Previously, on A Young American…
To start at the beginning, go here.
I paced around the area that was my own little holding cell, thinking about Britney’s suspicions as to what was going on. I tried to call her from the jail, but she didn’t answer. I figured she was going to be upset, but she knew how I felt about cheating, so it was safe to assume she wouldn’t assume anything. About an hour and a half into my incarceration I had a surprise visitor. My aunt stepped through the door, still with that wide ass grin. I groaned and laid back in the bed. “What?”
“You seem to be in a bit of a bind.”
“Sure looks that way. Just tell me what you want so I can tell you to fuck off.”
“You know, I might be interested in dropping the assault charges I’m about to press on you.”
I wiped my face, “Oh yeah?”
“Of course, I’m going to need a little incentive.” She spoke like she was in some horrible action drama. “I don’t want it all. That would be selfish. Just give me half.”
“Is that it?” I looked up at her resting her arms on the bars.
“Yes,” she nodded, trying to hide her eagerness.
“Fuck off.” I dropped my head back down and she shook with bottled rage.
“You little son of a bitch!” She tried to whisper, “Do you want to go to prison?”
I sat up. “I’m not going to go to prison.”
“Yes you fuckin’ are! If I have anything to say about it.”
“You won’t.” I stood up and walked to the cell. She took a few steps back. “If money matters anywhere it’s in the courtroom. You’ve got shit. You’d be lucky to find some low-rent bleeding heart to take your case. I, however, have enough to hire Verizon’s corporate lawyer to fly down here and twist everything around enough to turn the tables. Not to mention our previous legal troubles. I can prove harassment faster and better than you can prove assault, even with a cop for a witness. You wanna go down that road? I’ve got money and time, but if you don’t, then you tell those mother fuckers that you’re not gonna do anything so I can get outta here and back home.” I didn’t need to hide my eagerness.
A tear fought its way through the corner of her eye. “I need that money, Logan.”
“You need to get out of my face.” I pointed at the door with my eyes and went back to my bed. She stood there for an undetermined amount of time before I fell asleep. I woke up at four or five in the morning to an officer telling me the charges had been dropped and that I was free to go. I trudged out into the night and made my way back home.
When I got there, I snuck through the living room and into the bedroom, but Britney wasn’t there. I turned on the lights to see dresser drawers open and empty, along with picture frames and, when I opened the bathroom, toiletries. I grabbed my phone and tried to call her. The phone rang and rang until her un-personalized voicemail came.
I tried again, this time it rang twice before the voicemail. I hung up and threw the phone against the wall, breaking it. Shit. I sat back down in my chair and drank myself to sleep with what was left of my vodka.
No one ever got good sleep when relationships were in trouble. I didn’t wake up until the sun was on its way down and immediately ran to the store to pick up a new phone. I checked my voicemail, disappointed but not surprised to find no new messages. I texted Zach to see if he wanted to give me a ride to Janis’ for my car. The text back read “No thanks, you’ve been kinda weirding me out with your behavior recently.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your blowup the other night after you were messing around with that drunk girl. Not to mention you lied to Britney about your parents.”
“What? How do you know that?” Text arguments were the lowest and the worst. Waiting on a response is the hardest thing to do when heated. None came. “Wait. You didn’t say anything to her about that girl did you?” Nothing. It was pretty hard to sound threatening in a message, but I gave it a shot. “Listen, if you fuckin’ said anything to her about a situation you know nothing about, then I’m gonna be paying you a visit.” Nothing.
Son of a bitch.
I snatched the scotch from the kitchen and drank it down like water. I tried calling Britney again but, surprise, no answer. I called Janis and had her pick me up so I could get my car. She probably would have tried her usual flirtations had my knuckles not been white the whole time. We didn’t talk. She didn’t even muster a thank you. Probably too worried I was going to blow up in her face. I returned the silence by kicking up gravel in my rental as I exploded down the highway.
My rage at Zach’s betrayal forced me to his place, where I marched up to the door and knocked, gently at first. When I could barely handle the seemingly endless silence I shouted, “Come on! Open up! I just wanna talk. I think our years of friendship have earned me the right to explain to you what you think you know and you the right to be forgiven!” Still nothing. “God…damn it!” I kicked the door as hard as I could, but the deadbolt kept it closed.
