Posted by Barbanne on June 13, 2002 at 23:53:53:
PART TWENTY FOUR
I had decided to end it all.
I had gotten the stuff from my junkie friends.
I had made up my mind that as soon as my dancing shit was over I was coming here, back to this dump and going to take myself out. I wasn't going to Krystal's I wasn't going anywhere.
Just to hell.
I finished my last dance and walked off, naked except for a pantie thong.
It's hard to have any self respect when you're naked and you have just been catering to the lusts of people as lonely as you are.
Anyway, self respect was something from a long time ago.
I put on a tee shirt and jeans and my daggy sneakers. I went to the front door and looked out. Krystal's car was there. She always sent a guy to pick me up and bring me to my nightly stint in her mortuary. I went around to the side door and let myself out into the lane. Outside the cold hit me and I ran all the way back to my hotel room. My fifty dollar a week hotel room.
As I ran I thought about running, running with the wind in your face stirring your hair and the cold, feeling the cold and then I thought about the hurt you feel and I thought about one hour from now. One hour from now I'd be dead. Full of chemicals and dead. Never to run again. Never to feel cold and never to be hurt.
Never ever ever.
I got to the hotel and ran up the stairs. A couple of kids were zonked out on the landing.
I stuck my key in the lock and let myself in.
The light was on!
I never left the light on!
There were people in my room.
Alex and his woman! The brunette! Even more gorgeous now I had descended so far.
"Get out, get out, GET OUT!!!" I screamed.
He crossed the space between us in one movement and gripped my shoulders. I froze, rigid and stiff in his grasp.
"Do you know how hard I have looked for you?"
"Get out," I said.
Suddenly it all didn't matter any more. My muscles relaxed and I slumped against his chest.
"Go away," I whispered.
He pushed me gently into a chair. "Why did you run away Barb, why?"
I laughed, even to myself it was an ugly sound.
"Why??? You ask me why. I left because I wasn't wanted any more. Hnnn, you don't need me when you have her," I waved my hand at the brunette who was sitting gingerly on the very edge of my filthy bed.
"Barb, let me introduce you. This is my cousin Candice.............."
"I saw the way you were, cousin indeed, I saw you holding her, kissing her."
"Candice is a kissing cousin, oh gee I can't believe this, this had gotten way way out of hand."
"Barbanne." The woman spoke, a soft, cultured, kind voice, nothing like me.
I looked as surly and sullen and insolent as I could. Given my wrecked face and the black circles under my eyes I reckoned I could do a pretty good surly.
"You're worried that I would take Alex away from you?"
I said nothing, my sullen look said it all.
"Honey," she said, "Alex should be more worried that I might take you from him."
I looked up, slow comprehension dawned. She was smiling at me.
"Not interested in Alex darling."
"But, but, I thought.................."
"I've told you not to jump to conclusions Barb and what's more the news gets better."
"Candice is a fully fledged psychologist and she wants to help you."
"Help me?......she wants to help me?" I looked at her, "you want to help me?"
"Yes Barb very much so and I know I can get you over these feelings,. Oh and by the way whoever gave you that little collection of pills you were planning on doing yourself in with ripped you off. Mostly aspirin honey."
"They probably didn't want me hurting myself, stupid druggie bitches," I mumbled and then I was crying.
They had come in my big old wagon.
It took me ten seconds to collect what I wanted and leave.
It was about twelve hours drive back but no-one wanted to stay here a moment longer.
Candice drove and Alex sat beside her. I sprawled on the big back seat. I felt strange. Happy that it was over. Happy that Alex had come for me. Hatefully embarrassed that I had been as stupid as I had but still sick to the core about myself.
From childhood I had known that I wasn't wanted and could never be loved. Every now and again I would try to break out as I had at Playdead but always my own insecurity beat me, driving me back down like the worthless trash that I had been told I was.
Alex was talking about getting things back to normal at home.
I knew I couldn't go back.
Christ I probably had ai...., I couldn't say the word, couldn't even think it, but my descent into darkness had almost certainly exposed me to that scourge. I couldn't bring that to others.
I heard something Alex said and with sudden manic intensity I had to know everything and made him tell me all that had happened since I left.
Mandy and Anne were gone. Mandy had blamed Alex for my running away and she and Anne had decided to move in together and she had told Alex she no longer wanted to work at Playdead. I thought maybe I could get her back but then I wondered if I should interfere.
Judith had quit. Witnessing my outburst had tipped the tables for her and she had given up modelling.
Lynette and Peta had gone home to England.
And then a bombshell.
