This is the first of my writing to be created into a movie. The Death of Kevin Frye was filmed in 2009.
Victor did not see the stalker again and by the time the week of Christmas arrived, the incident seemed less important.
On the evening of their departure, Victor walked Jazz to her car. “Are you packed and ready to go?”
“Yeah, I just have to put my stuff in your car. I’ve been really looking forward to this. I’m glad you’re coming.”
“I’ll come by to pick you up in an hour. There’s a few things I need to do first, one of which is take a shower.”
“I was thinking of a shower myself.”
“I’ll see you in an hour.”
“Okay.” Jazz got in her car and drove home. He watched her a few minutes.
It was six when they left her apartment. They picked up a quick burger on the way out of town and were soon passing over the highway. It was a long, uneventful trip, but Victor’s little car and their companionship made the trip enjoyable. They reached her parents two story Tudor house by mid afternoon on Christmas Eve.
They got out of the car, and Jazz ran into the house adorned with homey Christmas decorations, pulling Victor along with her. She called her parents who came out of a side room. Mike, a well built man with receding dark hairline, and Jillian, a small woman with red hair came hugging their daughter as soon as they saw her.
“Jazz, you’re as beautiful as always,” her mother said giving her daughter another hug.
“How’s my baby girl?” her dad asked.
Jazz pulled Victor next to her, “I’ve missed you both so much! Mom, Dad, this is Victor. Victor, this is my mom and dad, Jillian and Mike.” Jillian gave Victor an unexpected hug, while Mike gave him a firm handshake.
“We’re both so glad you came to spend Christmas with us. No one should spend the holidays alone.” Jillian said with a warm smile.
“And we’re grateful that you came with Jazz. She shouldn’t be driving all this way by herself.” her dad added.
Jazz laughed, “Didn’t I tell you? Mom and Dad don’t like it when I drive by myself.”
Mike shook his head at his daughter and laughed, “You’ve always had your own mind about things, Jazzy. Come on Victor. I’ll help you unload the car.” Mike led Victor away. Jazz went with her mother.
“So how was the trip?” Jillian asked her daughter as they walked into the kitchen. Jazz immediately sat down and started cutting apples on the small table in the middle of the kitchen, as decorated for the holidays as the rest of the house.
“It was fine. I slept a lot of the way.” Jazz replied, catching her Mother’s eyebrows raise, a sure sign of worry, “I wasn’t afraid he’d do anything. We’ve been seeing each other as friends since before Thanksgiving. He did try to kiss me on our first date, but I wouldn’t let him. He hasn’t tried since.”
“I’ll bet not. I’m surprised he didn’t stop asking you out after that. What happened?”
Jazz smiled, “He felt really bad, but he asked me to spend the next day with him at a holiday festival in the park. I guess he probably wouldn’t have asked me out again if I’d have said no. We had a nice time and went to church together that Sunday.”
“So you guys have been going out a lot?”
“Just about every evening and most weekends. I really do like him.”
‘That’s nice,” Jillian smiled at her daughter, “but be careful. It’s the chivalrous ones you have to watch out for. What’s his relationship with God like?”
“He has a lot of questions,” Jazz replied carefully. She could feel her face turn red, and hoped her mother wouldn’t notice or ask any more questions.
“Does that mean he isn’t a Christian?”
Jazz avoided her mom’s eyes. She should have known her mother would ask. “He’s interested.”
Jillian placed her hand on her daughter’s shoulder, “Interested in you or Christianity? Jazz, all your life we’ve stressed to you the importance of loving and marrying a person who believes the way you do. I can’t choose your spouse for you. I just want you to be aware of the difficulties you might face married to someone who doesn’t have the same faith, or someone who doesn’t have faith.”
“Thanks Mom. I’ll be careful, but we’re not talking marriage or anything like that.”
“You guys might not be thinking of marriage, but dating is the precursor, whether it’s Victor or anyone else.”
“I know Mom, but don’t worry. You’ve raised me well.”
Jillian smiled and kissed her daughter. Dinner was almost ready. They called Mike and Victor to the table, and enjoyed a nice family meal together. Victor was surprised at the family traditions they kept, and realized how much he’d missed growing up.
