That Woman: Part 2 of a Story

Here’s some advice folks: Don’t go near a sick 2-year old.  They are Petri dishes and a violation of the Geneva Convention’s ban on chemical warfare.  They look all cute and cuddley, then you feel like death warmed over for days.  So, after a short delay, Part 2.
If you missed it, or need to refresh your memory, here’s Part 1.

 

The Friend and Mr. Williams

Who she is was a fairly easy question to answer.  Lindsey Walters: 32-years old, blonde hair of medium length with blue eyes of a cooler hue.  Human Resources manager at a large firm Downtown, and fiercely independent.  I loved her.  We had been together for 4 years, until, we simply weren’t anymore.

The rest of it.  Well, that was a little harder to answer.


“…-lliams, did you have anything to add?”  Oh, Mr. Barrow and his gruff bark.

I didn’t look up from my doodle.  I felt Barry’s eyes looking at me from across the table, urging me to say something.  I had nothing.

I made two more lines on my sketch before I answered.  “The supports on page…,” I glanced at the screen of my iPad, “…14A.  Are those braces going to be enough for any further expansions in the upstairs unit?”  My voice was monotone.

Mr. Barrow looked at the head engineer with a raised eyebrow.  I never even listened to the response.  I didn’t care.  The meeting wrapped up and everyone gathered their notes and laptops and iPads and headed for the door.  The meeting had gone 45 minutes longer than it was supposed to.

“So much for scheduling it right before lunch to try to keep everything on time,” Barry muttered.  I nodded in agreement.  “Nice save, by the way.  I thought Barrow had caught you napping.”

“Disinterested, yeah.  But not napping.”  Sadly I hadn’t been napping, I could use the sleep.  I hadn’t gotten a good night of sleep in three weeks.

“Well, judging by the questions Barrow was sending your way, you better get interested in a hurry.”  I acquiesced with a short exhalation of air.  “Ready for lunch, or are you meeting Lindsey?”

Knife to the heart.


“Jake?  You haven’t said anything for several minutes.”

“I was thinking.  Isn’t that what you want me to do?”  I lash out when I feel vulnerable.  I’ve learned this in therapy.

“What were you thinking about?”  This guy is still a bastard.  “All I know is roughly what,” he looked at his notes, “…Lindsey,” still hate hearing her name, “…looked like, her job and that you were together for four years, and engaged for 7 months.”

“Well Doc, you know almost what I know.”  I watched a ferry steaming towards the dock.  “I thought I knew.”


Barry and I finished our beers.

“…and that was it.  She was gone that morning.”

“Three weeks ago? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Well, your fiance leaves you for another guy, you get a bit bashful.”

“Let’s go out this weekend.  Guy’s Weekend.  Vegas.  Strip clubs and booze.  We can just…”

“No.”  I interrupted his interruption.  “No.”  I put my hand up.  “I don’t feel the need to run to Vegas and sleep with something.”  I motioned to the bartender for another beer.  “More than that, I don’t want to go to Vegas to watch you try and sleep with something.”  Guys have an inate need to drag their heartbroken friends out to get drunk and messy with some coked up blonde when romantic disaster strikes.

“Jake, you have to do something.  You have to get this out of your system.”

“No Barry.”  I avoided eye contact.  That’s the key, always avoid eye contact.  “I didn’t want to talk about it.  That’s why I didn’t bring it up at any point in the last three weeks.  I still don’t want to talk about it.”


I still don’t.  But here I sit anyways.  “So, there you go Doc, consider yourself up to speed.”

He sucked on his upper lip as he reviewed his notes.  “How long ago did this happen?”

“It’s been a while.”  He did that pen tapping thing I loved so much.  “Since the last time I saw her?  Umm…,” I took a deep breath, and tried to act like I didn’t know exactly how long it had been.  “Three years, one month, and eighteen days.”

“And that streak was broken when?”

“Five days ago.”

The bastard nodded his head, made a note, and opened his mouth…

 

Click here for Part 3

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That Woman: Part 1 of a Story

Happy 2016 everyone.  We are going to try something new on Sword & Quill this month; instead of posting seperate stories or random thoughts on here every Wednesday, over the next four weeks I will be posting one continuous story, told in four parts.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  Enjoy!

 

The Bastard and Mr. Williams

“Are we allowed to drink at these get togethers?”

“It’s frowned upon.”

I looked up. “That’s not a no.”

He made some marks in his notepad, then peered at me over his glasses. “Consider it a no.”

I shrugged. “Shame. Some of my best conversations have happened over a drink.”  He smiled with a coldness in his eyes.

“Avoidance, Mr. Williams. You promised no avoidance.”

I licked my upper lip.  It was a habit I had picked up at some point.  “Avoidance?  I would only call it that if I never got to the point.  This is just a skillful buildup.”  He ticked his pen pointedly on his notepad and stared at me with those infernal blue eyes.  I looked out the window at the activity on The Bay.  It looked peaceful.  “I’ve been having a pretty rough couple of days.”

“Is that why you called me?”  I peeled my eyes off a particularly stunning sailboat to shoot him a look.  “Ok, that’s fair.  Allow me to rephrase.  Did you call because you’ve been having a rough couple of days, or because of what started the rough couple of days?”

I thought back to five days ago.  Through the alcohol induced haze.  Past the insomnia fueled dreams.  I thought about the day the elevator doors opened, and She had been there.

That Woman.  I never really believed that She would come back into my life.  I may have secretly hoped for it, dreaded it, avoided it, but never believed that it would really happen.  Until the day it finally did.

“Mr. Williams?”

“Just a rough couple of days.”  I lied.  “Not even really sure why I called.  Just thought maybe you missed me.”

“It’s fine.  We can sit here in silence if you’d like.  I get paid by the hour.”

“An hour to sit here and watch the boats come in and out of The Bay.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.”  I shrugged.  “Be better with a bourbon and water,” I whispered under my breath.  But just loud enough.

He frowned over his glasses at me.  “You’re such a Puritan, Doc.  What, did you grow up Baptist or something?”  I was itching for a drink.

“Who is she?”

The question hit dead center.  We’ve lost the mizzenmast Captain, and taking on water on the port side.  “She?”  It came out as a croak.

The bastard waited.

“I think we’ve had enough buildup, Mr. Williams.  Don’t you?  Who is she?”

I inhaled.  I wish he would have let me have that drink.

 

Click here for Part 2.