Life After Dark
Chapter 12

“Tonight was unbelievable, Mama,” Tommy said, taking Simone’s hand as he sat beside her on the bed.

“There were so many celebrities there, and the music was great,” Gina added, as she moved to sit on the other side of the bed.

“The music was alive. I could feel it beating inside of me. It was weird, Mama. I’ve never felt anything like that before. Dawn and Lucky gave us backstage passes and we wished the band go-“ He abruptly stopped and looked at Gina. “Is it okay to say it now?”

Gina smiled and said, “Yeah, I think it’s okay.”

Tommy smiled at her and then turned back to his mother. He continued, “We wished the band good luck, but we couldn’t say that backstage. We had to say ‘break a leg’ instead. Isn’t that funny, Mama?”

The smile on Tommy’s face faded as Simone continued to lay still. He gently caressed her cheek. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he quietly said, “You don’t have to stay. We’ll be okay.”

“I want to stay,” Gina said. “You’re not in this alone, Tommy.” She reached out a hand and gave Tommy’s shoulder a brief squeeze. She turned her attention to Simone and said, “Your son was out of control tonight, Simone. I didn’t know he could be so loud. He’s a good dancer, too.”

“Aw, don’t tell her that,” Tommy said, embarrassed.

“It’s true, Simone. He didn’t tell you this, but there were quite a few girls who couldn’t keep their eyes off of him. I’m surprised one of them didn’t drag him away.”

“Aw, Gina,” Tommy said, moving away to look out the window.

“He’s being shy now, but he wasn’t so shy on the dance floor.”

“Gina!” Tommy turned away from the window to face Gina with a horrified look on his face.

Tommy’s expression only provided her with inspiration. She grinned at him and said, “The look on his face is priceless. His beautiful green eyes are huge and his mouth is wide open.”

“Mama, don’t believe her. Gina likes to tell stories,” Tommy said, moving away from the window to join them on the bed.

“I do not! I’m telling the truth. Your son had legions of girls-“

“Legions? A second ago it was ‘quite a few’ and now, it’s legions. See, Mama. See how Gina tells a story,” Tommy said, a teasing smile on his face.

“Legions…quite a few. It’s the same thing.”


“You, hush! I’m telling this. Anyway, Simone, the girls wore so many beautiful dresses-“

“Except for that one girl. What was she wearing?” Tommy asked.

“In the plastic raincoat?”

“Yeah, that one. That wasn’t beautiful. It was ugly!”

“You didn’t think it was ugly when you saw it,” Gina said.

“Yes, I did,” Tommy said with a frown.

“You were staring at her!”

“Yeah, because it was so ugly,” Tommy said.

“No, because it was see-through. I saw you,” Gina said, poking a finger at him. “Every time she walked by, your eyes were glued to her. I think that’s why she kept walking by. Because of the attention from you.”

“That’s not true! That’s not why I kept looking at her. I looked because her dress was ugly. You could see right through it and what she had on underneath wasn’t that great either. It had all of those colors and it was too tight. Besides, your dress was much prettier,” he said softly.

“You’re just saying that,” Gina said, lowering her eyes to Simone’s bedspread.

“No. I’m not. You looked very nice tonight, Gina,” Tommy said.

Gina’s eyes flew to Tommy’s and she softly added, “So did you.”

Their eyes held as they processed the compliments they had given each other. Gina was pleasantly surprised that Tommy had noticed her. She hadn’t realized it before, but a part of her had been worried that he wouldn’t find her attractive. The realization of her worries shocked her and she abruptly stood. She shouldn’t have such thoughts about him. He was like a little brother to her. Worrying about how she appeared to him was ridiculous.

Tommy was startled by Gina’s sudden movement. Looking into her hazel eyes had probably been the best part of the night, second only to holding her hand. He was surprised when he realized that he didn’t want the night to end. Usually spending time with Gina meant a stream of endless lectures on what he should be doing, but tonight he discovered that he enjoyed dancing with her, laughing with her and sparring with her. Gina…

“I think I should be going now,” Gina said with a slight smile.

“Okay,” Tommy said, trying to keep the disappointment from his voice. “I really had a lot of fun tonight.”

“So did I,” Gina said, moving to pick up her purse from one of the guest chairs. “Good-night, Simone. Tommy.”

“Good-night, Gina,” Tommy said, softly. As Gina disappeared from the room, Tommy remembered something and ran after her. “Gina, wait!”

“What’s wrong?” she asked, her eyes full of concern.

“Nothing. I just wanted to walk you to your car,” he said, catching up to her.

“You don’t have to. The parking lot is well lit…”

“Maybe, but I want to all the same,” he said with determination.

Gina smiled and said, “Okay. If you insist.”

“I do,” he said, offering her his arm. She took it and they headed toward the elevator.


Finally, there was silence. The constant chatter of the voices distracted her from the beauty of the light. The warmth it had. The peace it gave her. The love it held. She wanted to go to the light. It called her and she longed to be enveloped by the comfort she knew she would find there.

She made a step to go there, but something stopped her. Something always did. The familiar masculine voice always found a way to pull her back, as well as, the light, feminine one. Moments ago, both voices called to her, pulling her away from the bright, radiant glow. But now she was alone. And now, she could give in to the light’s persistent beckoning.

But no. Once again, something stopped her. What now, she wondered. Why must she always be interrupted?

Oh, no! The light! What happened to the light? The light was gone and in its place was darkness. A very cold, chilling darkness.

She felt the feather-light caress against her cheek. The breath against her temple. The words in her ear.

“Mi, querida. What has your bastard child done to you? But not to worry. I shall find him and I shall punish him for destroying our paradise. I know that it has taken me some time to get back to you, but I am here now. I will take care of everything and we will be together as we were meant to be. But first, Tommy must pay for his transgressions.”

The touch disappeared and took the darkness with it, leaving only panic and fear. Simone’s eyes opened wide and with ragged breath, she whispered, “Tommy!”

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