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Exiled by Ryan and Niki Traynor Chapter 7

Sorry for the delayed post. Very busy week! But here's the latest chapter of our book, Exiled! If you need to get caught up, read all of the chapters here. 

Chapter 7 

Freddy sat in his apartment alone, high as a kite, listening to old John Lennon songs. An old syringe sat on the floor next to a dinner plate filled with other used paraphernalia. A month and a half had elapsed since the Bears game and he found himself dodging Noel’s phone calls. One night a couple weeks prior, he’d even pretended not to be home and sent Michelle to the door to get rid of him. Freddy felt he had enough problems of his own to deal with and didn’t want to get tangled up in their sad state of affairs. A thick beard grew on his face and his hair was a mess. A stained sweat shirt was draped over his back like a cape. The only other thing he wore was a pair of plaid boxer shorts. The apartment was freezing cold because the heat hadn’t been turned on all day. 
He heard a knock at the door followed by a woman’s voice calling his name. He assumed it was Michelle and yelled, “Come on in baby cakes.” Cheyenne stepped through the door and gasped. 
The only thing she was able to murmur was his name over and over. She began to cry and dropped to the floor by his side. Freddy managed to get to his feet and put his hands in front of him stuttering, “Che- Che- Chey, thi- this isn’t what it looks like.” 
“It looks like you’re shooting heroin,” she responded still in shock. He took her hand and told her she couldn’t tell anyone about this. She ripped it away and headed for the door, which stood wide open. Freddy expected her to walk right out without saying another word, but instead she closed it and locked the deadbolt. She looked at him and stated, “I came here to talk. I knew you were screwed up, but dammit Freddy. What the hell is wrong with you? Heroin! I mean come on. I know your father died when you were a child and your mother didn’t hug you nearly enough, but there are other ways to cope with the world.” 
“Oh yeah, like showing up at a junkie’s apartment to get marital advice?” he retorted. “Alright, I’m leaving,” she said in defense. “Wait, Cheyenne that was a joke and you know it. Maybe we can help each other out. You can listen to my sob story and I’ll listen to yours. And hey, if you don’t wanna hear mine I can at least listen to what you came to talk about and give you some hazy advice.” 

She looked at him wearily, “Okay, but clean that shit up. It’s making me uncomfortable.” “Your wish is my command my lady,” he said with a bow.
 “And stop saying things like that. Now I’m going to the restroom, which should give you plenty of time to put on some clothes and make this place somewhat presentable,” she said taking off her coat. Freddy did as he was told and put his drugs away. After they were put away, he walked into the bedroom and threw on a pair of cargo pants and a navy blue t-shirt. Cheyenne walked back into the living room and decided she didn’t want to be at the apartment, so they took a trip over to a local coffee shop and ordered dinner. 
Freddy decided to get a burger while Cheyenne went for the Cobb salad. Cheyenne did most of the talking. It mostly involved her fights with Noel and her severe postpartum depression. She explained how unhappy she’d been for the past year and that she’d even contemplated suicide. “Does Noel even know where you are right now?” Freddy asked concerned. 
“No,” she responded. “We got into another argument about Lilith. I think he was angry because you’ve been avoiding him and he was taking it out on me. When he got home from work, I’d fallen asleep, but in my defense I made sure Lilith had been fed and put down for a nap. He called me an irresponsible bitch and a bad mother. I wasn’t going to stand for that, so I told him I was leaving and I stomped out. He asked where I was going and I said I didn’t know. I took the car and peeled out of the driveway, which was a horrible idea because I almost hit a truck.” She stopped to compose her thoughts and Freddy started laughing beneath his breath. 

