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    Katya Dee
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The First Lock - 21. Part 2, chapter 1

Five Years Later

- I -

 

Katrena walked inside the house and closed the door. Rusty the Dog immediately started inspecting her shoes.

“Try humping my leg again, and you are dead,” Katrena promised in a low voice.

Rusty wagged his tail and sniffed her shoes with renewed vigor. Katrena sighed and walked into the kitchen.

“Hey,” Danny said when he saw her.

“Hey,” she nodded and opened the fridge, looking for a bottle of water. “Where is my monkey?”

“How do you know he’s not here?” Danny smiled again when she said ‘monkey.’

“It’s too quiet,” she nodded and closed the fridge. “That means that he is either asleep, dead, or out of the house. There is no way in hell he’d be sleeping at six in the evening; he is definitely not dead, so that leaves one option only. He is not here.”

“Logical,” Danny said seriously. “Yeah, my mom took him to the store.”

“Which store?” Katrena asked with suspicion.

“I dunno,” Danny shrugged. “Grocery store...? I think she needed to buy food and stuff...”

“Oh, okay,” she relaxed slightly and drank some water. “How long ago did they leave?”

“I dunno,” he shrugged again. “A couple of hours ago, maybe...”

“Hmm,” she said with a small frown. “If he makes her buy him another video game...” she muttered.

“He never asks for anything though,” Danny said. “My mom is just a sucker for him, for some reason... She never bought me so much stuff when I was five,” he grimaced, and Katrena sighed.

“Sucker, right,” she muttered. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and punched in the number. “Hey, Mandy?” she said a minute later. “Yeah, I am here... Oh, no worries... Put Damien on the phone, would you...? Mandy,” now her voice had steel in it. “Tell that monkey that if I don’t hear him on the phone within the next five seconds, he can kiss his computer good-bye!”

Danny laughed at that.

“Hello, my beloved son,” Katrena said in a few seconds. “Okay, listen up, monkey! If you end up with another video game...” she glanced at Danny quickly. “You know what is going to happen,” she finished. “You are not going to play it. Ever. So might as well just leave it in the store... What do you mean, it’s too late...? I thought you went to the grocery store...! I see,” she said evenly after several seconds. “How many? Okay, good... If there is more than one when you come back... And don’t even think of trying to hide them! I will find it and you know it! No candy and no ice-cream,” she said firmly. “I am okay with carrots, however... Tough! Hurry up,” she added darkly and turned off the phone.

Danny looked at her with amusement.

“It’s not like he is asking for all that stuff...” he said. “My mom just gets it, you should yell at her!”

“Danny...” Katrena walked to the window and swung it open. She perched on the windowsill and lit a cigarette, making sure the smoke floated outside and not into the kitchen. “Remember that time you gave him your brand-new MP3 player?”

“Umm, yeah...” he said with puzzlement.

“Did he ask for it?” she glanced at him.

“No,” Danny said. “He didn’t even look at it... I just...” he shrugged. “I dunno... I just felt like giving it to him, that’s all. Wanted to make him happy or something...”

“Uh huh,” Katrena nodded and puffed on her cigarette. “How about the time when your sister gave him her allowance money? The entire amount she’s been saving for the last three months? Did he ask for it?”

“No,” Danny said slowly. “He never does... People just do stuff for him... Or give it to him, whatever... I guess he just has that ‘lost puppy’ look or something...”

“Danny,” she said and flicked her cigarette outside. “Next time you feel an overwhelming desire to give him something or to do something for him, resist it, okay? No matter how much you want to do it, resist it.”

Danny blinked.

“Hold on...” he muttered in disbelief. “You mean he makes people do all that shit?”

She didn’t even blink at the foul word; she knew that was the reason he used it around her – she wouldn’t care.

“Let’s just say he has a certain talent,” she said slowly, her eyes never leaving his face. “Now, let’s also keep this between us, all right? Don’t tell your parents and don’t tell your sister.”

“Word,” he nodded, his expression shocked.

