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Authors: Locklyn Marx

No Good For Anyone

BOOK: No Good For Anyone
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Locklyn Marx

Copyright 2012, Locklyn Marx, all rights reserved.


Chace Davenport was looking for a fight.

It had been a horrible night. The restaurant he owned was about to go belly up, and he had no idea how to stop it. He pushed his foot against the pedal of his Ford Ranger, edging the truck up to seventy as he dipped and turned along the rural roads of Willow Brook, Massachusetts. It wasn’t the smartest idea – more than one person had met their maker by speeding down these old country roads late at night.

But Chace was feeling reckless.

He pulled into his driveway and opened the door of his truck, swinging his long legs out onto the pavement. His dog, Maximilian, was waiting for him on the front porch, his ears perked as his master came closer. It was only eight o’clock, but autumn was starting and the days were getting cooler and shorter.

It was another thing to be upset about.

Chace hated the fucking winter.

His garbage bins were sitting at the end of the driveway, and he decided to pull them into the garage before he went into the house and changed for the gym. The bins felt heavier than usual, and Chace’s bad mood deepened. The two-bit rural garbage company they had out here was notorious for moving the date of their pickup and not notifying anyone.

He opened the bin and looked in. A perfumey smell drifted out, the kind that came from those ridiculous bags that were supposed to smell clean and fresh, but really did nothing other than mask the scent of garbage until you breathed in deep enough. Sure enough, three or four bags of trash sat at the bottom of the bin.

Chace didn’t use those kind of bags.

Which meant someone had taken their trash and put it in his bin.

And since Chace lived in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors for at least a couple of miles, there was only one person it could be. The house that sat next to his had been unoccupied ever since Chace had moved in ten months ago.

But last month the house next door had finally sold. It had been a shock – the house was a ramshackle, falling-down frame of a thing that should have been destroyed a long time ago. It was a total eyesore.

The stupid thing had been on the market for eleven months, and Chace had been waiting for it to hit the year mark so that he could swoop in, scoop it up for a low price, and then demolish it.

But before he could, someone had bought it.

Probably some crazy old man. A crazy old man who was so senile he couldn’t even call the garbage company and schedule a pick-up. Chace glared at the house next door. Lights burned in the windows downstairs, breaking up the otherwise completely dark night.

Chace liked the black of night, the comfort of the dark. It signified relief, sometimes from sleep, sometimes from the gym, and sometimes from a random woman he’d picked up at any number of places.

And now some asshole was messing with that.


Old man or not, the new neighbor needed to learn that he couldn’t just go around dumping his garbage bags into other people’s bins. Yes, this was the country, but there were rules. And there wasn’t going to be any community here, none of this ‘I need to borrow an egg’ bullshit. Chace had moved here because he wanted to be completely isolated. And if the new neighbor was looking for something else, well, then, they were in for a rude awakening.

The sooner everyone understood that, the better.

He slammed the trash bin shut and decided to go over and have a talk with this new neighbor. No time like the present.


Lindsay Benson looked around at the mess of boxes that littered the kitchen, and thought briefly about sitting down on the floor and having a good cry. They said moving was one of the most stressful things you could do, behind switching jobs and having a baby. Lindsay was inclined to agree.

At least she’d been able to find the microwave. She’d wanted to heat up some water for tea, but of course she hadn’t been able locate any mugs.

Finally she’d found an old package of Styrofoam cups underneath the sink. She’d heated up some tap water and stuck a tea bag inside. As she sat on her one rickety kitchen chair and sipped her drink, she tried not to think about all the different kinds of bacteria she could be ingesting. The property ran on well water, and she hadn’t had time to get it tested before she’d moved in.

She’d fallen in love with the tiny little Cape house as soon as she’d seen it. And when she’d heard its history – that a man had built it so his daughter could live on his property with him -- she was sold.

Of course, the house was going to need some work. But the tiny kitchen was functional, and once she got some butter yellow paint on the walls and found a cozy kitchen table with a cute tablecloth and some painted chairs, it would start to feel like home.

But first, she had to start unpacking. She sighed and took another sip of her tea.

Just a few more minutes, and then she would start. For real this time.

But there was a knock on the door before Lindsay could get herself properly motivated.

It must be the neighbor!

All the realtor had told her was that the neighbor was a man who lived alone.

Lindsay imagined an older man who’d lost his wife, with wiry silvery hair and glasses he was always misplacing. She’d bring him homemade soup in the winter and homemade pies in the summer. “Thank you, Lindsay,” he’d say, his face lighting up. “I haven’t had a good meal since my wife died. You’re a peach.”

Of course, she’d have to get her kitchen in order before she could do any cooking.

And she’d have to learn to make soup. And pies. But one thing at a time.

Lindsay navigated her way through the maze of boxes toward the front door. The knock came again, harder this time, more insistent.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she mumbled. For an old man, he was rather impatient. She opened the door.

And then she froze. Standing there, on her front porch, was Chace Davenport.

He looked exactly as she remembered. Chocolate brown hair that was cut short.

Dark brown eyes that made you think about long mornings in bed. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a black v-neck sweater.

Her heart jumped into her throat, her pulse quickened, and adrenaline coursed through her veins.

“What are you doing here?” she blurted. Had he come for her? Why? And how had he known she was here?

“I’m Chace Davenport,” he barked. “I live next door.”

“You live…” She trailed off, confused. He lived next door? But that was impossible. Chace lived in Boston.
He used to live in Boston. You haven’t talked to him
in almost a year. You don’t know where he lives now.

