Macy's day was long and tiring. She was so very anxious to get home. During her taxi-drive home, she thought about the events that had happened since she left Denton with the "Farley Flavors' Fan Club" ten months before.
Farley had promised the world to her. Said he would take care of her every need. And why shouldn't he? After all, she was the first Miss Mental Health, televised from coast to coast.
She remembered winning that title, planting her lips against Farley's. Ralph wasn't happy about that. One could guess that was the end of the Ralph and Macy relationship. She was now in the arms of...another man. And poor Ralph, he was left empty handed. ... But not for long. A week later, Ralph was making out with some red-head he met that very day. So much for grieving over Macy, right?
But Macy could care less. She has been involved romantically with Farley for a long time now, and she couldn't be happier. When the "fan club" left Farley's side over the months, Macy had stayed with him. She knew he was her savior. She knew he would always take care of her.
The taxi pulled up and Macy got out. After paying the driver, she looked up at the apartment window where she and Farley stayed. She pictured him inside, typing away on his computer as he did most of the time over the past few months. When she had inquired what his business was, he was always secretive. Once he even said, "You'll find out in due time." ... Whatever that meant.
Macy walked up the building's interrior stairs and stopped at her door. From inside, she could hear laughter. A woman's laughter.
Oh my god, Macy thought, it's another woman. Please let me be wrong. I've invested so much into this.
It didn't take long after opening her door to have her worst fears confirmed. There on the livingroom rug was Farley Flavors, dressed in khaki pants and dress shoes, without an ounce of shirt covering his chest. He was standing in the room, his bare back to Macy. He seemed to be out of breath. As he turned to Macy, his slick hair a mess, he gave her a look of genuine surprise ... and guilt.
There on the floor at Farley's feet was a woman. And she was naked.
"Baby ... I can explain," Farley started, reaching for his shirt, which lay across the couch arm.
Macy turned around and left without looking back. She had to be strong. She found it difficult to hold back the tears, but somehow she managed. In the background, she could hear him calling her name, but he was not chasing after her.
Stepping out of the building, she could hear Farley opening up the apartment window above. "Baby," he called from above her, "If you walk away from me, you'll never get anywhere. You'll be nothing."
Macy stopped at the curb and debated about turning around and yelling at him. The audacity of him! How could he turn it around as though she needed him? Over the years, Macy had always been a person who would pretty much sleep her way to the top if she had to. She had developed so much brown on her nose that she needed air freshener. She slept with Ralph to get the newscaster job. She slept with Farley to be at his level in other's eyes. She had sold her soul to the devil. And the devil was laughing at her from a cheap apartment window somewhere in central Georgia.
Macy took a deep breath and walked across the street. Where was she going? She didn't know. But she knew one thing: people learn from their mistakes. And she wasn't going to make the same mistakes ever again. Wiping her eyes with a shaky hand, she pressed forward.
Meanwhile, in southern California, Cosmo and Nation had found a new way of life if their small but comfortable apartment. On this particular evening, they sat at the dinner table, with a small portion of food sitting in front of each, barely touched. They both were more focused on the "script" they were each reading.
When they had left Farley, they set their sights on California - to find jobs as actors. After all, they had plenty of experience over the years, and have pulled a couple of good con jobs as well. California should be easy.
The each landed spots on a daytime soap opera, but the agency who placed them told them (after their outstanding audition) that the roles were only temporary, so they shouldn't expect a long term contract. This didn't matter to them, as they were happy enough to have the roles. On the side, Nation co-hosted a late-night infomercial, selling products. Cosmo landed a small role as a pharmacist in an aspirin comercial. And tonight, they were quietly memorizing their scripts for tomorrow's shoot. All things were going well.
Under the table, they had each kicked off their slip on shoes and allowed their bare toes to extend and touch each other. Nation felt Cosmo's toe slide up against her ankle. She smiled and looked across the table at Cosmo, who was smiling as well. Yes, she thought, this is the life. No more Farley. No more adventure. Those memories would soon be behind them, growing fainter.
