Story Time with Erin O’Riordan: CUT E2

Story Time with Erin O’Riordan: CUT E2


Hi! Welcome to Story Time with Erin O’Riordan. I’m Erin O’Riordan. This is episode Two of ‘Cut’ by me and Tit Elingtin. If you’ll recall from the other day, we are in chapter 2, and just a quick reminder: chapter two is a flashback from where we started from. So, at the beginning of chapter one, we were in January 2000. Chapter two is a flashback to June of 1999. Episode 2: I’m going to pick up right where I left off from episode one, so if you haven’t seen that already, make sure you go back and watch that first. And here we go. Darius gave Renata a hug and a kiss before sitting down in a kitchen chair to put his shoes on. “Have a good day,” he said. “I want to hear good news when i get home.” “You have a good day too,” she said. “Be careful.” “I will.” He added, “Try to eat something. I’d make you some plain toast, but I’ve really got to go.” “I understand.” She gave him another kiss and he went to work. Renata decided to make herself herbal tea without caffeine. She put a tea bag in a cup Darius got out for her and said the tea kettle on the stove. She leaned against the counter thinking of all the things she had to do at the office as the water boiled.The kettle started to whistle when Renata felt a familiar, uncomfortable sensation. Her stomach twisted. She felt like she’d eaten a handful of marbles. “Please, no,” she said to herself as she went to the bathroom. She yanked her panties down and sat back on the toilet. Taking a deep breath, she looked down: blood. Renata moaned. She would have no good news for Darius. She got up and looked at herself in the mirror. She noticed the lines around her eyes and lips. “Come on,” she said to herself. “We’re not getting any younger here. If we’re going to have a baby, we’d better do it now.” She scowled at her reflection, but the resulting face was so ugly she quickly turned it into a smile. She undressed and took a shower and somehow managed to eat a little toast before she had to be at work. When she got to the office, Renata’s assistant Donna had a stack of messages for her. “Your sister called.” Donna handed Renata a message sheet. “How early did you get here this morning?” Renata responded, blinking into the enormous mug of coffee she’d bought in the lobby. Hey, since I’m not pregnant, I can have all the caffeine i want. I’m gonna need it today. Donna shrugged. “I have to get my daughter to her babysitter’s by 6 so the sitter can take her own kids to school.” That’s peachy; everybody’s a mom except me. “Did you hear me say your sister called?” Donna repeated. “Uh-huh. Thank you,” said Renata, trying as gracefully as she could manage to shut her office door with Donna still standing at it. Donna quickly got the message and sat down at her own desk. About an hour later, Renata took a break and called her sister back. She tried her office first, but Monica’s boss said she wasn’t in. Renata dialed her sister’s home number. Monica picked up immediately. “Hello,” Monica said with excitement in her voice. “Mon, this is Renata.” “Hi!” Monica said with all the enthusiasm of the varsity cheerleader she had been in college only five years before. “Renata, I have some great news, but I don’t want to tell you over the phone. Can you meet me for lunch today?” “I think so,” said Renata. “You sound like you’re in a bad mood,” Monica observed. “Is something wrong? Did you and Darius get into a fight or something?” “No, everything’s fine.” Everything better be fine. You’d better not be about to tell me what I think you’re about to tell me. “Great. Hey, can we go to that cute little restaurant over by your office, the one with the river view? Keaton’s?” “I’ll see if i can get reservations,” Renata said. She did get reservations, and the sisters met at the restaurant as the lunch rush died down. Luckily they got one of the upstairs tables facing the window and had a perfect view of the river at the waterfall. At quieter moments they could even hear the water falling. It gave Renata a welcome sense of peace.” “I love this place,” Monica commented as they studied the menu. She still talked in cheerleading mode, fast and excitedly. “Did you know the second level used to be the choir loft of a church? After they tore the church down, it sat in some guy’s barn for years until the seventies. Then one of the original owners of the building found the choir loft, bought it, and had it installed in here. The building itself used to be a factory. That’s why the ceiling is so high, I think they used to make blue jeans here. It makes a perfect restaurant, don’t you think?” “Yes,” Renata agreed. She unrolled the silverware from her cloth napkin and spread the napkin neatly over her skirt. “I bring accounting clients here sometimes. I’ve only been here for dinner once, when Darius got his commendation from the mayor and that was on the city’s dime. Monica took another look at the menu. “I’d better have the salad,” she said. “Some of these things look pricey.” The waitress came to the table. “Wow,” she said, looking from Monica to Renata. “You to have to be sisters. You have the same red hair and everything.” “Guess which one of us is older,” Monica chirped. “Can’t