“Next time Mandy starts burning with the desire to take him shopping, distract him with something; switch his attention to...” She shrugged. “Anything, really... He might be talented but he is also only five; his attention span is not that great.”

“Does Paul know?” Danny muttered, and she shook her head.

“Nope. Nobody knows except for me and now you, so keep your mouth shut, deal?”

“Word,” Danny nodded again. “Why did you tell me?”

“Because I’ll have to bring him here again on Monday,” she sighed. “Before I leave for work. I really don’t want Mandy to end up buying him a submarine by the time I pick him up. Therefore, I needed someone to help me with that... You were the best option,” she nodded, and his face got slightly pink with satisfaction.

When Katrena finally bought a house three years ago, the obvious question ‘What do I do with the kid while I am at work?’ popped up immediately. At first, she considered day-care, which made her shudder. Not because she didn’t trust day-cares, but because she didn’t even want to imagine what kind of a mess the monkey would be able to create while he was there, projecting on all the kids and teachers... The very thought made her skin crawl.

To her enormous relief, Mandy firmly told her to stop being silly and just drop Damien at her house on her way to work. She said that she didn’t mind watching the kid, since he was eerily well-behaved for a toddler and she actually enjoyed his little company. That was great and not so great at the same time. It seemed like the monkey would end up with a new toy or a chocolate bar every time Katrena picked him up. Finally, when he turned four, Katrena told him to knock this shit off and stop making Mandy wasting money on his sudden urges. “Damien,” she said back then. “I swear to God, if you will make her buy you another train-set, you will be grounded until you turn eighteen!”

It got somewhat better after that, but once in a while, he would still project on Mandy like a little devil that he was, and as a result, he would have every new video game that came out in the last year or so. Katrena knew she had to do something, and she also knew that her grounding threats only went that far.

Therefore, she decided to let Danny in on her not-so-little secret, since she remembered his loyalty from five years ago after she told him how to knock out Timmy Barker. She nodded after his ‘Word!’ confirmation, and looked outside. Mandy’s Toyota smoothly pulled into the driveway, and she saw that little monkey waving at her from the back seat.

“Hey, Katrena,” Mandy smiled at her somewhat guiltily when she and the monkey walked inside. “Listen, I know that you told me not to buy him anything, but when we were driving by that little game shop, I just had to make a stop there, I am sorry!”

“It’s okay,” Katrena said with a smile after she threw a very dark look at Damien, who seemed to be immensely interested in his shoelaces. “Just don’t make it a habit, okay? And thank you,” she added.

“Yeah,” Mandy smiled again and started to put away the groceries. “Hey, are you busy right now? I got the new coffeemaker, and I am itching to try it out! Want some coffee?”

“Definitely,” Katrena nodded and looked at the monkey again. “Take your shoes off,” she commanded. “And go wash your hands. Don’t make a mess,” she added after he started to pull off his sneakers.

“I won’t,” he nodded. “Can I play my game? Please?”

Katrena sighed.

“Fine,” she said finally. “Go play your game... Ask Danny to help you to set it up.”

“Thanks, mom!” The monkey said in a bright voice and looked at Danny. “Danny, would you...”

“Yeah,” Danny nodded and pulled a can of Pepsi out of the fridge. He almost shut the door when he stopped, opened it again, and pulled out another can of soda. “Here,” he handed it to Damien, who immediately popped it open.

“Danny!” Katrena hissed, and the boy blinked rapidly.

“Dammit...” he muttered, ignoring the look he received from Mandy. He looked at the monkey, who was downing that soda like it was his last drink in this life, and he had a ‘Man-You-Are-Good!’ look in his eyes. “Sorry,” he guiltily glanced at Katrena. “I... Umm...” he coughed. “Forgot,” he said finally.

“You forgot about what?” Mandy started the coffeemaker.

“Umm... The whole no-soda-before-dinner rule,” he said quickly, and Katrena grinned.

“I see,” Mandy said absent-mindedly, and reached for the mugs.

She watched both, Danny and the monkey, leave the kitchen, and after they were gone, she turned towards Katrena.

“How’s Paul?” she asked with fake lightness.

