The Zoetrope

…Needle in the Hay

His name was Beauchamp, but everyone called him Davis, and he hated William for leaving him.

He whipped the tears out of his eyes as the play list from his iPod switched songs. It was something soft, something he could usually name, but now his mind was too far from the music he had always been in love with.

Beau hated himself for hating William.

More tears streamed down his face as he thought back to the funeral he had promptly left after escorting the casket to the hearse. He had run down that street like a mad man the tails of his jacket, albeit short, flapping behind him. Passers by stopped to stare at the man running down the street dressed in an all black suit with a single pink rose. "Completely ridiculous" his wife and mother had spat almost simultaneously when they saw it buttoned to his lapel.

William was his dead son.

It had been less than a week since the death, an apparent hit and run, he had been on his way from school, minus the nanny Elizabeth thought he had been cheating on her with.

He hadn't been.

And so now here he was in the bloody Rolls Royce that he hated a gift from his late father. On his way to another thing his father had left him a "small" farm on the outskirts of a small relatively landlocked town. It was the one thing that his father had left him that no one in the family knew about, apparently, or at least so thought Duncan; his dead father.

He sighed pressing his ipod unconsciously looking down for a moment and practically swerving towards a statled runner who had been running along the side of the country road. He quickly took control of the wheel and kept going, leaving the stunned runner to stare in shock. The ipod played Jefferson Airplane.

Zara ran.

That was what she did, every single day of her miserable life, she ran from place to place always away from something. This time it was away from the crazy driver who had almost killed her and sped off into the distance. But moments before she had been running away from her future, the pathetic future she had been left with. She was eighteen and she was still in high school, stuck there with no way out until she did better on her SATs so she could get into a "decent" college as her mother stated. But at least back then she had had a decent boy; as her current father stated. "The kind she could marry" he persisted as if wanting to marry off his wife's child from a previous relationship; his wife's Puerto Rican child that didn't match his current blonde hair blue eyed family.

She ran because Nate had left her; her only viable way out of her current miserable situation was gone. She was running to escape them; and to escape the constant thoughts of him and what could have been. She ran because she knew that within days she would be back in the same institution she loathed; with people who barely knew her name, without him, and she had never been without him.

When she reached her house she stopped abruptly, and she shouldn't have she knew that she should have walked it out afterall it had been an exhausting late morning early afternoon run.

"ZARA!" one of the girls, one of her half sisters yelled from the front porch, dressed in an ankle length skirt, navy blue like all the others, with a yellow top, an awful colour combination, and a bonnet on her head as if she belonged to some type of cult. Zara pulled off a smile and slowly walked towards her sister who ran to hug her, closely followed by four others who upon hearing her name had promptly run out of the house. Half of them messy with brown paw prints on their skirts. all of them had their long blonde hair back in two ponytails, each one exactly the same, no difference except in their faces, which looked almost alike but had subtle differences, they looked like twins, but they weren't.

"Lacey called!" Mary stated walking behind the klot of girls that held onto their oldest sister for dear life. She bobbed up and down in the back. "She wants to know if you'll bring Tink to the café!" Mary continued. Zara turned to her sister and nodded, mouthing thanks. She reached down to pick up the second youngest, Tabitha. Who had chocolate stains all over her mouth.

"What have you been into missy?" Zara asked, Tabby looked down pulling on Zara's shirt as if not wanting to respond.

"chocolate." The child whispered as Zara's mother appeared in the door way.

"CHOCOLATE! That's what they've been eating and your dog too! Been runnin' outside then came in and jumped all over them, I hope he dies!" Karen yelled from the door, she was pregnant again and clearly not in a good mood.

"Hope you die." Zara muttered under her breath, Tabby's head whipped around to look at her questioningly, Zara smiled pleasantly as if she hadn't said anything at all.

"I'm going to work." Zara told her mother putting Tabitha down as she stepped inside the warm house clearly they had been cooking something all together like the perfect family they were.

