Episode 2, Part 3
Our Lady of Sorrows Convent
Sister Regina gazed oot the window of her quarters at a small cloud of mosquitoes prematurely roused by the sudden wave of unseasonable warmth. As she watched them hover in place above the hedgerow at the perimeter of the property, a black Bentley convertible pulled up to the curb, a large golden retriever perched confidently in the passenger seat. Regina strained to see the driver and when she was able to get a good look at his features, she jumped up and ran excitedly oot to the corridor.
“Bill Simpson just pulled up ootside!! Has anyone seen Sister Courtney? Someone tell her that her brother is here!!”
Suddenly, she spotted Courtney at the far end of the hall dressed in lay clothing, attempting to duck oot of the building by the emergency stairwell.
She turned around and forced a smile.
“Courtney, I will cover your weekly chores and call Tuesday Night Bingo for a month if—”
“Come on, Regina. Let’s go meet my brother.”
“Oh, saints be praised!”
When they got ootside, Bill was leaning against the car with the golden retriever sitting at his feet straining to nudge his sizable snout into his master’s crotch.
“Marvel, please. There are ladies present. Hello, Ladies!”
Courtney embraced her brother tightly as Regina stood to the side barely able to contain her excitement.
“It’s great to see you, Courtney. Who’s your enchanting friend here?”
“This is Sister Regina.”
Bill grasped her trembling hand and kissed it.
“They didn’t make nuns that looked like you when I was growing up!”
Regina blushed as she stammered a starstruck greeting.
“Oh, Mr. Simpson, I think I’ve seen Kill Tank at least a hundred times! I mean, even though I always feel like I have to go to confession afterwards, it’s worth it!”
“Thank you, Regina. Maybe you can put in a good word for me with the Big Guy, huh? An endorsement from a woman of the cloth might be just enough to atone for my potty mouth when I reach those Pearly Gates.”
From the corner of her eye, Regina noticed Courtney checking her watch.
“It was so great to meet you, Mr. Simpson!”
“Bill!” The name hung on her tongue like a thread of ambergris before she turned and ran back to the convent.
“Ya think? I haven’t told her that I’m leaving yet. She’s gonna be crushed. How aboot introducing me to your friend?”
“Courtney, this is Marvel. He’s a veritable connoisseur of celebrity crotches. I’m grooming him to be my new casting director.”
Marvel sat and offered Courtney his paw. Bill walked around to the driver side and motioned for Courtney to get in as Marvel hopped into the back seat.
Bill started the car and headed downtown.
“Alright, Sis, so what prompted this crisis of faith? Did you – oh shit, how long do I have to wait before I’m allowed to make dirty jokes in the presence of the newly defrocked?”
“I quit, Billy, I wasn’t defrocked. And you can make as many frocking dirty jokes as you want. You’ve got Regina in your corner now, remember?”
Bill made the sign of the cross with mock reverence as he swung the car onto Hamilton and pulled into a parking garage.
“First things first, Courtney – we’re gonna pour a few strong drinks down your throat, because this tight-lipped shit of yours is driving me fucking nuts.”
York Mills, Ontario
Brooke sat in the den waiting for a new design software program to download to her laptop when she was suddenly besieged by searing pain starting at her temples and running down the length of her neck along the carotid arteries. Her vision blurred and she dropped her head onto the desk for several minutes until the worst of it subsided and she was finally able to get up from her seat.
It was mid-afternoon, so Elliot and Tabitha would still be gone for a few more hours. Brooke walked downstairs and wandered from room to room until she felt more stable on her feet. As she passed by the open door to Elliot’s office, she noticed that his desk lamp was on so she walked in to switch it off when she noticed a greeting-card sized envelope next to his PC. It had been mailed to Elliot at his downtown office from a P.O. Box in Toronto. Curious, Brooke picked it up and found it had already been unsealed, so she shook the card oot of the envelope. In heart-adorned calligraphy, the message on the front of the card said, “My Love, My Life, My Heart & Soul”. With a trembling hand, Brooke opened the card and read the handwritten note inside:
I love you so much it hurts. All I want is to share the rest of my life with you. I know things are complicated, but I also know we can make this work. My heart is yours forever.
“That son of a bitch!”
Brooke eased herself to the floor and dropped her head into her hands.
After nearly four days of driving, Matt finally reached Vancouver just before dusk. When he reached the intersection of Crown and Mountain, he was startled by a cacophonous skirl of sirens as a procession of ambulances and police cars sped past. Thinking nothing of it, he waited for the emergency vehicles to pass before continuing to the condo he’d booked for the month on Airbnb.
He was scheduled to meet with a producer for W Network first thing in the morning, but his mind was too preoccupied to consider turning in for the night. He had spent several hours online trying to find Courtney’s contact information before leaving Ontario, but she didn’t even seem to have any active social media accounts. Regardless, since Jake had recently confirmed the fact that she was still living in Vancouver, he was confident that he could track her down. Jake had also added that he hoped Matt wouldn’t be disappointed but declined to elaborate beyond that cryptically cautionary aside. To Matt, the most likely explanation was that she’d packed on a few pounds since high school, a possibility that didn’t concern him in the slightest.
Matt arrived at the condo and unpacked before taking oot his phone and pulling up the Vancouver Alcoholics Anonymous meeting schedule. He found a men’s meeting happening tomorrow evening at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent on Venables Street and marked it in his daily planner. For a long moment, he gazed oot the window at the traffic below, then put his coat back on and stepped oot in search of a nearby place to eat.
Ashley got into her car in the parking lot of the Durham Corporate Center and opened the glove box. She grabbed the bottle of alprazolam, twisted off the top and popped three of the blue oval pills into her mouth before heading into rush hour traffic on Consumers Drive.
For the past few weeks, she’d felt paralyzed by indecision. Even with Matt oot of the picture, she still couldn’t decide whether Dylan’s instability was something she could – or would even want to — handle. Emotions in flux, Ashley opted to put the entire situation on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
Stopped at a red light, Ashley began to nod oot on her steering wheel until the car behind her blared its horn. Startled, she took her foot off the brake and rolled into the intersection when a commercial cargo van bearing the logo “Above The Rest Handy Guys” slammed into the passenger side of her car causing it to flip onto its hood in the oncoming traffic lanes. A woman driving a Honda Civic swerved to avoid her but clipped the bumper and set Ashley’s car spinning on its roof before it finally came to rest in the fire lane of the Landmark Cinemas multiplex.
Ashley pushed her face into the airbag’s nylon bubble and lost consciousness as a pool of oil crept through the shards of broken glass surrounding the car and oozed into the street.