The Fall Girl – Prelude


Quentin Tarantino is a genius in my opinion. If Kill Bill does not properly demonstrate his creative dexterity, I don’t know what does. (Though I am wondering how Django Unchained will turn out; damn right I’m gonna see it!) The allure of Kill Bill, in my opinion, lies in the tale of Beatrix Kiddo, the Bride. That first image of her lying on the ground, panting and bloody, coupled with the polarity of her at the end, still panting and bloody but stronger now, piques the mind of a girl like me. I can only wish to create a character as compelling as the one Uma Thurman brought to life.

Kill Bill entered my life in 2003 when I was a freshman in college and dating a man who was nearly a decade older than I was. He was my first in everything. I was young. I loved him.

So you can guess I was pissed when I found out he was cheating on me. Bastard! oh well.

So I did what any nerd girl writer who has been jilted would do. I wrote a story about it. Fictional but inspired by actual events. Like to hear it? Hear it go!

_____________

Prelude

The pain she felt was like oppression. It tied down her every muscle, every tendon, and it felt like a thousand agonies when she turned and lifted her head to look at her assailant. The smug look in his brown eyes—brown eyes could at one time stare into endlessly and thought were beautiful—burned some of that pain away as adrenaline made its healing track through her veins.

She was down right now, being held down by one of her assailant’s henchmen, but she wasn’t going to stay down. It wasn’t her way.

It had been a strange set of events that had landed her at this moment. One night, she’d stumbled upon the indiscretions this same man standing over her with a gun in his only hand. He had been cheating on her for several months, and when she had tried to show her disapproval in a more physical manner (by kicking his ass), his bodyguards had surfaced to remove her from scene. In the attempt to shake her down, they were accosted by two guys and a curly-haired brunette who kicked their beefy, overpaid and pampered asses. For their good deed, she found herself repaying the deed by becoming a domestic in the infamous Munsey House. Before she had realized what she was doing, she had ended up inadvertently making friends with some of her deceitful ex-boyfriend’s mortal enemies. Not to mention living in the spacious mansion of one.

It was a small world, after all.

But her experiences there were not without their lessons. Karate lessons, to be precise. By day, she picked up after a man she hardly saw in the light of day without incident and his baby sister, who had become her best friend. And by night, she strengthened her body and mind with martial arts. It didn’t take long before the idea of revenge blossomed in her head. (Too bad she hadn’t read the disclaimer about the consequences. Would have helped, wouldn’t it?)

“So you thought that you were going to drop in here like some kind of fucking superhero and beat me didn’t you?” he asked, his voice echoing throughout the high-ceilinged room. Her nostrils flared out of anger, but she didn’t answer. She didn’t feel like dignifying that with an answer—which was enough for him. He cackled and stepped around her. He’s really getting off on this beating me down and shit, she mused. She glared at his pricey leather loafers spotted with blood and tried not to think about whose blood that was. Fucker.

As if he could read her ill thoughts about him, he placed his foot deliberately on her flattened hand. She heard the crush and crackle of her own bones and thought of something else to avenge.

“Leave her alone!” cried the girl tied up in the chair behind him. The reason why she was here. She tried not to look at the blonde because the bruises and cuts on her beautiful face would have angered her past any rational thought. And she had to keep her head in the game as much as she could. “You’ve hurt her enough.”

As if the young blonde with the large blue eyes in bondage were a mere fly skimming across his coveted morning cup of Maxwell House coffee, he flicked a hand at one of his associates. Her indignant cries were soon silenced with duct tape. Anger burned in her belly at the sound of the blonde struggling against the rope and tape. She added that to the list of things he would surely pay for.

Once that little irritation was taken care of, he looked down at her and continued speaking in that same impudent tone.

“I must say, I didn’t think you were capable of even getting in here,” he admitted as he paced around her body. “You were never known for your fighting skills. Always were a scaredy cat.” He tapped his chin pensively with the tip of the gun barrel. “I guess you’ve changed it up a little. But not enough to beat me, baby.”

Goddamn. He called her baby. He had some nerve. But that was the kind of smart-ass thing he was famous for. “You forgot,” she said in a deep, husky voice that shocked herself and dimly made her think of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, “we fought before and it didn’t have such a favorable outcome for you.” She mustered up some buried defiance and smugness of her own. “You’re still missing a hand, aren’t you?”

Above her head somewhere, she heard someone snicker in the silence that had fallen. Her lips curved at that sound. She heard his yells for quiet and the sound of a fist making contact on flesh. Rapid footsteps echoed around her then she felt the toe of his shoe in her ribs. She gritted her teeth against the pain as it assaulted her body again. Instead of focusing on the pain, she fixated on the triumph of it. She’d wounded him without lifting a finger and he’d lashed out at her because of it. Sticks and stones her newly toned ass.

