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Civic Duty

Category: Lesbian Sex
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I rolled over to look out of the window, frowning at the sound of chirping birds, and then glanced over at the clock. I shouldn’t complain, right? After all, everyone had been bitching and moaning about the dark, cold, snowy winter months. Chirping birds meant spring…and ultimately summer. So what if it was 8:30 in the morning? The birds weren’t governed by human clocks…fucking birds.

There was no point in lying in bed, even though it was my day off, so I swung my legs off of my comfy futon and headed for the shower. I took a moment to appreciate the quaint studio. I liked the studio. The main room was huge. It had oversized windows that allowed for lots of sunlight, gorgeous hard wood floors that had recently been tended to, pristine butter cream walls…well, the wall color was my ex’s favorite color, not mine. But the landlord painted this apartment, not me. The bathroom was just as nice, very spacious, a deep, claw-foot tub that easily accommodated my six-foot frame, an old fashioned sink with a porcelain base and separate faucets for hot and cold water (it took me months to adjust to that), and a gorgeous mosaic tile mermaid design on the main bathroom wall. I took the apartment because it was close to my job, moderately priced, spacious and sunny. Considering I was confined to a windowless, drab office all day, where my idiotic boss refused to allow any of us to brighten up our cubicles with personal knickknacks, I simply had to have colors and light at home. Not to mention, it was pretty far from the quaint little house I had shared with my ex in the burbs. In fact, center city Philadelphia was as extreme a contrast as I could get without switching jobs.

While I loved the bathroom, I didn’t waste much time in there. It was already Tuesday and I only had four days left to my week of vacation. I didn’t do anything but sleep all day yesterday, so I didn’t intend to waste another day. I was going to shop till I dropped today. I had a list of CDs and books I’d been meaning to buy for months and now I finally had the time.

I rolled my eyes when the phone rang. I knew who it was. I loved this lady, but she really did drive me crazy. I pulled on a pair of form fitting jeans before snatching up the cordless phone.

“Hi Ma.”

She hated when I called her “ma.” She preferred “mother” or “mom.” I didn’t give a shit. Besides, I loved to torment her.

“Kennifer Amelia Lewis, why didn’t you call me back yesterday?”

My mother’s insistence on using my full name, however, brought me out of my playful mood right away.

“Mom, I told you I was tired. I worked on that project until 2am Monday. I had to finish it before my vacation. I slept the entire day!” I was whining, I knew it. Sheesh, what this lady did to me was absolutely amazing.

“And you were too tired to find out if your mother needed something? What if I was dying and needed a ride to the hospital?”

I rolled my eyes again, “Mom, you live in Northern New Jersey. I hope you would call 911. I’m sure an ambulance would get to you in less time.”

“And now you have nothing but sarcasm and hostility for your mother? Is that how I raised you?”

I sighed again, what was the point? I was 35 years old and my mother could still make me feel like I was right around six. So I slipped into “good daughter” mode and placated my mommy, settling in to listen to the list of complaints she always had. She just wanted someone to talk to, that’s all. Her sister was on some cruise, my Dad had died about five years ago…she was probably lonely. I just wish she didn’t annoy the hell out of me. She launched into the local gossip. Did she forget she’d moved there after Dad died and I had no idea who these people were? Next? Demands to know what I planned to do with the rest of my vacation. And finally, ah, there it was, the request for a visit. I managed to wiggle out of it strategically, but that would only buy me another day or two at most. I hadn’t been up there in about two months, claiming I was too busy. It was time to pay my dues. I really was a shitty daughter…

Okay, the chat only cost me thirty minutes. Cool. I pulled on a black tee-shirt, a leather jacket, quickly brushed my closely cropped hair (I was virtually bald with just a little peach fuzz on my scalp, but damn if it didn’t look good on me). I smiled at my dark chocolate reflection and then hurried from the apartment before the phone rang again.


I loved weekday shopping. Everyone was at work and I had at least two hours before the lunch time rush. The problem was parking. But then, parking was always a problem in Center City. I drove around for about 10 minutes, finally said ‘fuck it’ and coughed up ten bucks to park in a lot. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about someone breaking into my Camry. The car was seven years old now, but I kept it in good condition and it still attracted attention. I walked over to HMV first and spent about an hour updating my CD collection. I would probably cave in and get an IPOD sooner or later, instead of wasting 15 bucks on a CD that only had 3 songs I liked, but for now I still enjoyed shopping for CDs. What I didn’t like was trying to get the plastic off the damn things. What the hell was that about? Anyway, I liked shopping for CDs, especially when I found one that I’d been looking for. Like today, I found Luther’s double-disc CD from the late 80s. I have no idea what it was doing in HMV, but damned if I snatched it up anyway. My ex had taken my copy and I hadn’t felt like being bothered.

Next was Borders. There was a much larger, trendier Barnes and Nobles a few blocks away, but I liked the quaintness of Borders. Not to mention they had comfy chairs with high backs…a person my height always appreciated those kinds of little things. I selected about eight books, scoped out a comfy chair, and smiled as I planned to spend the next two hours reading. I might even opt to buy one or two of them…

It was 1pm when I finally left the bookstore and I was hungry. I figured I’d grab a medium pizza. I could eat half for lunch and half for dinner while I chilled out in front of the boob tube. Sounded like a plan. Except things didn’t work out that way. What did I do to deserve to have my day ruined anyway? Maybe it was because I was a bitch to my Mom earlier? Who knows.

Anyway, I was walking out of the pizza parlor, digging for my car keys, trying to balance the hot pie in one hand in a way where I didn’t burn my fingers, when someone slammed into me and the pie landed on the ground, face down of course. I sighed, trying to swallow down some serious profanity. It wasn’t working and I was just about to kick the ever-loving shit out of the jackass who bumped into me when I looked over and my brain shut down. A total meltdown, that’s what it was. I was struck dumb.

