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The proposition, p.14
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       The Proposition, p.14

           Jessica Schlafer
 

  Chapter 13

  I woke up in Nick’s bed late the next afternoon. My head was pounding and my stomach was a wreck. The light in the room was killing me.

  “Oh, God,” I moaned.

  I slowly crawled out of bed and into the bathroom. I washed my face and mouth. I looked in the mirror and was horrified at the mess looking back at me. I dragged myself to the living room and found Nick asleep on the couch. I made a pot of coffee and went to the pool to drink it.

  After just a few minutes, Nick joined me with a cup of coffee of his own. I was satisfied to see he looked as horrible as I felt.

  “Hey,” he whispered.

  “Hey,” I whispered back.

  “Feel bad?”

  “Oh, yeah. You?”

  “Pretty rough.”

  “Did you throw up?”

  “No, you did enough for both of us.”

  “Sorry.”

  “Was everything you said last night true?”

  “Yeah.” I took a long drink of my coffee. “Sorry.”

  “It scares me, Abby. I don’t want you to go back.”

  “It scares me too.”

  We finished our coffee in silence.

  Nick stood and held his hand out to me. “We should probably get ready so you can practice driving.”

  “Ooooh,” I whined. “Do we have to?”

  “Yes, come on.”

  He pulled me up and I followed him into the house, dragging my feet the whole way.

  “It smells like a brewery in here,” I said, crinkling my nose.

  “Yeah, I think you may have vomited one out.”

  “Shut up,” I said too loudly. “Do you have something for my head?”

  “It’s in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Go take a shower.”

  “I smell that bad?”

  “Yes.”

  I took the meds and took a shower, luxuriating in the hot water. When I got out, I felt a lot better.

  “You can go ahead,” I stepped out, wrapped in a towel. “I’ll get dressed in your room.”

  “Oh, let me set up the web cam first.”

  I stuck my tongue out and closed myself in his room. I got dressed and decided I’d make his bed, since I slept in it.

  I was just finishing with the bed when Nick came into the bedroom, also wrapped in a towel.

  “Feel better?” I asked.

  “A lot. You didn’t have to do that.”

  “Yeah, I slept in it and you took care of me, it’s the least I could do.”

  “Well, thank you.”

  I found myself staring at him, not moving from my spot.

  “Um, Abby, I’m not some piece of meat.”

  “Ohmygoodness! I’m sorry,” I said, shaking my head and walking quickly out of the room. I combed and braided my hair in the bathroom. I looked around and saw that there were about nine towels on the floor, including the two I had just used for my shower. “Hey, Nick,” I knocked on the bedroom door.

  “Yeah?”

  “Give me your towel and I’ll wash them.”

  He opened the door and handed out the towel he was just using and I started a load of wash. I noticed there was a lot of laundry in the laundry room, so I separated it so I could wash it all.

  “Abby, you don’t have to do that.”

  “I know,” I said. “I want to. Call me crazy, but I like doing laundry.”

  “Um, yeah, that is crazy.”

  I laughed. “I need more laundry soap and some fabric softener, though.”

  “All right, let’s go. You’re driving.”

  “Come on,” I whined. “Niiiiiick..”

  “Abby, Paul bought you a brand new car, you gotta learn how to drive it.”

 

  “Awww, I don’t want to.”

  “Come on, let’s go.”

  We went to the driveway and I got into the driver’s seat of Nick’s car. The rental, I noticed, was gone.

  “Hey, where’d the rental go?”

  “One of Paul’s men returned it.”

  “Oh.”

  I buckled my seat belt, adjusted the seat, adjusted the mirrors, started the car, put my foot on the brake, and shifted the car into reverse.

  “Here we go,” I said, taking a deep breath.

  I eased the car down the driveway, holding my breath the whole time. When we made it to the street, I shifted into drive and drove away.

  “Please don’t make me go on the interstate,” I said.

  “I won’t.”

  Nick gave me directions to the local Costco and we eventually made it there. I put the car in park, shut it off, and put my head on the steering wheel.

  “Abby, that was great! You know how to drive.”

  “Yeah, I know how to drive. I just don’t do it! It freaks me out.”

  “You were really good! I expected to be pressing my foot onto an imaginary brake pedal.”

  “Fuck you, Nick.”

  “Aww, come on, Abbs. You were amazing.”