“Shut up!” he yelled at her tense, prostrate form. “You shut up before I kick you again.”

“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” she inquired, listening to his heavy breaths as she rode on her triumph. Prudence told her to stay quiet and bide her time until the others made it there, but her mouth ran on despite itself. Come on cavalry! Anytime now… “I may be down on the ground here about to die but you’ll live on with the knowledge that I amputated you. I made you a cripple with a mere flick of my wrist. I cut off your calculating, cheating, fornicating right hand—and it felt so fucking good.”

“It’s not going to feel good when I kill you, you can be sure of that,” he spat at her. “That motherfucker Mark Munsey is going to regret the day he sent you after me, bitch.”

“Mark has nothing to do with this,” she said firmly. “So putting him into the middle is not going to justify what you’re doing.”

He chuckled sardonically at her statement. “Oh don’t even go there. You’re a tool to him, just as much as the women he plays with on a daily basis.” At that, the blonde tried to refute the claims about her big brother, but they only came out as a string of intelligible, muffled words. A nudge with a semiautomatic had her going quiet. “He used you to get back at me because you are too easily manipulated to think for yourself. You were a tool that fell right into his hands. You mean shit to him.”

Even though she knew intellectually that he only spoke those words to get under her skin, the possibility of the veracity in them burned her. She thought of the seemingly unflappable, sometimes aloof, and shrewd young man in question and found that she didn’t know what he was capable of. And that one fact almost loosened her grip on everything she’d built during the past several months. Hastily, she pushed it aside, knowing that it was best handled later when she got prove it herself. She would make sure that there was a later, somehow.

“Oh look,” he said, tone mocking. “It looks like I’ve shut her up.”

“Say what you want about him,” she found herself saying, “but at least he’s honorable enough not to make me promises he knows he can’t keep. As I recall, that was a bit of a problem with you.”

“Comparing me with that asshole is not going to wound me.”

She couldn’t help it. She had to say it. “Well, there’s that and then the fact that he’s still got both hands.”

In response to that little fleshy barb, he dug the toe of his shoe into her hurt ribs, flashing a feral smile as she tensed in her effort not to show her pain. He tilted his head thoughtfully. “I think we oughta send him a package for his efforts, don’t you think?” His brown orbs gleamed with malice and she could see the intent in them. “Every good deed should have its reward.”

“It’s the golden rule,” she murmured. “And so then you’ll get yours. Be sure of it.”

He shoved her onto her back so that she stared up into his face. The sudden movement had her taking a sharply indrawn breath. A part of her realized at that moment that her own death was imminent, but the rest of her didn’t care. Death did not scare her. The only thing that infuriated now was not Death—it would not be culpable. No—this bastard would be at fault for bringing her to Death.

“No,” he corrected her arrogantly. “You are gonna get yours.” He aimed the gun at her head and the blonde’s muffled screams of protest pierced the air. “You’re gonna die knowing I bested you. Fuck my right hand. I got the last laugh. Good night, bitch.”

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RSA – “Payback”

Apologies for the delay, folks! Yesterday happened to be the longest day in creation–or at least it seemed that way. Full steam from 5:00 a.m. to nearly 11:00 p.m. It’s any wonder I am up right now composing this thirteen hours later and with two hours of sleep…oh well!

Anyhow, this is another installment from the Recon Specialist Agency. I wrote this one a little before my birthday this year; Zora and I share similar sentiments about birthdays. Sadly I was stuck in bed on the day of my birth–stupid sinus infection. I think at some point you’ll see Zora doing the same thing to John…that’s going to be a blast to write 🙂

I am planning a meeting with my “panel” so you might get some John/Zora backstory–I can’t wait to see what results from that…

_____

 

Prelude

 

She stood in a defensive stance, hands crossed over her chest. Her voice was filled with ice as sharp as her stilettos when she spoke. “You rang?”

He flicked a glance at her as he tweaked the circuitry in his new invention. “End that with Master.”

She fumed. “Leave me alone, J. I am not in the mood.”

The dark-haired man sitting behind the desk in jeans and a blazer over a T-shirt that proclaimed, Warning, If Zombies Chase Us, I Am Tripping You raised an eyebrow as he put his current project aside. “You’ve been acting like more of a bitch than usual. I just wanted to know what was wrong.”

She beaned him with a glare. “Yeah, I’m on my period, Neanderthal.”

That got the desired wince out of him. He hated blood. She smiled. Fractionally. After a moment, he frowned at her. “No you’re not. There wasn’t any blood on my sheets this morning.”