The woman was younger than I was, maybe in her late twenties. She was shorter, I don’t know, maybe five feet five? What I do know, what was immediately implanted in my brain, was her creamy honey-brown skin and shoulder length black, silky locks. Her long thick, dark lashes that seemed to brush her cheeks, full pouting lips colored some fetching berry, high prominent cheekbones…and those absolutely amazing hazel-green eyes. Her body was deliciously lush with full, perfectly round breasts, a relatively flat stomach, curvy hips…she was a doll. An absolute doll. And when I got my hormones under control, I realized she seemed to be in some kind of trouble. Upon closer inspection her face was streaked with tears, her hair was a bit unruly, and she was struggling to carry a child of all things. A cute, milk chocolate, chubby little girl that was probably too heavy for her to carry. The kid was probably four of five, with long pig-tails and a cute pink and white dress that was stained with something that looked like…blood? Was that blood? Jesus.

The woman was looking around frantically, breathing heavily from running with the child in her arms. The child was staring straight ahead, kind of in a daze.

“Help me. I need help. Please.”

You hear those words in a movie, not in real life.


“Yes, please. Do you have a car?”

Damn she was fine. And I did have a car. Although I no longer had a pizza.

“What’s wrong? Do you need me to call the police?” I was a good citizen after all, trying to fulfill my moral and civic obligations and all that crap.


Well, that was pretty insistent. Someone in trouble who didn’t want you to call the police? I probably should have walked away but…well, damnit, I did said she was fine.

“Could we—…I mean, could you—…I need to—”

She was out of breath, frantic. What was I supposed to do? I took hold of her elbow, escorted her to my Camry I had parked nearby, and helped her into the passenger’s seat. Her and the cute kid. Because she seemed so worried, I hurried to the driver’s side and slid in.

“Where to?”

“Anywhere, please, just go, anywhere, I don’t care, just go, please.”

So I did. I pulled out of the parking spot (almost hitting a passing car, oops) and I headed east. I had no idea where I was going, but by the looks of things she just needed to get out of there quickly. I turned a corner after driving about five blocks, headed south for a spell, and then headed north. I would go back to my place. I wasn’t sure that was wise, but I didn’t know where else to take them. She didn’t say a word and after looking around frantically for another minute or so, she let out a breath and closed her eyes. She clung desperately to the child who had not yet said a word. The child was still staring straight ahead with that strange blank look, her dark brown pupils glassy. It was more than a little spooky.

“You okay? Does she need to go to the hospital?”

The question forced the woman to blink and look down at the child as if surprised by the brownish-red stains on the pretty little dress.

“Kari, are you hurt?”

When the little girl didn’t respond immediately the woman shook her a little, “Kari? Sweetie, are you okay?”

Seemed like a stupid question to me, considering the child had blood all over her and the woman seemed to be frantically running from some thing, or someone. The child shook her head no and then I saw her lips tremble just a bit before she closed her eyes and clamped down on her emotions. I’ve never seen a child so young do that. What kind of life had she led in her few short years that would force her to do that? I couldn’t even manage to do that with such little effort.

That was the end of the chatting until I pulled into my reserved parking spot. I stepped from the vehicle and made my way over to the passenger side. Once I opened the door, I reached for the little girl to ease the woman’s burden, but the little girl panicked, suddenly whimpering and clinging desperately to the woman.

“I’ve got her.”

The woman took a deep breath and stood. I realized then that she also had smudges of drying blood on her form fitting black jeans and oversized pink men’s shirt. There were some drops of blood on her pink loafers as well. I wondered what these two had been through. They followed me to my apartment door and both seemed to sigh with relief when I closed and locked it. They stood in the center of the massive room, looking at the bookshelves lining one wall, the massive entertainment system on another, and finally the king size futon bed/sofa. I hadn’t bothered to make up the bed so I rushed about doing that now, directing them to the small table and chairs right off the tiny kitchen area.

“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting anyone,” I snatched up the linens, shoving them into a nearby laundry bag, and quickly rearranged the bed into a sofa. I shoved the laundry bag into the huge walk-in closet, retrieving two of my tee shirts before closing the closet door.

“Uh, I don’t I have anything that will fit either one of you, but if you don’t mind wearing huge clothes for a little while I can put your stuff in the machines across the street.”

They both stared at me in silence and I rubbed the peach fuzz on my head.

“The bathroom is over there.”

The woman looked in the direction I was pointing, nodded, and then seemed to make a monumental effort to stand. The child was still in her arms, clinging desperately. The woman took the tee shirts and made her way to the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Moments later she tossed their dirty clothes out and I heard the sound of running water. A bath would probably make them both feel a little better. I snatched up their clothes, grabbed some detergent and was about to make my way to the Laundromat on the corner when I noticed a pink leather purse on the futon. It matched her loafers. I hadn’t noticed her carrying it before. I was tempted. Horribly tempted. Considering the woman was naked on the other side of the bathroom door, I doubted she would come dashing out and catch me ruffling through her bag, right?

So of course I looked. I mean who wouldn’t? There wasn’t much in there, but what I saw kind of threw me. Money. Tons of hundred dollar bills. A few thousand dollars easily. A black coach wallet. Her driver’s license said her name was Lisa Monica Scott and she was 29 years old. There was a Germantown address on the license. She had a number of platinum and gold credit cards. And there was a key. A small key with a rubber orange ring around the top. Not the kind of key that would fit into a regular door. Lipstick, gum and a nice looking pen. That was it. Again, this sounded like something out of a bad movie and I was wondering how smart it had been to bring this stranger to my apartment. What if she was running from the mafia or something? I laughed at myself. Okay, yes, that was a bit stupid.

By the time I returned with their clothes and some take out Chinese, Lisa had rearranged the futon into a bed again and the little girl was lying down. Lisa was sitting in the only other chair in the room, an oversized, overstuffed chair my mother had given me years ago. They were watching cartoons. I dished out the Chinese food, hoping chicken and broccoli was okay with them. Lisa called Kari over and we ate in silence. I wondered how long it would take before Lisa thought to give me some hint about what was going on. I thought I would start with the basics.

“I’m Kenni. Kenni Lewis.”