After dinner, Jazz took him to the room he’d be staying in. “So, through there is the bathroom. There should be towels in the cabinet, but if you need anything, don’t be shy.”
“Thanks.” he looked around. A sudden realization came over him, “Hey, this is your bedroom?”
“It was. Sorry it’s so girly.”
“Where are you going to sleep?”
“We have a futon downstairs in the office.”
“What? No! Jazz you should let me sleep there.”
“Don’t be silly. You’re our guest.”
“No, don’t argue with me. Please, do this, for me.”
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I know all this was a bit overwhelming. You handled it great.”
“Was I that obvious?”
“Don’t be. Well, I’m going back down. Do you need anything before I go?”
“Yes, but you won’t give it to me.”
“You are persistent. I’ll give you that.”
She held him closer, “You’ll get your kiss, just not tonight.”
“Then I guess I can wait.” He responded, kissing her on the forehead, “I’m certain it will be worth it.”
She left him and went to the kitchen where she found her mother cleaning up after dinner. Piano music could be heard softly playing in the living room.
“Here, Mom. Let me help.” Jazz said as she walked into the kitchen.
“Don’t worry about it sweetie. I’m almost finished. Besides, it’s been a long day for you, too. Why don’t you go ahead and go to bed.”
“I am kind of tired. Maybe I should. I think I’ll say goodnight to Dad first. Night Mom.”
She wandered to the living room, stopping a moment as she watched her dad play the piano softly, unaware that she was there. The music brought back the joy of her childhood that always stole over her when she heard him play. She walked to the piano and leaned on it, listening.
Finally she spoke, “Hi daddy.”
“Dinner was good; wasn’t it?”
“Mmhmm.” He replied absently.
“So, what do you think of Victor?”
“I’m glad you asked. I’ve been wanting to talk to you.” He invited her to sit beside him on the piano stool. She gladly accepted. How many times had they sat together there? She wondered to herself.
“Do you love him Jazzy-Rose?”
“I think so, Dad.”
“How well do you know him?”
“We’ve worked together about a year. He’s real quiet, but I think I know him pretty well.”
“Yes, but how well is pretty well? Do you know his past?”
“No, not really Dad. He said he used to be the head exterminator for a big company. He specialized in rats. Why do you ask? Don’t you like him?”
“I think I do. I think I’d like him much more if he wasn’t dating you, girl”
“It’s because I’m your daughter.” Jazz grinned at her dad. He laughed.
“Maybe so. Does he love the Lord Jazzy?”
“Mom asked me that too. He’s interested Dad.”
“It’s important to have a relationship with a man who is strong in the Lord. It’s hard on both of you if you aren’t in the same camp.”
“I know Dad, don’t worry. He’s been going to church with me.”
“Okay, Jazz, but there’s something about him that’s not quite right. He’s a wary man. Wary men often have reason to be wary.”
“How well did Mom know you before you started dating?”
“Not well,” Mr. Phelps smiled, “good point as usual Jazzy. But be careful. I want you to be just as wary as he is.”
“I will, I promise.”
“Okay, I trust you girl. Why don’t you go and get some rest. You look wiped.”
“Okay. I feel wiped.”
Jazz hugged and kissed her dad, “Thanks,” she said.
Late at night Victor tossed in the bed that had been Jazz’s. After sleeping for awhile, a gnawing worry came over him, awakening him. By the lack of noises downstairs, Victor could tell everyone was asleep. He glanced at the clock; it read 2 a.m. He laid on his back awhile, staring at the ceiling. Nothing could ease his troubled, tortured soul. Finally he arose, flicked on the light and looked around the room.
At the foot of the bed, a chest on which several old cookie tins, hatboxes and stuffed animals sat. Curiosity pulled him to open the drawers and look inside. Methodically he glanced at several items, until he came across a green ring box. He opened it. Inside was an unadorned silver ring with the simple inscription, “Fear Not” etched inside. After a moment’s examination, he buried the ring in his suitcase. Something about the inscription spoke to him, calming him. He went back to bed and fell asleep until Jazz tapped on the door to call him for breakfast and to get ready for church.
