Just Once

by Jennifer Boggess

Chapter 1

The rain was heavy and loud, the wind was fierce on her face. As tammy walked down the barley lit road, she thought to herself "how did I get here", with tears streaming down her face she walked into a phone booth, shutting the flimsy glass door behind her, The sound of the rain beat on the phonebooth she would now call home for the night. As tammy wrestled to get comfortable on the small dirty floor,she said a little prayer, propped her backpack as a pillow and fell asleep watching the storm.

"Let's go!" yelled dan, as he waitied for his coffee at the local coffe shop, scarmbeling through a newspaper for the stock section he paused as he noticed something across the street. "I'll be back, don't move my things" he said to the approaching waitress as he walked out the door. As dan skipped across the street in the lightly falling rain he slowed down as he came closer to the phonebooth. "you ok?" he yelled.

Tammy jumped in fright at the noise, as she looked up in confusion she held the door closed with her knee. "What do you want?" she asked."The phone is broken".

I,.I was just wondering if you were ok, I was in the coffee shop having some,..Dans stopped talking as a passing car drew light apon Tammys face, covered in bruises and streaked with tears. "Are you ok?" he asked. 'I'm fine, leave me alone" she said. "would you like to have some coffee?"

Tammy paused at the question, why would a complete stranger offer to have coffee with her, but as she looked at him, her curiosity grew bigger and before she knew it she was walking back to the coffe shop with him.

"I'll have two eggs over easy, a steak med rare and some soup"dan said as the waitress took his order, "and your friend?"the waitress asked."I'm not sure, he replied she's in the restroom, but bring us some coffee, this coffe is cold". As Tammy washed her face and cleaned up she looked in the mirror, the reflection she saw brought more tears to her eyes, she was covered in bruises with a busted lip. She wiped her face once more straightened her hair out a little, took a deap breath and walked out to the table.

"Thanks for the coffe" she said as she poured suger and cream in her cup. "Don't mention it, infact get whatever you want off the menue, my treat". So i hope you don't mind me asking, what's with the phonebooth?"Dan asked. "Just a safer haven for tonight"she replied. "wait a minute, you think that's safe? Come on there are so many crazies in this town you would be safer outside the phonebooth!" They both laughed. "So, what's your name"? Dan asked "tammy she replied, and yours? My name is Dan. listen,

do you need a place to stay tonight, I can see that you are hurt and the street is no place for a woman in the middle of the night; I live just around the block from here. we can walk"

Tammy stirred her coffee trying not to cry, she new she had nowhere else to go, and couldn't look worse at this point, as she looked across the street at the phonebooth she was sleeping in, she smiled as she said 'yes, thank you".

"So, I'm a day trader, I work alot, my family lives in California, I play the quitar, well I should say "try" to play the guitar Dan sadi as he laughed, what's your story?

Well, I am a dancer slash wanna be actress, who's family disowns me, who's child is in dad's custody with his new miss perfect wife, I have one brother in California, he is a surfer out there, and goes to college. I have had dreams of acting since I was a child she said. I thought coming to the city would make those dreams a reality, but It's harder than you think. I have met so many people here and yet they are all out for themselves, everyone I have met have brought me down she said "your not going to do that are ya?" sha laughed. "well, no offense, but what could be worse than sleeping in a phonebooth eh?"he said

The sound of the keys began a series of barking from the other side of the door,.'don't worry, they're big babies" he said as he opened the door. The dogs jumped up in excitment as they both made thier way in. 'calm down calm down, I'm home" Let me go put them in the back, just a minute" he said as he walked the dogs into the back room. As Dan walked the dogs back tammy slowley walked around the apartment, it was nice, decorated and clean, a lot of magazines and just about every movie you could think of. She made herself comfortable on the couch picking up a magazine and fliiping through it. "Here you go" Dan said handing Tammy an Ice towel,.this will help the swelling. What happened to you,.

Like I said before I have just been running into the wrong people here, they are always nice at first, then they want to use me, or drug me up. I was with this guy, he has a drug problem, he needed a fix and wanted me to sell my body for him to get high, I said no and he beat on e and threw me out of the hotel. I can't go to anyone, there is noone. I don't want to bring you trouble, and I appriciate youletting me stay here tonight, I will be gone in the morning.

