Taking Sides (Short Story)

Part One: Jersey girl

“A neighborhood peace is shattered it’s the middle of the night
young faces hide in the shadows, while they watch their mother and father fight…” *

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I was thirteen when I saw him in the shower. I should have closed the door.

He was in his forties, six-foot-two with a broad chest and muscular arms. He had scars on his hands and a bruise on his cheek, but otherwise a vision of perfection. A recording artist, bestselling author- he was my best friend’s father.

I knew he played guitar for Phil Collins, Air Supply, and other artists of my parents’ day. I had even read some of his poetry. In it, he spoke of life and reality heartache and pain but little did I know how true his words rang.

His wife stormed in, screaming bloody murder. It wasn’t his fault, he hadn’t even noticed me. I ran, but not before I saw her strike him in the face.

I packed my sleepover bag for my mother to pick up.  As I passed the kitchen I saw him, he was sipping a cup of coffee by the window. “I’m sorry,” I said.

He turned to me, his lip was busted open. “It’s not your fault, you should run along before you’re late for school.”


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“My parents are getting a divorce,” Abby said, on our way to school. “Mom says Dad’s a sex-addict. He might even have a second family.”

I didn’t believe her. But it wasn’t my place to defend him.

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Six years later, in a motel outside of Atlantic City.
He’s naked on the bed. Eyes closed, legs spread, he’s touching himself. And that’s fine by me. He smiles as I kiss his lips. I don’t think he remembers me. Nor should he, I’m the nineteen-year-old groupie he picked up at a bar. I walk my fingers down his stomach until I’m stroking my prize. “Do you have a wife?”

“I did. She took everything, even turned my kids against me.”

“Well don’t you worry, baby, I’ll take real good care of you.” I stoke my finger from his eyelid, down his cheekbone as I kiss him over and over.

His hands move to my thighs: the hands of a kind man, a husband, and father.
Was he an addict? – Or a victim?

Either way- he was finally mine.

Part Two: Help

“Sleeping with an empty bottle, he’s a sad and an empty hearted man
All he needs is a job, and a little respect, so he can get out while he can..” *

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My hands grip his back. I feel his raw power; his masculinity pounding into me.

He shivers slightly, struggling for air.

“Baby, you ok?” I ask.

“Yeah, sorry,” he mutters as he quickens his pace. “It’s been a while.”

I can feel his muscles tense, he’s already close. I force my mouth to his. As our tongues dance, I can taste his soul.

With a gasp, my lover finishes. His shoulder slumps, the weight collapsing on to his elbow. Rolling off my body, he reaches for something in the nightstand; whiskey and pills.

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“You looking to get high?” I asked.

He chuckled slightly. “Yeah, something like that?”

I sat up in bed, putting my arms around his shivering body. “Are you sick?”

He nodded with a sigh. “Huntington’s disease diagnosed ten years ago,” he explained as his trembling hands struggled. “Sorry to spring this on you, it’s just…I’m almost out of hope and I didn’t want to be alone.”

“Does your family know?”

“I don’t have a family; wife left me, I’m estranged from my kids.”

I knew I needed to act fast. I grab my phone, quickly dial. “Abby! How far are you from Atlantic City?”

My lover grips his head with a look of shame. “Oh God! You’re my daughter’s friend?” He attempts to leave the bed.

“No, please!” I cried. “Please stay, with me.” Looking at the situation I realize I need to offer him his clothes. “Get dressed first, but AFTER- stay with me. We can nurse that bottle together until your daughter gets here.”

Your daughter, your children, your blood. If I had Abby’s brother’s contact information I would have called him as well.

Given the early hour, Abby’s here within fifteen minutes. I watch as they talk. She says she never meant to abandon him. Holding him close, she tells him she loves him and that they’ll keep in touch.

As he sleeps, I walk Abby to her car. “Conner got married last week.”

“Your brother got married?”

“And Dad wasn’t invited,” she said, her voice breaking. “I was going to try to talk to Dad, see if I could get them to see eye to eye. But I had no idea how to find him.”

“You knew something was wrong.”

Abby nodded. “Yeah, I just had no idea how bad it was. During the divorce, she went after him like a hawk. She was bringing up shit that I knew for a fact was not true. But he didn’t defend himself, not once. He let her take everything. I always assumed he did that to avoid a long drawn out court battle. It never occurred to me that  he was too sick.” Abby opened the door and sat in her front seat. “Be good to him.”

“I will, I promise.”

Part 3: Say My Name

“When the lights are all on, the world is watching now
People looking for truth, we must not fail them now, be sure .” *

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Days pass into weeks under the New Jersey sun.

As he lay naked in bed, I massage my lover; from his throat, down his collarbone to encourage deep soothing breaths.

“William, I need you to relax, focus your breathing for me.” I suck on his skin, from his chest down his ribs, careful of the tubes and ports keeping my lover’s body tethered to this world. “You’re doing so well, my love.” I kiss my man along his hips until he’s ready for me. My tongue leads and my lips follow as I take him in my mouth.

I feel the trembling muscles of his hips and thighs. My hands move lower, slipping two fingers inside. His muscles clench so beautifully tight.

His fingers grip the sheets, as he begs for release. “Kristy, baby, please!”

I keep a firm grip, working him hard, to induce an eruption of vitality. After I lick him clean I crawl to his side, falling asleep on his chest.

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At three am I awaken.

My man is sick with fever. “Anna, please don’t leave me.”
Anna, the ex-wife, who took everything from him even his self-worth.

I hit the button on the side of the bed, to call for a nurse. And then I simply hold his hand to pray.

“I love you, William. You deserve to be loved.”

“…before we close our eyes and walk away from here, we need to hear both sides…”*

 *Lyrics, Both Sides of the Story by Phil Collins 


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