Nick watched where he stepped as he climbed the front steps,careful not to tread on unsafe ground. Reaching the top, hewalked to the front door. His heart began to pound in hischest, realizing he had not laid his eyes on Bonnie in nearlysix months. Had it been that long? He tried briefly to recallthe last time he had, giving up almost as soon as he started.There were more pressing issues at hand he remindedhimself as he rang the front door-bell. Nick heard the chimeof the bells inside the h ouse, eager for the moment whenBonnie actually opened the door to her savior. Wouldn't shebe surprised? Her problems disappearing from her life neverto return as long as Nick stayed with her. Yes, she wouldsurely thank him.
‘Who in God's name?' Bonnie thought as she walked downfrom upstairs the answer the door. She reached the frontdoor and peered through the window to see who was calling.She gasped as she recognized Nick as he stood on the porchshaking. Throwing the door open, she found herselfspeechless.
"I have some good news for you." Nick said breaking thesilence.
Nick Rainier was the last person that Bonnie had expected tosee on this, her supposed last night in Highland Park. He hadsuch a serious expression on his face, neither smiling orscowling. Nick did not ask to be invited inside, he simplyremained sil ent and waited for Bonnie to make the nextmove.
"Nick?" Bonnie said at last. "What brings you here?"
"I have good news."
"You know I'm leaving."
Nick stared at her before replying, "Not anymore."
"What?" Bonnie said shocked.
"I think we better have some privacy. Somewhere we cantalk more openly."
"Nick," Bonnie uttered, "you haven't changed much, haveyou?"
Grabbing the screen door, Nick opened it and began to enterthe home.
"Hold on!" Bonnie vocalized. "Before I let you in, you haveto tell me why I should."
"I have something to tell you." Nick stated plainly.
"You know Vincent will be home soon?"
"I doubt it." Nick replied.
"What?" It was like trying to pry information from thegovernment Bonnie concluded.
"We should be in private." Nick said again.
"Nick, you are acting really weird."
"I have good reason."
Bonnie watched his face for an expression that might giveher a clue to what he was referring to. It was a uselessattempt, his face remaining the unchanging mask he hadarrived on her doorstep with. Reluctantly she stepped asideand allowed him to ent er the house. She gave one last glanceto the street, hoping to see Vincent rounding the corner,before she shut the door and followed Nick into the livingroom. He was already seated on the sofa, his legs crossed anda smile pasted on his face.
"What the hell is all this about?" Bonnie asked losing hercool.
"I'm here to let you know that you're free." Nick finishedand secured the smile back on his lips.
"I'm free? What the hell does that mean?"
"It means that Vincent won't be bothering you anymore."Nick sounded proud of the fact.
Bonnie felt the fear swell within, it chocked her in disbelief."What are you saying?" Visions of Nick assaulting Vincentpermeated her senses. She saw Vincent lying on the groundreaching out towards nothing, yet he was surely reaching outfor her. The scene sickened her and strangely enticed her atthe same time. Had Nick actually dispatched of Vincent,Bonnie wondered?
"I'm saying that you don't have to worry about Vincentbeing cruel to you any longer." Nick skipped the facts,telling her only what he wanted to, and not that Vincent wasdead.
"Is he dead?" Bonnie said almost smiling. She caught herselfbefore it materialized on her lips, ashamed that the idea hadcaught her fancy.
The question was blunt, and it called for a simple answer."Yes." Nick stated, his smile disappearing.
"Did you kill him?" Bonnie interrogated him.
"Does it matter?" The conversation was not exactly going asNick had planned it. He had saw her leaping into his arms atthe mere mention that Vincent was no longer in the picture.Instead she was full of question, pretending that she actuallycared f or this man. She would still thank him, Nick toldhimself. It would be soon, after all the facts were sorted out.Yes, that was when she would recognize Nick as her savior.For now, he must play the game.
"Yeah it matters!" Bonnie shouted irritated.
"Yes I did!" Nick roared back at her. He felt ashamed that hehad let his emotions take control of his speech. He had neveryelled at Bonnie before, and now he was mortified at whathe might be transforming into.
Bonnie sat down in the chair opposite Nick. She ran herfingers through her hair, her gaze never leaving Nick. Thefact that she was sitting in the same room with a murderercrossed Bonnie's mind. It did not frighten her. She watchedthe man to try a nd glimpse the creature that was inside ofhim, the one that had the skills and the potency to take thelife of another human. Bonnie was almost enthralled. If shebelieved he had been capable of exhibiting the beast insideshe would have been captivate d. Try as she would, Bonnieonly saw Nick Rainier sitting on her sofa. He was the sameman that she had left two years ago, not a vicious killer fullof power and death.
"Why?" Bonnie wondered. It was a question of curiosity, notof remorse.
"For you." Nick answered.
"Because he was not good to you." Nick added.
"What are you saying?" Bonnie had no idea where Nick hadcome up with the idea that Vincent had not been good to her.He was more than good, giving her all she had wanted andthen some. In fact, it was her that had not been good in therelationship. She was the one that should be dead if all wasfair.