tell.” Renata breathed a sigh of relief. The waitress took their order, and as Renata had feared, Monica ordered a glass of milk with her salad. Monica had never had been a milk drinker. This could only mean one thing. Renata asked for a glass of white wine. Renata drew a deep breath and went for it. “So what’s your big news?” “I’m pregnant!” Monica exclaimed excitedly. Almost involuntarily, Renata got up from her chair and gave Monica a big hug. Then the tears fell down her cheeks. “Are you crying?” Monica asked. “Yes,” said Renata. “I’m happy for you.” She felt happy, but there was also jealousy and disappointment swirling in her belly. “So when did you find out?” “In April. I’m already a few months along and I’ll have the baby around Christmastime. I was waiting to tell everyone just in case. Plus I kind of hoped you and Darius would have something to announce in the meantime.” She looked into Renata’s eyes curiously. “No,” said Renata, holding back more tears, “We haven’t been as lucky as you and Travis. I got my period today, as a matter of fact.” She threw herself back into her chair. “Oh. That explains why you sound so grumpy on the phone.” She reached over and took Renata’s hand. “Look, I’m sure you and Darius will get pregnant really soon. You’ve probably psyched yourself up so much by now that you can’t relax and enjoy trying.” “How long did you and Travis try before you got pregnant?” Renata asked. Monica looked sheepish. “We didn’t,” she said. “I beg your pardon?” “We didn’t try at all,” Monica confessed. “I was on the pill when it happened. I was one of those 1 in 10,000 women you read about in magazines who uses the pill and gets pregnant anyway. But even though it was sort of an accident – don’t ever tell my son or daughter that I said that – I’m really excited and Travis is, too. Oh, you and Darius are going to be a great aunt and uncle, Renata.” “I know,” murmured Renata. She picked up her spoon and swirled the ice cubes around in her water glass. “You’re gonna be a great mom, too,” Monica added. “Please don’t be upset with me.” Renata gave her spoon a rest. “Upset with you? How could I be upset with you for doing something you didn’t even mean to do?” For the rest of the meal, Renata tried to be upbeat and pleasant. The two glasses of wine she drank took some of the edge off the pain. She’d taken her period pills, but still had cramps and felt bloated. Every twinge in her belly reminded her she was not pregnant. Not yet anyway, Renata kept telling herself. Chapter 3: September 1999. “Prescott, party of two?” the man (apparently Mr. Prescott) said, staring down at the reservation book. Brigid studied the couple in front of her for a moment. He was tall, probably close to six-foot-five. She couldn’t have been more than 5′ 2″ in her Italian leather pumps. His suit looked nice, well tailored, but it didn’t shout expensive, like her dress did. Not that she had much of a body to hang that dress from, Brigid thought scornfully. She was, as Bridget’s grandmother would say, skinny as a rail. The man wasn’t fat but he didn’t look like he’d missed any meals. The couple was probably in their fifties. His hair was a mix of silver and brown and she had a few white streaks in with the blonde. The woman’s lips were thin, hard lines, and when the woman (apparently Mrs. Prescott) spoke, Brigid was startled to see them move. “Is our table ready?” Mrs. Prescott asked. She had a pleasant Southern accent, something Brigid rarely heard. It made her think of Tennessee. The man’s voice reminded her of Al Gore. Brigid picked up two menus. “Follow me, please,” she said formerly. She smiled the way Jerry told her to do. She had to keep reminding herself to smile; it didn’t come naturally to her, especially not on a Sunday night near closing time. She had school and practice tomorrow. “Are we going upstairs?” Mrs. Prescott asked hopefully. At night the lights shining off the waters enhanced the river view. “Yes,” Bridget said. “Watch this first step, please. It’s a long one.” As the couple followed her up the stairs, Brigid realized her skirt was too short for this. Mrs. Prescott seemed distracted, looking around at the architecture, but Bridget could tell Mr. Prescott’s eyes were on her. She walked a little faster. Their table sat at the far end of the choir loft. As the manager had reminded the bus boy only 10 minutes ago, Mr. Prescott specifically asked for this table when he made reservations. He had also had flowers delivered earlier, which the busboy had set in the middle of the table. As they sat down, Mrs. Prescott gasped. She pulled the card from the bouquet and set the vase on the floor so she could see Mr. Prescott across the table. “Oh, Edward,” she said as she opened the small envelope. She pulled out a card with a short note and a diamond necklace attached. Brigid didn’t know much about jewelry, but if she had to guess, she would say it was at least half a carat. “Happy anniversary, Barbara Jean,” Edward said. Brigid set his menu down in front of him. “Your server will be with you in a moment.” She gave them the obligatory smile then turned and walked away. She disappeared behind the server station and went down the back stairs that led to the