Lisa seemed startled at the sound of my voice.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Lisa.”

I noticed she didn’t give me a last name.

“And that’s—”

“Kari, I know. You said her name in the car.” I gave the girl a warm smile, but she continued to stare ahead blankly.

Lisa gave me a ghost of a smile. She really was an attractive woman. She’d pulled her hair back into a ponytail and it revealed more of her face. Her face was flawless, and those huge hazel-green eyes just jumped out and snatched at some part of me…I just didn’t know if it was my heart or an area much further south. Maybe a little of both.

“Can you tell me what’s going on?”

Lisa closed her eyes at the question and sighed, a deep sorrowful sigh. I waited patiently until she spoke.

“I don’t know how much I should tell you. Your life could be in danger.”

Didn’t I tell you this was like a bad movie? She paused and licked her lips which were still enticing minus the berry colored lipstick.

“What I really need to know is whether or not you can drive us to Louisiana.”

“Louisiana? Uh—”

“I understand if you can’t, but Kari’s mother lives there and I need to get her there.”

“You’re not her mother?”

Lisa blinked, seemingly clearing her thoughts, and shook her head.

“No. I was dating her father. He’s um—…he’s uh…” She took a deep breath and tried again, “he’s dead.”

She choked on the word and I watched as she pressed her lips together, trying to swallow the tears. Kari, who had gone back to watching cartoons, visibly flinched when she heard the words, but didn’t look our way.

I was getting a little frustrated with all the mystery.

“Look, can you tell me what’s going on? I only have a few days off from work, I can’t just—,” I hesitated, trying not to sound brusque, “I mean, I could take you to the airport…”

I trailed off. Lisa was nodding vigorously, “you’re right, I’m sorry. I’m so self absorbed sometimes. I’m sorry. Can we just stay here tonight? I’ll think of something by tomorrow.”

She was so apologetic and I felt like an ass right away. A woman and child asking for help, seemingly desperate, and I say no? What kind of monster was I?

“Of course you can stay here, I didn’t mean to—”

“No, you’re right. You can’t just stop your life for us. You don’t even know us and you already saved our lives probably. You’ve done more than enough. I’m sorry for even asking, it was inconsid—”

I felt like shit. I had plenty of sick days. I could spare a few days beyond my vacation. I cut her off, “I’ll take you to Louisiana. What part? I can get directions off of Mapquest.”

I was already moving to retrieve my laptop from the bookshelf.

“No. It’s probably best if we go alone. Really. If I could just beg you for one more favor? Could you rent a car for us? I’ll take good care of it, I promise. And I’ll turn it in as soon as I get there. I can pay for it. I have plenty of cash—”

She was pulling money from her purse. I sat down at the table and set up the laptop. She wasn’t making me feel any better.

“I can take you Lisa. Something weird is obviously going on and you’re in no condition to drive. You both seem like you’ve experienced something horrible. I can drive you to Louisiana. I’d never sleep knowing I didn’t help you guys out when I could have. What part?”

She hesitated. I could see she was really struggling. She clearly wanted to take me up on my offer, but since I’d raised some concerns she probably felt bad about it. I had a wireless connection so I was already on the Mapquest webpage.

“I just need the address Lisa. It’s okay.”

She only paused for a moment longer before giving me the address. I looked it up. It was a pretty easy route. We’d need to stop over night. She suggested we leave as early as possible in the morning to avoid traffic and…well, she stopped so I assumed she meant so we could avoid accidentally bumping into anyone. I agreed.

It was only 4:30 in the afternoon, but I could see they were both exhausted. I pulled out a sleeping bag (I used to go camping with my ex) and bullied Lisa into taking the futon. Before I finished showering, they were both asleep.

I watched them sleep, wondering what I was doing. I didn’t know this woman and this oddly quiet child. Her father was dead and her mother was in Louisiana? Why was Lisa taking her down South? Why hadn’t her mother come for her? And why did they need to drive? She seemed reluctant to fly, although judging by the cash and plastic in her wallet, she could probably afford first-class tickets. Something was going on. Something that had traumatized Kari and scared Lisa. Something she thought had endangered my life. I shook my head, so much for my humdrum life.


I was watching Law and Order on the boob tube hours later when a loud knock sounded at the door. Lisa bolted up, Kari jumped and I saw her mouth open to scream right before Lisa reached over to clamp a hand over it. An odd reaction for sure. Lisa looked at me, her eyes wild. She seemed absolutely terrified.

“Hold on!” I called as I pointed to the walk-in closet. Lisa quickly and quietly stood from the futon, grabbed Kari up into her arms and tiptoed to the closet. She closed the closet door silently as I tossed the sleeping bag into a corner and made my way to the front door.
“Who is it?” I asked, stalling for just a moment more. I doubt the visitor would think that odd considering the crime rate in Philadelphia.


I relaxed. Here I was thinking it was whoever was chasing Lisa and Kari. I was tempted to tell them it was okay to come out, but something told me to wait. I opened the door and sure enough two cops in uniform were standing at my door. They were pretty tall, but not much taller than my six feet. One was white and the other very dark skinned. I raised a brow.

“What’s up officers?”

They held out two photos, photos of Lisa and Kari.

“Have you seen this woman and this child?”

Odd. I stalled.

“Why, are they okay?”

“This woman kidnapped the child and the father is looking for her.”

Okay, way past odd. Didn’t Lisa just tell me Kari’s father was dead? Were they lying or was Lisa lying? I wasn’t sure what to say.

“Can I see the pictures again, they look kind of familiar.”

“Someone saw them getting into a car with you this afternoon, Ms. Lewis.”

Okay, that threw me for a loop. How did they know my name and how had they found me? Maybe my license plate? What to say, what to say?

“Yea, I thought it was them. The woman asked me to drive her to the train station.”

The black cop took out a notebook, “do you know which train they took?”

“No, I only dropped them off at the 30th street station. They had blood on their clothes and I offered to take them to the hospital, but the woman just wanted to go to the train station.”

“She didn’t mention where they were going?”

“No. Sorry.”