“Listen Chey, I need help. I gotta tell you about Michelle.” “The stripper?” she said in a downward tone. “Yes, the stripper, but trust me that’s the least of her problems.” Freddy told her the story of how they’d met and the progression of their relationship. He finished by saying, “And now she thinks we have some sort of special bond or something. She definitely thinks she’s my girlfriend and I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I think we’ve talked about marriage a couple times when we were all jacked up.” This time it was Cheyenne’s turn to giggle. 
They drank coffee and talked until the place closed. Both of them agreed not to tell Noel what was going on since they wouldn’t even know how to approach the situation without freaking him out entirely. Cheyenne went home, made up with her husband once more and told him she was at an old friend’s place, which wasn’t a total lie. 
Michelle was sitting in front of Freddy’s door waiting for him when he arrived. She looked upset, but also relieved to see him alone. They went inside and shot some smack. While they were high, she told Freddy that she had lost her job over some crazy customer who basically tried to rape her in the parking lot. 
“The asshole turned the entire thing around on me,” she said. “He was one of my regulars, you know.” Freddy nodded his head. “Somehow he knew which car was mine and he was waiting in the back seat after my shift was over. I’m so stupid; I must have left the door unlocked. Normally, I don’t have to worry about that sort of thing because there’s security outside the building. So, I jumped in my car, having no idea he was laying in the back seat! I was a little tipsy from a few drinks the customers gave me and I wasn’t paying any attention. Next thing I knew, there was a hand over my face and a guy whispering in my ear not to make a sound or he’d kill me.” 

“That asshole!” groaned Freddy, slightly slurring his words. 
“Yeah I know. He told me to drive, act cool and not to try anything stupid.” She sniffled and then continued. “I swung around the building and luckily saw Matt the security guard was making his rounds to the left of me. I threw myself out of the car while it was still moving. It hit the club and Matt came running over. The guy jumped out of the backseat and swore up and down that I’d promised to sleep with him for three hundred bucks. He had a gun on him, so Matt told him to back off and that’s just what he did. He turned around calmly and walked away. Apparently, Matt had spoken with the guy before and found out he was some big time police lieutenant. He was married to some rich bitch who runs every one of those all night gyms for women called Pro Sessions.”
 “Yeah I’ve seen a few of those places while driving around,” said Freddy. He looked at Michelle and saw the water works dripping down her face, smearing the mascara on her long eyelashes. “So, I went inside with Matt and we told Bill, the owner, what happened. He was pissed about me hitting the building with my car. When Bill heard the part about me getting paid three hundred bucks to sleep with that guy, he flew off the handle and fired me right then and there,” she said and continued to sob quietly. “I was sure the guy was going to rape me and maybe worse.” Freddy grabbed her hand and held it tight. He wanted to say some comforting words, but none came. They decided to sleep on it and figure out what to do the next day. 
That morning, Freddy headed out to work before Michelle woke up. He stopped at the gas station and grabbed a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. No matter how hard he tried not to think about Michelle’s predicament, it kept bouncing around his head like a pinball machine. Half of him wanted revenge, but the other half just wanted her to go away. Maybe, she could get another job and this time it doesn’t necessarily have to be a strip club, he thought. After he got to the factory, his boss laid into him because they were behind schedule, primarily due to the two machines Freddy was in charge of running. He knew he was falling behind his quota, but somehow thought he would have made up the difference by now. A preoccupied mind was cumbersome at a time like this. Accepting the challenge, he buckled down and worked double time, almost completely catching up on his work. He was pumping out finished parts at a records pace and before he knew it the day was done. 

He clocked out, and headed home again burdened by Michelle’s problems. Hoping she wouldn’t be there when he arrived, Freddy went straight home to try to get to bed early. Moreover, dope was the last thing he needed to do tonight, which would have been almost impossible if Michelle was sitting there waiting for him to get high. Driving into the complex, he came to the conclusion that she most likely was. Even though the lights were turned off in the apartment, he still crept in expecting to see her lying in his bed asleep or in the bathroom taking a shower. But to his relief, she was gone. He’d had a long day, so he cleaned up and cooked a frozen pizza. After Sports Center was over and the pizza was devoured, he turned off the television and went to bed. 
Three hours later, he heard a knock on the door. He wished that whoever it was would just go away. The knocks kept on coming sporadically and were not going to stop till he answered. His only thought was, Please don’t be Michelle. A sigh of relief came, as soon as he peaked through the peep hole. It was Cheyenne, a woman whom he had little to no obligation to. He opened the door and she started in right away, “I’m sorry to wake you, but I really needed to get out of the house.” 
“Another fight with Noel?” he sighed followed by a long extended yawn. “No. I felt restless and depressed. Noel’s been asleep for hours,” she said sadly. 
“Lucky him,” Freddy said somewhat annoyed. “I don’t want to bother you. I really don’t. Can I just sit and watch TV or something and clear my head? These hollow feelings are relentless and I don’t know what else to do. I took some prescription meds, but I don’t think they’re working.” Cheyenne had been given antidepressants by her doctor a few months prior. 