kitchen. Brigid swung the kitchen door open, barely avoiding knocking over Nenad the dishwasher. Nenad set his bus tub down and said something angry in Serbian. “Sorry,” Brigid muttered. She made her way in between the two rows of grills, swerving to avoid Dean, the cook, who smiled at her with his gold-capped front teeth. “Brigid,” Dean began, “you going to stick around after work and have a beer with us?” “She can’t,” Jerry said. He came out of the cooler carrying a box of barely thawed prime rib. “Brigid isn’t 21.” He gave Brigid an affectionate tap on the shoulder. His hands felt ice cold. Brigid smiled awkwardly. Jerry was a little man in his early forties with curling red-gray hair and round cheeks. The little bald spot on the top of his head had recently started to spread. Sometimes when Jerry made phone calls at the hostess stand, tall Bridget looked down at the bald spot. As long as everybody showed up at least close to on time and the customers stayed happy, Jerry stayed happy. On Sunday nights Jerry worked as the manager on duty at both lunch and dinner. In the two-hour break in between, he said at the bar, totaled up the lunch receipts and drank four straight shots of the house scotch. By Sunday dinner he always stayed happy. Brigid could have gotten away with murder. Brigid gestured to Dean that they would talk later and made her way back to the hostess stand. The Prescotts had been the last reservation on the books for the night. Brigid had nothing to do but wait and see if any walk-ins showed up. She looked at the clock, sighing as she realized she still had another hour to go before Jerry would lock the front door. Brigid leaned against the brick wall behind the hostess stand and played with the TV remote. In the bar the TV flickered as Brigid rapidly flipped through channels. At the bar sat the regulars, Mary Louise and Andy Kent. Brigid recognize Mary Louise’s cropped pants and bolero from the display window of the boutique down the street; she seemed to have more money than common sense. Once when Mary Louise sat across the bar saying hello to Greg, her favorite bartender, Brigid made the mistake of leaning over the bar for drinking straw and he tried to grab her ass. She hit him in the head with a brass bar coaster, but he still leered at her behind Mary Louise’s back. They’d wandered in around five thirty and had only left their stools once to use the bathrooms – together, thank God. At ten minutes after eight, they’d drunk their way through five or six margaritas on the rocks apiece. Brigid’s channel flipping didn’t seem to bother the Kents. Greg wasn’t there. Todd served as bartender, and he’d gone downstairs to refill the ice buckets. Brigid guessed he wouldn’t mind if she put on the sports channel. Brigid didn’t really care for any sports other than basketball, but she’d have to settle for a baseball playoff, and not even an interesting one. The Arizona Diamondbacks played the Atlanta Braves. Amber came down the stairs and stuffed two menus back into the rack. “Hey,” she said to Bridget, “how are things going down here?” “Slow,” Brigid answered. She liked Amber. Most of the servers, older ladies, had worked in restaurants their whole lives. Some of the guys were about Brigid’s age, students at local colleges mostly, but Amber was the only female server close to Brigid’s age. Popular with customers, Amber had a sunny disposition, a quick sense of humor, and Barbie doll blonde hair. Amber recently turned 21 and Todd was teaching her to bartend. On nights when Amber worked the bar, college guys packed the place. “Are you going to hang around after work?” Amber asked Brigid. “It depends,” Brigid replied. “I’ll have to see what’s going on.” Oh yeah? You think so? Okay then. “I have class tomorrow,” Amber said. “I don’t think i’ll go out. I’ll hang out here and have a couple beers.” She patted her belly. Amber had the tiniest hint of a beer belly, which Brigid thought of as cute. Those two you seated a few minutes ago were my last table of the night. Jerry closed my section. I’m going to go order a burger. Do you want anything?” Brigid nodded. “Get me a burger too,” she said as Amber walked away. Lorraine, one of the older servers, stood at the hostess stand. Lorraine was one of the lifers. She wasn’t cute and charming [compared] to Amber, but she did her job well. The customers liked her, but Brigid didn’t think she had much in common with the divorced woman with a few grown children. “Do you know Amber’s customers?” Lorraine whispered. “Uh huh,” Brigid said.”The Prescotts. They’re here for their anniversary or something.” “They’re the pastor and his wife from New Life Ministries,” Lorraine said. “You know, the Evangelical megachurch out by the fairgrounds?” “I’ve heard of it,” Brigid answered. She thought of Kimmy McWilliams, a sophomore girl who made the team over the summer. Kimmy always wanted to pray before practice, and when Coach Longley told her she couldn’t wear her cross necklace she drew a cross on her breast bone with a ballpoint pen. Kimmy only ever wanted to talk about Jesus and Bridget remembered she heard the words new life ministries out of Kimmy’s mouth a time or two there’s sort of famous Lauren went on to show his sermons