The white cop pulled a card out of pocket, “I doubt you’ll hear from them again, but if you do, would you call us? That little girl’s Daddy is desperate.”

I nodded, taking the card, “I didn’t know she was kidnapped or I would have called you guys right away.”

“That’s okay Miss. If they contact you, or if you think of anything else, give us a call, okay?”

I nodded again and watched them walk away. I closed the door, looking at the card in my hand. Moments later Lisa stepped from the closet, Kari in her arms.

“Thank you. I’m sorry I put you on the spot like that.”

I watched as she looked around for a moment. Then she pulled the tee shirt over Kari’s head and began to dress her.

“I’m sorry to have put you in this position. We’re going to leave.”

I nodded, agreeing it was probably a good idea, “good idea, but we should probably wait a few minutes to make sure they’re not watching my place.”

Lisa stopped dressing Kari for a minute and looked at me with a strange look on her face, “look, no one is this nice. You’ve done enough. I can’t let you come with us.”

She was dressing Kari again, her actions jerky and awkward. I could see the anxiety on her face and her hands were shaking.

“Why can’t you just tell me what’s going on?”

Lisa was silent, adjusting the dress on Kari and combing her fingers through the girl’s tangled hair. I went into the bathroom to retrieve a hairbrush. I didn’t usually need one, but sometimes I was lazy enough to let my hair grow just enough so that I needed to brush it in order for it to lay down. Lisa remained silent while she brushed the girl’s hair and quickly braided it into one long, thick braid that hung past the girl’s shoulders. She seemed to be struggling with something.

“Her father sold drugs. Nothing too big, a little weed, some coke, some E. He evidently short changed Fredo. It’s not the first time, although Fredo warned Ricky before. When I went to his place today, I passed Fredo on the street. He didn’t even say hello to me. I went up to Ricky’s apartment and he was dead, on the living room floor. I didn’t see Kari anywhere. I thought they killed her. Then I prayed Ricky had taken her to the sitter. No such luck. She was hiding under the bed. Those idiots didn’t even think to look for her, thank God. But she had a perfect view of the living room…and she knows Fredo. I grabbed her and Ricky’s emergency fund and left. When we left the apartment, they saw us. I should have waited, I wasn’t thinking. They saw me carrying Kari and they figured it out. So I ran. Then I bumped into you.”

Oh. I mean what else do you say to that? I could have said ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ Or, ‘let me take you to train station for real,’ but neither of those sounded right. So I didn’t say anything. Instead I started getting dressed and packing a bag. Lisa was watching me.

“And the cops?” I finally asked.

“You’ve never heard of Fredo Gibraldi?”

I shook my head.

“Well, he’s big time in South Phily. The rumor is he bought some cops. I guess it’s true.”

I was still packing, but took a moment to glance out one of the windows. I didn’t see anybody hanging around outside. When I turned back around, Lisa was still standing there.

“We need to get going,” I finally urged.

She shook her head, “Kenni I can’t let you do this. Do you understand what I’m saying? This little girl saw a big time drug dealer kill her father. That’s more trouble than even I can imagine, much less someone like you. I mean, come on. What do you do? Teach first grade or something? You shouldn’t be involved in this.”

“I’m in accounting and I’m already involved. Let’s just go. I’ll get you to Louisiana and then I’m done. Okay?”

She paused for a moment longer and then nodded, quickly discarding the borrowed tee shirt, which hung on her like a dress for the most part, and donning her freshly washed jeans and shirt. I couldn’t help but sneak a peak, even in the face of such serious danger. Her body was delicious, curves upon curves of honeyed, creamy skin, full breasts that were fighting a battle with gravity but hadn’t lost yet, voluptuous, sexy hips and thighs. I knew her life was in danger, and I knew she was a het, but I still felt myself get moist at just the sight of her. That body was mouth-watering, even if it was off limits. I raised my eyes back up to hers and saw her watching me, a bit of a smirk on her lips. Then she turned and quickly finished dressing.


We headed out. It was 11pm and I knew I would get sleepy pretty soon, but since my adrenaline was pumping I offered to drive first. We were on a major highway and heading south within an hour. We hadn’t seen anyone following us, although neither of us knew exactly what to look for. Kari was sleeping in the back seat and Lisa kept looking back there as if we would lose her. It was both nerve wracking and adorable.

“She’s okay for now,” I finally offered.

Lisa closed her eyes for a moment as if she hadn’t realized what she’d been doing. She nodded. “Yea, you’re right. Okay.”

We were silent for a moment and then I realized she was watching me. I felt self-conscious suddenly. As I mentioned before, I’m pretty tall for a woman, six feet, and I’m rather lean. I don’t work out regularly so I’m not ‘built’ or anything. I’m very dark skinned, like the model Iman, and I’m pretty close to bald. I’m not bad to look at, but it’s a striking contrast to the way most women try to look in America today. I don’t wear make-up or jewelry and, if truth be told, I’m often mistaken for a guy. Once they get a good look at me, however, my medium sized breasts and the softness of my face kind of clues them in…sometimes.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see anything spectacular, but some say I’m rather attractive. My best features are my rather pronounced cheekbones, my large, round eyes (the pupils are so dark they seem black) and my full lips. I’m one of those women you either think is attractive or ugly, there’s no middle-ground. So I had no idea what Lisa was thinking, or if she was looking at my “beauty” at all. She probably had tons of things on her mind that had nothing to do with me. Still, I began to squirm under her gaze.

“Do you always go about rescuing damsels in distress?” She finally asked in a rather husky, very sexy voice. She’d been so stressed before I had only been able to detect tension in her voice. Clearly she was beginning to relax.

“Haven’t met any other damsels in distress, but I’m a good Samaritan occasionally.”

“I think this goes far beyond that.” She teased.

I laughed, glad to hear some humor in her voice.

“What are you going to do once you get to Houma?” I asked.

“Drop her off with her mother I guess. Her mother’s people are in Louisiana and after she and Ricky broke up, she went back home. I don’t know why she left Kari with him. He adored Kari, but that’s no life for a little girl. I tried to keep her out of the mix as much as possible, but I couldn’t always be around.”

