The Beach House Part 5
Brandon knew Jane was right. He didn’t want to stay here any longer than necessary at this point, but he knew leaving in the middle of the night wasn’t the best option either. None of them had slept much.
“Babe, I know it’s tough, but let’s try and get a little more sleep and we’ll leave first thing in the morning.”
The look she threw his way spoke volumes. She wanted to leave now.
He let out a deep sigh and settled back against the headboard. Their eyes held, however, not so much a battle of wills, but a resignation of commitment and love, each realizing the other’s argument had validity. Brandon opened his mouth to speak when he heard the crashing door from the next room. Instead of what he was going to say, he exclaimed, “What the hell?”
Without a word, Jane was on her feet running toward their bedroom door, Brandon not far behind.
Walking into the other bedroom was like stepping into an alternate universe, one where his good friend Walter strangled his girlfriend after a tiny squabble. He wasn’t sure if the ringing in his ears was shock and he didn’t take the time to figure it out. His world had narrowed to one thing and one thing only. He had to stop Walter.
He knew Jane was screaming for Walter to let Jen go, but it was all so far away. Seeing that her screams hadn’t even phased him, Brandon knew what had to be done and before he could think or try and talk himself out of it, he ran up to Walter and punched him as hard as he could. His punch landed somewhere on Walter’s cheek and his head snapped to one side, but his hold on Jen didn’t budge. Despite the throbbing that was already starting in his knuckles, Brandon did it again and this one connected squarely with Walter’s chin.
Walter’s eyes rolled in his head and his grip finally loosened on Jen. Brandon threw his weight into Walter and they both went hurling toward the bed.
“Walter, what the hell is wrong with you, man?” Brandon knew he was yelling, but all the sound still seemed to be coming through a filter. He was holding Walter by both shoulders, ready to throw another punch if his friend showed any signs of continued violence.
But Walter looked dazed. He shook his head and grabbed at his face, working his jaw. He finally met Brandon’s eyes and said the one thing Brandon wasn’t expecting.
“What’s going on? Why’d you hit me?”
“Are you fucking serious?” Not knowing what to think of his friend, he decided that was the least of his worries.
He looked over at Jane who was now holding Jen, rocking back and forth and crying. He shoved his friend away and scrambled over to Jen.
“Did you feel for a pulse? Is she breathing?”
“I don’t know. God, Brandon, is she okay?” Jane didn’t seem to be doing any better than he felt. Only knowing what he’d seen in movies and television, he placed two fingers on Jen’s already purpling throat and was shocked when he felt the thump-thump of her pulse against his fingers. He leaned down next to her mouth and felt small breaths coming in and out.
“She’s breathing?” Jane asked in a small, tight voice.
Finally, he looked back at Walter who was still crumbled on the floor next to the bed. He still looked dazed and confused, which pissed Brandon off.
“Walter, you’d better explain. ‘Cause right now, I’m ready to call the cops and turn you in. I don’t care how long we’ve been friends.”
Walter finally met Brandon’s eyes and then his eyes slid down to Jen. “Brandon…” His voice came out in a strangled croak. He cleared his throat and tried again. “I… I don’t know, Brandon.”
“That’s not good enough, Walter. God, do you see what you’ve done? Look at her!”
Walter looked from Brandon to Jen, the confusion never leaving his face. If anything, it intensified.
“What do you mean, Brandon? Do you mean…” He paused, his gaze finally landing on Jen and holding. “I did that?”
Brandon stared at his friend, not really sure what to say. He couldn’t even believe he was playing stupid at this point, having been caught in the act. “Walter, come off it, dude. This isn’t something you can make light of.”
Walter finally sat up and stared Brandon full in the face.
“Brandon, I swear to God, I don’t remember anything. The last thing I remember was running into the ocean. Please, you have to believe me! I didn’t do this… or… fuck… I guess I did, but it wasn’t me. I… I don’t know, man.” It’s like he couldn’t keep his hands still. He ran them through his hair, grabbed at his face, but his eyes held a pleading truth that Brandon had a hard time denying.
But he also couldn’t deny that it was Walter who had almost strangled the life out of Jen.
What the hell was going on?
First the shadow on the beach, then Walter’s weird behavior and Jane’s dream. Now this. He was silent for a few minutes, listening to Jane trying to wake Jen up with her tear-clogged voice. Finally, he stood up and started to leave the room.
“Brandon, where are you going?” Jane’s panicked voice.
“I’m going to get my phone. I don’t know about you, but this is so far outside my depth. And it’s gone too far.”
He left the room with Walter still dazed by the bed and Jane cradling Jen in her arms. He went into the next room and found his phone lying on the bedside table. When he clicked the button on the side to wake it up, the first thing he noticed was the top left corner. NO SERVICE didn’t so much stare at him as it hit him in the gut like a freight train.
Not willing to believe it, he tried to dial anyway. He punched in 9-1-1 and hit the green phone button to send the call but when he put the phone to his ear, it was silent.
The call wasn’t going to go through.
I keep making a habit out of saying I’m going to post the next part at a certain time and then I leave you all hanging. At least this time, it wasn’t a month or more. The only thing I will promise this time is that I will post more soon. This thing is getting way bigger than I imagined it would, but I’m having a fabulous time writing it. I hope you all are enjoying it.
I’ve been posting the links to the first parts of the story, but it’s just as easy to type The Beach House into the little search thing on the right side of my blog and they will all come up. It will save me having to link to each one. So, if you’re interested in reading the whole thing, feel free to go a-searching.