got home.
Kevin was waiting for her as she walked out. He had been checking his watch and she was a little embarrassed. He stared at her for a moment, no doubt noticing how terrible she looked, before opening the door.
“I’m late. Please hurry,” she said and got out her notes to go over what she would say to Mr. Jackson in just two hours.
He didn’t say anything else much to her pleasure. She was stressing out and whimpered quietly when her hands jerked again. Kevin didn’t hear and she gripped the side of the door, taking a deep and steadying breath.
Kevin glanced at his rearview mirror constantly. He knew something was wrong from the moment she walked in with dark circles under her eyes and looking like she hadn’t gotten a minute of sleep. Now she was whimpering and holding onto the door for dear life. He wanted to say something but knew it wasn’t his place.
As soon as she was out of the car, he texted John.
Something is wrong. I can’t tell what it is, though. Could be her seizures.
Thanks for letting me know. I’ll check up on her when I get there. She’s probably worried.
Kevin pulled the car into a McDonald’s for breakfast before returning to Summers International. He received a text from John asking him to go to Velvet’s office with a “letter”.
The building was impressive with four stories and large glass windows. People walked through with briefcases and he checked the listing. It said Velvet Summers Suite 401A in big white letters and, next to that, Johnathan Carmichael Suite 401B. He pressed the up button on the elevator and stepped in. He wasn’t sure what was going on but it had to be important or John wouldn’t have asked him to do it.
As soon as he walked into the front office of 401A, he could tell what was wrong.
“I SPENT A MILLION DOLLARS ON THIS ACCOUNT! YOU CAN’T JUST SCREW ME LIKE THIS!”
“I’m here to see Miss Summers,” he told the girl at the desk.
She glanced at the door. “Perhaps this isn’t a good time,” she said slowly.
“I have a letter for her,” he lied and the girl opened her mouth in an ‘O’ shape.
“Miss Summers?” she said uncertainly into the intercom.
“What?” came her short reply.
“There’s a gentleman here with a letter for you.”
“Bring him in.”
Kevin walked in and saw a fuming old man standing by Velvet’s desk. He was red in the face and he grabbed his coat.
“I’ll just take my business elsewhere,” he snapped at Velvet then pushed Kevin out of the way.
The door clicked shut and Velvet let out a long sigh, putting her head in her hands. Kevin glanced at the clock and saw it was almost 9.
“Are you hungry?” he asked and she looked at him with her tired eyes. “Right. I’ll just bring you something. Is there anything specific you want?”
“Where’s my letter?” she demanded and he shifted uncomfortably.
“There isn’t one. John told me to come up and say I had one.”
Velvet glared at him and he went to leave.
“Kevin,” she said and he looked at her. “Sausage Biscuit from McDonald’s with a large Dr. Pepper.”
He nodded. “Ok.”
“Thanks,” she mumbled and did something he never expected: she put her head down and seemed to fall asleep immediately.
Frowning, he went back to the elevator. When he turned, he saw John walk into her office and knew things would be a little less tense when he returned.