Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 3, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 9, Pt. 1

9. A Drive By and a Drive

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

It was early afternoon when Jack returned to Adair. A quick stop for some wine (Jennifer had mentioned a taste for chardonnay), another for a speedy truck wash (thank goodness for his underground parking stall) and it still wouldn’t be late. But then his late might not be Jennifer’s late. Already 24 hours had passed since the moment the drop dead gorgeous Jennifer with the body of a Greek goddess had put her arms around his neck, stared into his eyes, snuggled skin tight to his body, given him a kiss that would bring an army to its feet, (let’s not go there either), and then had made love to him with a wildness and abandon that was . . . that was . . . well, definitely worth a phone call.

Jennifer’s phone only rang twice before going to the message service. Caught unprepared, Jack hung up. Three choices appeared obvious: wait a few minutes and call back, drive by her place and see if she was home, or go to the liquor store and the car wash and deal with her whereabouts after that.

His first attempt might appear on the call display. If he phoned again, and she wasn’t there, it would appear as if he were over anxious. Not the worst message to send, because he was undoubtedly anxious, but perhaps not the best plan. Doing his errands was delaying things too long for his impatient state. Jack decided to drive to Jennifer’s suite.

The two Rockton girls did things Big City style. Even before they had any definitive results regarding their proposed boutique, they had taken a top floor apartment (this little city wasn’t pretentious enough to call them penthouses) on a high-end new building that overlooked the river. Their place, quite naturally, had a river view. A road circled their building and would give Jack a clear view of their suite.

Jack took the north to south route, one that would put him on the far side of the road and allow him the best angle to look up at Riverview Manor – a building with a view of the river, Riverview Manor. Millions had been spent on construction only to be named by some dimwit with the imagination of a two-by-four. He wasn’t really in a humorous mood; in fact, he had an unsettled feeling, a stalker-like feeling.

In the already fading light of the December afternoon, a number of the suites had their lights on, a handful with Christmas lights on their balconies, some with Christmas trees shining in the windows. The lights were on at Jennifer and Patrice’s but the sheers were drawn. Either one or both were home. Jack had slowed but kept going. Another circuit wouldn’t hurt.

On his second pass, even slower this time, Jack stared upward, somehow both hoping and dreading what he might see. Dread was what he got. A man had stepped to the window, drawn the sheers back slightly and seemed to be admiring the view. Naked to the waist, he held a drink in one hand. Involuntarily, Jack had come to a dead stop. A woman’s shape, but he couldn’t tell if it was Jennifer or Patrice, glided behind the man, and the man turned, the curtain closed.

Jack drove directly home. Screw buying the wine; screw washing the truck. His mind was a muddle.

By the time he had reached home, some semblance of order had returned. What was he – some jealous teenager? He felt like one. It had probably been Patrice. But, as far as he knew, Patrice wasn’t in a relationship. Hadn’t Jennifer said just that? Hadn’t Patrice, herself, said something about being all alone in the great big world and wondered why the pretty girls were so often without a date. Jack’s “no ‘click’” for Patrice had proven itself as he found her to be just a little too enamored with her own beauty.

If it was Patrice, where was Jennifer? And who was the man who’d lost his shirt? And what was Jack’s next move? A few deep breaths and a cold beer were his first two moves.

Maybe Jennifer had called. Why hadn’t he phoned for his messages? He checked.

He heard, “You have one new message. To review your messages, press 1.” He jabbed 1. It was Jennifer. “Jack, it’s after one o’clock and I still haven’t heard from you. I was so hoping you’d call. How’s a girl to feel? Patrice needs the apartment tonight, bit of a long story, and I have no idea where you are. Tried your cell but didn’t leave a message. I hate doing that. I’ve run up to the City, guess I’ll drop in on Daddy. Won’t be back til late Sunday. Please call. Bye bye . . . Jacko.” The “Jacko” was added in a purr.

Jack hadn’t realized it, but when he exhaled, he knew he had been holding his breath. Relieved, relieved beyond words, he slumped into his chair. He felt, as his mother would have said, at sixes and sevens, something she would have said when, as Jack would say, things were going sideways.

Small town Saturday night, a list of things to do and not much of an opportunity to do much, Jack just sat. He sipped on his beer, sat some more, and thought. Maybe he needed a dog. Maybe he needed a house. He got up and got the vacuum cleaner.

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