I realized after I posted the Red Dress Club “sex without sex prompt”, I never actually posted the scene from Mav and John that would have it make complete sense.
So here are the fill in the blank chapters following The Appointment, which continues with the end of that chapter (not previously posted due to word count constraints for the writing prompts).
* * * The Appointment, continued * * *
“I didn’t want it. It knew I didn’t want it. So it left.” I choked the words out along with the guilt I’d carried for years.
“Jesus, Mav! Is that what you think? You were just a kid. We were just kids. You could’ve taken every precaution and still miscarried. It happens. My buddy’s wife, Ti, she had three before they finally had a little girl. And she wanted every damn one of them.” He released my legs and they slid down his body, his free arm encircling me again. “Why didn’t you tell me what happened?”
Another laugh erupted through the sobs. “You were eighteen, rich, hot, and made it perfectly clear we were just monogamous fuck buddies, not a romantic couple. By the time we morphed into friends, there wasn’t any point.” Two months was an eternity back then. “I mean what was I supposed to say? Sure, let’s go to a movie. By the way you got me pregnant and I lost the baby last September.” I laughed again at the absurdity.
“Fuck. If I’d known… If I hadn’t found that damn appointment card…” He gripped me tighter.
I peered up at his face, shocked at the storm brewing over it. Did I even want to know? “What?”
His eyes swirled, somehow simultaneously apologizing and screaming every curse word imaginable. Finally, he spoke, his voice barely above a whisper. “I was going to ask you to leave with me.”
* * * I Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny * * *
I twirled the phone on the weathered coffee table, spinning it like a top, watching the LED draw a circle. The action hypnotized me, distracting me from what I had to do.
Of the words he’d whispered.
“Mav?” His voice sounded from behind me.
I jumped, annoyed. “Quit tiptoeing everywhere. You’re a big guy. Make some noise.”
He raised an eyebrow as he sipped some coffee. “I’m a big guy?”
“Too big to walk around like Tinkerbell.”
His surprised laughter sent coffee flying onto the threadbare rug.
I smiled before I could stop it. The warmth of his laugh snaked through me, reminding me how very different this future should have been.
“I missed your smile.” His voice was soft, tender.
The simple intimacy was too much with the two phone calls looming. “You’re the one who avoided meeting me again until you were dead.”
The barb struck and the moment evaporated as what I thought of as “The General Face” took over his features – ready to bark orders. He nodded at the phone. “You need to make the other two calls so we can move to the next location. Weatherman forecasted another storm tonight and I don’t want to be traveling when it hits.”
I shuddered at the thought of riding on the bike when another storm hit. “I need to refill my prescription.”
“That would be too easy to track. Do you have any extras at your apartment?”
“What do you mean I can’t….” My voice trailed off at his stern look and I rolled my eyes. “Yes, I have some at my apartment. I only carried a handful with me. Are you actually going to let me go there and pack them?”
He was trying to irritate me. He had to be. “Then why would you bother mentioning it?”
“Have your friend pack them and any other meds you need. She can add few t-shirts, a fleece jacket, gloves, a pair of jeans, some shorts, and any other running shoes you have.”
I raised an eyebrow. “What, no underwear?”
He grinned. “I won’t complain, but you might get chafed.”
“Chafed? Where are we going?”
He shook his head. “You’ll find out soon enough. Just tell her those things and whatever else she thinks you need that will fit into one suitcase.” He reached into the front pocket of his jeans and pulled out a slip of paper. “Tell her to be there in an hour.”
“She has a two year old. It might take her longer than that.”
His face hardened. “I’m sorry. She’s either there, or we leave without your stuff.”
I’d deal with the issue later if I had to. “How the hell are we going to carry a suitcase on your motorcycle?”
“I’ll be picking up an alternate mode of transportation.”
His words sent a prickle down my spine. “Picking up? As in a rental car or hot wiring?”
He smiled, but this time it was tight and forced. “There are two words you should become familiar with: plausible deniability.”
“You’re joking. Right? John, you cannot steal someone’s car!”