on TV every sunday and she’s always in the little introduction segments at the beginning a film that part in their actual living room they have a really nice house did you see the way she was dressed i hope members doing a good job because the Reverend looks like a good tipper I no no Bridget said my mom always told me never to trust the clergy Lauren shook her head project you know that’s not right she walked off into the kitchen amber came back carrying two bowls of soup amber did you know your last table is some famous TV preacher and his wife Bridget as amber knotted of course she said my grandma watches them every Sunday as soon as she gets home from church doesn’t yours my one-girl my lives in Mexico virgin said I don’t think she gets our local stations where grandma is a Catholic she doesn’t watch any Protestant TV shows ever giggled I’ve got to get the soup upstairs we’ll talk later she left Bridget alone with her reservation book and her baseball playoff an hour later Todd said coasters out in front of Bridget amber and Dean he turned around and came back with three cold bottles of domestic beer setting one on each coaster Bridget pushed her plate of cold fries aside and drank eagerly jerry-san at the end of the bar for the stack of credit card receipts and calculator how was your broker teen ask amber the way i like it amber said I don’t think this is Prescott like your filet though did she say something dns taking a drag on a cigarette you know I take my steaks and chops very seriously not exactly ever responded after her husband paid the check I came down here to run the credit card right after that I had to pee well i was using the bathroom she was getting sick it grosses me out I could tell it was her because I saw her cute little shoes under the stall door paint listening to people puke makes me wanna puke too nice Aaron the bus boy said he stood on the opposite counter rolling silverware into napkins Aaron a junior virgin school always threaten to call the excise Commission because Jerry let Bridget drink beer but wouldn’t let him get explained it wasn’t her fault if Aaron’s parents and stricter rules than hers Erin told her it was more to do with those short skirts she wear them with strict parents they argued but stayed friends I’m sorry amber said I know it’s gross Dean exhales a cloud of smoke and said i don’t think it has anything to do with how i cooked or filet she probably has that disease wear skinny women make themselves throw up maybe Bridget said she looks really skinny you’re right amber said she didn’t have any fat on her body that’s probably why she acted so cold even though she had a wrap on she shivered the whole time and asked me to turn down the air-conditioning the air is not on Jerry said it’s starting to get chilly at night so I shut the air off at six that’s what I told her in percent she finished her beer and push the bottle away another one Todd asked Britt are you having another 11 more but Bridget replied I told my mom I’d be home right after work I do have school tomorrow if bridges having one more than all have one more amber said after two beers both young women decided to go Jerry handed each of them an envelope the Knights tips were divided between servers bartender and hostess Amber’s envelope was twice as thick as Bridget’s Dean offer to walk them out to their cars once outside they went to Dean’s car and sat down in the backseat what have you got for us amber asked eagerly Bridget counted the money in her envelope and handed the whole thing to Dean he handed her back a plastic bag which she stuffed in her purse amber pulled the biggest bills from our envelope and handed them to Dean Pritchard open the car door and stood she was a bit unsteady on her feet she wasn’t drunk after two beers but she felt tipsy printed wait I’ll help you amber said she said goodnight to Dean who went back inside the restaurant amber help Bridget into the driver’s seat of her mom’s red jetta Bridget reached around amber and hugged her you’re a good friend virgin said love you for emphasis she pulled amber closer and gave her a kiss on the cheek amber Chandra has slightly pressing her lips against Brigid’s there kisses grew more eager Bridget open her mouth and amber slip your tongue inside neither written nor amber would describe yourself as a lesbian they had however done some fooling around especially after they had a few drinks rigid found amber familiar and comfortable messing around her felt safe and fun she gave amber express to squeeze before saying goodnight are you sure you don’t want to come and hang out for a little bit and brass tempting but no Bridget responded amber got in her car and drove away bridge is closed and locked the car door her head filled a little light and she had the feeling she shouldn’t be driving she doesn’t notice the white lincoln park directly across from her jetta a man said in the driver’s seat she hadn’t heard the Lincoln pull up so he must have been there the whole time that’s the end of chapter three thank you for listening to cut episode to be sure that you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode thanks have a good day

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