Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cupid's Bullet: A Valentine's Day Story

(This story is part of a blog event initiated by Patti Abbot. Visit her site, Powderburn Flash, or Gerald So's site for links and/ or other Valentine's themed stories by other writers. And look, if you're here looking for warm fuzzy lovey-dovey, you're in the wrong place. If you like a hard edge to everything, even Valentines, or you like Bo Fexler, then enjoy!)

A Bo Fexler Story
by Clair Dickson

"So." I leaned in. "How would you compare me to your ex-girlfriend?"

"She was dark haired and much shorter than you are. But still very pretty." Todd reached over and took my hand.

"Her name was Gwen, right? How long were you with her?"

"About two years. It was this time last year that we… broke up. Just before Valentine's Day."

"That's rough."

"I don't wan to talk about my ex. I want to talk about… us." He smiled.

I fought the urge to recoil. I'd been dating this man for only a record-breaking three months. One of my longest relationships. The server saved me, asking if we wanted desert.

I declined.

"So, I was thinking, Bo, that after this, we'd go for a walk and see the stars."

I swallowed the bitter comment and smiled. Apparently not being me is the secret to longevity in a relationship. "I'm guessing you have a spot you'd like to take me to?"


"You go there with Gwen?"

"Sometimes. It's one of my favorite spots. It's just a great place to go. I'd like to take you there. I swear, you ask a lot of questions about her. I told you, she's gone. She's not a part of my life in the slightest."

"You were with her for two years. You have to know something about what she's been up to and where she's gone! From mutual friends—I know the type! The ones who feel it's their duty to tell you all about your ex's now-wonderful life. I just don't buy that you don't know anything about what's happened to her since you two broke up."

"I don't know what to tell you, Bo, but I don't know."

"Bo? Some short form of Bonnie? Uh, no," I countered. "I'm quite happy with my name." I smiled sweetly.

He nodded, a smile pressed to his mouth. A smile that was as slimy as a newt. I was instantly twice as cautious as before.

Todd insisted on taking his truck across the county to his favorite spot. He turned into a small driveway and illuminated the headstones with his headlights.

"A cemetery?"

"Just through those trees, there's a clearing. We can lay there and look up at the stars. It'll be really nice." He came to a stop at the top of the hill, shut of the lights, then the motor. He turned to me. One hand was behind him, as if reaching into a pocket or holding something out of sight.

A moment passed. "You first."

He brought his arm out. "No. You." He held a gun. A small one. Didn't look like it was much bigger than my little .22 caliber, carried in my ankle holster.

"Okay, you know I'm not a romantic, but the way to my heart isn't violence either."


I didn't. Maybe it's the blonde. "This what you did with Gwen? She broke up with you, started seeing someone else, so you killed her?"

"I know who you are. Bo Fexler, the private investigator. Who will do anything for a case."

"I figured you had when you called me Bo at dinner. She's buried up here, isn't she?"

He didn't answer, but his eyes glanced off.

"You didn't mean to kill her, did you?"

He shook his head. I brought my knee up in front of me, getting comfortable, or so it appeared. "Why did you then?"

"I couldn't stand the way Jim made her so unhappy."

"The love letters she was emailing him from work didn't seem to come from an unhappy woman."

"He wasn't good enough for her!"

"Who did you shoot first, anyway?"

He waved the gun at me.

"You're already going to kill me. We both know that. What am I going to do to stop you?"

He considered. "I shot him. And she was mad at me. So, I shot her. For hurting me. I didn't want to. I loved her."

I slid my hand up my shin. Then, in one quick motion, I leveled the gun and fired. The bullet hit his left arm-- I missed his heart. I used his distraction to grab his gun away from him. He put his hands up. And started to weep. "I loved her. I couldn't lose her!"

I didn't get it. Maybe that's why none of my relationships have lasted that long. That and the hard heart that allowed me to shoot a man.

<3> --{-----@

Happy Valentine's Day. And read some of the other stories. We've all been working hard. When not bombarded by adds for jewelry...

Patti Abbot's site.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Clair-I swear I thought he was going to pull out a box of candy. I shoulda known. Great story. Thanks for writing it.

Steve Allan said...

"Apparently not being me is the secret to longevity in a relationship." Ha! Just a great line.

Love stories told mostly through dialog, sometimes you learn more about characters that way than any other method.

Anonymous said...

Trust Bo to take the hard line. Another great Bo story.


socalledauthor said...

Glad everyone's enjoyed it!

Patti-- c'mon! A love story that ends well for Bo? Well, maybe someday, but not today. =)

Steve-- I love dialogue. I get to say all the smart-ass things I'd never say in real life.

Sandra-- thank you!

r2 said...

You write tremendous dialogue. This is another great Bo piece. I still can't wait for the novel. I always like your stuff.

Patricia J. Hale said...

A fun slice of Bo for VD (Valentine's Day)! Entertaining, thanks.