“Next door,” he finished, looking at her like she was crazy.

“And you came over to say hi?” she asked. Her brain was having trouble processing what was going on, couldn’t wrap itself around the puzzle it had been presented with. She shook her head, tried to clear her thoughts. “But how did you know I was here?”

“I knew you were here because you put your trash in my bin.” He was holding up one of the trash bags, which he dropped onto her porch. She looked down at it, still not really understanding what was going on. Chace Davenport lived next door to her? And was bringing over her trash?

“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t…I mean, my sister was here helping me move. She must have put it in your bin.” She reached down and picked up the bag and then stood there, holding it awkwardly.

“Well,” he said. “Don’t let it happen again.”

“Okay,” she said, stunned. And then, in a moment that was so jarring it felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown on her, Lindsay finally understood what was going on. He didn’t remember who she was! But that was impossible. Wasn’t it? Yes, they’d only met once, but…

“My name’s Lindsay,” she tried.

he said, “make sure you keep your trash to yourself.”

He turned then, walking down her front steps, stomping angrily back down to the driveway. His sneakers made crunching sounds against the leaves as he walked across her lawn instead of using the driveway like any polite person would have done. The fact should have made her mad, but she was too stunned.

Chace Davenport had been here.

And he hadn’t even known who she was.

The only man who’d ever broken her heart, who’d ever caused her so much pain she’d been certain she was going to die, didn’t even remember her name.


Chace walked across Lindsay’s lawn and back toward his own house. The cool fall air nipped at his face, but he didn’t feel it. He couldn’t feel anything. His body had gone completely numb. Lindsay. Lindsay was here. Lindsay was his new neighbor. He tried to process it, but he couldn’t. All he felt was empty.

A year ago, right after everything had happened, Chace had gone to a doctor who had prescribed him drugs, the kind of anti-anxiety medicines that were supposed to make you forget. Chace hadn’t wanted to go – in fact, he’d only gone because his best friend Bo had made him -- but somehow, by the time Chace had left the doctor’s office, he had a prescription in hand. But the pills had done nothing to take his pain away, had only left him sluggish and tired and unable to run his restaurant.

The feeling he had now, the cold detachment that had taken over his body, was the feeling he’d hoped the pills would give him. But it was short-lived. By the time he got back to his house, he was in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. He leaned his head against the side of his truck and took deep breaths.

He decided to forget about going to the gym. After seeing Lindsay, he needed something stronger than sweat.


Half an hour later, after feeding Maximilian and changing into a fresh navy blue sweater, Chace pulled his truck into the parking lot of The Gristmill Tavern. It was a Wednesday night, but the lot was littered with cars, mostly regulars who were here to watch the baseball playoffs, to root for the Red Sox and boo the Yankees while they drank watered down beer and ate free popcorn.

He walked inside, the darkness of the bar a comfort after the bright lights of the parking lot.

Bo was behind the bar, charming the ladies and chatting with the guys while he poured drinks.

“Hey,” he said when he saw Chace. A shadow of worry slid across his face, but he didn’t have anything to be nervous about. Chace wasn’t here for alcohol. Tonight he was looking for something else.

“Hi.” Chace slid onto the bar stool, and pushed the empty wooden bowl that was sitting in front of him toward Bo. Bo took it silently and filled it up with popcorn, then added more salt, just the way Chace liked it. Ever since the accident, food hadn’t tasted the same, and Chace found he needed to season things more than he usually would have.

“What’s going on?” Bo asked carefully. He picked up a rag and began wiping down the bar, even though it was already completely clean.

“Nothing.” It was a lie, and of course Bo knew it. Chace only came to The Gristmill when he was on the prowl. At first it had been for alcohol, but that had ended about six months ago, after Bo had sat Chace down and told him he was drinking too much. Bo would never refer to it as an intervention, but that’s essentially what it had been. “Just thought I’d stop down and say hi.”

“Is that right?” Bo asked.

Chace nodded. “I’ll take a Coke.”

Bo picked up the soda hose and poured the drink while Chace surveyed his prospects. He zeroed in on a blonde at the end of the bar. She was sitting with her friend, a brunette who was talking to a guy sitting on her other side.

“What’s the blonde drinking?” Chace asked.

Bo sighed. But he knew better than to say anything. He had gotten Chace off the alcohol, and he realized he had to pick his battles. If women were going to be Chace’s drug of choice, well, there were worse things he could get himself into.

“Virgin daiquiri,” Bo said.

It was enough to make Chace pause. A daiquiri was a ridiculous drink, all fruity and girly. Someone who drank a daiquiri was probably completely unbalanced. And a virgin daiquiri! That was doubly ridiculous. A daiquiri was maybe –
–forgivable if you were drinking it because you wanted to get drunk and didn’t like the taste of alcohol. But drinking it just for the hell of it? Obviously the girl was completely mental.

But a quick glance around the bar revealed there wasn’t really anything more promising. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, especially when it was fall on the Cape and all of the summer tourists had gone home.

“Send her another daiquiri, would you?” he asked Bo.

Bo hesitated. “Chace, I don’t – ”

“Bo,” Chace said. His tone was a warning, one he knew Bo would respect.

They’d been friends for ten years, ever since senior year of college at Boston University, where they’d ended up at a frat party, trying to hit on the same girl. In the end, she’d ended up going upstairs to make out with one of the guys who lived in the fraternity house.

BOOK: No Good For Anyone
6.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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