...at least, she was counting on that.
One state over, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the wedding bells rang alive, and the church doors opened. The bride and groom exited the church, huge smiles plastered on their face. They looked around and saw nobody standing outside the "Bill's Church Of Love" to throw rice at them. This didn't matter to them, as they were happy in love. They were ready to settle down...most likely in Vegas.
Ansalong looked over at her husband and smiled, saying, "I love you, Ricky."
Ricky returned the smile, and kissed her on the mouth. When they parted, he added, "We should have had pictures taken!" If only he had remembered to bring his polaroid camera!
They stared at each other in marital bliss. Their future was set. They had already invested in their future: they rented a small home for the time being in Las Vegas, where they had been staying for the past 3 months. Ricky had even picked up a great gig as a dancer at a Vegas showroom.
Little did they know -- over the next few years, their lives would turn sour. But that's the future! For now, they found happiness in each other's arms. They walked arm in arm towards the car that would drive them to their honeymoon hotel.
Once in the car, Ansalong looked out the window and up to the sky. The clouds were dark. It looked like stormy weather was ahead...
The pain was stinging. Ralph brought his hand to his cheek in a natural reflex to the slap against his cheek by his girlfriend Teresa. Ralph felt a welt of tears surface in his eyes from the sharp pain, but hid it well. Teresa looked at Ralph in disgust.
"How could you?!!" She yelled to him, to understand why Ralph was in bed with her sister, Linda. Teresa turned to her sister and said, "And you! You little bitch! My own sister!"
Teresa ran out of the house in tears, slamming the door behind her. Seconds later, Ralph could hear her car driving off until it could no longer be heard. He turned to Linda and said, "Well, that was uncomfortable."
Linda was somewhat in shock. She couldn't get the look of her sister's surprised expression out of her mind. How could you? she had asked her. How could she indeed. But there was a better question to be asked. She looked over at Ralph and asked the inevitable:
"Ralph, why didn't you tell me you were dating my sister?"
Linda didn't wait for an answer. She stood up from the side of the bed and began dressing. She could hear Ralph stuttering some poor excuses, but she wasn't really interested in hearing them. She wanted to hurry up and get out of there and find her sister to patch things up.
Ralph continued to explain, "...and it wasn't until this very moment that I even knew you were related. And, baby, you're the only girl I'm dating. Regardless of what she says, it's been you and only you."
Linda walked to the door, Ralph following behind her. At the doorway, she turned around to face him. He stopped in his tracks directly in front of her, bare naked except for a pair of socks on his feet. "Baby," he said, "I never slept with her."
In one quick move, she raised her knee to his groin and planted it there hard. He fell to the floor, grabbing his testicles in pain.
She opened the bedroom door and said one final thing: "Listen to me, closely, baby, because I don't want to repeat myself. If you come near my sister one more time, I'm going to be the one holding your nuts in my hands...and you won't be in the room! You got that?"
Ralph didn't answer. He just laid there on the hard floor, trying to relax. He watched as she left his bedroom, leaving the house through his front door. Suddenly, the phone rang. Struggling, he stood up and went to the bed, sitting on it's edge to answer the phone that was on on his nightstand.
"Hello?" he asked, trying not to sound like he was in pain.
"Ralph," the woman on the other end said, " this is Macy."
"Macy! How are you?"
"I've been better," she said. Ralph thought she sounded sad, as though she had been crying. Then she added, "How's everybody in Denton?"
Over the next few minutes Ralph laid out the events that had happened over the past year or so, since Brad and Janet's "escape." He started out telling her how the "floor manager" had been arrested. "Yeah," Ralph said, "It turned out he'd been living in the country illegally. He was an alien from Mexico, I think."
Macy's memory went back to the days where she worked at the DTV studio, and how she had many conversations with the floor manager. Funny, she thought, I never really noticed any hispanic accent...
