NaNoWriMo 2015: The Horrorphiles, Part 3
by Stephanie Thompson; 1, 678 words
Chapter 4 (I guess), continued
still 6 months earlier
still 6 months earlier
Her eyes traveled back to the computer screen. The cursor blinked away coldly and uncaring, awaiting her next word. Only few minutes ago. . . Or was it a dozen? Thirty? Before the argument, before he left, the blog post had seemed so important, but now she didn’t know what she thought, what she wanted to say, or what she’d even thought of the movie in the first place.
“My readers will be expecting this review today, Jordan. I really should have typed this up last night or before breakfast.” She’d only had half her mind on what she was saying, the other half was scanning a Google image search for the best promotional pictures to use.
“Ronny, your blog only has ten followers. I’m one and the rest are in your stupid Horrorphiles group, who you are going to meet up with tomorrow night.”
“Tomorrow is the live chat. Fridays are for meet-ups.”
“Who gives a shit, Veronica!”
His shouting made her jump. That’s when she dropped her notes. So, he’d started yelling first. Did it matter?
She picked up the loose leaf pages and piled them on her desk without putting them back in order. She left her desk, the deshelved notes, and the blinking cursor then sort of drifted through her own apartment in a daze like she was haunting her own life.
Were they really broken up? How could one argument really lead to the end? Here eyes fell on their Dvd’s. Was that her copy of Saw 3 or his? That was definitely his Taken 2. Would he be back for his stuff? Should she call him and ask? If she called him, could she apologize until he came back?
What could she say? What could she promise? What had he actually wanted today? She tried to think back to the moments before he shouted. Weren’t they just eating breakfast? Wasn’t he just clearing away some dishes? Why couldn’t she remember? Why wasn’t she paying attention?
She was in the bathroom now. He left his prescriptions. Melethydone, take one nightly. Surely that was important enough to call Jordan, wasn’t it? Or did he have a back-up bottle at his apartment? Would he even answer if she called or had he already blocked her number?
When she made it to the bedroom, she fell in to their bed. It still smelled of him, of course. He’d only just left a few minutes ago. A dozen? Thirty? Was time always this malleable or was it just today? Was it something else she hadn’t noticed? What had she been so busy doing?
Nothing. She had done nothing. Nothing but lost everyone she’d every loved.
When she cried, she cried into his pillow, and she cried for what felt like forever.
Chapter 5 (or whatever)
As many days as she’d prayed for, wished for, hoped for this, why did it have to be today? Why did it have to be today that he showed up smiling with his adorable dimples? His hair was longer now, he could finally pull it into the man bun he had wanted. HIs beard was shorter than when they had been together, neater. He was going to trim it the day he left, she remembered. Why did she have to remember stuff like that, so stupid and useless?
Jordan took the program from Adam but walked right passed him, ignoring his little speech. A loud humming filled her ears. He walked right at her, right up to her, and hugged her. He was hugging her like nothing changed, like it was six months ago and her body responded in kind, partly. Her arms were locked at her side, too stunned to push away or hug him back,politely or passionately, but his scent, like musk and wood and mint, that scent that had faded from their sheets what felt like so long ago now but was far too quickly then, that distinct smell of Jordan melted the rest of her. She imperceptibly, unintentionally molded her body to fit his, nuzzling her chin slightly into his neck, shifting her legs against him. The warmth of his muscled arms and hard pecs enveloped her and felt like home. She half closed her eyes then she caught sight of Adam watching them intensely. Her face burned. Her arms finally moved, pushing his embrace away from her.
It was more difficult than it should have been, even though he disengaged casually, and afterwards we she was cold. Very, very cold.
“Ronny, it is so great to see you at last. I’m so pumped about this weekend. Is it really haunted?”
These were all echoes of the normal things that everyone else had been saying but it was over cheerful and fake from Jordan. “Is there a place we can talk?” he added quietly.
Adam shut the door, nobody else was expected. The grandfather clock against the wall said there were 10 minutes until the Creep ’N’ Greet was suppose to begin with a speech by her and a bit of history from Mr. Peabody.
