RANDOM LOVE STORIES

This is a collection of love stories. Stories that I heard from other people, some, I've experienced, and others I've imagined. The first one is about falling in love with your best friend's girl. Not a unique story, it happened before, but we read them anyway. So, this is a story that involves three people who love each other so much that love itself becomes the problem. The Second story is about a girl who finds the perfect love story through a series of letters. It helped her discover what love is all about, but will it lead her to a place where she will be happy? The Third is a story that evolved from anger. Two single parents work in the same company find themselves locked in an emotional tug of war. Do you go for the guy whom everybody likes, or settle for someone who everybody hates?

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4. Oh, Yeah, He’s Gone!

 

The ride to the precinct wasn’t going to be that long so Karen had to cram remembering what had happened the night before in a few minutes.  She had to make sure that she and Vivian knew what they were going to say and do the moment they saw Joe.  They were shopping for clothes at Knightingales when they got the call from Charlie saying Joe had been drinking and was now about to pass out.  They both hurried to Jerry’s pub where they saw Joe leaving with a group of guys they didn’t recognize.

“Hey! Wait!” Karen yelled. One them looked back just when Charlie stepped out of the pub with Tony and Mario behind him.  All of them carrying clubs.  Karen heard Charlie ordering the men to put Joe down.  “Charlie?”

“I don’t think we should be here, Karen,” Vivian said, tugging at her coat.  “It doesn’t look safe.”

“Call 911,” Karen said, and then she ran towards the group.

“Karen!” Charlie yelled, motioning for her to stop where she was. 

Karen stopped.  Then one of the men pointed at her and the rest looked. They had this dangerous expression on their faces, but they never made a move.  They dropped Joe and headed down the street, away from the pub.

“Joe!” Karen said, running towards Joe who was lying on the sidewalk.  “Joe?”

“Smart move, Vivian!” Charlie said, smiling. 

“What?” Karen looked behind her and saw that Vivian was putting her phone away.  “Oh!  And I thought I scared them.  You pretended to call 911.”

“No,” said Vivian.  “I really dialed.  But I told the operator that the problem was resolved.”

“Thanks for calling me,” Karen said to Charlie. 

“I had to call someone,” Charlie said.  “I didn’t want to call you.  I was hoping Russell would be home.”

“Yeah, well, he’s not.” Karen tried to get Joe to stand up, but he was too heavy.  Tony and Mario had to do the job of bringing Joe back inside the pub.

“I’m not going in there,” Vivian said. 

“Why not?”

“It’s three in the afternoon!”

“We’re not going in to drink, Viv.”

“People don’t know that.  Usually, when you go inside a pub—”

“Come on! Please, Viv!”

Vivian looked pissed, and Karen knew she would want compensation for this embarrassment.  What kind of compensation, Karen didn’t know, but it usually had something to do with vanity.  Vivian loved the three S’s:  Spas, Salons, and Shopping—it was either one or all of that, and she was going to pay.

“If you do this for me, I promise to treat you to—Adele’s.” It was an expensive Nail Salon down in Central Park.  They never went there because of the hefty prices on all the services. Vivian had been egging her for weeks, this should sound like buried treasure to her.

“Promise?”

Karen knew she had won.  “I swear!”

When they got in, Charlie and his boys had taken Joe to the spare room upstairs—it was a small room they used for naps because three of them lived in the upper west side of the city.  Joe was lying on the small bed; his face was calm as if he was dreaming of something. He kept murmuring something inaudible and the smell of brandy was all over the room.

“I think they must’ve slipped something into his drink,” Mario said after checking his pupils. “Yup!  Dilated pupils. He’s under some kind of narcotic. Maybe they slipped flunitrazepam.”

“What’s that?” Karen asked unabashedly. Mario was studying medicine, but she wasn’t and she was sure Vivian didn’t know what that was, either.

“Ever heard of R-2?”

“R-2?”

“You mean, Roaches?”

Karen looked at Vivian as if she was speaking in tongues.  “Roaches? What?”

“Date rape drug.”

It made absolutely no sense.  “Why would they want to drug him?  Did they want to rape him?”

“Maybe they’re into the trade.”

“What trade? Vivian—I know that Mario brings out the NCIS fanatic in you, but please, stop inundating my head with strange words!”

“Vivian’s right,” Charlie said. “Joe’s fit.  Maybe they wanted to make off with him for his organs.”

“My God!”

 “Who were those guys?”

“I’ve never seen them before in my life,” Charlie replied.  “I think they’re new to the city—possibly foreigners.”

“One of them spoke a different language, Pa,” said Tony.

“Yeah, guess they didn’t think me and my boys won’t care if they left with one of our customers,” Charlie said.  “The police’ll be here soon.” He looked at Vivian.

“Oh—No!  I told them not to come,” Vivian said after a while.

