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The proposition, p.13
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       The Proposition, p.13

           Jessica Schlafer

  Chapter 12

  We went into the store and wandered around a bit. Nick told me to get a few things, so I could keep them at his house. I picked three pairs of pants, three shirts, one dress, and several pairs of panties and bras.

  After Nick paid for everything again, we drove back to his house. Once inside, I set my new clothes down and headed straight for the shower. My hair felt like hay and I needed to be able to comb it out.

  I put on a pair of Nick’s boxers and a tee shirt when I got out.

  “Are you gonna steal all of my clothes?”

  “Only the comfy ones,” I said. “Did I smell pizza?”

  “Um, what? No.”

  “Huh, I figured you would’ve known I was hungry and ordered pizza.”

  “You’re nuts, woman.”

  “Whateva. Why have you still not ordered a pizza? I’ve been talking about it for like half an hour now. Jesus, get on it.”

  Nick laughed and shook his head. But, sure enough, he took out his phone and ordered a pizza.

  “There, was that that hard?”

  “I’m gonna throw you in the pool.”

  “You have a pool?”

  “Yeah, duh.”

  “Why am I just finding out about this?”

  “You’re always seem to only be interested in going to bed when you get here.”

  “I’ll show you, then, Nick! Where is this ‘so called’ pool?”

  “Out the back door.”

  “I didn’t see it the other night when you almost murdered that poor family of raccoons.”

  “The lights were turned off. It’s out there.”

  I walked to the back door, Nick close at my heels. He flipped a set of light switches, lighting up a large, in-ground pool.

  “Very nice. How long until the pizza comes?”

  “Um, 20 minutes.”



  I took a deep breath, walked out the back door, stripped off my clothes, and dove into the pool. I surfaced to see Nick standing at the side of the pool, mouth open.

  You just took a shower, stupid!

  “Well, are you just gonna stand there and gawk?”

  “Yeah, I think that’s just what I’m gonna do. It’s a pretty good show.”

  “The water’s great, but suit yourself.”

  I dove under, purposely sticking my ass into the air. I surfaced again to see Nick sitting in a lounge chair near the diving board, holding a towel and my clothes.

  “It’s funny, ya know?” he said.

  “What’s that?”


  “Well, you got right into the shower when we got home because of your hair…”

  “…That was before I knew there was a pool.”

  “Don’t interrupt, Abby. It’s rude.” I nodded, smiling. "And then you give me a hard time about not ordering a pizza that I didn’t know you wanted. After that, you gave me a hard time about not telling you about my pool.’

  “I don’t exactly see it like that,” I said, swimming to where I was just in front of Nick.

  “Well, now, my sweet Abby, you’re in quite a predicament, aren’t you?”

  “How is that?”

  “Well, there you are, in my pool, with nothing on. You aren’t wearing anything, are you, Abby?”

  I flushed, “No.”

  “Yeah, I knew that. I have eyes. And here I sit, with a towel and your clothes. Not to mention access to the only door to the house.”

  “Oh my God, Nick, you wouldn’t.”

  “Oh, I think I hear the doorbell. That must be that delicious pizza I ordered.”

  “Please, Nick,” he started walking to the door. “Nick!” I screeched.

  He was already inside. I couldn’t tell if the door was locked. I stayed right in the spot I was when Nick went in. I had no idea what to do.

  Such an idiot!

  Nick came back out the door. “Well, are you coming in? The pizza is getting cold.”

  “Nick,” I whined. “Please.”

  “Oh Abby, you’re so pathetic when you whine.” I stuck out my lower lip. “Simply pathetic! Tell me how handsome I am.”

  “You’re so handsome.”

  “Tell me I’m manly.”

  “You’re the manliest man in the whole, wide world.”

  “Tell me you can’t live without me.”

  “I simply cannot live without you.”

  “Tell me you’ll stay in Portland,” he lowered his voice.

  “Nick, I…”


  “I tried. Come on, then. I won’t look.”

  He held the towel open for me to wrap up and led me inside.

  “Hey, I thought you said the pizza was here?” Nick laughed. “You're mean, Nick!”

  “It’ll be here any minute, get dressed.”

  I dropped the towel on the floor and stared into his eyes as I put his shirt on and then his boxers.