  “Look at my hands,” I said, holding my shaking hands out.

  Nick took my hands and kissed them, “You’ll get used to it. I promise.”

  I sighed. “Let’s go in and get the supplies.”

  “Oh, Abby, my dear, I haven’t been shopping in months. I’m out of everything. You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into.”

  “Oh, come on,” I said in mock indignation.

  Inside the store, we got all the supplies Nick needed and then some. Once again, Nick made me drive the car back to his house. When we arrived at Nick’s house, Paul was waiting in the driveway.

  “Abby, were you driving?”

  “Yes,” I said. “I tried to protest, but there was no use.”

  “You looked like you know what you’re doing.”

  “I know how to drive, in theory. I just don’t do it.”

  “Okay?”

  “That’s what I said,” Nick was carrying a box of household supplies.

  “Lemme give you a hand, Nick,” Paul said, taking a box from the trunk of the car.

  I raced ahead and unlocked the door. Both men walked in and set the boxes down on the kitchen table. Nick went out to get the last box and came back in.

  “I expected to see you last night, Abby,” Paul said, starting a slow walk around the table

  “I know, but on our way home, I begged Nick to take me to Mount Saint Helen’s and by the time we got back, it was so late that I just came here to sleep.”

  “I see. You must remember, this is not a vacation, Abby. You’re here, working for me.”

  “Well, I thought that because I was with Nick, I would look like I was establishing a believable relationship. I mean, there have been cars parked out front of here like twice now. I didn’t even notice last night.”

  “Have you had the place swept for bugs?”

  “Yes, twice daily,” Nick said.

  “Good. I’m glad to see you’re practicing driving. That is something I wanted you to do.”

  “We were gonna go back out after I put these things away,” Nick said.

  “Aww, really?” I whined.

  “Yeah, you’re good, but you need more practice.”

  “I need you both to go to The Winfield tonight. Merritt may or may not be there. Let me see your arm, Abby.”

 

  “My arm?”

  “Yes,” Paul was annoyed. “Where Merritt pinched you.”

  “Oh, right.”

  I turned around and showed him the bruise that had formed from the pinch.

  “This is marvelous,” Paul said.

  “Um, I’m glad you like it.”

  “You don’t understand,” Nick said.

  “Merritt showed a sign of weakness with this,” Paul said.

  “Oh, he was pissed,” I said.

  Paul smiled, “Do you have something with no straps to impede the view?”

  “Um, no,” I said. “I’m not really c
omfortable in strapless things.”

  “Why?” Paul looked confused.

  “Because I’m afraid my gigantic boobs will pull it down,” I said bluntly, noticing Nick smirk.

  “Jesus, Abby,” Paul said, disgusted. “Go get something to draw attention, really play it up. Make up a lie about how it happened. Oh! Or better yet, just say ‘I got pinched’ and look at Merritt when you say it.”

  “You said you didn’t know if he’d be there,” I said.

  “Right, if he is, you can do that. If he’s not, word will travel that you’re there and I’m sure he’ll make an appearance.”

  “He can’t possibly be that interested in me,” I said.

  “Why wouldn’t he?” Nick asked.

  “Believe me, Abby, he is.” Paul said. “He wanted me to send you to Seattle with him alone and promise that you’d stay the night with him.”

  “Fuck,” I whispered.

  “Exactly,” Paul said. “Now, go on. Go shopping. Take this.”

  Paul handed me a gold credit card that had my name on it.

  “Wow, Paul. This is really mine?”

  “Yes, my kids and wife all have one. You’re my ‘Goddaughter,’ so why not?”

  I kissed his cheek, even though he’d admitted that he almost pimped me out, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

  “All right,” Paul held up his hands. “I’ve gotta go do some work. Some of us still work around here.”

  “The pick-ups have been done already.”

  “Go shopping, do what’s asked of you.”

  Paul left and I threw myself on the couch, pouting. Nick ignored me and put his supplies away.

  “Come on, Abby,” Nick said when he was finished.

  “Nick, I don’t wanna drive.”

 

  “Abby, you heard Paul. Let’s just go. I’m too tired to fight.”

  “Where do we have to go?”

  “I don’t know. The mall?”

  “Ughh, I guess. Let’s go.”

  Once again, I followed Nick’s directions to the mall. I parked and we walked into Macy’s. I was hoping to find something there so I didn’t have to wander through the entire mall and chance running into people Nick knew.

