“Bea, put down the gun,” Frank growled. He watched her naked silhouette in front of the open balcony windows. She blew out a column of smoke. Her other hand held his gun. The moonlight glinted off the barrel. He had heard the hammer click as he had woken up, turned over and realized she was pointing it at him. Now he was sitting up and staring at her. The seductive siren was angry. Come to think of it, she usually was.
“You’re going to leave her, Frank…or I’ll kill you.” The cherry end of her cigarette glowed brighter.
“Now Bea, what good is shooting me going to do?” Frank spoke very calmly. He held his hands up and he very slowly swung his legs off of the bed.
“I didn’t say I was going to shoot you, Frank, I said I would kill you and that means I never have to worry about you in the arms of another woman.” She laughed maniacally. The windswept curtain wrapped around her bare leg. She doubled over laughing. Frank lunged and grabbed her. He flung her down onto the bed and tried to hold her down, but she kicked out at him. She kneed him in the groin so hard the air was knocked out of him. His knees gave out and he sunk to the floor. Bea wriggled away from him. She got to her feet and then smacked him with the butt of the revolver. Frank winced. He tried to focus and clear the stars out of his eyes. He caught sight of Bea’s cigarette that had fallen on the carpet. The rug fibers were just beginning to smolder before a bare foot came down on the cigarette butt and snuffed it out.
She’s fucking crazy, Frank thought. She’s fucking crazy and she wants to kill me. He watched the bare feet strut out to the balcony. He pulled himself together and got to his feet. Frank pulled on his trousers in silence. He planned to leave, but he caught a glance of Bea in the mirror and turned around.
Bea had her arms spread as she leaned on the railing. The revolver was still in her right hand. She had her weight on one foot, her hips at a slant, the glowing blond curls trickling down her back. He couldn’t help himself. Frank came up behind her and put his hands on her hips. She barely flinched. He nuzzled her neck.
“You wouldn’t really do that, Bea.” Frank ran his hands slowly around her waist, caressing her skin. His right hand drifted up and pulled her hair back to rest his palm on her shoulder.
“Why not?” she pouted.
“Because you get bored all by yourself.” Frank was smooth, calm, but he was alert with every fiber of his being as he tried to read Bea’s mind. “We have too much fun together.” He could feel her lean against him, but she was still tense.
“So you’re staying?” she asked.
“Hmm?” Frank tried to buy time as he contemplated what answer would diffuse her without being a deliberate lie.
“You’re staying here with me,” she said more forcefully like an order.
“I’m here now, aren’t I?” He ran his hand down her right arm.
“That’s not good enough. I want to hear you say it, Frank.” Her body was rigid as he kissed her neck, once again procrastinating his answer. For Bea, he took too long. She tried to turn on him, but Frank was prepared. His grip tightened on her instantly. His right hand closed on her gun-toting wrist and kept the gun from turning on him. She growled and screeched as she tried to claw at him with her free hand. She fought to twist her wrist towards him. Her finger squeezed the trigger and she fired off several shots until the gun just clicked in her grasp. One of bullets had grazed Frank’s shoulder.
His grip on her only tightened. Frank lifted her up and hurled the wrathful showgirl onto the bed. She was howling pissed now as she fought back. He scrambled on top of her and tried to hold her down. Blood was trickling from his shoulder and drips fell onto Bea’s bare chest.
Someone pounded on the door. Frank tore his eyes off of her and shouted.
“Get in here!” Bea’s hand shot up and clawed him across the face as someone started to kick in the door.
“Fuck!” Frank recoiled from her. She rolled off the bed and darted into the bathroom just as the door burst open. Frank’s bodyguard lunged in with his gun drawn. He stood wide-eyed and panting as he took in the scene. Frank got to his feet still clutching his face.
“What do you need me to do, boss?” the oaf said.
“If she comes out of that bathroom, you shoot her,” Frank ordered. Bea was bawling loudly and shouting strings of obscenities through the door. He pulled a handkerchief from his coat and pressed it to his wounded shoulder. Then he quickly pulled on his shirt and shoes. He reached down and picked up the discarded revolver.
“Get me the hell out of here,” he growled to the bodyguard. The man stepped aside from the door and let Frank through. He took one last look at the bathroom door and followed.
Bea was sitting on the toilet lid as she cried. She just wanted her fairy tale ending. She wanted to settle down, get married, and start a family. He had said he loved her, but he came and went whenever it was convenient for him. Then there was that woman. He seemed to have some sort of guilt, that kept him from leaving her. She knew what was going on and she didn’t budge. She looked down on Bea as if she were street scum clinging to the sole of her shoe. It wasn’t fair that Bea had to work and claw her way up to a modest living. Bea had started at the bottom and wanted to climb to the top, but at that moment the top seemed very, very far away. Bea found herself pacing the bathroom. Her rage had ebbed and her limbs felt heavy, helpless.
Each trip across the room towards the bathtub, she found her eyes settling on the razor. After several contemplative moments, she climbed in and turned on the shower. For a few minutes, she sat and watched Frank’s blood run off of her. She avoided looking at the razor and focused on the swirl of water as it disappeared down the drain. He’s going to regret this, Bea thought. Resolutely, she picked up the razor and freed the blade. She held it delicately between her thumb and forefinger.
“I’m going to make him pay,” Bea whispered as she studied her white wrist. She tried to push doubt from her mind. She imagined a headline, Showgirl takes own life…reason unknown.
A note, Bea thought, I have shit to say! I have a reason! She glanced around the bathroom, but there wasn’t anything to write with. No, Frank would know he caused this. He’d know it’s his fault, she argued with herself. She stared at the blade and held it against her skin. She didn’t move. Her arms began to ache from holding still.
Suddenly, Bea screamed. One long, loud howl. She chucked the blade across the room and broke down crying. I’m not brave enough, Bea thought, besides he wouldn’t even care.