At the Phelps’ church, Victor felt as anxious and uneasy as he’d expected to feel at Jazz’s church that first Sunday. His discomfort must have been apparent, because Jazz, always ready to calm him, reached over to squeeze his hand. Noticing several men with their arms around their wives shoulders’, he felt comfortable putting his arm on Jazz’s. She patted his knee, then whispered, It’s okay. I’m uncomfortable here, too.”
“Really?” he whispered back.
“Really,” she smiled.
After church, they returned to her parents’ home, and exchanged gifts. Afterwards they had their Christmas dinner. Victor was amazed at the variety of food with a golden turkey, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, yams, and stuffing, all blending together in a cacophony of aromas.
They joined hands and bowed their heads, Mr. Phelps prayed, “Father, today we thank you for the special meaning of Christmas, Jesus birth, so that ultimately he could become the Savior of us all. Thank you for this dinner and bless each person here. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Hot and heavy food dishes began to be passed. Victor could almost forget who he really was in the general merriment of the family gathering. Mike and Jillian discussed the sermon. Jazz and her parents warmed Victor with their acceptance.
After dinner and clean up, he and Jazz took a walk along a path through the cypress trees smelling of Christmas in the humid December air. After walking for a few minutes Jazz stopped Victor and handed him a small package. “I have something for you.”
He opened the box slowly. Looking inside he found a glass peacock roosting in a glass tree planted on a polished cherry wood base. “You gave me the bird,” she whispered, “so I thought I’d give you the bird too.” Victor shook his head at her, giving her the satisfaction of a rare laugh.
“It’s always good to hear you laugh like that. I think I’m a good influence on you.”
“What is it you see in me Jazz?”
“That’s difficult to say. You’re a complex man. I think what first got my attention was your attention to me. You’ve always been nice. I did get impatient with you though. I was beginning to think you’d never ask me out.” Jazz grabbed Victor’s hand, “I’m glad we’re friends.”
“I’d like to be more than friends.”
“I’d like that too.” Jazz whispered inviting him to kiss her. He took her in his arms with fierce passion. He was like a man who’d not seen his wife in months. At that moment, as far as he was concerned, she was his wife. His kiss claimed her as his own and she gave back to him all he desired in her kiss. Here was one who loved him for who he was. Who he was however, frightened him. It was at that moment of embrace and first kiss that he more perfectly realized he wanted to leave his old life completely never to engage in it again. Although his whole being was absorbed in the enjoyment of Jazz’s kiss, he knew he’d never be the same. Surely it would not be hard to live a normal life with her in his arms each night and by his side each day. But he didn’t want to ask her now. He wanted to give her a ring and ask her in a special place.
“I’m glad you made me wait.” He said with her still held tightly to himself.
“I haven’t known how to tell you that I’ve wanted you to kiss me for awhile now. Thanks for waiting for me to be ready. I hope it hasn’t been too hard on you.”
“No, not really. That first night we went out, I wasn’t sure what you expected. Most of the women I’m used to dating were ready to jump in the sack with me on the first date.”
Jazz smiled at him. Maybe her dad was wrong about his wariness. He kissed her again, allowing himself to take his time and savor the beauty of their embrace. It was a kiss that made her heart melt for him. Before she only guessed she loved him, now she knew it.
The next day, Mike, Jillian, Jazz and Victor were assembled in front of Victor’s car for their farewells. “Take care of our baby girl, or I’ll come looking for you,” Mike teased while shaking Victor’s hand.
Victor’s eyes gave Mike a cold stare that sent chills down the older man’s spine. Was he so sure he liked this guy dating his daughter? The look quickly passed to a warmer look, “Thanks for including me,” Victor said. Mike smiled, but that sense of disquiet stayed with him as he watched his daughter get into Victor’s car and drive away. He decided it would be better not to say anything to his wife about the incident. There was no point in alarming her unnecessarily.