I nodded. It sounded to me like she was a bit of a good Samaritan herself.

“How long had you been dating Ricky?”

She sighed, “a couple of years. I don’t know why I got mixed up with him. I guess I’m an idiot. I used to buy weed from him and he was so cute…” She looked out of the window and I couldn’t tell if she was regretting her decision to date him or grieving because he was gone.

“Free weed and pretty gifts are not a good reason to get mixed up with a drug dealer, even if he’s small time. All my friends told me I was a fucking idiot. They all warned me that stuff like this could happen. But everything was fine. And he was the sweetest thing…he had these puppy dog eyes,” I could hear the tears in her voice, “and he was really good in bed, when he wasn’t too high to fuck.”

I cringed at the use of her language, but remembered Kari was asleep. Then I wondered what the hell was wrong with me, considering I usually cursed like a sailor. We drove along for a while in silence and then I realized she was watching me again.


“You’re gay, right?”

Okay, that was an odd question.

“What makes you say that?”

“Just a feeling.”

I hesitated for a moment and then glanced at her quickly, “I’m not going to hit on you or anything, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“What’s wrong with me?”

I raised a brow and looked at her quickly again, “huh?”

“You don’t find me attractive?”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?”

“Yes or no?” She pressed, I could see the smile pulling at her lips. I probably would have done anything to make her smile for just a moment considering the circumstances.

“I find you very attractive. Happy now?” I said, pretending to be annoyed.

She smiled and it lit up her face in a way that fuzzed my brain over again.

“Thanks. You’re pretty cute yourself.”

I glanced at her one more time, wondering if she was kidding me. I couldn’t tell so I didn’t say anything.

“I’m going to try and get some sleep before it’s my turn to drive.”

And with that she leaned back into the passenger’s seat and dropped off into sleep.

I began to grow sleepy around 3am. I woke Lisa up, made a quick stop and then she took over the wheel. When I woke, it was around 7:30 and broad daylight. Kari was up as well. We stopped for breakfast and I was a little surprised when I heard a soft, little voice ask for pancakes. It was nice to hear Kari speak finally. I was wondering if her mother was going to have to invest some major bucks in intensive therapy for her. We were all wide awake and stuffed with breakfast food when we piled back into the car. Kari and I began to play a few games. I remembered taking long trips with my parents. My Dad used to keep me busy counting yellow cars. It wasn’t as much fun as it used to be considering yellow was an increasingly popular color, so we switched to counting Volkswagon Beetles, better known as “punch buggies” to people my age. When I used to count these as a kid, if you saw one you were allowed to punch your competitor in the arm. We skipped the punching, especially since I was driving, but it was still fun. Before we knew it, it was around 1pm. Kari was napping and I was ready for a break. We pulled over at a rest stop and I dashed to the bathroom. I was washing my hands when the door opened and Lisa walked in.


“Where’s Kari?”

“Still sleeping.”

I nodded but hurried to dry my hands so I could get back to the car. I didn’t like the idea of leaving her alone out there. I was on my way out of the bathroom when Lisa suddenly grabbed the front of my tee shirt.

“What the—”

She silenced me with her lips. They were soft, warm…sweet. And the feel of her pressed against me, even for a moment, went right through me. She nipped my bottom lip gently for just an instant before pulling away. Then she looked at me innocently with those gorgeous hazel-green eyes.

“I just wanted to say thanks, you know, for everything.”

I nodded. I didn’t think I could form coherent words even if I could think of something clever to say. So I just left the bathroom and made my way back to the car. Kari was still asleep and quite safe. And I was a little confused. Why was this het kissing me? Was she curious? Friends had warned me away from curious little heterosexual women. They wanted to dabble and then run back to their boyfriends or husbands. And the women they messed around with always wound up broken hearted. I wasn’t about to satisfy anyone’s curiosity. And I was still licking wounds after my ex, so I wasn’t in the mood for a broken heart. I decided to ignore the kiss. I would just see it for what it was, a simple thank you.


After picking up some fast food, we drove until 10pm. I saw a sign for a hotel and insisted we stop. Lisa wanted to keep driving, swearing she wasn’t tired. But I could see she was struggling to keep her eyes open.

Kari seemed to be exhausted and I worried about that. She didn’t seem to have a fever and her appetite was okay, so I guess she was fine. Her nose was still wet…nah, just kidding, although I did know more about dogs than kids. I was worried about how much she was sleeping. If I had my laptop, I would have looked up the side effects of shock, or signs of post traumatic stress. Perhaps excessive bouts of sleep were normal in the aftermath of watching someone shoot your father. I don’t know considering I’ve never witnessed such a horror. I was saddened that Kari had been forced to.

Lisa was paying for everything. She admitted she had taken about $15,000 from Ricky’s apartment. The key she carried was to a bus station locker in New York City. Ricky had stashed over $5 million in cash there. I didn’t believe her. I don’t know why, it just seemed odd that anyone I knew could have access to $5 million dollars. But while I didn’t believe her, I hoped it was true. She and Kari would probably need it.

There was a king sized bed and we asked for a rollaway. I was planning to take the rollaway, but Lisa insisted that I sleep on the larger, much more comfortable bed with Kari. It didn’t take long for me to fall asleep. When I woke up to shift just a bit a few hours later, Kari was curled up in front of me and Lisa was curled up at my back. I’m not sure when Lisa joined us, but both of them felt good so close to me. I wrapped an arm around Kari’s waist, reached back to place a hand on Lisa’s hip, and went back to sleep.


We had a quick breakfast the next day and hit the road early. The time flew by. Kari was a much more normal, excessively chatty, inquisitive 5-year-old and Lisa smiled just a little more easily. We expected to pull into Houma, Louisiana around 6pm that night and we almost made it. We were only off by about 30 minutes. After a brief debate over yet another fast food dinner, we decided to drive to Kari’s mom immediately. The area where she lived was lined with moderately sized homes and nicely manicured lawns. People were sitting on porches chatting and dogs were barking. We found the house, a lavender house with white shutters, and pulled into the driveway. I could see Lisa relax visibly and Kari could barely wait until we opened the back door. But for some reason I hesitated. I’m not sure why, but it was the same gut feeling I had with the police. Something just didn’t feel right. I told them to stay put. Not that I had any idea what I would do if anything was wrong, but I told them to wait nonetheless.