That earned another glare. “I wasn’t even in your bed this morning, John. It must have been one of your backup hoes that you’re mixing me up with. And I oughta kick your ass for that.”

He guffawed. “The hell? I don’t let those dirty hoes in my bed. Those sheets are freakin’ Egyptian.” She cocked an eyebrow. “You’re supposed to laugh right there. It was a joke.”

“Yeah ‘cause the thought of you having hoes with your dorky ass is hilarious,” she quipped with an ungraceful snort. After her mirth passed, she griped, “Could we get this over with? You know how it looks when you call me in here like this.”

He rolled his eyes. “It’s not like I could bend you over the desk. Tends to be hard with the glass walls.”

“Like that would stop you.” He smirked. Yeah it wouldn’t. “Pervert.”

“I am trying to be serious here. Show some concern over you.” The more he stared at her, the less angry she became. In fact, she was starting to…fidget. “Is something going on that I should know about?”

“No. Not at all.” 

Insert bland stare here. “Don’t lie to me. I can make your life hell for lying to me. You’ve been treating everyone like shit for like a month, and Stella says you nearly killed Drake in the sparring ring with the new prototype I made for you. I know you want to be some badass vagina, but you will show some restraint with my inventions under my roof. Your coworkers are not sparring droids.”

Blink, blink. She put a hand to her chest. “Are you…scolding me, J?”

He leveled the sternest look he could manage upon her. “I am. And stop calling me J. The name is Andy.”

Pause. She guffawed so loud that the glass walls quivered. His face fell in complete shock. He watched as she stumbled to the door and let herself out, laughing so hard everyone turned to look at her, then at their esteemed boss, who looked like he had been poleaxed.

As the troops returned to their work, he could all but taste the acrid tang of mutiny in the air.

She was going to pay for that one.

 

 

I
That evening

 

“That bitch has no respect,” John groused into his glass of Guinness. “No respect at all.”

The Friday evening din at their regular bar nearly overshadowed their meager conversation and John had to raise his voice to be heard. Edward Dean, better known as Eddie, took a swig of his own beer. Beside him, Stella Stevens enjoyed a nice glass of wine and raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at their friend who seemed irritatingly angst-ridden and Rodney Dangerfield-esque for the evening.

“Yeah, I heard she was laughing her ass off when she left,” Stella said. “What did you say to her?” John told her. “And she laughed at that?” She shook her head in disbelief. “That bitch has balls.”

“Well, it doesn’t help Andy lets her get away with murder,” Eddie remarked. That earned a glare from John. “She’s a good recon agent with awesome instincts, but she has an insolent streak—one that Andy indulges.”

“I do not!” John protested. Eddie just gave him a bland stare. “I reprimand her on a regular basis. She has the wrong idea that she’s special or something, and there is nothing special about her.”

Eddie opened his mouth to say something, but Stella sent him a hard look. They weren’t supposed to know that tiny piece of information that John didn’t want them to know—and they weren’t going to reveal their knowing anytime soon. Eddie pursed his lips together and spoke on a slightly different course—one that wouldn’t get him in trouble with his best friend.

“Someone told me that she was having some kind of dinner party at her house tonight,” Eddie revealed.

“A dinner party?” John frowned. “Why is she having a dinner party?” And why wasn’t I invited?

“Word on the street is that it’s a special occasion.” Stella tapped her wineglass with a nail. “Apparently, it’s her birthday.” John’s face went slack with shock. How could he not have known this? “Maybe you should put in an appearance and score some cake and show her who’s boss.”

“Maybe that isn’t a good idea,” Eddie said primly.

Stella scoffed. “Like hell. I think it’s a brilliant one. That’s what she gets for not respecting his authority. After this, she won’t have any choice but to respect him.”

“Yeah, but there are better ways to set someone straight. Especially since he’s had like five beers since we got here. He’s gonna do something stupid and get in trouble.”

Stella looked at John with hawk eyes. “Andy, can you walk in a straight line?”

John shrugged. “I mean, probably.” He drained his glass.

Eddie shook his head. “I don’t believe it. He’s lying.” He watched as John took out his wallet. “You’re not going to Zora’s house to embarrass her. Leave it alone, Andy. Dock her pay or something. Or fire her.”

“No,” John disagreed, throwing a bill on the table. “Stella’s right. She messes with my reputation, I mess with hers.” He replaced his wallet and stalked off, a plan formulating in his head.

“Make sure to get it on video!” Stella called after him. Eddie gave her a reproachful look and she merely tossed her luxurious hair over her shoulder in a gesture of defiance.

