Molly did reappear a month later; Becca was walking home from work when she saw a figure slumped over on her front door step. She could hear Kallie barking inside. She saw a tousle of dirty blond hair, a blue sweatshirt and jeans and realize it was Molly. She jostled her, “Molly, are you okay?”
Molly roused and smiled through her stupor, “Hey, Becca, I’ve been waiting here forever!” She had dark circles and a sallow complexion and she smelt like the underside of a dead cat. Becca supported her up and brought her inside. Kallie did a thorough examination and retreated to the bedroom. Becca brought Molly straight away to the bathroom and striped her down, turned the shower on and pushed her into the water.
“Hey, Becca, what’s up?” Molly regained a better sense of consciousness.
“You need a shower girlfriend,” Becca said scrubbing her body with scented soap. Molly swayed back and forth, “Just sit in the tub, I’ll wash you up,” Becca said gently. Molly’s body was thinner than she had imagined possible. The bruises continued on the arms and were now running behind the knees.
“Oh, that feels nice,” Molly cooed.
“Doesn’t Bill have a shower?” Becca asked trying to keep her voice natural.
“Sure, he does. He just doesn’t have any water,” Molly started giggling. “He didn’t pay the bill.”
Becca found Molly’s laugh infectious. “Geez! So you come to my house for a hot shower? Where’s Bill? I bet he doesn’t smell any better,” Becca laughed.
Molly giggled some more, “He smells worse!” Becca washed Molly’s blonde hair and then wrapped her friend in a towel. She took Molly’s clothes and threw them in a trash bag and brought her some of her own, they would have to do. She brushed out her hair and braided it into one long braid down her back. She was happy to care for Molly, she was hoping to scrub away the new one and find the old one underneath.
“I’m starving, got anything to eat?” Molly had perked up. Becca brewed some coffee and made sandwiches. They sat at the kitchen table and munched.
“So, what’s going on?” Becca ventured.
“Bill threw me out, that bastard!” Molly said indignantly.
Becca saw hope, perhaps this was the moment Father Ian promised would come, that they had prayed for, this was the time when Molly would change paths. She silently said a little prayer, she wasn’t usually so pious, but maybe she was on a roll.
“Can I stay with you? I mean I don’t want to go back to my parents, they don’t understand.” Molly looked hopeful at Becca.
“Of course you can stay with me,” Becca was thrilled.
“I mean, it won’t be for long. I’ll be getting my own place soon; I’ll get a job and a car and go back to school.” Molly was talking addict talk, full of pie in the sky promises to herself and anybody else who would listen, and Becca was all ears.
“You don’t mind sleeping on the couch, do you?” Becca asked.
“Hey, I’d sleep on the floor with Kallie if that’s all there was,” she smiled endearingly at Becca.
“I’m so glad you’re here, Molly. I was so worried about you,” Becca shared.
“You worry too much, here I am. I’m fine. It’s all good,” Molly soothed.
“I’ve gotta get up early tomorrow, clinical at the hospital. You remember how crazy they get about being on time,” Becca felt a little embarrassed.
“No problem. I’m exhausted, I’ll just hang on the couch and watch some TV,” Molly got up from the kitchen table and plopped down on the couch. Becca cleared the dishes and washed up. She hugged her friend, she felt her boney body through her clothes, this wasn’t normal. She went into her bedroom and came back with a pillow, blanket and some pajamas.
“Thanks you are the best. Love you,” Molly smiled.
“I love you too Molly. You know, I’m always here for you,” Becca started to get choked up.
“Don’t go getting all mushy on, geez! I know you!” Molly laughed, “Yeah, so good night, super nurse! Get some shut eye so you can save the world tomorrow!”
“I’m not a nurse yet!” Becca corrected her.
“You’re closer than I’ll ever be! And you give one mean shower! Now off with you!” Molly sounded like her old self. Becca silently thanked God for bringing her back to her. She prayed again that she could help her friend; it was obvious there was more to the story than no hot water.
When Becca returned from school the next afternoon, Molly was sitting on the couch still watching TV. “Hey, how was school? Put any Foleys in?” Molly joked.
“Nah, it was pretty uneventful except for the usual stuff,” Becca didn’t want to go into detail about her day. “So, how was your day?”
“Not, bad, Kallie and I watched some soaps, ate all of your potato chips, it was her mostly, I swear! And I took another shower,” Molly said off handedly, she looked a little sleepy.
