Disclaimer: Knight Rider and its characters are definitely not
mine – see Universal and Glen A. Larson. I just borrow them and
occasional get them all dinged up.
Author’s Notes: This takes place within the time frame of Disintegrate.
If you haven’t read it, this might be a tad confusing. And while
this one is PG, it does deal with the aftermath of Disintegrate, so if
that one makes you uncomfortable . . .
Thank you to Almighty Hat for the beta read.
Was it humiliation?
Or maybe some failed sense of protectiveness?
I just don’t know.
I wish like hell I did.
Bonnie was tried of the menagerie of shadows in her room. They
were slowly starting to become familiar, slowly becoming a part of her
routine. She tried focusing on the dark shapes that filled her
bedroom instead of thinking about . . .
. . . things she’d lost. Why was it that trying not to think
about something made it almost impossible to think of anything else,
she wondered? Bonnie decided there was no point in trying to fall
asleep. Her body had grown accustomed to odd hours and late
nights anyway -- sleep deprivation was starting to feel normal.
She threw back the covers and gave up for the night.
Not bothering to turn the lights on, she hunted through her closet
looking for her robe. She tried not to think about how alien even
her walk-in closet felt. The clothes were on the wrong side -
opposite of how she had them in her old closet. It was backwards,
like everything else here. Even the ocean was in the wrong place
– lying to the east of the city. Everything here was conspiring
to throw off her sense of direction. She closed her eyes against
the familiar disorientation and grabbed down her robe. She pulled
it around her shoulders slowly, her energy already waning.
Bonnie eased out into the hallway, not even bothering to flip on the
light as she stole past the switch. The glow from the
streetlights outside made a pale intrusion into the hallway through the
open bedroom doors. The light bumped into the flat edges of the
boxes that still littered the hallway – they were just waiting there to
trip her up. She stopped and stared at them despite her better
judgment. She willed herself not to think about what was inside.
Why can’t I even unpack
the pictures? They’re just pictures . . .
She thought about finally putting the boxes away. What if she
carried them down the steps to the basement, right now, in the middle
of the . . .
. . . night, and finally put them away where she wouldn’t have to look
at them? She saw herself slinking down the stairs in the
darkness, silently piling the boxes in a corner, like a burglary in
reverse. She studied the flat, angular edges. The lights
from the street shone on the boxes, giving them an aura like stones in
an ancient ruin. She sighed and moved on. They were too
heavy, contained too much -- she wasn’t up to dealing with them
Bonnie forced herself to keep moving down the stairs to the
kitchen. She used the balls of her bare feet to feel her way in
the dark. There was no point in turning on a light. Lights
never helped anything. She remembered how, back then, they had
all sat in a perfectly black room. She remembered hoping that
somehow it would stay dark. It was too hard to avoid looking at
things in the light.
The kitchen was to the left of the staircase. The green LEDs of
the stove clock greeted her with a glowing ‘3:23.’ That wasn’t
unusual these days. The tea pot was sitting in silhouette
in front of the clock, the green numbers rolling down its curved
edges. Bonnie didn’t bother to pick it up to see that it had
water. She had filled it before going to bed.
Why do I keep doing this
The package of herbal tea was taking up a squat, square space on the
counter. Bonnie flipped on the burner, mesmerized by the pale
blue flame that licked and curled around the bottom of the tea
pot. She dropped a teabag into the bottom of her cup and
sprinkled in a small bit of sugar, listening as the stream of
individual grains hit the porcelain, sounding like one of those rain
sticks made of cactus branches. She closed her eyes and waited
for the telltale whistling of the boiling water.
Like I was earlier today.
* * *
The mall was overly bright and garish. Jessica had been flitting
from store to store, gabbing excitedly the whole time while Bonnie
tried to feign enough interest to keep her sister happy. Jessie
and Mark had decided to redo their bedroom and she was giddy with all
the decorating options. Bonnie was holding a bag of throw pillows
that she had to keep switching from hand to hand. They weren’t
that heavy, but the bag handles kept biting into her hand if she held
them too long.
“I just don’t know about the print we saw in the gallery. I think
the gray tone would look nice but it’s kind of cold for a
bedroom. What do you think?”
“I’m sure it would look very nice,” Bonnie said, unable to muster much
Jessie stopped to look at her. “Are you all right?” she
asked. “You’ve been quiet all day. Did things not go well
with Ted last night?”
Oh, they went just
“No, I’m just tired, I guess.”
“Ahhh, tired, huh?” Jessie said knowingly.
Bonnie’s hackles went up immediately. She was still angry about
being blindsided last night. Jessie had told her they were having
a get together and had convinced her to come. Bonnie had gone
despite the fact that she wasn’t feeling up to being around people only
to find that there was only one other person there -- one of Mark’s
single coworkers. And he had obviously been given a different
story about the ‘get together.’
“No,” Bonnie said angrily. “Not like that.” Ted had walked
her home and there had been a very awkward moment when she had dodged
his attempt at a kiss. “And I didn’t appreciate you not telling
me you were setting me up.”
“If I’d told you, you wouldn’t have come.”
