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Chapter Three

Of the Fate Saga Books

Tara woke with a start, a liquor bottle in her hand and a hammering headache. She sat up on the couch she had been laying on and became nauseated. She glanced around the messy floor, searching for a trash can.

It sat on the floor on the opposite side of her studio apartment. Shakily, Tara stood up and stumbled over to the trash can, before kneeling down to empty the contents of her stomach.

Her front door opened, and a young man in a wheelchair glided through the door. 

“Another late night?” he asked upon witnessing Tara’s hangover. 

“Ugh, go away, Sherman,” Tara replied hugging her bucket.

Sherman wheeled through the apartment, grabbing a trash bag and picking up the varying debris scattered throughout. He sighed and shook his head. 

“You know you weren’t always like this,” he said.

“Sherman I swear to whatever if you start in on that stupid fantasy of yours this early in the day.” Tara gagged and retched again.

Sherman shook his head, black hair becoming messy as he did. “You’ll see it again someday, Taluhlah.” He hung the half-full trash bag on the doorknob to the front door.

“Seriously Sherman, shut up about your incessant droning about that next world—”

“Nexus”

“Whatever. It's haunting my dreams now which is irritating enough. I’d rather deal with the nightmares.”

Sherman fell out of his chair, frantically crawling to Tara. “It is? What did you remember?” he asked over-enthusiastically.

Tara grabbed a nearby pillow off the floor and hit Sherman over the head with it. “Fuck you, that’s what I remembered,” she replied irritably.

“Okay, but will you take me to dinner first? I like to be wooed before I give out the goods.”

Tara dry heaved into the trash bin. “Why are you here again?” she asked when she finished retching and set her bin aside.

Sherman smiled playfully. “Because we’re human now and—” Tara hit him with her pillow again. “Okay, okay. My folks are going out of town and I need a place to crash for a month or so.”

Tara blinked as she looked up to at Sherman. She sighed. “I’ll get the spare mattress.”

“You’re the best, Taluhlah! Thank you!” Sherman replied in a gracious sing-song voice.

“Don’t mention it. Seriously, don’t, and stop calling me that,” Tara replied, half grunting as she pulled her spare mattress out of the storage space on her balcony.

Sherman crawled to the kitchen, looking for Tara's preferred hangover cure. He grabbed an aspirin bottle off the counter. He opened the bottle and dumped two pills into his hand. He then headed towards the fridge. 

“Hey, do you have any more beer?” he asked, pulling one out of the fridge, then turned to look for Tara's water glass which usually sat on her kitchen counter next to her sink.

Tara grabbed the glass and filled it with water. She held her hand out expectantly. Sherman handed her the Aspirin and her beer.

Tara popped the aspirin into her mouth and chased them back with her water. She grabbed a bottle opener magnet off the fridge. 

“Where are your folks headed this time?” she asked as she popped the lid off her bottle.

Sherman sighed. “Some function for nursing homes and caretakers involved. So, do you have any more beer?” he replied.

Tara took a swig of her beer, then placed her bottle opener back on the fridge before opening it. She bent down to look into it. She moved a few things around, then pulled out another beer for Sherman. She turned around to hand him the bottle and stopped. “Gonna need to make a beer run today. That’s the last one. Why are you looking at me like that?”

Sherman sat there, staring at her with a rather rigid looking posture, his cheeks flushed pink.

“You need to get laid.” Tara continued shoving the beer in his face. “That or take an icy shower.”

Sherman took the bottle and promptly chugged half of it. “How many girls do you know who are willing to screw a crippled guy?” he asked half sarcastically.

Tara put down her drink, and walked over to a closet and pulled out some bedding and a pillow. Sherman crawled behind her, kneeling up to take the items out of her hands. 

“I’ll make the bed. You have work today, don’t you?” he asked.

Tara looked at the clock and sighed. It was almost time to go to work. Sherman finished his drink, watching Tara.

“Call in sick,” he said.

“I’m considering it,” she replied.

“But?”

“If I call in sick I’ll just wind up getting drunk again,” Tara continued.

“So go to work,” Sherman prompted.

Tara sighed. “I’m going to take a shower. Try not to hurt yourself while I’m at work today. Accident Prone.”

“I will try not to get maimed while making my bed,” Sherman joked.

“Knowing you, I’d be shocked if you didn’t.” Tara giggled. She walked to her dresser, grabbed some clean clothes, and headed to the shower. She headed to the bathroom and sighed irritably as she turned the shower on.

Tara didn’t want to go to work. She had little interest in caring for young children. While they were fun to be around, and educate, or entertain, her fellow teachers silently bickered far too much for her liking. If they weren’t backseat working for her. How people managed to go from sweet and innocent to bitter, resentful, and manipulative in life boggled her mind, making her job far more stressful than necessary.

"At least the water is hot," Tara thought to herself as she rinsed the shampoo out of her hair.

Sherman knocked on the bathroom door. “Taluhlah, don’t you have to be at work like, five minutes ago?” he asked.

“I don’t have to be at work until 11:30,” Tara replied, annoyed that her shower was interrupted with more thoughts of work. She finished rinsing off and turned off the water.

“Well, I hope you can get to work in ten minutes then. It’s 11:20.”

There was a crash in the bathroom. Tara burst through the door in only a towel, struggling to put her clothes on, a brush stuck in her hair and a toothbrush between her teeth, toothpaste foaming around her mouth.

Tara dressed quickly, wiping the toothpaste off on her towel, and attempted to pry the brush out of her hair. It seemed an instant, but by 11:25, Tara was out the door on her way to work, looking mostly presentable, short of her messy wet hair.

“Bye Sherman, I’ll be back soon!” Tara called out as she walked out the door.

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