She could hear them from far. Him, of whom she thought would be her future husband, and her. Her best friend. How could she? How could they? Slowly she approached the bedroom door, unsure if she wanted to open it and see what seemed so obvious. If she would walk out now she could pretend. Pretend it was just a dream. Pretend it was just her imagination. Go back to normal. But if she opened this door now and saw what she was expecting to see, there would be no return.
The muscles in Theresa’s right leg began to tremble with spasms she could not control. She reached down to grab a hold of her thigh, but her hand would not respond. Violent spasms moved from her leg and hand to her back and shoulders. She doubled over as her knee gave out and she collapsed on the floor. Waves of nausea overcame her and she started to wretch.
The bedroom door flew open. Michael stood in the doorway behind Justine, the both of them pulling on their clothes. Theresa was bent over, still vomiting. Without a word, Justine knelt over her friend and started to put an arm around her, but Theresa slapped it away.
“A towel, or something, please, would be nice.” Theresa gasped. She looked up to glare at Michael, still standing in the doorway, dumbfounded.
Justine said, “Come on, sweetie, let’s get you up,” and attempted again to help her.
“Don’t f****n TOUCH me, B***H!” Theresa shouted.
Michael returned with two wet towels. Justine took them both and cleaned Theresa’s mess. Theresa fell back against the hallway wall and closed her eyes. The tears started to flow and she began to sob loudly.
“You bastard! You f****ng a****le bastard!,” she wailed. “Why? WHY?! WHYYYY??”
Justine handed the soiled towels to Michael, who gave her a confused look. “Put them in the laundry. Like, now, OK? Just…go…” Justine made a couple of large swooping gestures toward the hallway with her free arm. Michael picked his way around the women and disappeared downstairs with the towels.
“OK, let’s get you cleaned up, Ter, com’mon…up we go.” Justine fought off Theresa’s punching and flailing arms, got a hold of her under her armpits and lifted her to her feet. She grabbed a hold of Theresa’s shoulders and looked straight into her eyes.
“This sh** has got to stop, Terry, please. Seriously, it has got to stop!”
“He’s…my…fiance…MINE!” Theresa thrashed her arms to get Justine’s hands off of her. Stuttering through continued sobs, she yelled, “He…he’s m…my…mine! I love him, I love him, wh..wh…why?! MICHAEL! MICHAEL! WHYYYY??!!…”
Justine pulled her childhood friend close to her and wrapped her arms protectively around Theresa’s head and shoulders. Theresa surrendered and the two women stood in each others embrace while Theresa continued to cry. Justine gently rocked her, back and forth, shushing and cooing, until Theresa finally stopped weeping. Michael silently reappeared at the bottom of the stairs, looking worried and imploring, but Justine shook her head and surreptitiously waved him off again.
Still rocking Theresa in her arms, Justine calmly asked, “How’d you get in this time, hmm?”
Theresa shook her head.
“OK, well…let’s go call your folks, OK? They’re probably freaked out, panicking where you’ve gone.”
The phone rang and they could hear Michael pick up the call in the kitchen, “Oh, hey, Bob….yeah, she’s here…”
“There, see?” Justine said, brushing her friends hair back off her forehead and giving her a hug. “There’s your Dad now. OK? Let’s go, get you a clean shirt, glass of water, and wait downstairs for your Dad. Hmmm? OK?”