  I scoured the racks of Macy’s until I found a strapless black top and a pink skirt to wear with it. I made my purchase and followed Nick to the car.

  “You must love pink,” Nick said when we were back on the road.

  “Why do you say that?”

  “Well, every time we have to buy you something new, you buy it in pink.”

  “Yeah, I guess you should know. Pink is my favorite color.”

  “You’re such a girl.”

  “Would you rather I had a penis?”

  “Fuuuuuuck no!”

  I laughed. “I think you’d love it.”

  “Well, one thing is for sure. If you had a penis, there’d be a lot less of us kissing and you sleeping in my bed.”

  “Aww, no love for the cock?”

  “Jesus, Abby, you’re crude.”

  “I’m trying to have fun, Nick, sorry. You’re so sensitive.”

  “Yeah, that’s my most well-known trait, my sensitivity.”

  “Blah. I’m taking a nap when we get back to your place. What time do we have to go out?”

  “I don’t know, like eleven, I guess.”

  “Good, if I get up at nine, I’ll have time to eat and get ready.”

  “All you ever think about is food.”

  “Well, who has two thumbs and loves to eat?” Nick rolled his eyes. “This girl!” I didn’t take my hands off the steering wheel while I pointed at myself with my thumbs. “Besides, I don’t hear you complaining whenever I suggest we eat.”

  “I’m a dude. I’d eat a deep fried shoe.”

  “You’re nasty.”

  “What?!? You know it’s true. Guys don’t need anything fancy.”

  “Whatever you say,” I laughed.

  “You know, Abby, I always have fun with you.”

  “Me, too, Nick. I’m glad I’m here.”

  “So you’re staying in Portland?”

  “No pressure, right?”

  “Sorry, it’s just the thought of you going back to Boston scares the shit out of me.”

  “It does me too,” I admitted.

  We arrived at Nick’s home and, true to my word, I went to Nick’s bed to take a nap. I still wasn’t feeling 100% from the night before. Nick joined me after he made some phone calls. I had to admit to myself, I was beginning to need him in bed with me. I loved having him hold me while I slept.

  I set my alarm for nine p.m. and I woke up feeling quite rested. Nick was already up so I went into the living room to find him.

  “Oh, you are a prince among men,” I said, seeing Nick had burgers and fries waiting for me.

  “I thought this would make you happy.”

  “You have no idea.”

  We ate happily, enjoying each other’s company. After I finished, I took a long shower and got dressed to go to The Winfield. Nick followed my shower, getting himself ready. Nick had been waiting for about 45 minutes by the time I was ready.

  My look had the affect I was hoping for when I walked out to Nick.

  “You never fail to impress,” he said.

  “Aww, I bet you say that to all the ladies.”

  “No, just one.”

  He kissed the top of my head and we left for the club, he was driving this time. When we pulled up to the valet, I made a concerted effort to make sure I showed off my legs when I got out of the car. My pink skirt was very short, and I was wearing high heels. I had shaved my legs and applied baby oil to make them shine.

  My effort did not go unnoticed. Men were practically drooling, I couldn’t help but smile. Nick beamed when he took my arm and led me inside, past the waiting line. I noticed a few women give me nasty looks or slap their boyfriends as I walked past. I couldn't help myself, I really enjoyed that.

  We walked into the club and I could feel the music in my body. Nick walked to the bar and brought back two waters.

  "I thought these would be safer, after last night," he said, smiling.

  "Ughh, don't remind me," I sipped on the water and looked around the club.

  "Merritt's not here," Nick said. "I'm pretty sure he'll be making an appearance, though."

  "Let's find a place to sit."

  Nick fished his way through the crowd to a small section where there were couches. When we walked up, there were two men sitting on one facing the crowd. Inexplicably, when we arrived, they both got up and left the area.

  "What was that?" I asked.

  Nick just smiled. "I think we should dance."

  "Let's do it," I said, taking his hand to pull me to my feet.

  We made our way to the enormous dance floor and we did a lot of dirty dancing. I felt incredibly sexy dancing with Nick, with the way he was touching me and rubbing himself on me. I couldn't believe how excited I felt!

  Nick pulled away after a long, slow kiss and told me he was going to get us some more water. I waited on the dance floor, dancing with some of the women who had been around us throughout the night.

 
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