"The things he did to you!" Nick blurted. "He was disgustingand cruel to you."
"What things?" Bonnie wondered.
"No," Bonnie remarked, "I don't know. What?"
Nick struggled with the words, trying arduously to placethings collectively. He turned his head away from Bonniethen, humiliated that he was unable to vocalize the thingsthat he wanted to convey.
"What Nick?" Bonnie asked again.
"He..." he stumbled. Still unable speak what he was tryingto, Nick broke down. A tear sprang from his eye, he bowedhis head to hide the detail.
"Nick? What are you trying to say? Just spit it out."
"He beat you." Nick said incoherently.
"What?" Bonnie asked not hearing.
"He beat you." he said louder.
"Where the hell did you hear that?" Bonnie wanted to laughat what Nick had expressed. There couldn't be anythingfurther from the truth. Vincent had never even raised hisvoice at Bonnie, let alone laid a hand on her in anon-endearing way.
"You told me that he hit you." Nick said confused.
"Nick, we haven't spoken in almost two years." Bonnie triedto restrain the laughter. "I don't know how I would havetold you something like that." A slight chuckle rang fromher throat as she finished.
"You told me, I know you did."
"No." Bonnie said.
"I remember." Nick defended himself. "You told me that hewas evil. You said that he hurt you...hit you."
"Nick, I never told you those things."
"You called me!" He didn't understand how she could haveforgotten the numerous calls she had made to him over thepast two years. "You told me!"
"We haven't talked Nick." Bonnie again asserted. "Who toldyou that Vincent beat me?"
What was happening, Nick wondered? Why didn't sheremember the calls? Nick had been there for her during hertime of need. He had listened to her, sometimes for hours asshe divulged her problems. It was such a cruel maneuver byBonnie to pretend tha t she had no memory.
"Nick?" Bonnie said to him as he had drifted off intothought.
"What?" he replied upset.
"Vincent didn't beat me."
"Fine," he gave in unwilling to play her game any longer.
"God," Bonnie articulated, "I don't even know how I can beso civil to you when you barge into my house and tell methat you have just killed my boyfriend."
"I did it for you."
"So you said." Bonnie said sarcastically.
"Why are you so cruel?" Nick wondered.
"What a joke!" Bonnie bellowed. "Why am I cruel? Why didyou come here?"
"I came to tell you that I..."
"You what?" Bonnie pondered what he was trying to say.
"I came to save you." Nick stated proudly.
"What makes you think I needed saving from him?" Bonniecountered.
"Don't try and turn this around. I did what was right!" Nickdefended himself.
"Right for you." Bonnie rebutted.
"You needed help."
"Only from you!" Bonnie cried.
"You're such a thankless bitch!" Nick yelled at her. He wasinfuriated at her attempt to disregard his effort. He dideverything just for her.
"You're such a fucked up asshole!" Bonnie screamed at himas she jumped from her chair. "You haven't changed one bitin two years."
"You don't know what you're saying." Nick forced himselfto calm down. It did him no good to yell at the woman heloved. That would make him no better than the shmuckVincent, and he would not be compared to the likes of him.
"Why the hell did you come here anyway? The real reason?"
Nick didn't know how to reply. What was she insinuating?
"You came here thinking that you and I were going to getback together, didn't you?" Bonnie was repulsed by thethought, but it made perfect sense to her. The man was underthe delusion that she had continued to converse with him fortwo years after the ir split. They had not even laid eyes onone another, let alone heard each others' voice.
"Nobody will ever love you like I do." he said softly.
"That may be true Nick," Bonnie said. "There probably isn'tanyone around that is as screwed up as you either."
"Stop pretending," he directed her. "You know I did you afavor, and I only did it for us." Nick would not let her takecontrol of this conversation. Her did her a courtesy and shehadn't even bothered to take the time and thank him for it.First thi ngs first, he determined. After she thanks me, wewill iron out the rest of our differences.
"A favor?!" Bonnie thought the words were a farce. Therewas no way death should ever be considered a favor. Deathcould only be described as a loss or a defeat. "You're so fullof yourself. You are having all these delusions."
"It's no delusion what I did to save you."
Bonnie half thought about making a run for the door. Nickhad begun to scare, her with his fallacy induced state. Yet,she was still under control, and strangely fascinated by themisled condition Nick was in. She thought back to their pastrelations hip. He had always been kind to her, overly insome aspects. He had smothered her, the reason for hereventual departure from that picture. Bonnie decided therewas no reason for her to be frightened, Nick's obsessionwith her would be his imminent und oing.
"Nick," Bonnie spoke quietly, "let's not argue over what'sdone."
"You don't appreciate what I did to free you." Nick'semotions flared. "It's always like this. You didn't love him,not like you love me."
"You're right." Bonnie said deciding to swing the situationto her favor. Nick had come to be reunited, and the thoughtwas horrifying and thrilling. Love can be the collapse of apersons soul if given the possibility. Bonnie knew that shewould never be able to be with Nick as he wished, but shesurmised that she had to be careful with how she let himdown. "I've been selfish, haven't I?"
"I'd say." Nick muttered.