"Will you come home tonight or are you planning on spending the night out with your boyfriend again." Ow, Zara thought almost feeling the night twisting in her chest, because her mother knew about the break up yet some how she felt the urge to mention him constanly as if her pleasure was derived from Zara's pain. Sadistic Bitch, Zara thought, it was a name she had given her mother from the time she had learned the meaning of those two words. In her collective consiouness her mother's name was neither Karen, nor Mrs. Tulle nor was it Mom, her name was Sadistic Bitch. SB for short.

"Um I don't think I'll come home; I may just spend the night on the street; you know selling my body to the highest bidder." At that a spoon dropped out of one of the older girl's hands, one who was old enough to understand what was being said, Sarah. Karen turned on her heel.

"how dare you use those words in here? In front of them!" she didn't even say "in front of your sisters" no she just said "them", as if they were completely unrelated. Once again it hurt, mind you Zara's life was full of pain.

"Get out of my sight!" Karen yelled, Zara raised her hand as if backing off. The rest of the girls stayed put watching the situation unfold in front of their very blue eyes, silently, none of them moved a muscle. They knew that situations between Zara and their mother should always be ignored, as if it was a tiny glitch in their fun filled days with their mother, a moment to pause and watch the unfortunate train wreck unravelling before them.

Zara ran up the stairs to her room, and before she could break down in tears she threw herself in the shower letting the cold water sting her, to forget the pain she felt inside, either way it was better than slitting her wrists.

"Zee! You're late!" Lacey called jokingly watching as Zara ran inside the café closely followed by Tinkerbelle her black and white pitbull who wasn't on a leash.

"You know what Lace, you should be happy I'm even here, some psycho tried to run me off the road this afternoon." Zara responded equally jokingly grabbing an apron. Tinkerbelle went to the water bowl near the window beside her usual spot, her bed in front of the window from which she could watch the goings and comings of the town's people.

"Speaking of Psychos did you hear some one moved into the old Davis house?" one of the usual patrons Elise spoke she was a writer for the local Tribune Lacey shook her head.

"No, wow that thing's been empty for at least four years, nice piece of property though" Riker the resident fashion designer who worked out of his home studio less than 10 minutes away.

"Riker is that you?!" Zara called from behind the mile high thermoses of coffee.

"It is indeed my dear," Riker responded getting up from his table as Zara ran to him ignoring the protocols of costumer-worker relationships. She hugged him. "Jesus Zee where have you been hiding?" Riker asked hugging her equally as hard. She let go and stood back.

"Oh you know trying to assimilate with my Mennonite family." Zara responded heading back towards the counter.

"Ah I see, whats new at the commune?" Riker joked. Zara shrugged hitting out one of the filters.

"Oh not much, mom started making them wear black bonnets, waiting for mine to come in the mail." She said sarcastically. One might say that Zara was always scarcastic. But Riker was one of those few special people who could see past the façade she put on, he could tell that every syllable was filled with painful memories that she was simply an outsider in her family's world. She was simply the mistake that few paid attention to.

The door dinged as someone new stepped in. He was wearing black sunglasses, the sun was about to set. He was dressed in a slim fitting black suit with a sagging pink flower on his lapel. Everyone turned to stare, not only because he was dressed from head to toe in black but also because he had a kind of charm, like that old world Hollywood charm that could never be brought back; like James Dean and Robert Redford, there was something utterly classy about him, and sexy at the same time, that no one could deny, not even Zara who had decided her heart and mind would be closed to all males; since her break up with her cheating ex.

Lacey nugged Zara, and it was as if she had woken up from a trance. She blinked a bit and shook her head.

"Hello there, can I help you?" she asked. Hoping he would take off his glasses, she hated talking to people with dark glasses on, it was almost as if they were hiding behind a brick wall. There could be no human connection if some one was wearing dark glasses.

"Um yeah." He paused lifting up his glasses and pushing it back into his dark brown hair. He had what seemed to be green eyes. That were red and bloodshot, he looked young, but at this particular moment he looked as if he were completely stressed and dealing with things way beyond his maturity level.