Ralph added, "He was sent away, put in jail. Sentenced for two years, I'm told. Apparently he had a couple other illegal activities on the side. OH! And guess what?"
"What?" Macy asked.
"Kirk lost his job."
Macy couldn't remember who Kirk was. "Who?"
Ralph reminded her: "He had a coffee stand inside the studio. Called it Kirk's Korner."
"Oh yeah," she reacted, trying to sound interested.
"The new owners of the DTV studio felt his job was unnecessary, so they let him go. He's back to working the Denton gas station."
Ralph went on for the next few minutes detailing various associates in Denton. Finally he mentioned Janet's mother and father:
"That marriage is having some problems. Remember when they appeared on Bert's game show, the thirty second quiz? Well, that seemed to jinx the marriage because everyday, she does nothing but sit in front of her television, watching game shows. She's addicted. Guys at the bowling alley say Harry is lonely, and bored. Yep, that marriage is doomed."
"You're one to talk," Macy snapped.
Ralph was taken back by this direct statement. Why had she brought up Betty and his' divorce? Was she suggesting that their breakup was his fault? This kind of saddened him suddenly, and for a brief second, he felt a touch of loneliness. He found himself staring out the window, wondering where Betty was...
Oliver Wright woke up that morning and for a second, forgot where he was. The room had a distinctive smell, that of cleanliness. When he opened his eyes, the whiteness inside the small room was practically blinding. When his eyes adjusted, and he could focus on the small details, he remembered exactly where he was:
The emergancy room.
He remembered vaguely that he had a stroke...or was it an attack? Regardless, he remembered dear Betty's reaction when he had fell to the floor. He had closed his eyes, clutching his heart. He crashed to the floor and suddenly Betty's voice seemed so far away, even though she was right there at his side. She was crying histerically.
But now, as he sat up in the emergancy room bed, he couldn't help but notice two things: Betty was not there, and she had left him a note, set quietly at his bedside.
He picked it up, fearing -- and knowing -- what it mostly read: she had left him.
While I care enormously about you (never have I encountered a man so wonderful and caring) I feel I must leave. Perhaps I am weak, unable to watch someone I love so dearly become so ill. I had to get away before my heart grew any closer to yours. I am so cowardly. Please understand, and forgive me.
Oh, Oliver. There are so many things I want to tell you. So many things you need to know about me. Yet at this critical time in your life, telling you these disappointing details would only complicate your stress and your health level.
You may not understand my reasons -- God knows I don't understand them completely. But I know that if I stay with you, and watch you suffer day after day until one day your suffering ends permanantly, that my heart will break into a thousand pieces.
I wish I could quote some Coleridge Taylor to help you understand. But I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally.
Take care, my love.
"My friends!" Farley had said tonight to the hundreds of worshippers on the church, "And you definately are all my friends! I want to thank you for this generous contribution you are making in the name of Christ!"
"Christ my ass," Farley said, laughing as he counted the offering basket's money. "This contribution goes to me!"
Suddenly the phone rang, and he answered it quickly, "Yes?"
The voice on the other end answered, "I saw you on the TV tonight."
Farley stopped counting momentarily, recognizing the voice on the other end as his "BOSS" -- and he ain't referrin' to God.
The voice continued, "I hope you're happy with this television evangelist job I've gotten you. How's Macy?"
"She's gone. And good riddance, too."
Suddenly his boss became angry, "What?! I told you she was important to my plan! How many times do I have to tell you: Do NOT disappoint me! Now go out and find her first thing tomorrow!"
"Yes," Farley said, nervously, "What are you going to do about the others?"
"Don't worry," the boss said, "I'll gather them one by one. First I've got to get the floor manager out of jail... This can prove to be difficult. It may take some time."
Who IS Farley's boss and what is their "plan"? Can he or she really rescue the floor manager from his 2-year sentence in jail? What will happen next to Macy? Find out in Chapter Two!
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