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Bobby Briggs stands outside Shelly Johnson's house, kicking rocks at Leo's truck. Sharp bounces, stone against metal and he doesn't stop to think that if Leo's truck is there, he might be at home until the last rock has landed.

He has an explanation for being there. Bobby has an explanation for everything or at least he tries to have one. Leo is a moron, a deadly moron and it's the danger that keeps bringing Bobby back mixed with the confidence that if push came to shove, he could outsmart the gorilla.

Just like he outsmarted the FBI. His mom and dad. Laura.

Wait. Scratch that. He never outsmarted Laura. Her smile always held something secret, dangling nagging doubt over Bobby's head. It was her specialty, making people doubt themselves, until she sweetly cajoled them into insanity.

But she's gone now, all the smiles wiped off her face. Forever.

Bobby digs through his pockets. Finds a crumpled receipt, a bent piece of gum and two slightly crushed cigarettes nestled in a flattened pack. He lights one, puffs it aimlessly while letting it dangle, twitching, from his lips.

Where to now? Shelly's at work. Leo's in whatever cave Leos hibernate in and the sheriff doesn't want to see him, especially since he's given Hurley free range through town.

Hurley. The mere thought of his name sends a thrill of rage up Bobby's throat. James Fucking Hurley. Bad boy with a heart of gold. The pity party's guest of honor. The guy Laura was laughing at when she fucked him and that thought makes Bobby smirk.

He knows her better than Hurley ever did. Their's was no grand romance. Laura taught Bobby about keeping secrets and lying, about how to grin even when your eyes are so filled with red you can't see. It wasn't about sneaking around, pretending to be Romeo to her - geez, what a joke - Juliet.

God, it makes Bobby want to laugh in Hurley's dumb face. He can't stop thinking about hurting him, first with his words - then his fists. Just the fact that he can't makes the idea even more exhilarating and Bobby finds himself bouncing a little on his feet, wishing Shelly would come home right now.

Like an angel in blue polyester, Shelly appears. She's horrified he's there, but not horrified enough to send him away. She drags him inside before stripping off her clothes with enticing speed. It's all he can do not to come in his pants when she strokes him on the outside of his jeans, her eyes as hungry as a wolf's.

"God, baby," he murmurs and the fuck they share is sweet and hard. "You're amazing."

She doesn't reply. She dresses quickly and heads to the fridge to pour herself a soda. Just one, because making a mistake like dirtying two glasses would spell a beating - or ten - from her beloved husband. "I can't believe you're here. Don't you value your life?"

"Nah. I'd rather see you."

"You'd rather see me than live. Okay." She gulps the soda and licks her lips. "I have no idea where he is. He left this morning, without the truck. Someone came to pick him up."

Bobby stores this information away in the lizard part of his brain. He's got a nice compartmentalizing thing going on, a file for every part of his life. Maybe that's his dad's military thinking rubbing off on him, maybe it's just his own stupid neurosis. The only file that has next to no information is Hurley's. It exists merely to dump Bobby's fury into, like a bomb filled with powder waiting for a match to be lit.

Yeah, a match. Some day. "Are you all right, Bobby?" Shelly examines him, her pretty eyes narrow. "What are you thinking about?"

"How much I hate James Hurley." He plops into a chair and snags one of her cigarettes, mumbling as he lights it. "Sort of like how much you hate Leo."

Her expression changes. "I hope not," she replies smoothly. "I married Leo, remember?"

Bobby's throat tightens a little. He swallows uncomfortably. "Don't you regret it?"

"Every day of my life. I'm not sure if I ever loved him at all." Sliding up, she straddles Bobby's lap. Puckers her lips for a drag and he gives her one, watching her inhale, then slowly exhale. "I might have hated him since the day we met."

"Then why would you marry him if you hated him?" Bobby's voice is sharp. Sharper than he intends.

Shelly shrugs. "Because, sometimes, you don't see the difference." She leans her forehead against his and chuckles. Starts laughing harder when Bobby slips out from underneath her, his mouth set in a tight line of annoyance. "Oh Bobby. I'm just screwing with you."

"Yeah, right. I'm sorry, Shel, but the last thing I need right now is someone else screwing with me." Angrily, he yanks his shirt on. "Leo's going to be in a bad mood for the foreseeable future. You let me know if you need help."

Shelly rolls her eyes. "One, Leo's always in a bad mood and two, what are you going to do if he does something? Throw another rock at his truck?"

"I'll figure out something. Just ... just keep your head down, okay?" He kisses her on the 'okay', tenderly, because this is his Shelly and she's been hurt enough. She deserves better. Better than Leo Johnson at the very least, maybe even better than himself.

Luckily, she doesn't seem to want more. Not yet.

Which is good because Bobby Briggs doesn't have 'better'. He might never have it.

---

The next day he sees James in front of his uncle's gas station, shining his motorcycle. He's rubbing a chamois cloth in slow circles over the seat, intent, as if nothing else in the world exists but that stupid bike.

A lit cigarette twitches dangerously between Bobby's lips. He's tempted to toss it at the gas tanks behind Hurley and watch the fire envelop him and the station before it takes over the whole damned town.

Burning, all of Twin Peaks is burning under a huge, racing fire while Bobby Briggs walks besides it on his way somewhere else. Anywhere else.

Nice thought. Isn't going to happen, but the vision of towering flames calms him down, lets him breathe. He thinks about driving up, making Hurley gas the car but decides against it. He might get tempted to do something idiotic and he's got heat enough coming from more than a couple of sides.

Maybe it's the way Bobby's staring or the loud idling of his car but Hurley turns around, scowling as if he knew Briggs was there all along. Their eyes meet and something sparks, making Bobby's throat turn suddenly dry and tight.

Hurley blinks. Maybe he's felt it too, a weird electric charge between them and Bobby's eyes are probably filled with shock as he slams the car out of park and roars away as if the Devil were after him.

What the fuck. Strange, stupid town from hell and was that what happened when Laura looked at Hurley? Laura, who was so much like Bobby underneath, they could have been twins. Laura, who was all about the fire and blood and secrets, spending her entire life hidden from everyone ...

Was that what Hurley did to her? Is this the hidden thing she saw?

Bobby stomps on the pedal, making the car jerk forward. Shelly might be home. Maybe Leo is too. Maybe he'd be better off going home and sitting down to dinner with his Mom and Dad and watch their faces drop with wonder at his presence.

Maybe he should forget about going anywhere near James Hurley for the foreseeable future in case there's something else going on.

He's driving so fast the hood of the car begins to rattle. Screwing with the radio doesn't help, the song sounds distorted, like a girl's laughter.

Like Laura's laughter and that's when Bobby finds himself crying, sobbing as he drives, the world blurring all around him. Fuck you, Laura. I never told you, but I hated you. God, how I hated you.

And fuck you, James Hurley. I hate you too.

---