Becca changed her clothes and noticed the bathroom was in disarray. There were wet towels on the floor, and trash and toilet paper. The medicine cabinet was ajar. Curious Becca open it and investigated, everything was there except the robotussin bottle was empty. She had only used it once, this made her nervous. She didn’t know whether to confront Molly or not, she didn’t want to push her way so she decided to say nothing. Instead she called out, “Hey you’re regular pig! This bathroom is a mess.”
“Oh yeah, sorry. I was going to clean it up, I guess I forgot. Sorry it won’t happen again,” Molly promised.
There was a loud banging on the door. Kallie jumped up and began barking. Becca flew out of the bathroom and open the front door. Bill stood unsteadily in front of her, his rumpled clothes smelt worse than Molly had. His breath reeked of alcohol “Where’s that bitch? Get the fuck out of my way, where’s the bitch?” he menaced. Kallie growled low and squeezed through Becca’s legs barring her teeth.
Becca stood her ground, “Go away, or I’ll call the police,” she threatened.
Molly yelled from the couch, “Go fuck yourself! Leave me the fuck alone…” and continued to scream obscenities egging him on. Bill lunged forward trying to push past Becca, just then Kallie grabbed his leg and held fast.
Bill screamed, “Get your fucking dog off of me,” shaking his leg as Kallie held on. Bill fell backwards and Kallie let go. Sirens could be heard coming up the street; the neighbors must have called, thought Becca. Bill heard them, “Fucking cops! I’m gonna kill your fucking dog…” he glared at Becca. He limped away cursing and threatening as the police pulled up.
There was more shouting, and flashing lights and confusion. Molly was in the doorway by this time still cursing at Bill. Becca tried to push her back inside but she found a strength Becca didn’t think was possible. She refused to move and watched as the police took Bill in cuffs to the cruiser.
A policeman made his way over to Becca, “Do you want to press formal charges? The neighbors say he was threatening you,” he asked her.
Becca shook her head no. Molly had retreated to the couch when she saw the police approach. “Are you sure, Miss?”
Becca shook her head again, it was all too much. She knew nothing she said would stick, he would get away with it, it had always been the way with him. Better not antagonize the situation she thought. “Can you just keep him away from her?” she asked.
“She can get a restraining order, bring her down to the court house tomorrow,” the police man advised.
“Thank you officer. We’ll be okay, as long as we have Kallie with us,” she gestured towards the dog that was now wagging her tail at the officer.
“Okay, well, lock up tight tonight. Be safe.” He turned and left Becca standing in the doorway with half the neighborhood staring at her.
This was the life Molly had chosen, it was going to take some time to get her out of it. The rest of the night was uneventful. Becca still had a hard time sleeping. Molly had the TV on all night; she had promised she would go with Becca to the courthouse tomorrow and get a restraining order. Becca tossed and turned and worried.
Becca had to be at school first thing the next day, so the plan was to go to the courthouse in the afternoon. But Becca came home to an empty house. “Molly?” she called. The TV was still on, and the apartment looked as though it had been ransacked. Every drawer in the kitchen, living room and bedroom was opened, all the cabinets were ajar, even her mattress was upended. No Molly. Kallie came out from underneath the bed looking disturbed.
Becca realized the little cash she had had in the apartment was gone, her jewelry, her camera, her stereo, anything of instant value was gone. Where was Molly? No note, no evidence of her coming back. Did she do this? How could she have done this?
The phone was ringing, “Hello?” Becca voice was pinched.
“Becca, its Father Ian, are you okay? I just heard about the commotion at your place last night. Is Molly okay? Becca?”
All he heard was her sobs and then she hung up the phone. He was out the door and ran the seven blocks to her apartment in a heartbeat. He stood in the doorway and surveyed the apartment and realized what had happened. Becca was crushed, she had opened her heart to her friend and all her friend had really wanted was an opportunity to rob her. She wondered if last night had been part of the ruse.
Father Ian consoled her, “Becca, I am so sorry. Come sit,” he brought her into the kitchen and made some coffee. He sat across from her and Becca told him the story of the last few days.
“I really believed she wanted my help! How could I have been so stupid?” she admonished herself.
“Becca, you’re not stupid, you love your friend, you opened your heart to someone in need, unfortunately she took advantage of that. She’s sick. She’s an addict, that’s what addicts do. I know it sucks,” he said pointedly.
Becca looked at him through her tears, and started to laugh, a wild uncontrolled laugh, “Did you just say ‘sucks’? Oh, Father you have been hanging out with me far too much!”