Betting on Bailey(10)

By: Tara Crescent

“Bailey?” Katie asks me. “Is everything alright?”

“No.” I take a big gulp of the drink in my hand. “You guys, listen to this.” I wave the sheet of paper at them. “This is from Trevor’s lawyer. The fucker’s demanding that I pay ninety days of rent, since I didn’t give him adequate notice before moving out.”

“What the…” Gabby exclaims.

“He can’t do that, can he?” Piper cuts in. “That’s not fair.”

We all turn toward Wendy. She’s a divorce lawyer, and while rents and tenancy aren’t really her area of expertise, she’ll know more than any of us.

Wendy makes a face. “He probably can,” she says. “I’m sorry, Bailey, but you both signed a lease, didn’t you?”

I nod. “One year.” I empty the glass, and Gabby helpfully refills it for me. That’s my girl. Rum is exactly what I need right now.

“And you’ve lived together for five months? So technically, you owe seven months’ rent. A court will see the ninety days that Trevor’s suggesting as a reasonable offer.” She grimaces. “I’m sorry, Bailey. But you are probably best off paying him and moving on. I’ll loan you the money, if you need.”

“Hang on,” Gabby says slowly. “He earned almost a half a million dollars every year, and you made a teacher’s salary, and he still wants you to pay rent?” She glares at Wendy. “And you are agreeing with this?”

“I’m not agreeing,” Wendy protests. “I’m just telling you that if Bailey goes to court, she’ll probably lose. She’s best off cutting her losses.”

“Motherfucker,” Piper grits out. “I want to put Trevor’s balls in my pasta machine and roll them out, bit by painful bit.”

I toss back my second rum and coke, but the sour taste in my mouth isn’t from the drink. I’m furious. In that moment, fueled by Gabby’s rum and fortified by her egg-salad sandwiches, I want to get even. I want Trevor to feel as stupid as I felt right now. “Fine,” I look at Wendy. “I’ll pay. But I want revenge.”

“Whatever you are planning to do, if it’s illegal, don’t tell me,” she says hastily. “I can’t hear about it.”

I roll my eyes. “It’s not illegal, I’m not stupid.” A plan is forming in my befuddled brain. There’s one place that I can hit Trevor where it would really hurt. “Guys,” I hear myself ask. “Does anyone know how I can get really good at pool quickly?”

“Tell us more…” Piper says. Her tone suggests she thinks I’ve lost my mind, but she’s wrong. For the first time in a really long time, the way forward is clear. I want Trevor to hurt.

The words tumble from my mouth in a rush. “I want to beat him. Every year, his pool league plays in a tournament. There’s a stupid trophy that they compete for, and the winners get to fly to Las Vegas and play in yet another tournament. Trevor lives to compete in Vegas.” I take a deep breath. “I want to play on the opposing team, and I want to take that away from him. I want to beat him.”

“A pool league?” Gabby’s voice is thoughtful. “I might know someone.” She shoots me a look. “It would be a lot easier to just throw a lot of dishes against the wall in anger. If you want to get good at pool, it’ll take time and effort.”

“I want this.” There’s no doubt in my voice.

Gabby already has her phone out and is scrolling through her contacts. “A coworker of mine plays in a league. Let me see if his team needs another player.” She stands up and takes her drink on to Piper’s rickety balcony. “Hey Clark, it’s Gabriella,” I hear her say before she shuts the door. “Listen, a friend of mine wants to play pool. Didn’t you say you needed more players?”

I sip my third drink and ponder what I’ve set in motion. I’m crazy busy at work. I have two papers to publish and one of my graduate students is planning on defending his PhD soon. In addition, I’m in the tenure window at NYU, which means my teaching load is heavy. I’m teaching four undergraduate classes this semester. Spending an evening every week playing pool feels like a luxury I cannot afford.

But the Department of Anthropology isn’t well-funded, and my chances for tenure are quite slim. Besides, the need for revenge burns hot in my blood.

Gabby opens the door and comes back in. “You are in,” she announces. “The team meets Wednesday nights at the Maxwell Club. Get there at seven and ask for Clark. He’s expecting you.” She reaches for a sandwich and munches it before speaking her next words. “Clark can be annoying,” she says. “But he tells me their team is very, very good.”