 

 

Meanwhile…

 

So yes, if you were wondering, something was up with Zora Scott.

If you were to ask, she would shrug and say nothing or mind your own damn business. If you were John Anderson Leath asking, she would lie and say she was on her period. (That usually worked, but it was becoming a bit trite.) But if anyone at the Recon Specialist Agency had been paying attention, they would have noticed Zora’s attitude worsening in a crescendo. And today was the accent note.

It was the middle of July. For most, this particular block of the year meant nothing more than time spent poolside with a bimini. For Zora Neale Scott, it was a dreaded time—her birthday.

Unlike her contemporaries, the coming of her birthday brought dismay, not excitement. A day where she was the spotlight, the center of attention. A day where she was the butt of getting-old jokes, the recipient of too-sweet cake and sloppy kisses from relatives.

She would’ve taken a month-long sojourn to Spain if it wouldn’t have sent up red flags to the wrong people.

She stood in her kitchen, flushed in the face and wishing for a sleeping pill, and checked on the asparagus that her mother was cooking on the stovetop. She was antsy, wanting to do something to keep her mind off of her impending doom. She knew there was frosted angel food somewhere. She just wasn’t able to find it.

Zanelle Scott, her big sister, sauntered into the kitchen then. The air about her was decidedly smug. Zora couldn’t blame her. It wasn’t her birthday again—not for another six months.

“Having fun, sister boo?” Zanelle teased.

Zora grumbled. “I think an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would be better than this.” Before Zanelle could comment, her doorbell rang. She sighed. “It’s my house, I’ll get it.”

“Who knows? It could be a birthday surprise.”

Zora smirked. “Only if it’s Henry Cavill in a Speedo would it be a worthy birthday surprise.”

It was a shame, she thought later, that it was not Henry Cavill standing on her doorstep. In fact, she would have taken any alternative over what was actually there.

Zora could do nothing but gape.

“Guess who’s here for dinner?” John Anderson Leath declared, holding up two bottles like award statues.

The gape turned into a glare. And she slammed the door in his face.

A second passed. The doorbell rang again. Zora growled.

Mama Scott frowned as she came around the corner, hearing the sound of the bell. “Zora, aren’t you going to answer the door?”

Zora grumbled something under her breath that was best left unheard. Grudgingly she opened the door again. John was still standing there grinning like a serial killer. Without preamble, a curly-haired streak came zipping out of the living room and ran into John. Thrown off balance—and drunk to boot, he stumbled and fell off of the porch.

A moment later, a woman with light brown hair appeared, slate-green eyes wide as she took in the scene. “Leila?!”

The pretty child grinned impishly at her mama. “Look, Mama! He hurt himself. I should help him.”

Zora grinned, too, but malice was in her eyes. “Yes sweet pea, you can help him all you want.”

Embarrassed, Leila’s mother ushered her to the bathroom to wash her hands for dinner. John appeared then, brandishing unbroken bottles. “No need,” he assured them. “I am quite all right.” He gave Zora a pointed look. “I decided to stop by and check out your dinner party since you mentioned it.”

Zora, smile fixed in place, said through her teeth, “I don’t recall mentioning it to you.”

“Word travels.” He grinned at Mama Scott. “You must be Zora’s mother. Wonderful to finally meet you.”

Mama Scott, who was well versed in the art of politeness, responded, “Yes…and you are, again?”

“John Anderson Leath,” John introduced himself. “But you can call me Andy. Zora works for me.”

A male voice radiated from the kitchen. “That’s the sonofabitch who nearly got her arrested and killed.”

Zora sighed, not wanting to be reminded of Nathaniel Cole’s debauchery (especially in front of her mother who was given a watered-down version that didn’t supply names—including John Anderson Leath). “Could we not talk about that?”

Winston Monroe, dishtowel in hand, stuck his head out of the kitchen. “If that asshole is here, we will be talking about it if I got something to say about it.”

“Winston,” Mama Scott admonished. Winston disappeared back into the kitchen, muttering irritably under his breath. Curious—and a mite suspicious—she turned to John. “Dinner is almost ready. We were just about to sit down if you would like to join us.”

Zanelle appeared and took the wine bottles. “I mean, he brought liquor so I’m down.”

John grinned that creepy serial killer smile again. “Yes, I would be happy to.” He wrapped an arm around Zora’s shoulders. “Give me the spot next to this one.”

Zora tried to smile, but it looked like she was going to attack instead.

