Episode 31 – Finale: Encounter

Chet walked as fast as he could, expecting a downpour any second. Thunder was getting louder and it was pitch black. Hardly a car on the road. A wild wind swirled in the treetops…like the rush of a waterfall.

He heard the swish of tires behind him, but the car didn’t pass…it slowed and crept behind. He glanced back several times, but couldn’t see anything but headlights.

“Who the fuck is it?” He wondered. It was freaky.

Suddenly, the car sped up and ground to a halt a few feet away. The door slammed and a figure came toward him…a black silhouette against the bright lights.

“Hey, Nichols!”

Wade’s voice…and the familiar tubby outline.

“Hop in. We need to talk.”

“What do you want? I like to walk.”

“You’re crazy. It’s about to fucking pour.”

“I don’t care.”

“Come on, man. I need to tell you stuff about Abby. Things you don’t know.”

Chet didn’t trust Wade for a second. Figured he was capable of anything…backed away.

“Abby’s no angel.” Wade said. “Really, let’s talk a minute.”

The encounter was surreal. “How did you find me?”

“Just luck. Amazing right? God sent me to get you out of the rain.”

Alarm bells went off. Was Wade trying to get to Abby…or planning an “accident” to get him out of the picture. Could be anything? The guy was a total psycho.

Wade moved closer, talking non-stop: “Yeah, she’d never admit it but she loves to fuck. Guess you could call her a nympho. Sure, to hear her, it was all my fault, but that’s bullshit. She and I even talked about living like husband and wife…having a family.”

“So, that’s why she had an abortion…because she loves you so much?”

Wade stopped. “You know about that?”

“Wade, you’re fucking crazy. Get back in your car and leave me alone.”

He stopped. “No way. You’re a pain in my ass. I miss Abby, but she won’t come home, mostly because Mom and Dad are fucked up, but when I’m there, I protect her. She’s tired of you…you don’t give her what she wants. Really. I’m giving it to you straight.”

“What the fuck are you talking about? She’s hung at our place for years.”

Wade resumed edging forward, as though Chet wouldn’t notice. “Maybe she’s been at your house, but you don’t know shit about her. She sneaks home when she’s horny. Haven’t you noticed? She always ends up with me.”

“Bullshit.”

Wade was holding something that gleamed in the headlights. A knife? Chet whirled and sprinted away. Lightning flashed, silhouetting trees. He ran along the uneven shoulder…beside a stone wall. He could hear Wade behind him. Blobs of rain hit Chet’s face as he veered off and vaulted the wall into the brush. He peered back. Wade didn’t follow. Chet crouched low, breathing hard. The car door slammed and the lights crept forward…stopped opposite Chet’s hiding place. Wade got out…appeared with a flashlight. The beam searched the trees…passed over Chet.

“I hear you in there,” Wade said. “I’m gonna bust your ass.”

Wade started to struggle over the wall. Chet leaped up and charged deeper into the woods, slapped by leaves and branches. After a while he stopped. Couldn’t see the headlights anymore, but could hear Wade yelling: “You fucking asshole! I’m gonna get you no matter what! You’ll see. You can’t run forever!”

Chet hid a while, then groped his way in the right direction…rain coming down in buckets. Finally found the road. Reached home soaked and exhausted at 1:00 am. His Mom, Dad and Abby were all up, frantic, but Chet was too tired to speak. Staggered to his room and fell asleep in his clothes.

The next morning, he fended off questions…said he decided to walk home and got caught in the storm. At school, Dawn tried to patch things up, but he wouldn’t talk. Friends wondered what was going on, but he had nothing to say…kept to himself. All he wanted was a normal life for a change…to be anonymous. Skipped lunch, went to a far corner of the football field and practiced chip shots. Piqued by his behavior, Abby walked over.

“Aren’t you speaking?” She asked.

He faced her. “Yeah, just not about last night.”

“Dawn’s crying.”

Chet shrugged. “It’s my fault. I have shitty judgment.”

Abby frowned. “What does that mean?”

“I don’t know…I came on to you…then, because Dawn’s beautiful, I came on to her. I’m fucking impulsive, instead of figuring out what I really want.”

“But lots of girls are after you because you’re handsome, and not all of them are bad. You just need to keep your hormones under control.”

“True. It’s a fucking curse. I have to be careful.”

“But it’s really a blessing right? Look at me. I’m invisible.”

“Not really. Your brains and personality are super. Kids just don’t notice right away.”

“Tell me about it.”

Abby and Chet smiled at each other. Maybe they weren’t lovers, but they knew each other….inside and out.

“I’m glad you came out and didn’t ignore me.”

“Chet, my god, You’re important to me. Listen, you can’t expect to find the right girl right away, but things’ll work out. No question.”

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For the rest of the day, Chet thought about their sweet, simple discussion. No bullshit, no agendas…just good talk. He realized he had to take responsibility for himself…not just be manipulated. He wasn’t a baby. Before golf practice, he called Wade.

The dull, expressionless voice answered. “Hullo…”

“You know who this is?”

There was a pause.

“It’s Chet Nichols. The guy you fucked with last night. I don’t know if you were high or what, but if you ever bother me or Abby again, I’m going to call the police immediately! Whether you realize it or not, you’re a fucking criminal and need serious help!”

“No way. You’re the one that needs help.”

“Bullshit. Get real for once. Go to a hospital, or a doctor, before you hurt somebody!”

Chet hung up feeling better than he had in a long time. Okay, so he didn’t have a girlfriend, and it wasn’t like he and Abby were headed anywhere…except as brother and sister, but he knew more about himself…figured he had the basics and could take it from there. Obviously, he wasn’t perfect and lisped sometimes, but he was pretty normal, and that felt good…really good.

The End