Liz and Vic are still talking about Vic’s conflict with Molly. Liz longs to speak her truth, but that old devil fear squelches her voice (just like he squelched her voice in my true crime romance memoir, Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story.)
“Getting even doesn’t sound like you, Vic. It sounds more like something Billy would do.”
“Oh?” Vic raises an eyebrow. “Like, how?”
Awareness hits me like a punch to the heart, shoves me off my friendship boulder. I slide down the slippery rock face into the quicksand of longing to go deeper with Vic. Oh god, I’m in deep kimchee.
I scramble for something to say: “Billy yells when he thinks someone disrespects him. When it’s the boss, Billy gets fired. Then he’s broke, and I lend him money until the next job. He tries to pay me back, but…you got upset about a hundred bucks? Try two grand.”
I don’t realize I’m talking loudly until Vic says softly, “You all riled up?” He looks at me funny.
I nod, ashamed to have enabled Billy for so long. “Last month, he got fired again. I spent hours writing his resume.”
“Good of you to help your old man.” Vic rubs his chin. “But…do you really want to keep on like this?”
“No,” pops out of me. Be cool, I think. “He sold his car last month or I could’ve tried the oil thing. Would’ve gotten his attention. Gotten me killed, too.”
Vic laughs. “You’re right about the oil thing being immature. I’ll apologize to Molly, clean up her car.”
“Is it hard to clean oil off metal?”
“Nah.” Vic shrugs. “Just takes dish soap and elbow grease. I’ll try to get my cash back before I…” he pauses.
“Before you clean up her car?”
He shakes his head, looks at me for a long moment, says, “Before I cut her loose.”
I stare at him, stunned. Huh? Really? Did I hear you right? I offer up a silent prayer, Oh Lord, let him cut.