“I don’t have time for this, Jordan. I don’t know why you came here. But I can’t. . . I don’t. . . We can’t talk. We have nothing to talk about.” She spoke decisively but didn’t know what to do next.
She wanted to walk away but she didn’t know which direction to go. The simple thing would be to find a bathroom, he couldn’t very easily follow her into a bathroom. But she couldn’t remember where any of them were right now. If she went down to the library, she could lose Jordan in mingling small talk and passed hors d’oveurs, he had bags and she assumed some sense of propriety, he’d have to back off. But she wasn’t public ready, her facade smile didn’t just falter, it shriveled up and blow away like a fall leaf in hurricane wind. She needed at least a minute, a single, solitary minute alone to find a new one and superglue it to her face.
Yet Jordan could easily follow Ronny if she went up to her room (the room). They would have to talk and she would still have to collect herself before she could give her welcome speech. There was nothing they could discuss that would only take ten minutes, less now. How long had she been standing there in silence, thinking out her options, Jordan looking at her expecting some response?
She opened her mouth like a fish gulping for air when Adam said, softly but sternly, “Excuse me,” He took her by the elbow and gently guided her away from Jordan. “Ronny, Mr. Peabody would like to have a brief word with you, before your introductory welcome. I’m sorry, sir.”
Ronny was out of the foyer, down a hallway opposite most of the people, before she or Jordan and a chance to say anything in protest.
Chapter 6 (um, yes?)
Adam brought her to a dimly lit room with poker table on the other side of that was a pool table. Cards and dice were out on the blue felt, ready for a game. Pool cues lined up against one wall and the balls were racked nice and neat at one end of the long table. The room had the faint spicy smell of cigars smoked long ago.
“It looks like you need a drink,” he said amid the sound of glasses clinking together. There was a gold and glass drink cart near the wall closest to the pool table, crystal cut decanters partly filled with brown liquid.
“You don’t have to do that,” she said so quietly she almost couldn’t hear it herself. She was still dazed. Her ears were still full of a humming sound. The coldness lingered too. She was colder now even. There was ice in her chest like someone had pumped her heart full of frozen nitrous.
He chuckled. “Do what?”
He handed her a rocks glass and she drank whatever was in it without asking or caring what it was. She just hoped it burned on the way down and defrosted her heart.
“Act like a butler,” she said eventually. It was half what she meant. Half a thought that she’d had earlier but didn’t intend to say but sounded better and less cliche than ‘be so nice,’ which is what she fully meant.
“You think,” he smiled . . . (like a something I’ll figure out later). . . “I’m a butler?” He leaned back against the pool table and chuckled again.
She stayed around the poker table, her hand on the back of a chair. “No,” she said. “No, I know you’re not but you sounded so formal, just now in the lobby. And earlier. Like a concierge.” She finished off her drink. “You don’t have to do that.”
His face was half lit, half in shadow. A smile danced on his lips. He’d changed his outfit too, from the jeans and sweater from earlier, to khaki chinos and an emerald green oxford shirt. For the first time she noticed his shoes, regular brown loafers over argyle socks. It suddenly seemed weird to her that he was wearing shoes in his own house. Or that any of them were wearing shoes. She looked down at her own black and white Converse sneakers. Was it the booze, the house, or surreality of Jordan showing that made such a simple thing seem overly absurd?
“Who was that . . . Guy?” He said ‘guy’ like it was a foreign word.
Or at least it sounded that way to her. She hated being like this. Where was the cahones grabbing confidence of this afternoon?
“Do we need to kick him out?”
Could they do that? She supposed it was his and Mr. Peabody’s, his uncle’s she self-corrected for no particular reason, house, they could kick them all out if they wanted, they hadn’t even taken payment yet. The check for the collected funds was still folded in her portfolio on top of her speech.
“No, no, that’s all right. He’s just a local. . . A guy I know from back home.”
“A boyfriend?” His expression didn’t change.
Keep Reading: Part 4
Keep Reading: Part 4
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