Now when I say Jr. lived in Waylon Sr.'s house, that's not exactly accurate. Jr. lived in the remodeled basement. It had it's own private entrance. It ran the entire length of the house. And the house was pretty big.
When you go down the steps and enter, you walk right into the living room. To the left is where the hallway ran all the way to the back bedroom. Along the way you have a door to your right that goes into the mini kitchen, then another down you have a closet. After that, you have the bathroom door and then a few feet down you enter the bedroom. It was fully carpeted and the back bedroom wall separated the rest of the basement which could only be accessed through the upper portion of the house. That side was where the water heaters were and the washer / dryer. Waylon did the remodeling himself. There was even a drop ceiling. Like I said, it was a big house.
As I mentioned in the early part of this story, Waylon was about a month or so shy of turning 18. He dropped out of high school midway through his junior year. He worked part time with his father. It would be full time however, there were days when Jr. couldn't deal with his fathers temper.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed Lori's house looked abandoned. No lights were on. When I asked Jr. about it, he said, "She fired Tiffany, and found a new sitter for Bernie. The sitter only sits at her house." Add the fact that Friday's was her double shift day, and that would explain the absence of any presence there.
Jr. decided to call Becky and have her and a friend to come over. By the time they arrived, he and I had picked up a few pizza's, a deck of cards and a lot of beer. I was a little shocked at who Becky brought along. "Tiff?"
She walked up to me with a pointed finger. "I lost my job because of you." Then she grinned when she got close enough to grab me and give me a kiss. Eh, I went with it.
The game was strip poker. Every time you lost a hand, you lost a piece of clothing and you had to do a shot whiskey, to go with the beer we were already drinking. By the time we were all near nudity, our hormones got the better of us. By four in the morning, Becky and Tiff were going to leave. Jr. stayed back in bed while I walked them to Becky's car. This is when I noticed Lori's car. Next to hers, another car. She had company. The lights were still out. I got a strange pain in my stomach and heart. I reached for Tiff. "Don't go. Stay. I'll take you back home tomorrow if you like?"
She looked at Becky. Becky motioned to get into the car. "It's up to you. I'm swinging by around noon after work. I have to work a half day."
Tiff shrugged her shoulders. "I'm staying."
We watched Becky pull out before heading back. We slept on the couch together.
We didn't get up until about noon. Jr. was already up and outside in the yard. Tiff and I took a shower together. By the time we got outside, Becky had just pulled up and Lori and her new boy friend came out from her house. talk about an awkward moment. I looked over at Jr. "Didn't take her long, did it?"
He shook his head. "Didn't take you long either."
Okay, he made a good point. Still, Lori and I locked onto each other. Neither of us was smiling. She grabbed the guys hand at which point, I reached for and pulled Tiffany into me gave her a good old fashion lip lock loaded with tongue. We stayed like that until I heard the mans car start up and pull out. When I took a glance over at the yard, Lori was standing there watching, shaking her head before turning around and walking back into the house.
God, I wanted to follow her so bad.
This is when Tiff got a bright idea. "Let's go to the beach!"
That Monday, I was called into the sales office again. Mr. Booty had me sit down. "What's up?" I inquired.
"Carroll, your reenlistment is coming up soon. Have you thought about what you're going to do?"
I scratched my head, figuratively. "I don't know. I haven't decided yet. Why you ask?"
He picked up a piece of paper and handed it to me. "This is orders for you to become an instructor at the barber school. If you decide to reenlist, this is where the Navy would like to station you for the next two years."
I was shocked. "But, how? Why?"
"It would appear you made one hell of an impression on someone at the school." He alluded to. I could only think of Mr. Riekley. "I will place this in your file until November. If you stay in, you can go there if you like."
"That sounds great." I heard myself utter. Mr. Booty wasn't finished.
"There is one more thing." He said. I looked on with my full attention. "If you decide to stay in the Navy and if you sign your reenlistment papers between now and 4PM Friday, we can process those orders ASAP. Meaning, we can have you assigned to the school before we pull out for our tour."
"You mean, I wouldn't have to leave port?"
"Nope." He stated. "Don't worry though, if you do decide later to reenlist in September or as late as November 15th, you'll still get the orders to be an instructor at the school. We'll fly you off in the middle of the ocean on a mail plane, maybe a cargo plane, but if you decide this week, you won't have to go back out to sea. It's your choice."
"That's certainly something to think about for sure, isn't it sir?"
Mr. Booty smiled. "Burke is waiting in his office whenever you're ready."
Wow. Imagine that. If this was a few weeks earlier, I would probably have been all over that deal. Now, I wasn't even sure I wanted to be in Norfolk anymore. I didn't even know if I wanted to do one more tour of duty. But if I do decide to reenlist, I think I'd rather go anyplace but back to Norfolk. The farther away from Lori, the better.
I left the Sales Office with a lot to think about. At lunch, sitting with Hrisko, he got a little kick out of it. "This is how they keep you in." He whistled. "They know you're not a lifer, so they dangle the instructor orders over your head. Shore duty."
"You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Hey," he rationalized, "maybe the universe wants to punish you by keeping you here near Lori."
Oh yeah, he was enjoying this. If the school was in California or something, who knows, maybe I would have jumped on it. As it were, I still had to decide if I wanted to stay two more years in Norfolk. There was no way I could decide this before Friday, so it looked like I was pulling out with the ship come September 1st. But it still gave me something to think about by mid November.
