“I know, his lady, Elvira, who’s hilarious by the way, she swore me to secrecy but I thought that was so cool! Totally generous. I offered my discount but she said no. Just handed over a company credit card. Awesome!” Tracy ended on a cry and a bounce on the couch.
“Yeah, awesome, until Thursday called,” I replied and Tracy looked confused again.
“What’s up with Thursday?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered then looked at Cam. “But you do, don’t you?”
Camille’s eyes held mine. Then she sighed.
Then she spoke. “Cabe ‘Hawk’ Delgado is on the grid,” she stated. “In fact, he’s so on the grid, he’s all over the grid. There’s some mystery and a lot of speculation about his activities but he’s Mr. Grid. If it’s happening in Denver, he knows about it and speculation says that sometimes he’s in on it though no one knows how. Also, no one knows exactly what he does, or all that he does, they just know he’s a busy guy.”
I already guessed this and, at that point, I didn’t care about this.
So I prompted, “And?”
She pulled in breath, that breath that said she was preparing me for something not so fun.
Then she started to give me the not so fun. “One thing that doesn’t have any mystery when it comes to Delgado is His Days.”
“His Days?” Tracy repeated.
Cam nodded at her. “Otherwise known as His Women.”
“Shit,” Tracy muttered, her eyes cutting to me but my eyes stayed glued to Cam as I struggled to breathe.
Then I choked out, “Talk to me.”
Cam pressed her lips together then she said, “Girl, I’m so sorry.”
I felt a tingly sensation in my throat and it wasn’t the same happy one as last night.
“Talk to me, Cam,” I whispered.
Another breath then Cam stated, “Okay, Delgado is known to claim women. He does this and slots them into a schedule. They come and go but while they’re there, they’re claimed. He investigates them and it’s made clear no one goes near them. When he’s done with them, he’s done, one moves out, he moves another one in.”
“This can’t be,” I told her. “I don’t have a day.”
Cam swallowed. Not a good sign.
“What?” I asked.
“Girl –” she started.
I leaned forward and repeated. “What?”
“You’re known as Filler.”
Oh my God.
“I’m known as Filler?” I whispered.
She nodded. “He’s feeling like a switch up, or one of his women is out of town or he’s got a slot open he hasn’t filled yet, he comes to you.”
“I’m known as Filler,” I repeated.
“Honey –” Tracy whispered.
“Who knows me as Filler?” I asked Cam
“Um…” she hesitated then said, “everyone now.”
“Everyone now,” I repeated.
She bit her lip and nodded again.
Oh my God!
“Tack?” I asked.
“Probably,” Cam answered.
I looked to the floor. Then it hit me and I looked back at Cam.
“She knew,” I stated.
“What, babe?” Cam asked.
“Thursday, she knew. She knew what she was, who she was, her day. She knew his name she knew his number.”
“Well, um –” Cam started.
I cut her off. “I guess if you get a guaranteed slot you get his contact details. But Filler, now Filler is just filler.”
“Gwennie, sweetie,” Tracy whispered.
I shot out of my chair and shouted, “I don’t believe this!”
Camille and Tracy shot up too.
“Gwen, babe, listen to me. The talk now is he’s off routine. This shit with His Days, it is for them what it was for you, night visits, stringent boundaries. He doesn’t date them, he just sleeps with them.”
“So?” I yelled, crashing my mug to my desk, coffee sloshing over.
“So, this is good, you’ve broken through,” Tracy put in quickly and, as ever with my dear, sweet Trace, hopefully.
“No, Trace, this isn’t good,” I returned. “This is humiliating.”
And it was. It was humiliating. Deep down to the core humiliating. And the worst part of that feeling was that I did it to my damned self.
I lifted my hands, slid my fingers in my hair and held on. “I can’t believe this. I don’t know what to do with this,” I told the floor.
“Maybe you should talk to him about it,” Cam, of all people, advised and my head lifted so my eyes could narrow on her.
“Are you high?” I yelled and her face flinched. “I’m filler, everyone on the grid knows it. God!” I pulled my hands through my hair and threw them out to my sides repeating, “God!”
“Babe,” Cam said softly, “calm down.”
I lifted my hands again to press my palms to my forehead and through my arms I looked at her. “I want him,” I whispered my secret.
“Then talk to him,” Cam whispered back.
“I wanted him to be special,” I kept whispering.
“Girl,” she kept whispering too and got closer, wrapping her fingers around my arm, “talk to him.”
“For him to be special, he has to make me feel special. Not like Scott made me feel.” I heard Tracy make a soft whimper, she knew how Scott made me feel, they both did. “And definitely not worse than Scott made me feel.”
Cam’s other hand came up and wrapped around my arm, pulling them down, she stepped in close, her hands sliding up to grip mine as Tracy moved into our little huddle.
“I did this to myself,” I whispered.
“Baby,” Cam whispered back as Tracy slid her arm around my waist and she whispered, “Honey.”
“I wanted to believe I could break through,” I went on.
“Maybe you have,” Cam replied.
“I think you have,” Tracy put in.
“I held on, hoping to break through,” I kept talking like they didn’t speak.
“Gwen, take a breath and clear your head,” Camille advised.
I dropped my head and looked at my toes. Dark berry polish, a winter color. I needed summer. I needed sun. It was time to take a vacation.