Jackie and Carol, those two big strong muscle girls, had been killed in a car crash north of the city on a long weekend. One of those inexplicable smashes that happen on a flat straight road. Their car ran off the road and ploughed into a tree and they were both killed outright. I thought of Carol's tatt and how much I hated it and tears flowed.
Jas and Laurise were still working but only Laurise was keen and Alex told me he hadn't seen Jas for a month.
I had wrecked Playdead.
My selfish flight had ruined everything.
I was shit!
Candice had been quiet while Alex related this tale of woe but now she said, "What will you do when we get back Barbanne?"
"I, I don't know for sure."
"I want you to come and stay with me."
I said nothing.
To Alex she said, "Don't worry I won't seduce her but I think Barb needs to spend time in her own space working things out and I can help her with that."
"That's probably a good idea. What do you think about that Barb?"
"Mmmmnnn...," Weeks of bad sleep and bad diet and crushing emotional stress had finally decided to have their revenge on me for the way I had treated my body and I slid down onto the seat and stayed unconscious for the rest of the night.
I awoke as dawn broke over the flat empty landscape through which we were travelling.
Candice was driving and she and Alex were talking together softly. I eavesdropped uashamedly. They were discussing me and Candice was saying that she would get me on some medication or other and try to find out the root cause of my emotional problems.
"OK, Candice," I thought, " a bit of psychotherapy I'll agree to that but pills, no way!"
You see my depressions come on me like someone has thrown a blanket over me and when that happens I can't shift it no matter what. But when it lifts, as it had now, it's gone and as long as I keep busy and keep my mind occupied I can stay on top and eventually it all goes away. I don't even think about it until for whatever reason there it is again. So I wasn't getting on any regimen of chemicals, not me, but I thought it would be nice to understand and defeat the fucking thing once and for all.
I sat slumped in one corner pretending to be still out while I listened to them discussing me.
Alex was really worried and I thought I owe you mate and I have to make it up some way.
Then Alex was talking about something else. He had an opportunity to get into documentary production and was talking that over with Candice. It would mean winding Playdead dot com right back or even dumping it altogether. I decided to come alive.
I snorted and moaned and sat up slowly.
"Ah she's awake," said Candice.
"Feeling better Barb?"
"Yes thanks Alex, oh I needed that sleep. I've been a real idiot and I'm so so sorry for what I've caused and I don't know how to thank you two."
"Just get better Barb."
"Thank you too Candice. You didn't have to get involved in this."
"Barb I want to and I'm determined to fix your problems. But for now are you hungry."
"Let's eat then."
We pulled into a roadhouse diner and I ate the first meal I had enjoyed in weeks.
I piddled and then washed up and combed my hair and fiddled with my face. A sniff here and there told me I stank but there was nothing I could do about that although I tried rubbing water under my arms and between my breasts.
After that the steady humming motion of the car sent me off again and I dozed until we were back in the city.
Candice dropped Alex at the Playdead warehouse and I picked up some clothes I had left there and then she drove me to her place, a small two storey terraced house on the eastern fringe of the city.
I showered, scrubbing myself over and over in water as hot as I could stand it, and then laundered my stuff and when that was done and hung out to dry I put on the only clean and dry pair of panties I could find and got into the bed Candice had told me was mine and crashed out completely.
When I came to again it was tomorrow.
Candice gave me a bottle of tablets and told me to take one a day. I smiled and said thanks and yeah.
I showered again and got dressed in my clean clothes which Candice had folded and pressed for me and while I was in the bathroom putting on a face and stuff I chucked the first pill down the dunny but told her I had taken it.
We talked some and she started probing at my problems and I said "Candice, I've nothing to hide so I'll tell you my whole sad story and you can pick out the bits that you think matter."
So I told her about a childhood as a single kid with two brilliant but cold parents and what it was like growing up with no love or physical contact other than frequent physical abuse. I had forgotten how bad that was and by the time I had (under her gentle probing) told my tale I was a mess of tears and felt a bit like my emotions were paper that had been through a shredder.
But I did feel better somehow.
She said we'd talk more and to keep taking the pills and I dared to hope that this time I might just get some normalcy into my life on a permanent basis.
Candice didn't want to push the therapy so I had time on my hands.
I went to see Julian. He had put on a new girl and while he was really nice to me I could tell he wasn't about to ask me back given the dumb act I had pulled. We promised to stay in touch but both he and I knew we wouldn't.
I looked up Mandy and Anne and we met for lunch. They were so happy, so much in love and I knew within moments that Mandy wasn't coming back to Playdead. She had moved on and so had Anne. We also promised to stay friends and this time I knew we would.
I went back to see Alex. I felt funny. I still loved him madly but it was like I had to start again.