“Then maybe you should have taken that as a hint,” she fumed.
Bonnie picked up the bag of pillows and headed for the mall exit.
She was done – whether or not Jessica was. Jessie silently
followed her out the door. They burst out into the bitter air and
Bonnie had to fumble with her coat. She hated this kind of
weather. It looked like a beautiful sunny day when you were
inside, but it was actually freezing cold once you got out into
“You know, I don’t get it,” Jessie said, her own Barstow temper on
display. “Ted’s a nice guy. He’s got a good job, and in
case you didn’t notice, he’s gorgeous.”
I noticed. I. . .
just. . .
“He’s okay. He’s just not my type.”
“No one’s your type lately.”
Bonnie squeezed her eyes shut against that truth, willing herself not
to think. Ted had warm eyes, an easy smile, and lean runner’s
muscles. He was exactly the kind of guy she normally found
attractive, but for some reason being around him just made her feel
lonely and isolated.
He had a rugged chin --
It didn’t help that he was obviously looking for a serious
relationship. She just couldn’t deal with that right now.
She wasn’t interested.
Bonnie tried to shake it off, but that fear had been creeping out of
the darker corners of her mind over the last few months. No
matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t quite banish it back.
Jessie had stopped, perched her hand on her hip, and seemed to be
studying her. “Look, when you said you were taking a job out
here, I assumed you finally decided to settle down – maybe find someone
and get married. But I’ve had to drag you out of the house.
You don’t seem to want to do anything. Is everything alright with
Nothing’s alright with me.
Bonnie whirled away from her sister, letting anger overwhelm everything
else. It was easier that way. She headed for the car, not
even pausing as she tossed her anger back over her shoulder. “I’m
fine. And you don’t have to plan out my life for me. I can
take care of that . . .”
“Bonnie!!” Jessie suddenly grabbed her arm and yanked her back so
hard that she almost fell. A pickup sped past them, right where
Bonnie had stepped out into the road. The driver swerved and the
sound of the blaring horn finally sliced through Bonnie’s confusion.
“What are you doing?” Jessie demanded. “Are you trying to
get yourself killed?”
No . . .
I don’t think so . . .
I don’t know . . .
Bonnie stood there mouth open, staring at the spot where she had been
standing. “I didn’t see him coming,” she said, too shocked yet to
Jessie let out a shaky breath, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell
at you like that.” Bonnie knew that her sister wasn’t really
angry, she was just scared and didn’t know how else to react.
Jessie finally let go of her arm and stepped back. “You really
haven’t been yourself since you moved out here, you know. Are you
sure you’re okay?”
No. I’m not okay.
“Yes. I’m fine. I think I just miss California. I
guess I’m a little homesick.” She picked up the bag she had
dropped and looked at Jessie. Then she checked both directions
twice before crossing the busy mall drive.
Jessie’s expression had softened with concern and she followed Bonnie
out into the parking lot. “You just need to get settled in and
meet people. But if you don’t like it out here, you can always go
Bonnie tried not to skip a step or let her sister hear the breath that
was knocked out of her.
You have no idea how much
I wish that were true.
* * *
Bonnie slowly realized that the teapot was whistling – its shrill
shriek burned off the fog in her mind. She poured the boiling
water into her mug and watched the flame for a moment before turning
the burner off. She took her mug and sat down at the table,
wrapping both hands around the warm cup. She had picked her usual
chair, at the head of the table, looking back into the kitchen.
As always, she focused on the little red dot on the counter where the
phone was resting in its cradle.
She wanted to call Michael. The longing was so intense it was a
solid weight squeezing against her chest. But she had no idea
what she’d say.
I’m sorry to call you in
the middle of the night, but I really needed you . . .
I feel like I’m falling
Deciding that the tea had steeped long enough, she pulled out the bag
and let it slump down onto the saucer, a waterlogged heap. She
took a sip or two, not bothered by the fact that it burned her lip and
the roof of her mouth.
It would just be nice to
hear his voice.
Restless, she got up from the table and went to the window to open the
blinds. The moonlight was a cool blue on the patches of snow and
glittering icicles that framed the window. The light crept across
the slats of the blinds, creating a pattern of bars across her arm and
the cushions of the couch.
She could sense the red light from the phone even with her back
turned. It bored into her, leaving a hole that just kept
growing. She didn’t even know what number to call. He could
be at the Foundation, but most likely not. She didn't want to
call Kitt. She assumed he was angry with her.
Why shouldn’t he
be? This is the second time I’ve abandoned him.
But I could just call the
Foundation on the off chance that Michael's there . . .
Despite her better judgment, Bonnie found herself moving toward the
phone, as she did on so many nights. She stared down at the
receiver, knowing she was going to pick it up. Like a sleepwalker
she languidly reached for the phone. The dial tone was
startlingly loud. It was incessant, demanding, and for some
reason it always made her lose her nerve.
I miss you.
All of you.
And I’m really sorry.
The dial tone changed over to the harsh, repetitive, ‘off the hook’
buzz. Hands shaking, Bonnie lowered the receiver back down to its
April 23, 2005