“Chey, I have to get some sleep. I’m sorry, but I’m dealing with a ton of bullshit myself, and I...” he was cut off mid sentence. 
“Yeah of course, I won’t bother you. Go back to bed and get some sleep. I’ll only be here for a little while and then I’ll make sure I lock up the place before I leave.” She looked on the verge of tears. 
Freddy turned around and walked to his bedroom saying, “Fine, but make sure you lock the door.” Cheyenne was hoping he was in a better mood. She really needed someone to talk to, but didn’t want to push her luck. Still, her antsy frame of mind left her fidgety and unable to calm down. An hour of reruns passed by, but her attitude did not change. Disparaged, she reached for his pack of cigarettes on the coffee table and lit one up. Taking a drag left her light headed and nauseous, but both sensations passed rapidly, leaving her with a smoke filled room and seven minutes closer to death. Some people used to say that every cigarette one smokes takes seven minutes off of their life. It’s one of those arbitrary unsubstantiated facts that no one can prove. 
As her outlook darkened, she began to feel desperate for relief and the more she tried to calm herself down the worse it got. Cheyenne had never experienced a panic attack before. However, she was convinced it was occurring in that little apartment. The room felt as if it was closing in on her and she couldn’t fend off the anguish that tormented her. When it finally became too much to handle, she ran to the bathroom and began rummaging through the medicine cabinet looking for some sort of medication or sleeping pills to calm herself down, but found nothing. Upon returning to the living room, she noticed an open drawer out of the corner of her eye. The drawer belonged to a small end table with a lamp perched on top of it next to the couch. The 
porcelain lamp was made to look like seven off white skulls stacked unevenly below the light bulb and grey lampshade. She had fond memories of him getting the lamp at a flea market in college and telling everyone what a fantastic deal it was. 

She walked over to the drawer, closed it and then reopened it because she thought she noticed a bottle of Aspirin. Sure enough a half empty clear bottle of generic Aspirin sat at the top of the drawer on top of several books including the Gideon Bible, probably stolen from a motel room. Seemed like something Freddy would have done on one of his trips out of town. She looked farther expecting to see small bars of soap and miniature shampoo bottles, but instead found a leather pouch with a zipper on top. It looked like a gas station pouch the manager used to hold money. Cheyenne picked up the pouch and feeling like a snoop put it back in the drawer. She opened the bottle of Aspirin, took three tablets out and swallowed them. Earlier, she’d seen some orange juice in the fridge, which she helped herself to before sitting back on the couch for about twenty minutes. Still feeling horrible, she stood up to leave, but decided to look in the pouch before she went. Even though she knew it was rude to go through her friends belongings, she couldn’t help herself. She knew curiosity killed the cat, but she scurried over to the end table, opened the drawer and pulled out the black leather pouch. 
Just like a kid on Christmas, she held it up to her ear and shook it, listening to the contents rattling around on the inside. With her interests sufficiently peaked, she opened the bag and found a couple of burnt up spoons, syringes, and heroin. When Freddy woke up early the next morning, Cheyenne was still there asleep on the couch. Lying on the coffee table was a menagerie of illegal contraband. Stunned and visibly shaken, he raced across the living room and woke her up immediately to make sure she was alive and well. As soon as she was awake, he made sure she was coherent and then yelled at her all morning until he left for work. 

Cheyenne drove home, not feeling quite as bad as she thought she might after such an experience. She anticipated Noel would be angry when she got in, but luckily, he was still asleep. Today was his day off and Lilith made it through the whole night without fussing. Relieved, she took a shower and put a band aid glazed with antiseptic over her track mark, hoping it would heal promptly.

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