Charlie let out a short sigh.  “Oh well.  At least, he’s safe now.  Stupid.  I told him not to drink too much.  He was here because of you.”

Charlie clearly wasn’t happy to see her there.  “I know.”

“I told him, you leave Karen alone.  She’s got Russell and you should find someone for yourself, someone who had ZERO attachments.”

“I get it, Charlie!” She knew he didn’t approve, but to keep at it was like putting lemons on a sore wound. 

“Well, let’s hope he gets it, too.” Charlie told his boys to go back downstairs. “You girls fix this.  Lemme know if he’s gonna need a taxi ride home.”

“Thanks, Charlie.”

“Yeah, thanks,” said Vivian.  The door shut and Vivian walked to the other side of the small bed. “So much for telling him.”

“What am I supposed to do, Vivian?”

“Well, if discussing breaking up with you causes this,” she said, pointing to the oblivious person between them.  “Imagine what the actual break up will do.”

“I can’t.  I can’t do it, Viv.”

“So, what? You’re gonna break up with Russell?”

“I can’t do that, either. I mean, five years is not easy to throw away.”

“Yeah! Plus, it’s hard to come by someone like him, Karen.  You know that, don’t you?”

Karen nodded.  Russell was quite a catch: the youngest associate in one of the biggest law firms in the country, good looking, charming, generous, and very well off.  She was very lucky to have him.  Why was she looking for someone else?

Then again, she wasn’t.  Joe landed on them by accident.  Everything, since Joe arrived, was accidental: her having this attraction for him (he was good looking, too, but as an artist, he often had a disheveled look.  Maybe that was the appeal—he was not refined like Russell, but very manly), him having this attraction for her, that kiss that should never have happened, and this affair that should have been busted months ago.  However, Russell remained unaware of it, and neither she nor Joe had the heart to tell him.

Now, it had come to this.  Joe wasting away was not what she wanted.  She wanted them to both get over it and move on — as fast as they could.  It was wishful thinking, she knew, but she held onto it. Reality really bites, sometimes.

Then, something struck her.  Vivian was here. She might be the answer to everything.  That was, if she agreed to her suggestion. 

Karen decided to try.  “Viv, I have a favor to ask.”

“What?”

“Can you… pretend to date Joe?”

“What?” Vivian said, her voice rising to a shriek. “Are you insane?  I’m not gonna do that, Karen.”

“Please!  Just until I figure out what to do.”

“Yeah? And when will that be? Tomorrow?  Next week?”

“Please, Viv! Look, I can’t end things with Joe just like that.  I need to make sure he’s gonna be okay.  I need an alibi to keep seeing him.”

“And I’ll be your alibi, is that it?”

“Yes.” 

Vivian stood and left.  Karen knew she had crossed a line.  She tried to reach Vivian for the next two hours, but her cell phone was off.  By six, Karen had given up all hope, and was constructing her confession to Russell, when Charlie called and said Vivian was on the phone downstairs.

The pub, now filled with people, was loud.  It was hard to hear Vivian’s voice above the cacophony, but she managed to make out what she said.  She was at the corner waiting.  Karen went to see her immediately and they headed for the nearest coffee shop together.

“Okay,” Vivian said as they sat on the table near the window.  “I’ll do it.”

“Oh! Thank you! Thank you so much!!!”

“I’m doing this for Joe, too, you know. And for Russell.  He’s oblivious of all this and he’s the one who’s gonna get hurt the most.”

“Thank you, Viv.”

“You better fix this, Karen.  You better fix this soon.”

After finishing their coffee, they decided to go back and fetch Joe from Jerry’s pub so they could head home.  Then they saw Charlie outside and Karen suddenly had the feeling that something happened to Joe.

She walked faster and, as if Vivian read her mind, Vivian told her to run for it.  “Charlie?”

“Where the hell were you?”

“I had to meet Viv,” she said. “What happened?”

“He’s gone!”

“What?”

“I thought you said he was asleep?”

“He was, Viv!  I left him, he was out!  How was he able to get down without anyone noticing?”

“Oh, sorry, I had to tend to my business, Karen!” Charlie said.  He was being ridiculously callous with her, but she knew it was only because he was worried for Joe. 

“Don’t worry,” Karen said. “Viv and I will look for him.”

“You better!” he said.  “Maybe you should call 911 now; remember they almost made off with him.”

“Right!” Karen dialed the number and reported what had happened since that afternoon.  “Ok.  They’ll be on the lookout.  Meanwhile, we should look around.  He couldn’t have gone far.”

“Where do we look?” Vivian stood at the edge of the sidewalk.  Jerry’s pub was near a crossroad.  Joe could have gone in any direction. 

“Let’s try straight down first.”

“If we go straight down, and he went left—” Vivian said. 

It was going to be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Joe was gone.

“Great!” Karen said. 

“He doesn’t know about the plan, Karen.”

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