Fandom: Billy/Phyllis (Philly)
Title: Anything You Need
Phyllis pulled up to the small, brick building. The neon sign flickered in the corner–this was definitely not the Athletic Club, but that was precisely the point. She’d already battled Jack and Ashley today, the last thing she needed was to go another round with the reporters that liked to hang out near the club.
Here she could be another lonely soul–another face in a crowd of those whose lives had been reduced to a dive bar on the edge of town. She walked in, the smell of stale smoke stinging her eyes instantly. Sighing, she moved to the empty stool at the end of the bar. She reached into her purse and pulled out a crisp hundred dollar bill.
The bartender raised his eyebrows as he looked at her. This wasn’t his usual clientele.
Phyllis pointed to a bottle and nodded as the bartender filled the glass. She slid the hundred across the bar to him. “Don’t let it get empty,” she whispered. Tonight she didn’t want to think about Jack. She didn’t want to contemplate the mess she’d made of her life. She didn’t even want to try and decide how to begin to fix it. Tonight she simply wanted to drink until it didn’t hurt anymore or at least until she could forget how much it did.
She smiled as the bartender filled her glass again.
“Put that one on my tab.” A man sat down beside, her pulling the stool closer to her and leaning in. “Yeah,” he whispered, the liquor heavy on his breath, “I thought that was you. I saw you on that tv show.”
Phyllis cringed. So much for anonymity.
“I just want to have my drink,” she said quietly. “Alone.”
She moved away as she felt his arm snake around her back. “Aww, come on. I’m not one to judge..trust me. Besides you’re the best looking thing to come walking through these doors in a long time.” He looked her up and down before continuing. “How bout a dance?”
“No thank you.” She tried to force a smile, to feign politeness, but his close proximity made her ill.
He leaned back a bit. “What? You think you’re too good for me or something?”
“I didn’t say that. I’m just…I didn’t come here to dance. I didn’t come here to meet someone. I didn’t come here to talk. I came here to drink…by myself.” She looked at him, mustering all her strength. “How about you respect that and leave me the hell alone?”
A quick puff of air left his lips and he stood. “Bitch,” he muttered, glaring over his shoulder at her as he walked at the door.
Phyllis sighed and looked back down at the glass. She tapped it on the counter to get the bartender’s attention. He nodded and returned to her to fill it up again.
Her eyes could barely focus on the labels of the bottles on the shelves in front of her, the game of attempting to read them having been her mental distraction for the last twenty minutes. Anything to keep from thinking about reality. It was working until the sounds began to drift into the room. The song they used to dance to–back when they were happy, back before Jack hated her, back before she blew her entire life to pieces.
She shook her head. It was over–her self imposed sanctuary had been breached by her reality–one she simply couldn’t shake. Her legs trembled as she stood up and gathered her purse, returning the polite nod of the bartender as she walked from the door.
The night air was still warm, but a refreshing change of pace from the stench of stale smoke and beer. She took a few steps towards her car before she felt his hand grasp her upper arm.
Her mouth opened to scream, but his other arm wrapped around her quickly, his hand clasping down tight over her mouth. He backed her up to the side of the building, standing close–too close–to her.
She fought for air as she struggled under his weight.
“I thought I’d give you a chance to reconsider,” he growled, his face contorted with rage. “Or at the very least apologize for being so nasty in there. Nobody taught you any manners? Fancy girl like you didn’t get any home training?”
Phyllis thrashed, her heart pounding.
“You know, I figure the kind of woman that says yes to her brother in law doesn’t say no to much of anything…” He laughed as he leaned in closer.
She opened her mouth, sinking her teeth into the flesh of his hand.
He screamed. “Damnit!” With the back of his hand, he slapped her hard across the face, then pulled her towards him and slammed her against the wall.
She could taste blood as her head pounded. Her legs buckled and she slumped to the ground. She felt him kick her once and again before she heard his footsteps running away.
