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Chapter 16

Paul folds his right arm around his chest and rests his left elbow on it, biting his nails.

“Well I guess it’s goodbye for now,” I say.

“Yeah,” he unfolds his arms, eyes smiling. “But at least you won’t be so far away this time. For now, that is. I might even be able to come and visit.” He bites his lip. “Yeah. Well. Uh, Right.” He pauses. “Wish Pam the best for me.” He looks into my eyes. “And remember, I love you.”

My heart melts. “I love you, too.”

Flight 593 for London, boarding, rows one through nine. Last call, rows one through nine…

I look at the floor. “I guess I’d better go then.”

He smiles. “Thanks for the wonderful time showing me around New York—and of course, your apartment.” He winks.

I laugh.

He leans in and we kiss.

The loudspeaker message, “Last call, Flight 593 for London, boarding…” interrupts us and sends us our separate ways.

Paul gives a last goodbye to John and waves. John and I walk to our assigned door.

“Pity Mr. Epstein couldn’t get us all on the same flight.”

“Yeh, but at least we’ll be next to each other and may even reach London before dark.”

A stewardess directs us to my premier First Class experience. I take the window seat. The plane finishes loading and we take off in silence.

“You think she’s alright?”

I continue to stare out my window. Nothing but deep blue ocean lies beneath us. “I certainly hope so.”

I never imagined Pam being in danger. She’s always seemed the type with so much outward confidence that one believes it must be saturated within every nook and cranny of her soul. Her choices may not always have been made with the best judgement but she never had to face the consequences. Each decision she’s ever made, for better or worse, has always been with such scorching determination that I’ve never felt I could change her mind—even when we were friends.

I still can’t help thinking that if only I had tried to convince her out of the idea of abortion when she had first mentioned it, none of this would have happened….

…Although she still would have had to give birth to little Johnny Jr. and possibly put the poor child up for adoption since she’s surely not the best specimen for motherhood.

I decide to speak. “I mean, Peter surely must be making sure she’s in the best care possible. He was training to be a doctor if I recall.”

John grunts. “Some doctor. Best care? You think that fucking idiots like Peter would even have the slightest idea how to care for her properly? I mean he certainly took right good care of you while he was shagging that bird in the car, now didn’t he?”

Look who’s talking….

“Yes, but maybe Pam makes him happier than I did. Maybe he loves her. Who knows?”

“Sure.” He scoffs. “His kind of love is useless to a woman.” His words surprise me and I look up at him. His eyes bounce quickly from mine to the back of the chair before him. “Yeh, well, who knows, maybe he’s really just a nice guy afterall,” he says with more than a tinge of sarcasm.

I return my gaze to the window.

Lydia’s probably returning to Macy’s today. Yet another day when I’m not there and she has to fill in for me. I called in and I explained I needed to take another personal day. But how many personal days can I keep taking? Am I going to have a job when I get back?

Paul’s probably still stuck at the airport. God I love him. He’d be wonderful with kids—patient, loving. Someday I can see him dancing with our own little girl. It would be a girl; I’ve always wanted a girl. A combination of the two of us. Our hair, his nose, my eyes…

Filled with the sudden inspiration to write, I grab my pocketbook from between my feet, beside my carry-on. I catch a glance of John as I pull out my pen. His eyes are closed, face entirely peaceful. I pull out my notebook as I make a final check that his eyes are closed. Flipping to a new page I begin to write.

I look back on the years gone by, Think of days that passed, Think of tears I cried

Wonder if I’ll ever get there To that place beyond my dreams The place with nothing wrong Or so it seems.

Call to me, oh loving dreamer Loving in my dreams Call to me, oh loving dreamer In that place you’ve always been

There are sea-green fairies scampering about

Uggh.

I cross it out and start over.

I look back on the years gone by, Think of days that passed Think of tears I cried

Call to me oh loving vision Memory flows true Your eyes still deep and luring You know I still love you

Every night I see you standing there, Arm outstretched and calling I answer it with my gaze Knowing that I’m falling

That same reality calls to me Wakening the past Torturing to soothe my soul Try to settle that which passed

Call to me oh loving vision Memory flows true Your eyes still deep and luring You know I still love you

Follow down the pear-grained sand Past the far down grove Hidden by the shield of darkness, My little moonlit cove

Dawn awakes, her eyelids open, Summoning the light Bright stream of breaking sunrise A time I wish to fight

Caress my sadness with your memory Pretend to be of this reality Fragments of the truth

Wish the moment to last forever If only were the truth

In my eyes sit sparkling memories Dabbling dreams calling remnant beauty If only were the truth

I take a deep breath. My once furious pen is limp. I read it over silently.

“What’s that?” John asks sounding suddenly interested.

Instinctively I shut my journal and stuff it hurriedly into my bag.

“Oh pleeeeeeease let me see,” John says in a schoolboy’s voice as he reaches for my arm.

I pull my arm away. “No.”

“What is it? Poem? Song? Love letter?”

His nose brushes mine as he grabs my purse from my hand and places it in his lap, smirking with a victorious cackle. He removes the journal as I retrieve my bag. He flips through it carefully. “Hey,” he laughs. “Is this the same notebook that had that lovely drawing of Paul—a?”

My cheeks turn scarlet. “No…” I laugh nervously as I wrestle him for my bag. The seat belt cuts into my side and I quickly unlatch it.

“Give it back!” I yell as I fall onto him and successfully retrieve my journal. He lunges for it, smacking me into the window. I pull it behind my back.

He reaches for it. I slap his hand. “I’ll put it down my shirt,” I threaten.

A mischievous chuckle escapes from his lips. He looks at me with baby eyes. “Juli luv, this isn’t primary school. That threat hasn’t been unappealing since then.”

His eyes make me blush. I look past his right shoulder to the elderly woman sitting in the aisle seat across from us. She stares at us with pursed lips and an angry glare. John follows my eyes.

“Oh fuck her,” he says as he plants a playful yet somehow passionate kiss on my lips. I remain plastered to the wall as he sits down with a triumphant smile.

I slowly return to my correct seating position and quietly return my journal to its proper place.

Well that was awkward…I never realized he enjoyed using the shock factor that much.

I slow down my breathing as I force my stare through the window to the ocean. I feel confused.

“So what are you going to call it?” he says.

“Call what?”

“That love song you wrote in your little notebook.”

He must not have been sleeping as deeply as I thought.

“I’m not sure,” I say. “Possibly ‘In My Eyes’.”

Go to Chapter 17

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