I made my way into the medium sized house, the front door was unlocked and everything was eerily quiet. Shades were drawn, windows closed. There was no air-conditioning unit running and all the ceiling fans were off. Considering it was June and over 90 degrees, I knew something was very wrong. And there was a horrible smell. I couldn’t even guess what the smell was. I made my way through the living room, pushing open a closed door. A younger woman and an older woman were lying face-up on a bed. There was a huge, brownish-red stain on the mattress directly beneath their bodies. The room stank something awful. I took two steps back and abruptly bumped into a wall of muscle. I knew I was fucked. The person shoved me away and I turned around. He was much taller than me and must have weighed 300 pounds. Unfortunately, it looked to be 300 pounds of muscle. But I wasn’t worried about being beaten to death. I was much more worried about the gun he was pointing in my direction. Turns out silencers really do look the way they look on television. What a wonderful thing to realize right before I was about to die.

“Carolyn, didn’t you hear me calling you? Get your tail over here!”

It was some mother screaming for her daughter right outside of the house. The voice startled the man with the gun. I had left the front door wide open. He lowered the gun and hid it behind his back, just in case someone poked their head in. Sure enough, the screaming mother did.

“Whew! What is that God awful smell? Are you two okay in here?”

“There’s been an accident. Please call the police.”

I said the words without thinking. The man standing beside me scowled. When the women nodded and walked away, he brought the gun back into view and pressed it right against my forehead. My heart stopped beating. Was this how I was going to die? In a stranger’s house hundreds of miles away from my own home? I hadn’t even called my mother to let her know I was leaving town.

“Everything okay in here? Bessie said ya’ll needed some help?”

Another neighbor. This one was short, dark skinned and seriously overweight. But right now she was the most beautiful woman in the world considering she was probably saving my life.

“Ewww, Bess was right, it does stink in here! Why don’t you two come on out here and wait? What happened in there anyway?”

That was my cue. I stepped away from the man and quickly made my way out of the house. After chatting for a few minutes with the woman, the sounds of sirens announced it was time to leave. I could see Lisa and Kari waiting for me, strapped into their seats, the engine running. They knew something was wrong. All I had to do was get to the car.


I didn’t speak right away. My hands were trembling violently and I sat with my eyes closed for quite some time. I still felt the cold metal of the gun against my forehead and smelled the stink of rotting flesh. How long had he been waiting there, in that overheated house with that horrible smell? I shook my head, what had I gotten myself into?


“My Mom wasn’t home?” A sweet little voice asked from the back seat.

I looked at Lisa and shook my head slowly. I could see understanding register on her face slowly. Her hands clenched around the steering wheel.

“Your Mom left a note Sweetie, she’s not there right now.”

I didn’t agree with Lisa’s lie, but I understood why she told it.

“Oh, when will she be back?”

“I’m not sure Sweetie, she didn’t say. You’re going to have to hang out with me for a while, okay?”

Her voice was strained, a false lightheartedness wrapped in barbed wire. Kari was no idiot and could hear something was wrong. Suddenly she was quiet and withdrawn again. I closed my eyes again and rubbed my sweaty palms on my jeans. What were we going to do?

We drove in no particular direction, we had no where to go. Lisa and I needed to talk privately. I wasn’t sure when we would be able to do that. After two hours of driving no where, I looked back to see Kari sleeping. As if we were thinking the same thing, Lisa pulled over at a rest stop. We exited the car, closing the doors softly as to avoid waking Kari. We looked at each other, the car between us.

“What happened?”

“There were two women there, an older one and one in her late 20s or early 30s, blonde braids, large hoop earrings.”

“That’s Sharon, Kari’s mother. The other woman was probably Sharon’s mom.”

“They were lying in the bed, dead. Then this guy came out of nowhere, he pointed a gun at me—”

“Oh my God.”

“Then that woman called for her daughter and came into the house. Thank God for nosey neighbors.”

I tried a smile but couldn’t pull it off. Lisa closed her eyes tightly for a moment. When she opened those amazing hazel-green eyes, tears spilled from them.

“You could have been killed.”

“I’m okay now. What are you going to do?”

She shook her head, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

“I don’t know. Maybe try the police? I don’t know. I can’t let them kill that little girl.”

“Does she have any other family?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

We were silent for a moment. My mind was racing, trying to think of a solution. I could only think of one.

“What about the money in New York? Does anyone else know about it?”


“We should go to New York. And then you should probably think of leaving…permanently.”

I watched her comb trembling fingers through her silky, dark locks. She shook her head, wrapping her arms around herself.

“You realize you can’t go back, right?”

The words shook me. I don’t think I’d thought about it. They now knew I was with her, knew I was helping, knew I probably knew about the murder. They knew where I lived, knew my name…she was right, I couldn’t go home.

“I’m sorry Kenni.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say, and certainly nothing that would make anyone feel better. My entire life was over because a woman bumped into me and knocked a pizza out of my hand. My job, my apartment…Jesus.

“Let’s get back on the road,” I offered instead.

And so we did. I offered to drive this time. We made our way to a familiar highway and then drove north. A few hours later, adrenaline was still pumping through my veins so I continued to drive. I took a quick look in back, Kari was awake, staring silently out of the window. I glanced over at the passenger’s seat, Lisa was sleeping. My mouth went dry just looking at her again. Her honey-brown skin, the shoulder length black, silky hair, tangled into a mess from her habit of running nervous fingers through it. Those long thick, dark lashes, kissing her cheeks as she slept. Her full pouting lips slightly open, absolutely kissable. I thought of the last time I’d seen those absolutely amazing hazel-green eyes, filled with worry and sorrow. What had started as a good will gesture had almost ended in my death and here I was still lusting after this stunningly attractive creature. What was wrong with me?