Probably for the best. My drunkenness was peaking and not being able to explain my side of the story was pushing me over the edge. I sat in my car and screamed in escalated frustration. When my voice faded and all that was left was silence, I tried to get a grip on myself.
The scotch was doing a good job of interfering with that, however, and I backed out, making the drive out to Britney’s parents’. I nearly wrecked the car on the dips in the town’s intersections. Fuck this town, I thought. When I arrived there was Britney, sitting on the porch swing, guarded from the bugs by a windscreen wall. She was talking to Zach, and the two looked awfully close.
That may have been my double vision, though. I parked the car at an angle and got out. Zach brought his palm to his face and Britney stood. “Oh no, don’t get up.” I slurred. “What is it you think I’m gonna do?”
“I don’t know.” She said, “I’m not sure anymore.”
“Maybe you should go inside.” Zach suggested in a soothing manner. She nodded and obliged, despite my protests. When the door closed Zach swaggered his way up to me.
“Always the gentleman.” I threw my arms in the air.
“You need to leave.”
“That shit won’t work on me, boss.” I said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Except lie to your live-in girlfriend about your bank roll.”
“Are you really gonna scold me about disguising my life?”
“We’re not doing this, man.” His voice had grown less suave and more seethed.
“Why’d you do it? Do you want her or something? She doesn’t even seem like your type!”
“It’s not about that.”
“Why didn’t you just talk to me like a sane person? I wasn’t hitting on that girl.”
“I know that.”
My jaw dropped in a drunken fashion, “Then what the fuck?”
“You’re irresponsible and a fucking train wreck, yet for some reason you seem to have the perfect life.”
“You’re jealous?” I said, hoping he was being funny.
“No, I’m not jealous you narcissistic piece of shit! You take everything you have for granted and you treat all your girlfriends like shit!”
“This coming from the only guy I know to be made fun of for sleeping around too much.”
“I’m not allowed to grow up?”
“Please. You wish you could go back to those days!”
“Whatever man. You’re drunk. You need to go home.” I was just close enough to him to grab his collar, reel him in and knock him in the ear, but I wasn’t that drunk.
“What if I’m not goin’ anywhere?”
“Then I’ll call the cops.” I took a step closer to him, inches from his face. I saw a bead of sweat on his brow as he fought he urge to back away.
“Do you know what the response time is around here? Because I do.” The bead of sweat dripped down his nose. Zach had seen me in fights frequently, but had yet to encounter one of his own. “I’m gonna talk to Britney and then I’ll go home. If you want to try the police, I’m willing to make it worth their drive.” I pushed past the statue that was once my best friend and knocked on Britney’s door. I counted out the seconds in my mind, and when I got to ten I knocked again. “Britney.” I called. I put my ear to the door, hearing nothing. I knocked louder this time, and was “greeted” by her mom, who looked just like Ellen DeGeneres.
“It’s late, Logan. Go home.”
“I have to talk to her.”
“You can talk to her later. I think it’s been made very clear that she doesn’t want to see you right now.”
“I never cheated on her.” I said, kicking the porch with the tip of my toe.
“Well it sure doesn’t look that way.” Ellen had her on and off days, and then there were her bitch days.
“Who gives a shit what it looks like? What, are we in politics!”
“Keep your voice down.” She said in a stern fashion.
“Britney!” I shouted through the door, “You want this to be over then I want my keys back! And I’m not leaving here until either I have those keys in my hand or you in my sights.” I folded my arms and stood there, ignoring the glare Ellen was giving me. I sighed when I heard the jingle. When her mother’s arm went into the darkness, coming back out dangling the keys in front of my face like I was some sort of child, I snatched them.
“I never cheated.” I said again, nearly tripping down the stairs as I walked back to my car. Zach had a smug little fuckin’ look on his face and I socked him below his right eye, keys in hand. He dropped to the ground and didn’t move the whole time I backed out onto the road.