“Maybe you’d do better with a sentence. Memorize this phrase. I can neither confirm nor deny that.” When I opened my mouth to argue again he cut me off. “Learn it, Mav. If this ends badly but we manage to live through it, it’s your only chance at not being an accessory to whatever I do that falls into the gray area of legality.”
I glared at him. “Stealing has always seemed more black and white to me.”
“But would borrowing be judged as harshly?”
“Borrowing implies permission. Somehow I think that is missing from this equation.”
He rubbed his forehead as if massaging a headache. “Do you trust me?”
I blinked. “What does that -”
“Do. You. Trust. Me? It’s a simple question.”
“Ha!” It was anything but simple given our history. Trust him with what?
“Do you have to overcomplicate everything? You’re never going to get your life back if we fail to leave this living room.”
I stuck my tongue out at him before I thought about it, another old habit surging to the surface.
“Was that a yes, or a no? Or something else entirely?” He pretended to leer at me.
I released a huge sigh of frustration. “Yes, I trust you.” It was too open, too vulnerable. “To keep me safe.”
He nodded. “Good. Then make the damn phone calls so we can get out of here.” He leaned against the counter and returned to sipping his coffee.
I cleared my throat. Loudly.
“Are you choking on something?”
“A little privacy.” He didn’t budge. “Please?”
He shook his head. “I stay. I have to know exactly what you say in case you unwillingly reveal something and they’ve already bugged their phones.” He took another sip. “You have ninety seconds for each call. You do them back to back, we ditch the phone, and we’re out of here.”
I wanted to yell. To scream at him. But his General look was back. I bit my tongue and begged instead. “John. Please?”
He gave me an apologetic look, but his stare remained firm. “I can’t.”
“Hell.” I spun the phone, fighting the urge to throw it at his head. Again.
I tried to refocus on what I’d say to Amanda. To Danny. Who should I call first? How would I say it all in ninety seconds? What if they weren’t home?
Please don’t let him be home.
I opened the phone to dial and stopped. “There’s a small problem with this plan.”
“I don’t know their phone numbers.”
* * * Not Yours * * *
The look on his face was priceless and a giggle escaped with the relief of another small reprieve.
“Please tell me you’re fucking joking.” He ran his fingers through his hair and set his coffee down. “You have to be.”
I shook my head as another bubble of laughter erupted.
“How the hell do you not know your best friend’s phone number?”
In an instant, my temporary sense of good humor fled and stabbed my finger into his chest. “You are the one who got rid of my cell phone. It had everything programmed in it. My clients. My friends. My life.”
“Don’t forget the bug.”
“If you’d just warned me what you wanted to do, I could’ve written down their numbers before you tossed it away!”
“I did what I had to do.”
“Well, you reap what you sow, John. So deal with it.” I crossed my arms and glared at him.
“Are they in the phone book?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t used a phone book as more than a doorstop in four or five years. I might be able to Google them if you have a computer.” Danny’s apartment had a phone line, though he only used it for faxing. Amanda still had one. Didn’t she?
“No. Nothing online. It’s way too easy to track.” He walked around the counter and began pulling out the kitchen drawers. He glanced at me. “What are you waiting for? Go look for a damn phone book.”
It was my turn to be incredulous. “Well where did you put it? It’s probably there.”
Metal clanged in his search. He didn’t even look up. “This isn’t my house.”
“Is it a rental?” I had a bad feeling about this.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that.” The cupboards slammed.
I couldn’t believe it. “Jesus, John! Did you break into someone’s house?” I thought of what we’d done together, in a stranger’s bed and wanted to throw up again.
“It’s not breaking in if you have a key. Now help me find the damn book. The cleaning service will be here tomorrow and I’d like to be gone by then.”
I wanted to ask about the cleaning service and how he knew. I wanted to avoid making the phone calls – forever if possible.
Instead I stomped to the bedroom in search of a phonebook, my sudden need to leave this house that wasn’t his overriding everything else.
Indecision hit me as I stepped into the room. These weren’t John’s dressers or nightstand. To search through them meant invading someone’s privacy.
It was just wrong.
I dropped to my knees and hoped one was shoved under the bed where my father used to store his.
Something cold and metal touched my fingertips as I patted the dark space beneath and I pulled away as if burned.
* * *
Now reading this new point of view should make more sense…