 

 At the dinner table…

 Mama Scott was shrewd enough to seat Zora inbetween Winston and her little sister Zandra, who sullenly picked through her dinner. She wasn’t sure about this person who had shown up on her daughter’s doorstep, so she placed him at the other end of the table where she could look him in the eye. Zanelle sat across from her little sister Zandra while ZJ, their baby brother had the spot to John’s right. Faye and Leila sat next to Mama Scott.

“This is a lovely dinner,” John remarked. “I don’t think I’ve ever had asparagus this good.”

“If I’d’ve know you were coming I woulda put cyanide in it,” Winston muttered. Zora nudged him not-too-subtly. Zandra snickered.

“I don’t like asparagus,” ZJ remarked. “You can have mine if you want.”

“No he cannot,” Mama Scott said sternly. ZJ deflated. “So what is it that you do?” Zora’s mother asked John, a dubious note to her voice. “Zora has never…mentioned you.”

Zora squirmed under her mother’s heavy gaze.

John considered this a humming moment. In the silence, utensils clanked on plates. He gave a long explanation about what he did for his father’s company, making it comprehensible to his audience. Zanelle sipped wine and looked intrigued.

He paused for effect while he cut a bite of steak as the others processed this. “Oh yeah. And I’m also screwing your daughter.” The grin he wore after this explanation punctuated it perfectly.

Crickets. Zora’s eyes nearly exploded.

Sensing her will to maim, Zandra slid the knife away from her sister. Shaking his head, Winston slid it back.

Frowning, ZJ turned to John. “But Zora is not a nail! How would you screw her?”

“Yeah how?” added little Leila.

Zanelle choked on her rice. Zora snapped out of her stupor and stood. She reached out and grabbed John by his collar as her mother told her to calm down. Faye was admonishing her own child as she told Zora, “Stop being so mean to him!”

“Outside, now!” Zora snapped as she dragged him out by the collar. There was a lot of cursing and banging. Faye sighed and covered her daughter’s ears.

“If you kill his ass, I got shovels!” Winston called after her. Mama Scott gave him a reproachful look. He merely shrugged and ate his asparagus.

 

 

Outside…

 

“You motherfucking asshole!” Zora ranted. “I ought to take your testicles with my bare hands!”

John faced her calmly with his hands over his chest. “Problem, babe?”

Zora’s response sounded like the jagged lovechild of a scream and a growl. John just stared serenely.

“How dare you come into my house and make me out to be some sort of fornicating whore? And in front of my mother? My little brother and my goddaughter?”

Silence.

“Payback’s a bitch ain’t it?” John asked.

Zora’s eyes nearly exploded again.

“Payback?” Zora spat. “You came here on my birthday to embarrass me for payback?!” Fed up, she struck out with a fist and clipped him on the temple. He caught her fist before it could do anymore damage.

“Yes, I did,” John answered testily. “And to teach you a lesson. You need to show me some respect, Zora. You may be…I mean, we may be…”

“Screwing each other?” Zora offered blandly.

“Yeah, whatever,” John resumed hastily. “But that doesn’t mean that you can walk all over me when we’re at work. I’m the boss, you know. And how my workers regard me assures whether or not they trust me to lead them. When you undermine my authority, it makes me look like a bullshit leader.”

Zora groaned, her anger draining. “Dammit…”

He released her hand. “You see that I’m right, don’t you?”

“You’re not wrong,” Zora contended. “But you’re not right either.” She placed her hands on her hips. “You can’t walk all over me either, John. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you can put footprints on my back. Respect is mutual.”

“I guess you’re not wrong either,” John admitted grudgingly. “Maybe we both need to work at it.”

“Damn straight.” She glanced at her front door. “But in the meantime, you need to go apologize to my mama before she gets the edge weapons.”

 

 

That Monday…

The agents and scientists of the RSA gathered in the conference room Monday morning. There was a distinct buzz in the air. All eyes were on Andy Leath and Zora Scott. Everyone wondered what they would say or do next.

The answer came when, in the middle of a tech briefing, John lifted his head and said, “Ms. Scott?”

Everyone looked to Zora.

Zora looked at him calmly. “Yes, Andy?”

“Could you get me a coffee please?”

The group barely managed to stifle a gasp. Oh shit! What was going to happen next? Was she going to issue a fuck you, get it yourself or pour the hot liquid on his lap or atop his head?

With rapt attention, the employees watched as Zora rose and smoothly retrieved his coffee. She held it for a moment, standing over him. Ah, this is it! they all thought.

They were disappointed when Zora merely handed it to him.

After he took a sip, she asked, “Is it satisfactory, sir?”

“Indeed,” he replied, and she regained her seat.

There was a change in the air then. John Anderson Leath had regained his greatness, and yes it felt so good.

John grinned into his cup. “Result,” he murmured.