“Aunt Kenni?”

The young voice surprised me a little, chasing thoughts of Lisa’s deliciously lush body from my mind. I glanced into the rear view mirror. Kari had been crying and my heart went out to her. I wasn’t sure when she began calling me “aunt.”

“Yes sweetheart?”

“Where are we going?”

“To New York.”

She was silent for a moment as she glanced out of the window again. The sun had set so there wasn’t much to see.

“Will my Mom be there?”

An invisible vice reached in and grabbed my heart, squeezing hard. I didn’t want to lie to this little girl, she’d been through enough. I didn’t want to tell her the truth either, it was just too horrifying. She was alone in the world now, with a virtual stranger who was not her family to look after her. Did any five-year-old need to hear that? I sighed before answering.

“No sweetheart, she won’t be there.”

More silence. I could see her putting the puzzle pieces together.

“Is she dead Aunt Kenni?”

I answered before I changed my mind, “yes sweetheart.”

I checked the rear view mirror a few times as silenced settled between us. She was staring out of the window again and I saw her wiping away tears periodically. I wanted to hold her, to tell her everything would be okay, but it would have been a lie. I had no idea if everything would be okay. I prayed they didn’t know about Ricky’s money in New York and I hoped Lisa had a back up plan. And it was time I started thinking about myself. I had a few thousand saved, but it wasn’t enough for a clean start anywhere. And my mother was probably going nuts, considering she had not heard from me since Tuesday. I had to figure out how I was going to put my life back together. But glancing into the rear view mirror, watching that haunted look on such a young face, I couldn’t think about myself. The image of that sad little face would stay with me forever.

I drove through the night, too worried to sleep. Kari had fallen asleep again after a while and Lisa woke to check in with me a few times, but I wasn’t tired. I was hopped up, anxious, worried. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. How could I make sure these two stayed alive? I didn’t want to think of a world without them in it. There had to be an answer…

It was 5am on Saturday morning when I finally pulled over. I needed a shower and a change of clothes. And none of us had eaten in quite some time. I didn’t feel tired, but I knew I had to give my body a rest in all fairness. We pulled our things from the trunk, registered under phony names (a willingness to pay double for a room in cash let us do that for some reason) and quickly settled into the hotel room. Two king-sized beds this time. I let Lisa and Kari have the bathroom first while I ordered room service. When Lisa sent Kari out in a towel, I quickly dried her off and changed her into her pajamas. The food arrived as Lisa was shutting off the shower. Kari gobbled her hamburger and fries down as she watched cartoons. I paced the room a little restlessly, ignoring the sandwich I’d ordered, still unable to settle down. I hoped a hot shower would help.

When Lisa stepped from the bathroom, wrapped in nothing more than one of those skimpy towels, I forced my brain to shut down the surge of hunger I felt for her. This woman had enough on her plate without some dyke hitting on her. I had to get my adrenaline and my hormones in check. I stripped down in the bathroom and stepped under a biting, hot spray. I felt great, but I knew it would not soothe me. I wasn’t sure what I needed to be able to sleep for a few hours. Maybe I should have ordered a drink.

I was drying off quite some time later when I heard a tap at the door. She didn’t wait for me to answer, instead slipping into the steamy bathroom and closing the door behind her. I noticed she locked it. Maybe she had something she wanted to discuss without Kari around?

“Kari?” This kid was forever on my mind. I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t get into anything while we talked.

“She’s asleep.”

I nodded, continuing to dry off. I hadn’t brought any clothes into the bathroom with me, so I wrapped a towel around myself, slightly amused when it didn’t even cover my entire ass. I glanced over at her as I put toothpaste on my toothbrush.

“What’s up?”

There was something in those beautiful hazel-green eyes, something different. I picked up on it only a second before she moved into me. I dropped the toothbrush without a second thought and pulled her against me. My lips were on hers suddenly, hungry, demanding, punishing. This woman had ruined my life. Everything I knew, everything I’d worked for, gone. If this was all she had to offer me, I would take it.

My arms curved around her appetizingly ripe figure, hungry for the feel of her. I impatiently slipped the oversized tee she’d bought to sleep in over her head, tossing it onto the floor and drawing her to me once again. She reached out to remove my towel and the feel of her velvety skin against me sent a jolt of electricity right through me. I didn’t think, I didn’t care. I wanted her, craved her, needed her. I lifted her up onto the counter, taking what I wanted from her. The kiss grew more heated, more demanding, my hands were all over her, enjoying the silkiness of her arms, the fullness of her hips, the weight of her breasts. I seized a hardened nipple between thumb and forefinger, twisting, enjoying the gasp of pain mixed with pleasure that was forced from her. My mouth followed suit and I impatiently captured the other nipple. I could feel her trembling beneath me, her hands curving around my neck, her nails digging into my back. The pain of her nails, of my teeth on her nipple, fueled the fire between us. I couldn’t wait anymore, I wanted to taste her. I pushed her back against the mirror, unconcerned with the shocking feel of the cold mirror against her heated flesh. My fingers dug into her hips, roughly jerking them to the edge of the bathroom counter. I knelt before her, spreading her thighs wide, plunging in.

The shadow of doubt I had about her level of excitement, about whether or not I was moving too fast, disappeared. Her thighs were slicked with her arousal and I quickly lapped up the sweet honey as I made my way to her center. I heard the harsh intake of breath when my mouth found her, my tongue lashing at her pearl, her hands pulling my head closer, deeper. The taste of her settled sweetly on my tongue and I savored it, delighting in her. She was panting, her hips pumping into my face, and I knew she was close. I wanted to make her come, wanted to feel her thighs quivering around me. When she finally exploded in my mouth, I hungrily drank the milk flowing so freely from her. She bucked wildly, but I held her hips steady, continuing to enjoy the taste of her. I felt her settle down, but I didn’t give her a moment to even catch her breath. Seconds later she tensed again, grabbing my ears as she rode the next wave. I have no idea how many times she came before I realized she was whimpering incoherently above me.

