Perhaps I was being naive, or maybe just a little too hopeful, but I gathered up all my shit and packed it into my car. It all amounted to about two bags of clothes and crap, six cans of food, a dozen or so books, a half empty jug of whiskey, and my gun. I was going back to my old apartment to see Vanessa and hopefully move back in and get properly laid for the first time in a while. I decided to head out early since she was a late sleeper and would almost certainly still be asleep before about noon, and hit the road. If everything went well I would never come back to this shithole.
After stopping on the way to get gas I looked in my wallet at the three twenty dollar bills that seemed so very lonely, like the the final surviving prisoners of a condemned gang waiting silently for their number to be called. I couldn't help but wonder if my fond memories of Vanessa were subconsciously fueled by my need for money and aversion to work, or an indication of my true feelings for the woman. I just hoped she would be likewise yearning again for my company and not still furious over our fighting and the money I took from her purse. If she pressed me I could say I used it to pay for my emergency room visit (lies), and tell her how the betrayal felt more painful than the knife she left in my arm (more lies).
It took another hour and a half to make it back to my old neighborhood, and when I pulled into the lot I saw my old space still unoccupied. I took the stairs and sheepishly approached the apartment door, the carpet in the hallway still slightly orange from the blood I had spilled there. I could hear a muffled radio through the door, proof she was still home. I knocked softly, and after a few seconds heard the locks grinding open. I was face to face with an old man, probably twenty years my senior. "Hello." he said "Can I help you?" I was a bit startled. "I'm sorry... I used to know the last tenant here. Sorry to bother." And turned away, dejected.
On the way down the stairs I decided to drop by the landlord's apartment and see if she knew where Vanessa moved to, until I heard her voice. "Wait!" Vanessa came running down the steps after me in a bathrobe. "Oh my god! Where have you been? I have been so worried..." Tears were rolling down her face, smearing yesterday's mascara. I was confused. "Not worried enough to keep from dragging some old fuck back into our home, huh? Blowing his wrinkled cock in our bed, huh?" Her vulnerability triggered my predatory instinct and I was on the attack. "It's not what you think, goddammit! He's my fucking father, ok?" She was speaking through short, sobbing breaths. How could I be so fucking dumb? Of course it was her father. I took the last of her money, but she was still here. Still living comfortably, probably eating well, and most likely earning her hush money again. "Oh I get it." I said calmly. "Daddy's got his little whore back." I broke free of Vanessa's grasp and watched her fall to her knees on the stairs, wailing and broken, then turned and headed down to my car to get my gun.