A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Four (Part One)

This is a long chapter that has a lot going on.  In order to make it easy for readers I have split it into three parts.

Jonathan eyed the growing amount of empties piling up in front of Marah.  Something was wrong, that much was evident.  Even before the attack Marah wasn’t much of a drinker, and definitely not a place like The Roadhouse.  Not that there was anything wrong with slumming it once in a while, at least not in Jonathan’s opinion.  But seeing Marah there slamming back tequila like a sailor on leave was a bit too much to take.  Casually Jonathan took a sip of his beer, “So you gonna tell me why you are here?”

Marah polished off her next shot with barely a wince.  She was getting better at this drinking thing by the minute, “Nope.  Not really.”

“Listen Marah, whatever it is it can’t be that bad.”

Marah narrowed her eyes at her brother.  “Aren’t you the one who wanted us to become pals again?  Then stop trying to psychoanalyze me Doctor Freud and have a drink with me.”

“Maybe I should call Tony.  Let him know-”

“Don’t you dare!” Marah slapped the phone out of Jonathan’s hand and to the ground.  “I am an adult damn it!  And I don’t need you tattleing to my husband like I am the little wife let off her leash.”

Jonathan retrieved his phone from the floor and inspected the screen for cracks.  Finding none he held up his hands in surrender. “Okay I concede.  No need to get so violent.”

Marah held up the next shot as a peace-offering. “You are not my warden you are my brother.  So just chill and drink with me like you were meant to.”

With a shrug Jonathan grabbed the glass and clinked it with hers.  “Bottoms up!”

***

Tony put down the magazine he had been pretending to read for the past half hour.  Walking to the window he was shocked to see how dark it had gotten outside.  And yet Marah still wasn’t home.

He didn’t like it.  That tight feeling in his gut that told him something was wrong.

He checked his phone again but there were not missed calls and no texts.  And every one of the ones he had sent Marah had gone unanswered.  It was unlike Marah to be gone this long and not at least let him know where she was.

After debating with himself a few more minutes he finally gave in to his gut and called Josh and Reva, surely they would know where she was.

***

Marah hadn’t felt this free in a long time.  At least that she knew off.  She was in that happy fuzzy place between being slightly buzzed and falling down drunk.  And she liked it there.  Wanted to buy a condo and stay in that place for a good long while.  Or at least until the images of Tony and Eden together weren’t permanently etched in her brain.

Marah wrinkled her forehead in confusion, “So wait, let me see if I got this straight.  You were married to Tammy.  Tammy Winslow.  Our cousin Tammy.”

Jonathan knocked back his shot with a wince, clearly he wasn’t as good as this amnesia drinking as Marah had become. “Yup.”

“Not gonna lie little brother, that’s a bit…icky.”

“The heart wants what it wants I guess.”

Ugh.  There was that damn line again.  The heart wants what it wants.  Well what does the heart know about what it wants.  Marah’s heart had wanted Tony from the moment she laid eyes on him.  Sure, she knew he would piss off her father.  But underneath all of that he had made her feel alive for the first time.  And look where it had gotten her.  She was currently getting drunk in a dive bar.  And on that depressing note Marah took another healthy drink of her beer.

Marah turned in her stool to ask Jonathan something when he suddenly stood up and walked towards the door.  Turning the other way on the stool Marah had to brace her hand against the bar to steady herself.  And she saw her brother hugging a woman whose jean skirt looked to be painted on.  Marah mentally slapped her hand at the catty thought and listened to them talk.

The woman wrapped her arms around Jonathan and kissed him briefly on the lips, “Hey!  Sorry I’m late.  I had to go home and change.”

Jonathan smiled and grabbed her hand in his and walked back towards the bar, “No problem.  I was just sitting here chatting with my sister anyway.”  He brought her forward into Marah’s line of sight, “Considering you work for her I don’t think an introduction is necessary.”

Sadly in Marah’s inebriated state that line took longer than usual to register.  And when she finally was able to make herself focus she realized with a start that standing before her was none other than Tristan Daniels.  A Tristan Daniels who looked to be a mixture of surprise and embarrassment.  Marah waved lamely, “Hey.”

“Mrs. Santos I didn’t…I hope you don’t think….”

Marah finished off her drink and signaled for yet another, “I quit thinking two beers ago.”

***

Tony bounced a fussy Lanie on his shoulder as he relayed information to his worried in-laws.  “I called the place in Oakdale that she was going to consult with today but they said she left hours ago.  I called Cedars but no one resembling Marah has been brought in.  I even called Frank at the police station.  But so far no one has seen her.”  Tony listened to Reva on the other end of the phone and continued, “No, I don’t want you to have to come out this late at night.  It would be better if I brought Lanie there.  Besides, Lanie has been fussy so maybe a drive will do her good. Thanks Reva.”

Tony disconnected the phone and looked down at Lanie, her face pinched tight in the throes of another fit.  He bounced her gently in his arms, “It’s going to be okay Lanie.  Daddy is going to find mommy and bring her home.”

***

Standing in the hallway outside the bathrooms, Tristan put a hand over her ear and yelled into her phone. “Listen you may want to come to the Roadhouse.  Your plan may have just had an unexpected development.”

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