I couldn't get physical at all.
Candice had arranged for me to take tests and give blood and I was going to have to wait awhile to find out if my wild adventure had left me with anything permanent, like death.
Apart from that I felt that I had let Alex down and I wanted him to learn to like me and then love me all over again.
We were oddly formal.
He told me that he was going to move into documentary production right away and had six months to decide what to do with Playdead. That was how long the rent was paid up on the warehouse. He asked me what I was doing and I said nothing except working through my problems with Candice and he asked would I like to look after Playdead, sort of do Mandy's old job. Would my medication allow me to do that. I said no worries with the medication and yeah I would like to do that. He said Laurise and Jas were still available.
So I became Playdead.
I rang Laurise and Jas and Larry as well. He was Ok for work if we needed him, Jas too. She was unemployed as usual and told me she'd be happy to make some money now and then. Laurise was really keen and she came over and we talked about running Playdead. We reckoned we'd need some new people and decided to try an ad in the local rag. We also decided we needed a new look and so our site, part of Playdead, was to be something new. We thought of "Dead Bangers" and "Corpse Chicks" but "Lifeless Ladies" won our votes.
So Lifeless Ladies, linked to Playdead we would be.
Our ad turned up four people on the one day.
Two girls called Sharlene and Veronica. When they walked in my jaw dropped. Two goth tweenies, that's what they looked like. Under scads of mostly black makeup I was sure I was looking at a couple of schoolgirls. I queried their age and they both produced stuff to show they were eighteen (Sharlene) and nineteen. (Veronica) The drivers licences looked to me like proof positive but I still wondered. They were both slender brunettes but obviously didn't mind making themselves up to become anything else. Neither was ravishing but they were both average pretty and when I explained what "Lifeless Ladies" was looking for they jumped at it. I soon realised that together they were fun and best of all they were inveterate gigglers. So am I and before our first interview was over we were all giggling at the drop of a hat. (so to speak)
While Sharlene and Veronica were still there another girl showed up. Her name was Sherilee and she was about thirty and about my height with longish brunette hair and big brown eyes and a very full mouth, small breasted and sort of petite but with a ripely developed woman's body. Her nose was way too big and sort of prominent and she had a lop sided look, but when she smiled she was like beautiful and she laughed easily and had no problem with the idea of being a lifeless lady and when I introduced her to the goth duo it took only moments before we were all trying to outdo each other with bs stories and having a reaf giggle fest.
Laurise came down mid morning and helped me with some test shots and all five of us tittered and cackled our way through that.
The youngies had thin, very youthful bodies and I had to ask to see those drivers licences again but there they were smiling at me from documents that confirmed they were eighteen and nineteen respectively.
Sherilee tested fantastic and I just knew her slimly lush body was going to be the big star of Lifeless Ladies. I also realised that my weakness for an attraction to my own sex was not completely gone and that I was going to have to be truly professional with Sherilee.
I looked up to where Alex no longer was and thought "I'm trying my darling. I'm really trying to be the professional you want but oh my darling I am a weak, weak, weak woman.
We set up dates for all three girls and they left.
After lunch the fourth applicant turned up. His name was Dave and he had come in answer to the part of our ad that asked for a photographer. With Alex gone to his new career and me wanting to do a lot more modelling Laurise and I had decided to try for another person to operate our cameras. He was amateur and unemployed but the portfolio he had with him convinced me he was good, really good. I explained what I wanted him to shoot and he blushed but said, "Pictures are pictures and you're the boss Barbanne so I'll let you worry about the subject matter and I'll just make the very best pictures I can." He and I looked at our lighting setup and he admired what I had done but offered some suggestions and I was happy to confess that he was way better than me and I offered him our terms which I thought a bit weedy but he jumped at it.
He was a thirtyish, quiet guy, a bit shy I think, very good looking and I thought working with him would be fabulous. I hid from myself the fact that he was also very attractive to me.
Despite my rather naughty feelings about two of my new workmates my mind spent most of its time on the problem of rebuilding my relationship with Alex who remained the one person who really held my heart strings in his big gentle hands.
I was still waiting for the results of my tests and had been up front about that with Alex.
So sex was out.
I worked through my therapy sessions with Candice and then waited with a tight chest and flippy tummy for Alex to come home every evening and used all my skills to cook yummy meals for us and couldn't get enough of him when he was there. I realised that he was right and that I had to adopt a more pragmatic, less selfish and increasingly professional approach to running Playdead and I knew I had to do that because I wanted desperately to succeed.
I hugged him and he held me and I hoped and hoped that everything would be alright.