The swooshing sound in her head was almost unbearable as she pulled her phone from her purse.
She pressed the buttons with trembling fingers as she closed her eyes praying he’d answer.
The sight of headlights allowed her to finally relax and she went limp, allowing her head to fall flat against the concrete. It was ok now. He was here.
“Phyllis!” Billy ran to her, hitting his knees and sliding to her side. “My God…My God…What happened?”
“I’m ok,” she whispered, happy to lean back against him even as the pain shot through her side. The feeling of his body beside her was worth it.
“This is not ok,” he whispered,his eyes roving over her face. He was afraid to touch her, afraid he’d hurt her. “Who did this? Do you know?”
“I don’t know…some guy that was in the bar. He ran off.”
“How long ago?” Billy jumped to his feet. “Which way?”
She reached out her hand, grabbing for his. “Billy no…please. It’s done. It’s over.”
“It’s not done yet..,but it will be…when I get my hands on him, I’m…” He glanced back down at her, his breath catching as he saw the tears streaming down her face.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, kneeling back down beside her.
“Please forget about him.” She clutched his hand, holding onto him for dear life. “I need you here. Please just stay here.”
He nodded. “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I’m here..right here..whatever you need. Anything you need.
What had seemed like days had actually only been a few hours, Billy realized as he glanced up at the clock on the waiting room wall. The door opened and he sprang from the chair, hopeful it was the doctor with the news that he could see her. Instead Jack stood in front of him.
“What are you doing here?” Billy asked.
“The hospital called me…they said Phyllis had been brought in..that she’d been attacked.”
He began to walk past him, heading for the door.
“Wait,” Jack called after him, his voice calm and slightly hesitant. “Is she ok?”
Billy sighed. “She’s got a concussion, two cracked ribs, some stitches in her lip, and a cracked cheekbone, but given what could have happened, the doctors say she was lucky.”
Jack exhaled loudly.
Billy stared at him. He saw the concern in his face, but it was all too late. Where was this concern when it would have mattered? “They shouldn’t have called you. You don’t need to be here.”
Jack sighed. “She’s still my wife. If any decisions need to be made, I…”
“Like hell you will,”Billy spat, stepping across the room and standing in front of his brother. “I don’t even know how you have the gall to come here right now.”
“Me? How I have the gall to come here? I’m her husband.”
“Legally….and if you’d been any kind of husband to Phyllis we wouldn’t be here right now.”
“You better watch your mouth.” Jack’s eyes grew still and cold as he stared at him.
“The truth is bitter isn’t it, Jack? I should know..I’ve had to accept my share of hard truths. In fact, you’ve really enjoyed telling me some of those truths. This time, let me give it a shot. Phyllis is here..tonight…in this hospital because of you. You are too much of an ass to take any responsibility for the train wreck your marriage had become. The woman was traumatized. She spent months being abused and manipulated and you wanted her to just forgive and move on and when she couldn’t because she was normal, you called her vindictive and obsessive. You made her feel like she wasn’t entitled to her pain and her feelings.”
“I never said that to her. I never said anything like that,” Jack protested.
“You didn’t have to say it outright, Jack. Your actions screamed it…so she came to me and at first it was just to talk. She just needed someone to listen. She was looking for someone to understand her..someone who didn’t judge her. She never came to me looking to cheat on you. Neither of us ever expected this to happen.”
“But it did happen.”
“Yeah…it did and she told you the truth about what happened and why it happened, but instead of trying to talk about it, of trying to work through it, of doing anything constructive, you decide to wage war against her. You and the entire family are treating her like some kind of pariah..like she has no feelings. Well she does…and you’re hurting her. That’s why she was at that bar tonight. That’s why she’s in that room.”
Jack said nothing.
“So you know what Jack, you want to hand out blame, you go ahead. There’s plenty to go around. You just keep in mind that there’s more than one sinner in this room tonight.”