“Sweetheart,” he did say to her, “we need to pray for Victor and our baby girl. They have some things to work out.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Mike held his wife’s hand and together they bowed their heads, “Lord,” Mike prayed, “please protect Victor and Jazz as they drive home, and help them seek your will in their lives.”
It was close to two on Sunday when Victor and Jazz made their way out of Houston toward Prairie Oak. “I hope to be back by ten tonight, but the road is liable to be very busy with everyone else trying to get back home. Then there’s that construction near the border.”
“Is there an alternate route?”
“Yeah but it takes us a longer way around.”
“Are you in a hurry to get back to town?”
“No ma’am, but I thought you might be.”
“Then we’ll take our chances with the construction. We may not be in a hurry to get back, but I’m sure you don’t want to spend most of Monday on the road.”
As Victor had predicted, there was a lot of traffic on the road, even on Sunday. It seemed everyone had the same idea to go home before the rest of the world rushed back. As they traveled down the crowded highway they talked until a car swerved in front of Victor. Deftly he maneuvered through the traffic to avoid the dangerous driver. He stopped talking to concentrate, occasionally asking Jazz to help him navigate through the spaghetti bowl confusion of roads.
Around six Victor pulled off the highway in Oklahoma.
“What’s the matter?” Jazz asked.
“Nothing, I’m getting hungry and I need some coffee. The traffic has been terrible. We’re about an hour behind my estimation.”
Jazz smiled, leaned over and kissed his cheek. Victor returned her smile.
The restaurant Victor pulled into was the typical family chain that served breakfast all day and all night, not really the type of place Victor wanted to take Jazz to, but it served its purpose.
“Is this okay?” he asked as they waited to be seated.
“Yeah, this is great.”
For the millionth time he shook his head.
“What?” she laughed.
“Sometimes I can’t figure you out.”
“What’s to figure?”
“You’re just so easy to please. It’s almost scary.”
She laughed again and held his hand. The waitress came, set them in a booth and took a coffee order.
“I’m afraid I haven’t been much good in helping you drive on this trip. I didn’t intend for you to drive there and back the whole way.” Jazz said after her first sip of coffee.
“That’s okay. I don’t mind the drive. The construction isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, probably because we’re traveling on a Sunday after the holiday. The traffic’s been murder though.”
“So I’ve noticed. I’m really glad you came with me. It’s a long drive alone. Are you okay?”
“Don’t worry about me. The traffic seems to have died down now, and I still expect to be home around eleven tonight.”
After their meal, they went back to the car. Jazz looked up. The sun was magnificent as it peeked through a rend in the clouds while setting. A layer of high, thin clouds overcast the sky while big clusters of steel blue-gray cumulus clouds tinged with the orange hue of the sun zipped by, looking heavy with rain. Jazz paused a moment appreciating the beauty. Her attention always seemed to be drawn upwards.
Victor took her in his arms, and buried his face in her hair. She let him hold her as long as he wanted. When he was ready to go, he opened the door for her, got in and they drove on.
Night fell. Ten o’clock came and went with at least three more hours ahead of them. Both were getting anxious to be home. After awhile the drizzling rain that had been falling off and on stopped, and the sky cleared, revealing bright stars against a black velvet background.
Although Jazz tried to help Victor stay awake, it was difficult for her to keep from dozing. Finally he said, “Put the seat back and rest. There’s no point in hurting your neck. I’ll be alright.”
After a little protest, Jazz did as he suggested and fell promptly asleep. Victor turned the radio on to help him stay awake. A dark voice sang a seductive song; the music seemed to call to the darker side of his soul. Almost involuntarily, he reached out, gently touching her arm. Burning lust cut into his mind. He opened the window to chill his hunger, but it increased. He noticed Jazz shiver and rolled the window back up.
The yellow and white dividing lines and glowing reflectors flashed by in the car’s illumination, having a hypnotic effect as they passed Victor in mesmerizing patterns. His eyes began to tire. Painfully he tried to keep them open, rubbing them frequently. Suddenly he felt the car swerve; quickly he regained control and realized he’d dozed. “I’ve got to find a place to sleep, even if it’s just pulling off the side of the road.” He glanced at Jazz again, rationalizing to himself, “We could find a motel. There are plenty. It would make sense since we don’t have to be back until Tuesday, then we could finish the drive tomorrow and still have a full night’s sleep tomorrow night. She did tell me she loves me. “
Just entering a small town, he saw a motel ahead. Victor made his decision and pulled into a place in the parking lot. It wasn’t going to be hard to get the room and help her into bed. He could crawl in next to her and before she could stop him, he’d have her.