It had begun to turn into a game for Bonnie. The more sheplayed, the more she wondered what outcome she wasplaying to.
"So, how did you kill Vincent?" Bonnie asked.
"Just wondering." she returned.
"Gun." Nick seemed to relax now that Bonnie had calmeddown from her paroxysm.
"Do you have it with you?" she wondered.
"Where?" Bonnie wanted to see the weapon for herself.Maybe the reality of the situation would finally dawn on her.Maybe she would break down and weep for Vincent, maybeshe would not.
"In my jacket." Nick tensed in his seat, wondering why shewas so interested in the weapon.
"Can I see it?"
"No." Nick thought it bad to bring the gun out.
"Why?" Bonnie asked.
"This isn't what I had thought our conversation would go."Nick stated.
"How did you think it would go?" Bonnie took a caution steptoward Nick.
"Not like this."
"What do you want Nick?"
He sat for a moment thinking about the question. What didhe want? Had he forgotten? He didn't understand wherethings had gone awry. Why had he come here? Maybe itdidn't matter anyway, Bonnie was being civil to him now andthat meant they were almost back together.
"Nick?" Bonnie said. "What do you want?" She thought sheknew what he wanted. He desired her, the idea more invitingto her than before. Bonnie wondered what he had felt like ashe pointed the gun before him and pulled the trigger? Whathad he thoug ht as the bullet struck Vincent? Did he smile?Did he feel remorse or cheerful? Was there a moment whenhe felt he wouldn't be able to pull the trigger and what didhe feel after it was over, if anything at all? She would giveherself to him if all th e questions could be answered. Herdesire blazed inside, the idea that he had killed for her wasall too romantic when she thought about it. The real questionwas, would he be able to do it again?
"Bonnie," Nick murmured, "I only want to be with you."
"I know you do, and I can't fault you for that." Bonniegathered her wits and walked towards the man. Nick sat stillwatching her advance, unsure what to do. She was upon himin three strides, her hands reaching out to caress his face. "Iwant you to tell me what it was like."
Her hand felt like silk rubbing across his skin. Nick closedhis eyes to entirely savor the moment. Bonnie's fingersbegan to run through his hair, down the nape of his neck.Nick felt himself growing in his pant. He dreamed of thisinstant, but not knowing now what to do next.
"Tell me." Bonnie said.
"What?" Nick replied with his eyes still shut.
"What it felt like to kill a man."
"I don't know." Nick said. "I don't remember."
"You have to remember. It's not something you can forget."
"I did it for you."
"I know you did." Bonnie remarked. "But you have toremember. When you fired the gun, did it feel good?"
"Yes, I think." Nick tried to think back. He pictured Vincentas he emerged from the restaurant. He remembered gettingout of the car and following him, but the rest was hazy. Hedidn't want to recollect any of those thought. He only wantedto ba sk in the moment that was now, and the memories thatwould spring from it.
"I want you to remember Nick. I want you to tell me whatyou did."
"I followed Vincent from the restaurant and into the alley."Nick stopped as he collected his thoughts.
"Then what?" Bonnie urged, her fingers still runningthrough Nick's mane.
"Then I shot him...I guess."
"Did he see you?"
"No." Nick stated. "I don't think so."
The idea that Nick had killed Vincent in cold-cold bloodinfuriated Bonnie. Her brief infatuation with melted away.He was only the weak man that she suspected. Shootingsomebody has to take guts, but not when a man has his backto you. What must it take to look into the eyes of anotherperson and decide that you have the right to decree death.That would be the defining point to the birth of a God.Humans were made with a conscience, thus not having thecourage to kill after beholding the existen ce of the spiritthat permeated from the man. Nick did not fit into thecategory she had created. He belonged in anotherclassification altogether. That of the coward. The man thatacted out of blindness, not from his will. She withdrew herhand from his scalp, repulsed that she had her hands on him.
Nick opened his eyes to see why she had stopped her caress."What's the matter?" he asked.
"Coward!" she screamed. She swung her hand towards hisface. He ducked under the blow, jumping to his feet. Hisinstincts took control as he knocked Bonnie to the ground.Before Nick realized, he had withdrawn the gun from hiscoat pocket. He stared in disbelief that he had it pointed atBonnie as she sat on the floor looking up into his face.
"Just do it you coward." Bonnie goaded. "You have nocourage to do it."
"You just don't understand..."
"I understand you are not a man at all." Bonnie spit hervenom at Nick. "If you were a man at all, you could pull thefucking trigger!"
Why was she making him do this? Nick thought they wouldbe together, that things were going to be worked out. Helooked at the gun, beyond the sight and to the woman on thefloor. She spurred him on to prove his worth.
"Pull the fucking trigger!" she seemed to plead.
Nick's sight went blurred, seeing only dark forms that wereanimate objects. He knew he still had the gun aimed atBonnie, but her could no longer see her face. She hadn'teven been polite enough to say thank you for setting herfree. Only for you Bo nnie, Nick thought and his fingerapplied pressure to the trigger.
"For You" © June 19, 1996 Stephen Dressler