When that Friday rolled around, I was stuck on board with fire watch duty so I didn't get to leave the ship until 8AM Saturday morning. When I did, I went to see Bonnie. I wanted to discuss this situation with her. She was all for it. "Well, minus the being around Lori part." She surmised. "Or maybe if you do come back to be an instructor, who knows, perhaps you two will get back together."
I rolled my eyes at her on that one. "Just a thought." She concluded.
By evening, dark had fallen. I considered going out to the bar and getting sloppy ass drunk. Maybe see if I could get lucky and take my luck to a nearby motel for the night, but something pulled me back to Lori's parking lot. I sat there in the car for about thirty minutes contemplating knocking on the door. It appeared as if she was home and no strange cars were parked this far back. This is when Waylon pulled in from his long day of work. I got out of my car and walked over to him as he was getting out of his. "Jr. isn't here." He informed me. "Becky picked him up at the work site. They're spending the weekend together at her parents home."
"I didn't really come over to see him." I said. "I just ..... I don't know why I came here." I confessed.
He studied me for a moment. "You miss her, don't you?'
"Yes, Waylon, I do. I probably always will though."
He nodded his head while pulling out a smoke. "There's something you need to know." He told me. "Come with me. I'll buy you a beer."
We sat down at the bar and after our beers arrived, he started in. "How much do you know about Lori's history?"
"What do you mean?"
"I'm talking about her parents, Bernie's father."
I thought for a moment. "Well, her father died in some kind of accident, I think she said. Her mother dumped her off at an orphanage and left without a trace. Bernie's father is an ex-squid who couldn't find work and took back home to Oklahoma. That's about it I suppose."
"Uh-huh." He half grunted. "I figured she wouldn't tell you the truth."
I glanced over at him. "What is the truth, Waylon? Why don't you enlighten me?"
He started in on the bowl of beer nuts. "You don't want to know, son. The truth can be a cake covered in icing, or a bomb waiting to explode and take off half your face." Then he glanced over at me. "This is no cake and there damn sure aint no icing."
"Tell me the truth, Waylon." I spoke with a little more determination.
He studied me carefully one more time before obliging me. "Her father didn't die from no accident." He began. "He was murdered."
"Murdered?" I snapped back.
Waylon nodded his head, and took a drink of his beer. "You see, Lori's mother found out one day that her husband had a slice of pussy on the side. He'd been seeing another woman for many years. She also found out that this other woman had a son from him. That son was the same age as Lori. A few days later, Lori told her mother what daddy was doing to her when she wasn't around."
My heart started skipping beats. 'You mean?"
"That's exactly what it means. Lori was "daddy's" little girl." I sighed silently. He went on. "This sent Lori's mother over the edge. While he was at work, she gathered up Lori's things and took her to the orphanage. She already knew what she was going to do about it all. Later that night, when Lori's father, my brother, returned home, she was waiting for him in the living room with a double barrel shotgun, and pointing it right at him when he entered the house." He paused momentarily. "She emptied both barrels in his ass."
"Son of a bitch." I gasped.
"Pretty soon, the law arrived and arrested her on the spot. She was convicted and thrown into jail for the rest of her life."
"That's fucked up." I mumbled in total and complete shock.
"You're damn right it's fucked up." He concurred. "She's rotting away in an Oklahoma prison where she belongs."
"Wait a minute." I interrupted. "Oklahoma? Lori is from Oklahoma?"
He turned to look at me. "Why you think it took a few days before I found out about it and to go get her? I had to drive all the way across the damn country."
I kind of rolled that off my shoulders. "That's where Bernie's father is from." I noted. "Oklahoma."
Waylon took another drink of his beer and looked me dead in the eyes. "Who do you think Bernie's father is?"
I stared back at him. It took a few minutes for this blonde to figure it out, but once I did, my eyes lit up like a one hundred foot tall Christmas tree. "No way!"
Waylon turned back to his beer. I stumbled to my feet. I couldn't believe it. "What's the matter, son, you look a little pale."
I started walking towards the back door. My mind completely blown away, and getting more dizzy by the second. "You're crazy." I shouted out to him. Waylon got to his feet and faced me. "I thought you wanted to know the truth?" He laughed out, taking another swig from the bottle.
I stopped and turned around. I took a few steps towards him. I recomposed myself before unequivocally stating, "You're fucked up. Your whole family is fucked up. Her half brother? I'm out of here."
"You wanted the truth!" He kept laughing out loud.
I got halfway across the parking lot when I noticed Lori standing in the middle of the yard with her arms folded. She must have seen my car and came out to investigate. We practically met up at my car where I was desperately digging for my keys to unlock my door and get the hell out of there. "Carroll?" She called out.
"Don't worry," I went to put her at ease, "I'm leaving. You'll never see or hear from me again. I promise."
"It's okay." She replied. "If you came to talk, I just put on a pot of coffee."
"I don't want to talk." I told her, opening my door to slide in. "Waylon and I have talked enough already."
She glanced at the bar real quick then back at me. I closed the door and rolled down my window as I started it. "Waylon? Did he say something to you?" She wanted to know.
"He said plenty." I answered, backing out and pulling away. She chased me halfway across the lot. "Carroll, what did he say? What did Waylon tell you? Carroll!?" She screamed. I ignored her completely and got onto the road and floored the pedal.
That was some fucked up shit right there.