Becoming all things to survive.... . Believe .............you can !
THREE TIMES A WOMAN
By Joyce Godwin Grubbs
Marki Tabor’s trained eye looked at the late night crowd in the lounge and spotted the object of her search rubbing the inner thigh of a very good looking man. Pearl Hart would not welcome this intrusion, but it was Marki’s last night on this security job. She still had responsibilities to the country star who employed her to protect her teenage daughter, Skeeter.
The man with Pearl sat facing the door way and seemed to realize he was under scrutiny. He spoke into the Pearl’s ear as though there was a secret. Laughing was heard and Pearl turned her eyes on Marki. Feeling her face flush, Marki sized the man up a little closer. He was definitely the catch of the room; very tall and too muscle bound in Marki’s estimation. His black wavy hair was shaped away from his face and flowed below his collar line in back. He had snapping dark eyes, almost black. The diamond in his ear lobe was anything but fake. Marki tried to remember if left ear meant gay, or right ear, or did it need to be both? She couldn’t remember.
Pearl was waving her over so she deliberately sauntered toward them knowing the man was taking measure of her persona and trying to slot her. She wasn’t going to help him. Let him interpret what he saw any way he wanted to. In her western boots, low rider jeans and jean jacket, she probably perpetuated an image he found amusing. She had cut her hair mannish short and spiked it on top for good measure. The platinum had been Skeeter’s idea last week. It was meant to be a bonding thing.
At the thought of Skeeter, she felt irritated with Pearl who was supposed to be upstairs with her. Instead, she was down here trying to get laid because it was her biological needy time. Skeeter was just a teenager, or becoming one, and Pearl was not setting her the best example. To Pearl’s credit, she hired protection at the first hint their might be a problem with a stalker, and Marki’s firm had sent her as that protection. Pearl did not make it easy though.
“Doing a little celebrating, Pearl?” began Marki. “I thought you were staying in with Skeeter tonight when you finished your gig at the I Wireless Center.”
“Aww, don’t be mad Marki”, she slurred. “It’s the end of a year long tour and in two months are the CMA nominations. I just need some down time.”
Turning to the man at her side, she added, “Some down on my back time, I mean.” Turning back to Marki, she added, “ And this is Moline, Illinois, not Chicago. No big hot spots to go to at this hour.”
Marki knew it was hard on Pearl who hit unexpected stardom as a single mom. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wanted to accommodate her with her needs. Pearl really cared about Skeeter, but she was weak in the department of sexual need. As Skeeter got older, it was harder to cover. Pearl was rubbing her companion’s leg and working her hand closer and closer to his crotch. Marki noted it didn’t seem to be having the desired effect on him. Looking back at him, he was giving Marki a sardonic look. Almost like he enjoyed the fact she was interested in whether he was aroused.
“I told Skeeter to keep the door locked. She will.” whined Pearl. “She’s in her book mood and had a whole new stack to start on. Meanwhile, I just met Colton, Colton..........something, and we’re about to get acquainted.”
Marki tried and failed to hide her disgust. Colton noted it without any difficulty and wondered if it was personal with she and Pearl. She was a real looker, but everything about her looks and carriage when she walked over to them, screamed masculine. It didn’t jibe with the wedding ring on her left hand, but then did lesbians wear wedding rings? Left hand or right? He’d known something about that, but wasn’t sure now. She sure was stunning and that piercing look she was giving him with those blue eyes did nothing to make him decide one way or the other about her.
Meanwhile, the piercing look he was admiring actually reflected Marki’s attempt to establish a mindset regarding leaving Pearl on her own with this apparent hustler. After all, she was here to protect Skeeter, not baby sit Pearl. She wasn’t in to breast feeding adults. In fact, since breast feeding little Connor, she knew she’d never have that experience again.
“Just give Skeeter a call and check on her, Pearl. I can bunk in with her for the night” Then she gave a judgmental look toward Colton, “In case you have plans elsewhere,”
Pearl whipped out her cell phone and hit the speed dial. At that moment, the emcee for the lounge act in progress chose to recognize Pear,l and invite her to the stage. Handing off the phone to Marki, she told her just to relay her good night and tell Skeeter she loved her.
The phone was still ringing as Marki put it to her ear. Her brow furrowed as she listened to the continued rings. She was not relieved when she heard the teen’s voice.
“Hello”. Skeeter said in a flat tone.
“Hey kiddo, just checking in. You okay?” asked Marki pointedly.
Sleepily, and yawning, Skeeter replied, “I’m fine. Just had room service brought up and going to finish my last book. Don’t forget tomorrow to return my Buddy Holly music”.
It had all been said in a flat tone but the wealth of information and lack of emotion in the message gripped Marki’s heart with fear. “Yeah, see you tomorrow, kiddo. Don’t worry. I’ll bring your music.”
Handing the phone off to Colton unceremoniously, Marki headed out of the lounge and for the closest stairs. Taking them two at a time, she arrived at the sixth floor and hesitated against the wall to slow her breathing and gather her thoughts. She pulled out her gun and slipped the safety off. She knew she had to follow procedure, but Skeeter had sounded very sleepy and flat. It wasn’t good. She knew, under no circumstances would Skeeter have ever ordered room service without someone else there. Skeeter had just invoked the code phrase for needing help immediately when she mentioned Buddy Holly’s music.
Approaching the suite door, she heard nothing as she paused outside. She inserted the card key and flinched when the mechanical click of the lock release was loud. Slowly opening the door the first room was completely dark, and through the partially closed bedroom door, she could see Skeeter on the bed scantily clad in only her panties. The question was, had the call scared someone off, or were they still there? Possibly behind the door. Her eyes adjusted to the dark room and it looked empty except for the furniture. The bathroom door was shut, so it was a go for the bedroom. Carefully she slipped across the floor and slowly pushed the door open as she moved into the bedroom. Hearing and seeing nothing to alarm her, she moved to Skeeter’s side to examine her.
The powerful blow came from the back and struck her upper back and head. She went down across the bed and felt her shoulder on fire. She knew someone was yanking her off Skeeter and the bed, then throwing her onto the floor. She needed to fight, but she couldn’t see. She tried to fight with the one good arm and her legs just hoping to connect with whoever it was. She felt a stunning blow to her left cheek, then blackness.