"Earl Grey tea, black, bottle of water and a cranberry cupcake." He stated looking intently at the menu above Zara's head as if not wanting to look at her. She almost giggled to hear a grown man say cupcake. It was almost cute the way he said it dressed all in black. The man in black had said cupcake and the more she thought about it the more she had to resist the urge to laugh out loud. She let out a laugh that came out as more of a cough.

"muffin." She told him.

"What?" he asked looking at her briefly before once again looking away. She shook her head.

"4.56 please. Oh for here or to go?" he shrugged and paused for a minute reaching for his wallet inside of his suit. If he didn't know than how could she? She wondered vaguely, she could feel Lacey giving her a questioning look , and she in turn shrugged. She saw him look over to Tinkerbelle, and smiled slightly, it graced his lips in a confusing way, as if it didn't even know if it should have been there or not.

"Here," he told her handing her a ten dollar bill and walking off to a seat near Tinkerbelle. Zara watched him go. Elise watched him like a hawk constantly turning her head away from her precious laptop. Riker on the other hand starred at her, waiting for her to look at him so he could tell her to stop staring at the handsome stranger. She didn't see him starring at her.

"Zeee!" Riker called Beau instinctively turned his head, not really knowing why but knowing that he was simply curious. "Refill please!" he called at her she rolled her eyes knowing that if he got another cup of coffee he would get jittery and he only wanted to talk to her.

"Whaaat?" she whispered bringing over a pot of decaf.

"Stop starring at sexyback, 'kay?" Riker insister Zara rolled her eyes, and unconsciously looked at him playing with Tink. Riker hit her on the shoulder.

"Oooowww." She whispered looking at him spitefully, she walked away a bit and quickly ran back.

"P.S. I'm staying at your place tonight." She whispered in his ear.

"Ouuu slumber party!" Riker squealed clapping. All four people who were in the café turned to look at him. He quickly shut up. Elise started laughing. So did Lacey who finally had finished the guy's plate. Zara headed to pick it up.

"You in Elise?" Riker asked, Elise stopped laughing for a moment and shook her head.

"Sorry guys, some other time I gotta finish this story." Elise responded.

"Lacey?" even she shook her head.

"I may stop by for a drink or two but I've gotta organize the books." Zara brought the plate to the guy and put it down in front of him.

"You in?" Riker asked, no one really knew who he was talking too, the guy turned his head as if wondering if it was him.

"I'm sorry I don't know your name." Riker continued clearly it was him, suit guy. Riker was far too outgoing for his own good.

"Um… Beauchamp, but most people call me Davis." He responded self-consciously as if he was a child, an odd move for a man of his stature, and clearly, age.

"Alright Davis so you want to come over?" Riker asked starring him down like he was a piece of meat. Beau looked at him awkwardly,

"Um," he began

"C'mon, me, Zee and a few bottles of alcohol, I get giddy when I drink" Riker joked, lies, Zee thought, you get sleepy when you drink. Beau laughed at Riker's lame joke. Zee wondered if he was gay like Riker, probably considering his impeccable fashion sense. The guy shrugged.

"Tinkerbelle will be there." Riker stated. Beau cocked an eyebrow.

"The dog," Riker explained Beau nodded understanding.

"So you named a pit bull Tinkerbelle?" Riker pointed to Zee

"She did." Zara's eyes bugged.

"It was cute at the time." Beau laughed. "I-I mean she still is cute b-but." She paused not knowing what else to do.

"Sure I'll come." Beau said shrugging. Surprisingly he had already finished the "cupcake" and was working on the tea.

More conversations were struck up as they all began to chat together loudly. Zara didn't hear what they were saying it was all mush as she went in the back to clean.

"We're leaving ZEE!" Riker called laughing with Beau, he seemed to have found a new friend.

"I'll be over in an hour!" Zara yelled after them.

"Don't hurry!" Riker yelled back. At that Lacey laughed.

"You better hurry if not Riker may just."

"What get his hands on sexyback?" Lacey shook her head.

"Fall asleep."

Zara laughed.

a/n: I uno where this came from, perhaps my life collectively. But I hope u enjoy and I hope you review.