"Where are you going to go tomorrow? he asked.

Listen, he said. I don't usually bring strangers into my home, but you looked like you needed help and hey, you are a beautiful woman, so just relax, you can take a shower and you can take my bed, I will camp on the couch.

"no, I can't take your bed she replied, i just couldn't do that,.I could share with you though she said with a half smile. Ok deal he said, let me get you a towel so you can take a shower.

As Tammy took off her soaked clothes and put them in a pile, Dan caught a glimpse of her bare breasts through the cracked door, her tan and shiny body was not what he had expected from the sweatshirt and jeans persuad. The sound of the shower starting combined with the sound of the television in the livingroom, as Dan watched the stock market channel he began to doze off on the couch.

As tammy was in the shower she stood letting the hot water engulf her, confused and tired she finished up with her shower, now realizing that she had no clean clothes to change into. As she walked out of the bathroom she realized that Dan was sound asleep sitting on the couch, the apartment was dark and she was nervous. As she walked into his bedroom she quickly noticed a stack of clothes on the end of the bed wich consisted of boxer shorts and a tee shirt, she smiled as she put them on.

As tammy walked back out into thelivingroom she carefully sat down next to Dan, before she knew it she was cuddeling with him, falling asleep with her head on his chest.

The smell of coffe filled the air as tammy awoke fromher sleep, the sound of cooking in the kitchen ecoed into the livingroom, it was Saturday, and he was obviosly off work. "good morning" he said as she approached the kichen door. "hi" she said. "hope you like eggs and bacon", he said with a smile. "that's really nice she said, I am kinda hungry. As they sat down to eat, Tammy sat back as if to say something. "what's wrong?" Dan asked. "I just feel as if I don't want to wear out my welcome, you don't even know me and you are doing so much" Nah, I'm not, just relax, you need a friend. By the way, your clothes are clean and folded on my bed, I thought you might want to wear clean clothes he said with a smile.'thank you" she said, I really appreciate everything you have done, I will go. "no, don't go, let's go do something today, it's beautiful outside, it's Saturday and I would like to spend the day with you. "are you sure?" she asked.

Trust me, you will be fine, I won't bite.

Chapter 2

The streets were filled with people as they made their way down the sidewalk, the city always seemed more alive during the day. "Hey, let's go shpooing" he said. Oh I can't she said, I have no money. You don't need money silly, I will take care of it, ok, to be honest I have this party to go to tonight, and I would really like it if you could come with me, it will be fun just a few friends.

I don't know, she replied, I won't know anyone. "well that's the point",'you will", they laughed.

As they approached the store he held the door open for her as she passed, as they browsed through the isles she quickly came to a stop when she noticed herself in the mirror,.remembering that her face was bruised and swollen. "I can't go out like this she said, I'm sorry.

"hey listen, we don't have to go anywhere, we can just get some drinks and hang out at my place if you want." Actually that would be nice,.I was actually hoping that we could spend some time together awake! she said as she smiled.

"It's set then, let's go get some things from the market to make for dinner, and we will get some wine.

As they walked through the market, they talked and laughed, anyone looking at them would have thought they wer a couple, you really would think they were together.

As the day grew later they took a walk throught he park, and sat on the swingset, and as the sunset they were in each others arms, kissing in the moonlight.

Back at the apartment after prepparing dinner and after a couple glasses of wine, they sat down to eat, dinner was very good and the wine was warming things up. Dan took tammys hand leading to the bedroom, he slowlet took off her shirt and caressed her breats softly with his hands and then his mouth. she breathed deep with pleeasure as he made his way down. the moon was shing on them as they carressed each other and made love in the nights air, they fit so perfectly that the comfort of each other was undeniable.

Awaking in the middle of the night, Dan went to the kitchen to get a drink, as he gulped his milk from the carton, from the corner of his eye he sees tammys backpack. Lookng around he quielty picked the bag up talking it into the livingroom. As Dan opened the backpack, he was startled at what he found. Inside was a letter from department of health, on the letter it wrote: We are sorry to inform you that your H.I.V. test has come back positive. As the paper fell to the floor in a quiet sway, Dan looked around at his apartment, his dogs, his magazines,his career, his life,...was gone.

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