He closed his eyes in anticipation. It would be good. He put his hand on her leg and carefully moved it up. Her jean covered thigh felt nice under his hand. She shifted, but did not awaken. Leaving the motor running, he quietly opened his car door, eased out of the car and softly shut the door again.
He shivered the short distance to the motel manager’s office. As soon as he walked into the office, he forgot the cold, finding himself alone at the reception desk. On the other side of the desk a short woman with reddish hair greeted him.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“I want a room, no smoking, king size bed.”
“You by yourself?”
“How long are you going to stay?”
“I need a credit card.”
“Do you take Visa?”
Victor thumbed through his wallet until he found the right card with the right driver’s license.
“Thank you Mr. Clark, you’ll be in room 129. It’s over on the right.”
Victor left, and got back in the car where Jazz was still sleeping. Anticipation made his head pound. He found the room easily enough and was glad to find it was in the back of the motel.
He pulled into the parking place, and opened his car door. A cold slap of wind hit him full in the face. Something wasn’t right. He looked in at the young woman in the seat. She trusted him. She wasn’t going to want this. It took her this much time to let him kiss her. She surely would put up a fight, and he’d have to try to talk her into it. He was too tired to talk her into it, and didn’t want the attention any other method would bring. He didn’t need that kind of attention.
He got back in the car, pulled out of the parking place and drove back out on the road. He didn’t care about the money he’d just spent on the motel room. It would be better to leave it. He stopped at a convenient store and bought a cup of coffee. Taking a cautious sip he was shocked at the bitter almost creosote flavor. He threw it out. Back in the car, Jazz stirred and sat up sleepily.
“Have we been stopped long?” She asked, rubbing her eyes.
“Not long. I needed coffee, but it was really bad. Want me to get you something?”
Jazz yawned. “No, I don’t want anything, but do you want me to drive?”
“No, I need to keep my hands on the wheel.”
“I think that’s a good idea Mr. Young.” She smiled at him mischievously.
Staring straight ahead, he was glad he decided against the motel room.
The next two hours were not as difficult for Victor now that Jazz was able to stay awake. They had small but intimate conversation, often followed by moments of silence in which both were awake, but thinking about the other.
At the end of the journey, Victor crested the top of a small hill overlooking Prairie Oak. Jazz sighed wearily, “What a long trip. It’s good to go away; it’s good to come home.” They drove through the quiet streets, and passed dark houses. Victor pulled to a stop outside Jazz’s apartment. Suddenly with a force that was almost painful, the thought of the stalker reentered his mind. He’d not thought of the man for a long time before they left for Jazz’s parents’ house. He wondered why he thought about the man now.
Popping the trunk without a word, he got out of the car, and lifted Jazz’s luggage out. She didn’t wait for Victor to open her door, but took one of her bags from him and went to her apartment. They walked in together as she flipped the lights on. “Home,” she sighed appreciatively. Owie greeted Jazz and Victor, rubbing herself through both their legs. Ignoring the cat, Victor took Jazz in his arms. “It would be nice to stay,” he suggested.
“Don’t you think you’d be more comfortable at your own place? After all, being with a bunch of people can be wearying. “
“You’re right, but you aren’t a bunch of people, and I enjoyed your family. I’ll go home, I’m tired too.”
He kissed her, “See you tomorrow.”
“Get some rest and come over when you want tomorrow... later.”
Victor bent toward her and kissed her again. She returned his kiss, full and wanting. Too soon she broke from him, “Goodnight.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Okay, I’ll be by early.”
“Not too early.”
“You won’t be able to get rid of me now.”
“Yeah, I know. But who said I wanted to get rid of you?”
He walked out the door, thinking about the motel. No, it was definitely better this way.
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