  “Abby,” Nick said, only tearing his eyes away after the doorbell rang.

  “Thanks man,” the delivery man said after Nick paid him.

  “Yay, pizza!” I rubbed my hands together, eager to eat.

  Nick put the pizza boxes on the coffee table in the living room. I grabbed two beers out of the fridge and sat down next to him on the couch.

  “This looks like enough for me, what did you get?”

  “Right,” Nick said, laughing. “You can eat two supreme pizzas and 50 wings?”

  “Maybe. I don’t know. I’ve never tried.”

  “Let’s see, you’ll probably eat three wings and one piece of pizza?”

  “You’re probably right,” I admitted. “Well, the good news is that I’m pretty hungry, so I may actually eat a lot.”

  “We’ll see.”

  Nick flipped the tv on and we watched a baseball game while we ate pizza. I managed to eat two pieces of pizza and about eight wings. We had also managed to drink too many beers. We were laughing a lot and having fun. The baseball game we were watching was a blow out, so, we lost interest.

  “Ya know, Abby, I’m supposed to take you to drive tomorrow,” he slurred.

  “Oh my fuck,” I spit. “Do you have a helmet?”

  “You can’t be that bad.”

  “Oh, yeah,” I stood up and stumbled around. “I backed my Daddy’s car into a light post and fucking totaled it.”

  I stumbled and Nick caught me before I fell onto the coffee table. We fell into a heap on the couch, laughing.

  “I guess you can’t be perfect,” Nick said, close to my face.

  “I’m as far from perfect as you can get,” my voice was low.

  “Not in my eyes.”

  “Nick, you’re always saying stuff like that and kissing me and I don’t even think you like me.”

  “I do like you, Abby. That’s the problem.”


  “I’m not a good man, Abby.”

  “Are you a vampire?” I said, in awe.

  “You are crazy,” Nick laughed, hugging me.

  “Well, I mean, that’s usually what happens, right?”

  “Um, no, this is real life and I’m a bad man.”

  “Right,” I said, stumbling to my feet again. “You’re a bad man and I’m a saint.”

  “I am, you should stay away from me,” Nick stood.

  “What makes you think I’m good? Huh, Nick?”

  “You are good, Abby. You wouldn’t be here, helping Paul if you weren’t”

  “Yeah, and the money was such a deterrent.”

  “Abby, you should just go back to Boston. You shouldn’t be around us.”

  “Why? So I can OD on sleeping pills again?”

  “What?” Nick fell to his knees.

  “I told you how I was depressed after…”

  “You tried to kill yourself?”

  “I was so sad. I still feel it. It’s hard to get out of bed sometimes.”

  “Oh, Abby,” Nick sunk backward
and put his face in his hands. “I just want to take care of you and make sure you’re safe.”

  “I got these pills from the internet. I ordered them from like Mexico or Canada or something. I said I had a problem sleeping and they sent them right out. I tried them out a few times, to make sure they put me to sleep. I didn’t want to take 100 pills and have nothing happen.”


  “My parents were coming to town that weekend, so on Thursday night, I decided to start. I took eight in the first half hour, then 12 more. I was stumbling around the apartment like I was wasted. Apparently, in my daze, I called a bunch of people and told them I was killing myself and I said good bye.”

  “What happened?”

  “My parents called the police. They came and took me to the hospital. I had my stomach pumped. Have you ever had your stomach pumped?” Nick shook his head. “It’s awful. It was the most physically painful experience I’ve ever had.”



  “My parents came up from Brooklyn, I was so ashamed. They were amazing. I couldn’t ask for better parents. They promised to help me with whatever I needed. They wanted me to go home. They even arranged an outpatient treatment for me at Bellvue. I refused to admit I failed. I didn’t want to go home.”

  Nick got to his feet and stumbled to me. “How are you now?”

  “Every day is different. Days when I’m with you, I’m happy. Other days, I’m not so happy.

  “You shouldn’t….”

  “Oh, no,” I ran to the bathroom and vomited my entire meal.

  I spent the entire night on the bathroom floor in agony. Nick slept beside me, leaning against the doorjamb. The only thing that gave me any relief was the cold tile floor. Nick brought me cold water and aspirin, which I promptly threw up.

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