I had to force myself to let her go, stepping back and allowing myself to take a deep, cleansing breath. I was deliciously tense, I could feel how aroused I was, but I knew I would be able to sleep now. She had allowed me to release some of the tension that had me so wired. I wiped my face on a towel, enjoying the look of her, exhausted and spent, slouching on the bathroom counter as she tried to catch her breath. I retrieved her oversized tee, helping her back into it. Then I sent her out of the bathroom, taking a few moments to calm myself down. God, this woman was in my blood. And not only was she going to have to disappear in order to save her own life, I was going to have to let her go. I shook my head, glancing at myself in the mirror. Jesus, my life was really fucked up.

She was already asleep when I stepped from the bathroom, curled up beside Kari on one of the beds. I gathered their dishes, quietly setting the tray outside of the door and hanging the do not disturb sign on the knob. I collapsed onto the other bed and was sleeping within minutes.


Images of her ran through my brain as I slept. Of her naked, sliding into the bed behind me, curving against my lean frame, caressing, exploring, arousing. I felt her mouth on my shoulders, my back, her hands on my breasts, her pelvis spooned against my ass. It only took a moment to reignite the fire, to set me off. I turned to face her, realizing I wasn’t dreaming. We were under the covers, it was hot, uncomfortable, but I didn’t care. I was hoping Kari was asleep, but I didn’t spend more than a second on the thought. I wanted her again. This time I wanted to take my time, to delve into the lushness of her slowly. She had other plans, her head already dipping to find me, tasting of me. I was still aroused from the earlier exchange, so she had only to suck my hardness into her mouth before I clutched the bed sheets in my fists, delighting in the waves crashing over me. I pulled her up, molding her to my frame, caressing her silken curves, laving at her breasts. She was biting her bottom lip to keep from moaning. My fingers traveled the length of her, arousing her further. I buried one finger into her creamy heat, then another, fucking her gently, my thumb worrying her clit. She clung to me desperately, her head thrashing from side to side, little mewls of pleasure escaping from her periodically. As much as I wanted to spend hours making love to this woman, I knew Kari would be awake soon if she wasn’t already. I slid a third finger into her, picking up the pace of my thumb, holding her to me tightly as her body tensed, shuddering violently, her breath warm against my cheek. I kissed her then, as she fell back down to earth, deeply, intensely, pouring my soul into her. I wanted her to know we’d shared something special in the few days we’d had together. I wanted her to long for me as I would long for her. I realized she was crying when I felt the wetness against my cheeks. I wiped her tears and held her close.


She was in the shower when Kari finally woke. We ordered breakfast and hit the road as soon as possible. We found ourselves in New York around 11:30pm. The bus station was empty for the most part. We had no problem locating the locker. I didn’t know what I expected, perhaps 8 huge duffle bags filled with money. There was only a small leather satchel. I grew nervous for a moment, but once we were seated in the car again, she pulled out $50,000 in cash and some papers with a bunch of numbers on them. Overseas bank accounts, she told me, totaling over $5 million. Ricky had not lied to her. There were also passports and birth certificates with phony names, one for each of them.

Before I could change my mind, before I could beg her to stay, I drove them to the airport. She bought the tickets while Kari and I played video games. An hour later, I walked them to their gate. We agreed it was best if I didn’t know where they were going, just in case they caught up with me. I hugged them both to me tightly, swallowing tears. It had been less than a week and I felt I was losing two of the most important people in my life.

When I put Kari down, Lisa leaned in for a kiss, a tender farewell between the two of us.

“Thank you.”

She whispered to me and I knew the words were filled with everything we would never be able to say to one another. I didn’t wait to see the plane taxi down the runway, knowing my heart would only ache more as I watched them go. If it wasn’t for my mother, I might have gone with them. Instead, I removed the plates, stickers and registration from my vehicle, leaving it abandoned, and hailed a cab. She’d given me most of the cash and I decided to spoil myself rotten, checking into the Waldorf Astoria for a night. I ordered a massage and a bottle of whiskey. It was going to be a long night. And tomorrow? I had to find a place to live and begin looking for a job.


Three months later, I was living in another spacious studio apartment, this time in Harlem. It wasn’t as nice as my apartment in Philadelphia, but it was nice. I’d met a few friends, one of them with enough connections to get me a driver’s license, birth certificate, and passport with a new name. I had found a new job, one that actually paid more than I was earning before. I sent my mother $10,000. It was the best I could do considering I had to sever ties with her for a while. I didn’t know if they were watching her and I didn’t want to cause her any harm. I wrote her a letter and mailed it to a friend in California, who then mailed it to my mother. I explained what happened and told her I would be in touch from time to time. I warned her not to throw away letters without return addresses.

Things went back to normal pretty quickly. I liked my new job (we could actually bring knickknacks in for our cubicles), I liked my new friends and I loved weekday shopping in New York City. My old routines were reestablished rather quickly. Then one day, while I was paying bills on-line, I realized there had been a rather substantial amount of money deposited into my account. I thought it was a banking error, but after days of chatting back and forth with various bank personnel, I realized it was a legitimate deposit. Someone had deposited $250,000 into my account from a Swiss bank. I didn’t have to think hard about who it might be. Images of her flashed through my mind, especially the one of her, sexually spent, on the bathroom counter. I wasn’t sure how she had found me considering the name change, but I smiled genuinely for the first time in a long time and hoped they were both okay.


A year later, I met a very nice woman. Not nearly as intoxicating as Lisa, but sweet just the same. We moved in together. It was around that time that I received the first envelope. No return address and no letter inside, just a picture of an adorable milk chocolate, chubby little girl, about six years old, with long pig-tails, wearing a cute pink and white dress. Kari. She had changed so much. She was so tall and her hair was longer. She looked happy. Over the next few years, I received such photos from time to time. Kari riding a bike, attending birthday parties, riding a horse, skiing. I never did see either one of them again, but I knew they were safe and alive and that was enough for me. It had to be.

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