“He’s good,” Katrena nodded.

Mandy sighed.

“Kat,” she said. “You’ve been together for five years now... He is the only man Damien knows who is like a father to him... Hell, if not for you, he’d be calling him ‘Dad’ by now! I remember how you cut him off that one time when he was telling me about something Paul and he did. He said something like, ‘...and then dad...’ when you shut him up and told him that he is ‘Paul’ and not ‘Dad’...” She took a breath and looked at Katrena, who just stood there, frowning at something behind the window.

“Look,” Mandy continued. “I know that it’s none of my business, but I am going to say it anyway, okay? If you are going to push the man away, you are out of your mind.”

“I am not pushing him away,” Katrena muttered.

“Like hell you don’t,” Mandy said seriously and poured some coffee into the mugs. “You’ve been together for five freaking years, and not only you keep saying ‘no’ every time he mentions something about moving in together, but you also won’t give him the key to your house! What the hell is wrong with you?!” She shoved one of the mugs into Katrena’s hands. “You don’t wanna marry him, fine, whatever... But Kat, not giving him a key to your place? That’s simply ridiculous! He is good enough to take care of Damien; he is good enough to fuck...” Here Katrena gave her a slightly amused look, which Mandy ignored. “He is good enough to be with for five years, but he is not good enough to have his own key?”

“Mandy, it’s...” Katrena grimaced, and Mandy interrupted her immediately.

“If you are going to say ‘complicated,’ then save your breath. It’s anything but! Look, I am not stupid, okay? It is obvious, well, to me at least, that you are still hung up on your kid’s father...”

Katrena looked at her, clearly startled. Mandy shrugged.

“Come on, Kat,” she sighed. “Every time you look at him, your eyes become haunted... I take it, he is a splitting image, huh?”

She shrugged again when Katrena didn’t say anything.

“I am sure that Paul doesn’t know it,” she sighed. “But if you keep on being so ridiculously stupid, he’ll catch on eventually. I mean, if you don’t care if he leaves, then I guess it’s not even a problem...”

“I don’t want him to leave,” Katrena said quietly, her eyes fixed on the window frame. “I really don’t...”

“Then give him the goddamn key,” Mandy sighed again. “Tell you what...” she sipped her coffee. “Go get a copy right now before the shop closes. Then leave your...” She hemmed. “...monkey here overnight,” she continued. “Tomorrow is Saturday, so you are both off, right?”

“Yeah,” Katrena narrowed her eyes slightly.

Mandy nodded.

“You can pick Damien up tomorrow; he’ll sleep in Danny’s room as usual. I don’t even care if they stay up all night playing those stupid games... Hell, he’ll probably be happy!” she laughed.

“Mandy...”

“Kat, just do it, okay?” she interrupted her once again. “Shut up, go get the key, and just do it.”

Katrena drank her coffee silently, her eyes narrowed, still fixed on that window frame. Finally, she sighed and set her mug on the table.

“I’ll pick him up around eleven, is that okay?” she said, and Mandy grinned.

“I don’t care,” she said. “Go!”

“Hey, monkey!” Katrena shouted in the general direction of the living room. “Come here!”

“I am not a monkey,” he said in several seconds when he appeared in the kitchen. “Stop calling me that!”

“You are a monkey,” she nodded very seriously. “You gonna stay over here tonight, is that cool?”

“Yeah!” he said with excitement and she narrowed her eyes.

“No tricks,” she said in a low voice. “Do you understand me?”

“Word,” he said with Danny’s intonation, and she grinned.

“Come here, monkey,” she said. “Give me a hug and kiss!”

“I am not a monkey,” he grumbled, but did just that.

Katrena planted several kisses on his face, and after she let him go, she looked at Mandy.

“Mandy...” she said just so she could be interrupted yet another time.

“Go,” Mandy nodded. “Get your ass out of here!”

“Word,” Katrena sighed and left the house.

©Katya Dee; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Kat is so lucky to have Mandy and her family as close friends.  Damien is beginning to not like the monkey label. When will his power.become irresistible?

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